Monday, September 30, 2013

Sex on train tracks thrilling but deadly

Does this look to you like a good place to have sex? Thrilling, maybe, but safe, definitely not! And yet a 30-something Ukrainian woman and her 41-year-old partner did just that, on the train tracks running through the middle of Kiev.

The pair had been walking home after a night out, this past weekend, when they felt the urge to have sex. "Returning from our friends', my girlfriend and I could not overcome our passionate nature and wanted to feel a sense of thrill near a railway track," the man reportedly told police in a statement. The cops confirmed that drink had been taken.

Caught by a train with their pants down, the amorous pair suffered dire consequences of giving in to their lust. The woman was killed instantly and the man has his legs amputated below the knee. The woman thus leaps to the top of the heap (of corpses) in the race for this year's Gold Darwin Award.

According to Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs, in a release picked up by the International Business Times, police have opened a criminal probe over a potential safety violation. They did not say whether the person under investigation is the legless lover or the train driver. The latter has denied saying that he didn't give a hoot. "I did give a hoot -- two or three hoots, in fact," he told police, "but the couple just kept on f*cking."

[Is the asterisk part of the Ukrainian alphabet? Ed.]

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Islamic extremists don't discriminate; they kill anyone and everyone

Walt has given up keeping score -- too many games in progress -- but notes two more massacres in Africa and Asia, and that's just within the last 24 hours.

As if the body counters in Pakistan weren't busy enough with last weekend's bombing outside an Anglican church (not forgetting this week's earthquake) they now have to hustle back to Peshawar, where twin blasts killed 33 people and wounded 70 today.

Although no-one has claimed responsibility for today's bombings, the style of the massacre -- suicide bombs exploded near a mosque and a crowded market -- is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the Taliban. In case no-one noticed, Reuters tells us "Islamist violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to tame the insurgency by launching peace talks with the Taliban."

Reuters also quotes "one woman in a long headscarf" ["niqab" surely. Ed.] as wailing "Who is burning Peshawar, who is burning Peshawar?" Answers on the back of a postage stamp to Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in the most dangerous country in Africa [By whose account? Ed.] Islamist gunmen have attacked the Yobe State College of Agriculture in northeastern Nigeria, killing 44 students, or maybe it was 50. Casualty figures vary, but a local politician told the BBC that two vanloads of bodies had been taken to a hospital in the state capital.

The students were shot dead as they slept in their dormitory. Yobe state and most of northern Nigeria is under a state of emergency because of an insurgency by the Boko Haram group of Islamic fundamentalists.

They are fighting (so they say) to overthrow Nigeria's government and create an Islamic state. To this end, they've been attacking schools which teach "unIslamic things", regardless of whether the students are Muslims or "infidels". This, they say, will somehow weaken the Great Satan -- the USA -- and thus... well, as with most of what happens in Africa, the point is unclear.

Walt notes, however, that the majority of victims of today's mass killings were (probably) Muslims. Which proves that the Islamic fundamentalists are not anti-Christian, as many say. Well, not just anti-Christian. Seems as if they're against anyone and everyone who isn't Islamic enough.

Where to read the news online FREE

Walt's nomination for Worst Invention of the 21st Century (so far) is the paywall. Newspapers desperate to inflate flaccid revenue streams think paywalls are wonderful, but (let us hope) the wish may be father to the thought.

We shall see. Making people pay to read crap online is still highly experimental, as the lamestream print media juggle different models of pricing and content. The San Francisco Chronicle has abandoned its test, but I am unaware of any other major market newspaper that you can read online without paying after a handful of free articles each month.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that readership of online papers goes waaaaay down after they are cloistered behind a firewall. Canada's Globe and Mail has tacitly admitted as much, and now advises would-be readers, when they reach the "free limit" that there's still plenty of stuff to read without paying. Unfortunately the "stuff" is really fluff -- lifestyle, the arts, and similar dreck that fills up space in the print edition. Nobody reads it in print and methinks no-one reads it online either -- not even for free!

It is also reported that the New York Times is building a fairly large online subscriber base. So is The Economist -- the only one Walt pays for -- but it's hard to tell in their case because you get access to the online edition as part of a package with your subscription to the print version.

Can it be that we must rely on TV "news" to find out what's going on in the world? Where can we go to read the news online without being nickel-and-dimed to death? Walt has four recommendations for you, presented in alphabetical order.

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Hey, where do you think the US (and many other countries') newspapers get their stuff from? Cut out the middleman! Best source (IMHO) for US news. Since they serve media outlets from left to right, there's not much political commentary.

BBC - That would stand for "British Broadcasting Corporation", if you're from another planet and didn't know. The website is the Internet version of the BBC World Service. Comprehensive and balanced coverage of news from everywhere, plus sports (too much soccer) and entertainment and other fluff. Best source for news from the UK. Many weird foreign language versions, including Kyrgyz, Nepali and Pashto. Where else could you find that?!

CBCnews - What the BBC is to the UK, the Canadian Broadcorping Castration is to Canada. Very good news website, not quite so "foreign" to American readers. About the only place Canucks can find lots of stories from and about the Great Not-so-white North.

Reuters - The other big source for the lamestream papers. Strong on business and finance. Click on the drop-down menu beside the "Reuters" logo at the top, and you'll find 15 (count `em, 15!) regional editions, including sites for Canada and China.

So there you go. You can unbookmark whichever print rags you've been cursing. These four news websites are all ye need.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's not the cough that carries you off...

It's the coffin they carry you off in!

Can't recall where I heard or read that, but I think it's about time we changed the channel from Islamic extremism to something a little lighter. [Yes, we've had quite enough terrorism for one week. Ed.] So with the help of Casselman's Canadian Words, I will tell you about the Smith Brothers.

And there they are. Thanks to this label for Smith Brothers® Cough Drops, many people have joked -- or sincerely believed -- that the two bearded brothers were figments of an advertising copywriter's imagination, and were named Trade and Mark. That's what the label says, eh.

Not so, however. Their family name is indeed "Smith". On the left is William Wallace Smith. His brother Andrew is on the right. They were the sons of one James Smith, who came from his native Scotland to St. Armand, Québec in 1831. Bill was born in the auld country, and Andy in Canada. The family moved to Poughkeepsie, NY in 1847. [Whatever for? Ed.]

Perhaps it was the insalubrious climate of upstate New York that moved James (who had been a restauranteur in Québec but was in the restaurant business in the USA) to buy a cough syrup recipe from one Sly Hawkins in 1852. Legend has it that a batch sat in an unstoppered bottle for too long and hardened. Rather than lose his goods, James busted the congealed mass with a hammer, and sold the pieces as "cough drops". So now you know.

