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Sri Lanka’s now virtually complete victory over the Tamil Tigers has been all but ignored in the western media.

But it may very well have been a motivating factor in the March 3 shooting attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore.

Links between islamic extremism and the Tamil Tigers have been ably explored by Melanie Phillips.

While there are victories against terrorism in the Philippines and in Sri Lanka, Pakistan is looking increasingly, and worryingly, insecure.

Pakistan armed forced have been pushing back Taliban fighters in the North-West Frontier Province, which includes Dir and the Swat Valley.

But there is deep distrust of the West amongst ordinary Pakistanis. In his column in yesterday’s UK Times, Anatol Lieven noted that there was such strong support for the Taliban in Northern Pakistan that to remove them entirely would require a level of repression of local people that would be politically impossible.

It is not that the majority of Pakistanis like the Taliban – how could they, given the brutality with which Sharia has been implemented in the North West? Nor is it that they accept the Taliban view of the nature of Islam, although radicalism is far more prevalent than we might like to believe.

It is rather that suspicion if not outright hatred of the West outweighs any fear of the Taliban, who, even if mistaken, are seen as belonging, as part of the Islamic fellowship.

This suspicion of the West manifests in (to us) outrightly irrational views about world events. For example, the following text appeared in Monday’s edition of the Pakistan Daily, in an article titled Israeli Terrorism=US Invasion of Pakistan:

Recent tragedies, both in India and Pakistan (Mumbai carnage, Islamabad Marriot bombing, attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team and Police training centre in Lahore) – bore all the hallmarks of Mossad ‘false flag’ operations being blamed on Pakistan and Islamist groups.

There is widespread belief that the 9/11 attacks were a joint US/Israeli operation to justify military actions in Muslim lands.

Today’s Pakistan Daily front page story is: Is the United States Preparing For War in Pakistan To Kill More Muslims, Central Asia, OIL?

Regular headlines like this: US Afghan Strikes Kill Dozens, Including Women and Children, add to the anger and suspicion.

In these circumstances, when ordinary Pakistanis believe the US, not the Taliban, is causing chaos in Pakistan, it is unwise in the extreme for the US to be issuing orders to the Pakistan government.

Doing so is harmful to the point of being dangerous, because it reduces the government’s credibility with its own people, and consequently its ability to deal with the Taliban insurgents without further enraging the populace.

The West needs to keep its collective mouth shut and let the largely sensible Pakistan government handle this crisis itself.

Until, and pray this does not happen, the Taliban gain so much ground and power that it is clear they will take control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Some interesting observations here on healing, hope, and homosexuality.

The article is not long, and is worth reading in its entirety. This is an excerpt:

I saw a genuine love and acceptance of men and women who were struggling to move away from behaviors they themselves viewed as destructive and dangerous, possibly deadly. They were choosing it, freely and voluntarily.

Psychiatrist and physicist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a world authority on homosexuality, a man who describes himself as a skeptic about religion, says that the scientific evidence all points to the possibility of change. For over 35 years, his profession has believed the lie that homosexuals form a “class” whose boundaries are defined by a stable “trait”. It is not true, he says.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, whose new ground -breaking book, “Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy”, says homosexual change is both possible and advisable. His book shows that initially conceptualizing homosexual attraction as a striving “to repair gender deficits,” has moved to the realization as a striving “to repair deep self-deficits” and as a “defense against trauma to the core self.”

Writes Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, after he attended a Leanne Payne conference, “I met a large number of people who had left the lifestyle and changed their sexuality. There I met hundreds of people struggling with that issue, and many who had successfully emerged on the other side and were married with children. As I got to know them, I found them to be quite remarkable. The struggle to be healed had left an indelible imprint. I saw a humility, an empathy and a fearlessness about life. They knew exactly what it meant to stand up for what they believed in, since the struggle to become who they truly were had exacted such a cost in suffering. Since then I have met plenty of people who have moved away from same sex attractions.”

Watch out for anyone carrying a pay cheque.

He he.

This is hardly a news flash – it happened a week ago. But I had seen nothing about this in the mainstream media, and only heard of it this morning from Uppity Woman.

A fuller version of the story can be found on the (US) ABC website.

As senators, both President Obama and Vice President Biden co-sponsored the Community Choice Act. During the campaign, then-Sen. Obama said the “legislation is vitally important to the independence, community integration, and equality of hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities,” that it will help to empower them “to take full advantage of their talents” and “ensure that everyone can live independently as full citizens in their communities.”

At the moment, disabled people can only use Federal social security funds to access nursing home care. The Community Choice Act would have amended the Social Security Act so that disabled people can use those funds to support them to live at home. More dignity for them, better for their local communities, and less expense for the taxpayer.

But now that he is in office, this does not seem to be such a high priority for Obama as it was when he was campaigning.

At least, not such a high priority as firing the CEO of General Motors, or threatening Chrysler lenders.

Comedian and nice guy Dom DeLuise has died after a year long fight with cancer.

I’m not really a comedy person, but Dom DeLuise’s collaborations with Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds had me in tears of laughter. They were horribly low brow (think of Blazing Saddles and Cannonball Run), but simply good natured and funny. That was the thing I liked – Dom was funny without being cruel.

