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Sarah Palin is the other whom Yoda spoke about.

calendar   Wednesday - January 07, 2009

Global Warming Puts The Freeze On France

First Major Snowfall in Marseille in 21 Years




France’s second city of Marseille was paralysed Wednesday by a freak snowstorm, stunning locals accustomed to balmy Mediterranean winters, and causing havoc for road and air traffic.

Some 550 drivers were stranded for hours on highways outside the port city, emergency services said, as snow fell through the morning to form a coat 12 centimetres (five inches) thick for the first time in 20 years.

Snow on the runways closed the local Marignane airport and cut high-speed rail lines to and from Marseille, while some 12,000 households were left without electricity across the region.

Caught off guard, regional officials closed all highways to traffic, while Marseille city hall suspended bus and tramway services and advised residents to stay at home.

Local residents—who last saw snow on the ground in Marseille in 1987—teetered carefully along the ice-covered streets, snapping pictures of the carpet of white.

Youths took to the streets for giant snowball fights, while others carried their sledges and snowboards up to the city’s emblematic Notre-Dame-de-La-Garde basilica, whizzing down to the historic port.

Temperatures tumbled well below freezing across France and the rest of Europe on Tuesday night, hitting a 10-year low of minus nine degrees Celsius in Paris.



Heavy snowfall in Marseille forced the international airport to close and paralyzed all train and bus traffic on Wednesday in France’s second-biggest city.

The usually busy and sunny Mediterranean port city ground to a halt as snow overwhelmed infrastructure and stopped school buses and all other public transport.

“The weather conditions no longer allow air traffic to take place in satisfactory conditions so the airport of Marseille Provence is closed to air traffic,” a spokesman said.

The airport was expected to remain closed at least until Thursday morning, management said.

France is experiencing a cold weather snap that has gradually moved from north to south. Electricity consumption has hit record levels as families turn up home heating.

Rail, road and air traffic have been disrupted for several days, notably at the main airport in the Paris region, Charles de Gaulle.



The last time it snowed there AT ALL it was just a dusting. That was on March 1, 2005 and was itself unusual enough to make the news and the blogs.

Low temperatures and surprise snow has been the rule in Europe this season. Combine that with Russia shutting off the gas and it looks like a major reality check. I don’t think they will be booking Algore for any hot-air speaking tours any time soon.



Marseille is on the south coast of France, on the Mediterranean, about 80 miles west of Cannes. I don’t think they usually have winter there much at all.
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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/07/2009 at 05:49 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-Weather •  
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The amazing tin can bomber made by British pilot in Great Escape POW camp.  AMAZING IS RIGHT!

Awesome, isn’t it?  Wow.  Be sure to look at the other photos at the link.
Must have been one tough and determined soldier.  And very talented as well.

You really need to read this.  Can’t understand how or why this was hidden away for so long. What a great bit of history!
Take a look too at his drawings of the camp and actual photo of the camp.

The amazing tin can bomber made by British pilot in Great Escape POW camp
By DAVID WILKES
Last updated at 4:59 PM on 07th January 2009

Skillfully crafted from tin cans, matchsticks and off cuts, one can only imagine the satisfaction a prisoner of war derived from finishing this stunning model aircraft as he languished in Stalag Luft III.

Constructed almost perfectly to scale, his detailed version of a Lancaster Bomber like the one he flew before his capture even bears what appears to be the skull and crossbones logo of RAF 100 Squadron, famous for its night-time raids.

Little is known about its maker, other than that he was an airman named E Taylor.

image

The model was found during a clearance sale at house in the south of England along with his prison camp diary, in which he had drawn a map of where his plane was shot down over Hungary on August 28, 1944.

He was incarcerated in the prisoner of war camp in Sagan, 100 miles south-east of Berlin, during its strictest regime, having arrived there only months after the ‘Great Escape’ when 76 Allied airmen made an audacious bid for freedom.  Only three made it home and 50 were executed by the Gestapo.

The pilot’s model shows how prisoners were determined to keep their spirits up despite being made to go on forced marches and fed only meagre rations.

His diary includes morale-boosting songs, along with sketches of the camp so detailed they show the prisoners’ sleeping arrangements and clothes hanging on a washing line. In it, he tells of his harsh treatment at the hands of his captors, referred to as the ‘goons’.

Describing how he and his fellow prisoners were given an hour’s notice before one forced march, he wrote: ‘The first day we covered 20km. The ice on the roads was good and we pulled our kit along on homemade sleigh.

‘Tired and hungry we put up at a school for the night. Next day. Until now no food was given us by the goons and it was hard going on the roads.
‘We covered about 20km during the day and spent the night in a church it is pouring with rain.’

Elsewhere he writes: ‘We got in the gates and an air raid started. There was panic by the goons and it was early morn when they searched us and put us in blocks.

‘This is one of the unhealthy and dirtiest places I had seen. We are starving there is practically no food. Our food for the day consists of 3 slices of bread and a cup of soup, there is no need to say more.’

The model and diary are due to be auctioned in Ludlow, Shrosphire, later this month. Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical documents expert at at Mullocks Auctioneers said the plane is the finest example of ‘trench art’ he has ever seen.

He said: ‘The model is beautifully slotted together and is constructed of a lot of different sections, which require some skill.

‘While the main body is made out of wood, the moving propellors are fashioned by materials from a tin can and the cockpit section from glass or some kind of resin.