[Walt, are you sure about this? I couldn't find anything about that last bit in Mr. Casselman's book or Wikipedia. Ed.] What? You don't believe me? James Smith was a Scot, wasn't he! If you can think of a better story, tell it!

Al-Shabaab attacks police station, Catholic church in Kenya

Yes, gentle readers, the jihad continues in Kenya. Al-Shabaab may have lost five "martyrs" in the Westgate Mall massacre, but there are still enough left to wage more terrorist attacks against other targets.

L'Osservatore Romano reports that a Roman Catholic church in northern Kenya was attacked yesterday. Assailants believe to be members of the Somali terrorist group lobbed two grenades at the church in Wajir, then shot at police before making their escape.

At about the same time, gunmen opened fire on police in another nearby town, killing two cops and wounding three others. That the attacks are part of a war on "infidels" was underlined yesterday evening when Ahmed Abdi Godane, a leader of the Islamic extremists, said in an internet message that the attacks were a message to Westerners and to Kenya. "There will be more blood," said the devout follower of "the religion of peace".

"Kaffirs!" Muslim extremists ARE out to get you!

Those who know (or think they know) something of the history and culture of South Africa may think that "kaffir" was an Afrikaans derogatory term for blacks -- like the N-word in the USA. In fact, it's a much older Arabic word for a non-believer, someone who is not a follower of the Prophet Muhammad. That's what the Muslim terrorists call the rest of us.

The politically correct apologists for al-Shabaab, the armed Somali Islamic extremist group that attacked a shopping mall in Kenya, are up in arms [Bad rib! Ed.] over portrayals of the terrorists as, errr, Islamic extremists out to murder non-believers. Some lamestream pundits are saying that, oh noooo, they're just Somali patriots fighting against the evil Kenyans who've invaded their homeland.

Well, that's not what the Islamic extremists themselves are saying. In an e-mail exchange with Associated Press, reported today in HuffPost, a spokesthingy for al-Shabaab said that foreigners were a "legitimate target" and confirmed witness accounts that gunmen tried to let Muslims go free while killing or taking the others captive.

AP quotes the terrorists as saying "The Mujahideen carried out a meticulous vetting process at the mall and have taken every possible precaution to separate the Muslims from the kaffirs before carrying out their attack."

Eye-witnesses have said the gunmen rounded up people, asked questions about Islam that only a Muslim would know how to answer, and told the Muslims to leave the mall. Out of 72 dead counted so far, at least 18 were foreigners, including six Brits, and nationals of France, Canada, Trinidad, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China. The current death toll is 67 and is likely to climb with uncounted bodies remaining in the rubble of the Nairobi mall.

Walt's advice to fellow kaffirs: don't go to Kenya or Egypt or Syria or [Ed., please insert another dozen or so north African and Middle Eastern countries]. Stay somewhere safe, where there are no Muslim terrorists. Like, say, Boston. [Ed., maybe that wasn't a good choice. Please insert name of a country or city where there's no threat from the jihadists.]

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fanatical Muslim imams preach jihad against non-believers

To begin with, a mild apology for not updating the death tolls in the Islamic extremist attacks on non-Muslims in Kenya and Pakistan. Last I heard the official count was 72 in Kenya, not counting the 5 or 11 Somali terrorists nor the 137 hostages al-Shabaab (the terrorists) say are buried in the rubble. As for Pakistan, the count in Peshawar has been suspended because all counters are now occupied with yesterday's earthquake elsewhere in the sandpit.

The killing by radical Muslims of somewhere between 100 and 200 "infidels" is still drawing a few (but only a few) comments in the lamestream Western media, which doesn't follow such stories for more than a day unless the victims are (mostly) American. There's been more pissing and moaning about the dozen killed at the Navy Yard by a demented black man who was (Allah be praised) not Muslim.

Still, some commentators are actually daring to be politically incorrect enough to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the most recent terror attacks are all part of a worldwide jihad -- "holy war" -- against Christians. Writing in the Toronto Sun, Tarek Fatah [What part of Eire is he from? Ed.] asks "Have Islamist jihadis declared world war?"

It's not really a good question, but Walt will provide the answer anyway. The answer is YES.

But don't take Walt's word for it. Listen to Most Rev. Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. In an interview with Oasis, a journal of the Patriarchate of Venice, the prelate lamented the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. "The major urgency now," he said "is to set straight the religious discourse of so many imams who, from within their mosques, preach violence against non-Muslims."

"We are dramatically concerned about the US threats to attack Syria," he added. "The Syrian bishops emphasize that the persecution of Christians by rebels is an objective reality."

But, Abp. Twal cautioned, it's not just the Muslims who are against the Christians. "To this pain," he continued, "is added another. The focus of attention is displaced. Nobody talks anymore about the Israeli military occupation, about the Wall, about the lack of freedom to reach the Holy Places. Meanwhile, our situation is not getting any better. From being exceptional it has become commonplace."

In the Middle Ages, the Church and the rulers of Christendom -- a more appropriate name for Europe then than now -- embarked on Crusades to protect the faithful in the Holy Land and take back the Holy Places from the Jews and the followers of the Prophet.

The fashion nowadays is to call those holy wars misguided or worse. Nowadays we are urged by our religious and secular leaders to pray for those who curse us, and to reach out to embrace those who do not share our Faith. It's all about Drawing All Faiths Together... DAFT, isn't it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Confusion and gunfire in [fill in name of African country]

Actually it's Kenya. Walt is trying to get a final body count from the al-Shabaab [rough translation = "young guys". Ed.] terrorist attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall, but official sources keep telling different stories. One minister says the army has everything under control. Another says there "may" still be terrorists (and hostages, and maybe some more corpses) inside the building. SNAFU.

It's now the fourth day of the Islamic extremists' occupation of the mall, the purpose of which was to kill a bunch of non-Muslims in retaliation for the Kenyan army's incursions into the failed state that was Somalia. The connection between an upscale shopping centre and the fighting in Mogadiscio is as clear as anything ever is in Africa.

The attack has come at a time when several violent Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya -- tapping into local grievances but all espousing an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed -- are striking at state authority and international interests.

And of course it's not just Africa. "Forens" and "infidels" aren't safe anywhere in the Middle East. Especially places like:
Afghanistan -- 3 western "military advisers" killed on the weekend by someone in an Afghan army uniform
Syria -- local Christians imploring the USA and UN not to give help or support to the anti-Assad rebels, who they call Islamic extremists masquerading as democracts, and
Pakistan -- death toll in the suicide bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar now holding at 85.

The Muslims have declared jihad -- "holy war" -- on the rest of us. True Christians would turn the other cheek. But not all those being killed or threatened are such Christians... or are they?

