Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The first International Rare Disease Day was four years ago, on that rarest of days, February 29th. Today is the fifth one, and again falls on 29/2. In Europe a disease is defined as rare if it affects fewer than 1 in 2,000 people, by which criterion Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (A1AD) at between 1/1500 and 1/3500 for people of European descent and practically zero for other ethnicities is definitely "rare". So today I wave my shoddy DNA in the air like a flag, and proudly celebrate my low levels of serine protease inhibitors, raising a glass along the way to my brother and cousin who died from the condition.

Celebrating biodiversity

I was going to link to this petition as I approve of its sentiment, though as a non-US citizen I can't personally sign it.

Well, OK, yes, I DID link to it. But the signature statistics rather worry me. I hope they're some artefact of the way I saved the link, but maybe they're not. What if only one American actually does care about Aspie rights? Or at least care enough to sign a petition?

Actually I think these guys have the Aspies' corner, and that of all the others on the autistic spectrum.

Cut along dotted line

It would seem that the Jewish extremists in Jerusalem just have no sense of gratitude to their Christian brethren for their Oliwood antics.

On the other hand.....

...,this film shows Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem saving each others' lives.

See, neither Islam nor Judaism is intrinsically a religion of hatred: they just both have more than their share of hate-filled followers, especially in and around Jerusalem.

Run Devil Run

I've been listening to Paul McCartney's Run Devil Run in the car this week. It's an album comprising mostly cover versions of 1950s classic rock and roll. Here are a couple of favourite tracks.

Yes, that's Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd on lead guitar. Strange to see him playing something other than a Stratocaster.

And this is wonderful:

Paul reckoned it was the most obscure song he covered on the album: a hit for the Vipers skiffle group back in the day. Their version was certainly different:

Most famous member of the Vipers was Wally Whyton, later to become a children's TV presenter. Another member was John Pilgrim, washboard player extraordinaire. I used to go to a local folk festival when I was still at university, and several years running ended up in a scratch band playing everything from Cajun stuff to Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli numbers. I was on fiddle and John was on washboard, with Trevor Crozier, Joe Beard of the Purple Gang and members of resident band Bullock Smithy generally taking part. not a bad band to have played in if you wanted to play Six Degrees of Separation some time (Crozier, Beard and Pilgrim between them must have had connections to practically the entire British music scene). It will come as no surprise to regulars of this blog that my late brother was the eminence grise (or more accurately eminence chauve) behind this collaboration, in conjunction with Trevor who would go on to be best man at his wedding.

News from Sin City

I look forward to hearing Joe's report on this new Las Vegas museum.

And I suppose this story could have taken place almost anywhere: although probably not too many places outside Clark County NV would actually advertise themselves as "The Heart Attack Grill". (I bet there are eateries with similar risks in, say, Memphis TN.)

Bloomberg channels his inner Giuliani (ie makes a total tit of himself)

New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempts to defend the indefensible.

Funny how BNI and other loons consider Bloomberg a "dhimmi" because he hasn't yet demolished all the mosques and expelled the Muslims.

Bloomberg ominously warned journalists: ”You are not going to survive. You will not be able to be a journalist and write what you want to say if the people who want to take away your freedoms are allowed to succeed.”

Absolutely: which is why the people supporting the NYPD's unconstitutional action cannot be allowed to prevail.

News you won't get from the mainstream Islamophobic media

Relatives of an Abu Dhabi Muslim murdered by a Buddhist recently pardoned the murderer.

But...but... Buddhism is a religion of peace and Islam isn't! Muslims all want to kill people just for being unbelievers, and demand the death penalty for even trivial crimes. Don't they?

(Shhhh. If you're very quiet you might hear a few Muslim-haters' heads exploding.)

The friend of my enemy .... is not necessarily wrong

On the other hand, Jimmy's fellow-Blairite (and fellow-American) "Julie" posts a surprisingly sensible piece on Rwanda.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade...

...and when nasty hate-filled American bigots like Uncle Jimmy make unjustified (and unjustifiable) assumptions about perfect strangers as a stepping-stone to inciting online harassment against them, you take the opportunity to promote those he is slandering.

After reading this extraordinary piece of bile spewed by Jimmy (BlairSupporter) against Diane Abbott for having the temerity (a) to have voted against the Iraq War and (b) to be proud of it (as she damned well should be), I wondered who the poor souls were who retweeted Ms Abbott and in return had their Twitter IDs published by this POS, presumably so his fellow-travellers in EDL/UKIP could harrass them a bit. (Not so much "name and shame" as "name and sit back gloating as my pals send them all death threats".) So I Googled the names, not expecting too much (most names are far from unique, after all) and got some interesting results.

