Saturday, September 30, 2006

"The whole world has gone badly wrong"

A British production hosted by David Aaronovitch is must-see TV. In "No Excuses for Terror", a group of self-described leftists articulate their confusion over the "progressive" left's affinity for Hizballah, Hamas and Islamist extremism in general.

As one guest says near the end, in describing the radical left alliance with Muslim terrorism, "The whole world has gone badly wrong".

Hat tip: Harry's Place via LGF

A boycott worth your while

There's a new blogroll I've affiliated with called "Bloggers Boycotting Communist Citgo". As I posted here earlier, Citgo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of Venezuela.

As a government-owned body, its profits go directly to the government of Hugo Chavez, which in turn allows him to purchase fighter jets by the dozen and assault rifles by the tens of thousands from Russia.

Southland Corporation's 7-11 stores have severed their relationship with Citgo, which is a huge win. I'd like to think they did that out of a sense of outrage over Komrade Hugo's diatribe against America at the UN, but the cynic in me says that they saw a larger backlash against Citgo coming, and ditched them.

But Citgo gas isn't just available at 7-11 stores...they're all over the place. So if you need to fill up, please do it somewhere else!

Friday, September 29, 2006

China targeting US satellites

Now, this is disturbing. Neo-Con* Tastic cites a London Telegraph article which claims, authoritatively it seems, that China is hitting US spy satellites with ground-based lasers. What's more, the administration is putting a lid on the news in an effort to appease China:
The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration for fear that it would damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic offensives against North Korea and Iran.

Sources told the military affairs publication Defense News that there had been a fierce internal battle within Washington over whether to make the attacks public. In the end, the Pentagon's annual assessment of the growing Chinese military build-up barely mentioned the threat.

"After a contentious debate, the White House directed the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line," Defense News said.

Let's get real, folks. The Chinese are not our friends. More from the Telegraph article:

Military experts have already noted that Chinese military expenditure is increasingly designed to challenge American military pre-eminence by investing in weaponry that can attack key systems such as aircraft carriers and satellites.

At the same time, China is engaged in a large-scale espionage effort against American high-tech firms working on projects such as the multibillion-pound DD(X) destroyer programme.

Several spy rings have been cracked and the FBI is increasing the number of counter-intelligence staff tracking the Chinese effort.

Zawahiri on Darfur: A moonbat's dilemma

With Ayman al-Zawahiri reportedly calling for jihad against UN troops in Darfur in the latest al-Qaeda video, what's a moonbat to do?

The jihadist-loving George Clooney, in an apparent rare moment of sanity, has blasted the UN's inaction in Darfur. What will he think of the head-choppers once they start offing UN troops there?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saudi life laid bare

An article in Arab News sheds a harsh light, unintentionally I suspect, on the plight of women in Saudi Arabia. The article details the nightmare of a woman and her daughters at the hands of a sexually abusive husband.

The indifference of the authorities, the threats of institutionalization and their financial difficulties after the sexual predator is finally jailed makes for an appalling story.

A few excerpts:
In a society which refused to believe such abhorrent crimes occur and with a system that is ill equipped to assist the victims or handle their cases, people are left to suffer alone in silence. The girl’s mother married the man when she was 14 and he was much older. “I noticed his strange behavior and unnatural requests early in our marriage but I was young and ignorant and afraid to disobey or talk to anyone.”

[ ... ]

All the time, whenever she told her family what she saw and suspected, they would either refuse to believe her or pray God to cure her — she is epileptic. “They always said I was crazy and didn’t know what I was talking about.”

The daughter, now 22, remembers incidents of sexual harassment when she was eight. “He told me these things were normal between a father and daughter and he bought me candy and gifts afterward. When I was young, I believed him but it didn’t feel right to me.”

At 13, his sexual harassment ["harassment"?? --ed. ] of her — the touching, the exposing — turned into sexual assault. “I began asking my friends and teachers indirectly as if talking about another girl. They told me that the girl I was talking about must be promiscuous or exaggerating. I then realized that what my father did to me was not normal.”