Further reading: 7 things you should know about Somalia's al-Shabaab militants, from CBCNews.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Open season on Christians: latest from Kenya and Pakistan

For those keeping score, the latest death toll in attacks by Islamic extremists [Is there any other kind? Ed.] reported here this morning is: 68 dead in Kenya, 78 in Pakistan. But the fat lady hasn't sung yet in Kenya, where some of the Somali terrorists are still lurking in the shopping mall. It's possible they're hiding amongst the pork carcasses in the butchery, where they figure the Israeli SWAT team won't be looking.

Cutting back to Pakistan, the two Taliban suicide bombers strapped to themselves packs of ball bearings and scrap iron, so the amount of shrapnel flying around was horrendous and the number of injured is said to be in the hundreds. In Kenya, the official count of injured stands at 175, with many expected to move into the "deceased" column. Death tolls in both countries will certainly rise.

Recommended reading:
"It’s open season on Christians in Syria and across the Muslim world", by Matthew Fisher, in today's National Post.

Muslims kill dozens of "infidels" in attacks in Kenya, Pakistan

Just time for two items from this morning's news headlines.

Item: 59 dead in Kenya mall attack - An upscale Nairobi shopping mall is now entering its second day under a violent siege that killed 59 "non-Muslims"... so far. A militant Islamist group called al-Shabaab -- Somalis linked to al-Qaeda -- has claimed responsibility for the assault, which targeted non-Muslims. Witnesses say Muslims were told to stand up and identify themselves, after which they were told to get out of the building before the shooting started.

Israeli "advisers" are said to be hunkered down with Kenyan forces this morning, figuring out how to flush out the radical Muslims still holding hostages inside the mall. When it comes to dealing with crazed Muslims, who ya gonna call?! Don't count on the Hindus or the Christians!

Item: Muslim attackers kill 60 in attack on Pakistani Christian church - The Pakistan wing of the Taliban is ahead of al-Shabaab by one, after a pair of suicide bombers detonated powerful explosives outside a historic church in northwestern Pakistan today. Over 60 people worshippers were killed in the deadliest-ever attack on the country's Christian minority.

The bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar wounded another 120 people. The Associated Press report underlines the threat posed by Islamic extremists as the Pakistani government seeks a peace deal with domestic Taliban militants. AP says it will likely intensify criticism from those who believe that negotiating peace with militants is a mistake. [Shome mishtake, surely! Ed.]

Anyone besides Walt see a pattern here? Does the word "jihad" mean anything to anyone? Maybe it is time to unleash the Israelis!

Québec is NOT multicultural, says ex-premier Landry

Former Québec Premier Bernard Landry has reiterated his statement that la Belle Province "is not and should not be multicultural". Yesterday in Montréal, he told Génération Nationale that the Parti Québecois proposed Charter of Québec Values is simply a reflection of the historical and democgraphic facts.

Different ethnicities have been part of the Quebec nation since the earliest days, M. Landry told the sovereignist group, adding he has six different ethnic groups in his own family tree.

M. Landry said the debate now gripping the province is "intense" but civilized and reflects well on the people of Québec and on the PQ provincial government. The provincial Liberals should have done it years ago, he said, "but didn’t have the courage."

He might have added that there are a lot of Canadians in TROC who would like their federal or provincial governments to put similar legislation on the books, if only they had the cojones. Chances of such a proposal being made by any party of any political stripe anywhere (else) in Canada are slim and none.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ukrainian Catholics leaning in the wrong direction?

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk is the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern rites which are in communion with Rome and part of the universal Catholic Church. The Ukrainian Catholics, unlike the Orthodox, look west, towards Rome, and are thus somewhat pleased to see their country moving towards a closer association with the European Union.

They must be wondering, though, to hear the head of the Church, Francis the Party Pope, hinting at a softening of the Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality. Could it be that as the Ukrainians are moving towards the West, the western (Roman) Church is moving towards secularism and away from the principles for which it has stood for two thousand years?

In an interview with the Regional Council of Lviv -- the major city of the western Ukraine -- Abp. Shevchuk decried the haste of his country to harmonize Ukrainian legislation with that of Europe, so to "adopt the diseases of the Western society."

"In European legislation," the prelate continued, "I see no mention of the Christian roots of the culture. We are mistaken if we think that in order to have European prosperity we need to come down with these illnesses.

"Among the requirements of the European community are pseudo-values. The EU looks like a teenager who is testing the limits of morality and needs a Christian education. Europe was built not on same-sex marriages, but on the respect for human dignity, the protection of human rights and freedoms, on honesty in politics and business.

"On these foundations Europe arose, but it has forgotten about it. These are the values ​​which today the Church defends in our society. When it comes to the protection of life from its natural beginning to natural end, then it is the basis for the opposition to euthanasia, abortion, and other acts that violate the dignity of life."

It seems to Walt that Abp. Shevchuk was speaking of the Church as he understands it. The values of which he speaks were those held by Holy Mother Church (and the nominally Christian countries of the West) once upon a time. But if you listen to Pope Francis, you might well wonder if that time has passed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Survey says... lots of Canucks biased against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs etc

Whoda thunk it? Canadians, always so smug about being tolerant and inclusive, celebrating diversity and all that BS, secretly dislike certain minority groups. That would include those they can recognize by their religious headgear and facial shrubbery.

After the Parti Québecois got the "conversation" started by proposing a Charter of Québec Values, it was inevitable that the public opinion pollsters would ask people -- in both la Belle Province and TROC -- how they felt about the accommodation of religious and ethnic minority cultures. That's what the fuss is all about -- whether it's time for the multiculti tail to stop wagging the Québec and/or Canadian dogs.

Today's National Post reports the results of a Forum poll on multiculturalism. The results may be dismaying to the "progressive thinkers" who dominate Canadian media and politics, but should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who listens to the conversations at Tim Horton's.

Turns out that about half of Bloc Québecois and Parti Québecois supporters think that Muslims and Jews have too much influence in their province, while nearly a third of British Columbians think the same of "Sikhs and Asians". [Aren't Sikhs Asians? Or do they mean Chinese? I'm confused! Ed.]

That sentiment is particularly pronounced in Québec -- exactly what Pauline Marois is counting on -- but the rest of Canada (TROC) isn't far behind, with about a third of Canadians saying Muslims have too much influence in their home provinces. Hey, Steve Harper! Hey, Jason Kenney! Are you listening? See? It's not just a few rednecks in Mississauga or Surrey.

Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff told the Post, “If the Charter of Quebec Values is an example of the Parti Québecois practising dog whistle appears there are plenty of ears tuned to that particular frequency for the message to fall on.”

Speaking of Jews, while less than a fifth of Canadians say that Jews have too much influence, about 32% of Quebeckers think they are too powerful. Canada's largest and strongest community of orthodox Jews is to be found in Montréal. Not long ago a Jewish school in that city was successful in getting the neighbouring YMCA to paint over its windows so the innocent Jewish kids would be spared the sight of scantily clad goyim playing basketball.