Jimmy tells us that he's "sure" (Hmm, "We All Know", Jimmy?) they're all Old Labourites. What, even Lynne Featherstone? That's
Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey & Wood Green and Minister for Equalities at the Home Office? (And yes, it's the same one, as Jimmy helpfully provided her picture.) Does Jimmy know the difference between Old Labour and the Liberal Democrats? Maybe not: his ignorance of British politics is pretty abysmal, and once you move to the left of the BFP and UKIP he probably can't tell them apart. He once cautioned his readers against mistaking Tony Blair for a "true Marxist", as though THAT was ever likely.

Jennifer Hynes I'm not TOTALLY sure of, but Googling her name with "Iraq" keeps bringing up someone in Plymouth. I suppose she could be Old Labour (certainly she opposed the Iraq War) but she has posted on a forum to complain about puerile name-calling against Tony Blair over Iraq. There's also a Jennifer Hynes who served on HMS Illustrious (not incompatible with a Plymouth address). She seems to be a pretty serious Catholic, and a proponent of gay rights (nearly as bad for Jimmy as being Old Labour). But hey, no big fan of the extreme left, and contributed this to the National Secular Society's blog.

From Jennifer Hynes:

I refer to the letter from Sue Cauty in the last Newsline regarding “stealth jihad”. I’ve just gone back to re-read the Telegraph article and read Edith Crowther’s post. It smacks of right-wing conspiracy theory to me. Islam is a problem as an ideology, as I believe I have posted elsewhere, but immigration being used to take over our societies? Do the immigrants know what they are doing? Even the ones who embrace secular culture? And at the rate Muslims are flocking to this country, I doubt we will ever see a United Caliphate of Great Britain. And Northern Ireland. We’ll all be speaking Cantonese long before then if China’s rapid growth and impending global dominance is anything to go by.

The most extensive immigrant population of recent years originates in Eastern Europe, the vast majority Roman Catholic. Nobody is suggesting that we are being (re)Catholicised. Well, apart from the dubious old men in frocks who run the Roman Catholic Church that is.

The immigration theory is almost as ludicrous as the intentional breeding theory. Muslim families are large not due to a wish to Muslimate the world, but because children are seen as a blessing from god. That and because Islam doesn’t give you many choices for fun. Possibly.

What is truly worrying is the way many non-Muslims view Islam; out of bounds for criticism. The ever-present threat of being called a racist seems to stifle debate in leftist circles and debate is all but impossible with the extreme left. Rational, honest and critical debate is sadly lacking about Islam today on the British political left, and even the mainstream political right seems to be joining the “don’t bash Islam” camp. The real issue isn’t one of Muslim immigration, it is one of sacralising Islam beyond cultural criticism.

Ah, now we have it: Jimmy doesn't hate her because she's "Old Labour", he hates her because she doesn't fall for his favourite Muslim-hating lies. As Jimmy's blog still contains accusations that Muslims are murderous (non-British) paedophiles who carry out human sacrifice, you can see that he would wish to encourage a few cyber-bricks to be lobbed at Ms Hynes.

Bernadette Hawkes (again, identity confirmed by the picture Jimmy publishes) is a UKCP registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. She does a lot of work with refugees and the black and Asian communities, so a perfectly logical target for racist Jimmy to attack. Heavens above, she's published articles calling for the treatment of sex offenders rather than their being imprisoned and beaten up: CLEARLY an Old Labour leftist. Probably reads the Guardian too.

Julia Ross (identity confirmed by her Twitter ID) is a recruitment consultant based in Hackney who writes for the Hackney Citizen, so her connection to Diane Abbott (MP for Stoke Newington) is as likely to be local as political. Certainly her articles seem to be more about local new and arts than anything to do with politics.. But why should Jimmy let facts get in the way of a bit of cheap, cowardly victimisation?

All of them, I dare say, are decent people whose sole "crime" was to retweet something on Twitter with which they agreed, and with which Jimmy did not. Jimmy, of course, knows all about death threats on Twitter, or says he does. All the more hypocritical then for him to encourage them (and I would love to hear why he posted those Twitter IDs if not to encourage threatening responses).

The Last Trump Indeed

Thanks to Chip Clark for pointing out to me that the great trumpeter Maurice Andre died on Saturday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Watson and Oliver: also John Barrowman

Television comedy is a strange beast. At least, whenever new comedy shows come out I watch them with about even expectations of enjoyment and utter bafflement. On the whole I'm OK with sitcoms, whether we're talking big-budget Friends / Frasier stuff or more quirky British shows like Watching or Drop The Dead Donkey. Even with sitcoms some of the popular ones leave me cold though. The Office? Blackadder? Absolutely Fabulous? Nope, sorry. But it's sketch shows that usually pass me by on the other side, at least since The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise packed it in. Never liked Ben Elton, or any of the crew from The Young Ones. Nor French and Saunders, though Wood and Walters were OK.

