A "Dangerous" Santa hat???
Britain gets battier by the day. Senile decay?
When Santa got stuck up a chimney, there was no fire service on hand to give him help. But when a student threw a Santa hat onto a roof at Cambridge University, three fire trucks turned up to remove it over health and safety fears. Students fastened the red hat to the spire of the famous Gate of Humility at Gonville and Caius College as an end of term joke.
But college authorities failed to see the funny side and phoned the fire brigade to remove the hat from the top of the 60ft building in case it fell on someone's head. A team of more than 10 firemen and three fire engines then spent more than an hour using a hydraulic platform to get the hat down. 'When we saw three fire engines turn up we thought they must be there to tackle a really big fire,' said a local shopkeeper. 'We couldn't believe it when we discovered they were all there just to rescue a Santa hat. 'They used the hydraulic platform to reach it and took a long time. Quite a crowd gathered to watch.'
An unnamed student, who saw the incident, added: 'I watched it all and found it hilarious. 'They even had to cordon off the road, which caused a tailback of cars.' A Santa hat has also been spotted on The Octagon of nearby Clare Chapel, although this one has not yet been removed. The culprit currently remains a mystery, but it is thought to be a student playing a practical joke. It is also not known how anyone managed to scale the buildings, particularly the spire of Humility, which is thought to be impossible to climb.
One suggestion is that the person used the famous book The Night Climbers of Cambridge, originally published in 1937, which offers a guide onto the roofs of the city's ancient buildings. 'In my experience the spire of Humility can not be climbed, although if there's a similar hat at Clare's it suggests someone has scaled the buildings,' said a student, who does not want to be named. 'A likely possibility is that someone has accessed the spire from inside the college.'
According to Cambridge University's Varsity newspaper, the Senior Tutor for Gonville and Caius College said the prank was 'disturbing' because of the danger it posed to passers-by and said anyone found taking part would face serious disciplinary measures. Gonville and Caius was founded in 1348 and now has nearly 100 fellows and more than 700 students. Famous alumni include Alastair Campbell, Jimmy Carr and Ken Clarke, while Professor Stephen Hawking is a current fellow of the College.
Physician John Caius was responsible for the building of the College's three gates, which symbolise the path of academic life. Students enter the Gate of Humility when they matriculate, then pass through the Gate of Virtue and finally go through the Gate of Honour on graduation.
Geert Wilders: 'Our Culture Is Better'
By his own description, Geert Wilders is not a typical Dutch politician. "We are a country of consensus," he tells me on a recent Saturday morning at his midtown Manhattan hotel. "I hate consensus. I like confrontation. I am not a consensus politician. . . . This is something that is really very un-Dutch."
Yet the 45-year-old Mr. Wilders says he is the most famous politician in the Netherlands: "Everybody knows me. . . . There is no other politician -- not even the prime minister -- who is as well-known. . . . People hate me, or they love me. There's nothing in between. There is no gray area." To his admirers, Mr. Wilders is a champion of Western values on a continent that has lost confidence in them. To his detractors, he is an anti-Islamic provocateur. Both sides have a point.
In March, Mr. Wilders released a short film called "Fitna," a harsh treatment of Islam that begins by interspersing inflammatory Quran passages with newspaper and TV clips depicting threats and acts of violent jihad. The second half of the film, titled "The Netherlands Under the Spell of Islam," warns that Holland's growing Muslim population -- which more than doubled between 1990 and 2004, to 944,000, some 5.8% of the populace -- poses a threat to the country's traditional liberal values. Under the heading, "The Netherlands in the future?!" it shows brutal images from Muslim countries: men being hanged for homosexuality, a beheaded woman, another woman apparently undergoing genital mutilation.
Making such a film, Mr. Wilders knew, was a dangerous act. In November 2004, Theo van Gogh was assassinated on an Amsterdam street in retaliation for directing a film called "Submission" about Islam's treatment of women. The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, left a letter on van Gogh's body threatening Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the film's writer and narrator.
Ms. Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, had renounced Islam and been elected to the Dutch Parliament, where she was an ally of Mr. Wilders. Both belonged to the center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, known by the Dutch acronym VVD. Both took a hard line on what they saw as an overly accommodationist policy toward the Netherlands' Muslim minority. They argued that radical imams "should be stripped of their nationality," that their mosques should be closed, and that "we should be strong in defending the rights of women," Mr. Wilders tells me.
This made them dissenters within the VVD. "We got into trouble every week," Mr. Wilders recalls. "We were like children going to their parents if they did something wrong, because every week they hassled us. . . . We really didn't care what anybody said. If the factional leadership said, 'Well, you cannot go to this TV program,' for us it was an incentive to go, not not to go. So we were a little bit of two mavericks, rebels if you like."