In Ontario, it's the francophones -- French speakers, to non-Canadian readers -- who are on the merdeux end of the stick, with 26% of respondents saying the Frenchies [Good job on avoiding the other "Fr" word. Ed] are too powerful. You certainly don't hear the language of Molière much in places like Kingston and Kitchener.

The poll was conducted by Interactive Voice Response on September 16th and 17th among a randomly selected sample of 1527 Canadians 18 years of age and older. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%, 19 times out of 20. Walt guesses you could call the poll a cross section of Canadian public opinion. No hyphen.

Teenaged African rapist to be "canned"

Walt's agent in Zimbabwe -- who refuses to take a number and thus must be referred to only as SeeZee -- sends the following report from the online edition of NewsDay, which we republish verbatim.

A HARARE teenager yesterday was lucky to escape a prison sentence for raping a six-year-old girl after the court ordered that he be canned for the crime.

Regional magistrate Fadzai Mtombeni convicted the teenager for contravening the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The 13–year–old boy from Waterfalls had denied the allegations of rape, but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.

“The accused to receive a moderate corporal punishment of six strokes with a rattan cane to be administered in private at Harare Remand Prison by a designated prison officer,” ruled Mtombeni.

Allegations against the boy were that he had sexual intercourse with a neighbour’s daughter without her consent. It was the State’s case that on March 8 this year, the complainant was playing with two friends. It is alleged that one of the friend’s sisters then called the two and they went away leaving the complainant alone.

The accused then called the complainant who responded and they went into a nearby maize field where he laid her down under a tree surrounded by maize stalks. He then removed the girl’s panties and had intercourse with her.

When the complainant went back home, she asked her father for some water to bathe and the father referred her to the mother. When the mother was just about to bathe her, she discovered that she was bleeding. When she asked her what had transpired, the complainant refused to speak. She then took her to the police where the girl finally opened up and disclosed what had happened, leading to the arrest of the accused person.

Such is the state of "journalism" in a country which once had one of the highest literacy rates in the Dark Continent. Of course that was in the bad old days of colonialism.

Accept Québec values, black PQ minister warns immigrants

Ouais, Virginie, there are black people in Québec. One such is Maka Kotto, a former politician from Caméroun (a.k.a. Cameroon -- it's in Africa) who immigrated to Canada in 1990 and eventually drifted into, errr, politics. No surprise there. Now he's the current Minister of Tokenism [Culture and Communications, shurely! Ed.] in the Parti Québecois government.

That's the government that has just introduced a Charter of Québec values. If it becomes law, it will ban the wearing of religious headgear and other "overt" religious symbols -- a large crucifix, for example -- in any public workplace in la Belle Province.

Even though he's an immigrant and a vizmin, M Kotto agrees with the proposed charter. He told the Globe and Mailthat when he moved to France, he had to leave in Africa the panther's head that he used to wear on his chest.

Walt wouldn't kid you. M Kotto described himself to the interviewer as a “Catholic, with shamanistic tendencies”. Sounds typical of a member of the modern Church, but I digress. He was describing how "if I wanted to play the mystic, I could go around with my panther’s head on my chest. It’s my family totem. But I don’t, because I adhere to what are accepted as the values of the society that welcomed me.”

As the Assemblée Nationale resumed sitting yesterday, M Kotto said the Charter “applies to me too. When people arrive in a new family, the least we can do is to consider the values of the family and accept their values.”

And that's really the point. It's not that the sight of hijabs and turbans and Muslims praying in the streets makes Québecois see red [orange, surely. Ed.], although it does. The point is that people who choose to move into a land and culture which is not their own should make an effort to conform -- in public at least -- to the norms of that land and culture.

No matter what the lamestream media and the "experts" tell you, that's the majority opinion in America, Australia, Britain and Canada. Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature, and the "intellectuals", "progressives" and politicians who are forcing the wind of "diversity" down our throats will surely reap the whirlwind. Walt is telling you so.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charities! Take your "Xmas cards" and post them!

Here it is only half-past September and the first packet of charity "Christmas cards" just arrived at Walt's cabin in the woods. A few years back I made a donation to the National Enuresis Society, and every fall since then I get a big envelope of cards and stickers from them... and from a dozen other charities to whom they've sold their sucker list.

Sending out such packages is a time-honoured direct mail fundraising technique. It's an appeal to guilt. Although you're not legally obliged to pay for them, you're likely to use them and of course you feel obliged to send a donation. "Just give what you think they're worth. I mean, you'd pay $10 for a dozen cards at the Hallmark store, wouldn't you?"

Maybe I would pay that much... if I were the kind of person who sends out Christmas cards. But I wouldn't buy cards that had an advertising message inside and/or on the back. I wouldn't buy Christmas cards that are poorly designed and cheaply produced. And I certainly wouldn't buy Christmas cards that don't say "MERRY CHRISTMAS"!

Yet here's what I'm seeing on the cards I got today: "Season's Greetings"; "Not a creature was stirring" (picture of sleeping yellow puppy); "Happy holidays" (GRRRRRRRR!!!); and "Let it snow, let it snow", with some cute penguins rarely seen singing "winter songs" outside my front door.

Noooo... Walt won't be using these, let alone paying for them. If you get a Christmas card from me, it will have a picture of the Madonna and Her Divine Son and the text will wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas and God's blessing in the new year.

I have sent a note to the charity concerned (using their prepaid envelope) suggesting that they stop being so politically correct. Call me mean-spirited if you like, but I think it's about time the Christian majority -- if there is such a thing, any more -- stood up for the proper celebration of a Christian religious holiday!

This one's taking off! Are you in?

Walt has a longstanding interest in commercial aviation. The first "big airplane" I flew in was a BOAC Super Constellation, which really dates me. Since then I've flown in some excellent aircraft, including the the DC-8 ("Old Smoky") and the Lockheed L-1011, beloved of those who flew them but not by the beancounters flying desks at the world's airlines.

Here's a new passenger jetliner, coming soon to an airline and/or airport near you.

She's the Bombardier CS100, which took to the skies at YMX yesterday morning, after nearly 9 months of delays to make sure everything was just right for the maiden flight. And so it was.

The CSeries is the first larg(ish) jetliner to be manufactured by Bombardier, heretofore known for executive and regional jets as well as smooth and quiet turboprops. [Don't forget about the Skidoos! Ed.] The CS100 is a bigger plane, capable of taking 110 to 145 pax clear across the continent with no stops.

