What We Said vs. What I Wish We’d Said

The request for a radio interview with Tammy Bruce came out of the blue. What a pleasant surprise! I liked her style — direct, to the point — and her quick uptake. She pays attention.

I also liked (which others may not) her notice of gender differences in conversation. For example, she asked me a question, and the Baron broke in to answer. Now it is a truism that men tend to hog the conversation. However, Ms. Bruce couldn’t have known that the Baron and I have been interrupting each others for years… and then arguing about whose turn it is to interrupt. Tee hee: the Baron got caught on national radio. So that should cover my next dozen interruptions, at least.

Which is not to say Ms. Bruce was wrong: put a woman in a group of men and she’ll be lucky to get a word in edgewise. Unless she’s armed, of course. Armament evens the playing field if you have to talk with a group of guys.

Looking back, it’s good that we got talk about the The Bloody Borders Project. Ms. Bruce appreciated the work behind it, commenting on the visual effects.

It was satisfying to mention our start in the blog world as commenters on the Belmont Club. Thanks to dear Wretchard, you are reading this post.

The Baron spoke about the Infidel Bloggers Alliance, surely the most sundry and assorted group-blogging endeavor online. IBA demonstrates perfectly the most important thing about the blogosphere: that it is both distributed and aggregated intelligence; it is information gathered from individuals, not corporations or collective entities of any sort. That is the blogosphere’s great strength, and its novelty — a worldwide web of dialogue, pamphleteering, disagreement, and data-sharing. The blogosphere is the fluid movement of knowledge.

Blogging makes you more informed. When you step out of line, there are experts on everything from domestic intelligence to history to language to physics to law to trucking — all right there, ready to set you straight.

And that’s what I wish we’d said.

Truckin’ My Blues Away

Lego tank truckDymphna wrote on Wednesday about the over-representation of Somalis in a certain Midwest truck-driving school and the potential security issues involved. Her post prompted a flurry of comments and emails from truck drivers, each with his own take on the problem. One of the commenters was trucker L.M., who had this to say:

I am commenting on the post of 3/29. I am a hazmat driver. Before I go into the meat of the post and why I say and have said all along that fingerprinting us is a feel-good law, I will go into what hazmat loads are.

  • Car parts: Not just batteries, but airbag modules. These are the cylinders that expand airbags in an accident.
  • Coca-Cola syrup: this is more harmful than some poisons and acids.
  • Grocery loads: This also includes cigarette lighters.
  • Hazmat does not necessarily mean dynamite or gasoline.

This is a feel good law for the simple fact that if someone were going to use a hazmat load to carry out a terrorist act, he or she is not going to be stupid enough advertise the fact that the vehicle is so equipped to do so. The first thing that would happen is that the placards would be removed from the vehicle, making it as innocuous as possible. Was the U-Haul driven by Timothy McVeigh marked as carrying a hazardous load? In fact, as far as I know, Tim McVeigh only had a regular driver’s license, not a CDL, and certainly not endorsed with an “H” (for Hazmat) or “X” (for hazmat tanker).

Most likely if such an act were to be carried out, the person who did it would most likely not be a hazmat driver.

In fact, what this law does, is tax the truckers who are already taxed at a rate approaching 60% with another $94.00 per renewal.

I’m told this isn’t even a one-time thing, but must be done each and every time a CDL is renewed. Sorry, this is a reactionary move at best and another tax at worst.

As soon as L.M. points it out, it’s obvious. Of course! Why would someone who wanted to do harm with a tractor trailer put a “hazmat” label on it? Better to fill a milk tanker with gasoline and drive it on in to Manhattan, as is.

Or imagine this scenario: an Islamist group in Oakland cuts the lock on an Ikea lot in the dead of night and steals a company delivery truck. Back to Al Qaeda headquarters (which masquerades as pita bread bakery and warehouse), dump the dollies and whatnot out of the back of the trailer, and fill it to the ceiling with propane tanks, bags of nails and ball bearings, and a detonator. Then down to the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco at first light, with the driver wearing an authentic Ikea uniform and carrying authentic Ikea paperwork, ready to pull up at the loading dock just as the offices fill.

