Saturday, July 17, 2004

Today Saturday, July 17, Lance won his second stage of the Tour de France 2004. Kerry, with with regards to your question concerning Ullrich yesterday: well, I think it’s now safe to say the German is done. None of the “classic” contenders was able to follow the man. Phonak teamleader Tyler Hamilton had to give up after 84 kloms because of back pain (and leaves this tour altogether), Iban Mayo had to be literally talked on the saddle, Jan Ullrich trailed further and further behind as the ride wore on and is now 6 1/2 minutes behind Armstrong. The ride Lannemezan-Plateau-de-Beille was a really tough one, with 7 cols over a distance of 205,5km.
By contrast, the relative newcomer Ivan Basso, who won yesterday, was the only one to follow your champ; at some point they broke from the rest and helped each other towards the last col which was also the finish. In the last climb Armstrong spurted away and at the finish Basso was trailing more than one minute behind. Nevertheless, Lance now considers the Italian as his biggest rival.  

One word of appreciation for Frenchman Thomas Voeckler though: he still holds the Yellow Shirt. Indeed, he's still ahead of Lance but only 22 seconds now. See the General Classification. Few believed he would stick to his shirt so far in the race, he himself possibly the least. Anyway, if you ever wondered during these first ten or so days if Lance had lost his cutting edge by constantly trailing behind at 9'35'', well, it's clear now the US Postals were simply biding their time, saving strength for the mountains. IN JUST TWO DAYS Voecklers lead of 9 1/2 minutes diminished to just 22 seconds. Many, and not the least, were openly speculating whether Lance was still up to the task, including, alas, another American and threefold Tour Winner, Greg Lemond. I'd say these gentlemen possibly took their wishes for granted.
Tomorrow Sunday the caravan leaves the Pyrenées.

An Islamist website,, published a threat attributed to al-Qaeda, which says Italy will know a "bloodbath similar to 9/11" IF the Italians don't chase their Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from power. "Either you undo yourself of the incompetent Berlusconi, or either we will effectively burn Italy (...)". The threat was signed "Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri". This chap was dishing it out in Afghanistan with US troops and somehow didn't make it.
Methinks these guys just don't like Silvio.

And in The Netherlands Interior Minister Remkes announced that radical Muslims from inside and outside the country have been preparing attacks on Dutch soil over the past weeks. These preparations are thought to be connected to UBL's April 15 threat to Europe that if it didn't pull back its military from the Islamic World (why do I still write this with capitals?) within three months, it would have to face the consequences.

The Netherlands are on a heightened state of alert since July 9, though the measures taken are low-profile or at least not visible so as not to frighten the public. Remkes said that apart from government buildings, so-called "soft targets", places with large public gatherings like shopping malls, metro stations etc... are considered to be targets. He also confirmed that several days ago a letter arrived at UN HQ in New York predicting attacks on European institutions in Brussels and The Hague. The letter was allegedly signed by al-Qaeda, but an enquiry by the AIVD (Dutch Intelligence) proved it to be possibly a hoax.
Anyway, the Dutch are prepared.
Meanwhile, to the south.... in the Glorious People's Democratic Workers Paradise Republic of Belgovakia..... the crisis centre of the Belgian Interior Ministry repeated there is no heightened threat for terror attacks...since spokesman Peter Mertens of the centre said that the government did NOT receive a letter with specific threats against European Institutions in Brussels. According to the Staatsveiligheid (State Security) there is also no reason for concern since Dutch tulip fields and windmills make far more tempting targets than the SHAPE in Cambron Casteau, American tactical nukes at Kleine Brogel AFB, NATO HQ in Evere and some half a dozen important buildings in the EU Capital.
Well, I must say, phew!!! That really reassures me!!! No letter threatening to blow NATO HQ or the European Parliament  =  it will not happen!!! Ain't that great!!! Golly, Belgium is such a nice place to live!!! Mr Mertens must be convinced a letter threatening to smack two airliners in the WTC DID arrive at the White House but those yankees were just too dumb to take the necessary precautions.

Friday, July 16, 2004

a.) Lance
Today’s stage, the twelfth from Castelsarrasin to La Mongie, took the caravan to the steep Pyrenées, an impressive mountain range between France and Spain. It was hot, it was far, and towards the end it was above all steep (2 cols of first category). Although the winner was Ivan Basso, Lance made his mark on the day, as he finally worked his way up from the sixth slot and is now ON NO. 2 right behind Thomas Voeckler, who still holds the yellow shirt though. 