[ ... ]

Meanwhile, the mother sought her family’s help but to no avail. She is one of ten siblings in a poor family in Makkah. Her father did not want her back as a divorcee with children. None of her brothers or sisters wanted to help her or even listen to her. She broke down and sobbed, “They just wanted to leave us in our misery. My father threatened to kill me if I even thought of leaving home."

[ ... ]

The girl’s mother says in desperation, “What if they release him from jail for whatever reason or sentence him to only a few years? What if he is pardoned in the group of prisoners usually pardoned in Ramadan? He will take my children and send me to a mental hospital.”
Read it all.

MEMRI looks at Arab & Iranian reaction to 9/11 five years on

The folks at have put together a video production analyzing how the media in the Arab world, the Middle East and Iran look at 9/11. It runs a total of 43 minutes, but you can view it in three parts at YouTube. Hosted by actor Ron Silver, a rare Hollywood anti-idiotarian.

Part 1 (15 min.)

Part 2 (17 min.)

Part 3 (11 min.)

An inter-faith coronation?

The Telegraph is just full of great news today. They're reporting that Prince Charles favors an inter-faith coronation:
Prayers and readings from other denominations and religions, including from the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths, are expected to be included in the ceremonies marking Prince Charles's accession to the throne.
The ruling monarch of the United Kingdom holds several titles besides King or Queen. These include Head of the Commonwealth, Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Mann, Duke of Lancaster, Duke of Normandy and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces.

Prince Moonbat, lately, has stated he prefers "Defender of Faith" to "Defender of the Faith".

Tory MP: British police "cowed by lunatics"

This representative of the
Religion of Peace™ wants you to
wake up and smell the coffee
before he kills you

Today's London Telegraph reports that an Islamist who praised the 7/7 London bombers, called Home Secretary John Reid "an enemy of Muslims and Islam" and called Tony Blair "the real terrorist" has yet to face charges more than a year after police began investigating him for incitement to murder.

In an appearance last week on BBC Radio's Today program, Abu Izzadeen said:
"There is going to be a very strong reaction from the [Muslim] community," ... "You can only push people to a certain level until they explode. The real terrorist is Tony Blair. He is a murderer. There is blood on his hands."
In August 2005, Izzadeen made an appearance on BBC 2's Newsnight program:
When questioned on the programme about the July 7 bombers, Mr Izzadeen described them as "completely praiseworthy" and said the attacks, which killed 52 London Tube and bus passengers, were legitimate "mujahedeen activity" that would make people "wake up and smell the coffee".
Tory MP David Davies had this to say:
"The trouble with the police is that they are completely cowed by these lunatics who are besmirching our airwaves with torrents of hatred," he said. "It sends out a very dangerous message to other extremists that the authorities are too cowardly to take action against people calling for incitement to violence and murder."
Mr. Davies is right, of course, but doesn't go far enough. Where's the BBC's culpability for repeatedly giving these ranting psychopaths a propaganda platform? Why does the British government allow BBC, which is funded by British taxpayers, to continue to do this?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Is Bin Laden dead?

Jihad Watch has a post up quoting a Reuters article speculating that Osama Bin Laden is dead.

I've been thinking for a while now that OBL just may have gone off to his 72 virgins, and that's not entirely attributable to wishful thinking. Consider that:
  • It's been some time since a video with OBL has surfaced
  • The guy hasn't been in the best of health, and has been living under less-than ideal conditions
If he is pushing up daisies, I think there's a good chance that our intelligence services have known it for some time, either because they arranged his meeting with Allah or because they got some hard intel when the blessed event occurred. There are a few reasons such news might be kept under wraps.

