This morning we're hunting mankind's greatest foe - the yellow-fin tuna, or, as it's known around these parts, the Water Bastard. A boat has been hired; gear prepared; crew assembled; crack vials loaded.
The question is: are they?
UPDATE. The yellow fin still stalks the seas. None were caught, although several snapper were landed and a mako shark briefly detained. All captured seabeasts - about 50, including leatherjackets, pike, and some fish I'd never heard of called "sweep" - have since been eaten or donated to the hungry.
Screens cover the windows to keep the midday sun away from his three computers, each of which has been opened up into a sprawling tangle of wires and circuit boards. A poster from the film The Matrix hangs on the wall, looking down on a jumble of computer books and CDs strewn over the floor. Pages of website addresses and computer commands are tacked to the wall above his screen.
Salam himself will be writing for The Guardian from next week. To practice, he’s already contributing to Indymedia’s new Iraqi franchise. (Speaking of which, aren’t those Indykids meant to oppose globalisation?)
UPDATE. Jeff Jarvis writes that The Guardian’s story (billed as “Exclusive: The Baghdad blogger reveals all”) actually “says surprisingly little, tells us nothing new, does not dig into Salam's stories or opinions, and does not identify him”. Close followers of Salamythology may feel the same way. Jeff also spots a grave Guardian edit. By contrast, Ken Layne describes the piece as “really interesting” and notes: “Dead guys post no blogs.” Possibly, but what about the undead who blog amongst us?
The London Sun reports the arrest of a British soldier for abusing an Iraqi prisoner. This is the second such story the Sun has broken:
A British soldier has been arrested over sickening “torture” photos of an Iraqi prisoner.
They show a PoW dangling from a fork-lift truck.
Others allegedly depict soldiers committing sex acts near captured Iraqis.
The squaddie — in the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers — was seized after he took a roll of film to his local photo shop to be developed. Horrified lab workers called in police.
One snap showed an Iraqi PoW who was bound and gagged. He was bundled up in netting suspended from the a fork-lift driven by a British soldier.
It is believed the prisoner was alive when the pictures were taken in Southern Iraq as the war was raging.
You expect this sort of thing from CNN and The New York Times, but not China Youth Daily:
A Chinese newspaper group has fired a reporter and suspended two editors over an article that said one in 10 female university students in a central city work as prostitutes, a manager at the paper said today.
The article about the city of Wuhan appeared on May 21 in Youth Reference, published by the China Youth Daily, one of the mainland's biggest newspapers.
It was reprinted by several newspapers in areas throughout the country.
Reporter Chen Jieren has been fired and two editors, Fan Yongsheng and Liang Ping, were suspended, said a manager in the newspaper's administration office in Beijing. She wouldn't give her name or other details.
The paper published an apology on May 23, saying its report "did not have any basis."
Michael Jennings writes:
You will be pleased to know that your site is blocked by the filters on the public internet terminals in Croydon public library in South London. It gives "Reason: hate speech".
I’d like to believe this story ...
For the truly smitten, there is Hummer camp, a sort of 21st-century dude ranch of mud-besotted excess more formally known as the Hummer Driving Academy. For three nights and two days last week, half a dozen students convened for a camp session, rambling over obstacle courses and roaring through 300 acres of muddy terrain thickly wooded with beech, white oak, cherry and shag-bark hickory trees in South Bend.
... but it’s from the New York Times.
Me in The Australian:
Fewer than 12 hours after Saddam Hussein's statue had been torn down and turned into a target for liberated Iraqi footwear, John Highfield, host of ABC radio's The World Today, went to air with this: "Well, dawn has broken over Baghdad, welcoming day one of the new freedom, but if this is liberty, then it's far from perfect."
Neither was France immediately after World War II. Or France now, for that matter. Highfield's misery was reflected throughout the ABC; the Bad Guys had triumphed, and poor Iraqi citizens would be forced out of their torture chambers and made to live in a democracy. Pity them. We all know how dull elections can be.
And Senator Richard Alston in The Age:
Despite Pentagon officials indicating that US troops had no choice but to defend themselves, Mottram proclaimed that: "The deaths undermine the Pentagon's claim that it's waging a compassionate war."
Reporter John Shovelan immediately followed with dripping sarcasm from Washington: "Oh, the civility of this US military. The daily Pentagon briefing begins with an illustration of its mercy and kindness."
Some lunatic armed with wooden stakes attacked several people aboard a Qantas flight. The passengers and crew didn’t much care for that:
The 40-year-old man stabbed two flight attendants and injured two other people before he was overpowered by crew and passengers aboard QF1737. He was in custody tonight.
Shocked passengers later hailed a 38-year-old male flight attendant as a hero for helping to subdue the attacker, while being stabbed in the head.
Several passengers helped restrain the would-be hijacker with plastic ties, bundling him between two seats before the flight returned to Melbourne and made an emergency landing, federal police said.
Ooh, feedback and correctins! Keeping you honest, Tim.
Posted by: Amos at May 29, 2003 04:49 PM
Oh, feedbacks and correctings! Keeping you honest, Tim.
Posted by: Amos at May 29, 2003 04:50 PM
Oh, feed back and.. nevermind.
Posted by: Amos at May 29, 2003 04:50 PM
Bernard Slattery posted this on Sunday morning:
It's no good for Hollingworth to claim that he acted out of concern for the priest's family and parishioners. He has to go because he did not act according to today's standards. OK, if that's what the witch hunters want, let it be. But a little consistency please. And lets' start with Hollingworth's main accuser, Peter Beattie.
The next day Gareth Parker republished an e-mail sent to Slattery alleging that Beattie may have known of pedophile claims against Queensland ALP deputy Bill D'Arcy, to which Parker added a message to Simon Crean:
So now let us see you and the media turn your attention to the premier of Queensland.
And on Wednesday, all hell broke loose:
Pedophile allegations rocked ALP governments in Queensland and NSW yesterday, prompting accusations by Peter Beattie of a smear campaign by the Howard Government as payback for Labor's stand against Peter Hollingworth.
The Queensland Premier was forced to defend claims that in 1997 he protected former state MP Bill D'Arcy - a convicted pedophile - when he knew he was a child abuser.
The question is legitimate. Several journalists have noted in recent years that the activities of D’Arcy and Keith Wright were well known in Queensland, yet most were silent on the subject during Hollingworth’s incineration. Advantage: Slattery and Parker.
Education is neither a right nor a privilege nor, these days, an education:
Jesus Christ was gay because of the position of the planets at the time of his birth, a Brisbane academic says.
Rollan McCleary, who was awarded his doctorate today from the University of Queensland, also believes one and possibly three of Jesus's disciples were also gay.
Dr McCleary, who will launch a book on his findings next month, said today he based his opinions on St John's gospel and on Christ's astrological chart based around the date, place and time he was born.
At 3pm on Sunday, 1st December, three protesters gathered to enjoy a nude barbecue under a shady tree in the Westfield picnic area at the northern end of Fairfield's Yarra Bend Park in Melbourne. Their peaceful act of civil disobedience served as a protest against the fact that it is a crime to be naked in public in Victoria. Two of the protesters, Rollan McCleary and Tony Pitman, stripped naked. The third man, Gary, remained clothed, but gave his support to the principle of the protest.
The tranquility of their afternoon picnic was shattered 15 minutes later, when about seven men approached the protesters bearing large pieces of wood. The men had broken away from a group of about 50 people attending a reunion of Italian "Alpini" (former soldiers who served in the "Alpini" division of the Italian army) who were having a barbecue about 80 metres away. Suddenly they launched a violent and frenzied assault on Rollan and Tony, first smashing the barbecue to send burning heat beads flying everywhere, then bashing the two naked men with pieces of wood as well as pieces of the broken barbecue. They also set about smashing the men's personal belongings, including a $4,000 video camera. The three protesters fled in terror and called the police once they had reached a safe distance.
How come astrologer McCleary wasn’t able to predict this? The stars tell him Jesus was gay, but don’t inform him of his impending beating. Some stars. More details of McCleary’s controversial discovery may be found here, along with shocking details of precisely which planet McCleary associates with the birth of Our Lord.
Journalism keeps interrupting my career as a sullen recluse. Got a call from The Australian today for 750 words on the ABC bias brawl, then had to get to the ABC itself by 5.30 for Richard Glover’s show. Other guests: the ABC’s Jennifer Byrne and the SMH’s Ross Gittins. Jennifer provided wine. “Now that you’ve tasted it,” said Ross, “you’re one of them.”
ABC bias was discussed. Glover, more centrist than most at the ABC, revealed that he’d received about an equal number of calls during the war denouncing him for being either a peacenik or a warmonger. The difference between the callers? The peaceniks were more violent and threatening. We online types get this a lot, and mostly ignore it, but Glover was plainly still upset at having been called a baby killer. Understandably.
Anyway, it was all fun, despite me calling for ABC budget cuts and labelling the whole place biased and wrong. Jennifer is charming and giggly, which made me regret that time I was in her house and tried to arrange the magnetic letters on her fridge to spell ABC TOXIC DEATH. And Gittins made several fine jokes, which means he is now disqualified from describing himself as an economist.
My first face-to-face confrontation with the FBI occurred when I was nine years old. Two grim-looking Agents came to our house and terrified my parents by saying that I was a "prime suspect'' in the case of a Federal Mailbox being turned over in the path of a speeding bus. It was a Federal Offense, they said, and carried a five-year prison sentence.
"Oh no!" wailed my mother. "Not in prison! That's insane! He's only a child. How could he have known?"
"The warning is clearly printed on the Mailbox," said the agent in the gray suit. "He's old enough to read."
"Not necessarily," my father said sharply. "How do you know he's not blind, or a moron?"
"Are you a moron, son?" the agent asked me. "Are you blind? Were you just pretending to read that newspaper when we came in?" He pointed to the Louisville Courier-Journal on the couch.
"That was only the sports section," I told him. "I can't read the other stuff."
"See?" said my father. "I told you he was a moron."
Jim Treacher has a new Movable Type site featuring revolutionary “readable” technology. Try it - you can actually read his site! On the Internet!
The Sydney Morning Herald blames the police:
John Wai Keung Lau, the latest innocent victim of a high-speed police pursuit in NSW, didn't have a chance. Like too many others killed in similar circumstances, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The 48-year-old family man died in a head-on collision involving a utility whose driver police wanted to breath-test and who was being chased at speeds up to 110 kmh through residential streets.
It was a tragic outcome to a high-pressure decision all too often made by a police driver.
All the cop’s fault. Nothing to do with the guy they were chasing, of course. Who, it turns out, had given his pursuers the slip at the time of the fatal accident:
After another seven blocks, the patrol car was travelling at 110 kmh and the utility was pulling away. Past Hawksview Street, the patrol car got stuck behind a car which was overtaken by the utility. Police lost sight of their quarry. The utility continued north along Fowler, crossing Merrylands Road into residential Burnett Street.
Three blocks away, Mr Lau was on his way home after working as a chef in a Chinese restaurant. He drove his Nissan sedan around a curve, heading south along Burnett. Death was on him in an instant.
The driver, not the police, has been charged with manslaughter. The SMH clearly believes this to be an injustice.
When pleading for more funding, the ABC would do well to present the government with this example of its totally unbiased news coverage, from The 7.30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien:
The Federal Government's tough strategy to stop asylum seekers arriving on Australia's coastline has certainly worked. No boats have made the perilous journey in the past 18 months. Even those who have made it to Australia and survived the lengthy detention process to be recognised as refugees are only allowed a temporary three-year visa with limited access to social services.
Yep. That should do it. Meanwhile we await full details of Indira Naidoo’s salary, and some explanation as to where the poverty-stricken ABC found the pile of cash it is wasting on promotions for Andrew Denton’s show. Oh, and is Phillip Adams still pulling down an annual $120,000 for his four hours of weekly agitprop on Radio National?
Big Marxist book,
Wrapped around my cock,
Gives me a happy.
And a Discovery Channel Piranha Week-style skeletonising of Richard Neville (“less a writer than a flesh-covered mound of swirling madness”). The unifying theme, by the way: Matrix reviews. Seriously.
China wants its citizens to stop loogying up the place. Part of this anti-SARS campaign involves banning any knowledge of the spit activities enjoyed by China’s leaders:
If one tries to enter "spit" and "Deng Xiaoping" or "Jiang Zemin" into a Chinese computer search engine, the screen goes blank. Censors have apparently decided that Internet browsers should not go there.
Q: Your opinion of John Pilger please.
A: Dickhead. Next question?
The head of al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television station, will step down after criticism of its reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan and claims that it was infiltrated by Saddam Hussein's agents.
The New York Times, CNN, and the BBC could use the same excuse. I'd believe it.
Maureen Dowd has plagiarists beat; she’s writing so badly that none would dare copy her.
By rolling over Iraq, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld hoped to deep-six the sixties.
The president was down with that. He never grooved on the vibe of the Age of Aquarius anyway.
Conservatives were eager to purge the decades' demons, from tie-dye to moral relativism, from Hanoi Jane to wilting patriotism, from McGovern to blaming America first, from Lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds to the Clintonesque whatever-gets-you-through-the-night ethos.
McGovern ran in ‘72; Clinton was President from ‘92 to 2000; the Lennon tune she references was released in ‘74. It’s all the sixties to Maureen. Whatever gets her through the intro.
As Joanne Jacobs notes, this week MoDo attempts to make up for earlier misquoting George W. Bush by publishing his entire comment on Al Qaeda. It only gets her in more trouble, as we’ll see:
"Al Qaeda is on the run," the president said in Little Rock, Ark. "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely, being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore."
But Al Qaeda, it became horrifyingly clear a week later in Riyadh, was not decimated; it was sufficiently undecimated to murder 34 people, injure 200 and scare the daylights out of Americans everywhere.
By strict definition, to ”decimate” means to reduce by 10%. Even by a more flexible definition - to reduce substantially, let’s say - the Prez is accurate. It’s no contradiction to describe as decimated the forces behind the Riyadh attacks. The fact the attacks took place in Riyadh is actually evidence of decimation; Al Qaeda has lost its reach, as surely as Dowd has lost her touch.
Via Warliberal, warning that next Sunday in the US Noam Chomsky will expose himself to the angry opinions of actual live humans, as opposed to the scavenging collectivites who commonly attend his knowledge-removal seminars:
On Sunday, June 1, 2003 at 12 noon ET, IN DEPTH on Book TV, C-SPAN2's signature author interview program, features a three-hour LIVE conversation with philosopher, political activist and author Noam Chomsky.
As Warlib explains:
That's a call-in show, folks. A three-hour, live call-in show. Beginning noon, ET. Get your questions ready.
I want to know about his Audi. Good mileage, Noam? What tyre pressures you running? I hear they’re a little underpowered, those Audis. No? You beat a three-series BMW in a street race? Well, I take it back.
ABC News and Current Affairs czar Max Uechtritz is copping some belated heat for the bias revealed in this comment, uttered last year at a conference on war coverage:
"We now know for certain that only three things in life are certain -- death, taxes and the fact the military are lying bastards."
Unlike, say, certain New York Times writers. It was a mere throwaway line, Max insists, but the Bunyip’s powerful foreclaws have dug up the non-throwaway context in which Max’s remark was made. Go read.
(And read also the Bunyip’s item on Greenpeace battleaxe Anne Summers and her “sprout-fed squadrons of simpletons”. The Bunyip is ablaze!)
The Guardian’s computers must have switched to overload when this story hit the screens:
Bob Geldof astonished the aid community yesterday by using a return visit to Ethiopia to praise the Bush administration as one of Africa's best friends in its fight against hunger and Aids.
The musician-turned activist said Washington was providing major assistance, in contrast to the European Union's "pathetic and appalling" response to the continent's humanitarian crises.
"You'll think I'm off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy," Geldof told the Guardian.
The neo-conservatives and religious rightwingers who surrounded President George Bush were proving unexpectedly receptive to appeals for help, he said. "You can get the weirdest politicians on your side."
Former president Bill Clinton had not helped Africa much, despite his high-profile visits and apparent empathy with the downtrodden, the organiser of Live Aid, claimed. "Clinton was a good guy, but he did fuck all."
Lord Alli, the aid activist who is accompanying Geldof on the trip organised by the UN children's aid agency Unicef, echoed his praise of the Bush administration.
"Clinton talked the talk and did diddly squat, whereas Bush doesn't talk, but does deliver," Lord Alli said.
UPDATE. As Alan McCallum points out in comments, the ABC somehow missed the Bush angle.
Emerging mystified from a performance of modern dance at a Nato summit in Prague, Donald Rumsfeld told a reporter: "I'm from Chicago."
I got your hypocrisy right here:
NSW Premier Bob Carr today accused Liberal MP Charlie Lynn of abusing parliamentary privilege by alleging a government minister sexually assaulted a teenage boy, but said he would still refer the matter for investigation.