Whoops! Forgot the HAZMAT sign… Oh, well.

Before you flame me for giving the terrorists ideas, remember: I have no military training, no knowledge of explosives, and no experience in intelligence. But many of the enemy’s operatives have all three. Very shrewd and very ruthless people are brainstorming on topics like this all the time, and coming up with new schemes like the one carried out in September of 2001.

No doubt my idea is unworkable, and all the spooks and truckers and weapons experts among our readers will get in the comments and explain to me the error of my ways.

But be sure that their turbaned counterparts, scheming right now in the caves of Waziristan, are devising much less amateurish schemes, and without any help from me at all.

The Unknown Is There

It seems that the poetry of Louis MacNeice has fallen out of favor in the last several decades. In preparation for this post, I searched the internet for some of the poems I wanted, but there didn’t seem to any web versions extant. In order to obtain digital versions, I had to scan and process the them from my ancient dogeared copy of the Selected Works.

It’s hard to believe that MacNeice was popular in the 1930s and 1940s, and well respected in the sixties, after his untimely death in 1963 at the age of 55.

He was from an Anglican Irish background, and was one of the “Thirties Poets”, along with W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, C. Day Lewis, et al. Most of the ’30s poetry is larded with a heavy dose of socialist political content, and has not aged well. But MacNeice was less politically doctrinaire than most of his cohort, and some of his work has survived the test of time. He remains a B-list poet — lacking the brilliance of Wallace Stevens or the technical excellence of William Empson — but much of his work is readable, and the best is very good indeed.

I will eventually tackle some of the most important works, such as “Autumn Journal”. Today, however, I am presenting part of a poem that touches on an issue that recurs frequently in Gates of Vienna: the tension between religious faith and atheism. It is light verse, and a good entry-level poem for the works of Louis MacNeice.

So, a4g — are you out there? — this one’s for you.

From “Jigsaws”
by Louis MacNeice

Although we say we disbelieve,
God comes in handy when we swear —
It may be when we exult or grieve,
It may be just to clear the air;
Let the skew runner breast the tape,
Let the great lion leave his lair,
Let the hot nymph solicit rape,
We need a God to phrase it fair;
When death curls over in the wave
Strings may soar and brass may blare
But, to be frightened or be brave,
We crave some emblem for despair,
And when ice burns and joys are pain
And shadows grasp us by the hair
We need one Name to take in vain,
One taboo to break, one sin to dare.
What is it then we disbelieve?
Because the facts are far from bare
And all religions must deceive
And every proof must wear and tear,
That God exists we cannot show,
So do not know but need not care.
Thank God we do not know; we know
We need the unknown. The Unknown is There.

I hope the poetic oeuvre of Louis MacNeice has moved into the public domain, because I intend to keep scanning and posting my favorites, in order to help establish his web presence.

Gates of Vienna is on the Tammy Bruce Show

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The show went well; Dymphna will report on it later on.

We know that at least a4g was listening!

Pastorius: I hope you were listening…

UPDATE: The show’s producer just emailed us; our time is 2:05pm EST (11:05am for our readers in La-la Land).

This post will stay at the top until air time. New posts are below it.

The New American Revolution
We think so, anyway. They emailed us yesterday and the tentative schedule is

  • 2:05 p.m. or 2:30 on the East Coast.
  • 11:05 or 11:30 on the Left Coast.

The timing probably depends on whoever precedes us.

Her program can be heard on Talk Radio Network. Go to the site and click on her image.

Tammy’s blog can be found here. Right now, at the top of the page, there’s an image of a Pakistani woman with her head covered… covered with a flight helmet. She’s a fighter pilot.

Borders Pays the Infidel Jizya

Not to say that Little Green Footballs is the crux of the blogosphere or anything. In the old, old days, it might have been a central terminus for all the railroad cars in a particular region. Today, it functions as the place where information comes through and branches out into the distributive network. It’s an arrangement in which, if-Charles-or-the-lizardoids-see-or-hear-it, in short order you will, too.