‘Matchsticks underneath form the guns on the plane and the model is completed with realistic camouflage colouring. He will have managed to have got the paints whilst doing the painting duties around the camp.

‘The guards will have let this kind of thing happen because the more time the prisoners were doing things like that, the less time they were spending on trying to escape.’

Mr Westwood-Brookes added: ‘The model and diary just shows the remarkable spirit of the British troops. Mr Taylor has certainly left us with a fine legacy of his courage.’

MORE PHOTOS



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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/07/2009 at 05:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHistoryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesUK •  
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Britons panic buying last stocks of conventional lightbulbs. Gweens win this round but ….

Damn Pinheads!

I’ve posted on this subject before but now here it is officially, it’s come to this. PANIC indeed.

There has to be a place or places where we can still buy the old reliable 100W bulb.  If there is, and I think there is, I’ll find it and really go to town.

We had been hoarding bulbs for awhile but about a month ago the shelves were empty.  We do have quite a few but, one can never, ever have enough of something that works well.

Well, here’s what gonna happen at least here in this house.  First, gonna buy a couple more lamps and start using TWO 60watt bulbs in place of the one 100watt, when we burn through all those 100s we’ve hoarded.  Or maybe use up the 60s first.  See, I really do not give a rats pa-toot how much energy we use or how big a footprint or how much carbon I leave behind.  I just do not buy into all that sky is falling crap and I HATE the idea that the EU can bring this crap home.

I would imagine things almost as bad in USA.  Is that right?  I mean hey ... with Obama taking office this month and his green desires as he has stated, how long before there’s a total federal ban in the US? 

Maybe there’ll be black market in light bulbs. Yeah, and an Al Capone type will supply same and there’ll be truck hi-jacking and shoot outs and .....

Hmmmm. Sometimes I get carried away.  Never mind.

Britons panic buying last stocks of conventional lightbulbs
Britons are panic buying the last remaining stocks of traditional lightbulbs after the Government agreed to plans to phase them out completely.

By Murray Wardrop
Last Updated: 1:19PM GMT 07 Jan 2009

The EU will impose a ban on sales of 100W bulbs from September.
Britain has signed up to an European Union decision to replace conventional 100-watt bulbs with supposedly greener, low-energy alternatives.
It means that the staple household item is vanishing from the high street after 120 years.

Leading supermarkets and DIY chains, including Sainsbury’s, Asda and Homebase, have already sold all their final stocks of the bulbs.
Other stores have reported that the only have enough to last until the end of next week.

Ministers claim that switching from old-fashioned lightbulbs to their newer fluorescent counterparts will reduce carbon dioxide by around five million tons each year.
However, fears have been raised over suggestions that low-energy bulbs can trigger skin rashes, migraines and epilepsy.

There is also concern because the fluorescent bulbs are generally more expensive and contain mercury, which makes disposal more dangerous.
An average supermarket price for a six pack of standard 60W pearl light bulbs is £1.21, but a single 60W low energy stick light bulb costs around £2.19.

Retailers stopped replenishing supplies of conventional incandescent 100W bulbs at the start of the year under a voluntary government scheme to force people to buy green compact fluorescent lights.
However, many shoppers have resorted to stockpiling supplies of traditional bulbs over worries about the quality of low energy alternatives and the fact that most of them do not work with dimmer switches.

Sainsbury’s said it had “virtually run out” of traditional 100W bulbs, while Homebase, John Lewis, and Asda confirmed they no longer had them on their shelves. Tesco, Britain’s biggest seller of bulbs, said it had enough for a few days.
The death of the conventional incandescent bulb was announced by Gordon Brown in 2007. The government wants people to switch to low energy compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to help meet its climate change targets.

An energy efficient bulb uses a fifth of the energy of a conventional bulb and can save £7 a year in bills.

BULBS

WOO-HOO.  a WHOLE £7 a year. Well hell lets break out the champers and celebrate this great windfall. Maybe on the savings I can buy a flat pack Cadillac, Candy Apple Red please.  Ikea must sell that cheap. I’ll get Drew to put the damn thing together and then float it over here on the packing.


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/07/2009 at 04:05 PM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peonsGovernmentUK •  
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intricate network of tunnels through trash inside house, causes man’s death. BIZARRE!

I kind of think this sort of collecting is more sickness of some kind then hobby.  How could anyone live like this.  Apparently, quite a few as this I think is perhaps the third article I’ve seen re. some guy (and not always old) living in a garbage heap inside his own home. 
Bizarre.

Man died in network of tunnels he made through house of rubbish
A man whose home was so full of rubbish that he had to build an intricate network of tunnels to get around may have died after losing his way in the labyrinth.

Last Updated: 11:12AM GMT 07 Jan 2009

image
Police discovered a confusing system of tunnels networking around the interior of the building. Photo: MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS SYNDICATION

Investigators believe Gordon Stewart, 74, died as a result of dehydration, after becoming unable to find his way out of the mass of carrier bags, boxes, old furniture and other junk.

Police had to call in a specialist diving team because the smell from the house, Broughton, Buckinghamshire, was so overpowering.
Neighbours had become concerned that they had not seen Mr Stewart for several days and raised the alarm.

According to witnesses, the officers were faced with mounds of foul-smelling garbage which he had used to construct tunnels around his home.
The smell was so over-powering police had to call in a specialist team - equipped with breathing apparatus - to search the two-storey house. They discovered a confusing system of tunnels networking around the interior of the building, with Mr Stewart lying dead inside.

