Pentagon deploying troops to thwart Putin

Posting on the fly during a slow period. Home at 4am.  Yay!


Evening photo: Cape Town

Table Mountain and Cape Town. Samantha Reinders for The New York Times


Deutsche Welle: ‘I have to help the people of Bangladesh’

Asif Mohiuddin (left) is one of Bangladesh's most famous bloggers. As an open atheist in a mainly Islamic country, he has been attacked and thrown in jail for his beliefs. DW caught up with him after his recent move to Germany.

In addition to being an active blogger, Asif Mohiuddin co-founded the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh, which has been arguing for the strict division of state and religion in the country, as well as justice for victims of Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

Mohiuddin recently arrived in Germany on a one-year scholarship. He says that living in Germany now means he can walk the streets safely. But still, he says, he has to keep his location secret.

DW: What did you write on your blog that was so offensive? Can you give us examples of what it might be that Islamists found so blasphemous?

Asif Mohiuddin: I wrote a blog entry about women's rights which caused problems. In the Koran, Chapter 4, Verse 34, it says that a man can beat his wife, if she doesn't obey her husband. I criticized that because in modern civilization there is no place for hitting anybody. Also, according to Sharia law, if someone leaves Islam, then that person has to be killed. I don't think that is a good thing, so I criticized that. And that is why people got angry.

I also criticized leaders of Islamic political parties, and one of them even asked that my name be put on a list. He mentioned my name a few times and said that I should be killed, because I criticized his ideology. I also criticized the Bible and Hindu religious books, the parts that were not compatible with modern society...


Shocka! We hid information from IAEA says former Iranian Atomic Energy Organization director

Fereydoon Abbasi

In a March 17, 2014 interview with the Iranian daily Khorasan, former Atomic Energy Organization of Iran director Fereydoon Abbasi, who headed the agency under president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, revealed that over the years Iran had concealed from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) information on its nuclear program, on its activity at the heavy water reactor in Arak, and on the location and activity of its production workshops.

The Arak reactor, which operates on the plutonium track, is one of the bones of contention in the negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group...


Catholic charity Caritas: Switzerland should take 5,000 refugees from Syria

The Swiss Federal Council decided last September to take in around 500 refugees within three years. The refugees are selected from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Those most vulnerable - especially children, single women, the elderly and the sick will benefit from the so-called resettlement program.

At the UN donor conference earlier, Switzerland also promised to provide humanitarian aid worth 30 million Swiss francs ($34 million US).

But this is not enough for the Caritas Agency. In an open letter published on Tuesday to President Didier Burkhalter it wants increased funding for Syrians displaced by the war. Switzerland needs to provide 100 million francs ($113m).

This increase was necessary in view of the misery of the refugees, writes Caritas. Switzerland must stand with their “humanitarian tradition” in this responsibility. Diplomatic efforts such as the Geneva conference on Syria, where Switzerland acted as the hostess of mediation talks are not enough.

As a UN member, the country must “insist with determination that the killing of civilians cease and aid agencies have access to the needy.”

Finally Caritas is firmly of the opinion that the officials in Switzerland so far have shown little generosity when it comes to the intake of Syrian refugees. The planned intake of 500 refugees should therefore be increased to 2016 to 5,000 people.

Switzerland has taken a much higher number of Hungarian, Czech and Indochinese refugees without any major problems, the Agency claims.

As the Swiss NGO points out in its open letter, the plight of refugees in the scarred by civil war is huge. During the period of three years, 2.6 million people have fled from Syria into neighboring countries. More than 6.5 million people are displaced inside the country. Overall, half of the Syrian population is dependent on humanitarian aid.

Since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria in March 2011, the federal humanitarian aid for those displaced by war has been a total of 55 million francs ($55m). Caritas emergency relief projects in favor of the Syrian refugees in the amount of 7.9 million Swiss francs ($8.8m) have spent in the past two years.

The Swiss people have shown interest in increased funding in recent years. According to Caritas Swiss NGOs have received private donations worth some 16.5 million francs ($18.5m). (in German)

* * *
(1 Swiss franc = $1.13 US) Just keep those Muslims from Syria coming in. They will integrate easily, just as well as Hungarians or Czechs!


