Panto

After nearly a decade in the UK, I had my first experience of that great British Christmas season fixture, the pantomime.

I was entirely unfamiliar with the idea. At my previous school they had an intramural panto contest, with each house performing a brief production. Tonight was my first full-length professional panto. We don’t live in a place big enough to draw a minor national celebrity to a major role, but it was still a proper show.

It was very entertaining.  It was the story of Snow White like I’d never quite seen it before, with elaborate costumes, except for the dancers, whose costumes were often too skimpy to be elaborate. And more lame jokes and gags than I thought possible in two hours.

Changing Horses

I was a bit surprised to see prominent reports about the CNN/YouTube GOP debate in the UK press. I was especially surprised to see positive press for Mike Huckabee. After all, he’s the one candidate about whom there’s never been any question with regard to the place of religion in his life and if there is anything hated by Brits, it is religious politicians.

As a result, I had to watch the debate on YouTube. I was also quite impressed with Huckabee. For now I am switching my support from Thompson and following the lead of Chuck Norris in endorsing Huckabee. I’ve no doubt his campaign will be excited to learn of this. I’m not switching because he has the best chance of getting the nomination – even if he is leading in Iowa. He is the most principled candidate in the race.

I think Huckabee could be what George W Bush wanted to be. He has a vision for the compassionate conservatism that got derailed by 9/11 and Iraq. He is also a tremendously better public speaker. Let’s face it – many of Bush’s image problems, just like those of Dan Quayle, are rooted in a stumbling communication style. Mike doesn’t have that problem.

Even while running for President, the former pastor of First Baptist Texarkana still finds time to preach. He doesn’t visit a church to give a political pep talk and press the flesh, like so many candidates who, as my dad would say, wouldn’t know Jesus if he rode up on a pinto pony. Though the amateur camera work is terrible, you can get an insight into the real Mike Huckbee by watching his sermon at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas  back on November 4.

Sharia Injustice

At least she avoided the lash. Ten more days in jail and Gillian Gibbons will be deported from Sudan.

The Sudanese still have a lot for which to answer. Any conviction was clearly bowing to Islamist pressure. I suppose you have to give them credit for guarding her transportation to and from the kangaroo court, so those who wanted her dead could not carry out their desires. Of course she’s still not out of the country.

The deportation is probably unnecessary after her ordeal. I’m sure she would be happy to skedaddle before the bounty on her head gets any bigger. After all, she’s part of the Western plot against Islam. It’s a common cause for middle-aged primary school teachers. And what could undermine the Islamic hegemony to a greater extent than naming a teddy after a 7th century travelling salesman turned relgious leader? What’s a mere war in Afghanistan or the struggle against the insurgency in Iraq or even the possibility of an attack on Iran when compared to a teddy named Muhammad?

Henry Hyde, RIP

Henry Hyde was not a single-issue politician, but he was best known as one of the leading opponents of abortion in Capitol Hill during his 32 years in the House of Representatives. In fact, many of those who agreed with him on abortion disagreed with his on gun control and term limits. I disagreed with the former and agreed with the latter (term limits are a limit on democracy).

His imperfections were revealed when he was chair of the House Judiciary Committee, in charge of impeaching Bill Clinton. His own extra-marital affair of 30 years before was apparently used to show him as a hypocrite. Of course the difference was that Hyde was not a serial adulterer nor did he lie to a Federal Grand Jury about it.

For his unwavering support of the unborn and putting his Catholic faith into practice, may be be rewarded. May his memory be eternal.

Only One Option

In my previous post, I wondered what Islamist radicals would want to do with Gillian Gibbons, since the moderates wanted her to receive the maximum sentence allowed by law. It seems for some the law isn’t enough. Who needs the restraints of Sharia if there’s a killing to be had? As reported today:

A statement circulated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood – a multinational Sunni Islamist movement and the world’s most influential political Islamist group – also condemned her actions.

“We want to express our boiling anger and deep sorrow about this case caused by this British teacher,” it said.

“We want to tell you that the majority of Sudanese are Muslims so we love our Prophet Mohammed so much and we decry this careless way of dealing with our beloved Prophet.”