Mr. Wilders finally quit the party over its support for opening negotiations to admit Turkey into the European Union. That was in September 2004. "Two months later, Theo van Gogh was killed, and the whole world changed," says Mr. Wilders. He and Ms. Hirsi Ali both went into hiding; he still travels with bodyguards. After a VVD rival threatened to strip Ms. Hirsi Ali's citizenship over misstatements on her 1992 asylum application, she left Parliament and took a fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Mr. Wilders stayed on and formed the Party for Freedom, or PVV. In 2006 it became Parliament's fifth-largest party, with nine seats in the 150-member lower chamber.
Having his own party liberates Mr. Wilders to speak his mind. As he sees it, the West suffers from an excess of toleration for those who do not share its tradition of tolerance. "We believe that -- 'we' means the political elite -- that all cultures are equal," he says. "I believe this is the biggest disease today facing Europe. . . . We should wake up and tell ourselves: You're not a xenophobe, you're not a racist, you're not a crazy guy if you say, 'My culture is better than yours.' A culture based on Christianity, Judaism, humanism is better. Look at how we treat women, look at how we treat apostates, look at how we go with the separation of church and state. I can give you 500 examples why our culture is better."
He acknowledges that "the majority of Muslims in Europe and America are not terrorists or violent people." But he says "it really doesn't matter that much, because if you don't define your own culture as the best, dominant one, and you allow through immigration people from those countries to come in, at the end of the day you will lose your own identity and your own culture, and your society will change. And our freedom will change -- all the freedoms we have will change."
The murder of van Gogh lends credence to this warning, as does the Muhammad cartoon controversy of 2005 in Denmark. As for "Fitna," it has not occasioned a violent response, but its foes have made efforts to suppress it. A Dutch Muslim organization went to court seeking to enjoin its release on the ground that, in Mr. Wilders's words, "it's not in the interest of Dutch security." The plaintiffs also charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and inciting hatred. Mr. Wilders thought the argument frivolous, but decided to pre-empt it: "The day before the verdict, I broadcasted ['Fitna'] . . . not because I was not confident in the outcome, but I thought: I'm not taking any chance, I'm doing it. And it was legal, because there was not a verdict yet." The judge held that the national-security claim was moot and ruled in Mr. Wilders's favor on the issues of blasphemy and incitement.
Dutch television stations had balked at broadcasting the film, and satellite companies refused to carry it even for a fee. So Mr. Wilders released it online. The British video site LiveLeak.com soon pulled the film, citing "threats to our staff of a very serious nature," but put it back online a few days later. ("Fitna" is still available on LiveLeak, as well as on other sites such as YouTube and Google Video.)
An organization called The Netherlands Shows Its Colors filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Wilders for "inciting hatred." In June, Dutch prosecutors declined to pursue the charge, saying in a statement: "That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable." The group is appealing the prosecutors' decision.
In July, a Jordanian prosecutor, acting on a complaint from a pressure group there, charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and other crimes. The Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Jordan, but Mr. Wilders worries -- and the head of the group that filed the complaint has boasted -- that the indictment could restrict his ability to travel. Mr. Wilders says he does not visit a foreign country without receiving an assurance that he will not be arrested and extradited.
"The principle is not me -- it's not about Geert Wilders," he says. "If you look at the press and the rest of the political elite in the Netherlands, nobody cares. Nobody gives a damn. This is the worst thing, maybe. . . . A nondemocratic country cannot use the international or domestic legal system to silence you. . . . If this starts, we can get rid of all parliaments, and we should close down every newspaper, and we should shut up and all pray to Mecca five times a day."
It is difficult to fault Mr. Wilders's impassioned defense of free speech. And although the efforts to silence him via legal harassment have proved far from successful, he rightly points out that they could have a chilling effect, deterring others from speaking out.
Mr. Wilders's views on Islam, though, are problematic. Since 9/11, American political leaders have struggled with the question of how to describe the ideology of the enemy without making enemies of the world's billion or so Muslims. The various terms they have tried -- "Islamic extremism," "Islamism," "Islamofascism" -- have fallen short of both clarity and melioration. Melioration is not Mr. Wilders's highest priority, and to him the truth couldn't be clearer: The problem is Islam itself. "I see Islam more as an ideology than as a religion," he explains.
His own view of Islam is a fundamentalist one: "According to the Quran, there are no moderate Muslims. It's not Geert Wilders who's saying that, it's the Quran . . . saying that. It's many imams in the world who decide that. It's the people themselves who speak about it and talk about the terrible things -- the genital mutilation, the honor killings. This is all not Geert Wilders, but those imams themselves who say this is the best way of Islam."
Yet he insists that his antagonism toward Islam reflects no antipathy toward Muslims: "I make a distinction between the ideology . . . and the people. . . . There are people who call themselves Muslims and don't subscribe to the full part of the Quran. And those people, of course, we should invest [in], we should talk to." He says he would end Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but work to assimilate those already there.
His idea of how to do so, however, seems unlikely to win many converts: "You have to give up this stupid, fascist book" -- the Quran. "This is what you have to do. You have to give up that book."
Mr. Wilders is right to call for a vigilant defense of liberal principles. A society has a right, indeed a duty, to require that religious minorities comply with secular rules of civilized behavior. But to demand that they renounce their religious identity and holy books is itself an affront to liberal principles.