The Louvre cancels projected Eastern Christianity department

Having spent a fortune building a prestigious and highly-acclaimed Islamic wing to the Louvre museum, the French ministry of Culture has now cancelled plans to build a much-needed wing dedicated to Eastern Christianity, in particular the Byzantine Empire.

This story has not received the full media coverage it deserves...


Four Saudi women accused of beating up husbands

You "marry" four frustrated ninjas, you sleep with your eyes open.


Assad’s election plan gets cold shoulder from U.N.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) talks to soldiers during his visit to the Christian town of Maaloula, northeast of Damascus April 20, 2014. (Reuters)

The United Nations harshly criticized Syria’s decision to hold a presidential election on June 3, amid the ongoing bloody war in the country, saying that the election would ruin any potential political resolution to the problem.

President of the Syrian parliament, Mohammad al-Lahham, announced on Monday that presidential elections will be held on June 3, despite the violence tearing the country. He promised the poll would be “free and fair.”

Both the U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi have warned against a presidential election during the rough circumstances, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said...


"Whoever you are, your friend is so drunk... he's an alcoholic without a doubt. He is also dressed as a wolf.

...He tried to pee in a chow mein and is chatting to himself."

(Language warning, you pansies.)


MEMRI: IRGC Qods Force Commander Soleimani: ‘War is a grand school for love, morals, and loyalty’

Qassem Soleimani

The commander of the Qods Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Qassem Soleimani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, recently delivered several ideological speeches praising war, the Islamic Revolution, and Leader Khamenei, and attacking the U.S. and Sunni Muslim countries.

Praising the Islamic Revolution and its founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Soleimani claimed that the revolution had brought the Islamic world out of the crisis that it had been in since the fall of the Islamic regime in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century.

He added that Iran continues to export the revolution successfully, even to Saudi Arabia, which is the stronghold of the Sunni world. Only Iran, he said, and not Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, can lead the Muslim world, because it supports Islamic groups around the globe and defends Islam from attack.

Soleimani also said that the Shi'ite crescent in the Middle East was economic as well as political because it includes the oil-rich regions of eastern Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. He added that Iran was successfully thwarting the global attack on the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

Read excerpts from his statements...


Turkish birth rate falling, but still much higher than Europe

The proportion of Turkey’s child population was almost 30% in 2013, with more than 1 million new babies born in one year, according to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK) on April 22.
When the proportion of children in the total population is compared with the proportions of European Union member countries, Turkey’s child population rate - at 29.7% in 2013 - is the highest of all. Children make up just 16% of the aging German population, 22.2% of the French population, 21.2% of the British population, and 20.2% of the Swedish...


'I am in the process of writing a detailed refutation of The Central Park Five...'

writes Nicholas Stix:

 ...a propaganda film disguised as a documentary by Ken (Civil War) Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband David McMahon. This has attained instant classic status and is routinely shown to impressionable school children, the latter-day, non-fiction equivalent of To Kill a Mockingbird.

In the course of my research, I came across this remarkable discussion of the Central Park 5 case by legendary New York City prosecutor, defense attorney, crime fiction and true crime author Robert K. Tanenbaum, posted on his website in April 2013, but as far as I know unreported.
I strongly recommend it to readers.


Your baby is a racist—and why you can live with that

It don't come easy: bonding across racial lines requires overcoming some very old genetic programming

You always suspected babies were no good, didn’t you? They’re loud, narcissistic, spoiled, volatile and not exactly possessed of good table manners. Now it turns out that they’re racists too.

From humanity's earliest era, we had evolved to distinguish in-groups from out-groups and to assign powerful value to those differences.

Call it racism, but it helped us survive...


Palestinians: Our blood is more precious than Jewish blood

Israeli police officer Baruch Mizrahi (upper right) was shot and killed by a Palestinian terrorist near Hebron on April 14, as he drove to a family celebration with his wife and four of their children. His wife Hadas Mizrahi was shot and wounded.

