Friday, February 29, 2008


A Massachusetts House of Representatives bill, H1735, proposes to abolish the requirement that an under-age girl get permission of her parents or a judge for an abortion.

Instead, the new law would require that she had received "counselling" from a teacher, nurse, guidance counsellor, doctor or any person "with a master's degree in counselling or education."

This, the bill's authors and sponsors assure us, will prevent the current restrictions on abortion from continuing to "pose a great threat to the public health".

But we are reassured at the bottom of the page upon which the bill is printed,

"This Document Has Been Printed On 100% Recycled Paper."

I feel better. Don't you?

Further to Scotch Broth

I did another one the other day and it didn't turn out as well as the first.

Gerry the village butcher didn't have any of the lamb neck I started the experiment with and I had to use a cut that had less bone marrow and the stock didn't come out as tasty. So I used an oxo cube or two, but only had beef.

Discovered the other day that among the many ways that England is better than that other place, is you can get lamb oxo.

I have definitely come to the right place.

In fact, I'm very happy with the very strong lamb-orientation I see in much of the local cuisine.

"The Totalitarian Temptation From Hegel to Whole Foods,"

I always laugh when someone calls me a "fascist".

"We're all fascists now"
An interview with conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg, who argues that fascism is left-wing, not right-wing, and that contemporary liberals are fascism's intellectual offspring.

By Alex Koppelman

Jan. 11, 2008 | Jonah Goldberg is not a popular man among liberals. The son of Lucianne Goldberg, the literary agent who played a pivotal role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he already had that as a strike against him when he began his career as a conservative political commentator in the late 1990s. A writer and blogger for the National Review and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, he's now a frequent target for the mockery of liberal bloggers.

But nothing has inspired the ire of liberals quite like Goldberg's new book, "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." There was the provocative cover, which adds a Hitler mustache to the familiar yellow smiley-face icon. Then there was the book's ever-changing subtitle. Originally "The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton," it became "The Totalitarian Temptation From Hegel to Whole Foods," before landing on bookstore shelves in its current form.

In the book, Goldberg attempts to convince readers that six decades of conventional wisdom that have placed Italy's Benito Mussolini, Germany's Adolf Hitler and fascism on the right side of the ideological spectrum are wrong, and that fascism is really a phenomenon of the left. Goldberg also attributes fascist rhetoric and tactics to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and describes the New Deal's descendants, modern American liberals, as carriers of this liberal-fascist DNA. In a sense, "We're All Fascists Now," as Goldberg puts it in one of his chapter titles. Salon spoke with Goldberg by phone.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Killing for Love

The Latimer case was one of those that got me all involved.

He's out.

And still doesn't get that you can't kill people to solve your problems.

His claim that he murdered his daughter to make her feel better has always made me see red.

You bastard. You murdered your defenceless child because she bothered you.

Bashing Canada

is turning into something of a passtime for me.

just found this from Weird Al.

As long as we go down cheery

A great Canadian band.

(All the best Canadian stuff comes from the far eastern end of it. All the little fiddly ones on the end the names of which I didn't learn until I moved there.)

Ready to take the reins

Just had a quick glance at a page that lists the overall fertility rates in every country in the world.

Want to know which ones are healthily above the 2.1 replacement rate?

Can you guess?

countries with five or more:

Afghanistan 6.64 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Angola 6.27 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Benin 5.08 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Bhutan 4.67 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Burkina Faso 6.41 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Burundi 6.48 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Chad 5.56 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 6.37 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Djibouti 5.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Ethiopia 5.1 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Gambia, The 5.21 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Gaza Strip 5.64 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Liberia 5.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Madagascar 5.24 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Malawi 5.74 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Mauritania 5.78 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Mayotte 5.69 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Mozambique 5.29 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Niger 7.37 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Nigeria 5.45 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Oman 5.7 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Rwanda 5.37 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Sao Tome and Principe 5.53 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Senegal 5 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Sierra Leone 6.01 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Somalia 6.68 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Yemen 6.49 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Zambia 5.31 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Notice something they all have in common?

These people have done such a great job of running their little desert n' mud hut hellholes, I'm sure it's going to be a GREAT new world

* ~ * ~ *

"reins" does not have a "g" in it.




Lefties - Irony-challenged

"One of the strangest things about Richard Warman’s threatened lawsuit against me is his complaint that I dare to call him litigious and a censor. It’s strange because it’s so obviously a fair comment, based on the facts of his track record. But the really weird part is that he doesn’t see the irony in it. I mean, demanding that I censor my comment that he’s a censor? Or threatening that he’ll sue me because I say he sues a lot?

Not that strange, actually.

I've often noted that one of the things the southpaws and the Islams have in common is a total inability to grasp irony. Especially about the things they do themselves.

Has a lot to do with their lack of a sense of humour and utter inability to self-criticise,

which in turn, is, I am told, a common symptom of psychosis.

The evil and insane are not a cheerful or funny lot.

Skepticism Instincts Operating at Normal Parameters

Well well, no sooner had I clicked "Publish Post" than confirmation that my instincts were dead on. Clever me.

London , 28th February 2008 - Western media outlets are disseminating misinformation by the Chinese Communist regime allegedly implying that China might scrap or significantly relax its one-child, forced-abortion population control policy.

Reuters and the Guardian have today published reports analysing comments by Zhao Baige, Chinese's population control minister, to a Beijing press conference. The headlines read " China could scrap its one-child policy" and " China considers ending one-child policy", even though nothing in the minister's comments suggests such a move.

Anthony Ozimic , SPUC political secretary, commented: "Experts know (see 'Notes for editors' below) that the Chinese Communist regime makes misleading statements about human rights when the international spotlight is on China, such as now in the run-up to the Olympics. Such statements are intended for Western consumption only and specifically designed to mislead Westerners into wishful thinking that the regime's crimes against humanity, such as the one-child policy, are coming to an end.

"The false claim by the Guardian's Tania Branigan that the one-child policy's ‘enforcement system is far less punitive than in the 80s and early 90s’ is one such example of how the Chinese regime has been successful in planting such misinformation into the Western media.

"After the Olympics, the Western media should conduct on-the-ground investigations into the one-child policy's implementation, where they will discover the reality of continuing forced abortions rather than the myths the Communist regime has led them to believe,” concluded Mr Ozimic.

Not working out as hoped

Well, maybe. But I think the key words in this news item are "may" and "an official".

China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday.

With the world's biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy resources, China has enforced rules to restrict family size since the 1970s. Rules vary but usually limit families to one child, or two in the countryside.

"We want incrementally to have this change," Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhao Baige told reporters in Beijing.

Something not widely understood about the commies in China is that, in accordance with the ancient traditions of Chinese bureaucracy, the officials are in an alost constant state of war with each other. This tradition was bolstered when the Chinese civil service, formerly trained in a rigorous programme of the Chinese Confusion classics, started learning the works of Marx, Mao and Engels instead. It is always, therefore, a good idea not to get too excited about pronouncements of these kinds.

Still, it kind of puts a damper on the whole Planned Parenthood's "The Fewer the Merrier" philosophy that seems to be the guiding principle of most of our western post-Christian democracies.

If even the Chinese commies have noticed that things are going awry, there's hope for us yet.

Sounds depressingly familiar

Wiki says,
Bentham's position included arguments in favour of individual and economic freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, animal rights, the end of slavery, the abolition of physical punishment (including that of children), the right to divorce, free trade, usury,[5] and the decriminalization of homosexuality.

What Christian Environmentalism Isn't

Ok look. I'm all Nature Girl and everything, but for Pete sake, aren't there better things to do with our money and scientific knowledge than create and fit a prosthetic flipper on a green turtle?

I mean, you know, plenty more green turtles in the sea.

She's pretty cute, I'll admit, but that's kind of the point hey? The non-Christian kind of environmentalism seems to mostly be motivated by sentimentalism. "We all really loved her" so we're going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fitting the cute disabled turtle with a specially designed prosthesis.

If it were me, I'd just eat it.

But I guess that's why I couldn't get a job with PETA.

Sentimentalism about animals, BTW, is a characterisitic of middle class white urban dwellers. The kind who march in support of a "woman's right to choose".

John Muggeridge told me once that in his experience, "animal rights" people, as well as vegetarians, are invariably utilitarians who think that the human species is the one that has no right to be here. It turned out to be exactly accurate. Jeremy Bentham, the father of utilitarianism, was also well known as an advocate of "animal rights". To him, the animals had rights, but the humans none.