Lots of us do essays, which are important aspects of blogging. But Charles Johnson simply plants his foot on story long enough for you to read it and then he’s on to something else, turning back only as new information come in.

A case in point: the now-infamous Borders Bookstores Bumble, which LFG called “Borders and Waldenbooks Cave In to Islamist Intimidation.” The post told the story of a new chapter in the all-too-familiar corporate implosion when faced with thuggish threats. In this case, the current month’s issue of the magazine Free Inquiry has been banned from Borders and its subsidiary, Walden Books. Why? Because Free Inquiry had the temerity to splash the cartoons on its inside pages. You know — them, the images which can’t be shown, or else spontaneous combustion appears in Pakistan. Or maybe in a Borders Bookstore. Waaay too scary to have the Muslim cartoons out in plain view like that, right? So, Banned at Borders they were.

That was followed by another post, a revealing email from one of his readers, a Borders employee:

I work for Borders Books and after reading the article you posted on Wed. 3/29 about our company not carrying the magazine due to it showing the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy, I thought I should write with another tidbit of information I learned about my company the other week.

I was shifting rows of books in our religion section and it happened to be that all of our Koran books (a section on its own) ended up on the bottom shelf. The next day I was informed by my General Manager that it is Borders policy as a whole (not my particular store) that due to complaints in the past from Muslim customers, we are not allowed to put our copies of the Koran on any shelf other than the top.

LGF’s third post on this was a link to an open letter to Borders from the writer and editor, Robert Bidinotto. His site is worth a visit. Not only will you find his excellent letter to Borders, but you’ll be supplied with the corporate address for your own screed and some verrry interesting links to behind-the-scenes-with-the-suits-shenanigans. For example, from the Borders corporate website, did you know:

Borders Inc., a subsidiary of global book, music and movie retailer Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE:BGP), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Maya Group, a diversified corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, to establish a franchise arrangement under which Al Maya will operate Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The first of what is expected to be multiple Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates will be located in Dubai at Deira City Centre, the premier shopping center in the GCC. The Borders stores will offer a vast array of book titles in English and Arabic. Borders will provide training and marketing support to Al Maya. The store will be operated by Al Maya consistent with the Borders brand experience. Terms and conditions of the anticipated agreement will not be disclosed.

It was a gentleman’s agreement, you see.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are many disgruntled Americans who are about to pull out of Borders — lock, stock, and barrel, so to speak. Here’s just one fellow, Pastorius, explaining how much money he’s dropped at his local Borders outlet…but won’t be going there anymore:

I would estimate that I have purchased over 2000 books, CD’s, and magazines, and at least 10,000 cups of coffee at Borders over the years.

I will never make another purchase there again, unless they come to me in their humiliation and apologize for what they have done. Then, they can pay me the Infidel jizya, and then and only then, if they are lucky, I will deign to steal books from them.

F*** Borders. Say it with me now, F*** BORDERS

I wonder if Borders can hear the rising chorus. I wonder if they care.

Somehow, I don’t think this is going away. The cartoons haven’t gone away, so Borders is now aligned with a totalitarian enemy. Good luck to them in the UAE, they will truly need it.

The only block bookstore near us is Barnes and Noble. Maybe they’re listening? Meanwhile, I’ll keep on trucking with Amazon, even if they do give so much room to trolls on the book pages of conservative writers. That seems mild in comparison to Borders’ blatant butt-kissing.

“A Warning Sign?”

UPDATE: Commenter Andre Szara sent the following link from a story in CNN from 2005. Old news but useful information.

The item outlines the Patriot Act requirements for truck drivers; like most government regulations it makes for depressing reading. Basically, they’re going to:

  • fingerprint every hazmat trucker in the U.S.
  • this will take five years, minimum
  • most states have only one fingerprinting site
  • since they don’t have the fingerprinting process up and running the Transportation Security administration used a list of names of almost three million current hazmat truckers to check against a list of known terrorists. They were able to turn over approximately a hundred leads to the FBI.