One of its authors, 27-year- old Elsheikh El Nour, added: “If she made an innocent mistake and did not mean Mohammed the Prophet (when naming the bear) there is no problem.

“But if she did mean Mohammed the Prophet, she must die.”

 Seems there’s no two ways about it. Name a bear after Muhammad: die. This isn’t from a purely Sudanese group. This is a multinational Islamist group.

Defiance

I can understand why Judge Robert Restaino snapped. He has, pending appeal, lost his seat on the bench.

When a mobile phone went off in his courtroom, nobody owned up. One of the 46 people present defied his authority. Restaino put them all in detention – jail – until the culprit could be found. He set the bail at $1,500 and when 14 people could not come up with the cash, they were shackled and transported to the county jail. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct didn’t like that.

I’m not saying he did the right thing. I just understand. During my years of teaching school, I have been shocked at the increasing level of open defiance. I have been in situations where children set off mobiles and then play “catch me if you can”. I have been in a school where even when they are caught, they could simply refuse to hand over the phone and there was no backup from senior management.

It goes beyond phones. I have frequently had children simply openly refuse to follow direct instructions, both in and out of the classroom. I have had them do exactly what they have been explicitly told not to do.

I would bet that whoever defied Judge Restaino was educated in the enlightened pedagogy of negotiation. It’s no longer about unquestioned obedience. Obedience is based in fear. There has to be a sufficient consequence for disobedience to make it an undesirable course of action. But the consequences that haven’t been stripped out by the law have been brainwashed out by liberal educational theory.

As a result, each year there are more and more children who no longer recognise that they are children. As a further result, each year there are more emerging adults who have no idea that they cannot simply do as they please. They are willing to defy the direct order of a court to the point of allowing 45 other people to be punished for their actions. Complete selfishness. We live in the emerging generation of the incorrigible spoiled brat.

I don’t know if Judge Restaino ever found his culprit. It seems that a little detective work would have solved the problem. Just divest every person in the courtroom of their property and go through all the phones until the call registers gave away the offender. Then, since contempt of court requires no burden of proof, it would be a simple matter to put the offender in the pokey for a couple of weeks. Of course New York may have some sort of liberal rules that don’t allow that. It’s their own fault.

Ron Paul Baseline Support

The thing about moving to a new neighbourhood is that you have to make new friends. Sure, some of your old friends come with you, but others fall by the wayside – and if your are in the blogging witness protection program that’s not a bad thing – so the stats barely register.

But what’s the blogosphere coming to when you can mention Ron Paul and have no one respond to the tag or search? It has always been a good jump-start topic, drawing in the curious supporters of Dr No. Is his bump in New Hampshire above Fred Thompson enough? Fred’s on the slide and Ron’s up to 8% in a CNN poll from last week. But Romney, whose Massachusetts proximity certainly adds favourite son pull is at 33%.

I hope I’m not becoming less interested in the Thompson because of the MSM. It seems to me that he is floundering under his own lethargy. Maybe I have it wrong. It’s one thing to talk as slow as molassess. It is another to move that way.

I’ve always been interesting in Ron Paul more as a novelty. I think he is a good Congressman. I appreciate his ideas, but I don’t agree with enough of them, nor do I think his views will translate well enough outside his hardcore following.

Islamic Savages

Gillian Gibbons is now closer to getting a good beating for naming a teddy after the False Prophet Muhammad. She’s now been officially charged with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.

If the Sudanese government do not effect the release of Ms Gibbon, the British government should simply sever diplomatic relations with Khartoum. We have no business doing business with them.

As the BBC has reported:

Sudan’s top clerics have called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.

“What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam,” the Sudanese Assembly of the Ulemas said a statement.

The semi-official clerics body is considered relatively moderate and is believed to have the ear of the Sudanese government.

That’s right. The clerics calling for the maximum sentence and seeing this primary school teacher as part of the “Western plot against Islam” are moderates. Think of what the radical clerics want.