Having OBL in a perpetual state of "whereabouts unknown" might be preferable to him dying at the hands of the infidels or being in the hands of the infidels. Think about it for a second. If we nabbed him or killed him, what's to be gained operationally from letting the world know about it? Sure...politically, Bush would gain immeasurably. He might even be able to break through the 50% mark in the opinion polls. But what does that do for him? Make him more likely to win his next election? Yes, it might help the GOP's cause this November and in the 2008 general election, but I think the Bush administration knows that the Dems are doing all the GOP needs it to do to ensure the Dems stay out of the picture.

Let's say we had OBL on a slab and announced it to the world. What would happen? The Islamopsychos would be in a frenzy of revenge, wreaking havoc throughout the world.

If we had him in shackles and announced it to the world, we could reasonably expect a global epidemic of hostage-taking, with threats to kill innocent men, women and children until OBL was released.

Then, too, there's the matter of succession. As long as the world believes OBL to be alive but slinking from cave to cave, he's still the spiritual head of al Quaeda. He won't be replaced by one who's under less pressure and thus able to operate more effectively. Let's face putrid as Ayman al Zawahiri is, he doesn't have that special panache that OBL has with the head-lopping crowd.

So, while I take all rumors of Bin Laden's death with a boulder of salt, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Calling a spade a spade

Well, at least Fox News isn't completely wussified yet. They still find it within themselves to call Hassan Nasrallah just what he is: a "terror leader". The other news outlets have been fawning over this murderous, bloodthirsty thug as if he was the greatest statesman of our time.

Here's a screen capture just in case someone at FNC gets squeamish.

Philip Jacobson: Amnesty International right on Israel, wrong on Hizballah

In one of the more outrageous editorial pieces I've seen on the Israel/Hizballah conflict, Philip Jacobson at The First Post writes that while Amnesty International's denunciations of Israel were on the mark, their similar accusations of war crimes by Hizballah were wrong, and a result of pressure from Israel and the United States. In the article, Jacobson accuses Israel of "cynical targeting of Lebanese civilians".

Jacobson conveniently ignores a few important facts:

  • Warned civilians to evacuate before striking military targets in Lebanon
  • Used precision weapons and targeting to strike specific targets
  • Randomly lobbed rockets loaded with thousands of ball bearings into civilian population centers to maximize civilian casualties
  • Deliberately took positions in civilian areas to propagandize collateral damage caused by Israeli strikes
It's bad enough that AI re-writes the definition of "war crimes" by including among them strikes on infrastructure. But for one to assert Hizballah's actions were not war crimes is beyond comprehension.

Oslo terrorists may have planned to behead Israeli ambassador

Those "criminals" and "gang" members in Norway may have been planning to behead Israeli ambassador Miryam Shomrat, according to Aftenposten:
Israel's ambassador Miryam Shomrat is to have been a concrete target for the four suspects. Newspaper VG reports that they discussed beheading Shomrat in conversations bugged by police.
The newspaper describes those arrested as:
...a 29-year-old man of Pakistani origin, a 28-year-old Norwegian-Pakistani, a 28-year-old Norwegian of foreign origin, and a 26-year-old Norwegian.
At no time in any of the four Aftenposten articles
related to this case that I've read are the "M" or "I" words used.

Disturbingly, the news item goes on to say that one of these fine young men may have ties to an employee of the royal court of Norway:
The charged 26-year-old lived for a total of 12 years on several of the King's properties, newspaper VG reporting that he is the son of an employee at the royal court.

VG reports that the PST now fears that their may be a breach in the security network around the royal family.
Something's rotten in, uh, Norway.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oslo synagogue shooters charged with terrorism

Aftenposten is now reporting that the shooters who fired on the synagogue in Oslo have been charged with committing acts of terrorism.

As usual, Aftenposten is a bit light on details, but LGF is reporting that the shooters had plans to attack the US and Israeli embassies.

Boycott Citgo!

I've long known that Citgo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the government-owned Venezuelan oil company, but it's never bothered me much. Until now.

Since buying gas at Citgo stations puts money directly into Venezuela's Thug in Chief Hugo Chavez's coffers, and after his disgraceful attack at the UN not just on Bush but on Americans and America in general, it's time we all stop buying Citgo gas.