Recently there has been much plugging in the TV press of a couple of new comedy shows, so I tried both. The first was Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy on E4. I watched an episode, and lasted (I think) forty seconds before switching off. First sketch was a man eating breakfast cereal and getting a phone call from a friend who turned out to have been the inventor of the aforementioned new breakfast cereal. Eating Man said how much he liked it whereupon Inventor Man explained how it was made from multi-coloured rabbit droppings, and that it had been really difficult developing diets for the rabbits to get their droppings to be different colours. Um, sorry, is that actually intended to be funny? You know, for anyone over the age of three? Scratch Noel Fielding and his Absent Comedy.

So it was with low expectations that I fired up iPlayer tonight to watch last week's first episode of Watson and Oliver. Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver have been described as following in the footsteps of French and Saunders: huh, thought I. I needn't have worried: they're really good, with sketches ranging from ones raising just a wry smile to full-on ROFL. Quite a few of the sketches are clearly being positioned to run each week with the same characters and different dialogue: a Wills and Kate sketch, a costume drama spoof, a cafe where everyone calls each other "darling": but they were all funny.

Best of all was the guest appearance of John Barrowman (star of more musicals than I can count, not to mention Torchwood and Doctor Who), discussing a duet Ingrid wanted to sing with him and plotting to keep Lorna from being shut out of it. there was a great running gag where they both kept kissing him, the joke of course being that he's famously gay. Anyway, here is that grand finale (readers in Britain can watch the whole show on iPlayer, but my American followers will have to be content with what's on Youtube).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

He Ain't Heavy

Last night I was watching a BBC documentary I'd recorded, about four ground-breaking jazz albums, all recorded in 1959. They were Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Mingus-Ah-Um by Charles Mingus, Time Out by Dave Brubeck, and The Shape of Jazz To Come by Ornette Coleman. And I got to thinking about my big brother, who died two years ago yesterday, and whose influence on my musical taste - and on so much else in my childhood - was huge. Martin it was who took me to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, and a year or so earlier to see the Ornette Coleman Trio. (That was my very first experience of live jazz, which as in-at-the-deep-end experiences goes must surely be the jazz equivalent of encountering classical music via the works of Karlheinz Stockhausen.) And of course, as I have posted elsewhere, he took me to see Dylan on the night someone yelled "Judas!" at him. Thanks to Martin I saw Phil Ochs, Ravi Shankar, Delaney and Bonnie (with Eric Clapton and George Harrison), Andre Segovia, Artur Rubinstein, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, the Mothers of Invention, Coleman Hawkins, Roland Kirk, Peter Paul & Mary, The Incredible String Band, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, and Sir Laurence Olivier playing Shylock. Although in my later teens I took my interest in classical music to places where Martin was unable to follow, my eclectic musical tastes (both classical and non-classical) were established by my brother's sink-or-swim approach to the education of his sibling. I'm quite sure that to begin with he saw himself as Henry Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle, and I was certainly happy to spend many an hour with my ear clamped to the horn of his gramophone (so to speak). I have Martin to thank for my transition from Enid Blyton and Biggles to adult literature: not only the James Bond novels, Hammond Innes, and Modesty Blaise; nor H P Lovecraft, nor indeed the mysteries of the American dream as revealed via the pages of Playboy: I don't suppose too many twelve-year-old kids back then were reading Howl or even the Mersey Poets. (Though I did meet another early convert to Brian Patten when I was a student.) And of course how can I forget that it was my brother's ecstatic description of The Great Race which made me head for the cinema to see it (only the second time I'd seen a film all by myself), a favour he repeated some years later with Silent Running (whose Peter Schickele soundtrack he had been playing me for some considerable time before the film itself came out here).

And now he's gone, and I'm still here. A comforting, shadowy presence has gone, like the shadow of the WTC rolling down the wall on Ernest Borgnine's apartment in 9'11"01. And it occurs to me that that absence allows a withered plant deprived of light to recover, while the final scene of Silent Running is played out over Rejoice In The Sun.

Rock on, bro.

Something new (or not so much) from Africa

I've posted before on the topic of Abused Men In Scotland, and how difficult they find it to get anyone to take them seriously (because, you know, domestic abuse is always and everywhere about men beating up women).

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the problems (both the abuse and the credibility issue) are not confined to Scotland, or even the UK. But it's interesting to see how men in other cultures deal with it. Here is a report from Kenya, via the BBC website. In such a patriarchal society it must be even harder to admit to being a battered husband.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Oliwood!

Our favourite American neo-Nazi, Bonni the Holocaust-denying fake Jew at Bare Naked Islam, posts this.

Hmmm. A ultra-right-wing American film crew just HAPPENs to be filming an anti-Muslim hate piece in illegally-occupied East Jerusalem, when an American emigre herding a flock of Americans around the Mount of Olives CLAIMS to have seen a stoning incident nearby. Uh-huh. What a coincidence, NOT. Then we see a picture (from somewhere) of a broken car window, and one of two guys, one of whom has a sticking plaster on his face, interspersed with a library picture of a couple of stone-throwing kids.

