Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hands off my card, assholes!

For those who don't know: Helsinki area transportation system uses cards on which one can put time, money or both (for example one can use time for the unlimited travel in Helsinki and money for the occasional travel in the suburbs).

Except that sometimes you run into "helpers" who try to eat your money from the card.

I have no clue where those fuckers come from. One would think that most of the people who use the public transportation in the Helsinki area, and all of the people who work for HKL or YTV, would be aware that the machines who read the cards occasionally have glitches and fail to read the card, and that when a machine fails to read the time you have on your card you do not want to buy the ticket with money, but instead either have the bus driver reread the card with his/her other machine, or do absolutely nothing if you are riding some other form of transportation.

This not fucking rocket science, people. If a person in front of you tries to swipe a card without pressing any buttons, fails to do so, and swears "what's wrong with the fucking machine, I have time till August 15th on this card" this should be a sufficient clue that the person is not in fact trying to buy a ticket with money. This should be clear enough even to the vast majority of the people from the wrong side of the bell curve.

Apparently it isn't. People try to be helpful and explain that you need to push a button (which is how people pay for a single ticket with the money they have on your card). The particularly helpful or particularly dumb even try to push those buttons for you, and if you don't stop them, it will eat money from your card, and then you'll have a hell of a time trying to get it back either from the "helper" or from HKL.

Today's "helper" was lucky, in that I did not have enough money for a ticket on my card, so no harm done. Otherwise there would have been hell to pay. Or 3.60, anyway.

Here we go again

Are we having some Film Director Death Week or something? Now Antonioni died.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The joys of shopping

Shopping is fun.

Oh, I hate shopping when I really have to buy something, especially clothes. OTOH I love shopping when I am just walking around the city from one store to another seeing if there is anything nice I can buy.

On Saturday I went shopping, feeling a vague desire to buy a computer case and some ice cream. I came back without a case or ice cream, but instead I bought a pair of shoes, a gigabyte of memory and some huge yellow soup plates. And I don't even eat soup (but soup plates are convenient for salad, too).

I have almost forgotten how exciting it is to have a memory upgrade. I wish I could do it every time I am in need of cheering up. Unfortunately the motherboard - any motherboard - has a limited number of slots.

I was sorta susprised that my kernel (2.6.18-4-486) did not want recognize the new memory right away. Switched to 2.6.18-4-686-bigmem, even though that is meant for really big memories. Works, anyway.

Bought a pair of Crocs, too, to see what the fuss was all about. Unfortunately the model I wanted does not come in funky colors. They are nice, though. A bit overrated maybe, but they are very light and reasonably soft.


Bergman died. Bugger.

Temporary refugees, permanent trouble

Sometime this spring I saw a demonstration against B-status residence permits. The demonstration included a few hundred people, most of them Middle-Eastern or African-looking, and a large minority looking like Sosialistiliitto members. (I tend to call these "young people in Che t-shirts", although not all of them are young and not all of them have Che t-shirts).

They were saying that B-status, at least for asylum seekers (I have never seen any activists care about B-status workers), is a bad thing. Strangely enough I agree, although they and I might have radically different idea of what can be done to these people instead of giving them the B-status.

In fact, I don't know whether my criteria for granting political asylum or refugee status would be looser or tighter than the criteria the Finnish authorities are using now, but that's not the point. I just think that temporary refugees in general are nothing but trouble. Just let them in. Or kick them out.

In general the process of refugee admissions is way too obsessed with the questions of "are those real refugees and are they really persecuted and are these guys more or less persecuted that those guys", with a bit of "oh my god we have to take all the persecuted people in". No, you don't. Persecuted people are usually in very plentiful supply, whereas money, space, the goodwill of the local population and other resources needed to admit refugees are rather limited.

All countries that admit refugees obviously look out for their own interests too, but I think this should be done openly, and flexibly. We should be able to say "yes, you are really persecuted, but we are totally out of money for this year, so sorry, try some other country". We should be able to say "yes, you are really persecuted, but considering that you have been persecuted all over the Middle East for being an Islamic exremist we are certainly not gonna let you in, and nobody else in their right mind would either". Just let's not say "yeah, Taliban killed half of the teachers and a few students in your daughter's school and is promising to kill the rest together with their parents, but we don't think you are really persecuted". That's simply embarassing.