So beginning in January, 2005, all truckers applying for hazmat licenses would be fingerprinted upon application. The rest will slowly come through the mill:

The fingerprints will be submitted to the FBI, which will run them against its extensive criminal database. If the background check reveals that the driver has been convicted of terrorism, espionage, murder or certain other felonies, the driver will be permanently banned from hauling hazardous materials. They also will be banned if they are fugitives or adjudicated as mentally ill.

Critics say this is a “feel-good” resolution. Of course, they will be the first in line to complain if somehow a hazmat driver becomes involved in a terrorist act.

Have you noticed that for those who thrive on angry outrage, whatever attempts are made to make things safer are both useless measures and, at the same time, not enough? So if nothing happens, they can sneer, and if awful destruction occurs they can point fingers. These are the people who cringe at the idea of domestic intelligence because it might involve someone examining their library card use.

In the phrase “useful idiots” it is the noun which is operative here.

Fox News had a video up tonight titled “Warning Signs.”

The FBI in Kansas City is said to be conducting an investigation into a truck-driving school in West Plains, Missouri.

So Central Career SchoolThe South Central Career Center, with its peeling sign out front, offers truck driving lessons. It seems to have attracted a large number of Somali Muslims from a community of Somalis in Kansas City. In the last 18 months, the majority of its students have been Somalians.

Should we be concerned? Probably. Why in the Midwest? Why the concentration of Somalis in this line of work? Is this anything like flight training school except you don’t have to learn to land? Are they bothering to learn how to brake one of those things?

Pay records for schoolIn a way, trucks are of more concern than planes. They are ubiquitous, a commonplace in our everyday landscape. They pass us all the time on the highway and we don’t even notice. An 18 wheeler loaded surreptitiously with something explosively unstable could be a nightmare beyond the wildest imaginings of whatever concerns Dubai Ports raised.

The FBI is investigating, but it isn’t talking. I’ll bet a great many driving schools are under scrutiny. Fox News just happened upon one of them.

Big Pharaoh Says "Go Canada!"

Big Pharaoh has some good news. He doesn’t provide a link to his quotes, but I’m happy to spread them around anyway. Here’s his own comment:

Canada suspended aid to the Hamas-led government. It’s now the first country, besides Israel, to do so. I am surprised. I mean, this is Canada! Does that have to do with the removal of Paul Martin?

Hmm…there’s big clue for you. BP says that Ottawa will continue to give NGO aid for humanitarian assistance. As he notes, they’re the only country besides Israel that refuses aid to Hamas. I thought Secretary Rice said the same thing, but perhaps I missed the news cycle where she backed off?

Canada in a position of strong moral leadership! Here’s BP’s quote:

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the New Hamas Cabinet.

Can you believe this turn?

That’s my good news for the week from the Western world, thanks to Big Pharaoh. And by the way, he’s looking for help in purchasing a laptop. Any of you geeks got an old one hanging around?

And Louise, a commenter on Sandmonkey, had this to say about her country’s new look:

“Yeah!!! Finally. My country gets back to where it should be!! We’ve been a long time hiding under the bed with the dust bunnies. I’m very glad we are now looking beyond our noses and to the wider world. Looking down our noses at the US was getting so tiresome and petty.”

The Sheikh Sits Up And Takes Notice

Sheikh GilaniThe Politics of CP and the Northeast Intelligence Network have gotten the attention of Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani, the Pakistani founder of the terrorist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra.

The Sheikh has released a statement through his cover organization, the Muslims of America, referring to the CP/NEIN Investigative Report:

This highly questionable report about Muslims of the Americas (MOA), their town Islamberg, NY, the International Quranic Open University (IQOU), and the Vice Chancellor of IQOU, is a small part of a campaign of hate, fabricated falsehood, lies, and appalling propaganda aimed at bringing about a clash between Muslims and Christians the world over, and particularly in the United States (U.S.) As the Imam of the Muslims of the Americas and Vice Chancellor of IQOU, I take this opportunity to expose this recurring scheme of deception and falsehood conjured up by vested interests.