By “abusing Parliamentary privilege”, does Carr mean anything similar to his Labor pal Lindsay Tanner drawing attention to Peter Hollingworth’s rape case?
Mr Lynn last night told the NSW upper house he had documents relating to a police investigation of pedophilia allegations against a senior member of Mr Carr's cabinet.
Mr Carr told reporters he found the allegations extraordinary and incredible but would nonetheless ask the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) to investigate.
The alleged time of the incident - during the 1994-97 Wood royal commission into police - meant that three parliaments and two or three police commissioners had served since it was supposed to have occurred, Mr Carr said.
"And we heard of it for the first time last night," he said.
Astonishing! Yet the allegations against Hollingworth were nearly 40 years old, and that never halted his accusers. In fact, the truth or otherwise of the ancient charges didn’t bother them much at all. As the SMH reported:
The new allegations, regardless of their truth, are likely to fuel arguments that Dr Hollingworth is now so legally entangled in sex scandals dating from his previous career as to be unable to fulfil his role.
Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin: John Pilger, Osama bin Laden, Jostein Gaarder, The Norwegian Federation for Animal Protection, Bjørn Stærk, Annika Sorenstam, Tiger Woods, Kevin Rudd, Amir Taheri, Christopher Hitchens, Nicole Kidman, Senator Lyn Allison, Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan, Lance E. Brooks, and Philip Ruddock.
UPDATE. Brian Jones writes:
As was very patiently explained to me by a female correspondent, Sorenstam's playing in the PGA means she was playing UP into a better class of play, and therefore Tiger should not by rights be eligible for LPGA events.
No, only those male players who Sorenstam beat should be eligible for LPGA events.
Grey nurse sharks will be extinct in NSW within 40 years, a scientific report commissioned by the State Government has found, and its own protection measures are failing to stop the decline.
A two-year tagging program completed by NSW Fisheries has found the population has dwindled to as low as 300 and the research concluded the shark is close to dying out.
"This is a critically low level," the Fisheries Minister, Ian Macdonald, said.
"No one wants to see the state's most loved shark become extinct and if more protection can be given, we'll do it."
No bias at the ABC, oh no no no no no no:
Communications Minister Richard Alston yesterday escalated the Government's war with the ABC, questioning the journalistic ethics of news and current affairs chief Max Uechtritz and accusing the broadcaster of biased reporting on Iraq.
In a sign of the Government's increasing hostility, Senator Alston's office yesterday distributed a dossier to Canberra journalists, containing 16 examples of alleged anti-US reporting from ABC Radio during the Iraq conflict.
The dossier also contained background information about remarks made by Mr Uechtritz at a broadcasters' conference last September in Singapore.
"We now know for certain that only three things in life are certain - death, taxes and the fact that the military are lying bastards," Mr Uechtritz is reported to have said during a forum on war reporting in Afghanistan.
Mr Uechtritz yesterday described the minister's claims as "nonsense" and said his reported comment had been a "throwaway line", but Senator Alston said the remarks were cause for concern as Mr Uechtritz's attitude could have flavoured the ABC's news coverage.
The dossier of alleged examples is heavily critical of AM presenter Linda Mottram, instancing a series of reports in which the journalist referred to the US Government's "propaganda war" and described the death of three journalists as a "body blow" to the coalition's campaign that "undermined the Pentagon's claim that it is waging a compassionate war".
I’m working on a piece about the ABC’s war coverage, specifically its radio coverage. Should be available in a few weeks.
With 368 votes counted, Annalise Braakensiek leads by 15 over Barry Humphries and 33 over Tony. It’s looking good for Annalise, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
John Howard is working on a shortlist of candidates for governor-general that includes at least one woman, Government sources said last night.
It might be an idea for Salusinszky to confess to readers that he has a conflict of interest when it comes to comment on the ABC in general and on RN in particular. He and his fellow traveller of the hard Right, Tim Blair, who left The Australian for The Bulletin earlier this year, sought employment at RN as a double act.
For just one hour a week, late on Friday nights. We were the sole non-commie presence at RN. As for “hard Right”, both Imre and I have voted for Labor, at state and federal levels, many times.
They were hired in a blaze of publicity to meet the Prime Minister's suggestion that the ABC needed a "right-wing Phillip Adams".
”Blaze of publicity”? Oh, please. Adams is hallucinating.
The duo hired Archbishop George Pell as a regular commentator and gave oodles of air time to fellow conservatives such as Clive Robertson, Peter Costello and P. J. O'Rourke.
Pell wasn’t “hired”; we didn't have Phil's budget. Pell was invited. And his commentary was restricted to sport; Pell was our Australian Football League tipster. Costello, O’Rourke, and Robertson each appeared only once, for about 15 minutes each time. We also gave "oodles of air time" to lefties and Laborites including Mark Latham, Kalle Lasn, Doug Cameron, Tanya Plibersek, and Catharine Lumby. The show's producer was a lefty.
Mistaking self-congratulation for wit, the program did attract an asterisk rating. (Well, two asterisks. One for Salusinszky, one for Blair.) When the program was not renewed, their campaign against the ABC in general – and RN and me in particular – escalated.
I’d love to know the actual ratings. We were never given any details, except that the ratings for our timeslot - 10pm to 11pm on Friday nights, not exactly prime time - had increased over whatever RN had run there previously.
When Blair and Salusinszky insist that nobody listens to RN, they mean, of course, that nobody listened to them. At last count, RN's audience was up 17 per cent – in the five mainland state capitals alone.
Maybe our show enjoyed an increase of that amount over the previous show. It wouldn’t have been difficult. In any case, RN never saw fit to tell us, despite repeated requests.
That takes the weekly audience to about 1 million listeners. To that should be added the 400,000 who tune in via the internet, hearing RN programs via the technology of audio streaming. Then a wide range of RN programs are rebroadcast by the ABC's international service, Radio Australia.
The grand total? Impossible to estimate but it could well exceed 2 million. Either way, even the local audiences are many times greater than 2GB's (580,000) or 2UE's (563,000).
Phil’s “1 million” figure accumulates the same people who listen to RN every day. Divide it by seven. Is he seriously claiming that 2UE and 2GB (local Sydney stations) are out-rated by Radio National? In the Sydney market, RN is 11th in station rankings and rates just a 2.5% market share, compared to GB’s 10.2 and UE’s 9.2. In Melbourne, RN is 13th with only 1.6%. In Brisbane, 2.3%. In Perth, 1.9%. Go here (and register) for more details.
The network Salusinszky holds in such contempt is highly valued by its audience. Of the 11,000 submissions received by the recent Mansfield inquiry into the ABC, 7000 came from RN listeners. As Bob Mansfield stated, on that basis RN seems to be the most appreciated of all ABC services – outranking even ABC TV.
I get more than 7000 hits every day. On that basis, RN seems to be appreciated by as many people who appreciate a free one-man website.
TONY JONES: Today you have accused Dr Hollingworth of moral turpitiude. Do you know what that means?
SIMON CREAN: Yes, but this is was the test that the Prime Minister made and I simply asked this question, Tony ... in terms of someone who continues to protect a paedophile when they were in a position of authority where they should have referred that, that is not appropriate action. And that's --
TONY JONES: Simon Crean, it may not be appropriate action, but is it moral turpitude? That's what you've accused the Governor-General of. And I'll put the question again, do you know what moral turpitude means?
SIMON CREAN: The moral turpitude is the circumstances in which he failed to act and he should have acted.
TONY JONES: But do you know what it means?
SIMON CREAN: Tony, I the know what it means.
TONY JONES: I can spell it out. It means baseness, shameful depravity, wickedness. Do you really want to brand the Governor-General with those terms ... shameful, depravity, wickedness?
SIMON CREAN: But it's the moral failure to act in relation to what clearly were wicked acts, Tony. This is the point. Look, you can have the argument about the semantics, Tony, but I say this to you that the issue --
TONY JONES: Simon Crean, these are not semantics. These are English words you've levelled against the Governor-General, who is still holding that office. You've suggested that he's wicked, that he's behaved a depraved or shameful way.
Here’s some words that Crean might understand: Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party. Let’s see Simon “act in relation to what clearly were wicked acts”.
So donate, already! Kevin’s only asking for $5 from each reader, so send it in and put a smile on the face of the US Military-Industrial Complex. Lord knows you don’t want to piss it off. Ain’t that right, Saddam?
Clearly motivated by his strong early showing in this week’s poll, Barry Humphries has made a pre-emptive bid for the job of Governor-General.
Bali trial update:
Alleged Bali bomber Amrozi was forced for the first time yesterday to face Indonesian victims of the attacks -- and the only one he offered any sympathy to was a Muslim.
Didn’t Alison Broinowski tell us that the bombers only hated tourists?
Then take the time to read this fine article, which proves that sharp, informative and clever journalism still happens in the US. Here’s the intro:
In the past decade, the village of New Rome, Ohio, suffered a severe case of urban flight—46 percent of its residents packed up and moved away, according to the latest U.S. Census numbers. Folks familiar with New Rome and not fond of it may sanitize their explanations for this exodus, but in simple English it usually comes down to this: New Rome is a chickenshit town ...
Thomas Keneally, apparently urging a free and open society, writes:
We hope for a cultural future that matches that of which Mahatma Gandhi prescribed in a prescient foreshadowing of the role of global access by satellite and internet: "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible."
Bizarrely, Keneally’s preceding words in this piece mostly argue for exactly the opposite. He doesn’t want the cultures of all lands blown around his house; he wants to maintain market barriers, lest regional cultures be undermined. Hey, Tom; if it weren’t for globalisation of communications, you’d have never heard of Gandhi. And why are you tainting our local culture with the words of an outsider?
John Quiggin sends a note:
I was watching a current affairs segment on the poor showing the Victorian AFL clubs have made so far this season. They interviewed interstate fans including a little girl (maybe 6) supporter of the Lions (I think). They asked her who she most liked to see beaten, and she named Collingwood.
Asked why, she thought for a moment and said with a beatific smile: "Because ... I hate them".
I can’t remember the journalist responsible, but in the ‘70s one infamous match report began like this:
”Write something nice about Collingwood,” a toothless hag hissed at me as I arrived for yesterday’s game at Victoria Park.
Talk about your root causes. I’ve known nothing but hatred and spite my entire life. Now the haters are even trying to steal our spiritual heritage.
A new poll is up. Following is a brief outline of each candidate. Please read it before voting, as this poll is legally binding and will select the nation’s next Governor-General:
Gough Whitlam was fired from the Prime Ministership in 1975 but never let that harm his healthy self-image. Here is a 1/25th scale image of his head.
Steve Waugh has scored more than 10,000 Test runs and last year sent my mother a gift. Vote against him? I don’t think so.
John Pilger is a writer. Here he is relaxing in his living room.
Annalise Braakensiek, although known mostly for her work in fabric tensile analysis and tidal/sun interaction theories, also has attained considerable success in the fields of lightspeed reflection mapping and ... er ... ethnomusicology.
Tony from the corner shop sometimes doesn’t wake up in time to open the shop for early-morning customers. He could do with some extra work to get him motivated.
David Marr is on unpaid leave from his newspaper job. He is campaigning under the slogan: “New Shoes For David”.
Every argument you'll ever need to counter SUV hysteria, all in the one article. Plus the economic wisdom of Arianna Huffington and SpongeBob compared. Bob wins.
Phillip Adams is deeply confused, as Andrew Bolt reveals:
The failings of this otherwise gifted and charming man go deeper, as I realised from one of his letters to me, in which he complained I'd got his history as a communist wrong.
"I was not a member of the Communist Party for 14 years," he snapped.
"Try 14 months. I joined that fine organisation when I was 16 and was expelled when I was 17."
I wondered how I'd got this so wrong, and soon discovered my mistake. As I wrote back, "I have no excuse -- I relied on a notoriously and wildly inaccurate source . . . Phillip Adams".
It was Phillip himself who'd written six years ago how he'd left the communists "after the crushing of the Prague Spring" in 1968, having joined "in 1954, at the ripe old age of 15".
So was Adams 15 or 16 when he joined? Did he leave after 14 months or 14 years? Where are my trousers? I need money for the bus. The government! Who keeps changing the television station? Did you steal my tablets?
John Howard says this:
"He has paid an extremely high price for that error of judgment."
And The Age hears this:
Resignation 'too high a price': PM
They are roaring in from every direction: Adonises piloting Harleys, women draped over Kawasakis. One guy with arms the size of motorcycle tailpipes wears a cutoff shirt that modestly states, "I am the American dream."
Michael Moore’s site has been hacked. It’s the cyber equivalent of how Moore behaves in his documentaries.
In case a fix is quickly made, here’s the text that replaced Moore’s usual dreck:
Mr. Moore, your documentary "Bowling for Columbine" is fictitious, not factual. David Hardy's Truth About Bowling is simply damning. You deliberately deceive your viewers, who are only expecting a slightly biased factual report. Mr. Moore, my personal hope is that you publicly apologize, not for your ideas, but for dubbing your lies the truth.
Please see revoketheoscar.com.
You can bet that Socialist Action or Marxism for Babies or whatever the hell they’re called aren't planning anything like this:
Hundreds of thousands of Moroccans carrying pictures of victims of a series of suicide bombings marched through Casablanca today to say "no to terrorism".
Marchers began their protest at the Farah Hotel, one of five targets in the nearly simultaneous attacks in the city on May 16 that left 31 bystanders dead and injured about a hundred others.
The Interior Ministry estimated the crowd for today's march at about 500,000.
Oppressors. This amounts to an implicit support of the Bush/Howard/Blair axis of oil. How dare they.
Asked last year if the liberation of East Timor may have been a root cause of anti-Australian terrorism - as a statement from Osama bin Laden asserted - John Pilger had this to say:
We can't believe that. We can't believe all these things we're being told.
Maybe he’ll believe it now:
Bali bombing co-ordinator Abdul Aziz (aka Imam Samudra) has cited 13 reasons for the fatal blast, singling Australia out for its role in a "conspiracy" to separate East Timor from Indonesia.
Aziz's 13 reasons are contained in a dossier or brief of evidence to be used at his upcoming terrorism trial.
The 33-year-old recounted the justifications during police confessions which form part of the 2000-page dossier.
In it he claims "Australia joined in separating East Timor from Indonesia" in an international conspiracy by followers of the Christian cross.
Pilger led that “conspiracy”. He might eventually learn that these people hate him as much as they hate Bush or Howard.
Oh, and Alison Broinowski (who believes that crude, insensitive Australians provoked the Bali attacks) might be surprised to read today’s Daily Telegraph, which reveals (no link) that Aziz kept a porn collection on his laptop. Such a devout person.
Take a look at the modern vast right-wing conspiracy. Blacks, seniors, Asians, gays, Jews, women, Italians, Canadians, even Australians are represented. And not an affirmative-action hire among them.
UPDATE. The cards foretell of Yobbo love.
The BBC will screen footage of British soldiers killed in Iraq, a decision condemned by London’s Sun:
Major Gen Ken Perkins, The Sun’s military adviser, said: "Once again BBC TV is plumbing the depths. It should be renamed the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation."
It already has, Major General.
The Bunyip needs a new home with the comments and the fast uploading and the working archives and the type that moves, but he’s paralysed by Blair-level computering skills. Throw some dollars at Andrea, Professor! She’ll fix everything.
Governor-General Peter Hollingworth has resigned.
Blinding hypocrisy from Maureen Dowd:
It is paradoxical that the hawks were passionate about breeding idealism by bringing democracy to the Middle East, but are unconcerned about breeding cynicism by refusing to admit mistakes.
What was that about refusing to admit mistakes, Maureen?
Expect a few posts here on the Indianapolis 500, to be run early tomorrow Australian time. How can you not love an event where a driver who qualifies at an average speed of 223.609 mph complains that “it’s really frustrating to be that slow”?
If you ever get the chance, visit the fantastic Indy museum at the racetrack. I’ve been there twice. Today’s IRL cars might look like junk (well, the G-Force is kinda interesting, with those dihedral sidepods) but the Indy cars of yore (and even not so yore) are beautiful. The Indy museum is loaded with Millers. Man, I’d loot a Miller in a Baghdad minute.
Here’s the starting grid. Pick a winner. I’m going for Michael Andretti or Little Al, with whom I once shared an entertaining 30 minutes or so chatting about how damn devious Formula One bosses are. Despite multiple approaches (Williams among them) Al never landed an F1 drive.
UPDATE. Helio Castroneves picks Sarah Fisher to win; Fisher picks Little Al.
Gulf War syndrome does not exist, according to a report cited in the UK Telegraph.
Police are hunting two men in Britain who have been trained as suicide bombers by al Qaeda, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.
How, exactly, does one train a suicide bomber? (“Step one: strap explosives to body. Step two: explode”.) And who does the training? A suicide bomber veteran? Someone with experience?