Pertinent also, was the fact that he was one of the first advocates of welfarism.

It was a pretty cute turtle though. Have to admit.

I think I want these people to adopt me

The couple, who have been married for 39 years, had applied to offer weekend respite care for foster children under the age of 10.

But the adoption panel was also unhappy that the couple was adamant that any child in their home would have to go to church with them on Sundays. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, is a Sunday school teacher.

oo oo!

Can I come?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My first thought was "hey, this is an earthquake"

then I thought, "Naw, can't be. This is England."

Then it kept going on and I thought, "Is my two hundred year-old ceiling going to collapse on me?"

Well, as we all know,

this is the end of the world.

conversation via Messenger with a colleague:
Hilary says:

Hilary says:
I thought I was hallucinating,
or the Polish guy next door had got especially lucky last night
But it turns out we had an earthquake
and quite a strong one

Hilary says:

John says:
Oh. Yes. I remember reading something about that. How was it?

Hilary says:

John says:
Earthquakes don't happen very often in Britain do they?

Hilary says:
try At All

John says:
Well, let that be a lesson.

Hilary says:
I'm so used to earthquakes from having grown up on the west coast that the first thing I thought was "Oh, earthquake"

Hilary says:
It took me a few more seconds and I remembered that i'm not in Victoria anymore so then I freaked out a bit and wondered if something violent was going on.

Hilary says:
no noise though, no gunshots or anyting (that's Toronto-training..good old Parkdale).

Hilary says:
Victorian earthquakes never lasted more than a second or so.

Hilary says:
this one went on quite a long time

Hilary says:
MAN that's weird

Hilary says:
5.2, apparently.
big, even by west coast standards

John says:
"Sam, I'm glad you're here with me at the end of all things."

Hilary says:
yeah. even if only in a kind of disembodied, text-oriented sort of way

So when birds start flying backwards and the sea starts giving up her dead, we'll know.

"Is there anything that makes all Canadians one people?"


Next question.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Well, they're nothing if not consistent

gotta give 'em that.

They're still the No Irony Allowed crowd.

Bishop Nazir Ali reasserts claims on Muslim no-go areas. Muslims respond to being called a pack of savage barbarians by issuing death threats.

Same s---t; different day:
His claim that Islamic extremism has turned some parts of Britain into "no-go" areas for non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the impact of multiculturalism on this country. [...]

The bishops' views in The Sunday Telegraph sparked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the role of the Church in society but, most seriously for Dr Nazir-Ali, led to threats that he and his family would be harmed.

Powemes Metaphysickal

John Donne, poet, clergyman, apostate.

John Dryden on John Donne. "He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love. In this . . . Mr. Cowley has copied him to a fault."


Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What do we mean by "belief"?

"When I was a small child," writes Caryll Houselander in her book The Reed of God,
"someone for whom I had a great respect told me never to do anything that Our Lady would not do; for, she said, if I did, the angels in heaven would blush. For a short time this advice 'took' in me like an inoculation causing a positive paralysis of piety. It was clear to me that all those things which spelt joy to me were from henceforward taboo ­ blacking my face with burnt cork, turning somersaults between props against the garden wall, putting two bull's-eyes into my mouth at the same time-all that was over! But even if I faced a blank future shackled with respectability, it was still impossible to imagine Our lady doing anything that I would do, for the very simple reason that I simply could not imagine her doing anything at all.

The inoculation of piety wore off quickly, and so completely that when the sunset warmed the sky over our tangled garden with a pink glow, I thought that it must be the faint reflection of the rosy blush that suffused all heaven!

"This would not be worth recording but for one thing, namely, that the wrong conception of Our Lady which I had is one that a great many other people have, too; a very great many people still think of Our Lady as someone who would never do anything that we do."
Hence The Reed of God, 1944 was written to contemplate the Blessed Virgin Mary that we may imitate her.

Lawyers and the art of hiding Nazis in your attic in WWII

So, someone might want to have a little chat with Janet Epp Buckingham and fill her in on the basic facts before she goes on to lower depths of public idiocy.

Some people are using the mere fact that the commissions are considering the complaints to argue that they should be abolished. That is like saying that the courts should be shut down just because someone has sued me! Sure, it is a pain and it can be costly if you hire a lawyer to defend you. But that is what happens in a country where you have laws and courts. You may have to defend yourself against someone whose claim has little merit. Everyone deserves their day in court.

Someone? Quick before everyone figures out what a pack of morons is representing the interests of freedom of speech in my erstwhile country.

With friends like these, who needs a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?

Lining up to pay the Jizya

Without even being asked for it. Can you say "Stockholm Syndrome"?

Guys, pay attention:



feeding them...

eat you last...

Oh forget it. I hope you're the first ones down its gullet. And that he chokes on you.

Church of England donates cash to aid Muslim prayer


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Winston Smith's Primary School

If Orwell had written about education instead of government:

Anyone with a child in the last year of primary school will already be keenly aware of the Sats tests to be taken in May.

But this week even more fog was pumped into the subject with the debate over a new type of primary school test, a kind of son of Sats, known as the “single-level test”.

The results of a pilot test involving 22,000 children were initially delayed, while officials examined the bewildering finding that younger children had got higher marks than older children.

Although "marks" is not the right word, because in these Alice in Wonderland-ish tests, pupils only take them when they are good enough to pass.

There is no mark, because no one who is deemed likely to fail takes them in the first place.

Pupils have not failed, they have suffered from an "inappropriate entry".

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I was made to attend an experimental hippie "free school" between the third and fourth grades. There were no classrooms (too confining and regimented) no teachers (too hierarchical), no curriculum (too restrictive of children's creativity) and no schedule. There were no report cards and no marks for any subjects. The very few organised games we played remind me of this testing system. There were no points and no teams; we played until we got tired of it, which happened pretty quickly. We were told, when we were told anything, that we were to explore our own strengths.

You might imagine that fairly quickly, the kids organised themselves into little feral gangs that discovered their strengths lay in preying on the other kids.

This was welcomed warmly by the staff as an example of genuine self-expression.

I don't want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

I want Britain out of the EU.

Christopher Booker, in Brussels
EU Parliament votes not to take any notice of the people's wishes

There were surreal scenes in Strasbourg last Wednesday as the European Parliament prepared to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by a huge majority. (It says something for the reverence in which we hold that parliament that not a single British national newspaper bothered to report the fact.)

Dressed in yellow chicken suits, three protestors against the refusal of EU governments to allow referendums on the treaty were chased round the corridors and up and down the staircases of the futuristic building by 15 burly security men trying to arrest them.

When Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and one of the 50 MEPs of different parties who have been leading the pro-referendum campaign, was summoned to this fracas, he was interviewed by a television crew.

Pointing out that no officials had intervened last month when the parliament was invaded by anti-GM Greens dressed as bananas, he asked why it was only pro-democracy protestors who had to be silenced?

At the end of the interview, Anne-Margrete Wachmeister, head of the parliament's audio-visual unit, gave orders that Mr Farage' s comments must not be broadcast.

Overhearing this, Shirin Wheeler, presenter of the World Service's Record programme (and daughter of the distinguished BBC correspondent Charles Wheeler) intervened to say that, unless this order was withdrawn, the BBC would withdraw its parliamentary coverage from both Strasbourg and Brussels. The official backed down.

Meanwhile in the chamber itself the battle continued. When it was proposed that the parliament "would respect the result of the Irish referendum", the only one to be allowed on the treaty, only 129 MEPs (including one Tory, Nirj Deva) supported it, while 499 (including four Tories) voted that the wishes of the Irish people should not be respected. But what if they vote in favour of the treaty? It is good to know that our democracy is in such reliable hands.

• This Wednesday there will be a mass lobby of MPs at the House of Commons organised by the all-party "I Want A Referendum" campaign.

At 2pm I will be at the Central Hall, opposite Parliament, to kick off an afternoon of speeches in support of the campaign, which is also this month staging 10 constituency-wide referendums involving half a million voters. I hope to see a good many Sunday Telegraph readers there.

and, to borrow a prhase,

No taxation without representation:

A shock-horror report in last week's Sunday Times, based on the latest annual "barometer" from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), showed that the cost of new regulations to UK businesses, according to Government figures, had soared last year by a record £10 billion.

Their total cost since 1998 is a staggering £66 billion. All this, according to the article, could be blamed on the Labour Government. Nowhere did it mention the EU.