A Palestinian Authority [PA] minister who equated Jewish blood with Palestinian blood has been strongly condemned by many Palestinians, including his own family.

The attacks and threats against PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash serve as a reminder of the extent to which Palestinians have been radicalized over the past few decades.

The uproar began when al-Habbash, in a meeting with Israeli journalists in Ramallah, was asked about the recent terrorist attack near Hebron that killed police officer Baruch Mizrahi on Passover eve...


Mayor resigns over support of Kansas killer’s views

Marionville, MO Mayor Dan Clevenger

The mayor of the Missouri hometown of Frazier Glenn Miller resigned after saying he agreed with some views of the suspected killer of three people at Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City, Kansas.

Marionville Mayor Dan Clevenger offered his resignation at a special Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday night; the resignation was effective at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

The aldermen had voted 4-1 to start impeachment proceedings against the mayor.

Residents who attended the meeting overwhelmingly called for his resignation or impeachment.

Clevenger, who was elected earlier this month, said he “kind of agreed with him [Miller] on some things, but I don’t like to express that too much...”


Muslims must accept Britain's Christian values, says former Labour Home Secretary

Former Labour home secretary Jack Straw

Muslims must accept that Britain is built on Christian values, a former Home Secretary has said, in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

It is “inevitable” that many Muslim communities will not integrate with the rest of British society but it must be made clear that attempts to isolate Muslim pupils from the rest of society are unacceptable, Jack Straw said.

The alleged plot by Islamic radicals to take control of a series of schools in Birmingham is the product of a little-understood power struggle between Muslim denominations, Mr Straw, the MP for Blackburn said.

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Greenfield: Islam’s religious war with everyone

Few divides are as impossible to bridge as those of religion. You either believe or you don’t.

When it comes to Islam, non-Muslims are expected to take its goodwill on faith. If you believe your eyes and ears, Islam and violence go together like peanut butter and jelly. But if you believe Muslims and their spin doctors with academic degrees, Muslims are the victims of other religions...


Supreme Court Gives Racial Preferences a Death Blow - Justices approve state bans on affirmative action

The Supreme Court has issued its ruling today in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The ruling could signal that the days of race-based affirmative action preferences in college admissions are numbered.

It was a 6-2 ruling, with the majority upholding a state-wide ban on racial preferences passed by Michigan voters in 2006. That ban was narrowly overturned by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. The ruling today represents yet another reversal.

Via Memeorandum


Slow death of free speech - Free speech is increasingly under attack from politically correct mobs.


Obama gives Canada cold shoulder

Barack Obama waited nine months before replacing the last U.S. ambassador to Canada. The post was empty, and Obama just didn’t care.

He doesn’t much like Stephen Harper – compare Obama’s icy body language towards Harper, to Obama’s deep bow when he met the Saudi king, or his high fives with the Hugo Chavez, the late ruler of Venezuela.

Don’t feel singled out. That’s how Obama treats many of America’s traditional allies. He spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. The White House's bust of Winston Churchill was returned to the United Kingdom when Obama became president.


Just sleeve now: British woman deported from Sri Lanka because her Buddha tattoo insults local religion

A British woman has been arrested and is facing deportation in Sri Lanka over a Buddha tattoo on her arm.

Naomi Michelle Coleman, 37, was taken into custody at the airport in Colombo, after she arrived from India.

Ms Coleman, who has a tattoo of a Buddha seated on a lotus flower on her right arm, was arrested for ‘hurting others' religious feelings,’ a police spokesman said.


First distress call from sinking South Korean ferry was from ‘boy with a shaking voice’

Searchers and divers look for people believed to have been trapped in the sunken ferry Sewol off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea

A boy with a shaking voice made the first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry, three minutes after the vessel made its final turn, it has been revealed.

The boy was put through to the fire service after calling the emergency 119 number, before being forwarded to the coastguard two minutes later.

His call was followed by about 20 others from children on board the ship, a fire service officer has told Reuters...