The Jewish-American "source" says that he is certain that if the men had not kept on driving – they would have been lynched. Maybe. (And if my aunt had had balls she would have been my uncle.) He believes that all stone-throwing incidents should be treated as terrorist attacks (unlike the
actual terrorist attacks perpetrated almost daily by "settlers" using bullets against their Palestinian neighbours). But then he is being funded by unindicted war criminal Allen West and others of that kind to come out with phoney victim stories.

I think United West and/or MK Security should give the names of the "Jewish victims" they employed for the photoshoot. Reputable film companies provide proper credits.

With fans like these who needs enemies?

Uncle Jimmy cross-posts an illiterate rant from one of his fellow UKIP/EDL supporters. (Why are so many of the EDL's most vocal supporters American neo-Nazis?) A quick look at this genius's blog shows that he's a rabidly anti-immigration, anti-EU, anti-trade union nutjob. Clearly Jimmy loves him not just for all those qualities but because he seriously (!) suggests that Blair should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh, and the Iraq war was right because not only did Saddam have WMDs (hidden too cleverly for the Americans to find them after the country was over-run) but he was behind 9/11 too. After all, it must have cost a lot of money, and where would a mere Saudi multi-millionaire like OBL get that?

But LOL. This "English" buffoon has no idea about capital letters, apostrophes, grammar or spelling, and uses !! hundreds !!! of exclamation !!!!!! marks !!!!!!!!!!!!!! everywhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still, he knows that when you have no political points to make, simply finding an unflattering picture of a female opponent and making sexist remarks about her is all that is needed for his constituency of uneducable oafs and neo-fascists. After all, it convinced Jimmy.

Here, then, are some of his (and Jimmy's) political comrades, convincing us all to support them.



And here.

Life's like that


Havoc, she wrote

I was all set to post a sarcastic link to one of the British Freedom Party's twenty points (in their 20-point plan for setting the country to rights). To wit, point number 9:

"Repair the damage wreaked by the progressive educational establishment."

I had a title ("You couldn't make it up") and everything, secure in my knowledge that the damage should have been wrought, not wreaked. (The point being the subject matter of point no. 9.) And I have to say that "wreaked" still sounds wrong to me. However, a little cautionary Googling advises me that:

Recently, we mentioned that something had wreaked havoc with our PC. We were fairly quickly corrected by someone who said, "Shouldn't that be wrought havoc?" The answer is no, because either wreaked or wrought is fine here. A misconception often arises because wrought is wrongly assumed to be the past participle of wreak. In fact wrought is the past participle of an early version of the word work!

Wreak comes from Old English wrecan "drive out, punish, avenge", which derives ultimately from the Indo-European root *wreg- "push, shove, drive, track down". Latin urgere "to urge" comes from the same source, giving English urge. Interestingly, wreak is also related to wrack and wreck. The phrase wreak havoc was first used by Agatha Christie in 1923.

And there are plenty of other sites with advice in a similar vein. So that's me told then.

Not, I feel certain, that any such linguistic scruples occurred to the geniuses of the BFP.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How Green Was My Hilltop

This site is directly opposite our house (the source of much hooting of tawny owls at night and the occasional fox trotting down the driveway) so we are viewing its redevelopment with some interest. As well as a number of listed buildings the site contains a lot of unspoiled urban woodland: a real green lung. Plus the hill itself (as per the picture) is a grand viewpoint and open space. When Napier University moved in they remodelled the entrance to the site and built a new driveway (across the road from us) but for the most part they left the woodlands alone. They cut down some very large trees - three or four - alongside the main road to put in the new drive, which was a shame visually but not catastrophic for the wildlife as they were a bit too exposed to be nest sites or whatever.

Here is a satellite's-eye view of the site ('A' marks the spot, so to speak). You can see for yourselves how much green space there is. Whatever happens to the site, there is going to be less.

My son, the drummer

Second from the right here is my son Ruairidh, drummer with this band (though mostly still a student at Stevenson College). He's having a good year: another band he's involved in is playing for the Scottish Children's Book Awards on Thursday. Here are a couple of articles from local papers:

first, one highlighting the guitarist in the band,

then one featuring Ruairidh.

I know Asperger's is an autistic spectrum disorder, and the article is perfectly accurate about how it has affected Ruairidh, but seeing my son baldly described as "Autistic teenager" makes me feel ever so slightly like Rain Man's Dad. Which of course I'm not, as thirty seconds chatting to my (these days) pretty normal teenaged son would show. But why not spend the thirty seconds listening to one of the recordings on the RRBB website instead?

Here he is in a different student band (from last year), channelling his inner Joe Morello (a recording I like all the more as I've been a big Dave Brubeck fan since I was much younger than Ruairidh). Oh, and drummers come with hats:


In that last post I was hoping to include something of Tommy Steele as Hans Christian Andersen, a role which he made very much his own on the British stage (and in which I also saw him). However, as he never did it on TV there are no clips. So here is Danny Kaye, who was there first in any case, doing my favourite song from a musical long overdue for a revival IMHO:

Two clips of Tommy Steele, neither exactly typical

I was Googling Tommy Steele recently, looking in fact for something like this:

I vividly remember seeing that production live, in the open air in the defensive ditch - the moat, really - around the Tower of London. Terrific.