But a look at the BCC's press release shows that the origin of these regulations were clearly apportioned between the EU and our own Government. And by far the most costly examples, such as the regulations on working time (£16 billion), vehicle emissions (£9 billion) and data protection (£7 billion), all originated from Brussels.

Of the top 10, eight were based on EU directives and the remaining two both had a strong EU dimension. These 10 alone imposed a total cost of £43 billion.

In other words the suffocating cost of these laws can hardly be blamed just on Messrs Blair and Brown. They emanated from what is now in most respects the true government of our country. One can understand why politicians are so anxious to hide this. But why should journalists be quite so ready to follow suit?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

and because you've been very very good,

my all time favourite Monty Python scene:

"From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta"

I'm working on (thinking about) a post on the concept of "biological determinism" that is a pet peeve of the alternatively gendered.

The new county law states, "Gender identity means an individual's actual or perceived gender including a person's gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

I once had the opportunity to interview a woman who did a lot of work on life n' family issues at the UN. She told me about "gender".

It's not just for French class any more.

It proves the adage that there is a Monty Python routine for absolutely everything

Look boys. It's very simple.


does not go


Even if it "fits".

It would fit down a vacuum cleaner hose too, but neither apparatus is designed for that purpose.

Anglicans moving to disestablish themselves

Hmp. Interesting.

The General Synod of the CofE voted last week to remove the provision for the Prime Minister to approve bishop selection.

It is quite difficult for most people to understand the unique position the Church of England holds in British Constitutional law. In many ways, it is the last bastion in Europe of the medieval notion that the state and the Church of a Christian nation are inextricably entwined. It is the last connection between the Brave New World founded and ruled byTony Blair and Posh Spice and the ancient, organic and native culture of these islands.

I don't think, though, that separating the CofE from the regime currently ruling us is necessarily a bad thing. It might have the effect of pointing out the disestablishment of the government from any natural connection from its deep past and culture. In many ways, the elusive "British identity" so often talked about in the press and by politicians, can be found in the Church of England and the fact that the CofE itself no longer thinks there is a good reason to be closely associated with the government may point to something quite different than if the government simply dumped the Church.

Either way, it is an interesting development.

Expect more from Westminster soon about taking their Spiritual Lordships out of the Upper Chamber.
During the Synod which ended last week, the Anglican bishops discussed whether they should favor a church model that is more disconnected from the political regime, or whether this link should be maintained in order to preserve the identity of the “Church of England” as completely distinct from the Roman Catholic Church.

The debate ended with the decision to establish greater autonomy from the state in order to assure a clearer spiritual dimension.

How did there come to be bishops in the House of Lords in the first place?

Well, Britain used to be a Catholic nation, one of the most devoutly Catholic in Europe and it was founded, established and nourished by Benedictines, for the most part.

From Wiki:

Parliament developed from the council that advised the King during medieval times. This royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics, noblemen, and representatives of the counties (afterwards, representatives of the boroughs as well). The first Parliament is often considered to be the "Model Parliament" (held in 1295), which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and representatives of the shires and boroughs. The power of Parliament grew slowly, fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II (1307–1327), the nobility was supreme, the Crown weak, and the shire and borough representatives entirely powerless. In 1322, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not simply by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself. Further developments occurred during the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III. Most importantly, it was during this King's reign that Parliament clearly separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons (consisting of the shire and borough representatives) and the House of Lords (consisting of the senior clergy and the nobility). The authority of Parliament continued to grow, and, during the early fifteenth century, both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the aristocrats and prelates of the realm.

Things fall apart

Melanie Philips:
"...Brown has simply lost it, period."
His behaviour is erratic and bizarre; he phones colleagues at all hours with imperious demands while dithering over every decision he has to take. Ever since things started to go wrong for him and public fury and cynicism boiled over, he has clearly been radically destabilised. He seems to be wholly unable to cope with criticism, and more to the point unable therefore to look clearly at what is so patently going wrong and put it right. He tries to big-foot every minister and meddle in every department for all the world as if he has an uncontrollable tic; he is the Touretter of public administration. Yet the more he meddles, the more everything falls to pieces underneath him.

Northern Wreck may be headline news, but almost every day brings further evidence of what can only be described as the systematic collapse of public administration in Britain. In a country which once ran an entire empire and thus constructed a legend of administrative genius, the word ‘couldn’t’, ‘run’ and ‘whelk-stall’ are now on everybody’s lips.

She offers a handy timeline of a collapsing administration (gleaned from the Times):

January 2007 Revealed that since 1997 nearly 1,600 government computers containing sensitive information had been stolen

September A CD containing the names, national insurance numbers, dates of birth and pension data of 15,000 Standard Life customers lost

October Laptop with data about 2,000 people with ISAs stolen from a Revenue & Customs employee

November 20 News of two CDs with details of 25 million Britons lost in post from a Revenue & Customs office in Tyne & Wear

November 23 Emerges that six more CDs with confidential information had gone missing

December 6 Four CDs containing details from court cases go missing

December 17 Details of three million British learner drivers lost in the US

December 18 Revenue loses data of 6,500 private pension holders

December 23 Nine NHS trusts in England say they have lost patient records kept on discs

January 9, 2008 Laptop with details of 600,000 people taken from navy officer’s car in Birmingham

January 26 Details of 1,500 students lost in the post.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where do I sign up?

David Kynaston's "Austerity Britain" 1945-1951:

Britain in 1945. No supermarkets, no motorways, no teabags, no sliced bread, no frozen food, no flavoured crisps, no lager, no microwaves, no dishwashers, no Formica, no vinyl, no CDs, no computers, no mobiles, no duvets, no Pill, no trainers, no hoodies, no Starbucks. Four Indian restaurants. Shops on every corner, pubs on every corner, cinemas in every high street, red telephone boxes, Lyons Corner Houses, trams, trolley-buses, steam trains. Woodbines, Craven “A”, Senior Service, smoke, smog, Vapex inhalant. No launderettes, no automatic washing machines, wash day every Monday, clothes boiled in a tub, scrubbed on the draining board, rinsed in the sink, put through a mangle, hung out to dry. Central heating rare, coke boilers, water geysers, the coal fire, the hearth, the home, chilblains common. Abortion illegal, homosexual relationships illegal, suicide illegal, capital punishment legal. White faces everywhere. Back-to-backs, narrow cobbled streets, Victorian terraces, no high rises. Arterial roads, suburban semis, the march of the pylon. Austin Sevens, Ford Eights, no seat belts, Triumph motorcycles with sidecars. A Bakelite wireless in the home, Housewives Choice or Workers’ Playtime on ITMA on the air, televisions unknown, no programmes to watch, the family eating together. Milk of Magnesia, Vick Vapour Rub, Friar’s Balsam, Frynnon Salts, Eno’s, Germolene. Suits and hats, cloth caps and mufflers, no leisurewear, no “teenagers”. Heavy coins, heavy shoes, heavy suitcases, heavy tweed coats, heavy leather footballs, no unbearable lightness of being. Meat rationed, butter rationed, lard rationed, margarine rationed, sugar rationed, tea rationed, cheese rationed, jam rationed, eggs rationed, sweets rationed, soap rationed, clothes rationed. Make do and mend.

..except for the Milk of Magnesia part.

I still have nightmares about that stuff. Oog.


So, we're all talking about the end of the world, especially those of us who make our living by keeping track. What are we looking at exactly?

Various theories, myths, fears, apparitions, visions and prophecies, together with certain economic and demographic realities, are pointing to a big showdown.

I've never been much for the whole MarianApparitions/apocalyptic prophecies thing. I remember someone I knew once getting quite het up about a TV programme about space aliens and the end of the Mayan calendar. She asked me what to do. (Why do non-religious people always think the Catholics know stuff that no one else knows?) I told her that you're supposed to keep doing the next right thing; same as always.

But as we have discussed before, there certainly is something in the air and since it is no longer a Big Zero year, I'm thinking it is more than residual millennium fever. The more Gordon Brown's minions tell the public how wonderfully everything is going, the more his audience laughs and the more his polling points go down. It is becoming obvious to everyone, even those who don't quite know how to express it.

I'm finding more non-religious groups and individuals are saying it too. Of course, I don't know him personally, but it seems from his writing that Mark Steyn (may he live forever) isn't particularly religious, or at least, isn't writing from a religious viewpoint. He has just looked at the math. I'm afraid it gives me a laugh (a hollow, dark sort of laugh) when the press calls him "alarmist". Yeah, it's pretty alarming, that math. Alarming it is...too bad no one's waking up.