Sadly, there is not even a plot against Islam. No one seems to be bothered to help the Christian south of Sudan overthrow the Muslim north, or even protect them. The Muslims have committed unspeakable atrocities against the Christians, slaughtering them for refusing to convert to Islam. They gang-rape women and cut off their breasts. Others they sell into slavery. All cultures and religions are equal, you know.

The True Huckabee and the False Novak

I haven’t heard much about what’s going on with Ron Paul lately. This could be due to my absence from the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, but most of the stirring beneath the Giuliani and Romney jugernauts seems to be coming from Mike Huckabee.

What’s Dr No done with the fruits of his historic online fund-raising drive on Guy Fawkes Day? I haven’t even seen his numbers on the imported American MSM, but then that’s not a big surprise.

Seems Huckabee has been outed as a fake conservative. But Robert Novak defines conservatism on a purely libertarian economic basis. “The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.” Reagan was anti-abortion, anti-gun control and no doubt would have been anti-gay marriage. Who cares about Goldwater, frankly.

Novak says, “Calling global warming a ‘moral issue’ mandating ‘a biblical duty’ to prevent climate change, he has endorsed a cap-and-trade system that is anathema to the free market.” We can disagree on anthropogenic global warming (and it looks like I might disagree with Huckabee), but Huckabee does have the concept of stewardship of the earth in mind. Should businesses be allowed to polluted at will, in the name of present economic benefit? If you say no, you are anathema to the free market.

Conservatism is not biblical. Libertarianism is not biblical, any more than liberalism is. The biblical duty of government is often compatible with classic conservativism and libertarianism. Usually significantly more compatible than with liberalism. Many of the ideas of the former harken back to an age when the idea that the Bible is the source of worldview was undisputed. Most of the ideas of the latter are sourced in philosophy that was purposefully pitted against Christianity, though some of them were later co-opted by the Christian left.

When candidates start talking about biblical duty, both sides of the political spectrum start flying the red flag against theocracy. Well, against any theocracy but that of their own secularist idols. For candidates who fundamentally believe in a biblical worldview (and given the variety Protestants, there isn’t just one)  they must interpret their politics through the same lens as the rest of their life. Pretensions of cubbyholing religion are just that. It’s just that no one outs the secularists, or those who worship the conservative-libertarian model, forcing them to defend their worldview.

Intolerance

To understand just how intolerant British liberalism is, you just need to look to Oxford. The world-famous Oxford Union Debating Society invited two of the most reviled figures in Britain, Nick Griffin, head of the British National Party and David Irving, the revisionist historian made famous by being imprisoned in Austia for denying the accepted details about the Holocaust.

Just inviting them to speak and defend their views raised the ire of the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  Julian Lewis, the Shadow Defence Minister resigning his life membership in the union in protest. These responses were mild compared to what happened on the night.

For inviting the two controversial speakers, the president of the society, Luke Tryl was subjected to chants of “Kill Tryl!” Some protesters attacked attendees with placards as they tried to enter. Others broke into the chamber and one tried to attack a member of the society’s staff. About 30 people sat in the debating hall singing protest songs.

It was 1960s hippies co-opting Islamic radical tactics.  After all, you have to work hard to look worse that Nick Griffin or David Irving, but the Unite Against Fascism group and their hangers on seem to have managed to do so.

Sudan Drifts Further From Civilisation

The situation involving Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher in Sudan, has deteriorated. With the intervention of British consular officials, she has gone from faving 40 lashes for naming a teddy Muhammad to a possible three years in prison for sedition. It would seem that naming a teddy after the False Prophet is the same as inciting the children to rebellion against the Sudanese government.

A rather unenlightened professor at the University of Kartoum showed just how far Islamic academic quality has fallen.”In our culture, there can be no image of the Prophet,” he said. “You cannot even show him in a film or a play. To show him as a bear is unthinkable.” The only thing is that no one ever suggested that the bear was an icon of the False Prophet. I can’t imagine the same scholar has the same problem with half of Muslim boys being named Muhammad. Are they showing Muhammad as a another person?

I would have thought that the teddy would be seen to honour Muhammad. It’s just the sort of thing Aisha, his nine-year-old favourite wife, would have loved. She could have had a teddy and a husband with the same name.