With the new "big airplane", Bombardier will be competing with the smaller ends of the Airbus and Boeing product lines, but yesterday's flight suggests the CSeries has a Unique Selling Proposition. (A doff of the adman's hat to the late Rosser Reeves.) The new plane is super-quiet, roughly 15 decibels quieter than a B737, or only roughly as loud as Bombardier’s Q400s turboprops.

That should silence the NIMBY types who want to keep jets out of smaller downtown airports like YTZ and the new airport which London Mayor Boris Johnson proposes to locate in the middle of the Thames. Bombardier already has orders for 177 of the aircraft, but is on track to sell 300 by the time it enters service, in about 12 months.

Bombardier has said it aims to capture half of the 6,900 deliveries expected in the 100-to-149-seat segment of the commercial aircraft market over the next two decades. With the airline industry making a slow but steady recovery, I think the CSeries could be very profitable for Bombardier. The company's shares are trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange at around $5. I'm in!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Don't be afraid to say something!

Walt here, after a much-needed break for some r'n'r. (To Michael Matt, I mean "rest and relaxation", not "rock 'n' roll"!) Thanks to Len for keeping WWW going in my absence, and Ed. for his carrying the hose the whole time. (Fans of Walt Kelly's Pogo will know what I mean.)

We had a delightful eyeball-to-eyeball at our cabin in the woods last week, with Agents 3, 9, 78 all in the same room with Walt, Len and Ed. Drink was taken and much discussion ensued, anent the dreadful state of the world in general, the Church in particular and other subjects of interest.

Agent 9 said he couldn't understand why we don't see more comments following our outrageous and quasi-outrageous posts. I suspect that it's because a lot of our readers are just looking at the pix. (You know the ones I mean.)

Ed. wondered if readers feel constrained by his policy of moderating all comments which are submitted. In reality, not that many comments come in, and most of those do get published, even if they're critical of our stand on (for example) homosexuality. Even if ye disagree with Walt, as long as ye keep a civil tongue in yer `ead, ye shall be heard... or read.

How to get the comments box open. If you're on the landing page -- the one with the latest half-dozen or so posts -- you need to click on the title of the post you wish to comment on. That post only will open up in a new window or new tab. The comments box will appear at the bottom. Knock yourself out.

If you want to give us feedback on anything at all, click here to e-mail Ed. The spam filter works, so don't bother. If you feel like writing nothing more than a suggestion that we perform an anatomical impossibility, go ahead. We know all those words and treat them with the respect they deserve.

One last thought... If you follow the links from WWW to other blogs and websites, and are moved to contact them, tell them Walt sent ya! Thanks for reading.

Miss India faces abuse over American descent

Amerika Hjalvarsen has been the victim of Twitter abuse after becoming the first woman of American descent to be crowned Miss India.

After her victory at Mumbai's famous Dharavi Beach resort, the 24-year-old beauty queen, who was born in Syracuse, New York, and is believed to be a practising Lutheran, said: "I'm so happy this country has at last truly embraced diversity.... I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new, blonde Miss India."

But others were not so happy with the success of the "Bengali tigress", who after her reign wants to join Mother Theresa's Sisters of Charity, and is applying to medical school with the help of a Rs 5,000,000,000 (US$50) scholarship she won as part of the pageant title.

Some people accused her of not being Indian. Others said she looked like a Hollywood film star, not a modest and decent Indian girl. One Twitter user, DelhiRobinson9, wrote: "I am literally sooo mad right now a blue-eyed FOREN won. #MissIndia"

Patel48592945 added: "How the **** does a foreigner win miss India? She is a ******* Swede! #idiots"
Ali_oop said: "It's called Miss India. Get outta here Calcutta you overfed white pig. #india4indians"

And another user said: "Well they just picked a Christian for Miss India. That must've made the pope happy. Maybe he had a vote."

Others took to Twitter to defend her, however. Another user, Norske69, tweeted: "A country full of racists. That is India. #MissIndia". And PradaForever tweeted: "So Indians and Americans are the same now? O for sure.. #MissIndia".

Ms Hjalvarsen, whose talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance, brushed aside the negative comments about her. "I have to rise above that," she said. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost a bimbo." [Is this right? Ed.]
"I am very, very happy for the girl. It was her dream and it was fulfilled," said 89-year-old Vijay Koteshwaramma, speaking by phone from his home in the city of Syracuse in upstate New York, USA. He said there were numerous doctors in the family, both in the US and India, and if his granddaughter wanted to become one "I am sure she will do it."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Québec's Charter of Values exposing hypocrisy of TROC

The debate over the proposed Charter of Québec Values is generating lots of heat both within and without la Belle Province. The latest public opinion polls put support for the Charter inside Québec at anywhere from 66% to 85% in TROQ -- The Rest Of Québec, c'est à dire outside of Montréal.

In what was once Canada's most important city, the percentages would be about the same, against the Charter. When you think about why this might be, consider the composition of the once-greatest professional hockey team, the Montréal Canadiens. The sad fact is that today's Glorieux have almost no players who could be called pure laine canadiens. Flying Frenchmen, please call home! But where is home?

The point is that the majority of francophone Canadians support the charter. The majority of anglophones and "allophones" are opposed. At least, that's what the lamestream Canuck media tell us. And the chatterers who prate on the CBC and scribble in the Moan and Wail are having great fun excoriating "the French" for being xenophobic, anti-Muslim, racist, and generally failing to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism.

There are those, however, who are asking publicly whether TROC -- The Rest of Canada -- isn't being more than a little hypocritical. One such is André Schutten, General Legal Counsel and Ontario Director for ARPA Canada -- a political action committee of the Christian Reformed churches.

In a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen, Mr. Schutten points out that provincial governments across Canada have been telling public employees to leave their religion at the door for years, just as the Parti Québecois is doing now. As proof, he cites the Alberta government telling doctors that they must perform abortions regardless of their religious beliefs.

In Saskatchewan, he says, a marriage commissioner is not allowed to refuse to officiate at a "gay marriage" for reasons of conscience. And in Ontario former education minister, Laurel Rotten ["Broten", shurely! Ed.] recently said Christian schools can't teach that abortion is wrong. (Ontario is now governed by North America's first openly lesbian premier, which tells you all you need to know.)

Writes Mr. Schutten, "These are shocking statements to make. We’re not talking about wearing a certain piece of religious garb here. These are fundamental moral teachings. I hope that the rest of Canada can do some introspection."

"Are we guilty," he continues, "of hypocritically trying to take the speck out of Québec’s eye when we’re blind to the plank in our own?... The only real difference between Québec and the rest of Canada, on this issue, is that Québec is being bold and forthright about its intentions."