The New York Times encounters actual conservative students, and can’t quite believe what it’s seeing:
The temptation, upon entering Charles Mitchell's dorm room at Bucknell University, is to assume that he's kidding. The doormat features a picture of Hillary Clinton and the injunction, ''Wipe Liberally.'' A vast American flag festooned in red, white and blue Christmas lights adorns one wall, along with a faded Reagan-Bush '84 poster and a small photograph of the cowboy-hatted Gipper himself. The sole concession to any interest outside right-wing politics is a wall hanging of an African jungle scene. ''My nod,'' says Mitchell, an intense 20-year-old history major, ''to multiculturalism.''
The rest of the piece details the crafty psy-ops machinations behind the student-conservative trend.
A US military intelligence team in Iraq has found a dozen French passports, and defence officials believe others were used by former Iraqi officials to flee the country, a news report said today.
Morag Fraser praises Howell Raines for giving “a straight account of why he had favoured Jayson Blair” and asks why we all can’t be so decent in admitting our errors:
The NY Times case is instructive. Executive editor Howell Raines had to front a meeting of the journalists, some 375 or so of them who make up the editorial staff of what is now the most famous newspaper in the world. He had to explain how one of their colleagues, 27-year-old reporter Jayson Blair, could have got away with journalism's equivalent of fraud and professional treason - fabricating stories, quotations, sources and falsifying datelines over a four-year period ...
The reason? A failure of communication? Yes, admitted Howell Raines. Haughty, perhaps even arrogant management style? A possibility, and something to be addressed. Over-eagerness to give a young black journalist a chance in the first place and too many second chances? Yes.
It was a huge blow to the reputation of the 152-year-old newspaper. But the blow was taken on the front. Howell Raines gave a straight account of why he had favoured Jayson Blair. Agree or disagree, you could at least comprehend what he was about. You could also understand, from what he said, just how complex and historically fraught race relations in the US still are.
But the NYT (and Raines) at first denied that race was an issue; a meeting with staff was arranged partly because staff were unhappy that Raines hadn’t been sufficiently direct or clear on the Blair debacle. Fraser is spinning spin.
UPDATE. The Bunyip has more on the Mogog woman.
The woman who had sex with hundreds of men and then wrote about it is in Sydney for the writers' festival. Margaret Simons caught up with her.
Way to go, Margaret! How long did it take?
From the SMH:
Terrorism is increasing. Australians are more scared than ever. Yet the Government talks down the threats. Are politicians playing with our lives? Mark Riley reports.
The Dandy Warhols speak for the real people:
"In the '90s it would freak me out that no one would know the Beatles song Blackbird," explains Taylor-Taylor, not usually given to explanations of his lyrics. "Now I have much bigger things to worry about." Seconds later, he is describing George Bush as a "crazy, murdering sociopath who doesn't relate to real people".
A point not explored in this piece on the Hollingworth case is that Hollingworth and the Anglican Church are likely to seek costs from the law firm that represented Annie Jarmyn. Considering the number of lawyers involved on the Hollingworth side - ABC news radio reported yesterday that they couldn’t all fit on the same bench, or table, or whatever - these costs could be seriously good. I mean, seriously big. Yes, big is what I meant.
Andrew Bolt on the terrorist cause:
The past week of horrors -- with 15 suicide attacks in Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Morocco -- should prove to anyone with sense that such Islamic terrorists have no cause. They have nothing for us to discuss. No grievance worth apologising for. Nothing.
It says something of the intellectual poverty of so many of our universities' "experts" in the Middle East and Islam that few have better explained the nature of today's Islamic terrorism than did the half-educated mass murderer of Bali, Amrozi, last weekend.
When Amrozi himself explains he just wants Westerners "finished" for something as trivial as drinking in a bar on a Hindu island, or for being Jewish, then it's time to stop negotiating and start shooting.
At least they haven’t banned bacon.
(Via Tony the Teacher.)
The charming gentlefolk who bombed Bali were provoked by Australians’ beer-drinking boorishness and support for the US, according to something called Alison Broinowski:
"The Bali trials (of suspected bombers) have reinforced my view that Australia was the target. I don't say the tourists deserved their fate but, with hindsight, what happened to them is predictable."
Well, obviously. The delicate sensibilities of the bombers - thoughtful men, with highly developed notions of civility - must have been jolted by the sight of people drinking beer instead of, say, composing poetry.
According to Broinowski, beer-swilling ... is an insult likely to provoke violence when Australians hit the bars of some Asian countries. She quotes a syndicated Malaysian journalist, Rashid Rehman. After Bali, he described the targeted Sari Club as filthy and reeking of beer, sweat, drunken foreigners, and smoky air "jagged with Strine".
Turning it into a blazing, blood-drenched ruin was an improvement, I guess.
By 1993, even with the pro-Asia Keating government in power, an editorial writer in Singapore was calling Australians "lazy bums", not the intellectual equals of Asians. It is a theme echoed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who in 2000 told Howard that Australia was a small country and should act like one.
This sounds boorish to me. But at least he isn’t a beer-drinker.
To top it off, we slavishly followed the US line. "Our assiduous support for the US line actually endangers more than protects us," she says. "A country that takes its foreign policy predigested (from Washington) invites contempt."
Let’s support Osama, like the Bali bombers do! Then everyone will love us.
Last week the Sydney Morning Herald's Mike Carlton wrote that George W. Bush believed al-Qaeda to be "not a problem any more". Like many others, he apparently got this inaccurate idea from Maureen Dowd.
This week Mike applauds Senator Robert Byrd:
Robert Byrd, of West Virginia, entered the US Senate in 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, and at the age of 86 he is still there, the Dean of Congress. Snowy-haired and courtly, Byrd is an old-school Democrat in direct descent from Roosevelt's New Dealers, though no Ivy League patrician. He was raised by an aunt and uncle on the West Virginia coalfields in the Depression. He welded Liberty ships during World War II and, after that, put himself through law school in his first term in the Senate.
This admirable background stands in splendid contrast to the slippery neo-conservative spivs and silver-spooners who infest the Republican Administration of George W. Bush.
Notice anything Carlton has omitted from Byrd's "admirable background"? Like, perhaps, that Byrd is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, who once vowed that he'd never fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds"?
Over to you, Media Watch. You missed Carlton's error last week. Catch him this time.
Himself wins! By the narrowest of margins (156 votes over 155 for "Evil Amerikkka" at the time of posting) the BlairPoll™ predicted that today's Phillip Adams column would be about Phillip Adams - and so it proved. Count the references to "I', "me", and "my" mixed in with his self-serving story of a young Aboriginal woman speaking at a conference Phil attended. Some highlights:
I want to tell you about an experience ...
It was my job to deliver a keynote address ...
I attend a lot of conferences like this ...
I was impressed ...
Several other conference speakers aren’t even named. Congratulations, Phil.
The suicide bombers who attacked Casablanca have caused movie makers to halt a $200 million film deal in a Muslim country - and transfer the whole operation to evil Australia.
Rape charges against the Governor-General have been withdrawn. And he isn't quitting - not yet, anyway - despite the braying of Simon Crean.
The UN is back, and it's better than ever!
The new UN Security Council resolution on Iraq approved today showed the world body "is back", French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said.
Speaking on state-run France Inter radio before the vote, he said: "We can consider that the UN is back, and at bottom that is now the key issue: to make sure that the UN can resume its place" in the handling of the Iraq crisis.
"We are convinced that the UN alone is capable of bringing its legitimacy, experience and effectiveness on the ground," he noted.
Dominique should have expressed these noble thoughts in verse:
Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign Minister, has written an 800-page book about poetry, including examples of his own work.
Here is an extract from his preface: "This eulogy owes nothing to artifice or chance. It has ripened inside me since childhood. From the bottom of my pockets, stuck to the back of my smock, hidden in the corner of abacuses, poetry gushed out …"
Maybe not. Smock-wearing poem gusher.
Tim's alright, you know. I don't always get what he's talking about, with all the stuff about Aussie politicians and TV shows nobody in the civilized world has ever heard of, but he's good with the zingers. Seems like most of the people who really hate him have no discernible sense of humor, so I think it's less of a left/right thing than a stick/no-stick-up-the-ass thing.
And if I was a woman or a homo or just really really blitzed, I'd probly do 'im. Fortunately for him, I am none of those things at the time of this writing.
Jim's alright, too. I just never want to share a prison cell with him. Oh, here's the shirt. Buy one for that special person in your life and hear her exclaim: "What the hell?!"
Learn about Australian politics the easy Tok Pisin way via the ABC's Papua New Guinean news service! Here's the latest on Australia Praim Minista John Howard and his Foren Minista Alexander Downer, who recently asked Robert Mugabe to step daun. Zimbabwe bilongs to ol the pipal!
The San Antonio Express-News got the ball rolling on the whole Jayson Blair affair. As Mark Harden reports, however, it has since done everything in its power to stop that crazy ball:
In a preemptive bid to cut off discussion of the pernicious influence of racial preferences which was brought to wider attention as a result of the scandal, local writers from Clack ("Don't put other journalists in same boat as Blackbeard Blair"), to Rangel ("Big Apple's bad apple must not ruin march toward diversity") to Fletcher Stoeltje ("New York Times' shame is about human nature, not diversity") have rushed to toss a blanket over the elephant in our living room.
Mark has all the links. Go read.
The A-man might be on to something here. Blog-related reality shows could be the Next Big Thing. Marry a Blogger, for example, with various babes competing for the right to support the posting habits of a semi-employed blogging spouse. Big Blogger, in which several bloggers post at the same site while an unseen tormentor randomly changes their sign-ins. And Weakest Link, a study of weblog spelling errors that lead to Error 404 pages. Hey, I'd watch!
UPDATE. Reader Andy D. writes:
Never mind how the town feels about the journalist; how must the journalist feel about the town? This place is an overwhelming affront to everything he stands for! I mean, how does a population of 361 manage to support not one but TWO Lutheran churches!? This is an outrageous example of homogenised monotheocentrism! Why are these people not embracing multiculturalism and theological diversity? It's appalling!
In a good and perfect world, John would be spinning in his grave over this.
Nicole Kidman without a few grams of tobacco between her fingers = Australia's favourite actress. Nicole Kidman with = horror monster baby-eater outcast freak beast:
Her face has graced the covers of hundreds of fashion magazines worldwide and she is regularly voted one of the most beautiful women.
But the world glimpsed uglier images of Nicole Kidman at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday when she smoked her way through an international press conference.
I must say, the BBC guy doesn't sound all that convincing.
Whoa! Don't hold back, dude!
ONE DAY after the national president of the public sector union died of a brain aneurism, a colleague offers this tribute:
"He had a big friendly smile and a good brain."
JOHN HOWARD'S AUSTRALIA is supposed to be a cruel place, rejecting innocent refugees and beating up on little Afghan children. Yeah, sure:
Two members of the Indonesian terrorist group responsible for the Bali bombings have been granted permanent residency after claiming religious and political asylum in Australia.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveal 10 members of Jemaah Islamiah were refused protection visas by the Refugee Review Tribunal, but two men were later granted residency.
Both of the successful applicants, who claimed persecution on the basis of their membership of JI, are believed to be Indonesian-born and have been free to travel in and out of Australia.
THE US House of Reps awards a $2 million military contract - to the French! From Wyeth Wire:
WASHINGTON - U.S Representative Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today announced that the House Defense Authorization bill contains nearly $2 million for a Michelin facility in the upstate area to assemble tires for the Marine Corps' Land Attack Vehicles (LAV). The House is scheduled to pass the annual Defense Authorization bill later this week and the funding is expected to be formally appropriated later this year.
UPDATE. An ex-Michelin employee writes:
Don't go to a liberal slanted blog for your information. Yes, technically, Michelin is French (although they've moved the "corporation" to Switzerland for obvious tax reasons).
But: Michelin has plants all over the South East U.S. (especially concentrated in South Carolina, and in Jim DeMint's district). These tires will be made in the U.S., the tire molds will be made in the US, and the rubber, steel and fibers will all also made in the US.
In fact, these tires were probably designed in the US (The Greenville, SC area also has the North American R&D facility.
The profits may benefit to Michelin shareholders (and that won't be significant in this "almost commodity business), but very little to the French government or government run business.
BTW - Almost all the top jobs in Michelin North America are held by North Americans (A few that I know personally are US Military Academy, West Point, grads).
And from Maureen:
Actually, I regard that piddling $2 million contract as an insult to the French. Last year the US spent $518 billion on the military (not counting intelligence operations), and I'm sure it's much higher this year and will be higher still next year. Add to that the fact that, while the tiny award went to a French-owned company, the work will be done in the US, so US workers at the tire plant will reap some benefit and the facility's local government will take in some tax revenue. It's sort of like leaving a penny tip to punish a bad restaurant experience, and I hope the Pentagon keeps it up whilst awarding juicy contracts to our friends.
HMMM. According to Four Corners' account of conditions inside the Woomera Detention Centre, a "19-year-old Afghan" threw himself into razor wire. The Bunyip has evidence that suggests the "Afghan" was actually a member of the Baktiyari family - who were refused visas because they are Pakistanis rather than Afghans.
Was the man featured in the program the same chap shown here? I didn't see the show. Anyone who did is welcome to compare and correspond.
(Another point: one of the more antagonistic former Woomera staff members interviewed on the show "was soon given the sack over another matter." Four Corners provided no additional information. Curious.)
ANTI-AUSTRALIAN brutality in New Jersey. Several emus killed.
THE AUSTRALIAN states it plainly:
The ABC is falling short of the duty, stated clearly in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act and reiterated in the ABC's own code of practice, to present news and analysis that is accurate, impartial, and balanced.
ACTUALLY, the ABC isn't presenting any news at all. Richard Glover just announced on ABC radio: "Due to industrial action there will be no 6pm news." Your taxes not at work.
Test your dullness-guessing abilities! (Answers may be found a couple of posts below):
1. I have a number of objects in my house.
2. I sat outside on the balcony this morning.
3. I've been thinking about the Howard Government's third term reform agenda.
4. As I was looking around my house I noticed that there were a number of empty glasses.
5. I cannot figure out the digital Swedish washing machine.
6. I'm still catching up with the reading of the newspapers.
7. I came home and needed to open the front door to get into the house.
8. I was having breakfast and doing the washing this morning.
9. I was doing some things and noticed that it was nearly time for something to eat.
10. I noticed that there were a few things lying around here and there.
11. I left the room and walked past the ironing board.
12. I had breakfast in the early morning autumn sunshine.
13. I ate one or two biscuits this evening.
14. I'm slowly getting around to reading the weekend newspapers.
15. I looked at the internet for a while.
16. I have been trying to get connected to broadband this week.
17. I have become a little tired of the war with Iraq and I wanted a break from it for a moment.
18. I logged onto the internet and thought about posting something on my blog.
19. Whilst on holiday I missed out on a lot of reading of newspapers.
20. I have not been following events in the Middle East since the fall of Baghdad due to renovations.
21. I read a few articles from one section of the newspaper.
22. Whilst surfing the internet I happened upon a page which had a number of links on it.
23. I have been wandering in cyberspace late at night.
24. Today I logged onto the internet.
25. I have been trying to get connected to Broadband today.
26. Whilst walking along I noticed that there were some cars driving along the road.
27. I went into a cafe the other day.
28. I did not see any television whilst on holiday.
29. I did some washing up this evening.
30. I have realized that Tim Blair has no pity or compassion for the vulnerable and the fragile.
UPDATE. Gary gets into the spirit of things.
NICOLE KIDMAN smokes. It's unheard of - an actress, smoking! And in front of the impressionable, non-smoking French! Right Thinking salutes the brave Australian, and Moxiegirl contributes grade-A commentary. Will Nicole's tragic nicotine habit bankrupt her? Not likely; she's the only "solo self-made woman" in this year's list of the 200 richest Australians.
WOMEN PLAYING golf with men? Unthinkable, says feminist Pat O'Shane:
While Sorenstam is good, she could never be as good as Tiger Woods, however we construct society. And why she - or any other female - would want to compete in a male event in any power sport is beyond my understanding.
Maybe she just wants to see how good she really is. Meanwhile Steven Den Beste posts on women competing in power sports of a massively higher order.
Boring Quiz answers:
1 - Dullest Blog in the World
2 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
3 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
4 - Dullest Blog in the World
5 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
6 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
7 - Dullest Blog in the World
8 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
9 - Dullest Blog in the World
10 - Dullest Blog in the World
11 - Dullest Blog in the World
12 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
13 - Dullest Blog in the World
14 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
15 - Dullest Blog in the World
16 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
17 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
18 - Dullest Blog in the World
19 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
20 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
21 - Dullest Blog in the World
22 - Dullest Blog in the World
23 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
24 - Dullest Blog in the World
25 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
26 - Dullest Blog in the World
27 - Dullest Blog in the World
28 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
29 - Dullest Blog in the World
30 - Gary Sauer-Thompson
JOHN HOWARD says yes to dope - with certain conditions.