We (as in "the civilized world") don't have resources to admit all the refugees in the world. You know it, I know it, the Powers That Be know it, the refugees know it. There is no point in pretending.

There are ways to raise more resources but this won't be enough. You can raise more money by telling a refugee organization and all the other interested parties: "we don't have money to admit more than x of your countrymen, but if you raise n euros we can admit m more people (I am sure Sosialistiliitto will be first in line to donate). You can also raise more local goodwill by keeping (and, if need should arise, kicking) the criminals out and making the existing refugees find some work. But in the end, most of the people who need asylum will never find it. Live with it (and look who is talking).

But I digress. I meant to talk about the temporary refugees and undesirability thereof. No offense to the people who escape some clearly very temporary problem right across the border and come back, this is not about you.

Basically, most refugees need permanent resettlement (yes, I know I've mentioned this before). When you resettle refugees in your country they might be trouble or might become perfectly normal citizens, depending (mostly) on how well you have chosen them. When you take in "temporary" refugees you get permanent trouble for sure. They won't integrate and they won't go away.

Getting your ass kicked out of your home country or having to run away from there is nothing new. Yeah, I know that it is neither pleasant nor fair, but it happens and people usually recover from it if they find a new home. 15-20 million people got permanently kicked out of their homes in connection with the partition of the Indian subcontinent. 12 million Germans got kicked out of the Eastern Europe after WWII, and that's not counting the several million that ran away from the East Germany to the West. 400 thousand Finns got kicked out of Carelia. Countless Jews got kicked out of or escaped from much everywhere during the last century, some of them several times (the Holocaust-unrelated events were Soviet Union as such, as far as anyone could escape from there, Poland who kicked almost all its Jews out in the late sixties, Arab countries who also kicked almost all their Jews (700 thousand or so) in the late sixties, and Iran). Shit happens.

Most people sort of know how to go on when it does. They find a new job, a new home, a new life. They might feel wronged, and often rightly so, and if they think they can milk some money out of the old enemy they will do so, but they don't try to roll back the transaction, so to say. They don't want to attack Russia in order to get Carelia back. They don't demand a right of return to Pakistan or to Libya (heh, what a thought). They don't even return to Poland or Czech Republic in spite of the fact that now they have the opportunity in the EU.

That's what the refugee experience is supposed to be about. Found a new place, got a new life.

But then there are the people who never do that, or never get to do that. Sometimes they did not find a new place that would take them, sometimes they don't want to. Sometimes they do find a place that lets them settle down and then mistake their new home for a convenient military base to attack the old enemy from, which sometimes causes them to lose that new home fairly quickly.

These people are trouble. They don't find jobs. They don't learn the language. At best they are a burden. At worst they get their new country in very serious trouble (look up Black September). And no, they don't go back, even when they would really like to.

Yet somehow, they find understanding in the West. In fact quite a lot of people (both on the right and on the left) exhibit more approval for a refugee who says that he wants to "go home as soon as it is possible and fight for his country" than for a refugee who says "bugger, my country is totally fucked, I'd like to learn a bit of Finnish and sign up for a bus driving course". Some of the people who wouldn't even dream of encouraging Finns to attack Russia in order to get Carelia back or Germans to demand the right of return to Poland would easily encourage Somalis to attack whoever is ruling their country this week, or encourage Palestinians to demand the right of return to Israel.

In order to resettle a refugee successfully you need the good will of both sides, otherwise it won't work. No matter how well you try, there will be a number of those "temporary people" in any refugee population. Even among the ex-Soviets in the US, who have generally resettled quite well, you sometimes see the people who say that they hate America and would like to go back to Russia ASAP and fix it to their liking, and then they will be welcomed on the Red Square on a white horse, etc. My aunt hangs out with one of those. Last time I'd seen him it was in Fenway park and not on the Red Square, but if any of you watch TV news and see a seventyish guy on a white horse on the Red Square, please do tell...

(The good thing about the US is that no matter how you would like to go back and fix your own country, or to sit on your ass whining about how much you'd like to fix your country, eventually the welfare runs out, and you have to find a job, after which you only get to whine part-time. And then one thing leads to another, and at some point you realize that that you dream of a summer cottage on Cape Cod more often than you dream of conquering Russia. To whine full-time you have to be a senior citizen.)

Refugee resettlement is a risk. No matter how much you try to offer them a new home, if you don't choose your refugees well you might have real trouble. If you offer refugees a temporary home you are gonna have trouble for sure, no matter how well you choose them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Do men need to ask permission before having sex with women?