Locals say Mr Stewart, who wore a pony-tail, was often spotted riding his bike around the streets.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “He was slightly eccentric, but very clever. He was just a collector. He came home with a load of cardboard boxes and lived in his own world.” A second described his death as a “tragedy”.
Neighbours said Mr Stewart’s home had been accumulating rubbish for at least 10 years.

A car dating back to the 1950s stands in the garage believed to have been left untouched for years as garbage built up around it.
A spokesman from Thames Valley Police, said: “Police were called on Friday at 12.26pm by a member of public who was concerned for welfare of a resident on Narbeth Drive. Police forced entry where they found a man’s body. “There are no suspicious circumstances.”

Police also confirmed that officers had to call on the help of the Thames Valley Police Specialist Search and Recovery team to find the body. The team specialises in diving rescue operations, but is equally well equipped and trained in recovering bodies during land searches.

With the use of protective equipment, breathing apparatus, gas detectors, analysers and remote cameras, SSRT officers can enter and search confined and contaminated spaces, where the atmosphere may be noxious or poisonous, with out putting their own safety at risk.

It is believed Mr Stewart lived alone and has no next of kin. A post mortem examination is due to be carried out at a later date.”

PHOTO


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/07/2009 at 03:30 PM   
Filed Under: • UK •  
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calendar   Tuesday - January 06, 2009

The NY Post must read BMEWS

How else could they come up with this story. Here it is. Verbatim. Title and all.



FRENCH NAVY WINS!

(REALLY. STOP LAUGHING)



image



Incroyable! The French navy finally notched a victory.

The fleet from a country known more for its lightning-quick surrenders than its military successes captured more than a dozen Somali pirates (right) and rescued two threatened cargo ships off the Gulf of Aden.

In what must have been a confusing experience for the Brie-loving seamen, 19 Somali pirates raised their hands in surrender and let the French sailors raid their boat on Sunday.

The pirates were trying to take over a Croatian cargo vessel and a Panamanian ship off the Somali coast when the French interceded.

It appears the French - whose last significant triumph at sea was against China at the 1884 Battle of Foochow - are on a roll battling the pirates.

This incident comes three days after their navy took eight pirates into custody for attacking a Panamanian ship.

The French Navy is patrolling the Somali waters as part of a European Union anti-piracy naval task force.

In all fairness to the pirates, I should note that the fwench outnumbered them 13 to 10 and also had 2 boats to their 1. And who can tell nationalities behind all that SWAT gear?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 11:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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Another Fishy Story

Sushi Tuna sells for $100,000 at Auction



Can you imagine being the lucky stiff on the party boat who reeled this one in? You’d be set. Still hungry, but set.

TOKYO (Jan. 5) — Two sushi bar owners paid more than $100,000 for a Japanese bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish auction Monday, several times the average price and the highest in nearly a decade, market officials said.
The 282-pound premium tuna caught off the northern coast of Oma fetched $104,700, the highest since 2001, when another Japanese bluefin tuna brought an all-time record of 20 million yen, market official Takashi Yoshida said.

Yoshida said the extravagant purchase — about $370 per pound — went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and his Japanese competitor who reached a peaceful settlement to share the big fish. The Hong Kong buyer also paid the highest price at last year’s new year event at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the world’s largest fish seller, which holds near-daily auctions.

A slightly bigger imported bluefin caught off the eastern United States sold for $15,400 in Monday’s auction.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 11:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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There goes that evil Bush again

Bush creates largest marine protection zone in the world



President Bush is to create the world’s largest marine protection area in a huge swath of the Pacific Ocean.

Mining and commercial fishing will be banned in an area measuring 195,000 square miles which includes the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench on the planet. Rose Atoll in American Samoa and seven islands strung along the equator in the central Pacific will also come under the protection plan.

The atolls, reefs and underwater mountains of the designated area are the habitat of hundreds of unique species of birds and fish including the world’s largest land crab and the rare Malaysian megapode, a bird that incubates its eggs in the heat of underwater volcanoes.

It also harbours some of the rarest geological formations on earth; the Mariana Trench lies 36,000 feet below sea level - 6.8 miles deep. Its deepest point is deeper than Mt Everest is tall, and it is five times the size of the Grand Canyon.

Rose Atoll, the smallest atoll in the world with only about 20 acres of land, is home to giant 85ft tall trees and is a vital nesting ground for threatened green sea turtles and endangered hawksbill sea turtles.

“These locations are truly among the last pristine areas in the marine environment on Earth,” said James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, announcing the plans which will be made official by Mr Bush at a White House ceremony today.

The protected areas will extend 50 nautical miles off the coral reefs and atolls at the three monuments, which will be officially called the Marianas Marine National Monument, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, and the Pacific Islands Marine National Monument.

Hey, isn’t this where Nancy Pelosi’s Tuna PAC money comes from? Why, yes it is!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 11:35 PM   
Filed Under: • EnvironmentPolitics •  
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Zimbabwe Going Exponential?

Cholera Deaths in Zimbabwe Top 1,700; more than 34,000 infected




When I last posted on this, the number infected was around 10,000 with 300 dead. That wasn’t more than a couple weeks ago. Obviously nothing has improved a jot in that hellhole.