INVEST in earplugs! The shrieking over this will deafen millions:
Australia has been approached to provide bases for US forces and combat and reconnaissance aircraft as part of a bold plan to bolster the war on terror in southeast Asia.
The US approach is also understood to be related to concerns in Washington over threats to Indonesia's stability from fundamentalist Islamist groups and separatist movements, such as in Aceh.
THE AGE reprints a UK Sunday Telegraph piece on the non-deadly nature of passive smoking. Watch the letters pages, er, light up.
READER R.H. Hardin writes regarding my regretted suggestion (scroll down) that people donate to the Red Cross in the wake of the Bali bombing:
I can't believe you ever recommended a large organization.
First, there's Hannah Arendt's observation that goodness that goes public turns into the worst sort of evil. You could gloss it that actual good takes a lot of work and actual knowledge of individual cases. The rest is feel-good make-work.
I know he's right. But from Chuck Simmons, a compelling Red Cross defence:
I've spent a career as an accountant for not-for-profit organizations in the United States. What I see is 2.7% of donations being spent on administrative expenses, not unusually high. Indeed, here in the U.S., it would be fairly outstanding. Some charities and not-for-profits operate with 60-70% overhead and get away with it. Jesse Jackson's groups, as an example.
Nor is it unusual that distributing sums of this size take time. The same criticism occurred with the World Trade Center charities. Followed by the 40 plus arrests for fraud against the charities.
They've disbursed $11 million. That's not too bad for sixteen months. I'd be upset if they'd disbursed $2.2 million and still had $11 million.
The article you cite doesn't tell me what services are normally provided by your government, nor does it tell me how many victims, in total, are eligible for aid. It just lays out some criticism by Mr. Marsh and unnamed critics.
Indeed, it is the responsibility of the Red Cross to make some determinations about the money, the veracity of the claim, and how each claim is weighted compared to the others. There may be criticisms based
on fact, but this article has none. The donors, as is usually the case, expect first of all that the money will go to those who need it, and that determination cannot be done without some effort.
I'm feeling a little better now. Incidentally, drop by Chuck's site to see what is actually happening in liberated Iraq.
CHECK IT OUT: I'm a leading referrer to
Mr. Toys. Tremble at my power.
ANDREW LLOYD uncovers the Eiffel Tower oil conspiracy.
MATT DRUDGE has a preview of Jayson Blair's book proposal, to be published tomorrow (along with an interview) in the New York Observer. Some interview highlights:
"Anyone who tells you that my race didn't play a role in my career at The New York Times is lying to you."
And there's no arguing with this:
"I'm a symbol of is what's wrong with The New York Times. And what's been wrong with The New York Times for a long time."
It seems as though Jayson's old confidence is returning:
"From my perspective, and I know I shouldn't be saying this, I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism ... They're all so smart, but I was sitting right under their nose fooling them ... If they're all so brilliant and I'm such an affirmative action hire, how come they didn't catch me?"
Jayson? They did.
JUDGING by Phil's midweek column, BlairPoll™ is right on the money:
It's all my fault. I'm personally responsible for the decline of two great Australian institutions.
According to John Howard, I'm what's wrong with the ABC. And according to Mark Latham, I'm what's wrong with the ALP.
Adams once remarked that "Australia hasn't had 20 years of television, it's had one year of television 20 times". Reader Siltstone writes to remind that Adams could say the same about his columns.
If recent events prove anything, it is that nations like Australia are more secure now than they have been at any time since September 11, 2001. Where once Islamists were able to strike with impunity in New York and Washington, the very heart of the Muslim "House of War", today they are confined to hitting targets only within the "House of Islam".
And be sure to check out the new Morrow venture: Duckseason.
GET YOUR protest banners ready, kommie kids! Dubya is coming to town:
President George W. Bush has plans to make a trip to Australia in October in response to an invitation from Prime Minister John Howard.
At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Catherine Millett, another foreign cultural imperialist, is here this week. Janet Albrechtsen is unimpressed.
THE LATEST Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions John Howard, Not In Our Name, Saddam Hussein, Joanna Murray-Smith, Carmen Lawrence, Richard Neville, Hugh Mackay, Phillip Adams, Pedro the mule, Steve Waugh, John Williamson, Glenn McGrath, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Steve Bracks, the National Corvette Museum, Jayson Blair, and Simon Crean.
ACCUSED BALI bomber Imam Samudra is at it again:
"Hey Bush, John Howard ... like this," he said, running his hands across his throat in a threatening gesture. Then he called out to the crowd: "You (are) also next. I get.
"Gun, gun for you. Don't forget (this is a) terrorist country. Life for life. Soul for soul. I am a killer for you.
"As long as you kill our Muslim country, we also attack your country and your people."
So bring it on, Samudra. What's stopping you? Oh, that's right; you're under arrest and will probably be executed. Gun, gun for you.
POLICE want to ban drinkers from entering Kings Cross bars after midnight, citing violence, sleaze, and filth. Meanwhile the Kings Cross heroin injecting room - in which, by the way, you are not allowed to smoke cigarettes - is still open with full government approval.
THE PRESS is going nuts about this Annika Sorenstam golf thing in New York:
When Annika Sorenstam hits off the first tee at the Colonial Golf Club tomorrow, it will signal the start of the biggest sporting battle of the sexes since Billie Jean King whipped Bobby Riggs on the tennis court 30 years ago.
So enormous is interest in the event that 568 journalists and photographers have been accredited and extra work space and car parks established to accommodate them.
This is more than twice the number who normally cover the longest running tournament on the tour.
Big deal. In 1974 Lella Lombardi arrived in Australia from Italy to compete in a couple of rounds of the Australian National Formula One championship. Driving an old, formerly uncompetitive racer, the tiny Lombardi tore the local guys to bits. Nine-year-old me saw her at Sandown Park - a terrifying track - carving past Kevin Bartlett for second place. Lombardi went on to become the only female driver to score points in a world championship Formula One event. Tougher than golf. And the press remain largely unaware that it ever happened ...
FOLLOWING the bomb attack in Bali I suggested that readers donate to a Red Cross appeal for survivors. For this I now apologise. The Red Cross is wasting your money and wasting time. Compounding my guilt, several readers wrote to me warning that exactly this would happen.
To the reader who donated $1500 (scroll down) I really don't know what to say, except sorry. The Red Cross deserves to be condemned. Hopefully the negative publicity they've drawn will speed things up, and deliver the donated cash to those who need it.
CNN interviews an evasive John Kampfner, presenter of the BBC's "Fake Moon Landing in Iraq" story. They should be interviewing Warren Smith ... or perhaps they don't want to compromise their access to top-level BBC staff. Oh, the stories CNN will be able to tell once the BBC is liberated!
PSYCHOPEACENIK Carmen Lawrence, far from being silenced by the result of the war, is sticking to her ... well, I guess she isn't sticking to her guns, because guns are bad. Maybe she's sticking to her Tutti Frutti Scented Modeling Dough.
VOTE FOR BMX Bandits. Vote now! Other bloggers - get out the BMX Bandits vote, already!
YOU ARE woken by a loud noise. Several loud noises. You go outside to investigate, and all seems calm - except for the weird dents all over the car. You walk over to investigate, and notice smoking chunks of ... something, something metallic, in the yard. They smell faintly of cigarettes. By the glow of a red neon sign somewhere above, you see a man down the street. He calls into the night: "Jasper."
You rush inside and away from the inexplicable, Lynchian vision. Then - here's the really spooky part - you read this.
BLAIRPOLL UPDATE: 300 votes counted and "Himself" is holding a microfine 12 nomination lead over "Evil Amerikkka". Third is "some other wank" (64 votes) while the rest are polling at Socialist Party of Alabama levels.
Polls will remain open until early Saturday morning Australian time when Phillip's column should be posted. Or until Jeb Bush and FOX and Katherine Harris tell me to "close those polls, boy! The fix is in!"
HERE'S a sneak preview of Michael Moore's next cinematic triumph:
Its about the Bush family, their extensive connection with the Bin Laden family and the environment within the USA post Sept 11. He has footage of the Bush family dining with the Bin Laden family. It elaborates on the business relationship between the families that has existed for many years. It explores how a Saudi charter plane travelled the US immediately after Sept 11 and how the FBI were pissed that they couldn't interrogate its Bin Laden passengers as they were ferried to Paris. It looks at the way in which the government used the events of Sept 11 to push their own agendas.
And Moore doesn't?
Moore expalined that since COLUMBINE and its appearance at the Oscars he receives 6,000 pieces of fan mail a day and gets given pieces of footage that he can't talk about now but will make this perhaps the most incendiary documentary of all time. In his words 'If I don't make this, I may as well stick my head in the sand like everybody else."
He'd have to pull it out of his arse first.
"WE MAY be overwhelmed by environmental catastrophes that seem to occur with alarming regularity," claims the ABC, "but there is a simple way each of us can make a difference."
Halving the ABC's budget would be a good start. Make Phillip Adams trade his SUV for a skateboard. Hell, if we're being "overwhelmed" by "catastrophes", the ABC should cease all operations immediately. Don't they realise the damage they're causing, what with flying journalists all over the planet and producing books and such? Instead, the ABC demands that you take a stand. You must cease to use plastic bags!
Plastic shopping bags have a surprisingly significant environmental impact for something so seemingly innocuous ... In the water, plastic bags can be mistaken for jellyfish by wildlife.
That's why wildlife is so bad at shopping.
Disturbingly, it is claimed that plastic bags are the most common man-made item seen by sailors at sea.
Could be. Then again, they might just be looking at bunches of jellyfish.
Once an animal that had ingested a plastic bag dies, it decays at a much faster rate than the bag. Once the animal has decomposed, the bag is released back into the environment more or less intact, ready to be eaten by another misguided organism.
If it's only misguided organisms dying, then I say to hell with them.
Plastic bags also clog drains and waterways, threatening not only natural environments but also urban ones. In fact, plastic bags in drains were identified as major factors in the severe flooding in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998.
CNN reports that bags also helped people survive: "In one area, relief workers found families living atop dikes in shelters made from straw and plastic bags." Praise bags!
According to Clean Up Australia, Australians use in excess of 6 billion plastic bags per year. If tied together these bags would form a chain that is long enough to go around the world 37 times.
Well, maybe that's exactly what we're trying to do, art haters.
In September 2002 federal Independent MP Peter Andren and Greens Senator Bob Brown introduced private member's bills into parliament that would put a 25 cent levy on plastic shopping bags, and direct the funds raised to an education program publicising the environmental costs of plastic bags in Australia.
If we assume that plastic bag use would drop by 50% as a result of the levy, this means $15 million would be raised each year solely for bag awareness. Has anyone considered the environmental impact of so vast an education program?
If you don't want to take your bags back to the supermarket to use again next time you buy your groceries, there are a multitude of ways you can use them around the house, limited only by your imagination.
I use them for lining garbage bins.
One thing they should not be used for is lining garbage bins.
If everyone accepted one less plastic bag every time they went shopping, the number of bags used would be reduced substantially.
And the amount of groceries rolling around on the floor would increase hilariously.
There are a range of alternatives to plastic bags. Some retailers save the cardboard cartons that stock is packaged in, so customers can use them to pack their groceries. Others may offer paper bags.
So next time you go shopping, hold your head up proudly as you reuse or refuse a plastic bag. You may not be in a rubber dinghy chasing a whaling boat or pursuing ivory poachers, but you have made a contribution to the future of the planet.
Go and get fu ... I mean, thank you for your kind advice, nice ABC person.
I WANTED something to read, so I went here.
SAME COLUMN, different slant. In the SMH, Gerard Henderson's piece followed this preamble:
Al-Qaeda's apparent new focus on soft, even non-Western, targets could be its death knell, writes Gerard Henderson.
But in The Age, however, it was all fault of the Evil Empire:
The American war on terror has caused the terrorists to seek softer marks, writes Gerard Henderson.
IT'S MEDIA WATCH fun time! Yesterday's episode featured an item on a lame anti-Howard cartoon that was cut from The Age. David Marr, who evidently believes that editors shouldn't edit, complained:
Those who think joking about this sort of thing is 'just not funny', should remember that Bill Leak won a Walkley last year for his take on the same subject.
My question to Media Watch:
Re Bill Leak: How does winning a Walkley prove that a cartoon is funny? Is (2002 Walkley cartoon judge) Betty Churcher now the official arbiter of that which constitutes a joke? And where can I get a tape of her stand-up routine?
And Media Watch's puzzling reply:
The Walkley didn't make it funny. It was funny when The Australian published it. It's still funny.
Er ... I didn't say that the Walkley made it funny. Media Watch did. Moderator Peter McEvoy (I'm assuming it's Pete; he would have a lot of spare time each week) signs off with this:
On a different kind of funny: surprised to see you crawl from under the debris so quickly.
Oh no! Nice Pete is trying to crush my dissent!
GIANNA on the pressure of modern blogging:
I've taken down the donation button ... I found it a bit inhibiting having that button there (even if it was reasonably well concealed) as I imagined there was implicit pressure to perform, in order to justify any potential remuneration. So I'm going to reclaim the all-too-apparently amateur nature of this blog. Money just complicates things.
Her blog, her choice. Myself, I've always found that money buys things.
TERROR IN DECLINE:
The attacks in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, despite their dramatic and devastating impact, may well be the last gasps of the monster of international Islamist terrorism. The hard facts speak for themselves. Acts of international terrorism fell by almost half from 2001 to 2002 - to the lowest figure since 1969.
Most centres for the study of global terrorism report unprecedented calm. Their analysis is backed by the latest annual US State Department report and an interim study, to be submitted next month to the G8 summit in Annecy. There were 199 "acts of global terrorism" in 2002. There were no acts of terror in the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, designated as special targets by al-Qaeda.
UPDATE. Brian Micklethwait analyses terror's retreat:
Why did they hit New York? Because they could. Now, they can't. Why did they hit Bali? Because they could. Now they can't. So why are they now hitting their own back yard? Because they can. And that's all they can.
THE PENTAGON says the BBC's ridiculous, fact-free account of Private Jessica Lynch's rescue is void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous. Go to Warren Smith, original online debunker of the BBC's version, for more. Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer seems to be buying the BBC line (via Stefan Sharkansky).
WHICH NEWSPAPER IS SPINNING? A reader quiz:
The Australian: No Budget rebound for Crean
The Sydney Morning Herald: Slap for PM's plans gives Crean a lift
The Australian: Embattled Opposition Leader Simon Crean has failed to get a lift from the furore surrounding the Governor-General or the budget, with John Howard and the Coalition retaining a commanding lead in the latest Newspoll.
The Sydney Morning Herald: The Howard Government's budget tax cuts and health and education changes have been overwhelmingly rejected by voters in a new poll that gives the Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, a much-needed bounce.
The Australian: Labor is struggling to make any headway against the Howard Government.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Labor [is] back within striking distance of the Government.
The Australian: Satisfaction with the way Mr Howard was doing his job rose from 59 to 61 per cent, while Mr Crean's rating went from 23 to 24 per cent.
The Sydney Morning Herald: Mr Howard's rating as preferred leader remained strong, falling three points to 61 per cent, while support for Mr Crean rose just one point to 23 per cent.
IN A NEWSWEEK interview, Jayson Blair warns people "not to believe everything they read in the newspapers." Talk about the pot criticising the kettle's commitment to minority hiring through a company-wide diversity policy.
Jazzy Jay is revealed in the interview to be an unlikeable type - at least, unlikeable by anyone except certain of his bosses at the Times, which might say something about the sort of people running that little show. Here's another extract, about the period following Jay's "coverage" of the Washington sniper story:
Within months, Blair was circulating drafts of a book proposal on the sniper story in which he discussed his own anger and frustration as an African-American. "[A friend] encouraged me to look for answers about the history of violence in my own family and that of Lee Malvo [the other sniper suspect], suggesting the search would not be in vain, if it at least ended my restless angst," Blair wrote. Later, he told friends that he identified with Malvo.
Here's a kid who rode the Guilty White Man Express first-class all the way to Timesville, yet he's angry and frustrated and identifies with the killer of innocent working folk just going about their daily lives without anybody giving them a Rainesian boost along the way. Sweet.
UPDATE. Go read Lileks. It's all about the moose.
IN THE following preview (no link available) of a bin Laden documentary to be aired this week in Australia, SMH television guide pinko Bernard Zuel declares his opposition to bias:
This was made before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre but that doesn't weaken it for it's a story that requires telling at any time. Bin Laden's upbringing in Saudi Arabia as one of 50 children of a wealthy Yemeni builder, his brief dalliance with a western life, his discovery of piety, his growth as a leader and finally his turn to anti-western terrorism, all add up to a great story. What does weaken the program though is a heavy US bias.