Here's something else for y'all to chew on.

You know that our entire global economy is based on oil production. No oil, no transport; no transport, no goods or people getting moved around the planet; no goods, no economy. It's back to tallow candles and horses.

The other thing our economies are based on, as far as my limited understanding of economics goes, is growth. If an economy isn't growing, it's going back. There's no steady state in our system.

Two things spring to mind about these two realities.

One is that economic growth can't be infinite. There isn't enough room in everyone's houses for all that stuff. Hell, there isn't enough room in our houses for the stuff we're churning out now. When I moved into this little house, I bought almost nothing new. Looking around the room now, I'm seeing the mattress on the bed, and a lamp. Everything else was donate from relations and bought second hand. And there's nothing here that could be considered shabby or run down. Everything is as functional as it was when it came off the assembly line. Our economic growth for some time has rested on the idea of selling goods to people who already have enough stuff. More and more of it has to be devoted to convincing people to spend their money on things that have no tangible object. People are being encouraged, now that they have enough stuff, to go on trips, to keep up with the fashions, to buy electronic equipment that has an extremely short sell-by date and is very expensive to replace.

We're pretty much done, in other words, with buying things.

The other thing is oil.

The truth is, there's only so much of it.

I remember when I was a kid, being raised by hippies on the west coast, a big issue was the ecology (that's old person talk for "the environment") and oil reserves were a big part of the discussion. I went to visit the relatives in Maryland when I was ten and it was in the middle of Jimmy Carter's OPEC oil crisis. We had to line up on alternate days to get gas for the car. The hippies were big into alternate fuel, "powering down", living off the land, turning off lights. It was the new morality.

But now, the oil reserves are back in among the environmental fashionistas.

They've even got clocks:

Learn more about Peak Oil at Energy and Capital.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You'd think there were more important things to think about

in Russia.

Population of Russia, in millions.

Vladimir Putin (bless his black little Commie heart) seems to concur:

"My approach toward gay parades and sexual minorities is very simple. It is directly linked to my responsibilities. One of the key problems of our country is the demographic problem."

Shirlene Quits

"They're calling me nasty names on the internet!"


A search for the keywords "Shirlene McGovern" comes up with

"Results 1 - 10 of about 4,430 for Shirlene McGovern. (0.29 seconds)"

Shirlene said that she had never been subject to such "public odium" before in her job of interrogating Canadian citizens on their political beliefs behind closed government doors.

I'm sure it has been very traumatic.

In addition, the indispensable Shire News tells us that a woman in Saudi Arabia will have her head cut off after having been found guilty of witchcraft.

"Witchcraft is considered an offence against Islam in Saudi Arabia. It's considered a n offence against common bloody sense where you and I live, but then, we've managed to put remote controlled vehicles on the surface of Mars and these guys still chop people's heads off for possessing supernatural powers. So I guess we'll just have to call it a draw."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

If only school boards would not insist that teachers remain celibate all their lives

During the past five years, nearly half of Oregon teachers disciplined for sexual misconduct with a child left their school districts with confidential agreements. Most, like Cushing's, promised to keep alleged abuse quiet. Some promised cash settlements, health insurance and letters of recommendation as incentives for a resignation.

The practice is so widespread, school officials across the country call it "passing the trash."

Grounds for Dismissal

I don't see why there can't be a law that says if a government refuses to fulfill its election promises this ought to be grounds for a non-confidence motion.

What's so hard to figure out?

If circumstances make some things impossible, maybe we could cut them some slack, but the outright reversal and refusal to consider actually doing the thing you were elected for having promised to do ought to be grounds for dismissal.

If I were hiring someone and he agreed to perform particular tasks for a wage and when he showed up to work on the first day and announced he would not be doing the things agreed upon, why shouldn't I sack him?


looked up the -ible/-able thing in Fowler today. There's quite a lot on the subject. A very long article, and I'm happy to report that there are quite a few useful rules governing the usage.

I have one question:

why can't I spell?

When I was in the fifth grade, I was tested at a tenth grade reading level. I started learning about writing, style, grammar, plot and character development, in the early grades in school. I was working and being coached on developing a salable style when I was eight. I've been writing for a living full time since 1999, a good bit of it for an audience of people in government.

In all that, I STILL CAN'T SPELL!

I suppose you've noticed.

The Lady of the Green Kirtle

Did I ever mention that I think Enya's music is demonic?

and her Latin pronunciation is laughable.

And hold the moon above the sea-wet sand

Back from Australia

Cocooned in Time, at this inhuman height,
The packaged food tastes neutrally of clay,
We never seem to catch the running day
But travel on in everlasting night
With all the chic accoutrements of flight:
Lotions and essences in neat array
And yet another plastic cup and tray.
"Thank you so much. Oh no, I'm quite all right".

At home in Cornwall hurrying autumn skies
Leave Bray Hill barren, Stepper jutting bare,
And hold the moon above the sea-wet sand.
The very last of late September dies
In frosty silence and the hills declare
How vast the sky is, looked at from the land.

John Betjeman


What if we lived in a world that did not quite work properly? Where human thought was dulled and effort subtly thwarted by clumsiness, carelessness and inattention?

What if we lived in a world in which no music was true, in which every singer was tone deaf and sang slightly off key, every instrument in every orchestra was out of tune with all the others and played slightly out of time, every bird sang a slightly different note from all the other members of its species?

Can you imagine a world in which we spoke but only understood one word in five that was spoken to us? What if we could only communicate one concept in five that comes into our heads?

What if all the buildings in the world were built slightly out of true plumb? If walls of houses did not quite meet each other at the corners?

Life as fallen man is like this and we cannot know since we've only ever known this.

What must it have been like for unfallen man?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reviving an old fave

Long-time readers will, perhaps, recall with fondness my occasional posts from our "Science is Cool" files, which, together with Incorruptable Grammarian, Recipes from Mrs. Beeton's file box, and odes to William Shatner, often acted for me, and I hope my readers, as a light palate cleanser between servings of heavily en-gravyed Doom, Despair and Disaster that is our main fare in these pages.

They may have puzzled somewhat over my insistence that the radially symmetrical among us pose a significant threat to the world hegemony of the bilaterally symmetrical majority, but on the whole, I recall that posts on marine biology, archaeology, and climatology were well received.

So, to reintroduce an old stream of thought, I present to you,

Snowball Earth.
describes the coldest global climate imaginable - a planet covered by glacial ice from pole to pole. The global mean temperature would be about -50°C (-74°F) because most of the Sun's (Solar) radiation would be reflected back to space by the icy surface...The average equatorial temperature would be about -20°C (-10°F), roughly similar to present Antarctica. Without the moderating effect of the oceans, temperature fluctuations associated with the day-night and seasonal cycles would be greatly enhanced. Because of its solid surface, the climate on a snowball earth would have much in common with present Mars.

...oceans smothered by a freezing white blanket nearly a mile thick. Vast glaciers creep across the continents. Nothing else moves. There are no clouds, save perhaps a handful of high wispy streaks made from frozen crystals of carbon dioxide. With the temperature a chilling 40 degrees below zero, only a few living things survive. Algae cling to the meager warmth of volcanic springs, and bacteria eke out a living around hot-water vents deep in the ocean. For millions of years, nothing changes.

This is no far-off planet or alien moon. It's a view of Earth just a few hundred million years ago. A growing number of scientists believe that, after billions of years of comfortable existence, Earth suddenly plunged into a winter so extreme that it makes recent ice ages look warm. Then just as suddenly the ice melted again, and the planet sweltered in a climatic backlash of intense heat. Between 750 million and 590 million years ago, supporters of the "Snowball Earth" theory say, the climate may have swung back and forth between deep freeze and hothouse as many as four times. What's more, they say, the ice might be the reason complex animals like us are around today.

The theory goes, so Wiki tells us, that the Earth was entirely covered by ice in part of the Cryogenian period (850 to 630 million years ago) of the Proterozoic eon, the period before the first abundant complex life on earth. According to the exponents of the hypothesis multicellular evolution began to accelerate after the last big freeze ended.

This will give an idea of how long ago that was:

we're in the teeny tiny coloured bit at the very end.

It was after the thaw, that we got the Cambrian explosion, around 530 million years ago, in which the apparently abrupt appearance and rapid expansion of multicellular life forms started. cf. the Burgess shale.