The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters

The Holocaust, as you’ll probably know, produced some of history’s worst human beings. The thing is, though, besides those who made it into your textbooks—the Hitlers, Görings and Himmlers—many escaped unscathed, free to live out the rest of their days pretending to be mild-mannered expats who’d moved to Argentina simply because they preferred empanadas and polo to bratwurst and car manufacturing.

One SS member to ultimately escape prosecution was an Austrian concentration camp doctor called Aribert Heim, who later became known as “Doctor Death.” The atrocities committed in the Nazi camps have their very own scale of horror, and Heim sits somewhere near the top (his trademark was injecting gasoline into healthy people’s hearts and keeping their skulls as trophies). Despite his horrific crimes, he managed to mostly evade the authorities, and when they did finally catch up with him, in the early 60s, he had already fled Germany.


Parents: 234 girls kidnapped from Nigeria school

CHIBOK, Nigeria — Some 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists, significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents told the state governor Monday.


South Korea: North appears close to nuclear test

North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, in 2012

Seoul, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea could well be preparing to carry out a fourth nuclear test, South Korea said Tuesday, citing increased activity at its main test site just days ahead of a visit to Seoul by US President Barack Obama.

“Our military is currently detecting a lot of activity in and around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a press briefing.

Kim stressed that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was at a stage where it could conduct a test “at any moment” once the order was given by the leadership in Pyongyang.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests — in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — all at the Punggye-ri site in the northeast of the country...


Dirty Bustard!

Arab Prince accused of killing thousands of internationally-protected houbara bustards

h/t TON


Humanist group sues school district over ‘Under God’ phrase in Pledge of Allegiance

A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is discriminatory toward atheist children.

The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and announced Monday by the American Humanist Association.

The group says the phrase, added in 1954, “marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots.”

The anonymous plaintiffs say those two words violate the state constitution.

According to the suit, the humanist group complained to school officials in February, but the district would not change the pledge...


'Neil deGrasse Tyson is quickly going from the cutest astrophysicist in the universe to a colossal bore'

Gavin McInnes pens a must-read about "racism" and the culture of complaint:

You can’t talk about the possibility that black people did anything to deserve these stereotypes. Actually, you can’t even talk about black people. So, we’ll do what they do in Texas and the military. We’ll call them “Canadians.” It’s a lot easier this way.

If you’re "Canadian" and you’re being looked at suspiciously, how about you get mad at the Canadians who created this real life possibility? If a woman grabs her purse on the elevator because you’re Canadian, get mad at the disproportionate number of Canadians who steal purses.
Did you get stopped in your fancy car because you’re Canadian? How about you take it up with the Canadian drug dealers who taught the cops it’s a good bet to pull them over.

Jay Z bitches about cops pulling him over but he also brags about his life as a crack dealer. I guess his beef is that the cops pulled him over too late? (...)

As Patton Oswalt was recently attacked for saying, “Political correctness is a war on noticing.”


Syrian rebels make last stand for Homs

This file photo released on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 by the anti-government activist group Shaam News Network SNN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a man looks at destroyed buildings from Syrian forces shelling in Khaldiyeh, Homs, Syria

Weakened Syrian rebels are making their last desperate stand in Homs, as forces loyal to President Bashar Assad launch their harshest assault yet to expel them from the central city, once known as the capital of the revolution.

Some among the hundreds of rebels remaining in the city talk of surrender, according to opposition activists there. Others have lashed back against the siege with suicide car bombings in districts under government control. Some fighters are turning on comrades they suspect want to desert, pushing them into battle.

"We expect Homs to fall," said an activist who uses the name Thaer Khalidiya in an online interview with The Associated Press. "In the next few days, it could be under the regime's control..."


'When lawmen break the law, there is no law'

Guy Somerset writes:

The obscenity of roughing up a retiree in the sacred search for lost arrowheads reminded me very much of a similar atrocity that was committed in Kentucky during the early 1990s. 
Descendants of naturalist painter John James Audubon owned several heirlooms which had been leased for a nominal amount to a museum in his name, one being an original oil rendition of the American Bald Eagle.