Bernie loves Binny.
ACCUSED BALI bomber Imam Sumudra offers his take on current events:
"We are going to destroy your countries all round the world," he declared.
Giving the thumbs-down sign with his handcuffed wrists, Samudra shouted in English: "Go to hell Bush, go to hell Tony Blair, go to hell Colin Powell and the alliance. Allah Akbar."
Maybe he's angling for a TV writing job with the Sydney Morning Herald.
REMIND ME never to drive in New Zealand:
New Zealand's Italian ambassador has hit back at the nation's drivers, labelling them "very, very bad" after several reported him for speeding and dangerous driving, it was reported today.
"New Zealand drivers are very, very bad drivers and also very dangerous because they don't think all the time," ambassador Roberto Palmieri fumed in a report in the Dominion Post.
Palmieri also described New Zealand as a small Anglo-Saxon country where people tended to be politically-correct and tell on each other.
THE ABC, being opposed to the gross materialism and waste involved in motor racing, offered no preview of the Austrian Grand Prix in its 7.00pm news and sport coverage last night, despite Australia's Mark Webber competing in what ranks among the world's most popular sports. And this broadcast was in Webber's home state.
Instead we learned that New Zealanders had won several prizes in some local bicycle contest. As it turns out, Webber did rather well in the race; too bad for him that he doesn't ride a bike.
I speak to you today, not only as Labor leader and Leader of the Opposition, but on behalf of millions of Australians who share opposition to this war.
LOTS OF good things happening at Tongue Tied.
I BELIEVE in the Three-Foot Theory of Death - ie, that we're always within three feet of something (traffic, a skull-fracturing table edge, poisonous owls) that could potentially kill us. But there's no way even the most diligent three-footer could anticipate this.
While we're on the subject, the ABC notes that the trouble doesn't end just because you've had your head removed:
Members of the Lendu and Hema communities are trying to wipe each other out. On the weekend three babies were decapitated and slaughtered during the killing, which claimed dozens of lives.
WHO CAN you trust? Leigh Hanlon has captured the New York Times in pre-Jayson self-love mode.
Honest Jim Treacher's House of Items! It'll satisfy all your Mr. Clappy™ clothing and accessory needs, or his name isn't Jim Treacher. Er ... I mean ... oh, just go buy the monkey shirts already.
It looks like guns and muscles aren't the only thing he's packing. Take a look at that posing pouch. I don't think you're meant to holster your Uzi down there, big boy.
UPDATE. Lee at Right Thinking wonders: "Have the Chinese actually seen Moore from the neck down?"
And don't miss his Headline of the Day.
LIBERALS are just too noble to succeed in talk radio, according to this Salon piece on washed-up Mike Malloy:
One of the arguments raised by those who doubt that left-wing talk radio will ever challenge Limbaugh is that liberals will always, by their nature, be more open-minded, tolerant and nuanced than conservatives -- and that those noble traits are a commercial snooze.
Helpfully, Salon provides examples of Malloy's open-minded and nuanced tolerance:
Those who do locate Malloy can hear him ridicule "President Dazed and Confused" and the "Bush Crime Family," playing songs like "Thick as a Brick" or "Pencil-Necked Geek" for sardonic punctuation.
When Paula Jones came forward to charge belatedly that [Clinton] had, years before, sexually harassed her, Malloy mimicked her in a creaky twang out of the "Beverly Hillbillies": "It was me. I was the one. See, it says right there it's me. Right here on my shirt label, where my momma sewed it on: 'That s.o.b. sullied my reputation.' That's what he did. Can you bring that camera in a little closer?"
The ascent of then-Gov. George W. Bush as a presidential aspirant in the late 1990s inspired all of Malloy's working-class contempt for a rich boy. "Oh, W., you want a baseball team?" he said in a typical bit, imitating the senior Bush. "How about an oil company? Off-shore drilling rights in the Red Sea. Red Sea. Never mind. We'll get it for you."
Careful. Don't step in any of the nuance.
BILL WHITTLE is the man who took away the magic. Read it all, especially his guide to Chomskyite deceit:
This is how you lie by telling the truth. You tell the big lie by carefully selecting only the small, isolated truths, linking them in such a way that that advance the bigger lie by painting a picture inside the viewer's head. The Ascended High Master of this Dark Art is Noam Chomsky ... Michael Moore used exactly this technique to make people believe that America is a land of terrified, racist murderers who are armed to the teeth solely because of their fear of black people. For this he was given an Academy Award, and Bowling for Columbine has been called "the best documentary film ever made."
THE LIBERAL MINDSET: Calpundit worries about press reports of speeding because they "just give people something to shoot for". Stupid people.
He's also confused about why a Porsche can't outrun a BMW M3. The reason both max out at 155-156 mph is because German carmakers voluntarily equip most of their European-market autobahn burners with governors.
Mmmm. Governors. Cue liberal drooling.
UPDATE. Calpundit writes:
It was just a joke, Tim. I drive a Porsche, that's all.
Durn librools and their fancy-ass Germanian sportspanzers. Wait until the UAW hears about this.
GEOFF HONNER is a fine new addition to Ken Parish's blogger posse.
LOOK - over on the left! It's a new poll! Here's your voting formguide.
The results of the last poll may be found here.
THE BBC - recommended by Jayson Blair.
ACCORDING TO this bunch of anti-SUV crap from The Guardian, which is reprinted in today's Melbourne Age:
When OJ Simpson was chased through Los Angeles, it was in a Lincoln Navigator.
As everyone knows - except for Guardian journalist Gary Younge, all of his copy editors, his proof readers, The Age's international desk, its sub editors, etc - Simpson was pursued while cowering in the back of a Ford Bronco. The Navigator wasn't even introduced until 1998, four years after the famous chase.
Simpson was driving a Navigator in 2000 when he developed a non-fatal case of his notorious Simpson Rage™, but the "chase" here involved another motorist following Simpson for only a few blocks. Getting this mixed up with the rather more well-known Simpson pursuit of June '94 is absurd; don't these people pay any attention at all?
AND HE never got a chance to appear naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly ...
HERE'S YOUR crushing of dissent. Write accurate yet unfashionable things in the Australian media and be shunned; spout fashionable inaccuracies and win awards. Read Paul Sheehan's entire article.
BRACE YOURSELVES for a shock.
HMMM. Maybe I've been too harsh on Victoria's Bracks government. Judging by its enemies, it might be a fine government indeed.
JESUS. Elvira is still alive.
YOU CAN choose your friends, but you can't choose your family:
A poverty-stricken petrol pump attendant who is a distant relative of Saddam Hussein and bears a striking resemblance to his infamous clansman has been repeatedly harassed by American forces, increasingly desperate to find Iraq's former dictator.
Mohammed Hussein, 64, who was jailed for three years under Saddam for being a member of the Communist Party, has been detained on several occasions in recent weeks by American soldiers.
Click to the story immediately to see the photo caption of the year.
SOONER or later, all racists end up sounding like Hitler:
Accused Bali bomber Amrozi today remained defiant, predicting more terrorist attacks on Westerners and describing Australians as "brutal".
He faces four charges of helping to plan and execute the attacks which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in Kuta last October.
He said he was not sorry for the Australian victims of the bombings.
"With their brutality I don't feel sorry," he told Channel Nine.
"You can see it from their behaviour, they come here, American, Jews and their allies, they want to colonise.
"They want to control Muslim people, they make us weak.
"They want to control us, not only Indonesians but all over the world."
Amrozi predicted further terrorist attacks against Westerners in the region.
"How can I feel sorry?" he asked. "I am very happy (Westerners died) because they attack Muslims and are inhuman.
"There will be more bombs till the Westerners are finished, all of them who attack Muslims and attack humanity.
"Terrorism is ordered by Allah - in the Koran it means make our enemies frightened."
Listen to the little man: Westerners are brutal and inhuman, want to colonise Indonesia, and seek to weaken and control Muslims. Hitler wrote Mein Kamph in prison; it looks like Amrozi's been reading it during his days inside. See you at the shooting gallery, kid.
UPDATE. Some extended comments from Amrozi:
Q: Why are Australians brutal?
A: You can see from their attitude . . . they come here, people such as Americans, the Jews and their allies. They want to colonise, not just to play. They want to control Muslim people. They make us weak and they take our people to bars. They want to control all of us, not just in Indonesia but all over the world.
I wonder how the likes of Bali tourist (and anti-war ranter) Mike Carlton feel now that their merry holidays have been identified as a cause of terrorism. Perhaps they'll reconsider the motives of these bastards. It's you they hate, Mike. Not just George W. Bush or John Howard. You.
UPDATE UPDATE. John Softly writes:
The taxi drivers taking us "brutal" Australians to bars are Muslims. Most taxi drivers working for the Taxi Putih company along the club row are Muslims originally from Java. And yes, the Taxi Putih drivers were the taxi drivers killed in the Bali bombings.
DAMN exchange rates are killing my PayPal revenue.
TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! The Gweilo is angry - and understandably so, seeing as the US government wants him to hand over thirty big ones.
FORMULA ONE NOTES: Tonight's Austrian Grand Prix will likely be the last in that country. On next year's schedule it is replaced by the first F1 race to be run in China ... The Jordan F1 team is selling the chassis spectacularly destroyed in the 2002 Austrian GP by Takuma Sato (with, er, help from Nick Heidfeld) on eBay (starting bid: $23,500) ... Thanks, Jacques! A dirt-spraying qualifying lap by Jacques Villeneuve ruined Australian Mark Webber's chances of a good grid position for tonight's race ... Webber's Jaguar teammate, Antonio Pizzonia, has meanwhile rescued his career with a highest-ever qualifying performance, finishing 8th ... Airboxes, those scoopy, engine-feeding apertures above drivers' heads, will be larger in 2004 due to a rule change intended to slow cars by interrupting air flow to the rear wing (and to allow more space for sponsor signage, thus spreading evil capitalism to China and beyond) ... When airboxes first appeared in the aerodynamically-unaware 1970s, designs were as diverse as today's are uniform; check this monster pod above the 1976 Ligier ... Ten of the twenty drivers competing in Austria have never won a Formula One race. This was once a lucky event for first-time winners, including Vittorio Brambilla in 1975, John Watson in '76, Alan Jones in '77 and Elio de Angelis in '82 (and almost Jarno Trulli in '97) ... Expect most teams to opt for one-stop pit strategies in tonight's race. Austria is easy on tyres ... Finnish cyborg Kimi Raikkonen has a tattoo of a smiling sun on his wrist; fans are delighted.
BLAIRPOLL UPDATE. Polling (see left) closes tonight! A new poll will be up for Monday.
PHIL DONAHUE'S advice to conservatives:
"Take a liberal to lunch," he said. "Take a Dixie Chick to lunch."
Are they begging for food now? At least he didn't ask us to take Michael Moore to lunch. We'd have to sell our cars.
MATT WELCH is competing with several other strong-jawed handsomites for a role as a Ben Affleck
lookalike. It's all part of Affleck's plan to confuse assassins opposed to his tyrannical Baathist regime.
Meanwhile, over at the J-Lo auditions ...
MIKE CARLTON, joke, blunders again in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Only last week George W. Bush was boasting that al-Qaeda was on the run, "not a problem any more".
Only he wasn't. Here are Bush's words in their proper context:
So far, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Just about that number met a different kind of fate. They're not a problem anymore.
Maureen Dowd made the same stupid mistake. As Andrew Sullivan wrote:
It's perfectly clear that the president is referring, sardonically, only to those members of al Qaeda who are "either jailed or dead," not to the group as a whole.
Colin Powell and Tony Blair, and I think Lord Downer of Baghdad, condemned the attacks [in Saudi Arabia last week] as "cowardly", which also missed the point. Evil and murderous, yes, but no more cowardly than dropping bombs on unseen Iraqi civilians from B-52s at 35,000 feet.
For one thing, the purpose of the air attacks was not - unlike the Riyadh bombings - to kill civilians. And for another, the war in Iraq was largely fought on the ground, where many US soldiers died. Were they "cowards", Mike?
Meanwhile, one expert thinks Bush is right:
An Australian expert on terrorism in South-East Asia has raised doubts about the prospect of fresh terror attacks in the region, saying extremist groups have been beaten back.
Carl Thayer, a political science professor with the Australian Defence College, said while an attack could not be completely ruled out, the ability of such groups to carry out large-scale attacks was "extraordinarily limited".
Professor Thayer also doubts the extent of al-Qaeda's influence in the region.
"I think the organisation has been rolled back," he said.
UPDATE. Carlton's error - he presumably read Dowd's account of Bush's remarks rather than an original source - is similar to Robert Manne's mistake of last year, in which he fell for the NY Times' line that Henry Kissinger opposed a war against Irag. No correction was ever published.
UPDATE UPDATE. Bargarz has more.
THE AUSTRALIAN'S Susan Maushart doesn't know much about cars, or research, or spelling:
It is a truism that you can tell a lot about people by the cars they drive. So why have I always resisted the idea? Maybe it's because my first car was a doggy doo-doo brown 1972 Ford Pinto - the model US consumer advocate Ralph Nader infamously dubbed "unsafe at any speed".
Wrong. As Tram Town points out - and as most everyone knows - Nader's line referred to Chevrolet's Corvair. More from autophobic Susan:
It was the day we got into the car and heard a sound like a twig breaking. "That's the last straw," he told me. Well, he was close. It was actually the front axle.
It couldn't have been; Pintos don't have front axles. They have independent A-arms. A little later Susan mentions her dream vehicle, a "vintage Karmen Ghia". She means "Karmann". It's written right there on the damn car.
UPDATE. Ha! Tram Town discovers that Maushart claims to have a "genetic predisposition for intellectual nitpicking".
AUSTRALIAN ARTIST George Gittoes was against the war, as this ABC report reminds us. That was before he went to Iraq. Gittoes has returned with a different view:
For Gittoes, Iraq was a watershed. He says he has always been "anti war and pro humanity." But the events he witnessed in Iraq have led Gittoes down a path of self-discovery and emotional reassessment to a point where he now believes the US-led war in Iraq was humane and justifiable.
"It has always been easy to oppose a war, but this time I realised that people were really suffering under [Saddam].
"I've been in the German prison camps, and you could fit all of the combined concentration camps just into Abu Ghraib."
There's no link available to the Gittoes piece, from today's Daily Telegraph. And there's no chance he'll ever appear on the ABC now that he's learned something and switched sides.
ANGRY-MAKING news in the SMH:
Australians donated $14.5 million to the Bali bombing victims, but only about $4 million has reached them so far.
Well, it wasn't just Australians who donated to the Red Cross's Bali appeal. Many of this site's US readers sent cash. As for the Red Cross, it seems to be in some sort of quagmire.
LOTS OF people are idiots, a new survey has found:
The majority of people around the world think the US is too keen to use military force against other countries, a new international survey has found.
The Gallup International survey, conducted among almost 32,000 people in 41 countries, asked a series of questions related to post-war Iraq.
The poll found that in two-thirds of countries surveyed, the majority of people believed military action against Iraq had not been justified.
Australia, the US, the UK and Israel were the minority countries where the majority of people believed military action had been justified.
Australia, the US, the UK and Israel. The Axis of Intelligence.
JONAH GOLDBERG on those elusive neocons:
Conservatives are accustomed to liberals not understanding the zoology of our movement. But the use and abuse of the term "neoconservative" has exceeded even the high allowance for cliché and ignorance generally afforded to those who write or talk about conservatism from outside the conservative ant farm. In fact, neoconservative has become a Trojan Horse for vast arsenal of ideological attacks and insinuations. For some it means Jewish conservative. For others it means hawk. A few still think it means squishy conservative or ex-liberal. And a few don't even know what the word means, they just think it makes them sound knowledgeable when they use it.
VICTORIA'S war against cars continues.
PLACE YOUR BETS! How many days can I hold out?
KEN LAYNE on the newspaper of record:
The people who run the New York Times are insane. Really insane, like those bums who stagger down the street making chicken noises while their filthy pants slide ever downwards.
The Times should hire one of those chicken guys. You know, diversity.
MOORE MAKES mistakes, tries to cover them up. Stephen Moore, that is. At NRO.
SCIENTISTS KEEP discovering bad things about Teflon, but somehow their criticism never sticks.
WHOA! You want your brutal reviews? Check out this, from Andrew Sullivan on Clinton supplicant Sid Blumenthal's new book:
There's no one like Sid. Not even in Washington. I'm still immensely fond of him, although it's quite clear by now that, in some respects, he is completely out of his mind. Those jokes that no one else in the universe got; those pauses at the end of anecdotes, while he grinned and puffed and waited for you to assent to his latest impenetrable concoction; the sweet-natured way in which he assassinated characters who violated his sense of manifest destiny and the tenets of his secular religion: Nope, there is no one quite like Sid.
And I bet no one really wants to be Sid after that. He sounds like a DC David Brent.