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic is picking up speed, with a total of 1,732 deaths out of 34,306 cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. A cholera update dated January 5 showed a further 59 deaths and 731 new cases, up from 32 deaths and 379 fresh cases reported the previous day, it said.
...
The waterborne disease, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, has spread to all of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces because of the collapse of health and sanitation systems.

On Monday Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said the epidemic could get worse as the rainy season develops.

The rainy season peaks in January or February and ends in late March. Floods, which can affect Zimbabwe’s low-lying areas, may increase the spreading of the disease.

6.3 million citizens are being fed almost solely by foreign food emergency aide.  That’s more than half the population. The last harvest failed; they’d better pray for a bumper crop to ripen in March. What will happen if the aide money dries up, even a little? Or when the rainwater spreads the cholera to an area 1000 times as big? Goodbye Zimbabwe.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 10:47 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaTyrants and Dictators •  
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Natural Born Redneck


Four-year-old boy shoots babysitter



An angry 4-year-old boy in Ohio grabbed a gun from a closet and shot his babysitter, police said.

Eighteen-year-old Nathan Beavers was admitted to the hospital on Sunday with minor wounds to his arm and side after the shotgun attack. Police said another teenager was also injured.

Witnesses told police the child was angry because Mr Beavers accidentally stepped on his foot. Mr Beavers was watching the child at a mobile home in Jackson with several other teenagers and several other children. The Jackson County Sheriff, John Shashteen, said authorities were investigating. The child has not been charged.

Mr Beavers was being treated at Ohio State University Medical Centre in Columbus for gunshot wounds to his arm and side according to The Columbus Dispatch.

“He [the boy] didn’t say much,” Chief Deputy Jim Ephlin said of the suspect, the paper reported. “He said he was mad at Nathan. He said, ‘I’m going to go get a gun.’ The others thought he was kidding and was going to get a toy gun.”

The boy is in the custody of his parents “until we see what the prosecutor wants to do,” Mr Ephlin said. The parents of the injured youth told deputies they did not want any legal action taken against the boy, he added, the paper said.

Now, I don’t mean to criticize how these parents are raising their child, but somebody ought to teach the little rugrat how to aim!
bat


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 10:19 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeHumor •  
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Mr. Bunnsy has a small adventure

So I got my fingerprinting done late this morning for my NJ firearms ID card. I had to go to the local mental institution psychiatric hospital to get it done. I didn’t even know we had one! So I went up to Glen Gardner (which is a town, not some brand of scotch, even though I once knew someone with that name) and took a drive up the mountain to the place. Through the deep dark woods. The woods that grow the 400 pound bears that they run over down in the town. And I kept going up, and up, and up. And the road got worse as the woods got heavier. Finally I found the sign for the hospital at the proverbial fork in the road, and bore to the right. I was expecting a bear on my left, but they’re all probably hibernating now. I managed to miss the sign where the road split into 4 even smaller roads, but at least I found the place. So I had a nice drive around all the old whitewashed stone buildings, going down all the dead end streets and blind alleys. Finally I decided I’d ask someone, so I found the Administration building and parked. A delivery guy I met in the parking lot pointed out that I was only off by one building, so I at last found the place.

I left myself plenty of time to get there, and needed most of it. You sign up for this task online, and the web page is quite authoritative. Appointments are little 5 minute windows. You pay in advance online. No refunds. No missing appointments. Definitely gives you the “Zhu vill not be late, or zhu vill be shot!” intimidating kind of feeling. So I parked, walked around the building until I found the little entrance nook on the side ("Zhu vill not use zer front door or zhu vill be shot!") and went it. And met two very pleasant and charming young women who did the task in a couple of minutes. They have an optical scanner attached to a PC. No ink. No mess. A full set of prints, both hands, glommed onto a file and emailed back to the police station with a single mouse click. Here’s your receipt, here’s your paperwork to drop off, thank you have a nice day. I mentioned that the website was a bit intimidating. “Oh that’s just to make sure people keep their appointments. If we didn’t do that folks would just show up whenever they wanted to.” She has a point. Keeping appointments and reservations seem to be one of those arcane acts of society that we’ve lost along the way.

Still no bears visible, just the usual deer, so I got back in my car, drove over to the police station and dropped off my paperwork, then drove home. Nothing else to do now except wait. My reference letters have already gone out, been filled out and mailed back. Let’s see how long it takes the state to process this process.

Now here’s a funny thing. This hospital is pretty old. It has that look of age that some fieldstone buildings get after a century or two. And I noticed that at least one of the buildings was in pretty awful condition, just about ready to fall down. So I come home and do a little ‘net research, and find out that this place was funded in 1902 by NJ State Governor Murphy, a Progressive Republican! (and Civil War veteran), along with fellow vet and eye doctor Charles Kipp and it opened as the NJ Sanitarium for Tuberculosis Diseases at Mt. Kipp in 1907. (scroll down to the G section). The funny part is that the place seems to be a geriatrics center, or at least a psychogeriatric hospital , and a center for drug alcoholism treatment ... and yet, at the same time, others seem to think this is another one of NJ’s famous abandoned hospitals and institutions. We have loads of them. Once upon a time, people flocked to New Jersey to recover from illnesses. Must have been that pure country air and water. I think the “here’s another spooky old mental hospital” guy was just sneaking around in the one falling apart little building. The rest of the place is immaculate.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 07:54 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeGuns and Gun Control •  
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The war in Gaza is terrible. But the alternative was worse - for all of us

This is a fairly long read. However, this lady has nailed almost every point and she has done so brilliantly.