Ivan Basso: "The first contact with high mountains has been harder for the other Tour favourites and from what we've seen, Lance is obviously the strongest," the CSC team leader said. "It was the first mountain stage and the weather conditions may have worked Lance's way as he likes the rain."

Anyway, I’m glad that I can finally report something else than usual: see Mr. Armstrong suddenly at no. 2, 5minutes and 24 seconds behind Voeckler instead of the usual 9’35’’. 

b.) Jacques
You may or may not have heard about it, but lately it looks like we see the beginning of the end of the Chirass era. The very popular and energetic Finance Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, affectionately known as "Sarko", does not hide his presidential ambitions any more. I always thought Sarkozy was one of the saner heads in the French government (he is a firm backer, a.o., of giving up the ridiculous 35-hour week). On more than one occasion he has publicly contradicted the Président. Well, today it got so bad that my newspaper described their latest rift as Chirac having banned Sarkozy to the corner "as a schoolboy" ("I order and Sarkozy executes", Mr. Chirac was quoted).
Other issues where the two disagree is on the role of the French-German Alliance when it comes to "leadership" of the EU. Chirac is a strong believer in that alliance, whereas Sarkozy eyes London and thinks France's relations with Italy, Spain, the UK, Poland should be on an equal footing with Germany's. Also, Chirac wants to maintain the present Defense budget while Sarkozy wants to cut it to meet the EU's Stability Pact conditions.
Find more about it here.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities seems to have been made just for Scotty. Check it out.

EDIT: And for Mikey.

P.S. I love the first comment.

This is just wonderful.

"Medicare is discarding its policy that obesity is not a disease, potentially throwing open the door for millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs."

I'm sure the founding fathers had this sort of bullshit in mind as a responsibility of government...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Funny, I don't recall reading this in the mainstream media last month.

UN inspectors: Saddam shipped out WMD on eve of war

Frenchman Richard Virenque won the tenth stage from Limoges to Saint-Flour, at 237 kloms the longest. How fitting, it was the French National Holiday, July 14th. Although still in the Massif Central, an old mountainous area, today’s ride was not an easy one. Admitted, the highest “Col” (peak) to be conquered, the Col du Pas de Peyrol, is only 1,589 meters, but that was the seventh in a row of nine. I guess none of us would do that in one day and live to check out Downeast at night, except Mark from Colorado of course, but that sneaky smartass has been training for a long time.

Ok. Need I to repeat this? Thomas Voeckler keeps the Yellow Shirt, Lance is still at 6 in the General Classification.

Tomorrow is a milkrun, but on Friday the going gets tough: to the Pyrenées. And you know Billy Ocean’s adage: when the going gets tough, the tough get rough. I am curious to see how lance's alleged great rival, the German Jan Ullrich, will perform.

I case you American chauvinists, desperate from Iraq and seeing Mr. Armstrong perpetually trailing in slot six, take heart! US Postal's Team Boss, Johan Bruyneel (a tipsy more famous than your servant) has some peptalk for you.

Armstrong - almost 10 minutes behind current race leader Thomas Voeckler - is bidding to become the first rider to win six Tours. And a host of former riders have argued the Texan is past his best and the feat will elude him.

"I speak to him throughout each stage and I've never seen him in better shape in a Tour," Bruyneel told BBC Sport.

"It makes me laugh when I hear people criticising Lance. He's physically fit, mentally tough and has probably the best team we've ever put out for a Tour."

And all of you, especially Kevin, who never caught me telling an untruth, know that the word of a Belgian is not taken lightly.
Operation Tiger Claw, an 18 year old high school senior's "attempt at leading a protest against the apathy and leftism running rampant at my school."

Makes for good (and amusing) reading. If you've argued with a liberal this will be familiar territory.

Hat tip to Mark's blog: Freedom's New Birth.

I see you have liberal media bias in Belgium as well as us. At least your journalists are open about it. See the following quote from this BBC story about Vlaams Blok.

Belgian journalists had until recently observed an unofficial blackout, but with the recent success of the party, are finding it harder to ignore this major political force in Belgian politics.

After reading your posts and the news on the problems with islamist immigants in Europe I can see why Vlaams Blok is increasing its numbers.
This sounds like more good news from Iraq.