The Cambrian explosion is interesting since it was only after it that "evolution" or the rapid complexification of species really got going. Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organised into colonies. "In the following 70 million to 80 million years, the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude, and the diversity of life began to resemble today’s." (Maybe somebody Said something.)

Charles Darwin said it was one of the main objections that could be made against his theory of evolution by natural selection.

The melting of the Snowball, about 590 million years ago, falls close to the time when most scientists think complex life evolved on Earth. For 3.5 billion years before then, life had been nothing but simple, single-celled bacteria and algae. Then, suddenly, rocks start showing traces of the first multicelled animals. Hoffman and Schrag believe the change was triggered by ice. Perhaps by killing off most of the one-celled creatures in the oceans, the worldwide freeze made room for new forms of life to thrive after things warmed up. Perhaps complex creatures were better at surviving the harsh conditions.

I note with interest that the proponents of the snowball earth theory mention, with parenthetical nonchalance that, as everyone knows, "the global climate has cooled dramatically over the last 50 million years..."

I have to admit, though, that the journalist in me wishes these sciencey people would learn to stick a few "executive summaries" into their explanations.

I got as far as

"The sample, collected by UCLA paleontologist Bruce Runnegar, was a reddish, uncompacted, rhythmically laminated siltstone from the Elatina Formation, a late Neoproterozoic, glacial and periglacial unit widely exposed in the Flinders Ranges and elsewhere in South Australia (Preiss, 1987; Lemon and Gostin, 1990). The rhythmic laminations are interpreted to be lunar tidal bundles (Williams, 2000), implying a shallow marine depositional environment. Glacigenic deposits (diamictites and ice-rafted dropstones) occur in most sections of the Elatina Formation..."

and started kind of glaciating over myself.

Most of it is over my head, but the bits I understand (or more likely think I understand) are pretty cool.


(With thanks to Fr. PJM)

A taste of their own medicine

People seem pretty exercised about this:
Will Muslim call to prayer ring out over Oxford?

Local residents, clergy and now the head of the Church of England have been drawn into a debate over a proposal from the Central Oxford Mosque to broadcast a recording of the call to prayer, or Adhan, from its minaret over loud speakers..."We are very angry that they are presuming to inflict this on a non-Muslim community," Allan Chapman, a historian at the university and a local resident who described himself as a practicing Christian told Reuters.

"We see this as an attempt to impose Islam on a Christian-culture community," he said.

Some rather straightforward prose is offered in response:

Islam, with its blank, blind, envious hatred of anything other, or greater than, itself, its sadistic stamping out of music, art and sculpture, its murderous hostility toward all freedom of thought or of conscience, its abominable union of spiritual, physical, political and domestic tyranny and slavery, has no place in Oxford, no place at all.

I would understand perfectly, if this hideous proposal of amplified blarings of the adhan goes ahead, were some infuriated citizens of Oxford to someday give the Mohammedans a taste of their own medicine - and burn the infernal mosque to the ground, loudspeakers and all.

But I've got a better idea and one that will get no one arrested.

Using the methods of the terrorists, get a group of people together in Oxford with mobile phones and give them access to the bells in all the towers and all the churches that can still be manually operated.

At the moment the muezzin starts wailing, start ringing every bell in every church and college in the city. Keep going until you have drowned him out completely. Keep it up, (and pressure on the city council) until the local authorities get the message to change the noise ordinances.

Won't take long for the papers to pick it up and make a huge fuss.

More Powemes

Poets' Graves

A good site for Ynglysshe powemes.

Another Powm: The Lost Generation of England


The Soldier

If I should die, Think only this of me,
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.
There shall be in the richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam
A body of England's breathing fresh air,
washed by the rivers, blest by the sons of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, No legs
give somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; Dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English Heaven.

by Rupert Brooke.

French Nuns

These glorious Benedictine nuns have recently had a bad fire that destroyed their chapel.

People frequently, and rather annoyingly, refuse to believe that I know no French. For some reason, when I say, "I don't speak or understand French" they somehow think I have said, "My French isn't all that good." or "I'd have trouble following a lecture in metaphysics or macroeconomics in French." People usually respond to my assertion with weird non-sequiturs like, "Yeah, I know what you mean. The last time I was in Bordeaux, I had a terrible time keeping up with the evening news."

No, what I said was what I mean. I don't understand why it is so hard to accept. My editor keeps sending me things to do in French. And when I send them back asking for the English version he says the same thing, "But do you mean you don't know any French?!" as if it is the first time he has ever heard the idea. Every time!

I had a very nice, very distinguished French diplomat once tell me that I ought to go to Europe and do work with the EU. I told him I didn't know any French, and he said, "Why do you keep saying you don't know French?" Well, because it's true?

I have never understood a word of Canadian French television. I can't make sense of the instructions on a soup can label.

When I lived in a Quebecois French-speaking community for three months, I was in a constant haze of misery, being totally shut out of every recreation, conversation, conference, instruction, written notice and the entire liturgy. It was the most isolating experience of my life. Horrible. And in the entire time, I never picked up a word.

What's so hard to get about "I don't know any French"?! Sheesh, it's perfectly plain English. What's so hard to understand? Why doesn't anyone ever believe me? Is it because I was raised in Canada? In the part of Canada I was raised in, there is more Cantonese spoken than French.

I recall my first French class in school, in the fifth grade. All the other kids had been through the whole system and had had French for four years. The French teacher asked me to conjugate a verb. I was horrified. She might as well have asked me to explain the General Theory of Relativity. I sat there in terror. She asked me again, and I managed to croak out "What does conjugate mean?" After the other monsters kids had finished laughing, she just shook her head in disgust and went on the the next kid. I spent the rest of my mandatory French instruction throughout my brief and interesting school career looking out the window and not handing in assignments.

(And no, I didn't learn what "conjugate" meant until I started studying Japanese in University and it seemed a perfectly straightforward concept. I never understood why that woman didn't just explain it to me and try to teach me something. This childhood trauma may be the reason I have generally disliked French people as long as I can remember...or it could have something to do with them being intolerably rude, don't know.)

When I hear French spoken, that early sense of panic starts to grip me by the throat and my heart starts pounding out my primitive flight response. But I fight it and my policy now is to try very hard to listen. I concentrate terribly hard and try to pick out individual words I might recognise. They are few. While I am concentrating on this mental word search, the entire lecture/homily/conversation is rushing past me like a box train full of chattering seagulls.

Anyway, this is why, when someone suggests to me that I might like to entertain the possibility of religious life in a French speaking community, I usually just give them a withering look and try not to cry.

They're pretty nice looking nuns though, don't you think?

I wonder what they are saying.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Demographic Ice Age

The global warming catastrophists are right of course, we are in for a massive planetary die off, but not of polar bears or seals.

Demographic Winter

Nearly every country in the world is depopulating.

"It's happening in rich countries; it's happening in poor countries. It's happening in Catholic countries, Islamic countries... Never before in history have we had economic prosperity accompanied by depopulation."

For those of us who were raised on the teachings of Thomas Malthus, or Charles Darwin...these trends are very hard to absorb."

The trouble is, the math doesn't lie. It does not bow to our political or philosophical preferences.

Of course, this is something we've been writing about for some time. I noted an interesting schizophrenia at the UN. In one UN department, the screeching is all about overpopulation and the desperate need for reduction of the world's populations (that they usually mean the world's population of brown people is something rarely mentioned.) At the other end of the hall, another office is busy churning out apocalyptic warnings of the disastrous slide of human fertility rates.

I have also observed, that while the former theory is motivated largely by a particularly nasty ideology and is based on some very, shall we say, fluid statistics, the latter, is fairly easily identifiable, even without a degree in demographics.

Just by looking countries up in the CIA World Fact Book, in fact. A routine part of my job.

Keeping in mind that the fertility rate required to maintain a population at its current level is 2.1 children per woman, the patterns are instantly discernable:

Albania: 2.03

Algeria: 1.86

Argentina: 2.13

Bahrain: 2.57

Bangladesh: 3.09

Belarus: 1.22

Belize: 3.52

Bhutan: 4.67

Botswana: 2.73

Brazil: 1.88

Canada: 1.61

Chad: 5.56

Chile: 1.97

China: 1.75

Czech Republic: 1.22

Denmark: 1.74

Djibouti: 5.23

Ecuador: 2.63

El Salvador: 3.08

Estonia: 1.41

OK, we're getting the picture. These were just randomly picked from an alphabetical list. But even at the first glance some patterns are clear. Nearly all of them, (and if we were to continue down the list it would be the same) are either hovering near or are well below the replacement level of 2.1.