Yes, the war in Gaza is terrible. But the alternative was worse - for all of us
Last updated at 10:10 AM on 05th January 2009
War is always terrible and to be avoided if humanly possible. War in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists are embedded within densely crowded areas, is particularly awful.

By Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail

No one wants to see civilians being killed. Every decent person will be dismayed that it has come to this.
What is profoundly troubling, however, is that as the Israeli ground offensive escalates hostilities still further, so many in Britain don’t understand that, appalling as this war is, the alternative is even worse.

This is a war that Israel spent more than seven years trying to avoid, while no fewer than 6,000 rockets and other missiles rained down from Gaza upon its southern towns. No other country in the world would have sat on its hands while its traumatised children were raised in bomb shelters.

The often-made comparison with IRA terrorism spectacularly misses the point. Hamas actually run Gaza. The equivalent would have been the Irish government firing 6,000 rockets at England.

Does anyone seriously doubt that, in such a hypothetical situation, Britain would have been at war with Ireland long before that total had been reached?

Besieged

Far from acting out of political opportunism, as some so offensively suggest, Israel has taken massive risks on every front with this operation. A ground war almost certainly means many of its soldiers will die. If just one of its shells were to go astray and hit a school or hospital, a hostile western world would unleash the furies against it.

And in Lebanon, Hezbollah may launch its ferocious arsenal of rockets pointing at northern Israel, forcing it to fight on two fronts. But the brutal fact is that tiny, besieged Israel is damned if it does and dead if it doesn’t.

While Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blame Hamas for provoking this war, it is Israel which is drawing western protests.

These are not confined to the thuggish demonstrations organised by an alliance of Islamists and the far-Left we have seen on the streets of London at the weekend. Many others also share the view that Israel is in the wrong. So why is a country under attack from genocidal fanatics pilloried for defending its citizens against slaughter?

The main complaint is that Israel’s response is ‘disproportionate’, since some 500 Palestinians have been killed compared with ‘only’ four Israelis since the war started nine days ago.

This is absurd. In World War II, 20 times more civilians were killed in Germany than in Britain. Did that make the war against the Nazis ‘disproportionate’? Of course not.

Yes, the war in Gaza is terrible. But the alternative was worse - for all of us
Last updated at 10:10 AM on 05th January 2009
Comments (100) Add to My Stories War is always terrible and to be avoided if humanly possible. War in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists are embedded within densely crowded areas, is particularly awful.

No one wants to see civilians being killed. Every decent person will be
dismayed that it has come to this.

What is profoundly troubling, however, is that as the Israeli ground offensive escalates hostilities still further, so many in Britain don’t understand that, appalling as this war is, the alternative is even worse.

This is a war that Israel spent more than seven years trying to avoid, while no fewer than 6,000 rockets and other missiles rained down from Gaza upon its southern towns. No other country in the world would have sat on its hands while its traumatised children were raised in bomb shelters.

The often-made comparison with IRA terrorism spectacularly misses the point. Hamas actually run Gaza. The equivalent would have been the Irish government firing 6,000 rockets at England.

Does anyone seriously doubt that, in such a hypothetical situation, Britain would have been at war with Ireland long before that total had been reached?
Besieged

Far from acting out of political opportunism, as some so offensively suggest, Israel has taken massive risks on every front with this operation. A ground war almost certainly means many of its soldiers will die. If just one of its shells were to go astray and hit a school or hospital, a hostile western world would unleash the furies against it.

And in Lebanon, Hezbollah may launch its ferocious arsenal of rockets pointing at northern Israel, forcing it to fight on two fronts. But the brutal fact is that tiny, besieged Israel is damned if it does and dead if it doesn’t.

While Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blame Hamas for provoking this war, it is Israel which is drawing western protests.
These are not confined to the thuggish demonstrations organised by an alliance of Islamists and the far-Left we have seen on the streets of London at the weekend. Many others also share the view that Israel is in the wrong. So why is a country under attack from genocidal fanatics pilloried for defending its citizens against slaughter?

This is absurd. In World War II, 20 times more civilians were killed in Germany than in Britain. Did that make the war against the Nazis ‘disproportionate’? Of course not.

Then there’s the belief that the Hamas rockets are some kind of homemade, harmless Dad’s Army effort which could and should be ignored.

But the only reason more Israelis haven’t been killed by them is that in the south, the population has been all but living in bomb shelters. And there is nothing ‘homemade’ about the Russian-designed Katyushas and Iranian Grad rockets now putting around one-tenth of Israel’s population within their range.

Contrary to Arab propaganda, the Israelis are taking enormous pains to avoid civilian casualties in their attempt to curb these rocket attacks. The UN has confirmed that the vast majority (75 per cent) of the dead in Gaza have been Hamas terrorists. Given the huge number of bombing sorties that have been conducted, this proves that the Israelis are specifically targeting the Hamas infrastructure.

What must be understood is that Hamas have deliberately situated their weapons under apartment blocks, in mosques and in hospitals.

The Israelis build bomb shelters for their civilians;

Hamas stores bombs underneath its civilians in order to create as many civilian casualties as possible to manipulate world opinion.