PRIME MINISTER JOHN HOWARD has welcomed troops returning to Australia from the Middle East. The ABC provides a transcript of the Prime Minister chatting - slightly awkwardly, a little embarrassed at the emotion expressed - with relatives of those who served:
[ABC reporter] ANNE BARKER: ... It was an emotional Prime Minister John Howard who took the initial applause, when he arrived on his own Air Force jet with a roll call of dignitaries to welcome the troops home.
JOHN HOWARD: Are you waiting on your dad to come home?
WOMAN: I'm waiting on my son.
JOHN HOWARD: How long's he been away? How long's your son been away?
JOHN HOWARD: February! That's good. There, there. He'll be back and he's safe.
[Sound of woman sobbing]
JOHN HOWARD: It's wonderful and he did a fantastic job and it's just going to be nice to welcome them all home and they're all in one piece, which is very important.
CHILD: I've waited all my life for you.
[John Howard laughs]
SEVERAL BLOGS worthy of note that I have not thus far noted ... La Petite Claudine, of which I understand not a word, although the pictures rock; Rick's Miscellany, which features quality miscellany from, er, Rick; Electric Venom, which especially rewards the link-hitting, background-digging reader; and Bill Cimino's Bloviating Inanities, which shortly will be prosecuted for insufficient inanities under the trade protection act.
THE WASTE of our time has returned. Hail Margo, proclaimer of river visions!
I don't believe it! Simon Crean, back against the wall, announces an old-fashioned Labor nation building investment in our great Murray-Darling River. Wow!
Howard's done nothing, despite his commitment to act after he received the Wentworth report in November. I wrote back then that Labor had lost a marvellous chance to get on the front foot - to assert a positive role for government on an issue of the utmost importance to our nation's future. But Howard's subsequent inaction (the government has stood still for six months and there wasn't a cent in the budget to address the issue) gave Crean his chance. And he's taken it, and at a time when, after terrible drought and bush fires, Australians are ready to listen and to applaud. Granted the policy is not big bang, but it's a start.
It will put Howard on the back foot for a change and inject a bit of policy substance into Labor's leadership battle. At last!
Pathetic. And this is the last time I link to Crazy Margo, whose bosses are probably way too impressed with the hits she receives. I'm usually among her top five referrers; no more. Let her survive on hateclicks from the anti-Semite Michael Rivero.
USEFUL TIPS on efficient blogging from Kim Crawford. You will need the skull of a macaque monkey, and concrete.
THIS SITE is powered by money, a renewable, ecologically-friendly energy source usually found in the common Western pocket. You can direct some of this energy my way via the PayPal on the left. Don't make me destroy the rain forests.
UPDATE. You people are generous beyond belief. Many thanks, although I still might 'doze those forests just for the hell of it.
CAN'T NEWSPAPERS get anything right? From the letters pages of the National Post:
Although your story on six monkeys who had access to a computer was entertaining, I would appreciate it if you were more vigilant in your fact checking. The excerpt, "llllllblbbbbnnfllmnmmjfgmnmmma" was, in fact written as, "llllllblbbbbnnfllmnmmjfgmnmmms" in the original manuscript.
The Post is obliged to conduct a full inquiry. Heads must rollllllblbbbbnnfllmnmmjfgmnmmms.
FINALLY, more than a decade on, at least some justice for the killer of Australian Jew Yankel Rosenbaum:
A US federal jury today convicted a black man in the stabbing death of an Australian Jewish scholar during a 1991 riot in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighbourhood that widened New York City's racial divide.
Yankel Rosenbaum, a visiting scholar from Melbourne, Australia, was stabbed as a gang of blacks yelled, "Get the Jew!"
Today, after three trials in 12 years, Lemrick Nelson, 27, was found guilty by a federal jury of violating the civil rights of Rosenbaum. Ruling on a separate question, the jury found that Nelson's actions did not result in Rosenbaum's death.
As a result he faces up to 10 years in prison, rather than a possible life sentence.
THE SENATE is complaining again, this time about Peter Hollingworth. "So what?" I hear you say. "Beats me," I answer. "Well, why the hell even mention it then?" you snap, advancing on me with fists raised. "Watch it, pal. Don't start something you can't finish," I counter. "Oh, yeah? Let's just see about that," you growl. "Hey, look!" I shout. "Two posts down! It's a joke about a tragic surgical error!" And amidst the ensuing confusion I make my escape.
DON'T EXPECT John Pilger or Robert Fisk to be overly outraged by this episode of looting.
MMMMPH! I'LTH THUE YOU FOR THITH!
AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE will help investigate the suicide bombings in Riyadh. The usual candidates will no doubt denounce this as something that will make Australia a greater target of terrorism.
RANDAL ROBINSON covers the latest corrections from the New York Times:
Palestine, the home of the Jessica Lynch family, is not "a hellish war-torn wasteland filled with a million stories of pain and suffering at the hands of murderous Zionists." It is a small farming community in West Virginia.
HAS DISNEY dumped Michael Moore?
PHILLIP ADAMS believes that Sir William Deane was subject to the same forces that are currently undermining Peter Hollingworth:
One of the silliest aspects of the recent brawl? The suggestion, by reactionary commentators, that Lefties have hounded a decent man from high office. When, of course, the Right kept hacking away at Deane.
Sure, Phil. We all remember Deane being smeared as a rapist. And those terrible lies about him burning down the orphanage, and his involvement in the My Lai massacre, and the way he invented earthquakes and cyclones. Meanwhile, Janet Albrechtsen examines the SMH:
The Sydney Morning Herald looks less like a journal of record than a journal of bits of the record - those bits that suit an anti-Howard agenda. With Tanner having led them to the juiciest of stories, they in return faithfully parroted the preferred theme of their new pin-up boy on the "potential for suppression orders to be used by the highest in the land to prevent scrutiny of their actions".
Readers of the Herald's front-page news story on Friday morning were not told the troubled woman first sought a suppression order. They were not told her family wanted the suppression order to remain in force following her suicide. That was relegated to the Herald's website.
There was more one-sided reporting when the Herald reported on Thursday that the Governor-General "was urged to resign" by Briggs, co-author of the Anglican Church inquiry. This was false. Briggs announced on ABC radio's AM later that morning: "I have never made any comment on this." Where is Media Watch when you need it?
MIRANDA DEVINE attended an American J-school. She remembers:
At journalism school in America, we used to crowd hopefully around a notice- board that listed internships at the end of semester. The prized mastheads for starry-eyed graduates in that cutthroat job market were The New York Times and The Washington Post, but I knew there was no point even looking at their ads, because at the bottom, in fine print, were always the words: "Minorities need only apply." And I knew Australians didn't count.
I thought this bit of Ms. Devine’s article was the most interesting:
”But another reason for disillusionment of the public in journalism comes from the leakage of opinion and comment into news pages, and the kind of crusading journalism which used to be confined to editorials and opinion pages. While this may not be obvious to the journalistic or ‘chattering’ classes, it is obvious and repellent to the general public, who do not share their progressive views.”
The general public just doesn't take our broadsheet journos anywhere near as seriously as they think. If they did we would never have seen a Howard government, there would be no refugee detention centres, and the GG would be long Gone-Gone.
I think the net, and the explosion of alternative sources and views (which are now open to a significant percentage of people) is part of it. People are aware that there is a whole world of news and opinion that doesn't gel with their daily - they still read the daily, out of habit, it’s easier to access, and has the footy and cricket - but they simply don't believe the opinion articles, and increasingly not even the hard news stories.
WHAT KIND of idiot newspaper editor would fire Mark Steyn? Apparently the kind who now edits the National Post. Below, a series of answers from Steyn to readers asking if he has, in fact, been sacked:
Obviously it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on internal matters at the National Post, but as a general observation I would say that the new owners' penchant for big dramatic public gestures has not served them well. There is no reason to believe this latest one will prove any more successful than their disastrous public downsizing of the Post's arts and sports coverage after 9/11.
Obviously it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on internal matters at the National Post, but as a general observation let me observe that at the time Conrad Black sold a half-share in the Post to the Aspers the paper was neck and neck with The Globe And Mail in circulation - there was, as often happens in media markets that have been somnolent for years, a lag between sales and revenue: advertisers are often slower to pick up on things than readers. Making the product weaker editorially is unlikely to solve this problem.
Obviously it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on internal matters at the National Post, but as a general observation I would note that in the first week of the new puppet regime there does seem to be a marked Paul Martinization of the paper. If that's what David Asper means by a "strong conservative voice", it would seem to me that that's highly unlikely to do anything for the Post's commercial viability, given the already crowded market of Liberal cheerleaders.
Obviously it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on internal matters at the National Post, but as a general observation I would say papers should avoid relaunches that give the appearance that the pre-existing paper had got it all wrong. That tends to drive away old readers without attracting new ones. See The Independent.
Obviously it would be highly inappropriate for me to comment on internal matters at the National Post, but as a general observation I would say that that new editor's "letter to his readers" the Friday after the coup was laughably lame, and to avoid all mention of his predecessors looks not just graceless and petty but extremely insecure.
Obviously it would be highly ... aw, never mind.
UPDATE. Due to the usual tech troubles here the above post was originally published at Instapundit. Subsequently Mark Wickens in Toronto dashed off an e-mail to the Nat Post and received a reply claiming that Steyn hasn't quit or been fired. As Wickens writes: "How to account for Steyn's comments?" It's a media mystery! More comments on this at LGF and from Damian Penny, while Colby Cosh writes:
Mark Steyn cuts loose with a few snarky "general observations" about the National Post and immediately everybody is taking it for granted that Steyn has been fired.
Well, not quite. There's a big "apparently" in the original post, due to Steyn never stating outright that he is no longer with the Post. Damian Penny asks "if this is true". Instapundit leads his item with "MARK STEYN FIRED?" The overall tone is questioning. As it should be, given what we know at this point.
Another clue in this Beatles-like "Paul is dead" controversy: one of Steyn's replies refers to SARS as "Sudden Asper Random Sackings".
DEAL WITH trolls the Merv Griffin way:
Merv Griffin, who developed Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, had a great line once. I used to personally answer all the mail that came in to Jeopardy! whether it was favorable or unfavorable, and Merv said, "You know how I handle the nasty mail?" I said no. He just grabbed it and folded it up and crunched it up and threw it in the wastebasket. He said, "I don't bother with it."
THE RIYADH death toll may be as high as 90, including one Australian.
"I WANT A whale meat and pecan sandwich. Now!"
"But honey, you know what the doctor said ..."
JAMES LILEKS reports from the ruins of former Minneapolis:
The other day they burned a Walgreens Drug store because the candy aisle had Pixie Stix. Why, you ask? Because they rhyme with Dixie Chicks! That's how bad it's gotten!
BLAIRPOLL LATEST: with 362 votes cast, the National Corvette Museum holds a narrowing seven-point lead over the Louvre. Only five people long to loot Australia's National Museum - 13 fewer than would plunder the Canada Agricultural Museum's rich sheepy heritage.
UPDATE. Potential looter B.J. Bethel writes:
I can see myself now, peeling out in a Yenko Vette shouting "BUSH, BUSH, BUSH" to the cameras ...
SPOOKY NEWS, and excellent reporting, from Tim Dunlop:
I mentioned the other day being at a dinner with a Congressional chief-of-staff. One thing he said was this: our intelligence tells us that recruiting for terror organisations has gone up by 300% since the Iraq war. To which I replied, gee, that's one stat I haven't the Administration mention lately. To which he replied, placing his finger on his chin, um, maybe that was confidential.
It likely increased after the liberation of East Timor, too. Terrorists hate good things.
IF JAYSON BLAIR is charged with fraud, will Howell Raines be tried as an accessory?
MICHAEL DUFFY has the solution:
The Government should introduce programs to help all those unfortunate enough to possess arts degrees ... Re-education cafes could be set up with courses in basic psychology, science and economics. We need cheap, large-type anthologies of Adam Smith to show the baby boomers there is life after Noam Chomsky.
JOHN BIRMINGHAM in the Bulletin:
Of course, there's nothing the punters love more than a good literary stoush - and, until the lawyers got between us, I was kind of hoping to get into a punch-up with a former columnist on The Australian (now resident of The Bulletin), Tim Blair. It went back to comments I'd made about the politics of drug laws in Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen, and Blair's comments on those.
It was gratuitous to stir it up. But I figured he wouldn't be able to help him himself, and his vicious spit-flecked howl of protest would set off a minor ground war in the opinion pages and be worth elephant bucks in unpaid publicity - and a couple of thousand sales. But the defamation lawyers could not be convinced, so the offending section was pulled at the last minute.
I'd love to read it. E-mail me, John!
THE NEW York Times is correcting corrections.
THIS WEEK'S Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions Peter Hollingworth, Rosemarie Annie Jarmyn, Liz Mullinar, Hetty Johnson, Tim Costello, Lindsay Tanner, Kerry O'Brien, Moira Rayner, Cheryl Kernot, Gareth Evans, Natasha Stott Despoja, Sandy Killick, Luke Slattery, Phillip Adams, Bob Hope, Allan "Bunny" Wallace, Fred Plunkett, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dan Shannon, the Australian Workers Union, my grandfather, Media Watch, and Saddam Hussein.
BEST BLOGGER excuse ever for failing to post:
I was involved in a massive all-in brawl at footy on Saturday, and have spent the rest of the weekend laying on the couch resting my bruises.
THE GUARDIAN, The Independent, and The SF Chronicle have decided that some people are terrorists after all.
OH NO! Australia is turning into a country of individuals!
Yesterday's budget continues the trend to turning Australia into a less caring and sharing society, into a country of individuals, some of whom are much better equipped than others to bear the new risks.
LIVE FROM the comments box at this Moxie post, we get the inside scoop on what Hollywood really thinks about Michael Moore:
For whatever reason i'm at entertainment weekly oscar party at elaine's here in new york. i'm no famous person, so i'm well into my ninth jack on the rocks by the time dinner rolls around and i'm sitting with tony bennett, candace bushnell, joan collins and their sig/o's. So I'm talking to charles askegard (bushnell's husband and a Merit-smoking ballet dancer) when Moore comes on and starts ranting.
Right leaning guy that I am, this is exactly what I'm afraid of. I'm not one to hold my tongue, especially when drinking, and my brother's in Iraq and this is the day, remember, when they'd started talking quagmire. Anyway, in Elaine's the boos start. Then Joan Collins starts.
"WHO the F-CK is that man? He's a f-cking traitor. Get his ass off the stage? Oh, F-CK him."
She looks around confused and I'm just staring at her by this point with this goofy grin on my face. And she looks at me and says "Who IS that fat f-ck anyway."
At which point I raised my glass and said, "Joan, I absolutely love you."
HARVARD PROFESSOR Alex Jones, a former NY Times journalist, is shocked that some Americans had already written off the Times even before Jayson Blair was exposed:
"The thing that shocked me was the reaction of people when they read about [themselves] in the New York Times and knew it to be false. Their reaction seemed to be a kind of shrug - 'What do you expect?'" Not one person whom Blair claimed falsely to have interviewed contacted the paper to point it out.
Turns out their attitude was entirely justified. And why would they bother pointing out mistakes? Any paper that made such errors in the first place isn't likely to do any better with a correction.
Besides, we now know that the NY Times suffers from what the paper's executives call a communications problem, which for people in the communications business should pretty much be a deal-breaker, careerwise. Can't communicate? Got problems knowing stuff? No idea what the hell is going on? Send your resume to the New York Times.
UPDATE UPDATE. And Newsweek's Seth Mnookin points out that ... well, I don't really care what he points out. I just like to type "Mnookin". Saying it is fun, too: Mnookin. Try it!
SIMON CREAN - unilateralist!
A MUST-READ essay by Time's Steve Waterson on Hollingworth and the law:
It may be that Hollingworth should be ashamed of himself; so deeply ashamed, even, that he should resign. That is a matter for his conscience. As a priest he answers to God; as a man he answers to the law. Neither he, nor anyone else, should have to answer to the mob. And if he does eventually resign, some Australians may consider that Hollingworth's alleged misconduct has tainted the office of Governor-General far less than this hysterical and vicious pursuit has stained their nation.
It's a brilliant piece, as much for the writing as for the logic. Read it all.
FRANCE. Ha ha!
UPDATE. WWII researchmeister Antony Carr writes:
Great Britain, France and Australia all declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939: the British at 11am and the French six hours later at 5pm. Australia's declaration was announced one hour and 15 minutes after Britain's announcement, thus beating France to the punch by four hours.
Here's the sequence of events from an Australian perspective:
On the 24 August 1939, the Australian Government was informed officially that the British Government had written a letter dated 22 August to the German Chancellor informing him that Great Britain was determined to fulfill its obligations to Poland. The Australian Government's response was to set in train final preparations for war. A War Book was established, emergency regulations gazetted and steps taken to mobilise the armed forces.