Most of you have answered "yes" to this, or at least I sincerely hope so. I am pretty sure most of the Finnish population would answer "yes", so we have a consensus. Hey, men: the majority has spoken and now you have to ask my permission every time you are planning on having sex with a woman.

Yes, yes, of course I meant my permission, not the permission of the woman in question (although of course you can and probably should ask her as well as long as you have received my permission too). What? I did not mention that in the question and you assumed I mean her permission? Oh dear... Silly you, should've asked.

If I polled people like that in my blog, at least some of my readers would point out that I must be either out of my mind, or advancing some kind of an agenda by truly pathetic means.

Helsingin Sanomat, on the other hand, got Suomen Gallup to poll people in the Helsinki metropolitan area on whether or not children under 15 should be told to come home by some particular time. 56% said yes. The question did not mention who should define this curfew, but if the people happened to ask, they were told that the pollsters mean the officials, not the parents.

So, why didn't they say so? Especially considering that offical curfews are not usually a part of the Finnish culture, and that the majority of population is highly likely to assume that the pollsters mean the curfews set by the parents and not by the officials. Is there any reason to withhold that information in the question, except if your goal is to mislead the people who answer it?

Friday, July 27, 2007

A new motherboard?

As I have read in way too many places lately, one cannot really go against one's own biology and basic instincts, and my biological computer upgrading clock is ticking very hard, and I keep having wet dreams about a new motherboard and lots of memory and a huge monitor.

Anyway: has any of Debian users who read my blog acquired a new AM2 motherboard recently, how much hassle has it been installing it, what to buy, and what not to buy?

(Yeah, I know, a smart person would have asked at some Debian forum. I might yet.)

"...and if you say that I am violent I'll kick your ass"

Via The Fourth Checkraise and Tim Dunlop:

Hugo Chavez is planning to deport the foreign visitors who criticize his regime. "How long are we going to allow a person - from any country in the world - to come to our own house to say there's a dictatorship here, that the president is a tyrant, and nobody does anything about it?" - he says.

Good thing we got this thing sorted out, then. I'd hate to see what he'd do to people who claim there is no freedom of speech in Venezuela.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A few thoughts on integration

The anti-immigration people in Finland are quite pessimistic about immigrant integration in general, which is understandable considering that Finland's - and Europe's integration record has not been good lately.

Yet there are a few countries that are integrating a lot of immigrants successfully, and more countries that are integrating parts of their immigrant flow fairly well.

Israel has taken 1.2 million immigrants between 1989 and 2004, and integrated them fairly successfully. The US has acquired 1 266 264 new legal permanent residents in 2006, and is doing pretty well with them too.

By "pretty well" I mean that the immigrants are doing well financially and educationally. I don't mean that there are no problems at all. Russian mafia and Vietnamese gangs are a problem, but one is not afraid to walk through Russian or Vietnamese neighborhoods. Islamic extremism is a problem, but Muslim immigrants graduate from colleges and find good jobs at about the same rate as the general population, and at a higher rate than native-born Muslims.

There is a fairly serious concern about the illegal Mexican immigration now, for several reasons: first, people resent illegal immigration just because it is illegal, and are uncomfortable with porous borders, second, people doubt that the US integration capacity is enough to assimilate many millions of immigrants coming all from the same country.

But in general, US had done well with immigration, Israel has done well, and UK seems to have done well with some of its immigrant groups, such as Indians. It can be done. Here is a list of what I think are the important factors here:

1. Get the right people. Out of the 1.2 million that immigrated to Israel in 1989-2004, 82% were Eastern Europeans. I don't mean that Eastern Europeans are the way to go, but if you admit the folks who are not integrating anywhere else, don't hold your breath here, either. The more backwards the country of origin is, the more educated the immigrants themselves should be.

This is not to say that you can or should always select the immigrants well. If a Finn, for example, wants to marry a foreigner and the foreigner in question is neither a criminal nor a threat to the national security you have to admit them, even if they live in a tree and don't know how to use a toilet. When you are taking large groups of refugees or workers, however, it's possible and it's better to select ones that actually can integrate.

2. Welfare state and refugees are a bad mix. I think that the most essential reason for the USA's success in refugee integration is that they simply know that if they sit on their asses they will eventually run out of money.