All the economically and socially advanced countries, those not suffering war, disease or food shortages are the worst off. All of these are far below 2.1. That means that they are sliding backwards, with aging and shrinking populations. They are also the ones that are producing and consuming the most goods and are driving the economies not only of the developed world, but of the underdeveloped world as well. They are the engine that runs the whole machine.

The very few countries that significantly exceed the 2.1 red line are also the least able to extend any economic benefits. Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Chad, Djibouti and El Salvador are countries that most closely fit the well-advertised stereotypes of desperately poor countries, plagued with social and political instability, extreme poverty, disease and cultural decline. They are not, in other words, in a position to come to the economic rescue of the declining populations of the West, to take over the running of the Machine.

So, what are we looking at? And when?

You tell me.

Picking a side

I wrote this, a couple of weeks ago:
66 British Babies Survived Abortion - All Were Left to Die Without Medical Aid

A report by the British government's Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) noted, in the fine print in a footnote at the bottom of the page, that last year sixty-six "foetuses" [a government euphemism for un-registered people] survived attempts to kill them by abortion. In 2005, after an early report on this topic by a doctor at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, Dr. Trevor Stammers of St. George's University Hospital in London, said:
"Despite all attempts at emotional neutrality, the heart does not work that way when you get a baby in front of you that colleagues on another floor of the same building would be trying to keep alive."

I've been writing and researching and lobbying in the areas of bioethics, abortion and biotechnologies for some years now. I thought I had got past the phase of being able to be deeply upset or disturbed by what I read and write about. But in the same story, I discovered that there is a standing protocol for British doctors who, when having accidentally delivered a live child instead of a dead one in a "botched" abortion, the doctor may inject the child with a chemical that will stop its heart.

When I read that, I froze and could not move for a moment. That one got under my shielding.

There is never a point at which one is unmoveable. Human beings cannot become so calloused as to be insensible. It is recorded that those involved in the killing in the German T4 euthanasia project in which disabled children and other vulnerable patients were killed by lethal injections, gassing and starvation, went slowly mad. Drug and alcohol abuse rose significantly among staff and they began to display bizarre psychological and behavioral problems.

I have observed that there are three things we do to psychologically to try to shield ourselves from the reality of abortion:

The American position: partial denial. This is the position of most American legislators. From these you will hear most often the line, "I'm personally opposed to abortion but..." You will hear people like Hillary Clinton saying that abortion is a "sad" or "difficult" decision and that it can be "tragic". They regard it in much the same way as heart disease or road accidents, or possibly drug addiction, as though it were a mostly preventable phenomenon.

The Canadian position: Complete denial. This is the position of almost all feminist abortion activists whose position is to deny the existence of an unborn child and to refuse to address the issue. These people mostly refuse to engage in debates with pro-life apologists. Their position, if it is ever articulated, is that there is no child. There is nothing in the womb before birth but "tissue". A growth, analagous to cancer. (I've never been able to figure out where they think children come from...perhaps the stork). Therefore abortion is a purely innocent medical procedure that spares women mostly social and economic hardship. They look upon it, essentially, as cosmetic surgery that cures a tragic disfiguring disease. This is also the position of the Canadian government and legal system that literally denies the existence of a child before birth. Cases in the Canadian courts have stated that the child before birth does not exist, and is merely a part of the woman's body.

The British position: No denial but a forthright assertion that a child exists and is of no inherent value before or even after birth and can be killed at will by parents with the help of the publicly funded medical system. This is the position advocated by leading utilitarian philosophers of medical ethics of our time, Peter Singer foremost among them. Because it resolves certain emotional problems of the abortion debate, this third position is slowly growing in popularity among abortion advocates, particularly in Europe and in the academic world and among the more highly educated feminists (cf. Naomi Wolfe who asserted that it is dishonest to deny the existence of a child, but that in order to maintain the gains of the feminist movement, women must be given the right to kill their children under limited conditions). It is a complete reversion to the position of the pre-Christian pagans who saw no particular sacredness or value in individual human lives. Only in those human beings who were properly and legally recognized by the state or their families were granted what we understand in our Christian-based philosophies, as human rights, personhood. In Roman society, as in many others of the ancient world, there was no concept of "inalienable" human rights and the parents had the full right of life and death over children. An unwanted child was simply killed without any moral or legal qualms. This third, and most advanced position, seems to be the one held by the legal and medical authorities of the United Kingdom.

Except for Britain, in most national medical jurisdictions, the possibility of the child surviving an abortion is simply not dealt with directly, depending on the level of denial of the legal and political cultures. This situation lasted in the US from the legalization of abortion until the recently passed legislation that mandated that an abortion survivor must be cared for as any other living premature child.

In Canada, there is no such legislation being considered because in that country, there is no law at all regarding abortion. Canada is in one of the deepest, darkest and quietest wells of denial imaginable. To the Canadian medical establishment, there is no child at all and what comes out of the woman during an abortion is nothing more significant than an unwanted appendix.

But Britain brings the issue to a new and unprecedented level of barbarism. They admit that there is a child and that the intention of abortion is to kill a child. Therefore, when a child who is slated for abortion lives instead, the child is summarily killed. The British health authorities had no need for any equivocation or hesitation. No compunctions whatever.

The only note of hesitation that I saw in connection with this, is that it is generally acknowledged that most individual doctors have some difficulty carrying out the British directive.

It is something of a hobby between myself and my Canadian colleagues to send each other news items about abortion or euthanasia or embryo research from our respective countries. We are having a contest to show which country is furthest gone into darkness. Until I saw this item, we were more or less at a draw. But with this one, I think I pulled my country far out ahead in the running.

But the idea is an interesting one that there is no way, as this doctor said, to entirely shield the soul from its instinct to conscience. Doctors, nurses and women who abort their children are the ones most directly affected by this. I would say that most vulnerable to long term psychic and spiritual damage are the doctors who commit multiple abortions. I can well understand what he means, as it has been a struggle for me over the years to continue looking this monster in the face.

But a question arises in my mind. If an entire country is complicit, an entire culture, as is the West, in the greatest systematic mass murder in the history of the human race, can there be any way for any of us to shield our minds from its effects?

Are we not all subject to the long-term damage caused by this impossible dilemma? We kill our children. We do it in enormous numbers. Those of us who do not participate in the killing are complicit by inaction. And everyone knows this.

Do we not all engage to some degree in one of the three reactions I outlined above? In each case the first instinct is to try not to think about it. When forced to address the issue, the most common response is the one least defensible: "I wouldn't have an abortion, but I can't force my opinion on others." A six-year old could tell you what is wrong with that, but most people will say it, and mean it, when they are confronted. I have found it is wise not to try to push past this by demolishing the logic of their position. Mayhem usually ensues.

When the issue cannot be avoided, a new dilemma is presented, theres is a side to pick and no one, I have observed, really wants to pick a side in any fight. Usually, people must be forced into one side or another in any war. But the effort to remain neutral requires one of the the above three solutions of partial denial, which is difficult and uncomfortable; complete denial which is impossible without doing some form of psychological self-surgery, amputation; or complete acceptance which, at the least, requires a form of demonic courage, or perhaps bravado.

The last, I believe will become more popular and more widespread in the general public as it is presented as the more "heroic" position, the bravest. It is the position that most effectively calms the psychic static, what shrinks call "cognitive dissonance" of the first two. I also think it is the one that is most likely to lead to demonic possession or at least a mild form of insanity, (but I think we are nearly there with most people anyway).

The only other position is the one least taken, since it is the one that puts the subject at odds with the entire culture, his whole world, his work, his entertainment, his government, his friends, his school and often his family.

It is the choice of exile.
Oh my goodness...

I'll give a prize to the first person who can make it unflinching through all four minutes 25 seconds of this video.

Times will be posted:

HJMW - 40 seconds

I attended a Lent retreat in Birkenhead a couple of weekends ago. At it, the very nice ICK priest said that it was the duty of everyone to encourage vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life. Now, this is generally agreed upon to be a good idea, particularly in the case of young men. But women?

I had to ask, (and I'll admit that I did it mostly to irritate,) where, precisely, ought we to encourage women to go? In this country?

"Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness".

