June 05, 2004


Alan Ramsey reaches for a state beyond paranoia:

George Bush rubber-stamped John Howard's "how to vote" card yesterday. Bush needed help from an obliging Murdoch journalist, who in turn had got an assist from an anxious visiting Prime Minister who thought he was about to miss out. But even Bush knows what's expected of him if jolted hard enough. You know, like those hooded Iraqi prisoners with the electric leads on their privates.

That would be “hooded Iraqi prisoner”. Singular. And the electrodes were fake, according to everybody besides old Al. Next, Ramsey rolls out several hundred words of White House transcript, with occasional interjections of “And on, and on, and on” to prove to his editors that he hasn’t gone home or gotten lost on the elevators. Confused and angry, the veteran correspondent then attempts to sort out what happened during press questions following Bush’s meeting with Howard:

The locals' two questions showed no interest in Bush's visitor. The first Australian question asked when the incarcerated David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, buried alive in Guantanamo Bay for 2 years without charge, would face trial. Bush mumbled a non-reply about "the case proceeding". The second Australian question incited Howard. As an American reporter tried to grab the last opportunity, Howard interjected: "Mr Lewis, Steve Lewis, The Australian."

The second Australian question? He means the first, about Hicks and that other idiot. How difficult is it to count to two? Anyway, check the White House transcript linked above for a less addled version of events; for a time, it seemed nobody was game to ask a final question.

Lewis, taking his cue: "President Bush, if I could ask a question?" Bush, scanning the media gaggle: "Where are you?" Lewis: "Just here. Thank you." And then the Murdoch press gallery journalist from Canberra asked the question his Prime Minister had gone half round the world to get answered, out loud, for his election campaign ads.

You really think so, Alan? Can’t see it myself. Then again, there’s lots of things I can’t see that are no doubt swirling in your direct vision even as I write.

(Alan’s borrowed word count in today’s two pieces: 59%. Better than usual!)

UPDATE. Chris Sheil exposes my complete hypocrisy.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 5, 2004 05:42 AM

You know, like those hooded Iraqi prisoners with the electric leads on their privates.

Actually, not only were the electrodes fake, I seem to recall they were hooked up to his hands, not his "privates".

Posted by: R C Dean at June 5, 2004 at 07:26 AM

What instrument does Alan Ramsay play in Uncle Noamy’s Flying Plastic Turkey Band?

Posted by: ForNow at June 5, 2004 at 07:30 AM

buried alive in Guantanamo Bay for 2 years without charge

I picture a coffin, some guy scratching from underneath, sucking air through a tube sticking out of the ground.

Like some bad Vincent Price B-movie.

The lefties down under are even more off-kilter than ours.

TV (Harry)

Posted by: Inspector Callahan at June 5, 2004 at 08:11 AM

"...buried alive in Guantanamo Bay..."

And he stole that from "Kill Bill, Vol. II".

Posted by: David Crawford at June 5, 2004 at 08:42 AM

Maybe they were Officers or NCOs, and they really were hooked up to their Privates, and Specialists, and Corporals, and...

never mind - ooh that was bad...

Posted by: Joe at June 5, 2004 at 09:52 AM

"The second Australian question incited Howard."

I think he meant "The second Australian question was incited by Howard."

Posted by: Matt Moore at June 5, 2004 at 10:00 AM


That he borrowed 59% of other's words is not the problem; hell, us bloggers do that all the time. It's how he (they) use pieces of transcripts/statements/stories to twist it all into their own version of the truth. That's the difference from bloggers - we link to the whole potato and let the reader decide what to think of it......

Posted by: Easycure at June 5, 2004 at 10:58 AM

Alan's borrowed word count today...

More counting! Are you hiring Yobbo as a temp. or something, Tim?

Posted by: TimT at June 5, 2004 at 11:02 AM

Don't call me Al is the most perceptive Journalist around and if a mack truck is coming you better take warning instead of behaving like Labour looonies in 1996!

Posted by: Homer Paxton at June 5, 2004 at 11:46 AM

Yeah, Homer. He’s way perceptive. Remember 1993?

Posted by: tim at June 5, 2004 at 05:02 PM

buried alive in Guantanamo Bay for 2 years without charge

That sounds like the first line in a country-music song. Or possibly something from "Buffy" only subsitute "Sunnydale High" for "Guantanamo Bay."

Posted by: Sonetka at June 5, 2004 at 06:02 PM

That AlHan Rams-hey!(Allah be praised). He is not perceptive. He is DYSPEPTIC!

Posted by: Bilal at June 5, 2004 at 09:09 PM

Tim baby, things are looking up. Your scribblings in the last Bully were all about Wollongong, for Chrissake. What happened to Iraq, Bush, neonazi zionists? Is Wollongong suddenly the world centre of leftist and arab conspiracy? Aunty Jack can take care of them, don't you worry about that boyo.

But the ultimate ignominy - the column cut short by a piffling ad. Fight back Tim - don't take this lying down, at least on your stomach - you might get shafted. Love always - Offie

Posted by: offenbark at June 6, 2004 at 12:33 AM

Ads pay my wages. Love ads. Worship ads!

Posted by: tim at June 6, 2004 at 12:50 AM

Damn it, Tim! I went and tried to pay attention to Chris Sheil's blather, only to wind up all Mr. Crankypants at his dipshittery! I need a beer.

Posted by: ushie at June 6, 2004 at 02:25 AM

If you really want to know what Chris Sheil thinks, ushie, you need to buy his book.

Posted by: Sortelli at June 6, 2004 at 11:21 AM


If you're going to get into fights about correct grammar you might consider changing 'Then again, there’s lots of things I can’t see' to 'Then again there are...'.

Posted by: Tim Willis at June 6, 2004 at 04:51 PM

A very hungry caterpillar is probably a better writer than Chris Sheil, Sortelli.

Posted by: ushie at June 7, 2004 at 02:12 AM