Fanaticism

What people find so hard to grasp is that Hamas actually wants to maximise the number of Palestinians who are killed because, as they boast: ‘We desire death as you desire life.’

Despite this fanaticism, many fear that Israel’s attack will merely create yet more suicide bombers. There is a grain of sense in this — but only a grain.

This is because every single act of self-defence against Islamist aggression is used as a recruiting sergeant for the Islamic holy war. So if this is allowed to dictate world responses, it follows that no one can ever defend themselves against Islamist rockets and bomb attacks — not just in Israel but in Afghanistan or against Al Qaeda anywhere.

Islamists such as Hamas are galvanised into battle by the perceived weakness of their victims, and are deterred only by implacable strength. That’s why the ferocity of suicide bomb attacks actually rises after peace initiatives. Gaza’s rocket barrage against Israel went up by 500 per cent after Israel ended its occupation.

And the 2000 Intifada which killed thousands of Israelis was the Palestinians’ response to being offered more than 90 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza for a state of their own.

What is so distressing is the desperate unfairness of so much Western reaction. Thus Israel is accused of causing a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, even though it is allowing hundreds of trucks of supplies through the crossing points — so that at one stage aid agencies in Gaza said their storehouses were full.

Few are aware that wounded Gazans — 65 per cent of whom voted for Hamas — are continuing to be treated in Israeli hospitals.

Nor are they aware that in a Gaza hospital, by contrast, Hamas shot dead five suspected Palestinian ‘collaborators’ — and murdered a further 30 elsewhere.

The reason for this grotesquely unfair reaction is that so many in Britain now believe as fact the Arab lies about the Middle East impasse. Many think, for example, that the Palestinians are the rightful inheritors not just of Gaza and the West Bank but Israel itself.

Suicidal

But this is totally false. The Jews are the only people for whom ‘Palestine’ was ever their nation state, hundreds of years before Mohammed was even born.

It was in recognition of that inalienable right that in the 1920s the British undertook the legally binding international obligation — never rescinded — to settle Jews in every part of Mandatory Palestine. 

That included not just modern Israel but the West Bank and Gaza, too. Despite this, Israel is willing for the Palestinians to have their own state — as was first offered to them in 1937 — but not if its only purpose is to be a launching pad for the final destruction of its Israeli neighbour.

No other country on the planet has ever been expected to make suicidal concessions to its enemies even while they continue to try to destroy it. Yet that is what the world expects of Israel.

Now the British Government, among others, has called for an immediate ceasefire. But this would effectively mean victory for Hamas. Gordon Brown wouldn’t dream of calling for a ceasefire with Al Qaeda. So why the double standard where Israel is concerned?

Most important of all, this war is not actually about Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas is controlled by Iran. Unless Hamas is stopped, Iran’s growing influence in the region will be entrenched and put Britain and the West in even greater danger from Islamist aggression and blackmail.

Israel may or may not eventually manage to stop the Hamas rockets. But the Middle East conflict will not end until and unless the West comes to realise that Israel is in the frontline of the West’s own fight for survival, and starts properly defending the country struggling to defend civilisation instead of siding with those waging holy war against it.

THE MAIL


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/06/2009 at 02:12 PM   
Filed Under: • PaleswineRoPMATerroristsWar On Terror •  
Comments (8) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

War veterans out … Travellers in as PC Pinheads kick the Navy Vets out in favor of illegals.

This isn’t a follow up to the article from a day or two ago. This is yet another in a long list of outrages committed against native Brits or veterans groups and sometimes against white, middle aged middle class taxpayers.  Yeah I know ...  looks like the usual right wing extremest viewpoint, where’s my pointy hood.

The fact is, it is not extreme at all and many Brits (and not just white middle class either) are feeling the pc pinch more and more.  But I’m getting off the subject.

This article is so typical of what’s happening here I can’t but feel some fear for my own country, where more and more I read or get emails from ppl telling me about some screwball plan the lefties have in place.  Or want to put in place.

My sincere worry for this country also consumes me and the line here about England’s “GREEN BELT” is worrisome in the extreme.  The Green Belt is exactly that and it has been treasured by generations who tried to keep it that way. But these folks don’t care about that and make no mistake, they do know about the green belt and they do know it IS NOT LEGAL to park yourself there and live there. They just don’t care because what the heck, they have lawyers and they have apologists who make it easy for them to ignore laws.

This is an island as I always remind people. You can only pave over and plow up so much before you have no more.  And that isn’t chicken little thinking at all.  It simply takes enough people to ignore the problem and soon the problem and the belt will be no more. And that would be damn sad!

You can read for yourself ... 

FOR THE SPORTS FANS AT BMEWS.

LATEST SCORE FROM THE ROMAN COLISEUM:  LIONS, 6.  CHRISTIANS, nothing.

Let us all rise and sing, “There Will Always Be An England.” (at this rate? Ya think so?)

War veterans’ clubhouse is handed to travellers
By TOM KELLY
Last updated at 3:27 PM on 05th January 2009


Royal Navy veterans are being kicked out of their clubhouse so the land around it can be used as a travellers’ camp.

The former servicemen say the decision signals the death knell for their association which was formed 76 years ago.


The local council says that Whitehall diktats oblige it to find a home for the travellers who are illegally occupying green-belt land.

image
Eight traveller families have been granted homes under the £100million government plan to house 25,000 gipsies and travellers on hundreds of new and upgraded sites around the country.