It's also time for Southland Corporation's shareholders to put pressure on Southland to end the relationship their 7-11 stores have with Citgo.

What's wrong with the Dutch?

In November 2004, as most know, Dutch movie producer Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Muslim extremist over his film "Submission".

His son, Lieuwe, now lives in danger, and police in the Netherlands are doing nothing.

Hat tip: Drinking From Home

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hugo Chavez is...right?

During Venezuelan Moonbat in Chief Hugo Chavez's venom-laced address to the UN General Assembly, the krazy kommie actually made a couple of good points.

The first was his assertion that the UN is a "deceased" organization. Now, maybe he really said or meant "brain-dead" and something got lost in the translation from Spanish. Or maybe he said "diseased" and in a verbal relay it got transcribed as "deceased". Either way, I share the sentiments.

The second point was that the UN headquarters may eventually need to be moved out of the United States. Comrade, that can't come soon enough for me.

Of course, the basis for my opinions may differ from his just a bit, but on these points we're in agreement. After the General Assembly's enthusiastic response to Chavez's speech, it's quite obvious that the institution is brain-dead and/or diseased, and their overt hostility to the US should make them collectively persona non grata on our soil.

Arrest made in Oslo synagogue shooting

Norway's Aftenposten is reporting that police in Oslo have made an arrest in the synagogue shoot-up from last weekend. There are no surprises here.
The man's lawyer, John Christian Elden, denied any involvement in the synagogue shooting on the part of his client. In addition to the 29-year-old, who is of Pakistani extraction, Oslo police and the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) have arrested three others.
The article also reveals that this isn't the first time the unnamed perp has attempted to go jihadi:
The man was arrested in Germany this summer, suspected of participating in the planning of a terrorist attack on the soccer World Cup there. He was released quickly.
Catch and release is fine for under-sized bass, but not with these guys.

Update: Oh, and by the way. It should be noted that Aftenposten seems a tad squeamish about reporting what's really going on:
A 29-year-old man with links to the criminal A-gang is among the four suspects arrested on Tuesday and charged with firing on Oslo's synagogue last weekend.
"Criminal" A-gang. Not "Islamic terrorist" A-gang, or even "Islamic militant" A-gang. Just "criminal". Nothing to see here...move along now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thai government ousted by military coup

The Thai army has staged a coup, ousting the prime minister and revoking the country's constitution. Most disturbing about this is the man responsible for the coup:
Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, who is known to be close to Thailand's revered monarch and is a Muslim in this Buddhist-dominated nation, took power without a shot being fired.
Thailand has been grappling with an insurgent Muslim population in her southern provinces. Muslims there are agitating for a separate Islamic state. Around 1,700 people have died there since 2004.

Close ties to the king or not, guess where the good General's sympathies will probably lie?

Robert Fox: Wrong again

So far, Robert Fox is 0-2 in columns of his that I've read at The First Post. (The Pope should have known better)

In his latest misguided piece of rubbish, this one on the Pope's remarks and the Islamic world's reaction, Fox declares:
...the Popes of Rome, have at times been spiritual and venal, recluses and saints, sinners and even criminals, brilliant philosophers and theologians, actors and men of the world. All have had one thing in common, whether they liked it or not: they have all been politicians.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Pope is not a politician. Kings and heads of state no longer take their marching orders from the Pope, and the Vatican is a city-state in name only. The Pope, as a religious leader and head of his church, is a scholar and theologian. His duty is to set church doctrine, and not to worry about what others think of that doctrine.

In the world according to Robert Fox, a scholar is supposed to subordinate historical facts to political correctness. This is cowardly, and is just the type of thinking that keeps much of the Islamic world in the 7th century.

Monday, September 18, 2006

WaPo: Anti-Muslim harassment complaints up 30 percent

The Washington Post today reports that anti-Muslim harassment complaints jumped 30 percent in 2005 over the previous year. The source of the statistics? Why, the Council on American Islamic Relations, of course! Obviously an unbiased, unimpeachable source.