I hope that the Islamic world is not looking at Ms Gibbons as a scapegoat for launching another attack on the West, find some sort of excuse for claiming insult against the inventer of their religion.

Revisionism

There hardly so popular an option in GCSE history than the American modules, especially the 20th century ones. Many more British high school students learn about American history than American students learn about British history, or at least British history after 1783.

I have looked through at least three British GCSE textbooks covering the early 20th century. It appears to me that in every instance, the goal it to teach students anti-American history. The worst Americans are, of course, Southerners. After all, Northerners may have unjustly executed Sacco and Vanzetti, but all Southern whites were members of the KKK and they went around lynching all the blacks. American history, British style, would be very comfortable with the James Loewen view that especially in the South it is really all about racism.

But what really got me was trying to teach about the Scopes Trial. All Southerners went to church all the time and didn’t believe in evolution. Can you believe it?

So I just told them that most Americans at the time went to church and didn’t believe in evolution. What’s more, I showed them the 2005 CBS poll indicating that most Americans today don’t believe in evolution. It is too advanced and not in the curriculum to deal with historical revisionism. They can’t grasp that the British view of the Scopes Trial in 2007 is not the American view, especially not in 1925.

They see Clarence Darrow demolishing William Jennings Bryan with his interrogation. They don’t see that Bryan didn’t get to cross-examine Darrow, since the court stopped with Darrow’s questions and struck them from the record, ruling them irrelevant. When Bryan’s questions with Darrow’s answers were published in newspapers the day after the trial, even the New York Times wasn’t impressed that all Darrow could say was, “I don’t know.”

The textbooks even mischaracterise the end of the trial. They note that the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed Scopes conviction. What they don’t say is that the conviction was overturned on a technicality, because the judge imposed a $100 fine and under Tennessee law at the time any fine in excess of $50 had to be imposed by the jury. The Court upheld the enforcement of the Butler Act. As the Court said, “Those in charge of the educational affairs of the State are men and women of discernment and culture.”

This is not the view that the those in charge of the educational affairs of this nation want students to have of the people of Tennessee or the American South.

Just a Name

A 54-year-old British teacher is facing 40 lashes for allowing her primary school children in Sudan to name a teddy bear Muhammad. She currently in prison awaiting trial on blasphemy charges.

She is teaching in a Christian school that has both Christian and Muslims students. Apparently Muhammad is fine to name a male child from just about every Muslim family, but to name the teddy is blasphemy.

The lash isn’t enough for some in the view of some of the residents of Khartoum. It didn’t take long after her arrest for word to spread. Groups of young men surrounded the police station, shouting death threats. After all, Sharia can be interpretted in various ways. Who is to say that a good beating is enough for blasphemy?

It’s a good thing we’re supposed to teach in this country that all religions and cultures are equal. On simple observation, sometimes it just doesn’t look that way. It’s a dangerous thing to let the facts speak for themselves.

Dying for Socialised Medicine

A lot of Brits I talk to can’t understand why Americans don’t flock to Hillary Clinton because of her favourable views about socialised medicine. After all, there’s nothing Brits are more proud of than the NHS.

Sure Britain has some of the worst survival rates for cancer in the Western world, but no one has to worry about paying for it. But as they say, you get what you pay for.

Socialised medicine in a country divided up into Primary Care Trusts (PCT) equals the post code lottery. In other words, each trust decides how it’s going to divide up it’s little slice of the health care funding pie. Each local board of bureaucrats prioritises which patients deserve to live and which ones don’t. In a rationed system, a few people get paid a lot of money to play Lifeboat every day.

When it comes to cancer, I’ve drawn one of the short straws. To preserve my anonymity, I won’t say exactly how much is spent per cancer patient per year here. I will tell you that the top spending PCT spends three times as much as the lowest. I could say that my PCT spends less that £10,000 per patient per year, but out of 159 PCTs, only 39 spend more. No, my PCT is comfortably in four figures and comfortably in the bottom 10%.

I suppose I can’t afford to stop eating my fruit and veg and grains. You can’t afford to elect Hillary.

