Saturday, October 15, 2005

Death By Stoning

TEHRAN, Oct 15 (Reuters) - An Iranian woman has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, local media reported on Saturday, although Tehran maintains it no longer executes women in this way.

The woman, named only as Soghra, was found guilty of having an affair with her husband's friend, the Etemad daily reported. She was also given a separate 15-year jail sentence for helping her lover kill her husband.

Will the 15 years come before or after being stoned to death, I wonder ?

Shaggy Ink-Caps From The Curate's Paddock

"Heaven forbid that men should be expected to look after their children" says Deborah Orr in the Indie.

She's quite right. Heaven has forbidden it. Children aren't allowed (well, the odd teenager might get in) and there isn't a creche as far as I know.

Anyway, would you want to leave your childern with this man ?

I've never been particularly fond of shaving, and wore a beard for years. In the 1970s and early 80s I had very long hair, full beard and moustache so only my eyes were visible - a sort of hairy hijab in the style of Trevor Hockey or Doug Scott. When I found myself clean-shaven out in the capitalist world I resented bitterly the fact that while my darling bled every month, I bled every day.

Maybe I shouldn't have used cheap disposable razors.

Via LMWN, a terrific Tech Central piece on razors. I had no idea that
Most men consider a decent razor one of life's little luxuries, and unlike cheapskate me will pay over the odds for a better shave.

Apparently men actually talk to each other about shaving. I must try this sometime at a party. "Studies have shown that men are eager to try alleged improvements in shaving, but they demand results. Word of mouth about some new shaving innovation is very powerful." Come to think of it, I have heard the odd conversation at work about shaving, but I don't think they were talking about chins.

Lord Byron once described it as "a daily plague, which, in the aggregate may average on the whole with parturition." Sane, bad, and dangerous to be in a bathroom with ?

In 1847, an Englishman, William Henson, inspired by garden tools, invented the "hoe type" razor. Isn't that what a rapper would call one of these ?

We had the three-blade Mach3 in the 80s (well some did - I had the Bic). We had the four-blade Quattro in the 90s (I'd made it as far as Superdrug's twin-blade own brand). Stand by for the five-blade Fusion in the near future.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


As the Drink Soaked Trots say, 'Interesting Defence'.

Plain Speaking Priests

What's wrong with our churchmen, asks Magnus Linklater in the Times.

"...they seem to have lost the art of direct and clear communication. That may be because they have been diverted by their own schisms, over women priests, homosexuality or sexual scandals. But is also because they have lost the art of plain speaking."

He obviously hasn't been to Clonard Monastery, home of Father Alec Reid.

Father Alec Reid, a member of the Redemptorist Order and a close friend of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, was involved in angry exchanges with members of the audience at a public meeting in Belfast.

The Catholic priest said: “The reality is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated almost like animals by the Unionist community. They were not treated like human beings. They were treated like the Nazis treated the Jews.”


The Policeman's blog - at once one of the funniest, most informative and well-written blogs around - has hit the buffers.

Possibly as the result of the Mail On Sunday printing two pages of the blog. Without payment or even attribution. Words fail me. Maybe his Chief Constable didn't like it. I imagine the police could track an anonymous blogger without too much difficulty - or could they ?

A Giles Hattersley (presumably the son of the chap who would really rather have had the Williams sisters for his children) also bigs the Copper up in the Sunday Times.

Get the archives while they're still there.

(via the Bunny and Tim Worstall).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"you don't have to be white to be a fascist"

Danny Bermant (son of Chaim) on the remarkable contrast between the State's treatment of the BNP and that of Al Mahajiroun.

"It all goes to show that where there's a will, there's a way, and over the last eight years, the Government has been more willing to prove it's multicultural credentials than to take action that might be construed as "anti-muslim". "

A month or two later, Dennis MacShane was fessing up. Those people on the tube were killed partly because their defenders were too worried about being seen to agree with the Sun and the Daily Mail.

“My generation of Labour MPs don’t want to indulge in anything that smacks of Muslim typecasting or hostility. And as we tried very hard not to be like Norman Tebbit or the more ugly tabloids, it’s fair to say we failed to work out an adequate political response to Islamist politics in the UK.”

Cowboy Diplomacy

Last weekend I found myself in a book sale, and left with Bernard Lewis 'The Crisis of Islam' and Albert Speer's 'Inside The Third Reich'.