But anyway, when I was Googling I found this mash-up which I just had to share with you all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

In America they haven't used it for years

Still, Bonni has her uses. In an earlier post she links to this hilarious video, which follows up its informative bits on how to pronounce Arabic-derived words with an awesome punchline (which even if you don't totally agree with its politics is very funny indeed).

Bonni describes the guy as a "grammar Nazi", which tells us that as well as not knowing the difference between Spain and Italy she doesn't know the difference between grammar and phonetics. Maybe while she's back at school learning that the Holocaust really happened, she can take a break to watch My Fair Lady.

BareNakedIslam throws truth to the lions and denies the Holocaust

Oh God, this is so funny.

To be fair, Bonni at BareNakedIslam has simply taken her "facts" from the title of the video (from Christian Broadcasting Network, so what do you expect?) But children, what is wrong with this headline?

SPAIN UNDER SEIGE: The second Islamic conquest of Spain is underway.

Muslims want to turn the most famous arena, the Coliseum, into a giant mosque. In fact, some cities in Spain now look more like the Middle East. Muslims, who once ruled most of nation, are returning in large numbers.

Hand up there at the back?.... No, Rebecca, I didn't mean the fact that she can't spell "siege", but well spotted. Yes Kelly?...... That's right, the Coliseum is in Rome. And where is Rome, anybody? .... That's right, in Italy. Yes, darling, the lady is silly to mix up Spain and Italy, even though they are both in Europe and full of funny people who smell of garlic and don't speak English very well.

What's that, Megan? You think funny old Ms Intall smells of garlic and doesn't speak English very well either? Well, you could be right.

Incidentally, any Muslim intending to convert the Coliseum into a mosque would be well advised to install modern amenities such as, well, floors.


A couple of posts further down, Bonni links to this hilarious chart supposedly comparing totalitarian ideologies.

Let's pretend for a moment that Islam is a totalitarian ideology and that the boxes purporting to describe it are not wholly fictitious. (The one on dietary restrictions is right, though it that's a sign of totalitarianism then all those folk who describe Israel as a totalitarian state are onto something.) Let's look at how Bonni - and remember she pretends to be a Jew - thinks of Nazism. Apparently under the Nazis you could marry whoever you wanted (only true if neither of you was a Jew, a Slav, disabled or otherwise imperfect). You could wear whatever you liked, so all those Jews with the big yellow stars saying "Jude" were just making fashion statements, like the ones in the stylish striped pyjamas (and I guess the latter might feel that their freedom to eat and drink what they liked was curtailed somewhat as well). And the Nazis tolerated sexual freedom: who knew? Certainly not the thousands of gays who died in the camps, or the thousands more who were castrated.

In Berlin, across the road from the big Holocaust memorial, is a smaller one to all the gays and lesbians murdered by the Nazis.

The person in the picture is looking in at the video screen, which shows a continuous loop of two men kissing.

Yes, children, I think this Holocaust-denying American "Jew" needs to go back to school and learn some European history as well as geography.

Well this is different

Also batshit crazy and totally amazing.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

It's only a race if that helps me stir up hatred against it

Private Eye used to lampoon the frequent U-turns in the opinions proferred by gutter press columnists looking for the next easy target: they did so via their own spoof columnist Glenda Slagg, whose columns typically juxtaposed fawning praise for, and vile criticism of, the same people in adjacent paragraphs.

Here is Bonni, our favourite nigger-bashing, anti-semitic loony, first of all telling us that Islam isn't a race: "Tell me again, what ‘race’ is Islam?". Then only a few weeks later, Muslims are an "ethnic group": "It isn’t the Star’s fault that Muslims are engaged in more anti-British behavior than any other ethnic group".

So bring your witness, love

This story reminded me of those cases the Muslim-haters love to cite, where women in Muslim countries complain to the authorities that they've been raped and wind up on trial themselves. You know, this sort of thing. (How convenient that JihadWatch have to provide their own translation. And illicit intercourse does indeed require four witnesses, so how can the rape victim, who lacked such witnesses, have been convicted of it? Don't the professional liars at Jihadwatch read their own copy?)

For what it's worth, allegations of rape in Islamic law, unlike those of fornication, have NO witness requirement: the latter provision being precisely to prevent spurious allegations of fornication against women. Zia ul-Haq, the Pakistani military dictator, did however specify such a requirement when he seized power (murdering Benazir Bhutto's dad in the process) , in which case the introduction of Sharia law into Pakistan would ironically bring a considerable improvement to its treatment of women. And that isn't something you'll ever hear from the Islamophobes, for whom military dictators are always preferable to political Islam. (Well, except in Iraq.)