According to CAIR:
...some post-Sept. 11 policy initiatives -- including the "infamous" Patriot Act, as the group described the law in announcing the report on its Web site -- have unfairly focused on Muslims. "Muslims take the brunt of it," Hooper said.
I'd agree that it was unfair if Christians, Jews and other religious groups were participating equally in global terrorism. But try as I might, I can't find a single instance in recent years where someone other than a Muslim engaged in mass murder in the name of his religion. So Hooper, go hump somebody else's leg.

The article closes with this:
In an effort to combat ignorance about the faith, CAIR began offering free copies of the Koran and copies of a PBS documentary about the prophet Muhammad earlier this year after deadly rioting about the Danish cartoon controversy. The group said that 30,000 copies of the Koran and 14,500 copies of the documentary have been requested.
That's not "combating ignorance", that's proselytizing. Hmmm...d'ya think that maybe some of those 30,000 people read the Koran, got the crap scared out of them, and started harassing Muslims?

Just so we're clear...I'm not defending anyone who'd harm, harass or otherwise molest someone on the basis of his or her religion. But how many of these cases of "harassment" in CAIR's litany of woe are legitimate law enforcement activities looking into people of interest?

Update 18 Sep. @ 19:20: I just read through all the comments posted to this article, and in another monkeys flying out my butt moment, not one of them sympathetic to CAIR's complaints.

A self-proclaimed liberal who "gets it"

I think monkeys are flying out my butt.

Sam Harris, who describes himself as a liberal, has this piece in the LA Times today in which he correctly points out the dangers of radical Islam, and the denial of that danger expressed by his fellow liberals. His column supports my earlier assertion that the far left is so afflicted with BDS that the war on Bush and the GOP is more important than dealing with an enemy bent on their destruction.

A few choice quotes from the column: correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.


This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that "liberals are soft on terrorism." It is, and they are.


At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;" 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.


Unfortunately, liberals hate the current administration with such fury that they regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are.


...there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.
Thank you, Mr. Harris. I only hope your column gets reprinted in every liberal publication and blog. Maybe a few of your friends will wake up.

Hat tip: LGF reader pat

Synagogue fired upon in Norway

Rabbi Joav Melchior stands in front of his Oslo
synagogue, where bullet holes are clearly visible

Norway's Aftenposten reports that a synagogue in Oslo was fired on over the weekend. Thankfully, nobody was injured in the attack. But this comes just a month after a Jewish cemetery was vandalized and stones thrown at a window at the synagogue.

The article doesn't speculate who may have been responsible, but Miryam Shomrat, Israeli ambassador to Norway said:
We don't know who's doing this, whether it's Norwegians or foreigners," Shomrat said. "But the fact that there's been an increase (in attacks) and that it's happening in Oslo must be taken very seriously by the political community.
I have serious doubts that some blonde, blue-eyed guy named Olaf was responsible.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I saw this picture while surfing the 'net for news about the latest Islamic seething. Can anybody tell me what is meant by "Jihad is the hump of Islam"?

Some guesses:
  • An obscure reference to camels
  • Hump...hump-day...Wednesday?
  • Hump...leg-humping...horny dog?

Religion of Peace, eh?

An Italian Catholic nun has been killed in Somalia, apparently as a result of the Pope's comments. From Associated Press:
MOGADISHU, Somalia - An Italian nun was fatally shot Sunday at the hospital where she worked, eyewitnesses said Sunday.

Two people have been arrested in connection with the shooting, according to the Islamic militia that controls Mogadishu.

"The nun was shot in the back," said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, who witnessed the shooting at the S.O.S. Hospital. "She died of her injuries."

The nun's bodyguard was also killed, doctors at the hospital told The Associated Press.
What was that again about Islam being a "Religion of Peace"?