July 12, 2004: Al Qaeda operations in Iraq have encountered some unexpected problems. Iraqis have become increasingly hostile to al Qaeda's suicide bombing campaign. Religious leaders, which al Qaeda expects to get support from, have been openly denouncing these bombings. Iraqis, aware that they are more likely, than American soldiers, to be victims of these attacks, are providing more information on where the al Qaeda members are hiding out. Most of the al Qaeda in Iraq are foreigners, and easy for Iraqis to detect. As a result of this, many of the al Qaeda men have moved back to Fallujah, which has become a terrorist sanctuary. The interim government is trying to convince the tribal and religious leaders of Fallujah to back a military operation in the city to clear out the various al Qaeda, criminal and Baath Party gangs. But the gangs of Fallujah are quick to threaten any local leader that shows signs of supporting the government. While the Fallujah leadership is intimidated, many residents of Fallujah are not, and are providing information to the coalition, which has led to attacks, with smart bombs or coalition and Iraqi troops, on buildings used by al Qaeda, or other gangs, as headquarters.

Hat tip to Instapundit.
Michael Moore, giving aid and comfort to the enemy.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


A few days ago I posted a story of a French 23-year old woman who claimed she had been the victim of an attack in which 6 Moroccan youths tore and cut her clothes, scrawled swastikas on her body and tipped over the pram with her baby.

That story now appears to be false. I apologize to our readers.

A French woman who alleged she had been the subject of an anti-Semitic attack invented the story, police sources say. The alleged admission came shortly after she was taken into custody - four days after the alleged assault on a train in the suburbs of Paris. The 23-year-old woman said six men cut her clothes and drew swastikas on her body, accusing her of being Jewish. The woman has been detained for falsely reporting a crime, state prosecutor Xavier Salvat told AFP news agency.
She could face up to six months in prison and a 7,500-euro ($9,200) fine if convicted.

I provided this story as a standalone topic but those of you who bother to read my rants know my preoccupation with what I perceive as the rising Islamist threat in Europe. It now appears this little piece of information was wrong. Well, people, I still stand by my perception. If you follow the link you will find that it ends with:

Government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope told RTL radio a rising trend of anti-Semitic attacks was "a genuine evil" in France, even if the woman's case might not be real.

Among those signs pointing to this "rising Islamist threat" are what I would call the symptoms, such as the fate of my Jewish compatriot Noah Schmal who was three weeks ago attacked in Wilrijk, an Antwerp suburb, by a gang of fifteen Moroccans and almost stabbed to death:

Meridor's statement followed an attack on four students from a Jewish school in an Antwerp suburb on Thursday.

Jewish organizations and the mayor of the Belgian port city held an emergency meeting on Friday after the attacks.

A spokesman for the Forum of Jewish Organizations said one 16-year old boy was stabbed in the back during an attack late on Thursday by about 15 youngsters of Arab origin which the Forum believed was motivated by anti-Semitism.

"He was stabbed in the back, one of his lungs was punctured and he lost a lot of blood," the spokesman said, adding that the boy's life was no longer in danger.

Kevin, you can now search the Internet using Google 20.0 but you won’t find any rebuke on this story. You see, I saw Noah with my own eyes on TV, lying in his hospital bed and recounting what happened.

But these are only the innocent symptoms. It gets more serious upon discovering what I would call a strategic attempt to poison the hearts and mind of our Muslim brothers, in the very schools Islamism is setting up across Europe:

Muslim children forced to view movies inciting violence in Franfurt Muslim Cultural Center

Die Durchsuchung der Räume des marokkanischen Kulturvereins am Sonntag in der Nähe des Frankfurter Hauptbahnhofes mit insgesamt rund 120 Polizisten und städtischen Beamten ging den Angaben zufolge unter anderem auf den Hinweis einer neunjährigen Schülerin zurück. Nach Angaben des Mädchens mussten sich Kinder dort während Islamkursen Videos mit kriegerischen Gewaltszenen anschauen. Darunter sollen Aufnahmen von Prügeln und sogar Enthauptungen gewesen sein.

Freely translated:

Sunday's search of the premises of the Moroccan Cultural center in Frankfurt Station's neighborhood with altogether 120 police officers and city officials followed info provided by, a.o., a nine-year old schoolgirl. According to the girl, children had to watch, during islamic lessons, videos with violent war scenes. Among these scenes there were allegedly beheadings too.

It's not an isolated case, you know. Also in Germany, Bonn's King Fahd Academy was recently the subject of an inquiry towards Islmaic lessons exhorting pupils to wage a jihad against the infidel West:

Saudi School of Hate.

Classes are taught in Arabic and, as in Saudi schools, the curriculum is based on Wahhabism, a rigorous brand of Islam that accepts the Koran as literal truth. Concerns about the academy peaked in early October when Panorama, a popular tele-vision program, aired a video purporting to show the school's Imam and teacher, Anas Bayram, telling parents how to train their children in spear throwing, swimming and horseback riding in order to prepare for jihad. Bayram denies that he was urging violence, saying he only meant to encourage parents to ensure that their children are physically fit.