Len would add that the provincial and federal politicians -- hello Jason Kenney, hello Justin Trudeau -- who have been falling all over each other to condemn the Québec Charter even before it becomes law give a listen to the voices of their own constituents, as expressed on speak-your-mouth programmes like CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup a few hours ago. Several callers expressed support for the ideas of the Charter, and opined that minorities should accommodate themselves to the values of the majority, not the other way around.

Walt adds that at least the Québec government has the gonads to talk about the elephant in the room. Dear Canuck readers, the first few drops of the shitstorm have fallen! The Charter of Québec Values is the first shot in what promises to be a war over enforced multiculturalism. Don't be afraid to tell your "leaders" where you stand!

VIDEO: Michael Matt talks about the worldwide persecution of Christians, Vatican II and the victory of relativism

One of the best truly Catholic newspapers extant is The Remnant. Since 1990 it has been edited by Michael J. Matt, a graduate of Christendom College. In the Wanderer and elsewhere, Mr. Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Roman Catholic Church as well as anti-Chrisitan political trends in the world.

Mr. Matt is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly speaks to traditional Catholic groups across the USA and Canada. His most recent appearance was at The Path to Peace Conference held in Niagara Falls, Canada, by the Fatima Center.

The title of his talk is "Will there soon be martyrs?" If you're Christian -- even if you're not Catholic -- and want to understand what's going on in the Middle East and why Christians and Christianity are under attack worldwide, watch this video.

Warning: The video is just over 58 minutes long, but if you have any doubt as to how the almighty State "hungers for Christian blood" -- Mr. Matt's words -- you should pay attention to every minute. He explains how those of us who still believe -- the remnant -- are part of "a Christophobic narrative which is at work and very serious". If you doubt Walt [How could you?! Ed.], try the first 10 minutes or so. You won't be able to turn it off.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The truth hurts: Bertone goes off in a huff

Walt is looking forward to an eyeball-to-eyeball with Agent 9, who is enroute from the northwest frontier. They will have many things to talk about, including the resignation from his position as Vatican Secretary of State of the despised Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.

Just today, the Catholic News Agency passes on the revelation of an unnamed Vatican insider that The Man Who Would Be Pope resigned earlier than expected, because he resented the fact that other Vatican officials did not defend him against the criticism of (among others) Francesca Cahouqui, the hottie recently appointed by Pope Francis to a top Vatican PR job.

Further reading: "The new face of the Vatican -- mulier iucunda intellegensque" and "Sandro Magister on the Pope's two super-embarrassing appointments"

Cardinal Bertone was expected to resign in September or even October. But over lunch with the Pope at Castel Gondolfo on August 15th, he told the Holy Father he was quitting immediately. His resignation was formally announced on August 31st, and will take effect on October 15th.

Why the hurry? According to the anonymous source cited by CNA, Cardinal Bertone was miffed that Fruity Francesca said on her Twitter account that he was corrupt. Imagine that! Actually she said a great deal more, not just about Bertone but the whole rotten Vatican power structure. Her account has since been, errr, closed.

What burned Bertone's episcopal ring, apparently, was that none of his colleagues at the Vatican -- not even his old friend and mentor Cardinal Sodano (who was also lunching with the Pope) responded to the charges of corruption and incompetence. Shortly after his resignation was announced, Bertone denounced the “mix of crows and vipers” who generated critical stories about his leadership.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Québec's new Charter of Values will and will not do

There's a lot of chatter about the Charter of Québec Values proposed today by that province's government. Many of the chatterers obviously have not read the document or have not paid attention to the details. (That's where the devil is!) CBC News has published a helpful article listing five (5) things the Charter would and would not do. Here's the list.

1.Bar public sector employees — including everyone from civil servants to teachers, provincial court judges, daycare workers, police, health-care personnel, municipal employees and university staff — from wearing a hijab, turban, kippa, large visible crucifix or other "ostentatious" religious symbols while on the job.
2.Allow five-year opt-outs from the ban for certain organizations, but not daycare workers or elementary school teachers.
3.Require that those receiving or providing government services uncover their faces.
4.Exempt elected members of the Quebec legislature from the regulations.
5.Amend Quebec's human rights legislation, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, to specify limits on when someone can stake a claim for religious accommodation.

1.Remove religious symbols and elements considered "emblematic of Quebec's cultural heritage." That includes: the crucifixes in the Quebec legislature and atop Mount Royal in Montreal, the thousands of religiously based geographic names (e.g. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!) and the names of schools and hospitals.
2.Ban public sector employees from wearing small religious symbols like a ring with a Star of David, earrings with the Muslim crescent or a necklace with a small crucifix.
3.Eliminate subsidies to religious private schools. The Quebec government currently funds about 60 per cent of the budgets of most of the province's private schools, including parochial ones.
4.Ban opening prayers at municipal council meetings, which was recommended by the 2008 Bouchard-Taylor Commission report into cultural accommodation. The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in May that such prayers do not necessarily violate Quebec's current human rights legislation.
5.Eliminate property tax exemptions for churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious buildings.

I have emphasized the words "receiving or providing" in the third "would". That's a very sharp hook in the tackle box. It means if you go to get your driver's licence renewed, or get your welfare cheque, or get a flu shot, you'll have to take off your kipa/turban/hijab/whatever. At least, that's the way I read it.

One last very important comment. Patrick Lagacé, writing in the Globe and Mail, predicts that the Charter will never be enacted. If it is made law, "progressive thinkers" are calling on the federal government to challenge its constitutionality in the courts, and Steve Harper's bumboy, the Hon. Jason Kenney has said that will be done.

So why is the Parti Québecois bringing this controversial bill forward? Simple, says M Lagacé. The PQ, being a minority government, could face an election at any time. They are shit scared they're going to lose, so they're playing to the unspoken but deeply felt wishes of the majority of the Québec electorate. 65% of those asked in a survey taken over the weekend say they approve of the Charter -- an idea whose time has come, no matter what the multicultists say.

Multiculti types horrified as Charter of Québec Values bans religious headgear

What's the difference between a hijab, a niqab and a burqa? If you're a woman working in any part of Québec's public sector, the answer is: none whatever. When you go to work, leave your religious headgear at home.

So says the Charter of Québec Values, introduced today by the separatist government of La Belle Province. Also verboten -- oops, défendu -- are yarmulkes, turbans and kirpans. The special underpants that religious Sikh men wear are OK, because they are not "overt religious symbols". By the same token, Christians can wear a small cross or crucifix, but not a large one. Small earrings and finger rings are OK too.

Ever since the gist of the proposed legislation leaked out earlier this summer, those who celebrate diversity and promote multiculturalism have been whining that the Charter is an attack on religious minorities, discriminatory, and (of course) racist. Their argument was helped by remarks made last week by Premier Pauline Marois, who said multicult was responsible for "bomb-throwing" in England, and that the wearing of the hijab/niqab/burqa by Muslim women is an act of submission.