Living on welfare for a long time is bad for people in general. It is especially bad for the kind of people who don't know any locals, don't have any useful skills, and did not grow up with the concept of welfare. Learning a new language, finding a new job and building a new life requires a lot of work, and a lot of people are tempted not to do that work if it's not completely necessary. The knowledge that they are going to be fed forever, whatever they do or don't do, is not going to encourage them.

I am not sure what a welfare state can do about it if it intends to stay that way and still wants to admit refugees. Use the welfare as a pressure to integrate as far as possible, probably.

3. Immigrants' tendency to settle in the same areas has both its benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that they learn from each other and build up a reputation for themselves. The drawback is that, well, they learn from each other and build up a reputation for themselves.

My father found a professional job 3 months after arriving to the US, and in spite of his very bad English. My mother found a professional job 6 months after arriving to the US. One important factor there was that there was a lot of Russians in the area, their prospective employers and all the other employers in the area already had some Russian employees, and they either knew that the univeristy they graduated from was a good one, or knew whom to ask. My parents benefitted from having all those other Russians around who came before them. If they belonged to a group that had a bad reputation locally, they would have probably benefitted more from moving somewhere where there are fewer of them.

If a group is well-integrated, having a lot of them around contributes to the newcomers' integration. The people who came before you recommend you to employers, introduce you to their local friends, tell you how the things work, etc.

If a group is badly integrated, having a lot of them around inhibits the newcomers' integration - or integrates them into the wrong parts of society. The people who came before you tell you how to work the welfare system without doing any useful work, and introduce you to the local drug dealers or whatever.

Splitting an immigrant group into small groups and putting them into different communities has some benefits, at least for the kind of groups that tend to produce youth gangs, but it also has some problems: elderly immigrants need services in their own language, and providing such in a lot of different places is quite expensive. Splitting families is quite problematic too. Putting all the grandmothers into one place while simultaneously putting all their grandsons in different places and ensuring that the grandmothers are not very far from the grandsons is not a trivial task, although it can be done in a sufficiently large metropolitan area.

4. Getting immigrants to consider themselves real members of the nation, and everyone else to consider them so, presents three challenges.

First of all, it requires some kind of positive nationalism. Everybody involved should believe that the country in question in something one should want to be a part of. Second, the national identity should be open to new members, and not, for example, be restricted to the indigenous ethnic groups only. Third, the national identity should not be open to everyone who just happens to live in the country, but it should be something that is achieved by integration and naturalization.

"Our nation is really great, and you can be a part of it", as they usually say or imply to the immigrants in the US and Israel, might sound silly, but it sure works a hell of a lot better than "our nation is small, cold, full of unfriendly racist people, has a language that's almost impossible to learn and we don't really understand who would want to become a part of it anyway".

Mind you, people all over the world complain about their countries every once in a while, and Finns are no exception. But "this place totally sucks" is not something you want to tell the new immigrants on a regular basis. Especially since it doesn't, in Finland's case.

I realize that most Finns would feel silly saying that this is a land of freedom, opportunity and democracy, even though this is the case, at least to the extent that it normally is in the Western world. One does not, however, need to keep repeating that this is a shitty place, especially since it is not really the case. One especially does not need to tell the immigrants "there must be something wrong with you, otherwise you would have never moved here".

Trying to restrict membership to the indigenous ethnic groups only is also a barrier to integration. "Most Somalis won't integrate very well" is a realistic prediction based on previous experience with Somali integration. "A Somali cannot ever integrate" is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Finally, integration is something that an immigrant does. One does not become a Finn - in any sense of the word - just by moving to Finland. Integration is partly a passive process - places have their ways of changing people - but mostly it is something that the immigrant works on (by learning language and other skills, learning how things work, finding a job, meeting people, etc.) and is rewarded for (the reward being a normal life, job, friends, etc.). It is not something that can be given to a person, at least not to an adult person.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New kettle

Bought a new tea kettle yesterday, the old one was getting quite rusty. It is funny and glows in neon colors (blue when it is just sitting there, purple when it is boiling water, pink when it is keeping the water heated). And yes, it can keep water heated, too.

I think I drank too much tea yesterday just to follow the color changes. I like the neon glow.

That's a lot of fun for 18 euro. Lots of tea, too.

Opening hours bias?