Wait, I got this particular article about a diving school in The Netherlands:

Fears persist of al-Qaeda Terrorist Link to PADI Dive Center

Dutch and U.S. investigators learned that several of the students in the Eindhoven classes were suspected Islamic extremists.

An Algerian who was certified at the school and later deported by the Dutch was arrested in France in November along with an accused terrorist who had escaped from a Dutch jail, according to a U.S. official. Authorities in a non-European country are holding a third man, believed to be a Libyan who studied diving in Eindhoven, because of his ties to extremist violence, the official said.

There were also leads linking diving students with Al Qaeda network operatives who were convicted in Morocco of plotting maritime attacks on U.S. ships in the Strait of Gibraltar, the U.S. official said.


Ever heard of the a-Furqaan Mosque in Eindhoven, The Netherlands?

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands -- In late February, more than 300 young men from across Europe gathered for a weekend seminar on Islamic law put on by the Al-Waqf al-islaami Foundation. In the bright, austere rooms of this city's Al-Furqaan Mosque, they heard sermons on the hell that awaits unbelievers and the benefits of resisting Western ways of living. The language was Dutch, but the message was imported from Saudi Arabia, via Saudi books and lecturers who taught a strict, orthodox interpretation of Islam. Mourat, an attendee who offered only his first name, said: "I don't want a separation of state and religion. I want Shariah [Islamic law] here and now."

For years, the Al-Waqf foundation's seminars have drilled extremist messages into the heads of thousands of young Muslims from across the Continent: Mixing with unfaithful is a form of pollution, Jews are to blame for much of what's wrong in the world, and the rest can be laid at the doorstep of the U.S., according to foundation literature and interviews with attendees.

Quote from a related article:

"I have been given oders to fight the people, to wage war with them, until they confess that allah is the only and true god and mohammed is his prophet", is one of the texts in a book that is currently in use by some schools for childeren aging 4 to 12 years in the Netherlands. The educational books are from the foundation Al Waqf from Eindhoven (Dutch city), that holds connections with Saudi-Arabia.


Get real. Support the War on Terror


Monday, July 12, 2004

Why can't we have demon attacks at work? I could use a few days off.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

'lo out there. Hey, it's not that I feel compelled to post every day but I just have this feeling you want to know how Lance does. Just posting about a Texan who is not GWB sounds rather meagre to me so I flesh it out with some European tidbits. As there are:


French politicians have reacted with horror to an anti-Semitic attack on a woman and her baby on a train. A gang of young men cut her hair, slashed her clothes and drew swastikas on her body, before overturning the pram in which her infant was lying...

Substitute “men” with Moroccans people. After all, this is a politicaly correct BBC link. I'm NOT a racist, let that be clear. One of my Heroes of the Mind is a black writer, Thomas Sowell, whom I learned to know via this blog and more precisely through Mr. Frizzle. And no, I'm NOT revulsed at all by seeing Condi as the President's Security Advisor. In fact, when I see colored people in rightwing ranks, my first reaction is always: GREAT!!! They are with us!!!

The sad bottomline however is that Europe is waking up to the Mother Of All Hangovers with its Muslim populations. Politically incorrect to say so? You bet. Do I shut up for that? You are nuts if you think so.


Good development in Serbia, where pro-western politician Boris Tadic was sworn in as the country’s new President. He has vowed to bring Serbia closer to NATO and the EU. As a European who strongly believes in a USE (in time), albeit as a friend of the USA, I can only welcome this development.

Addressing parliament after being sworn in, Mr Tadic stressed that Serbia's immediate future "will be marked by its intention to join European Union".

President Tadic and his PM Kostunica are from different, rival parties (Kostunica was successor to the popular Djindjic, who was assassinated in 2003). The rivalry may promise some fireworks, but generally Serbia's leadership can be considered to be decent.


The Norwegian Thor Hushovd wins Sunday's ride Lamballe-Quimper (168 km). If there is one common denominator for the Tour thus far, it's the weather. It's been raining rivers this first week. And I know, it's getting boring, but Lance is still saving strength at No. 6 in the General Classification, and that Frogeater Thomas Voeckler still has the Yellow Shirt. Note also another American in the Tour 2004, Tyler Hamilton at No. 11. He's not from the US Postal Team though, but from rival Phonak.

Mark, Jamie, have you heard anything about a local Ice Age in Maine? Or gigantic twisters in LA? I'm worrying you know.