…I am going to prove that Douglas J. Hagman and his group are the actual perpetrators of international terrorism, and racial and religious bigotry and their ceaseless campaign of hate, is more damaging to the U.S. than any other country. The U.S. has become a pawn of hidden hands that use America’s wealth and the innocent blood of their sons and daughters to wage their wars against Muslims…

The accounts of the activities of JF in this country – as documented by domestic intelligence and law enforcement, and summarized here in previous posts – are apparently… Well, apparently they’re a figment of our overactive imaginations.

If you aren’t familiar with the Arabic term taqiyya, you might want to start researching it.

As for Sheikh Gilani: go over to CP’s blog and read the rest.

Apostasy and the Rule of Law

Nunc Pro Lunch has linked to the story of Abdul Rahman’s safe arrival in Italy. He also gives some domestic details I wasn’t aware of — i.e., that Rahman’s wife turned him in:

1. His ex-wife denounces him as a convert to Christianity in the context of a bitter custody dispute.
2. Cops search his house and find a Bible.
2. The judge asks him if he is in fact a Christian.
3. He says that he is.

This reminds me of the bitter American divorce disputes when women would accuse fleeing husbands (sometimes rightly so) of abusing the children. There is no hate like the hatred of divorce. Of course, in Afghanistan, abuse of children is probably not up there in its level of seriousness with crimes like apostasy. So I presume she was working with what she had.

Aside from that, Uncle Pavian points out several facts which bear our attention:

This is what lawyers call “a prima facie case”. The Afghan authorities had him dead to rights on what is a capital offense in Afghanistan, and in the normal course of events he would have been beheaded, hanged, had a wall pushed over on him, or something. Instead, the Afghan judicial system caved in to international pressure and dropped the charges.

Abdul Rahman, ApostateThis is good for Brother Rahman, and good for the future of relations between the United States and Afghanistan, and good for the concept of freedom of religion.

However, as he says, this plucking of Abdul Rahman out of the lion’s den does not bode well for the rule of law, which was gotten round in these proceedings. According to Sharia Law, Abdul is guilty and should die. As Uncle Pavian says:

So long as Islam is a religion that has to [kill] its adherents to keep them from leaving, Muslims will bear the burden of demonstrating that they are not barbarians.

That is the Gordian knot which ties Sharia Law into a thicket of brutality the rest of the world fails to comprehend. Praise Allah all you want, but don’t murder your people for thought crimes.

The Chinese face the same chasm in understanding from the rest of the world when they persecute the Falun Gong. However, they –much like their Iranian friends — don’t worry about such matters. Neither is running in the democracy sweepstakes.

From the Archives

From the desk of the editor...

April 14th, 1912.

From:  Mr. Philemon Basingstoke
Features Editor
Conglomerated Press International
New York, NY.
To:  Diarmuid O’Banlon, Esq.
Aboard USS Titanic.
Re:  Crew shakeup story.

Good job on story about resignation of Understeward For Furniture Positioning Andrew Card and replacement with former Assistant Silverware Steward Joshua Bolten. Running on page one.

Liked emphasis on declining popularity of Captain as reflected by passenger polls on arrangement of deck chairs.

But side-story about iceberg had to be cut — readers have no interest. Unless — work an angle that appearance of iceberg is Captain’s fault?

Or maybe iceberg is actually myth put out by senior members of crew to cover up incompetence…?

Look forward to next dispatch.

Israel Votes

Exit Polls

From Vital Perspective, these exit polls are subject to change, but probably not by much.

  TV 10   TV 2   TV 1
Kadima (Moderate)   31   32   29
Labor (Left)   20   22   22
Likud (Right)   12   11   11
Yisrael Beitenu (Right)   12   13   14
Shas (Sephardic)   11   10   11
NRP/NU (Religious)   8   9   8
UTJ (Religious)   6   5   6
Meretz (Left)   5   5   5
Gil (Senior Citizens)   7   6   8
Khadash (Arab Communist)   3   2   2
Balad (Arab)   2   2  
Ram Tal (Arab)   3   3   4

The Jerusalem Post noted that the 63.2% voter turnout was the lowest in years:

only 63.2 percent of Israel’s 5,014,622 eligible voters had turned out at Israel’s 8,280 polling stations to cast their ballots. The figure is the lowest in Israeli elections history, with the next-lowest turnout of 67.8% in the 2003 elections.