He's the Pope, not a politician

As outrageous as the Islamic world's reaction to the Pope's speech is, the dhimmified reaction by the western media is just as bad. I've lost count of how many opinion pieces I've read saying the Pope should have known his comments would provoke such a reaction, or that he needs to be more "media savvy".

Let's get one thing straight: The Pope is a religious leader, scholar and theologian. He's not a politician. After considering that, compare the Muslims' reaction to his remarks to those of Christians, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus to statements made by Islamic religious leaders. When I next take a six-month sabbatical from work, I might have time to compile a list of the more outrageous and provocative ones.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The First Post: Pope's remarks 'enlightened'

In an opinion piece sure to get a few folks' knickers in a knot, Andrew Brown at The First Post declares that Pope Benedict's remarks on Islam last week were actually "enlightened".

The words that have so enflamed the Muslim world (once again) were not actually the Pope's, but rather those of Byzantine Emperor Michael Paleologos II [I've read other sources that say it was Manuel, not Michael--I'm using the name from the First Post column. --ed.] to a Muslim General:
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
According to Brown, the Pope went on to describe the rest of the Emperor's words, which give full context to the controversial remarks:
Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...
Of course, any public statements about Islam other than the "Islam is a religion of peace" line elicit reactions throughout the Muslim world that only serve to validate the offending statement. But as Mr. Brown says in his opening line, "Here we go again...".

The closing paragraph is sure to earn Mr. Brown his very own fatwa:
Calling this "an insult to Islam" or to the Prophet is simply an exercise in bullying and stupidity. [My emphasis. --ed.] The most surreal sight of all is that of Turkish Muslim officials demanding that Pope Benedict apologise for suggesting that Islam is spread by the sword. For why are Turkey's highest religious officials Muslims? Because, roughly 50 years after the Emperor, besieged in Constantinople, set down his account of these theological discussions, Constantinople fell and became Istanbul.

Oriana Fallaci: Dead at 76

Sadly, the world has lost a courageous soul with the passing of Oriana Fallaci. She died yesterday in Florence, Italy after a long battle with cancer.

With her books "The Rage And The Pride" and "The Force of Reason", the pugnacious Fallaci had the courage to publish what too many thought but were afraid to say.

Oriana, you'll be missed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A jaw-dropper, even for al-Guardian

Every moonbat's favorite paper, The Guardian, has an opinion column from Simon Jenkins lamenting America's response to the worst attack on US soil in recent history. It's not just that he thinks invading Iraq was the wrong response, he appears to think any response would be wrong.

He recalls his initial (defeatist's) reaction to the events of 9/11/01 and believes either the "madness" of the attackers or the deaths of thousands of innocents - I can't tell which - shouldn't matter:
I wrote that the horror I could see unfolding on my television screen was a madness of which the world had never been free and would never be free. But beyond the personal tragedies - and they occur somewhere every hour of the day - it did not and should not be allowed to "matter".
Then comes the outrageous assertion that America, as the world's sole remaining superpower, should expect such attacks and learn to live with them:
Democracy was not damaged by the attack. Those who chose to take up the "white man's burden" and prescribe solutions to the world's problems - as had America since the fall of the Soviet empire - must accept that there would be prices to pay.
Read the whole th-- wait...on second thought, don't bother.

What to remember on 9/11

I think everyone with a keyboard will be writing tributes to the victims of 9/11, so I'm going to leave the poetry to more capable people. But when you come across something today urging you to "Remember 9/11", remember these things after you've thought about the fallen:
  • Remember the anger you felt that day
  • Remember who was responsible for it
  • Remember the many politicians who first called for stronger intelligence, strict counter-terrorism laws and a strong response, and who are now subverting those efforts
  • Remember all the nations that rallied to our side that day and then remember how few of them have stuck with us

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Watching the borders

When my flight from Frankfurt landed in Atlanta yesterday, there was an announcement made that Customs and Border Patrol agents would be meeting the plane, and all passengers must have their passports ready upon deboarding. I've flown into Atlanta from Europe on numerous occasions over the past few years, and this had never happened before.