Yet rather than being assessed the pennies’ cost of paint and cloth which might be justifiably totaled, Audubon’s great-great-great granddaughters faced a tax bill of over $750,000.

Needless to say, for ordinary people of middle-class means this sum was outrageous, and the collection and canvas were forfeited to the state. In frontier vernacular, some say the granddaughters’ birthright was simply stolen.


Barbara Kay loves Kathy Shaidle's new book!

She writes via email:
Kathy, I just read your hilarious and insightful e-book. Brilliantly funny! And informative! (Who knew about "dino-porn"?) 
I loved its laugh-a-minute pace and punch.

I see now that you are a kind of "otherkin" yourself -- Mark Steyn's lost twin trapped inside a short woman's body. Seriously, it's no secret why we're all fans of Mark; now I see why Mark is such a devoted fan of yours. I am too.

You're a treasure. xx Barb


Another one down: ‘German’ rapper-turned-jihadist reported dead in Syria

Messages posted on jihadist Internet forums announced his death

A ‘German’ former rapper who joined jihadists fighting in Syria has been killed in a suicide bombing carried out by rival fighters, jihadist sources and a monitor said Tuesday.

Denis Mamadou Cuspert, who rapped under the name Deso Dogg but took on the name Abu Talha al-Almani in Syria, was reported to have been killed in a suicide attack Sunday in an eastern province.

He was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and was reportedly killed in a double suicide bombing carried out by Al-Nusra Front, a rival jihadist group that is Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate.

* * *
He was thoroughly repulsive.


'Zach Braff says something liberal in 4 words, then deletes tweets'

Hilarious catch by Twitchy:


Supreme Court says states may end affirmative action without violating Constitution

WASHINGTON—A splintered Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 6-2 that states may end racial preferences without violating the U.S. Constitution.

The case came from Michigan, which in 2006 passed a voter initiative ending racial preferences. A federal appeals court had struck down the measure, finding that it served to disadvantage minorities in the political process.

That decision was widely expected to fall, and it did on Tuesday without a single rationale from the Supreme Court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a plurality including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, said the case wasn't about resolving the debate over affirmative action, but rather "who may resolve it." He wrote the Constitution doesn't forbid voters from ending the practice, which was instituted by officials at the University of Michigan and other state agencies.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, filed a 58-page dissent. Justice Elena Kagan was recused from the case.

The University of Michigan has been a frequent battleground over affirmative action. In 2003, a narrowly divided court upheld the practice at the flagship university's law school but struck down the method it employed for undergraduate admissions for making race too dominant a factor.


Libyan jihadi group parades sobbing hostage, more Libya news (none of it good)

A hostage kidnapped from the Tunisian embassy in Libya was seen sobbing in a video released on Monday by a jihadist group claiming his capture.

The hostage, Mohammad ben Sheikh, is seen calling on Tunisia’s president to help rescue him from his plight as he cries the five minute video posted to social networking sites. Sheikh is being held by a largely unknown group calling themselves Shabab al-Tawhid, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Mr. President, why do you want to deprive me of life?.. There are no negotiations, they will not release me,” he says.

“Mr. President, negotiate with them. I want to return to Tunisia. They can kill me at any time.”

At the end of the video, the captors, in a message to the Tunisian government, claim: “As you imprison ours, we imprison yours. As you kill ours, we kill yours.”

Authorities in Tunis are demanding the release of Libyans sentenced for their role in a 2011 “terrorist operation” in which two police officers died...

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Happy Earth Day from Mark Steyn


April 22nd is the day when President Obama and the rest of the gang demonstrate their commitment to saving the planet by flying in to plant a tree somewhere.

And say what you like but, when you're looking for fellows who know how to dig a huge hole, Obama and Harry Reid are pretty much at the top of the list.

My township in New Hampshire is 90 per cent forested, but you can never have too many trees, so on Earth Day I always like to plant a couple more, get the tree cover in my town up to 97, 98 per cent, whatever it takes to send climate change into reverse.