Here’s a perfect example, from the Johnny Carson Show:

I am trying hard to imagine what the real Notre Dame, the Blessed Virgin Mary, would make of a Catholic university named in her honour, and I presume, relying on her patronage and intercession, inviting someone who publicy opposes Catholic teaching on the sancitity of human life to speak to students at commencement.

Speaking at commencement is about giving students direction for their lives as they complete their studies. At a Catholic university, or any Christian university,  it is also about the reason for those studies in the context of the needs of the world and the mission of the Church.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Notre Dame University is also presenting Obama with an honorary degree. For what? A book of memoirs written by Bill Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist?

Local diocesan bishop John D’Arcy said ‘President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.’

This support for the direct destruction of human life extends to withholding care from children born alive after an attempted abortion.

I am not a Catholic, and I find this baffling. It is hardly surprising that it has turned into a public relations disaster for both Notre Dame and the White House.

A petition of more than 300,000 signatures has been delivered to Notre Dame’s fellows and trustees, asking them to think again.

The University hoped to soften some of the (clearly unexpected – and that tells a story in itself) backlash by awarding the Laetare Medal to Mary Ann Glendon, a pro-life Harvard law professor.

It then announced: “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former US ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”

But Glendon would not be used in this way, and said she would not accept the medal. This is the first time the award has been declined.

The always interesting Amy Welborn has posted a homily by Bishop Wenski, preached at a Mass of reparation prompted by Notre Dame’s decision to honour Obama.

In his homily Bishop Wenski says:

Notre-Dame chose to defy the Bishops of the United States who have said that “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

The hurt felt by many throughout the United States is real, for Notre-Dame’s actions, despite its protests to the contrary, seem to suggest that it wishes “to justify positions that contradict the faith and teachings of the church; to do so, as Pope Benedict reminded Catholic educators in Washington, DC last year “would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.” At the very least, Notre-Dame’s actions suggest that, unlike a beauty queen from California, it lacks the courage of its convictions.

Some of the comments to this post on Amy’s blog are dismaying, if they come from Catholics. To paraphrase:

‘We live in a diverse society, and have to accept that others have beliefs which are different from our own.’

Yes, but accepting that others believe differently does not mean we have to deny what we believe.

‘We have to respect the views of others.’

Do we? Do we have to respect the views of a religious leader who says it is OK to have sex with a nine year old girl? Do we have to respect the views of a man who thinks it is his right to beat or rape his wife?

Then why do we have to respect the views of a man who thinks it OK to partially deliver a living human baby, and then crush its head?

A group of Somali pirates attacked a French war ship near the Seychelles.

The captain of the frigate Nivose, Lieutenant Commander Jean-Marc le Quilliec, sent out commandos in small boats, with a helicopter for air support. Within minutes the pirates had surrendered.

Lieutenant Commander le Quilliec apologised profusely, explaining that contrary to French naval regulations, the frigate had been sailing without a supply of white flags.

Malcolm Turnbull is too weak to back the government’s proposed emissions trading legislation, according to hot air minister Penny Wong.

Wrong. Malcolm Turnbull has yet to be convinced that global warming theory is bankrupt. But he is showing some sense at last.

The government has been saying that the scheme must be implemented immediately, right now, this minute, because any delay would see the whole planet going to hell in a handbasket.

The Prime Minister, for example, said at the National Press Club, ‘To delay any longer would be reckless and irresponsible for our economy and for our environment.’

But it turns out it is not so urgent after all. The proposed scheme will not come into effect until 2011.

But the government still wants to ram the legislation through parliament in the next few weeks. Malcolm Turnbull is quite rightly asking why.

Someone (Chesterton?) once said that there are many ways to get something wrong, but there may be only one way to get something right.

When new laws have the potential to cripple key industries and seriously undermine an already damaged economy, and don’t come into effect for two years anyway, why not take some extra time to get them right?

By 2011, it will surely be clear (though this may be wishful thinking) even to the dimmest star in our political fiirmament, that global warming is just another in a long line of baseless and expensive scares.

And of course, some real opposition from the Opposition, instead of just ‘Yes but,’ would be nice.

In Saudi Arabia women’s gyms can only operate legally inside hospitals, where they are called health centres.  They are so expensive (over $250 per month) that only the very wealthy can afford them.

Other, cheaper gyms for women exist, but they are called  studios or beauty salons. But the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently closed two in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and one in the city of Dammam on the Gulf Arab coast for not having a license.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea, member of the official Supreme Council of Religious Scholars, explains the concern.

“Football and basketball are sports that require a lot of movement and jumping.”  He said such excessive movement may harm girls who are still virgins, possibly causing them to lose their virginity.

Am I confused, or is he?

People aren’t scared enough, according to the World Hysteria Organisation.

A spokeperson says the WHO may raise the global pandemic alert level to six – the highest possible.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais published Monday, WHO chief Margaret Chan implies the agency might raise the level to 6, but cautions that “Level 6 does not mean…we are coming near to the end of the world.” Without that explanation, Chan worries, raising to level 6 could cause “unnecessary panic.”