Meeting Targets

When it comes passing on things from the MSM, I put the Daily Mail, despite its more conservative political bent, near the bottom of credibility. However, as the following story is based on a phone interview and will be followed up with a full report on Tonight with Trevor McDonald it is credible enough for me.

I have written in the past about the Government’s policy of stealing babies. One Northumberland woman was told that she would be allowed ten minutes with her baby after birth before it would be taken away and put in foster care. She first fled to Birmingham, since foster care is handled by local authorities. However, the bureaucratic red tape meant that there was no way she could be sure that she and her baby would be safe.

As a result she has had to flee to Europe, hiding from the agents of her own government.  She is not a criminal. She just wants to keep her baby.

Fran Lyon’s case is by no means unique.  The Independent on Sunday highlighted the case of Pauline Goodwin. Goodwin’s case was not even unique on her street. “There were three other mothers in the square where I lived who all had their children taken away within a matter of months,” she says. “We happened to live by some malicious people, who thought it was fun to ring the social services and see the reaction. It should never have been allowed to happen.”

“Pauline is the tip of the iceberg,” says Birmingham Yardley Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming. “Statistics suggest there are about 1,000 cases in this country where children have been wrongfully adopted. It’s possibly even more than that. I know of a number of cases where all sorts of intimidation is used to discourage people from fighting back.”

Even the liberal MSM is openly talking about how the central government is increasingly using Stalinist tactics to control the population.  This is clearly filtering down to the local level as social workers seek to meet the targets set for them in meeting adoption quotas.

Nasty

I don’t care what you think about the conflict in Iraq and the part played by US or British forces, some things are just beyond the pale of acceptable behaviour. In the US there are people like Fred Phelps and their protests at funerals. But at least they have a cause, however repulsive and misguided.

In the UK, who needs a cause? It is just enough to be nasty.

From the Daily Telegraph:

Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public.

Fiascos

In my blogging hiatus, the Government has managed to screw things up in monumental ways. They’ve realised that the money they loaned Northern Rock bank to bail it out will almost certainly never come back. This means that everyone in the UK has paid £900 each to keep it afloat long enough for another company to come in a take it and the taxpayer money.

Then they lost the records of 25,000,000 people – half the UK population. Not just any records. Bank records and everything needed for identity theft. And we I say lost, I don’t mean accidentally erased. I mean put them all on CDs and sent them 2nd class in the post and they got lost. This is the same government that is going to make everyone have ID cards and promises, “Your information is safe with us.”

Of course it isn’t just the loss of the data. On top of that the Government first delayed saying anything, and when they did, they were economical with the truth. They knew the data was missing three weeks before they finally decided to tell anyone. Then they blamed it on a junior civil servant. Email evidence now shows that senior officials authorised the transfer of the imformation on the discs. It has also come to light that the Government didn’t want to spend a small amount to strip the sensitive information before sending it.

Gordon Brown was Chancellor for 10 years and took credit for much of the positive economic climate. Now as Prime Minster, things were already starting to head downhill before the fiascos of incompetence started. Had he called a snap election, he had a good chance of winning. Now that the election has been delayed for a couple of years, it could be a very bumpy ride, but maybe the end is in sight.

St Clement of Rome

Today is the feast of St Clement of Rome. Here are some of his words of advice to us:

How blessed and marvelous are the gifts of God, dear friends! Life in immortality, splendour in righteuosness, truth with boldness, faith with confidence, self-control with holiness! And all these things fall with our comprehension. What, then, are the things being prepared for those who patiently wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the all-holy One Himself, knows their number and their beauty. Let us therefore make every effort to be found in the number of those who patiently wait for Him, so we may share His promised gifts.  (I Clement 35:1-4 [Lightfoot translation])

I’m Back

Well, I suppose it’s time to get this party started. After a brief hiatus and a change of identity, I’m back. More anonymous than before, I’ve hated to leave behind some of the things from the old blog.

The topics will be much the same – Anglo-American political and social interests, reflections on personal events, and some spiritual and theological reflections from an Eastern Orthodox perspective.

The new moniker comes from the middle names of two great-grandfathers (or the first names of a great-great-great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather), and something my parents said they considered naming me.

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