Throughout the day, voter turnout at times lagged as much as 12% behind percentages measured in the 2003 elections.

Of course, with the predicted violence from the Palestinian Jihadists, voter confidence may have been a bit shaky, don’t you think?

A note from commenter David on our previous Israeli elections post:

Having just voted in Jerusalem, I read your post.

It is not suicidal shopping. It is an insistence on living normally, despite the threats. I have been in this country since the Yom Kippur War and the worst time I can remember was about three years ago – right before operation “defensive wall”. People stopped going to public spaces. The coffee shops and restaurants were empty(we are a coffee shop oriented culture) as were the malls and main streets. It was scary. It was depressing.

Then, Arik Sharon got it together militarily, took the war to the terrorists, started building the wall/fence and we turned back the terrorist onslaught. We reoccupied our public places. In essence, we won that (chapter of) the war. Ever since, the coffee shops and other public spaces have been full and, I hope, we will not be scared out of them again.

Living normally (and, I should note, well: the quality of the coffee and food in those coffee shops leaves Starbucks in the dust)is the best revenge in the face of terrorism.

The Assimilated Muslim

Another Dane has joined the blogosphere.

Longtime Gates of Vienna commenter Exile has just started his own blog, On the wing. He’s just getting started; as he says, “Watch this space.”

His first post is about the Democratic Muslims, a group of assimilated Danish Muslims who are trying to counter the propaganda, influence, and violence of the extremist imams.

The group is headed up by a fully integrated muslim, now an MP, called Naser Khader. I admire this guy. He has to live under police protection. He has recently received threats (indirectly) against his life and is presently holding a low profile for his own safety and to spend time with his family.

Naser Khader has his own website, but very little of it is in English. Fortunately, Exile has translated an important part of it:

The ten commandments of Democracy.

1.   We must all separate politics and religion, and we must never place religion above the laws of democracy.
2.   We must all respect that all people have equal rights regardless of sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
3.   No person must ever incite to hatred, and we must never allow hatred to enter our hearts.
4.   No person must ever use or encourage violence – no matter how frustrated or wronged we feel, or how just our cause.
5.   We must all make use of dialogue – always.
6.   We must all show respect for the freedom of expression, also of those with whom we disagree the most.
7.   No person can claim for themselves or assign to others a place apart, neither as superior persons, as inferior persons or as eternal victims.
8.   We must all treat other people’s national and religious symbols as we wish them to treat ours – flag-burning and graffiti on churches, mosques and synagogues are insults that hinder dialogue and increase the repression of the other party.
9.   We must all mind our manners in public. Public space is not a stage on which to vent one’s aggressions or to spread fear and hate, but should be a forum for visions and arguments, where the best must win support.
10.   We must all stand up for our opponent if he or she is subjected to spiteful treatment.

This is a good framework in which to build a civil society – more power to Naser Khader.

As Exile says,

That this one man is prepared to put his life on the line and live (or die?) with the consequences of his view of democracy makes him a martyr for me.

The one big difference is, that this particular martyr is still alive.

The more Danes who start blogging, the better, since the truth of what’s happening in Scandinavia (and the rest of Europe) will not come our way via the Legacy Media.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Exile lives in København, aka Copenhagen. I visited the city in the summer of 1967, when I was a teenager. I don’t remember seeing any recognizable Muslims – only Danes, and a scattering of American tourists like myself.

I remember the long warm midsummer evenings, the enchantment of the Tivoli Gardens at night, and arguing with Danish students about the Vietnam war. My brother and I learned two words of Danish: “dva øl” (or something similar), so that we could order beer. I was sixteen, and drinking beer legally! Was this heaven, or what?

I suppose times have changed. Exile, Rune, Henrik, or any other of our Danish readers: can you remember 1967 in København? Is it very different now?