Eight itinerant families will now be able to move on to the site at Northfleet, near Gravesend in Kent.
The clubhouse on the land had been leased by the local branch of the Royal Naval Association for three decades.

John Down, the club’s chairman and a Korean War veteran, said: ‘I’m so angry we are being treated like this. We have 160 members who all did their bit.
‘We risked life and limb for this great country that we wholeheartedly believed in. Now we are being treated like dirt, turfed out so that traveller families can move in.

‘We’ve paid our taxes all our lives and are still doing so. What have these people done? This country has lost the plot. It will be our death knell if we have to move.’

John Richards, another club member, said: ‘Someone needs the courage to say enough is enough.
‘This land was given to the people of Northfleet for sport and recreation. Part of our club houses the changing rooms for the football fields next door. There is a community here and the club is the glue that holds it all together.’

A govt. official has announced the first 43 locations where £21.6 million will be spent building new sites and says the programme will reduce the disturbance caused by illegal traveller camps

The clubhouse is used by Royal Navy veterans and their guests and for fundraising functions.

Tory-run Gravesham Council granted planning permission for the travellers to move to the grounds on condition that its officers find an alternative home for the association.
Mike Snelling, council leader, said: ‘We will not abandon the Naval Association.’

He added that talks with the association about a new home were still going on.
The travellers had been threatened with eviction for illegally building homes on their land at nearby Sole Street.
They refused to move but - following a £30,000 public inquiry - an agreement had been reached for them to move to the clubhouse site by October.

Leslie Christie, a Labour councillor, said none of the 300 locals who responded to the consultation process supported the proposal.
Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, recently announced 43 locations where £21.6million will be spent building traveller sites or expanding existing ones.
She said the programme will reduce the disturbance to neighbours.

But the move is being opposed by campaigners.

SPONGERS


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/06/2009 at 12:46 PM   
Filed Under: • OutrageousPoliticsUK •  
Comments (1) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Diaries of swashbuckling hero who rescued Robinson Crusoe unearthed.

SAY HEY PEOPLE ... IF ANYONE HAS AN EXTRA SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS NOT WANTED OR NEEDED OR YOU’D JUST LIKE TO TOSS SOME CASH OFF A MOUNTAIN, INSTEAD OF THROWING IT AWAY .... SEND IT TO ME SO I CAN BUY THIS ITEM.  WAIT, IT’S GONNA BE AUCTIONED. 6G MIGHT NOT BE THE SELL PRICE.  OK. BELAY THE LAST REQUEST.

ANYONE OUT THERE WITH AN EXTRA , SAY 20 THOUSAND YOU WANNA GIVE AWAY? 

Man oh man I just love this sort of thing. I tend to get carried way, away and over the top.  Can’t help it.

Now why can’t anyone go after modern day pirates the old fashioned way?  What did they know in the 17 and 1800s that we forgot?

Oh well, this isn’t exactly about that particular subject anyway.

This is some kind of find.


A 300-year-old journal of a British explorer who saved the real-life Robinson Crusoe and defeated pirates of the Caribbean has been discovered.

By Nick Britten
Last Updated: 3:37PM GMT 05 Jan 2009

image
Rogers, who left Britain in 1708, had been tasked with ‘victimising’ pirates targeting his fellow British merchants Photo: BNPS

The extremely rare account chronicles a three-year round-the world voyage of the swashbuckling privateer Capt Woodes Rogers, who made a fortune pillaging from pirate ships and Spanish galleons.

During that journey, Rogers, who was a friend of the author Daniel Defoe, even stopped off at a remote Pacific island and found castaway Alexander Selkirk, who inspired the character and book Robinson Crusoe. He said he found him “wild-looking” and wearing “goatskins”, adding: “He had with him his clothes and bedding, with a firelock, some powder, bullets and tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible and books.”

Rogers, who left Britain in 1708, had been tasked with “victimising” pirates targeting his fellow British merchants.

Commanding two 36-gun ships, the Duke and the Duchess, and 333 men, he sailed the South Seas, the East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope, going about his task with great gusto.

His finest catch was the prized vessel The Great Manila, a Spanish trading ship that sailed across the Pacific with a valuable cargo, including precious stones and exotic silks worth $2 million.

In 1717, he was appointed the governor of the Behamas by King George I and played a major role in ridding the islands of 2,000 pirates, including Edward Teach, also called Blackbeard. He was pursued by Rogers’ forces and killed.

The slogan of his epic voyage, “Piracy expelled, commerce restored”, remained the islands’ own motto until independence was declared in 1973.

It is thought only a hundred copies of his book, A Cruising Voyage Around the World, were printed seven years after Rogers completed his odyssey. One was recently found in a loft in Bristol, where Rogers’ was based, and is expected to fetch £3,000 when it is auctioned on January 21st.

TELEGRAPH

You can’t begin to know how much I’d love to own this bit of history. One among many really. Darn.
I think that passion began when I was just a kid, and something called “The Freedom Train” was making it’s way across the USA.  It was a rolling museum and contained the ORIGINAL US Constitution, letters by Washington,Jefferson etc. AND, get this, a document by early explorers describing what they were seeing in this new world that later became America.  Awesome stuff let me tell ya.  Made an impression on me that never went away.

Try that today and it would be picketed by protesters who could find some excuse to protest some issue, the pc crowd would be out to point out the negative aspects of America’s founding, blah blah and blah.  Now I’m PO’d just thinking about that.
While I’m sure they were present, they must have been, we didn’t see any armed guards or high security.