Mme Marois kept quiet over the weekend, handing le micro over to one of her predecessors, Bernard Landry. Appearing on Global TV's West Block, M Landry said flatly -- in English -- that Québec is not a multicultural society, and doesn't want to be one! Multicult, he said, was imposed on Québec, which continues to reject the idea to this day.

“You [the rest of Canada] like multiculturalism, go on,” M Landry continued. “My prediction is that within some years you will regret that attitude, but it’s your problem.” Wow! The ghosts of Charles DeGaulle and Enoch Powell could be heard applauding.

Poor Len Canayen wants to explain something to all the champions of multiculturalism and human rights industry types. The Charter of Québec Values is not about promoting Christianity and/or putting down non-Christian minority religions. The politics of the Parti Québecois is and has always been secularist.

The PQ was born out of Québec's "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960s, which slammed the door hard on the values and teachings of Holy Mother Church, which had long dominated the Québec society. The PQ is by nature leftist and "rationalist", the antithesis of the conservative Union Nationale and Libéral parties it displaced. The values which its proposed Charter enshrines are not those of true liberalism -- such as freedom of religion -- but those of secular humanism, man-centred, not God-centred.

Religious Québecois should, according to the principles of the Faith, oppose the new Charter. But the religious -- Christians or otherwise -- may, sadly, be in the minority. The proposed legislation is a clear winner in public opinion polls, being supported by those who feel, like Bernard Landry, that the waves of immigrants coming into the province must be "managed" and made to accommodate themselves to mainstream Québec society, rather than the other way around.

That is the real intent of the Charter. It has huge support from Québecois of all parties because they think that they will no longer have to look at legions of people walking down the Main attired in veils, turbans and funny hats. And that may be right, but not because the Muslims, Sikhs and Jews will conform, but because they will head west to the city where multicult is king, namely Toronto. Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government is already planning to widen the 401.

Further reading: "Multiculturalism: a failed experiment?"

"'I told you this would happen!': Enoch Powell"

"Charles De Gaulle warns about Muslim immigration"

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sick and tired of the ultra-PC Toronto school board? Follow these links!

The Toronto District School Board, responsible for the maladministration of Toronto's "public" schools, is well known as a hotbed of political correctness, secular humanism, and racism (of the anti-white variety). And let's not forget continual promotion of diversity, multiculturalism and the LGBT homosexuals-are-normal agenda.

The TDSB has no idea of how to manage a budget or run an educational system, but that's beside the point. What counts is that they are champions of progress and a tolerant and inclusive community -- except for heterosexual white people.

Some people are sick, sore and tired of the TDSB's constant carping about racism, bullying, homophobia yada yada yada. And some people are prepared to call out the TDSB publicly. One angry white guy is Arnie Lemaire, the real person behind Blazing Cat Fur, a blog highly critical of the TDSB's "theatre of the absurd".

Back in March, M Lemaire wrote that "OISE [the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education] and the TDSB need to be purged, or burnt to the ground whichever is more effective". Can you imagine the reaction of the poor dears at the TDSB? They felt so intimidated/bullied/threatened/all of the above that they called in Toronto's finest to investigate Arnie for threatening arson... or maybe forced enemas! [But wouldn't they enjoy that? Ed.]

"We received a knock at our door a little after 8 a.m.," M Lemaire told the Toronto Sun. "Two detectives...identified themselves and asked if they could come in to discuss a matter. They presented a photocopy of my post about the TDSB teaching children that the Black Panthers were a harmless social justice organization link" and specifically the "OISE and the TDSB need to be purged, or burnt to the ground" stinger.

Arnie told the flatfoots he thought everybody would understand it was meant figuratively and obviously not literally. "It was nothing but a rhetorical flourish. It's the language of blogging."

He also told the Sun, "I have to wonder why a non-threat was reacted to with near hysteria... To my mind this was simply an effort by the TDSB to intimidate me into silence and is plainly an abuse of power. It won't work, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that an organization that holds up psychopaths such as Che Guevara and the Black Panthers as role models for children would resort to such thuggery."

The police, he said, "were immediately satisfied with that explanation and assured me there would be no charges."

Here's a comment on the story from Laura Rosa Cohen, with a good quote from Mark Steyn. To Arnie, Laura and Mark, we say "Keep speaking out." Nolite illegitimi vos carborundum!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Puck off, eh, hoser!

Still (more or less) on the subject of the glories of the English language... In anticipation of a trip north of the World's Longest Undefended Border, Ed. has been trying to increase his vocabulary of Canadian English. His text is Casselman's Canadian Words, by (not surprisingly) Bill Casselman (1995, Copp Clark Ltd., Toronto).

I dipped into it while Ed. was on his break, and, in the chapter on "Sports", learned a new word. The word is "puck-off", which Casselman says "is not a lisped obscenity. Puck-off was the original and now obsolete term for a face-off in hockey, that high-adrenalin moment when the referee drops the puck into play. The name had to be changed because of frequent alteration of the first letter."

I'll bet 99% of you hosers didn't know that! For Americans and other non-speakers of Canajan English, Casselman explains "A hoser is the all-Canadian, beer-swilling, tuque-headed yokel, as popularized by Bob & Doug Mckenzie, TV characters created by SCTV stars Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas." Now you know.

Recommended reading:
Canajan, Eh! and Speaking Canadian English, both by the late Mark Orkin, a cunning linguist if ever there was one. Walt has autographed copies of both.

[Expletive deleted] limerick

Walt and Len have been taken to task for their occasional use of a couple of the Nine Anglo-Saxon Monosyllables. This blog, they have been told, could be read by innocent children whose parents have lacked the wisdom to install filters to prevent viewing of "bad words".

[George Carlin said there are no bad words, only bad thoughts. Ed.]

I was just coming to that... George Carlin said there are 400,000 words in the English language, but only seven you can't say on TV. How's that for long odds, said Carlin -- 399,993 to 7! But times have changed. At least two of the seven are heard all the time in movies, and every now and then on TV. But in TV prime time, instead of the offensive "bad word", we usually hear a "bleep".

Could the same technique be used to censor text published on the Internet? Here is what would happen to a typical limerick if such technology existed.

There once was a man who [deleted]
Whose [delete] was so long, he [deleted]
[Deleted delete]
[Deleted delete]
And now he's [deleted] [deleted].

By M.C. Court, as told to Jay Jennings in "Even More Memoirs by Even More McCourts".

Friday, September 6, 2013

Québec premier denounces multicult, hijabs and too much "accommodation"

Pauline Marois, the first female premier of Québec, has spoken out strongly against bending over backwards to accommodate the beliefs and practices of immigrants who refuse to assimilate into the culture of their adopted countries. In an interview with Le Devoir, she called out multiculturalism for violence and "bomb-throwing" in the UK. That kind of thing, she said, is reason enough to push ahead with her government's planned "Charte des valeurs québécoises" ("Charter of Quebec Values").