Which isn't to say that everything is rosy for sexually abused women in Islam, oh dear no. Nor for women in general. But let's keep it real, let's not pretend that laws and practices which explicitly contradict Islamic law are the fault of Islam, and let's not imagine that everything is rosy in the UK or USA either.

Oppression of women and its justification by the lack of witnesses is certainly something that's been part of our culture for a long time:

When the facts contradict the Islamophobic lies, print the Islamophobic lies

In Islamophobic circles, fake atrocities never go out of fashion. Take this story. I read it and thought, surely Bonni and BareNakedEndTimes wouldn't have passed up that opportunity to stir up hatred with a little hoodwinking? And of course, she had it last year. To judge fron the comments under her post, some poor idiots are still falling for it.

It's hardly an isolated instance, though. Take the wholly fictitious "celebrations" in Gaza when the family of Israeli settlers was murdered in Itamar. Or this one, still being linked to by BareNakedIslam and still wholly imaginary.

When you run out of fake atrocities, make up fake crime statistics instead. For example, you can claim that all rapes in Norway are committed by Muslim immigrants. (Ignoring the vast majority committed, according to the police, by Norwegian and other European whites.) It's always easy to find things like this, because the government-sponsored Israeli media pump such lies out by the ton. And there you were thinking that Israel didn't innovate and export. Who knows, soon they may be world leaders in hate videos.

Oh, talking of hate videos, I was interested to find, when reading up on our home-grown neo-Nnazi hatemonger Pat Condell, that Richard Dawkins is a big fan. Indeed, the people at his website seem to have been instrumental in actively promoting Condell's hate speech. Any remaining respect I had for Dawkins (I really liked his early books when he wrote about genetics rather than railing against religion) just evaporated.


And thanks to Persephone for this, which is interesting albeit in a rather nerdy way.

The Bartender Hates You

Thanks to Joe for alerting me to this fun series of short videos:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

No shit, Sherlock

A recent study suggests that not only are right-wing political affilations correlated with prejudiced atttitude, but so is low intelligence.

Personal observation bears out the correlation. The only question left is the direction of causality. is it ignorance that makes people become Republicans/Conservatives/Blairites/swivel-eyed Islamophobes, or is it immersion in one of those cults which stunts the intelligence by systematically replacing facts with dogmas and truth with invention?

Well, duh

Good news from the University of East Anglia.

"We will look at how the media talk about 'honour'-based violence, for example. If it's a Middle Eastern woman who happens also to be a Muslim woman it's called an 'honour crime'. But if it's a British woman who was killed because her husband was jealous because she was having an affair with another man, it's called murder."

Well, duh. But some people clearly need the lesson.

I call him Tiny, because he is my newt

Here, if one was needed, is sufficient reason for preventing Newt Gingrich from ever entering the White House in any capacity other than as a paying tourist.

And here are a couple of Doonesbury cartoons listing more reasons why that is a probable outcome.

The only Newts I want to see anywhere near powerful elected politicians are Ken Livingstone's pets when he gets elected as London's Mayor.

A mystery wrapped inside a fake wrapped inside a ZioBlairite....

Let's return to Jules et Jim, aka BlairSupporter and "Julie". You will remember fom my recent post that they had both been receiving threats, in Julie's case pretty serious ones, from a Twitter-using nutter called Shereef Abdallah. You may also recall that Julie described herself as Julie Anna: her Facebook ID is julieanna87. Hold that thought (noting only that the 87 is consistent with her being a 24-year-old student).

Now, if you Google that Facebook ID her blog comes up, showing that we have the right Julie Anna. Also this interesting page. So Julie Anna lives in Puyallup, in Washington state, USA. Well, that explains her closeness to Jimmy: but supposedly Crazy Abdallah turned up at her university. So is she an American studying over here? her profile suggests otherwise, but maybe it's just incomplete. Perhaps that's how Jimmy gets his news from the UK.

Another point of interest: why has Julie's blog vanished from Jimmy blogroll? It used to be there. And why is KTBFPM not on Julie's? After all, they're clearly friends and fellow Blairites, as well as fellow Americans.

And no, sorry, I can't resist. If Julie Anna lives in Puyanna, WA, does she have a "garlic aroma that could level Tacoma?"

And I am Marie of Roumania

Apparently the police don't think this was a hate crime.

Uh-HUH. What if it had been a synagogue which had had its windows systematically smashed?

Move along people, nothing to see here, don't you folks have other mosques to vandalise?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Perhaps every word of the Bible is God-breathed: but did he inhale?

Next time I hear some numpty mouthing off about how gay marriage is contrary to God's law, or how we should all go back to Bible-based sexual morality, I must pull this chart out and ask which of these Bible-endorsed marital practices the speaker supports.

Oh, this is so true

Inventing the inventors

The story begins: the Natural History Museum on South Kensington entered into a partnership with Ahava, a cosmetics company based in an illegal West Bank Settlement.A collection of scientists and film-makers wrote a letter to The Independent in protest, leading to a report.