And of course, WHO doesn’t want unneccessary panic, just enough to make sure people take them seriously and give them lots of money.

But if you get to level six for a flu that has killed maybe 20 people, and which does not appear to be any more infectious or dangerous than any normal flu outbreak, what are you going to do when something dangerous really does come along?

And why would you expect anyone to take you seriously then?

That’s what the headline says: 3 Abus surrender, undergo grilling. That is, three members of terrorist organisation Abu Sayyaf have surrendered, and are assisting with investigations.

Philippine officials say they expect to ‘extract information’ from the three terrorists about the whereabouts of hostage Eugenio Vagni. I can only hope no caterpillars are being used.

Meanwhile, other sources say Vagni is about be released, because of ‘continuing government negotiations.’

Which negotiations, as I noted before, have been of the ‘No we don’t want to talk to you. Just give him back or we will hunt you down’  kind.

There’s always another reason to panic.

According to Alzheimers Australia, we are facing an avalanche of dementia. If avalanche is not scary enough, try ‘dementia tsunami’, a reference to the ageing baby boomers who are living longer but who are increasingly needing care in the home and sometimes outside the home.

Those blasted aging baby boomers again. I won’t be able to afford a new iPod because of them. And I’ve had enough of last month’s model. It’s so unfair.

The former New South Wales deputy premier, John Watkins, is now head of Alzheimer’s Australia in that state. He says the Government must act now to address the huge financial impact that dementia will have on the economy. “It’s an extraordinary situation we are facing, Australia has never faced a social health issue like the threat of dementia before.”

Nope. Never had a threat like this one before. Not until next week, anyway.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine took about $87 million on its opening weekend.

It’s a good, but not great film. $87 million is enough to bring it into the top 20 all time biggest movie openings. Number one is Dark Knight, which took nearly $160 million.

Looking at the top 100 list, it is clear that the reason people go to the movies is to be entertained. You might think this is obvious, but if you do, you are brighter than many movie producers, and especially Australian movie producers, who seem to think that people go to the movies to be lectured about the trendy leftist cause of the month.

Lantana is a perfect example. Boring, self-righteous, and of course the critics loved it. Then there was Black Balloon. The critics loved that too.

Baz Lurhmann’s Australia is possibly the most boring movie of all time – such a disappointment after Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, and Moulin Rouge. But the critics hated it as much as I did, perhaps because it tried to be entertaining, and the preaching only occurred occasionally. It wasn’t bad because it was preachy, it was bad because it was bad.

Happy Feet was preachy too. I hated it. It made some money though, because it was cute.

The only Australian movie I have enjoyed in recent years was Kenny. Go Kenny! It had a message, but not one the critics would enjoy – amongst other things, hard work and honesty are more important than a university education. Being smart doesn’t make you good, etc.

Kenny made money because it had characters you could care about, a great, if simple, story, and was funny without trying too hard.

Kenny had no public funding.

Public funding kills the arts.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, recently returned from the UN’s Conference for Racism and Anti-Semitism, says that Australia’s indigenous people will be hardest hit by climate change.

If temperatures in North Queensland continue to rise, icebergs in the Torres Strait will begin to melt. This will result in dangerous sea level changes, distressing crocodiles and poisoning banana trees.

OK, you got me. He didn’t say that. But what did say was almost as ridiculous.

“According to all the experts, Australians will be hard hit by climate change and none more so than indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples are at risk of further economic marginalisation as well as perpetual dislocation from, and exploitation of their traditional lands, waters and natural resources.”

Wow. All the experts. It must be true then.

It isn’t clear how economic marginalisation, or exploitation of traditional lands and natural resources, could be made worse by climate change. And in any case, there is no evidence of sea levels rising at unusual rates, nor of changes in average temperatures in northern Australia, nor of any increase in extreme weather events.

But hey, Tom, don’t let that stop you.

Wait a minute. I thought women were going to be hardest hit by climate change. Or was it minorites? Or Africa? Or Southeast Asia? Or fish? Or formerly common species of salamander? Or snow?

Or beer?    Arrrgh! No! Australians must unite in demanding a stop to climate change now!

A $1.2 million arson attack on forestry equipment. Selfish, irresponsible, idiotic, criminal. But pretty much no risk of anyone being harmed.

But attaching wires to trees where loggers cannot see them to make those trees fall in ways loggers will be unable to predict?

MP Daniel Hulme claims activists have put lives at risk by setting up booby traps. He said they were to blame for a trap in the Styx Valley, which Forestry Tasmania said could have seriously injured or killed a timber faller.

A strand of fencing wire was strung between two trees in a forestry coupe last month, 30 metres above the ground so the wire could not be seen from the ground, Forestry Tasmania told police.

A contractor discovered the trap after a tree limb was snapped by the wire as a tree fell to the ground, fortunately missing the faller. Such traps redirect the path of falling trees or limbs, meaning workers, believing they are standing in a safe spot, can be struck.

This is a callous disregard for life – greenies believing their political views are so important that it doesn’t matter if workers are killed or injured.

I wonder what their views on waterboarding are?