I noticed that I tend to strongly favor the stores with longer opening hours, regardless of whether I have any use for those opening hours - currently or at all. I am not sure why. Shopping during the day in the same stores where I usually shop after 9pm or on Sundays can be attributed to the force of habit, but I notice that I also tend to favor small specialized stored that close at 7pm on weekdays over the ones that close at 6pm, even though I don't usually go there on weekdays at any rate, but on Saturdays when both are open.

I wonder why is that, and is it just me or is it some common phenomenon?

"Freedom go to HELL"

That was one of the slogans at a Al-Ghurabaa demonstration last year.

The court in Old Bailey was glad to oblige, and jailed three of the participants for 6 years for soliciting to murder and a fourth one for 4 years for inciting racial hatred. These particular gentlemen urged people to bomb the UK, the US and Denmark, to kill British soldiers and to annihilate those who insult Islam.

The men had denied having extremist views and said they were simply following others rather than leading the protests.

I am not sure that it is quite wise for Al-Ghurabaa and similar organizations to demand further restrictions on freedom of speech in Western countries. They are clearly having problems even keeping within the current restrictions.

But hey, at least they got their wish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Yeah, and they probably linked Bush to that war in Iraq, too"

Helsingin Sanomat says that according to the researchers of the Univeristy of Tampere department of Mass Comminucations and University of Helsinki Ethnic Relations and Nationalism research center, Finnish media often links Islam to political violence.

No shit, Sherlocks. Hey, somebody give me some research money, I will prove that the media links George W. Bush (as opposed to, say, Tarja Halonen) to the war in Iraq.

"Tutkijat arvioivat, että islamin jatkuva esittäminen konfliktien yhteydessä pitää yllä kuvaa sen väkivaltaisuudesta."

I think they have misspelled "esiintyminen", but that's just me.

On the same page of today's news: the Taliban have attacked in Pakistan again, 17 soldiers and 12 Taliban dead. In another attack in the same area, 5 "fighters" are dead. In the same area yesterday, a suicide attack, 3 soldiers and 1 civilian dead. In other news, a bomb killed 4 policement in Dagestan.

Isn't it one of the media's jobs to link together the phenomena that tend to systematically occur together?

Seriously, though: WTF do they think media links other religions to? Media reports on things that are newsworthy. Most religions tend to be old enough not to be particularly newsworthy in and of themselves. The only times when news media reports on any religion is when there are some news: Catholics got a new Pope, a lot of Catholic priests were caught abusing children sexually, some denomination allowed women to be priests, some religious fanatic shot an abortion clinic, etc. Explosions, plane hijackings, other terrorist attacks and beheadings tend to be newsworthy. When they are linked to religion at all, they tend to be linked to one particular religion much more often than to others. This, however, is hardly the media's fault.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life: new ISP, new blog from a good old blogger, and messy apartment

Switched from Maxinetti to Nebula last Friday, and configured a router for the first time ever in my life. Before that, I just stuck a phone cable in one end of an ADSL modem/router, ethernet cable into the other, and the thing worked.

It was not that bad, and after a little bit of screaming "shit! eek! argh!" the thing got configured. Except for WLAN, which I turned off and decided not to configure until there is some WLAN device to test it with.

Been struggling with the basic human needs and drives: food, red wine, sleep, socializing, sex, upgrading the computer. Right now sleep and socializing+wine have been in conflict with each other, and if I give in to the need for computer upgrade I might not have the money for food and wine anymore. Although it would probably be a worthy cause anyway.

Good things of this week:
- been to a good party - thanks Rita!
- the net works, and now I have a lot of bandwidth,
- been grilling in a park for the first time this summer,
- one of my favorite bloggers, who I thought had stopped blogging forever, turned out to have a new blog after all, for a few months now, and it is every bit as good as the old one.

Not-so-good things of the week:
- banana beer: moderately evil, even though I usually like sweet beer.
- my place is a mess. Of course it always looks like a mess, but when I say it is a mess this means I am having trouble locating various objects.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Just read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel. It's her autobiography. Very interesting, I highly recommend it.

Random facts from the book and thoughts about it:

- Ayaan's father, who promised her to a Canadian-Somali guy he just met, and who forced her to marry him, was in fact an unusually enlightened guy for his time and place: he forbade to circumcise his children (not that their grandma listened) and insisted that his daughters stay in school.

- Some of Saudi Arabia's customs are so medieval that even the Somalis arriving there think "eew, medieval".