The story was picked up by the Israeli media, who naturally put their own spin on it. They included a story from South Africa of another protest at the sale of Ahava products (which are no more popular on the rest of the world than they are here). They quote at length the response of the CEO of Dis-Chem, the SA pharmacy chain which was selling Ahava products. Which is kind of them, because it's hilarious: clearly South African Israel-Firsters are no less risible than their American buddies. His name, incidentally, is Ivan Saltzman.

"If it is your intention to boycott Israeli products, you need to be consistent if your gesture is to have any meaning. I hope you don’t use an Intel chip in your computer with which you probably wrote your e-mail because it was invented in Israel."

Well, Intel certainly has a design facility in Israel, Also one in Malaysia, one in India, one in Austin, Texas and probably others. I'm sure we'd all do just fine without the Israsli one. But "it was invented in Israel": LOL. Some aspects of the design of some chips were done in Israel. Does this dolt really imagine that Israel invented the chip? (That would be Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor and Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments: both American as apple pie.)

“I hope that you stay in good health because if you need preventative surgery against a heart attack, you will have to boycott the procedure because guess what? The stent was invented in Israel!"

What, the stent invented by Dr Julio Palmaz of the University of Texas in San Antonio?

“Likewise, I hope you are never prescribed any patch for diabetes, to deliver medication and other drugs."

Not even the patch for delivery of insulin, which was invented in Britain?

"If you are an asthmatic you may have to use a new type of inhaler (Spin) invented in Israel. So please check!"

I can't work out which of the literally dozens of types of inhaler he is referring to, but none of the main ones seem to have been developed in Israel.

“Israel has given the world the system of drip irrigation which is being widely adopted in SA with water shortages like many countries. Should you boycott all fruit and vegetables grown by this method?"

Well, we would certainly boycott the ones grown on stolen Palestinian land. In any case, modern drip irrigation was invented in Afghanistan (hah!) in the 19th century; developed further in the University of Colorado; refined in Germany, then in Australia. Finally a little extra tweak was given by two Israelis. So far from Israel giving drip irrigation to the world, the world gave it to Israel. Indeed, while I can't find out when exactly Hannis Thill made the Australian advance, but the three earlier stages of development were complete before Israel even existed!

But the really funny thing is that in his spittle-drenched blurtings of how Israel invented everything of value in the world, he totally fails to notice that the customer was not complaining that he was selling Israeli products. On the contrary, she was complaining that he was selling illegally-produced settlement products: though these may perhaps have been passed off as Israeli (a criminal offense in Europe where we "anti-semites" give Israeli imports reduced tax rates, but perhaps not in South Africa). Maybe he should take another shot at this trick hasbara business. OK, so all his "Israeli inventions" were totally, er, invented, so his credibility is pretty low, but I'm sure we'd all enjoy watching him claim that everything from the wheel to powdered milk was invented in the Occupied West Bank by "Israeli scientists". (Who of course are great at some kinds of invention: computer viruses and machines for murdering people are the main ones that spring to mind.)

Dutch Resistance 1: Nazis 0

At last: a police chief with the spine to stand up to the Euronazis.

Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten has said that his police force will not be arresting women who wear burqas in defiance of the soon-to-be introduced ban demanded by Geert Wilders' Nazi "Freedom" Party as part of a coalition deal (and you think WE have coalition problems....) I suppose partly it's that he has to police a city full of violent drug smugglers and other international criminals, so wasting time on Wilders' Islamophobic obsessions and making women's live miserable because their skin is the wrong colour probably seem counter-productive. But he has described his decision as "a form of civil disobedience", so it's clearly more than that. As the Dutch As-Soenna group said on its website Al-yaqeen.com, “Evidently the Netherlands still has people in prominent positions whom it can be proud of.” As can we all.

Jules et Jim

I have been interested in the relationship between Uncle Jimmy's blog and that of his long-time fan Julie ever since this post appeared. Jimmy links to a similar post on Julie's blog, which is fair enough. The strange thing is that when the post first appeared they were totally identical (word for word). After a lengthy period when both blogs were (with a strange simultaneity) hidden behind password-protected firewalls, one or both has been edited so that there are now differences, but at the time I wondered whether Julie was simply an alias of Jimmy.

Despite their both receiving threats of violence from a nutter on Twitter, I no longer think they're one and the same: in the press coverage of Julie's troubles she is described as a 24-year-old student, which hardly fits Jimmy's "ageing American racist" profile. Also here she gives her name as Julie Anna and provides a different, if not much more flattering, picture than the one on her blog (in this one she looks a little weird, but not like a transvestite at least). She attends a university: I very much doubt Jimmy's ability to get into a British university, what with his insistence that all leftists are homosexuals and that Tony Blair's initials are written in the stars. Not even with Michael Gove as Education Secretary (though he might well agree with both propositions).

TB or not TB?