RACIST BRINKS COMMERCIALS
Yes, Brinks commercials are racist. Why are they racist you ask? Because according to Brinks, minorities don't break into homes or have their homes broken into. Everyone who's had their homes broken into in those commercials are white, and everyone who breaks into them are white too. One of those little anecdotal things that make you think "hey, he's right." Maybe to Brinks minorities don't break into homes or have their homes broken into, but being someone who's lived in Gary, IN for nearly half of his life I can tell you that yes it does happen. Our home was broken into. Next door neighbor had their home broken into. Two homes across the street were broken into. Being that my family were the only white ones on the street, it's safe to assume minorities broke into and had their homes broken into. Trust me, it happens.
The commercials are so bad too. They make sure to let everyone know that the person that is breaking into the home is white. One of the commercials, this guy broke into this home where the mother thought the daughter was trying to get in. He busts in the door and just stands there. What many do not know is if you have the captions on, even though he doesn't say anything verbally the caption says "hey, I'm white and I just broke into your home." Then he hears the alarm going off. I didn't know this, but apparently to crooks that alarm puts the fear into them like someone getting caught in the lights at a POW camp while trying to escape in WWII.
In another commercial, one guy stops and ties his shoe while looking and nodding at the man leaving his driveway in broad daylight. Once the coast is clear, he puts on his hood (a little too late for that, dontcha think?), and then looks menacingly at ..................... NOBODY! He snarls, huffs and puffs and looks ticked off, but no one is around to see that he is one bad apple with a worm in it that has a chip on his shoulder. Then he kicks down the front door, again this is in broad daylight. Once that alarm goes off he runs for the hills like the woman pulled out a shotgun. If seeing the man of the home and making sure he had a good look at his face, and busts down the frontdoor in the brightness of daylight isn't going to scare him away, I don't think an alarm going "beep beep beep" will. Call me crazy.
The absolute worse though is when there is a man at home and someone breaks into their home. Those are the worst because the man is always an uberwimp to the 99th power. The one where the couple is in bed inside their new home and they hear a noise. He goes to check it out and the door is broken open. He runs back to the room and slid headfirst ala Rickey Henderson under the bed only leaving a shivering sheet in his wake. Okay, he didn't really do that but he might as well have. They always make sure the man is some white wuss scared out of his wits and wouldn't even dare telling someone to stop raping his wife, so that way the man looks incapable of defending a home, but a noise box can. Every guy home in those commercials is a bonafide pantywaist. I think I heard one man say "here, take my wife. Just don't hurt me, Mr. White Homerobber."
Here's another question. Brinks calls you up right when those alarms go off. What if the robber answers the phone? "Oh yeah, everything is just fine here. I just tripped the alarm. Stupid me. I am blonde you know." All the while having a knife in his hand and motioning the woman to keep quiet. "Sure you don't want me to send someone over?" "NO! uh I mean no, that won't be necessary. Everything is fine here."
I realize that because of racial sensitivities and PC gone mad that if they had just one minority break into a home that they would never hear the end of it. How about a minority having their home broken into? Is that too much to ask? And please quit making the men look like Judy Garland in a dark forest looking for lions, tigers, and bears. I haven't seen a fear in the eyes like that since I saw Jon Voight on his knees in "Deliverance". If someone breaks into my home, it will be them that will need an alarm. Maybe they will have one of those Life Alert neck alarms. "Help, this insane guy is beating my a$$! I broke into his home but he's gone totally crazy. Why did it have to be this home? Oh damn! He's got a machete! There goes my leg! Oh nooooo!"
Islamic College protest in Queensland, Australia
PROTESTERS swarmed on the Gold Coast City Council headquarters in Queensland to vent their anger over a planned Muslim school yesterday as rock anthems blared from loudspeakers. Almost 200 residents turned out for the demonstration, draped in Australian flags and shouting pro-Aussie slogans while Australian rock classics such as Land Down Under and Great Southern Land boomed across the parkland.
The Australian International Islamic College, planned for Carrara, has raised the ire of residents who fear it will lead to the local Muslim population withdrawing from the rest of the community.
A rally last week attracted about 400 people, while people turned out yesterday carrying placards bearing slogans such as "no Muslim school, hell no" and "integration, not segregation". Residents' spokesman Tony Doherty said Muslim schools did not encourage multiculturalism. "It's segregation, not integration," he said. 'They're not trying to integrate into the rest of society. "Since we have started protesting against this our churches have been covered in hate-filled graffiti."
He denied it was hypocritical to oppose Muslim and not Christian schools. "Catholics aren't a different culture," he said. "They are the same as us."
Some residents say they are opposed to the school more because of parking issues rather than religious grounds. Mayor Ron Clarke has publicly said he would support the school as long as it satisfies the council's planning criteria. The council will not make any decision on the future of the school until next year. If approved, the school is unlikely to open until at least the middle of next year.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.