Upon hearing the announcement, I was pretty sure I knew who they were looking for. One row behind me were two men of distinct Arabic (or as the Brits are saying now, "Asian") appearance. As luck would have it, they were directly behind me when I was getting off the airplane. I snuck a glance at their passports, and while I couldn't quite make out the English writing on the cover, there was definitely Arabic (or similar) writing on them.

The two CBP officers impatiently waved me through without even asking for my passport, and went directly towards the two gentlemen behind me. I watched from the escalator as the officers looked at their passports, then escorted them down a hallway to the side of the escalator.

While these guys were in all likelihood perfectly innocent, it's good to know that the CBP are monitoring who's on international flights entering the US and giving certain visitors the extra attention they merit.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Not your every day street musicians

I forgot to bring my camera on this trip, but I do have my Treo 650. It's useless as a cell phone here in Europe, but it takes a decent picture in a pinch.

I suspect Heidelberg is one of the few places one might see something like this. These were well-dressed musicians who I suspect are also professional performers judging by their sound. And yes, they were accepting tips in the violin case. I thought they sounded good enough to merit a couple of Euros.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Another great Heidelberg bar

Yes, that's a tree. In the bar.

One of the best places in Heidelberg to swill beer and enjoy good music is a little place called Destille. The bar is located on Unterestrasse in the old part of the city.

Most nights, the place is completely packed by 22:00. It's elbow-to-elbow, loud, smoky and hot. If you're sensitive to cigarette smoke, don't go. At 23:00, they close the door and windows to contain the noise, and you can almost see the smoke cloud start descending from the ceiling. I guess that's why not many Americans go there.

Across the street are a few other bars, and the overflow from all of them fills the street with partiers. The wait staff from each bar go nuts trying to figure out which glasses to collect, and I've walked by on Saturday mornings to see the staff returning glasses to the right bar from the previous night's festivities.

European anti-semitism

One of the things I enjoy doing while traveling in Europe is talking to people from other countries and gauging their opinions. This is sometimes difficult to do without escalating beyond spirited debate, but I generally manage.

Yesterday I was having a bite to eat and a beer at a place called Bierkrug, one of my favorite spots in Heidelberg. Their spaetzle dishes are beyond belief, but that's a post for another day. At a table next to me were a few British expats having a few beers, and one of the gentlemen started up a conversation with me. I suspect he heard me place my order and deduced from my less than perfect German that I was American.

He was really pleasant, and as is usually the case, the conversation turned to world affairs and politics. Being a Brit, he was seriously concerned about the problem of Muslim immigrants in Britain with their failure to assimilate and their tendency to murderous hatred towards their fellow countrymen. When the conversation turned to negative European attitudes towards the US, I told him I believed those attitudes were mainly informed by a European media that spins the news to manipulate those views, and gave an example of BBC's anti-US bias.

He then said that he was surprised, because "...the BBC, just like Hollywood, is controlled by the Jews". Now, here was an otherwise perfectly reasonable, thoughtful man repeating the "Jews control the media" meme.

In order to keep things civil and not have our conversation descend into a shouting match, I just said "Huh...that's odd. For Jews, they were awfully critical of and biased against Israel during the war against Hizballah". He had no response.

I don't know where this "Jews control the media" thing comes from, but it seems to be just taken as a given fact here in Europe.

Al-Quaeda video: prelude to an attack?

Adam Gadahn, al-Quaeda's English-speaking ambassador
to America for the "Religion of Peace"

In the latest lunatic raving video to come from al-Quaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri and American Adam Gadahn issued a dawah, an invitation to Islam. As I've mentioned in previous posts, it was the practice of Muslim armies to first invite their opposition to convert to Islam, then slaughter those who refused.
"It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs," he said. "Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?"
The dawah could be a signal to al-Quaeda cells and affiliates to launch pre-planned attacks against American targets.