Fried Mahooga recently reminded me that Uncle Jimmy is still posting rot over on his blog. The post that caught her attention was the one where Jimmy seems to imagine that the heavens are telling, not the glory of God but that of Toe-Nibbler, insofar as he sees the letter "T" in Canis Major and the letter "B" in Orion.

Tony Blair in Canis Major? No, Tony, you can NOT be Sirius.

(Gets coat....)

Maybe you could make this up: I couldn't

I wonder whether all those Americans who fantasize that wicked foreigners wish to impose Sharia law on the USA are equally concerned by Congressman Larry Pittman (R) of North Carolina, who wants to see public hangings brought back for such offenses agains public morals as carrying out abortions.

Expect stoning for adultery to be next on his shopping list: I mean, that's in the Bible so must be good. And if witchcraft trials are good enough for the Israeli government they must be good enough for North Carolina. Why should those Massachusetts liberals get all the fun?

Variations on a Misery Tune


German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi recently attracted much attention and praise for cancelling his planned appearances with the Hungarian State Opera, saying he did not want to appear in a city ‘whose mayor entrusted the direction of a theatre to two known anti-Semites of the extreme right’.

However von Dohnányi, who is the nephew of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (also grandson of the composer Ernő Dohnányi, hence my post's title), has accepted an invitation to conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in April. BRICUP is appealing to him to match his welcome opposition to anti-Semitism with equal opposition to Israel's oppression of Palestinians.

BRICUP's brilliant letter to von Dohnányi is well worth repeating here.

25 January 2012


Dear Christoph von Dohnányi,

We were impressed to read that last October you cancelled several
appearances as conductor with the Hungarian State Opera, in protest at
appointments made by the mayor to the New Theatre in Budapest. You
were quoted as saying that you did not want to appear in a city ‘whose
mayor entrusted the direction of a theatre to two known anti-Semites of the
extreme right’.

We share your alarm at the growing power of racist and authoritarian
parties in the Hungarian state, and we salute you for the stand you have
taken. But we‘re also interested to see that you actively support the
withdrawal of cultural engagement as a means of expressing political and
moral outrage. Please allow us to suggest that moral and political
considerations might therefore argue against your appearances this coming
April as guest conductor with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Leave aside for the time being the painful fact that between 1947 and 1949
more than half the Palestinian population was driven out of what became
Israel, and has never been allowed to return (many historians, including
Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe, have documented this; and then there is this
old man, Amnon Neumann, describing on film exactly how his Palmach
unit got Palestinians to leave).

Leave aside for the moment the illegal military occupation of remaining
Palestinian land since 1967, even though every day, dunum by dunum, it
removes Palestinians from their land and abuses their rights (for example,
the Guardian newspaper has just reported the systematic mistreatment of
Palestinian children in Israeli prisons).

Please look at one event that has occurred since the start of this year.

On 11 January 2012 the Israeli Supreme Court decided that marriage to an
Israeli citizen does not give Palestinians from the Occupied Territories or
elsewhere the right to reside with their spouses inside Israel. These
people, and their children, are now liable to be expelled. Articulating the court’s majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis said, ‘Human rights are not
a prescription for national suicide’. Presumably István Csurka, whose role
in the New Theatre in Budapest you understandably object to, might voice
similar ethno-nationalist sentiments in relation to the presence of Jews and
Roma in Hungary (and according to the Anti-Defamation League, he has
done so, many times).

Our argument is that racism is indivisible. If one is outraged by the
presence in power of racists in one place, one has to be outraged by their
exercise of power elsewhere too. Israeli poet Yitzhak Laor says the Israeli
Supreme Court decision is motivated by the desire to ‘maintain a Jewish
majority…The looming expulsion of thousands will be carried out with the
silent agreement of enlightened members of society [for whom]
maintaining a Jewish majority is an ideological common denominator’.

Some of those ‘enlightened’ members of society will be sitting in your
concerts, Christoph von Dohnányi, enjoying your interpretation of
Schumann and Mendelssohn. Meanwhile, says Laor, ‘the expulsion of
women and children from their homes will be carried out by a state that
has never held Arabs to be equal before the law’.

We could suggest further reading – this account of the harassment and
dispossession of the Bedouin in the Negev – Israeli citizens, but not Jews.
This interview with Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli
Knesset, who says: ‘Jewishness here means Zionism, not Judaism. It is
misleading to talk about a Jewish and democratic state; it is a Zionist
state…To choose Zionism at the expense of democracy is now legitimate;
you are defending the Jewish state’.

We applaud the good example you have set by withdrawing from your
concerts at the Hungarian State Opera. We respectfully suggest that
consistency should lead you to do the same with regard to the IPO. Please
don’t let those ‘enlightened’ members of Israeli society continue to believe
that their racism is tolerable and excusable because it’s directed at
Palestinians. Please don’t go.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mike Cushman
Professor Adah Kay
Professor David Pegg
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead