Tuesday, October 31, 2006


For those who have a special affection for Scotland, there is a great article here by a Scotsman about the Scottish love of the bottle. He is trying to be censorious but cannot help celebrating Scottishness. A few excerpts:

The Buckfast fracas is emblematic of the ingrained, abusive and horribly destructive relationship between my countrymen and the bottle. We Scots make the best drink, and the best drinkers, in the world. No parties in the world can compare, in riotous enjoyment, with Hogmanay and Burns Night [Hear here!]. We just don't know when to stop...

Scottish humour and culture are soused in alcohol. Billy Connolly has long been sober, but his performance inevitably recalls, mocks and celebrates his legless days. Harry Lauder composed Glasgow's unofficial anthem as an ode to the city going "round and round" [That's from "I belong to Glasgow", which is usually attributed to Will Fife] on a Saturday night. John Reid, another reformed drinker, likes to tell a joke about how he found he was "allergic to leather" because he kept waking up with his shoes on and a splitting headache....

The drunken hero is a staple of Scots literature, and drinking has become culturally linked to the idea of liberty. Robert Louis Stevenson stated that "wine is bottled poetry" and Robert Burns himself wrote: "Freedom and whisky gang thegither." Somehow that sentiment has evolved into the freedom to get miserably blootered and die young....

The strange, miserablist tradition of Scottish drinking seems out of kilter with a nation that is increasingly self-confident, a country raking in money from tourists to spend on new livers. Today Scotland is wealthier, better educated and warmer than ever before. All dark, northern countries drink more deeply than those in the lighter south, [The French and the Italians might disagree with that] but now even Scottish weather seems to be improving. As I look outside the window, the rhododendrons are flowering for the third time, in late October.

As a child, I vividly remember the drunks lined up outside the hotel in our local village. Lurching, friendly men with wind-scoured faces, they would lean, patiently if unsteadily, against the wall between afternoon closing time and reopening in the evening regardless of the weather. My father insisted they were propping up the hotel.

Those drunks have long been gathered to the celestial tavern, but a new generation of Scottish drinkers is being pickled, with the freedom to drink all day, and alcohol comparatively cheaper than ever.



If there are any readers here who are willing to fire off an email in support of someone being badly treated by government, have a look here or here.

Feds spook illegal voters: "City officials and Hispanic community leaders objected Thursday to the federal government's plans to put monitors at city polling places on Election Day, saying those efforts could discourage people from voting. The Department of Justice this month asked a federal judge to authorize appointment of monitors beginning with the upcoming Nov. 7 election and ending in 2009. The government accused the city of failing to provide sufficient election materials in Spanish and not recruiting enough bilingual poll workers."

Business bankrolling of the left: "Big business primarily supports right-wing advocacy groups, right? Think again. A recent report from the Capital Research Center shows Fortune 100 corporate foundations give overwhelmingly to liberal groups. In fact, in the sample year studied (2001), these corporate foundations gave 14 times more money to liberal causes than business-friendly ones. Even more surprising, environmental causes got the most funding, approximately 75 percent of the $60 million from 53 corporate foundations."

What Iraqis think of Al Qaida: "Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very)."

Muslims out of control in France: "An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year. Officers have been badly injured in four ambushes in the Paris outskirts since September. Some police talk of open war with youths who are bent on more than vandalism. "The thing that has changed over the past month is that they now want to kill us," said Bruno Beschizza, the leader of Synergie, a union to which 40 per cent of officers belong. Action Police, a hardline union, said: "We are in a civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists." Car-burning has become so routine on the estates that it has been eclipsed in news coverage by the violence against police."

England honours Adam Smith: "A new 20 pound note featuring a portrait of the Scots economist Adam Smith is to be issued, reports the BBC. He will replace Edward Elgar, and become the first Scotsman to appear on a Bank of England note. This was not a government decision, but one made by Mervyn King, Bank of England governor. The governor delivered the annual Adam Smith lecture in Kirkcaldy, and trailed the idea (already suggested here) that the independent Bank of England model might be used to depoliticize other area of national life."

Hunting promotes conservation: "Rifle-toting tourists hunting exotic animals could actually help protect Africa's vulnerable species, a leading conservationist has suggested. Elephant populations had benefited from a permit system that allowed sport hunters to kill a limited number of the beasts, according to Eugene Lapointe. Mr Lapointe was head of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) between 1982-90. Animal welfare campaigners rejected the idea as "morally unjustifiable".

The British Labour government at work: "If the government really wants to do something to improve the lot of companies which create the wealth and jobs, it should immediately sack industry minister Margaret Hodge. As business writers point out, she has no ability or knowledge of the subject whatsoever, and seems to regard it as her job to impose a politically correct agenda dreamed up by her NGO friends to burden business with ever more costly regulations. The DTI, once there to better the prospects of British business, has become predator and parasite, inflicting real economic damage on both the business community and the country."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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