On September 1 the German army crossed the Polish border and Britain issued an ultimatum to Hitler demanding that Germany withdraw. This ultimatum would expire at 11am, or 8pm Eastern Australian Time on September 3, 1939.
The Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and his ministers met at the government offices in Melbourne as the deadline approached. At 8pm, short-wave radio listeners throughout Australia heard the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, announce that because Germany had persisted with its invasion of Poland, Great Britain had declared war upon her.
This wasn't quite as the War Book planners had envisaged. The official cable that was expected to set the machinery in motion had not been received and in fact did not arrive until 3am the following day, some seven hours after the event. However, a British Admiralty telegram announcing the commencement of hostilities against Germany was received by the Navy Office, Melbourne and was immediately passed on to the Prime Minister. The ministers decided this was confirmation enough. A prepared proclamation declaring a state of war to exist was approved immediately by the Executive Council and, at 9.15pm, just one hour and fifteen minutes after Chamberlain's broadcast began, the Australian Prime Minister announced in a broadcast carried by every national and commercial broadcasting station throughout the nation that Australia too was now at war.
Canada formally declared war on September 10, seven days later. The United States declared its neutrality on September 5 and did not formally enter the war until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941.
This little bit of history illustrates the fact that once Australia has determined its national interest, it tends to act promptly. The next major war was the Korean War (1950-53) and 21 nations contributed armed forces to help the United States. Again Australia's response was prompt - indeed, it was the first nation in the world to announce its support for the USA, beating the UK by a few hours.
MEDIA WATCH is a left-wing attack machine, according to the program's viewer:
Media Watch is my favourite program, and I hope there are many others who like it and appreciate it as much. Media Watch's victory is a victory for the Left against the Right.
That explains a few things.
NO MORE BUSH! These protesters mean it, too. They'll stop at nothing.
SYDNEY MORNING Herald and Melbourne Age circulation isn't great. And now Australia's versions of The Guardian face a new threat - from The Guardian itself:
The Guardian Newspapers Group in London has today announced that it will start live production at its first digital production site in Australia in June as part of its international strategy. The Guardian and The Observer are respected UK broadsheets that will be printed on an Oce Digital Newspress 8000 by Security Mail Pty.Ltd, Oce's strategic print partner in Australia.
Oce, the recognised world leader in short-run digital print production, has provided The Guardian and The Observer with a new gateway to the Australian market, enabling them to be the only daily British newspapers on sale on the day of publication in Australia, providing a unique service to their readers.
Oce Digital Newspaper Network is using its high-speed digital machine to print The Guardian and The Observer international editions in Sydney seven days a week. Due to the nine-hour time difference, it will mean that the newspapers are on the streets of Sydney before the United Kingdom, and that The Guardian Newspaper Group will carry fresher news than Australian domestic publications. The papers will be available at lunchtime both to subscribers and newsstands.
(From a press release, no link available.) I'm betting that The Guardian is making this move partly because their site gets lots of Australian hits. Lunchtime delivery will be a problem, but if they added some local sports coverage and a local lefty columnist (Phillip Adams?), an Oz Guardian might work here. An immediate difficulty for the SMH and The Age, which both harvest The Guardian's news and comment pages, will be locating another source of commie Brit wank.
UPDATE. Is The Guardian embracing globalisation? South African reader Dave F. reports:
The Graun recently severed its longstanding arrangement with the South African national weekly "Mail and Guardian", which contained a complete Guardian section that helped sell a lot of M and Gs to "quality"-starved lefties.
In the light of this and the press release you quote, I wonder if Johannesburg and Cape Town will be the next to get a daily Graun and Sunday Observer.
Digital printing offered a complete new opportunity to this Fairfax title, The Sydney Morning Herald in London. Before the DNN digital service was available, this title had no representation in Europe. Today, it is available for its readers on the streets of London at the same time as it is in Sydney.
Launched in London to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, the digital copies were dashed to Manchester by the distributor IPn, allowing athletes from the Australian team to catch up on home news, and indeed their own exploits, in their favourite newspaper.
Haven't athletes heard about the Internet?
IT'S reader appreciation week over at Moxie's!
ANDREW BOLT believed that the Governor-General should resign. Now he's changed his mind:
It is sick, what we're doing to the Governor-General. For 18 months, I've argued in print and on television that Peter Hollingworth should resign, but now it's I who must resign.
I resign from the campaign to drive Hollingworth from office. I resign in disgust over the cruelty being done so gleefully to this desperately apologetic man.
UPDATE. Reader Sam writes:
Andrew Bolt's attitude to the G-G issue mirrors my stance on the gun issue.
I am extremely anti-Howard to the point that I am (nearly) pro-guns ... simply because he is anti-guns!
It appears Andrew Bolt has decided that because the anti-Howard mob is against the G-G, he will now oppose his removal, just so he can wipe the stain of being aligned with the "filthy left intelligentsia"
The difference is, my heart is overruled by the head on the gun issue and the banning of certain firearms remains correct, whereas Andrew has lost his usual cool head on this issue.
I suspect even you might agree Tim, if your lack of supporting commentary for Mr Bolt is any indication.
Actually, I've opposed Hollingworth's removal all along - despite opposing his appointment in the first place. Seems to me the report on Hollingworth identifies insufficient justification for his resignation or dismissal, although people whom I respect would disagree.
READER STEVE writes:
Perhaps you'd like to challenge to your readers to find the most inventive insertion of a gratuitous insult to a serving head of government.
This would be my entry from this week's Sydney Morning Herald Guide. Bernard Zuel in Monday's entry for King of the Hill:
"This clever adult animation pricks as many cultural truisms as The Simpsons though at a gentler pace. Here's a down-home Texas family not likely to have a brown-nosing Prime Minister around for a barbecue."
The SMH TV guide. It's where perspective lives.
UPDATE. James Baxter writes:
No SMH TV reviewer comes close in terms of gratuitous political comment than the long-haired dimwit lefty (excuse the tautology) Doug Anderson. Every day he tries to push Howard and Bush from office with his biting commentary when he should be actually reviewing the damn shows.
This is him from March, reviewing the film Enemy of the State (1998):
" ... All this before September 11 and the constrictions on democracy imposed by President Bush and his vicious gang of slew-footed desperates."
YET ANOTHER new Australian blog. Take a walk down George Street.
NO WMD? No big deal:
Even if Iraq proves utterly free of WMD - or if it merely possesses a paltry two or three bio-weapons vans - the coalition's military action was the most rational response to Saddam's long-term policy of strategic deception. Saddam Hussein bet that he could get away with playing a "does he or doesn't he?" shell game with a skeptical superpower. He bet wrong.
The real story here is less about the failure of intelligence, inspections or diplomacy than about the end of America's tolerance for state-sponsored ambiguities explicitly designed to threaten American lives. Does an American policy to deny unfriendly nation-states the policy option of creating ambiguity around WMD possession and the support of terrorism make the world a safer place? The Bush administration has made a game-theory-like calculation that it does. That's a calculation that could prove as important and enduring to global security as the Cold War's deterrence doctrine of "mutually assured destruction."
"HOW SWEET!" writes reader Don Burton. "J-Lo takes a developmentally-challenged young man to a basketball game."
AUSTRALIAN journalists are grimly provincial:
Sure, you can take the men and women of the Canberra press gallery from the national capital and send them to London, Washington or wherever. However, it is much more difficult to remove Australian national politics and all that from their journalistic focus. Even at a time of a genuine big story.
Last Wednesday, at a media conference at 10 Downing Street, Tony Blair and John Howard made comments about Iraq, Zimbabwe and the British-US relationship. But Canberra press gallery members were given a rare opportunity to quiz Britain's Prime Minister in the presence of Howard about some of the major issues of the day.
Did they take advantage of this opportunity? Of course not. Next time, send bloggers.
PADDY McGUINNESS argues that "Far from the creation of a new European super state, with a super bureaucracy, the expansion of the EU is likely to increase, rather than oppose, Europe's co-operation with the United States." Interesting thoughts on Vaclav Klaus, too.
THE ELITE Republican Guard has become unionised:
Just a month after their defeat at the Americans' hands, 300 Iraqi soldiers marched on the US Army's main Baghdad base yesterday to demand back pay and a future in the new Iraq.
There are millions out here waiting,
No one talking or debating -
We're hunkered down and cringing like a dog.
Trodden comment in the nation
Needs a spark for conflagration -
If only Timmy Robbins had a Blog.
GODDAMN Matt Welch. Ever since I read his Worst Sports Lede of the Week - found, natch, at the cringemaking LA Times - these words have been hurting my head:
If the Beatles had written a song about the game between the Angels and Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Edison Field, it might have gone something like this:
The Indians said goodbye, and Kevin Appier said hello.
When Garret Anderson swung, the Angels said, "Go, go, go!"
Your challenge, readers: using a similar structure and limiting yourself to Beatles tunes, come up with an even worse sports lede. You may select the sport of your choice. Here's an example:
Picks up the ball
in the square where a ball-up has been
Kicks to his team
All the Magpie forwards
Where do they all come from?
All the Magpie forwards
Where do they all belong?
The best entries will be published here then sent to the LA Times, so that they may learn.
THE REACTION to this German's protest rather proves his point, don't you think?
A JOURNALISM SCANDAL involving a black reporter. Controversy over whether he was hired because he was black, promoted ahead of schedule because he was black, and that his journalistic deceptions may have been overlooked because he was black. And what does his publisher say about it?
"It's a huge black eye," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of the newspaper.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., report to your racial sensitivity counsellor immediately!
His high-living Vegas lifestyle sounds pretty joyless to me. When it was first reported that he was a ''heavy gambler,'' I thought of Sky Masterson rolling the dice and singing ''Luck Be A Lady.'' Or James Bond in an immaculate tux sitting across the roulette table from an Italian contessa who's working for Blofeld as the croupier says ''les jeux sont faits.'' But instead of these games of skill Bill Bennett prefers slot machines: that's to say, one of the most successful men in America likes to stand by himself watching the pretty colors whir round hour after hour after hour. ''That ain't gambling, that's masturbation,'' says the Internet chappie and comic novelist Ken Layne. ''What sort of lame-ass anti-social creep would spend millions pushing buttons in the Lonely Department?''
CHURCH SHOCK! Priest has sex with adult woman!
Except he doesn't exactly admit it. Reverend Philip Gray claims church organist Belinda Denton-Cardew drugged him so she could score some wild Reverend action.
Who's the leader of the club
that screams hypocrisy?
Hey there! Hi there! Ho there!
He's as rich as rich can be!
Michael Moore! Get fucked!
Michael Moore! Get fucked!
Forever let him tell lie after lie! Lie! Lie!
Come along and get things wrong
In books and on TV!
M-I-C ... deceiving you real soon!
H-A-E-L ... why? Because he likes to!
FEMALE POLITICIANS endure terrible sexism, as Natasha Stott Despoja eternally complains:
My now famous [Doc Martens] shoes … generated more publicity than my policy comments ... [Female politicians are] still subject to greater levels of media scrutiny and are more commonly described in terms of their appearance and family status.
Hold on a second, little blonde politician girly. The WSJ's Lisa Schiffren has been doing some media scrutiny of her own:
I had the most astonishing thought last Thursday. After a long day of hauling the kids to playdates and ballet, I turned on the news. And there was the president, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, stepping out of a fighter jet in that amazing uniform, looking - how to put it? - really hot. Also presidential, of course. Not to mention credible as commander in chief. But mostly "hot," as in virile, sexy and powerful.
For how long must we men tolerate this objectification?
UPDATE. The leering sexism continues!
UPDATE. Ross Fitzgibbon writes:
Do a Google news search for John Pilger and you find that he is still being published ... in the Palestine Chronicle and some Indymedia site. But better than that, he has won an award for "his work in helping the public to examine the real causes of the war in Iraq."
Well I guess he did do that, after all 50,000 people stopped buying the Mirror and started reading halfway decent papers thanks to John Pilger.
JULIE BURCHILL in The Guardian:
Some folk like watching opera and some like watching sport, but my favourite spectator sport is watching people who should know better searching for something (and often claiming to find it) where it never could be. Women claiming to find feminism in Islam is a good one ...
Countering the arguments Drabble advanced to justify her pathology is easy. The lady is a fine fiction writer, but when it comes to facts or ratiocination, she should be put in care ...
The key to understanding Drabble's lunatic rant is her reaction to what she says she saw on CNN celebrating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war. She describes an old, shabbily dressed Vietnamese man bartering for dollars. The horror of this moment - an "elderly, impoverished" Vietnamese man wanting that terrible currency, American dollars, for heaven's sake - just put the lid on it for Drabble. She writes: "The Vietnamese had won the war, but had lost the peace."
Well no, Miss Drabble. The Vietnamese fought the war for communism and they won communism. That, indeed, is why the old man is impoverished, shabbily dressed and bartering for dollars. In your deliberate obtuseness, you become blind to the most self-evident conclusions and an apologist for the appalling regimes that are so far removed from your ostensible values.
MARK STEYN on writing:
In my small town in New Hampshire, most of the local history was compiled and written down by various octogenarian ladies. What I find interesting is how vividly these widows and spinsters write, even though most of them left school at 14, if that. But you read their accounts of their great-great-grandfather's adventures in the Revolutionary War and it's full of wit, insight, imagery. Anyone can write - anyone with an interest in words and an engagement with the world they live in. Writing isn't a profession like medicine or accountancy, and pretending it is - as North America's journalism-school culture does - is worse than a harmless affectation, it's actually an obstacle to good readable writing.
He's right, as usual. My grandmother - 92 in June - left school at about 14 and can write like a dream. Things would've turned out a lot worse if Jeparit had a journalism college back in 1923 ...
THE FRONT page of the Daily Telegraph. Top right corner. Need a new job?
MEET MIXY, the ABC children's rabbit. That's "Mixy" as in myxomatosis, which causes "swelling of the tissues of the head, eyelids and genitalia. An accompanying purulent discharge from the inflamed eyes is seen, which eventually causes blindness. The rabbits' appetite will often remain good up until shortly before they die, usually about two weeks after getting the disease."
Have fun with Mixy, kids! Mind the purulent discharge!
CENSORSHIP at the Sydney Morning Herald! Some babe-hating tool has removed shots of Sophie Monk and Annalise Braakensiek from this gallery taken at last night's Logies craziness. (Click on their images; they won't appear in enlarged form, unlike all the other shots). Luckily The Age is less PC. Here's Annalise and Sophie - in the scandalous pictures the SMH didn't want you to see!
A DARING ART HEIST in Vienna:
Thieves stole the sculpture from its glass display case after smashing a window to get into the museum, police said.
"The thieves climbed up some scaffolding to the first floor of the building, broke a window and climbed in," a police spokesman said.
"They shattered the glass display case and took the sculpture."
"There were movement sensors all over the place - we are currently investigating why the alarm did not go off."
PAUL SHEEHAN summarises the Hollingworth controversy. He's likely completely accurate, particularly on Lindsay Tanner:
Tanner has ensured that Hollingworth has become a victim of what may turn out to be a monumental abuse of due process and a reckless smear of historic proportion ...
If the rape accusation is found to be scurrilous, the chances of [Tanner] resigning as a point of honour are less than zero. He's a hardened factional warrior and a Tolerance Bigot who has learnt nothing from being actively on the losing side of every defining political battle of the past seven years: the federal elections of 1996, 1998 and 2001, the republic, genocide, asylum seekers, Iraq and now Hollingworth. In the latest Labor leadership national opinion poll, Tanner barely registered a pulse. Yet he is busy jockeying for position to eventually be leader of the Labor Party.
This is what Howard is up against. This is why he may stay on as Prime Minister.
How many weeks can webdiary say "Margo Kingston will be back on deck next week". Should we send a search party?
The Bunyip also misses Margo. My theory: the tragically successful war in Iraq has destablised the batlike sonar Margo uses to make her way to the Sydney Morning Herald each morning. She's probably bouncing off parked cars in Lithgow or Bathurst. If you see her, contact a licensed journalist trapper.
"AUSTRALIANS, Americans, whatever ... ":
Three of the Bali bombers whose attack on a nightclub last October killed 202 people have boasted of the crime, dismissing their victims - including 26 from Britain - as sinners.
"The Sari club was a place of adultery," said Ali Imron, the bomb-maker, in an interview with The Sunday Times last week. "In short, it was a place of sin so it deserved to be demolished."
The club was chosen because the bombers thought it would be full of Americans, they said. In the event, seven Americans died while 89 victims were Australian. "Australians, Americans, whatever - they are all white people," Ali said.
No cultural relativism from our friend Ali. At least we now know why they hate us: We're white, and we sin.
UPCOMING in this week's Bulletin: a piece by John Birmingham in which he outlines his plan to create a literary feud with me in order to boost book sales. His publishers killed the ploy, but stupidly didn't consult me first. I would've proposed some kind of profit-sharing deal, and the feud would be on.