The Anonymous Satanist

For those not hip to the Catholic theological discussion, the term "anonymous Christian" was posed by Karl Rahner, that darling of the warm and tolerant hippie arm of the One Holy C and A, who said it meant non-Christians who could have "in [their] basic orientation and fundamental decision, accepted the salvific grace of God, through Christ, although [they] may never have heard of the Christian revelation."

You've probably heard it expressed slightly differently, something along the lines of "Well, I'm not really into any particular religion; I'm more spiritual".

It is, in effect, an heretical declaration of rejection of the Church's teaching Extra Ecclesiam... (but what isn't these days?)

(Wiki tells us: "Anonymous Christianity has been regarded as the one theological idea that most shaped the Second Vatican Council. The long ranging impact of this notion influenced the "ecumenism" of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI." to which I respond, tell us something we don't know. Anyway...)

Here's an interesting and probably considerably more truthful variation on the theme.

The "anonymous satanist", of whome we see so many paragons speaking, for example, in the House of Commons on the right of doctors to murder patients in varying stages of decay.

A priest tells it like it is: "Liberal Catholic" an oxymoron.

Are you a liberal Catholic? Are you a conservative Catholic?

Political terms really have no place in a discourse about the
Church. About her faithful. Because while once can legitimately be liberal
or conservative with regard to politics, what do we really mean when we apply
these terms to the faithful? More often than not, we mean by 'conservative
Catholic', somebody who has the faith. Who believes what he professes. Who's
faithful to the magisterium.

And when we speak of 'liberal Catholic,'...we mean somebody who has lost the
faith. Is a heretic...these liberal Catholics...are nothing other than
anonymous satanists. Someone who doesn't officially belong to the Church
of Satan, they're not enrolled, they don't go once a week but nonetheless,
by their words and their actions they reveal that they are co-workers with
the devil. Collaborators with him, if not positively possessed by the Evil Spirit.

Christianity and the Environment III

Just a flicker of a thought...

A single phrase from the Anglicans:
"Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made..."

is usually taken to mean we sinners.

But it is an absolute. He who hateth nothing that He hath made... goes for the voles and periwinkles too does it not? And these same creatures are given for safekeeping and good use into the hands of His deputies here on earth, yes?

Face it hippies

The counter revolutionaries have won.

It was demographics really. They're spiritual contraceptors. They spent their lives telling everyone who agreed with them that there was no point in being a Catholic. So it only makes sense that the only people left in the Church are the people who rejected their revolution. Us, in other words, the believers.

They've just been so busy for the last forty years sawing off the branch they've been sitting on, they haven't looked up to notice that they're the only ones sitting on it.

Terrible news for English bishops trying to block the use of the ancient Latin
liturgy liberated by Pope Benedict: a Vatican letter leaked today
confirms that all seminaries will be instructed to teach students how
to celebrate what used to be known as the Tridentine Mass.

The contents of the leaked letter augur well for the Roman Rite

The letter, published on Fr Z’s magnificent blog, is from the pontifical
commission Ecclesia Dei. It is signed by the secretary of the commission,
Mgr Camille Perl, and reveals that the forthcoming clarification of the
Pope’s Motu Proprio will require seminaries to teach both the ancient and
revised forms of the Roman Rite. Cue gnashing of teeth from the doddery
trendies who run most seminaries in the English-speaking world.

"predominantly with immigrant backgrounds"




I so enjoy my career in media studies.

COPENHAGEN, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Bands of youths set fire to cars,
buses and schools in Denmark on Saturday, the seventh night of rioting and
vandalism in the capital Copenhagen and other Danish cities, police said on

Four youths were arrested in the capital for suspected arson and at least 24
fires were reported across the country. Several youths were detained in
Denmark's second city Aarhus in Jutland, and in Odense on Funen island.

"It is some of the same groups that have roamed the city for the last couple
of nights," police operations leader Preben Jorgensen told Reuters while
inspecting fire damage at Tingbjerg School in the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Hundreds of cars and a number of schools have been vandalised or burned in
the past week. Police could give no reason, but said unusually mild weather
and the closure of schools for a winter break might have contributed.

Authorities have arrested dozens of youths, predominantly with immigrant

Police said that Saturday night was calmer than earlier in the week.

Social workers said an alleged plot to kill a Danish cartoonist for his
drawing two years ago of the Prophet Mohammad might have fuelled the riots.
Danish newspapers reprinted the cartoon on Wednesday in protest against
the plot.

Ten Danish lawmakers cancelled a four-day trip to Iran on Saturday, two
days before their departure, after Iranian protests about the republication
of the cartoon.

The Danish Foreign Ministry said parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee
dropped the trip after the Iranian parliament demanded an apology because
Danish newspapers had reprinted the cartoon, one of several whose
publication two years ago caused outrage in Islamic countries.

Most Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammad offensive.

Authorities arrested two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan descent on
Tuesday for planning to kill the cartoonist, and 15 Danish newspapers
reprinted his drawing on Wednesday in protest against the alleged murder
plot. (Reporting by Martin Burlund, editing by Tim Pearce)

An Ynglysshe Poweme

The Archebyshoppes Tayle

Whan in Februar, withe hise global warmynge
Midst unseasonabyl rain and stormynge
Gaia in hyr heat encourages
Englande folke to goon pilgrimages.
Frome everiches farme and shire
Frome London Towne and Lancanshire
The pilgryms toward Canterbury wended
Wyth fyve weke holiday leave extended
In hybryd Prius and Subaru
Off the Boughton Bypasse, east on M2.
Fouer and Twyntie theye came to seke
The Arche-Bishop, wyse and meke
Labouryte and hippye, Gaye and Greene
Anti-warre and libertyne
All sondry folke urbayne and progressyve
Vexed by Musselmans aggressyve.
Hieand thither to the Arche-Bishop's manse
The pilgryms ryde and fynde perchance
The hooly Bishop takynge tea
Whilste watching himselfe on BBC.
Heere was a hooly manne of peace
Withe bearyd of snow and wyld brows of fleece
Whilhom stoode athwart the Bush crusades
Withe peace march papier-mache paraydes.
Sayeth the pilgryms to Bishop Rowan,
"Father, we do not like howe thynges are goin'.
You know we are as Lefte as thee,
But of layte have beyn chaunced to see
From Edinburgh to London-towne
The Musslemans in burnoose gowne
Who beat theyr ownselfs with theyr knyves
Than goon home and beat theyr wyves
And slaye theyr daughtyrs in honour killlynge
Howe do we stoppe the bloode fromme spillynge?"
The Bishop sipped upon hys tea
And sayed, "an open mind must we
Keep, for know thee well the Mussel-man
Has hys own laws for hys own clan
So question not hys Muslim reason
And presaerve ye well social cohesion."
Sayth the libertine, "'tis well and goode
But sharia goes now where nae it should;
I liketh bigge buttes and I cannot lye,
You othere faelows can't denye,
But the council closed my wenching pub,
To please the Imams, aye thaere's the rub."
Sayeth the Bishop, strokynge his chin,
"To the Mosque-man, sexe is sinne
So as to staye in his goode-graces
Cover well thy wenches' faces
And abstain ye Chavs from ribaldry
Welcome him to our communitie."
"But Father Williams," sayed the Gaye-manne
"Though I am but a layman
The Mussleman youthes hath smyte me so
Whan on streets I saunter wyth my beau."
Sayed the Bishop in a curt replye
"I am as toolrant as anye oothere guy,
But if Mussleman law sayes no packynge fudge,
Really nowe, who are we to judge?"
Then bespake the Po-Mo artist,
"My last skulptyure was hailed as smartest
Bye sondry criticks at the Tate
Whom called it genius, brillyant, greate
A Jesus skulpted out of dunge
Earned four starres in the Guardian;
But now the same schtick withe Mo-ha-med
Has earned a bountye on my hed."
Sayed the Bishop, "that's quyte impressyve
To crafte a Jesus so transgressyve
But to do so with the Muslim Prophet
Doomed thy neck to lose whats off it.
Thou should have showen mor chivalrie
In committynge such a blasphemie."
And so it went, the pilgryms all
Complaynynge of the Muslim thrall;
To eaches same the Bishop lectured
About the cultur fabrick textured
With rainbow threyds from everie nation
With rainbow laws for all situations.
"But Father Rowan, we bathyr nae one
We onlye want to hav our funne!"
"But the Musselman is sure to see
Thy funne as Western hegemony.
'Tis not Cristian for Cristians to cause
The Moor to live by Cristendom's laws
Whan he has hise sovereyn culture
Crist bade us put ours in sepulture.
To be divyne we must first be diverse
So cheer thee well, thynges could be wors
Sharia is Englishe as tea and scones,
So everybody muste get stoned."
The pilgryms shuffled for the door
To face the rule of the Moor;
Poets, Professors, Starbucks workers
Donning turbans, veils and burqqas.
As they face theyr fynal curtan
Of Englande folk, one thynge is certan:
Dying by theyr own thousande cuts,
The Englande folk are folking nuts.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I see he got my memo

The Vatican will advise bishops around the world this next week to be more rigorous in their selection of the candidates they propose for sainthood, ANSA reports.