Mme Marois told the Montréal newspaper that secularism measures contemplated by the Charter will be phased in over a few years. The measures include a ban on the wearing of religious costumes or symbols -- such as yarmulkes, hijabs or large crosses -- by staff working in any "public workplace". That would include government offices, schools and hospitals. The usual suspects are of course outraged by enforced secularism, which they call racist, discriminatory, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, yada yada yada.

The premier conceded that the French model of secularism "isn’t perfect", Le Devoir reported, but she said that "in England, they’re knocking each other over the head and throwing bombs because of multiculturalism and nobody knowing any more who they are in that society."

Poor Len Canayen says... Wow! Someone noticed!

Mme Marois also said that wearing a hijab can be seen as a "form of submission", and that she feared daycare workers, teachers, and others in positions of authority could (by wearing religious attire) incite impressionable children to practise religion.

Len thinks this would be offensive to Catholics if there were any religious teaching in "Catholic" schools, but that seems not to be the case any more. No, not even in Québec. There are (practically) no more religious sisters and brothers. The dire dearth of vocations is one of the poisoned fruits of Vatican II.

However, in the so-called "public" schools there are lots of religious... religious Muslims, that is. Perhaps it is the Muslims and Jews -- not Christians -- who are the real targets of the Charter. We shall have to study the wording very carefully when it is published later this month.

A draft version leaked in the media reportedly proposed a ban on religious clothing for public servants. Polls suggest the idea of restricting religious garb is quite popular in Quebec, and the second-place PQ has seen a bump in the latest polling.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pray for Syria?

Pope Francis has asked us -- Catholics and non-Catholics alike [What about the atheists? Ed.] -- to pray on Saturday for an end to the war in Syria. That's the flavour of the month, it seems. There will be talk of little else behind the scenes at the G20 summit, which by happenstance is about to get under way in Moscow.

Amongst the world "leaders" present at the G20 will be Hussein Obama, the alleged president of the US of A. Perhaps we should pray that the Prez will be unwilling or unable to make good on his sabre-rattling, or airstrike-rattling if you will. He has just been authorized so to do by a vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But that won't mean anything if the full Senate votes otherwise next week. And then there's the House. Don't hold your breath waiting for anything to happen.

But even if America hits Assad hard, as this week's Economist recommends, will that end the civil war? Does peace come out of the barrel of a gun or a rocket launcher? Did intervention work in Iraq? In Afghanistan? In Libya? The Pope's day (or moment) of prayer might prove more efficacious... not that I'd bet on it.

[Ed. here. Len is not a betting man, but I am. In addition to praying for peace in Syria, I'm going to pray that I hit the trifecta three races in a row. I figure that prayer has a better chance of being answered.]

OK, that's quite enough. Let's not make light of this. According to the UN, 2 million refugees have been displaced by the war in Syria. 1000s of innocent people have died. It won't hurt for us to pray for peace, and it might help.

Mind you, it would help even more if the Pope would do what Our Lady of Fatima requested, and consecrate Russia (by name) to Her Immaculate Heart. After all, there are those, including Obama, who see Russia as the stumbling block to making peace in the Middle East. Perhaps the Consecration of Russia really is Heaven's key to peace, as the "Fatimists" keep telling us.

And it's not just Syria that stands in the need of prayer. Spare a thought for the Central African Republic. "Wat's dat?", I hear you ask. Behold the map.

It's a dungheap, not long ago called the Central African "Empire", more or less in the middle of Africa, just north of the Heart of Darkness that is the Congo.

There's a civil war going on there too. A million refugees are fleeing into the neighbouring dungheaps or other parts of their own country, running from mostly Muslim insurgents who are looting, pillaging and raping as they descend on the more-or-less Christian south.

The war in the CAR has been little noted and less discussed or prayed about. French Président François Hollande said the country is facing "Somalisation", by which he means it is becoming yet another African failed state.

But are the French about to intervene? Non! They just got through cleaning up a similar mess in Mali and have had enough of the Dark Continent. They would rather bask in the reflected glory that will accrue to the USA when Assad is toppled and peace returns to Syria. Just as happened when Gaddafi was toppled and peace and democracy were restored in Libya.

Well... Len is certainly not going to be the one to disparage the Pope's call for prayers for peace. The Holy Father's intentions are good, I'm sure. The intentions of Messrs Obama, Putin and the rest are another matter. God only knows.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"You need a strong heart today"

Unilever, the makers of Flora margarine, are keen to promote their product as good for your heart. To cope with the modern world, you need a strong heart, right? Sure. And here's how international advertising agency Lowe and Partner made the point in a print ad which ran... briefly... in South Africa.

"You need a strong heart today" is the strap line. What??? You don't get it? Well, see, there's a china heart and it's about to be shattered by the little bullet coming from the left. Something wrong with that?

Yes, I can read what the bullet says -- "Uhh, Dad I'm gay". So what? Ohhh... It's not politically correct to suggest that a man's heart could be broken by his son's telling him "I'm gay." That's not "gay friendly", according to UK-based gay rights group Stonewall, which described the advert as "offensive and inappropriate" ("inappropriate" being the worst possible pejorative in this PC age).

Do you think Unilever or its agency would grow a set and tell Stonewall to try developing a sense of humour? Nooo... The ad has been withdrawn and profuse mea culpas ["mea culpae"? Ed.] have been issued by all concerned. Score another one for the gay lobby.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Syria: intervention delayed is intervention denied

Well, that didn't take very long, did it. Just yesterday, Len predicted that the Excited States of America would take no immediate action to "punish" Basher Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against his own people. What was needed, though, was a way for Hussein Obama to remove his foot from his mouth without losing face, of which he has very little left.

Et voilà! British PM David Cameron shows the Prez how to do it, by making an impassioned speech to the House of Commons, after which MPs vote to, errr, not intervene. And so, yesterday afternoon Obama makes another forceful and leaderlike speech saying how strongly he feels that some kind of military action -- albeit "limited", "surgical" and other weasel words -- must be taken. But... Congress must give its approval before anything is actually done, because that's the democratic American way.

Wow. Talk about kicking the ball into the long grass! The Prez is referring the matter to Congress for due deliberation and diligence. How long will that take? Congress is due to reconvene on September 9th, which means no military operation could commence until then... if then. We know, too, that Obama's record of getting Congress to act on his requests has been something short of stellar.

We predict that two weeks from now the world will still be waiting for America to do something beyond increasing the stridency of its tut-tutting. And Assad? He will be barely able to smother his laughter.