I like to think that Lewis spent years in obscurity (i.e. I hadn't heard of him), beavering away on works like 'The Arabs In History' and 'The Emergence of Modern Turkey' before 9/11 happened and the world wanted to know more - a lot more - about Islam. He certainly knows his stuff. I'd like to read 'Race and Slavery In The Middle East' next.

Speer's book is gripping - even though you know the ending, you have to read on. Stayed up till two-thirty to finish all 700-odd pages and did the copious footnotes (themselves as long as Lewis' entire book) this evening.

An incident from each book illustrates that aggressiveness - even a 'cowboy' approach - can sometimes be the safest, most peaceful option. There can be little doubt that firmer action by Britain and France would have stopped Hitler before WWII - instead he and Mussolini became convinced of our decadence and lack of will. By the time he found out his mistake it was too late - for him and for Europe. If Chamberlain had brought Churchill into government before Munich might not Europe have been saved ?

Albert Speer :

He (Hitler) stuck unswervingly to his opinion that the West was too feeble, too worn out, and too decadent to begin the war seriously. Possibly it was also embarrassing for him to admit to his entourage and above all to himself that he had made a mistake. I still remember his consternation when the news came that Churchill was going to join the British War Cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. With this ill-omened report in his hand, Goering stepped out of the door of Hitler's salon. He dropped into the nearest chair and said wearily "Churchill in the Cabinet. That means that the war is really on."

Bernard Lewis :

One of the most surprising revelations in the memoirs of those who held the American Embassy in Teheran from 1979 to 1981 was that their original intention had been to hold the building and the hostages for only a few days. They changed their minds when statements from Washington made it clear that there was no danger of serious action against them. They finally released the hostages, they explained, only because they feared that the president-elect, Ronald Reagan, might approach the problem "like a cowboy".

I don't suggest the aggressive approach is a panacea. What happened in the Rhineland, at Munich and in Teheran was that a bluff was not called.

I don't recommend sabre-rattling witb an entire population either - unless you're looking for war, that is. People en masse react very poorly to threats - even if they objectively are doomed to lose and should back down.


Busy bunny ? No time to read the papers, let alone blog about them ? Ashamed of your miserly post rate ?

You need non-blogging coaching from a master.

"Anyway, I'd best get my tea down my neck and tootle off to work soon. Cheers."

Liam's World shows how to non-blog in style.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Church Of England - May Contain Traces Of Christianity

Strike a light. Both Rasputin and the Bishop of Oxford have taken time out from the Church's 2,000 year struggle for gay marriage, women bishops, Fairtrade chocolate, apologies for the Crusades/imperialism/Iraq War/Girls Aloud/whatever - in order to argue that doctors shouldn't be able to kill their patients. Even with their consent.

I won't go into the practical reasons why again - I wrote about 'assisted suicide' and my mother's death here.

But there's a religious reason too - one which Christians, Jews and Muslims can all agree on.

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More NHS News

Remember the dying woman who was told by the new NHS 24 service to take two paracetamol ?

This case doesn't sound too cheerful, either.

The nurse said the patient had sounded breathless, as if he had an upper respiratory infection.

Mr Flynn said it had not occurred to him how Mr Wiseman had reached the phone.

However, he admitted that if he had known the patient had to crawl it would have made a difference.

Turks "Lack The Guilt And Self-Hatred Of Good Europeans"

The Pub Philosopher explains the necessary cultural adjustments Turkey has to make to become fully European.

In parallel to action at government level, Turkey will need to develop a coterie of journalists and academics who will constantly remind it of its evil past. Turkish equivalents of Seamus Milne and Madeleine Bunting will be needed if the Turks are to develop a sense of their imperial guilt. The new liberal journalists will need to write pieces like this:

Of course, the massacre of Muslims by Serbs at Srebrenica is a terrible atrocity but it has to be seen in the broader context of Turkish imperialism. The Ottoman Empire's use of Muslim converts to subjugate the local Slavs inevitably created a deep-rooted resentment. We need to acknowledge the role that Turkey has played in creating the current blood-bath in Yugoslavia.

Or this:

For years we have allowed the British to take the blame for the creation of Israel on Palestinian territory. In fact, the British occupation of Palestine in 1918 got Turkey off the hook. The pre-war sale of land to Jewish immigrants by corrupt Ottoman officials was always going to lead to trouble with the Arabs. Fortunately for us, someone else picked up the problem.

A Teensy Postette

At Biased BBC.