A 20-page document to be presented in the Vatican on February 18 will ask bishops to show “greater sobriety and rigor” in accepting requests to begin inquiries into a prospective saint’s life.

Initial investigations into the life of a proposed saint take place in the diocese where he or she died. The local bishop must begin the inquiry and oversee the first phase, which produces a dossier of evidence to be sent to Rome.


Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the new document would “respond better to the new spirit introduced by Benedict XVI.”

Since the formal canonization procedure was founded by Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century until the start of the pontificate of John Paul II, the Church had canonized 296 saints. During John Paul's pontificate, he had canonized that number by November 21, 1999.

Spot the location

New game:

1) Where is this?

2) How do you know?

A New Daily Read

New blog: "Stuff White People Like"

(Should probably be called "Stuff White North Americans Like" but never mind.)

Dang! I wish I was this clever and funny.

Recycling is a part of a larger theme of stuff white people like: saving the earth without having to do that much.

Recycling is fantastic! You can still buy all the stuff you like (bottled water, beer, wine, organic iced tea, and cans of all varieties) and then when you’re done you just put it in a DIFFERENT bin than where you would throw your other garbage. And boom! Environment saved! Everyone feels great, it’s so easy!

This is important because all white feel guilty about producing waste. It doesn’t stop them from doing it, but they feel guilty about it. Deep down, they believe they should be like the Native Americans and use every part of the product or beast they have consumed. Though for many white people, this simply means putting plastic bags into a special drawer where they will accumulate until they are eventually used to carry some gym clothes or bathing suit. Ultimately this drawer will get full and only be emptied when the person moves to a new house. Advanced white recyclers will uses these grocery bags as garbage bags.

If you are in a situation where a white person produces an empty bottle, watch their actions. They will first say “where’s the recycling?” If you say “we don’t recycle,” prepare for some awkwardness. They will make a move to throw the bottle away, they will hesitate, and then ultimately throw the bottle away. But after they return look in their eyes. All they can see is the bottle lasting forever in a landfill, trapping small animals. It will eat at them for days, at this point you should say “I’m just kidding, the recycling is under the sink. Can you fish out that bottle?” And they will do it 100% of the time!

The best advice is that if you plan to deal with white people on regular basis either start recycling or purchase a large blue bin so that they can believe they are recycling.

(thanks Kathy)

Five Smooth Stones

Domestic Tip

Don't put parafin wax in the microwave.

The kitchen still smells of ozone.

I was trying to get a bunch of candle wax off a saucer and thought, I'll just pop it in for 20 seconds or so...


(Because I like them, that's why! Same reason I have a clock you have to wind up.)

Thanks for the boost, Tony.

Hunting is undergoing a revival with increasing numbers of women and children taking part as a direct result of the ban imposed by the Hunting Act.

As 314 hunts were preparing to meet organisers report that in the two years since the ban, young people have attracted to the sport, reversing the situation of more than a decade ago where hunt memberships were ageing and in decline.

Good work boys.

Now, can you please ban Christmas? We could use the boost.

Where can I get one of these?

(the bath chair, that is, not the old lady.)

Just hitch up a donkey or a pack of huskies and we're away! No more bus fares.

We baaaad

Thousands of heretics and witches

possibly hundreds of thousands...

maybe millions...

(well ok, maybe not millions)

were burned at the stake by the bad old Catholic Church.

Secular historians given access to the Vatican's archives in 1998
discovered that of the 44,674 individuals tried between 1540 and 1700,
only 804 were recorded as being relictus culiae saeculari. The 763-page
report indicates that only 1 percent of the 125,000 trials recorded
over the entire inquisition ultimately resulted in execution by the secular
authority, which means that throughout its infamous 345-year history,
the dread Spanish Inquisition was less than one-fourteenth as deadly on
an annual basis as children's bicycles.

If the Spanish Inquisition was, as historian Henry Charles Lea once
described it, theocratic absolutism at its worst, one can only conclude
that this is an astonishingly positive testimony on behalf of
theocratic absolutism. It is testimony to the strange vagaries of history that it
should be the Spanish Inquisition that remains notorious today, even though the 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy murdered in the Spanish Republican Red Terror of 1936 is more than twice the number of the victims of 345 years of inquisition."

but everybody knows...

Is Kate Moss going broke?

or just slumming?

Kathy says

"Kate Moss has delighted her new neighbors in London because crime rates in the area have fallen since the supermodel moved in.

"She recently purchased a $16 million mansion in St. John’s Wood, London and according to a local paper, the constant presence of paparazzi snappers outside has acted as a major deterrent to criminals."

But, I've been to St. John's Wood and there's no such thing as a "mansion" there that you can buy for $16 million.

What, was the local heroin wholesaler having a Going-to-Jail car boot sale?

You might get a parking place for your Jag for £8 million, but a mansion?

Maybe in the remoter parts of Scotland.

Not that we really needed any more confirmation

but it is nice to know that it's not just us plebes who know.

Britain’s catastrophic failure to deal with the issue of terrorism and extremism is of the highest importance.

and this not from some crazed BNP-sympathizing blogger camped out in the remote hills of Wales.

Nonetheless, the suggestion from Gwyn Prins, Professor at the London School of Economics and Robert Salisbury, the Marquess of Salisbury and a Privy Councillor,

(as well as Sir Mark Allen, Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham, Chris Donnelly, Field Marshal the Lord Inge, Tom Kremer, Lord Leach, Baroness Park of Monmouth, Douglas Slater, General Sir Rupert Smith, and Professor Hew Strachan)

that the problem is the government's insane and suicidal dedication to multiculturalism, has (to no one's surprise) been firmly rejected by the same government.

A government spokesman said the findings "do not stand up to scrutiny," adding: "The government rejects any suggestion that Britain is a soft touch for terrorists."

"We have a detailed and robust strategy for countering international terrorism and by establishing the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism we have ensured that our policy is better co-ordinated than ever.

"The government firmly rejects the claim that the United Kingdom is a fragmented society," he added.




* ~ * ~ *

The electorate is uncertain and anxious. People feel uncertainty about military adventures overseas which have cost many lives and have pushed our armed forces to the limits. They are worried about security at home since the successful terrorist attack of 7/7, the similar attack a fortnight later which was only averted by the incompetence of its perpetrators, and the narrowly preempted attacks on planes in 2006. In the summer of 2007, there were also carbomb attempts at Glasgow airport and in the West End of London. The ‘war on terror’ is with us now in all its ugliness. Both current military operations and the war on terror together raise a deeper point.

Is there any longer a clear distinction between being at war and not being at war? A declaration of war is almost inconceivable today, and yet both our defence and security services are in action against active forces, abroad and at home, at this moment.

The electorate sees this paradox. It also worries about the way we were committed to war, especially in Iraq, and about Washington’s sway and leadership. But equally, the electorate is disturbed by an undertow of doubt about the wider muddling of political
responsibilities between Westminster and Brussels.

linked to these changes is a loss in the United Kingdom of confidence in our own identity, values, constitution and institutions. ‘This England that was wont political identity. That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate. This is a problem worsened by the lack of leadership from the majority which in mis-placed deference to ‘multiculturalism’ failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism. The country’s lack of self confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy, within and without.

‘This England that was wont to conquer others’, wrote Shakespeare, ‘hath made a shameful conquest of itself.’ This is one of the main factors which have precipitated risks into threats. As long as it persists, it will have the power to do so again.

Islamist terrorism is where people tend to begin. The United Kingdom presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society, increasingly divided about interpretations of its history, about its national aims, its values and in its political identity. That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate. This is a problem worsened by the lack of leadership from the majority which in mis-placed deference to ‘multiculturalism’ failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism.

The country’s lack of self confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy, within and without.