I think I grew up in a somewhat better time.  For all it’s flaws it was a better time.


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/06/2009 at 09:43 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHeroesHistoryUK •  
Comments (2) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - January 05, 2009

Mutiny?  In the 20th century English Navy?  Not possible.  Oh yeah?  Some interesting history.

I forgot I had this among all the things here. Better late then never I guess because this is some interesting history both naval and economic.

You might like reading this. Well try anyway. Ya never know.

Six vital lessons of the 1931 depression
As we enter a second year of slump, history has some key pointers to the best way forward
William Rees-Mogg

Those of us who were alive at the time, or who have seen the film, have vivid memories of the sinking of HMS Hood in 1941, and of the pursuit and subsequent sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. Ten years earlier the Hood had been involved in another episode of naval history, which had a significant influence on British economic history.

On September 19, 1931, Captain J.F.C. Patterson, the acting Senior Officer, Atlantic Fleet, sent a signal to the Admiralty: “For two days, the ships at Invergordon of the Atlantic Fleet were in a state of open mutiny... large numbers of men were massed on the forecastles of Hood, Rodney and Dorsetshire. Men on the forecastle of Hood had refused to allow any work to be done to commence on unmooring, and it became evident that neither Hood nor Rodney could go to sea.”

Patterson had some sympathy with the underlying grievance. He informed the Admiralty: “The use of force was in my opinion quite out of the question,” and that “with regard to the causes of the outbreak, there is no doubt that first and foremost was the disproportionate reduction (in pay) of the lower ratings who entered before 1925”.

On the same day that Patterson sent his report of the Invergordon mutiny, a small conference was held at 10 Downing Street; the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, reported that he had had a discussion with Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party, and Sir Herbert Samuel, the leader of the Coalition Liberals.

* October 3, 1931: The ‘Daily Worker’ articles - incitement to mutiny over navy pay cuts

The result had been an agreement that it was essential to get legislation that would release the Bank of England from the obligation to pay out gold. E.R. Peacock, a director of the Bank of England, commented: “A sudden blizzard has struck the world. People have got anxious about their bank, that is to say, Great Britain, and they are gravely anxious about themselves.” The Downing Street meeting agreed to take Britain out of the gold standard.

The sailors at Invergordon were loyal and patriotic - many were to die for their country in the Second World War. But they were not prepared to have their pay docked - unfairly as they thought - to defend the convertibility into gold. In this, they were good Keynesians. In September 1931 the gold pound lost the confidence of British sailors, Cambridge economists and French bankers. That combination was irresistible.

September 19, 1931, was approximately the second anniversary of the start of the Great Depression in 1929. The mutiny and the decision to leave the gold standard proved to be the recovery point for Great Britain. From that point on, recovery became possible.

Two lessons were taught by Invergordon and the withdrawal from the gold commitment: governments should not try to balance the budget by cutting the pay of essential public servants; and they should not defend at all costs an overvalued fixed exchange rate. Britain does not now have a fixed exchange rate, although some people still want to join the euro. If we were in the euro, we would probably be arguing about when to leave.

The year 2009 can be paired with 1931. Both are the second year after the start of a big recession: 1931 was, beyond question, a year of depression. In the US the Federal Reserve Board kept statistics of the profits of 500 companies. In 1929 the index had been 998; in 1930 it had fallen to 760; in 1931 it was 370, and went as low as 267 in the final quarter.

Between 1929 and 1931 US employment fell by a third. If we based a forecast for 2009 on 1931 we would produce ghastly figures. The American recovery really began only in March 1933, after the inauguration of President Roosevelt. Britain had a lighter and shorter recession.

However, we can follow, and perhaps guard against, the acceleration of “the vicious spiral” of depression in 1931 itself. The turning of the screw actually began in June 1930, with the disastrous Hawley-Smoot tariff. Intended to protect US industry from excessive imports, it aroused international resentment and retaliation against US exports. If British experience offers the first two lessons, this would be the third: do not raise tariffs in a recession.

In May 1931, the Credit Anstalt, the leading bank in Austria, became insolvent and had to close. As the American economist, Irving Fisher, observed: “It was a great bank, and its collapse embarrassed both Germany and England.” Lesson four: do not allow systemic banks to fail. This was not applied to Lehmann Brothers, which may be regarded as the Credit Anstalt of the Wall Street panic of 2008. In June 1931 after runs on other Austrian banks, its Government belatedly guaranteed the liabilities of the Credit Anstalt.

In July 1931, the Bank of England rescued the German Reichsbank, which had been embarrassed by the failure of the Credit Anstalt. The French withdrew gold from Germany and the Bank of England for having taken the risk of supporting Germany. Lesson five: do not depend on central bankers in a panic.

On September 21 Britain left the gold standard, followed by 23 other nations. The US and France maintained gold convertibility.

In October 1931 President Hoover proposed the creation of the Home Mortgage Corporation, the ancestor of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage banks that did not become insolvent until 77 years later.

In December Hoover announced his relief programme. Fisher commented: “To meet the rapidly developing emergency, each step was too small and by the time it was enacted into law, it was too late.”

Lesson six: in a depression, too much and too early is safer than too little and too late.

TIMES


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/05/2009 at 09:29 PM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsHistory •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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