Of course, it's always a big pain in the neck the morning after Earth Day, when the holiday's over, and it's time to take down the trees. So these days I generally just plant artificial trees with the nice silvery tinselly branches, and then you can just take them down and put 'em in the attic till next year's Earth Day.


White House hosts ‘next generation’ young and rich

Ian Simmons and Liesel Pritzker Simmons, at left, supporters of impact investing, at the next-generation conference at the White House last month. Credit Perry Bindelglass

On a crisp morning in late March, an elite group of 100 young philanthropists and heirs to billionaire family fortunes filed into a cozy auditorium at the White House.

Their name tags read like a catalog of the country’s wealthiest and most influential clans: Rockefeller, Pritzker, Marriott. They were there for a discreet, invitation-only summit hosted by the Obama administration to find common ground between the public sector and the so-called next-generation philanthropists, many of whom stand to inherit billions in private wealth.

Patrick Gage, 19, an heir to the Carlson hospitality fortune, at the session “Combating Human Trafficking,” a cause that is important to the company. Credit Perry Bindelglass

“Moon shots!” one administration official said, kicking off the day on an inspirational note to embrace the White House as a partner and catalyst for putting their personal idealism into practice.

The well-heeled group seemed receptive. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Patrick Gage, a 19-year-old heir to the multibillion-dollar Carlson hotel and hospitality fortune. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Mr. Gage, physically boyish with naturally swooping Bieber bangs, wore a conservative pinstripe suit and a white oxford shirt. His family’s Carlson company, which owns Radisson hotels, Country Inns and Suites, T.G.I. Friday’s and other brands, is an industry leader in enforcing measures to combat trafficking and involuntary prostitution.

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The Science of Cool: Kathy's NEW Taki's column

Placed side by side, James Cagney fits Cabane’s criteria for cool far better than Humphrey Bogart.
Even when merely striding cockily down a sidewalk (then dodging machine gun fire), Cagney’s background as a professional dancer was evident in almost every film he made, not just in Yankee Doodle Dandy. His sharp, frugal gestures and bits of business also live up to Cabane’s bonsai tree ideal.

(When you learn that Malcolm McDowell based his performance as “Alex” on Cagney’s screen persona, you never watch A Clockwork Orange the same way.)

We are often surprised to discover how short certain charismatic performers really are, or were. (I still refuse to accept that Freddy Mercury was anything less than 6’ 1”.) The bantamweight Cagney, on the other hand, always seemed short—but it didn’t matter. That alone places him in an even higher stratum of cool, one occupied by a very few, including Cagney’s rival, Humphrey Bogart.

Other than being shortish, Bogart’s persona overlaps little with Cagney’s. Contra Cabane, Bogart’s characters, however tough they are (or think they are) have more tics than a lice-infested kindergarten nerd.

Bogart rarely stops scratching his head, readjusting some article of clothing, shifting in his chair, or doing those weird things with his mouth.

Yet, were you to ask a random selection of fairly cultured individuals which of these two men was the “coolest,” Bogart would certainly win.


Times (London) editorial: UKIP is angry about immigration - but so are the voters

No one would describe it as subtle. One UKIP poster appearing on billboards ahead of next month’s EU elections shows a workman sitting on a street begging. The caption: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.”

UKIP predicted a storm from the “chattering classes” and it duly came. “A disgrace” and “disgusting” were two of the more printable words bandied about on Twitter. Representatives of the main parties joined in the attacks. Yet there, in the campaign and the response, the opening and attempted shutting of the debate, we see a truth ducked and the serious questions avoided.

When it comes to immigration there is one undeniable fact: a chasm has grown between what the public want and what our politicians promise, let alone do. A British Social Attitudes Survey in January found that 77% of the public would like immigration to be reduced. The days in which this could be portrayed as barely sublimated bigotry are past. A majority of first and second- generation migrants (60%) agree that migration into the UK is too high. While the public are not opposed to immigration, all polls show that they are angry about the scale of immigration that has occurred in recent years and especially the low-skill immigration that has soared thanks to the EU’s control of our border policy.