- She does have a sex life in spite of being circumcised, or at least did (bodyguards outside the bedroom are probably bad for sex life), but then she did not have the most radical form of circumcision. Her description of the event itself, and of her first intercourse, are quite gruesome.

- She started getting death threats even before she became a politician, for speaking out on the position of women in Islam.

- She clearly has quite a bit of experimental spirit in her. One of the most hilarious moments in the book is when she is living in a refugee camp in Holland with some Ethiopian women as roommates. They urge her to stop using her headscarf, and she tells them that the men will go crazy and the buses will crash and there will be total disorder everywhere. They point out that there is a fair lot of women going around Holland without headscarves, and the buses not only don't crash, but even run on time. Ayaan decides to try it, goes out without the headscarf on (but takes it with her just in case), and notices that the world does not plunge into chaos, and men - even Muslim men - don't seem to react in any way. Later the same women take her to a swimming pool (in a swimsuit! with men around!) and nobody drowns, either.

- The concept of "real refugee" has a rather strong random element to it (I always knew that, but this book was a really good reminder). Ayaan Hirsi Ali lied quite a lot on her asylum application to get into Holland. I never had to lie, and had pretty much the most genuine refugee papers ever, and yet I was not even nearly in half as deep a shit as she was. Simply, for a variety of mostly-political reasons, various goverments cared for my people a lot more than for hers. Not that I find it particularly unfair - after all my people have been a lot less trouble to the receiving countries than hers - but I certainly won't be the one to throw stones at her for lying.

- I can see why she doesn't want to do politics anymore. She is very blunt and plain-spoken, and subtlety is not one of her virtues. You can almost hear her roll her eyes when somebody says something politically correct.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why does an elephant have four feet?

...because he would look stupid with six inches.

In fact an elephant has a lot more that four feet. His dick is longer than his legs, which must be rather inconvenient.

I was on vacation in Amsterdam last week - more about it later, with pictures - and visited a zoo there. I was considering visiting a sex show in the red light district, but they turned out to have one in the zoo, too.

Here are the pictures. I have some videos, too. Foreplay, more foreplay, sex and more sex.

The poor guy had so much trouble finding his way in that it's no wonder that they are endangered. Although this particular couple had a little elephant running around them, so I guess they must have managed to do it properly at least once.

But hey, what a huge dick...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Citizens for free water

When I order food in a restaurant, or a drink, or anything that I pay for, I feel entitled to get free water with it if I ask for it.

This is definitely a cultural thing, due to the fact that both in Finland and in the US you almost always do get the water that you ask for, and so is the case in most of the western world.

I can accept the lack of free water in the countries where the water is never free. I know of only one such country in Europe: Belgium. They just don't ever bring you tap water. This pisses me off, but this is a price that I gladly pay for the privilege of visiting Belgium. There is also of course Spain, where you normally get the water if you ask for it, but - depending on the place - you might not want to drink it, because it's likely to taste like, uhm, Barcelona tap water. This is OK, or at least you can't fight it.

What you can fight, though, is the occasional restaurants in other countries that do the same thing. This kind of thing should not be allowed to spread beyond its current area, and should be purified from among us by fire and brimstone (in the form of boycotts).

I can't be the only person whom this kind of thing pisses off, can I? There must be a black list of the no-water restaurants out there. Or else I should start one.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

An amazing observation

When you already have problems falling asleep, a coffee drink with three espressos in it just before going to bed might not be a very bright idea. Live and learn...

The peaceful respectability is on the move again

A couple of weeks ago Britain has knighted Salman Rushdie, and all the hell broke loose again, with various Muslim leaders - from the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain to the Minister for Religious Affairs of Pakistan - complaining that the West in general and UK in particular does not respect the Muslim world. The latter, in the spirit of high respectability, has also said that this would justify suicide bombings, although later he corrected himself and said that it would not justify suicide bombings in his own opinion, but only in the opinion of the misunderstanders of Islam.

I have written about respect last year, and it looks like nothing has changed.

Anyway - two car bombs have been found in London the other day, and yesterday some morons tried to drive a burning car into a Glasgow airport terminal building. The deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain is asking not to jump to the conclusions. Could be anyone...

Sure thing. Was probably militant Methodists or aggressive Amish. Violent Anabaptists have been a real trouble lately, and fundamentalist Lestadians have been blowing things up all over the place. And I am not even talking about the Hassidic Kosher Al-Gefilte-Fish Martyr Brigades...