Islam’s Saints

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam
The Christian convert in Afghanistan who faced execution in Afghanistan has been let go, at least for the moment. Because Afghanistan’s President is anxious to join the modern world, which has a secular rule of law, he was able to bring pressure to bear on the Sharia Court to let the religious prisoner go. And because he wants to bring his country into the 21st century, Karzai was open to the urging of world leaders who called him to intervene in this case.

Things will not go so well for the Sharia-shackled prisoners in Iran. The government there is deaf to any pleading, and in fact, is planning its executions in secret so as to fly under the radar of humanitarian groups who might seek to interfere. Here are two current cases:

The first is an 17 year old young woman named Nazanin who was out walking with her niece and their respective boyfriends in March, 2005. The two girls were set upon by three men. When the men began stoning the girls, the boys ran away. Injured from the stones, the girls were dragged to the ground and Act II, the rape, began. Nazanin managed to get out a knife she carried to protect herself from attacks. She stabbed her rapist in the chest and he died from the wound. So, of course, Nazanin now faces execution for this act of self-defense. She was sentenced in January, 2006, though the date of execution isn’t certain.

The second case is an older woman, Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajooh, who murdered her “temporary husband” for his attempted rape of her daughter. The whole sick idea of “temporary marriage” is Sharia-speak for permitting adultery and prostitution, which would otherwise be punishable by execution. “Temporary marriages” can be of any duration — from a quick assignation at lunch — to many years’ duration. You can be married to one woman and still contract with another for a muta. This is largely a Shi’ite permutation, though Sunnis have been known to use it when convenient. Needless to say, built in to this corruption is a lack of protection for the “wife” of these arrangements:

Haghighat-Pajooh was originally scheduled for execution in 2002, however due to international pressure the execution was stayed. Once again however, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s high tribunal has reinstated the ruling and has every intention of seeing the execution through.

Her execution, is reportedly scheduled to take place by or before April 1st, which is the last day of the Persian New Year.

According to various received reports, the Islamic regime is planning to execute her quietly so that any pressure from the international human rights groups can be foiled. The Islamic regime, fearing any further protests and challenges by Iranian women, plans to use Haghighat-Pajooh’s case in order to strike more fear and intimidation in the hearts of Iranian women.

Sharia LawRemember those ugly public executions, devised to be as painful and slow as possible and to show the world Iran’s idea of law? The executions will remain the same, except now they will be done in secret and announced after the fact. Everyone understands now what Iran is, and besides, this secrecy will indeed serve to intimidate Iranian women.

Do you think any world leaders will personally contact Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attempt to make a case for mercy? It would be like spitting into the wind.

Until Islam changes fundamentally its deep principles about the inferiority of women and non-Muslims, it will remain a backward and eventually doomed culture.

I have an idea, though, that might have some impact: each Muslim woman who is killed just because she is a woman ought to be canonized by the Western Christian church.

How does St. Nazanin sound?

They Killed The Picture

Maybe he was just kicking over the traces. Whatever the reason, Supreme Court Justice Atonin Scalia gave a physical demonstation of what he says to those who question his impartiality regarding the separation of church and state.

According to a UPI story on News Monsters and Critics Roundup, Scalia was coming out of church in Boston, on his way to give the keynote address at a Catholic Lawyers Guild luncheon, when a Boston Herald reporter queried him on whether he gets a lot of questioning about his position on this issue.

Scalia showed the reporter what his response to such questioners was, using his hand to make his point.

He claims this hand gesture is a Sicilian expression.

I say it was the communion wine that did it. Not to mention his general relief at having two more conservatives on the bench with him. Or maybe he’s been hanging out with Dick Cheney, a known bad influence.

So, how do the rest of the justices gesticulate to such questions? Any ideas?

By the way, the only photographer to get a good shot of Justice Scalia’s demonstration happens to work for the Boston diocese newspaper. Somehow I don’t think that photo is ever going to see the light of day. That poor photographer is even now gnashing his teeth in the outer darkness.