Ordinarily the mainstream parties would plug this divide but Labour oversaw the fastest and largest wave of immigration in this country’s history. The coalition, meanwhile, has talked tough but largely failed. Is it any wonder that so many disillusioned Labour, Conservative and first-time voters are willing to try the untested UKIP rather than the provenly failed main parties?

If the political class don’t like the UKIP posters then there is a way to deal with it. It is not to critique the posters but rather to address the facts they speak to. There is an urgent need to take back control of our borders from the EU and bring immigration down to sustainable levels. If the mainstream parties do not do so, then mass migration may prove as damaging to the political class as it has been to the lowest-paid members of the labour force.


You can always tell when Kathy is guest-posting for Arnie...

HiLoBrow on Glenn Campbell:

Some people’s GLEN CAMPBELL (born 1938) is the one who sang “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Mine is the one who sang anonymous lead on the Sagittarius single “My World Fell Down”; who made Gentle on My Mind, a flawless construction of rural humor and Orbisonian agony that is also a concept album on the theme of manhood; and who at his 1966–70 best was a vocalist of genius.
NEXT: One of the great modern recordings -- of one of the least promising song concepts ever. (Although the schmaltzy strings seem like they were stuck in to make the recording more radio-friendly.)

It's kind of the pop song equivalent of Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening;" Billy Joel called "Wichita Lineman" "a simple song about an ordinary man thinking extraordinary thoughts."

The song's composer Jimmy Webb:
“What I was really trying to say was, you can see someone working in construction or working in a field, a migrant worker or a truck driver, and you may think you know what’s going on inside him, but you don’t. You can’t assume that just because someone’s in a menial job that they don’t have dreams … or extraordinary concepts going around in their head, like ‘I need you more than want you; and I want you for all time.’ You can’t assume that a man isn’t a poet. And that’s really what the song is about.”
From the comments:
The lineman loves the girl with a wholehearted and gentlemanly love, but she has married someone else. The giant landscape he works in is outdone by the immense emptiness inside him. There is a cruel irony in his job being to keep everyone else connected when he himself is utterly cut off, isolated and alone in the world. You can sense the defeat in all this. A strong, honorable man doing his best to keep going when his life is basically gone. He is somewhere between a man and a ghost. Small wonder that people should see a tragic weirdness in the story.


Andrew Coyne: Free speech withers when we abandon judgment, proportion, open-mindedness and tolerance

Andrew Coyne writes:

It is one thing to say that speech comes with consequences, but I’m not sure anyone signed up for the idea that a single ill-judged tweet or private remark could cost them their job.


'[T]he image of the burning river that purportedly catalyzed Earth Day...'

 ...was actually taken in 1952, not 1969...

By the 1969 river fire, the image was far more threatening than the actual event. (…) the dependence upon visual imagery is a kind of nostalgia masquerading as political strategy.


Al Qaeda's chief bombmaker and mastermind of 'underwear bomb plot' believed to have been killed in an ambush by US-backed special forces

Al Qaeda's chief bombmaker is believed to have been killed in an ambush by U.S- backed special forces in Yemen.

A 4x4 vehicle, believed to be carrying Ibrahim al-Asiri, 32, mastermind of the 'underwear bomb plot', was engaged in a gun battle with special forces, dropped in by helicopter.

Witnesses have described seeing soldiers take up position in the road, waiting for the vehicle to pass before opening fire.


Muslim schools 'must respect British values' says Jack Straw as Birmingham MP admits there is a 'Trojan Horse' plot by extremists

Labour MP said determined group is trying to change schools 'by stealth'


These Roma are gettin as bad as Gypsies!

Caught on camera: Moment Roma gipsy cashpoint thieves swarm around tourist couple in Paris and take their money


Said with a straight face! Liberals' claim Ontarians better off

TORONTO - A “progress report” issued by the Liberals says middle and lower income Ontarians are better off after 11 years of their government.


Delusions Climactic & Otherwise @ the New York Times

The international edition of today's New York Times is entertaining if you examine pages eight and nine together...


Is this for real?


A controversial street preacher fights city of Calgary over breaking bylaws.


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