Get a blog, Birmingham! (A Birmingham blog would be terrific; politics aside, he sure can write). It's Feud Central here. No lawyers! Last man standing! Cage match! Loser leaves town! And you can bet it would boost your sales. Beats me why all writers don't have blogs.
Being generous, I'll feud with John anyway. You can find the post that started the trouble here (scroll down a little). Birmingham is apparently annoyed that I made fun of him and his hive-minded literature pals. But I'm told that privately Birmingham is equally dismissive of the lame crew he was surrounded by (as any sentient being would be). Why isn't he duking it out in public with the bookish commie set? Is big tough John scared of little Linda Jaivin?
ANDREW LLOYD reveals the grisly truth - I am a doomstruck communist. Andrew's Australian adventure was plenty adventuresome, what with visits to Cairns and Alice Springs and everywhere, after he and Karen had survived the gruelling Test of Liver Damage we set for them in their very first week here.
A personal highlight of that test: some time around 1am, Andrew stands up and yells, "To the Anglosphere!", and an ancient drunk behind me raises his glass and shouts: "Angles! Yes!"
We all need angles. Praise angles.
Reporting on this case, in which Hollingworth has been accused of raping a woman some 40 years ago, has veered between shameful and criminal. In accordance with local witchhunting protocol, the torch-carrying mob is led by the ABC. This report, from the ABC's PM radio program last Friday, is an example:
When he made his extraordinary public statement last night the Governor-General drew attention to the way Annie Jarman had asked the court to keep her identity a secret ... But the reasons the two people wanted their identities protected differ in dramatic ways that were not alluded to by the Governor-General last night.
In the court documents revealed yesterday, an affidavit signed in February by Annie Jarman says:
"The severity of my psychiatric state is such that I am caused considerable anguish when I recall and am caused to focus upon the suffering that I endured. I have grave concerns that unless my anonymity is preserved in these proceedings, then I will suffer further damage to my psychiatric well-being which will be perilous to my health."
Imagine if Hollingworth had mentioned any of this. He'd have been accused of painting the woman as psychologically unstable in order to discredit her. Back to the ABC's report, which pretends to know the absolute truth behind Jarman's request, and seeks to establish a class dispute at the core of the case:
Her concern was obviously real and heart felt, and it was backed up by a medical report and the judge went along with her request, an increasingly regular thing for people claiming to be victims of abuse.
But it's a sign of the vast gulf in status between the two characters in this tragedy that the Governor-General's reasons for seeking the suppression of his identity differed so dramatically.
His lawyers argued that his identity should be kept a secret because publishing it in connection with the sex abuse allegations was likely to have a significant and far reaching consequence for Peter Hollingworth and his position as Governor-General of Australia, and that publishing his name would inevitably lead to substantial public comment and controversy in relation to the position Peter Hollingworth presently holds.
The world of difference between their two stations in life was even made stark in the very reasons each of these people sought to keep their names out of the headlines that now loom so large around the nation.
Memo to the ABC: one of the people in this case had a history of psychological problems (which, I add, do not in themselves diminish her claims). The other is the Governor-General. One is the accuser, the other the accused. Of course their reasons for requesting suppression will differ. Their reasons for doing anything will differ.
Maybe the ABC would have been happy if the Governor-General had cited a tragic childhood as the reason for requesting suppression. Never mind; Hollingworth should be comforted by the fact that the more the ABC pursues him, the more likely it will be that the public will support him. It'll be interesting to see the way this plays out.
UPDATE. Silent Running has much more.
Dennis Miller is one hell of a man. My buddy, while working crew at an interview with Miller in LA was inspired by the last segment before a break; Miller was talking about his early days as a young comedian and looked back fondly at having the courage to walk up to Andrew Dice Clay and compliment him.
The first segment ended; my friend couldn't get his mind off of the words Miller said. Miller is, apparently, extremely intimidating in person. "Looks like he hasn't slept in days" and is so razor-sharp that "you know that if you say something he'll have a better comeback."
My friend is, as luck would have it, conservative (social libertarian bent, but hey). He likes Miller and wanted to let him know. Inevitably, a moment came where no one was around him.
My friend walked up to Miller.
"Dennis?" he asked. Miller gave him a weird look.
My friend continued. "I just wanted to say that I'm proud of your support for President Bush."
Miller stopped for a moment, then put his arm around my friend and said:
"Fuckin' no-brainer, kid."
I'll have something on this in the upcoming edition of The Bulletin. In the meantime, commentators crowing about the 75% percent of Australians who apparently want Hollingworth to resign ought to consider these words, among the more sensible written by Hugh Mackay:
You can always get people to answer questions, but that doesn't mean the questions are interesting or important to them.
THE TORONTO STAR'S Antonia Zerbisias isn't the only lefty journalist admired by Holocaust denier David Irving. The Irvmonster is also a huge fan of Robert Fisk, once declaring him the bravest journalist of the year. Fisk seems upset by the honour, but that hasn't stopped Irving constantly
to him. And to the likes of Australian lefty Scott Burchill. What a lovely bunch of people.
IF I hadn't already completely trashed the Blair reputation, I'd be really embarrassed by this Jayson Blair idiot. Or maybe he isn't so foolish; if I worked for the NY Times, I'd be tempted to destroy its credibility too. Here's to Jayson, the Evil Blair, bringing them down from the inside!
JOANNA MURRAY-SMITH was as against the war as it was possible to be. Today in her column for The Age she joins the tiny club of Australian lefties who admit they were wrong:
The World's Policeman did something no one else could or would do. It could have all gone horribly wrong, but it didn't. Civilians died, young men and women paid all kinds of prices and both Western and Iraqi children who lost fathers or homes have had their personal maps drastically redrawn by the hand of fate. But the fear and the torture is over. America, in all its infuriating arrogance, acted. Not so long ago, I dreaded this. And now, I have to admit, I was wrong.
VICTORIA is besieged by speed cameras, which is why I never visit these days unless someone is paying my way. The state, which once sounded like
this, now sounds like this. It's become a gigantic retirement village for especially timid and fragile oldtimers.
USEFUL TIPS on how to beat that intervention. From Modern Drunkard magazine.
UPDATE. Wallace writes:
I used many of these on several occasions. However I found the best tactic was just to sit their stone-faced [no pun intended].
However after an alcohol induced seizure and five days in intensive care, my tacit arguments lost some of their validity ...
COLLINGWOOD was losing for the entire game. Sometimes they'd forge a string of goals against the flow of play, but Adelaide would always answer, usually loudly. Late in the first quarter they led by 31 points.
The second quarter was all Collingwood, four goals to one, but that first-quarter feast and a time-on goal to Carey allowed Adelaide to maintain a nine-point advantage at half-time. That extended to 28 points midway through the third, until another Pie rally (Didak running hard) reduced the margin to five.
A three-goal burst took Adelaide 22 points clear early in the final quarter. Match won? No; goals to Tarrant, Lonie (twice), O'Bree, and Scott Burns in the space of five or so minutes catapulted Collingwood to an improbable seven-point break with nine minutes remaining. Adelaide, urged on by 44,000 supporters, drew level via Mark Riccuito, then scrambled a point to again lead. That gap stood when the siren sounded. The game was done. Surely.
UPDATE. Adelaide's Scott Wickstein, with whom a bet was made, pays up. Lookin' good, Eddie!
HIS OPPONENTS would have a far easier time dealing with George W. Bush if they treated him as just another politician instead of some kind of monstrous superbeing:
With the 2004 presidential campaign now under way, it seems clear that as whacked out as George W. Bush may be, he's driving his opponents even crazier. Nothing short of some sort of mass hysteria has gripped everyone to the left of Condi Rice.
Within one 30-minute period during that book gathering, my friend and I logged the following revelations offered us by some of our fellow partygoers: Bush will steal the 2004 election because "It's all in the voting machines - keep your eye on those machines." There will be no next election because Bush will stage an auto-coup. Bush's 70 percent approval rating for the war isn't real - it's a made-up number. American, not Iraqi, troops set the oil wells on fire in 1991. U.S. Marines directed and orchestrated the looting of Baghdad. Fidel Castro didn't really want to lock up all those writers and execute those three hijackers without a proper trial, but the Bush administration forced him to do it. We've entered a period of cultural repression worse than McCarthyism. And, my current favorite, Michael Moore wasn't really booed at the Oscars - instead, the network ran an amplified and prerecorded loop to discredit him. (I know this one is crazy because I alone booed loudly enough from my Woodland Hills living room to be clearly heard in the Kodak's upper deck.)
And these people say Bush is dumb ...
SCROLL DOWN to the very last photograph.
(Via Blogs of War)
THE CORRECT answer, of course, is David Marr.
WALKING TO McDonald's for breakfast this morning (it's true!) I encountered three uniformed schoolboys urging passersby to purchase some kind of charity stuff:
Tim: Are you selling drugs?
Boy 1: No! This is all quality Starlight Children's Foundation ... er, merchandise.
Tim: Oh, merchandise, eh? Like what?
Boy 1: Well, I've got pens, and ...
Boy 2: (shoves Boy 1 aside) Don't buy anything from him. He looks like a fetus.
Boy 3: Yeah! Now, we've got these wristbands, and these cool stressbuster things ...
Tim: Give me that. (Examines pliable yellow "stressbuster") Why has this fucker got a smiley face on it?
Boy 2: Um, I don't know why the ... product is smiling, sir.
Tim: How much?
Boy 3: Four bucks.
Boy 1: (the Fetus Boy, elbowing his way past the larger Boys 2 & 3) I've got a stressbuster!
Tim: Sold! (Hands coins to Fetus Boy, walks away)
Boy 2: You just bought it from him out of pity!
Boy 3: I'm very disappointed in you!
PIPES are things you stick in your mouth and ignite. Pipe bombs, on the other hand ...
IRAQI POET Awad Nasir, until recently exiled in London, thanks the willing:
Iraqis of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions were liberated by young men and women who came from the other side of the world -- from California and Wyoming, from New York, Glasgow, London, Sydney and Gdansk to risk their lives, and for some to die, so that my people can live in dignity.
Those who died to liberate our country are heroes in their own lands. For us they will be martyrs and heroes. They have gained an eternal place in our hearts, one that is forever reserved for those who gave their lives in more than three decades of struggle against the Baathist regime.
It's quite a piece. Please read.
FISH ATTACKS MAN. Impressively, the fish was already dead at the time of the attack. Way to go, fish.
DETROIT'S ALEX BENSKY reviews Thursday's site:
What a shocking collection of posts today.
I am utterly appalled at The Age using fashion week as an excuse to offer pictures of attractive and scantily-clad women. It simply shows the collapse of decency everywhere. It is your responsibility to keep your blog readers aware of this collapse of moral values by demonstrating with other links the media's shameless use of almost-nude babes to attract readers.
I am also shocked at the blatant bias at Fox News. I watch it myself, so I can attest that it is often slanted. As soon as I send this I will be e-mailing Fox News directly to demand that they follow the noble objectivity standards of journalism, as exemplified by the BBC.
Finally, I am appalled at the situation Polly Toynbee relates. The crime rate is going down, and more people are in jail. I am outraged. Yet oddly enough, some people might find a relationship between these facts. Go figure.
ANGELA BELL is off work and on a roll.
THE LATEST directive from John Howard's office demands that I mock Wayne Swan's piteous whining:
Not only is the left outgunned financially, it is often too disorganised or self-righteous to make a dent in the right's attempts to destroy the evidence of the growing gap between the rich and the rest.
Too many people on the left who profess a concern about poverty are sitting on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs or engaged in arcane arguments about definitions instead of venturing into the public domain to raise the alarm.
While conservative commentators take their cue directly from John Howard's office and run disciplined campaigns to advance their cause, those on the left are too often busy indulging their own egos.
We at the massively-financed Department for Conservative Propaganda deny Swan's claim.
UPDATE. Andrew Davey writes:
In Wayne Swan's speech on the slackbuttedness of the Left and the Aryan-style discipline of the Right, I noticed that he described conservative journalists as being "prepared to chew up newspaper column inches with ill-informed words that simply eulogise John Howard and his program."
John Howard is dead? When did that happen? And does this therefore mean, Mr Blair, that you are taking your cues from BEYOND THE GRAVE?
Beware, sir! You are meddling with dark forces you cannot hope to understand! Other than the Democrats, I mean.
And Dr Shrink replies:
To "eulogise", as Wayne Swan accused, is to "praise formally and eloquently". It doesn't necessarily mean he's dead. It's just a type of speech or writing, noted for its open approval of the figure in question. Swan's use was correct.
THE Magic Poetry Generator converts this site into a surrealist masterwork:
with drink and pledge
to call in aisle five ...
The jet landing on his
some trailer park, beating his preferred prime Minister ...
Liz Hurley! was wrong.
KEV GILLETT was a member of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps from 1963 to 1988, and saw service in South Vietnam as an Intelligence NCO and Section (Patrol) Commander in Reconnaissance Platoon of 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
Now he has a blog. Check it out.
ANTI-AMERICAN = impartial. Pro-American = bias:
The Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel, whose determinedly patriotic stance during the Iraq conflict brought it critical notoriety but commercial success, is under investigation by television regulators in Britain for alleged bias.
The independent television commission is investigating nine complaints by viewers of the channel, broadcast on Sky Digital satellite, also controlled by Rupert Murdoch.
If the network is found to have breached the ITC's "due impartiality" rules, it could be forced out.
Nine whole complaints. Wow. Encouraged by this tsunami of outrage, The Guardian editorialises:
We don't want biased news over here.
Oh, please ...
WHO EVER knew that shock absorber franchisees were capable of such rage?
LOTS of fine posts over at Damian Penny's.
POLLY TOYNBEE in The Guardian:
Only the state can buy the things that make people happiest.
Which explains why government employees are always so cheerful, and why the Soviet Union was known as "the federation of smiles".
AUSTRALIA'S KEITH WINDSCHUTTLE puts Noam Chomsky to the sword:
Chomsky has declared himself a libertarian and anarchist but has defended some of the most authoritarian and murderous regimes in human history. His political philosophy is purportedly based on empowering the oppressed and toiling masses but he has contempt for ordinary people who he regards as ignorant dupes of the privileged and the powerful. He has defined the responsibility of the intellectual as the pursuit of truth and the exposure of lies, but has supported the regimes he admires by suppressing the truth and perpetrating falsehoods. He has endorsed universal moral principles but has only applied them to Western liberal democracies, while continuing to rationalize the crimes of his own political favorites. He is a mandarin who denounces mandarins. When caught out making culpably irresponsible misjudgments, as he was over Cambodia and Sudan, he has never admitted he was wrong.
Today, Chomsky’s hypocrisy stands as the most revealing measure of the sorry depths to which the left-wing political activism he has done so much to propagate has now sunk.
Go read the whole thing, and be sure to click on the author's name so you can witness for yourself the brutal reality of Windschuttle's Chomsky-oppressing, dissent-mashing world.
NORMAN MAILER thinks one of the reasons George W. Bush committed to war was that white US males were failing at sport:
"With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in ... "
I wonder how Norman will explain Australia's involvement, then.
UPDATE. Eric Jablow makes an excellent point:
I would sooner believe that France's behavior during the 11 September 2001 aftermath, the Battle of Afghanistan, and the Battle of Iraq are based on her sorry sporting performances and her self-image. Consider:
The second greatest cheating scandal in Olympic history involved a corrupt French ice skating judge. [I consider the greatest cheating scandal to be the 1972 US-USSR men's basketball game. After all, I am an American.]
No Frenchman has won the Tour de France for many years. Lance Armstrong, an American, has won the last four, only a few years after nearly dying of cancer. Furthermore, he has not resorted to illegal drugs, the way many French riders have.
No defending World Cup champion has ever performed worse than the 2002 French team. They could not even tally a goal in their three games, even playing for a 0-0 draw in their second. They did not even try to win. Meanwhile, the US team reached the quarterfinals, and the South Korean team reached the semifinals.
Can anyone doubt that this has caused the French to become even more sullen over time?
"IN THE war on terror," writes The Age's Michelle Grattan, "some Australians have had their rights trampled on." She's talking about two Australians who exercised their democratic right to join the Taliban. Talk about a crushing of dissent.
PETE TOWNSEND gets off on child porn ... charges.
THE NEWS just keeps getting better every day:
Australia's relations with United Nations human rights committees have plummeted to new lows because of government recalcitrance on international law, according to a new report.
A study by the left-wing think-tank, the Australia Institute, said the government's hard line on asylum seekers during the 2001 Tampa standoff had seen relations with UN human rights committees reach unprecedented lows.
(Via happy Tex.)
I'D VOTE for Kerry. Teresa Heinz Kerry, that is.
DUBYA'S air drama was overdone:
For his dramatic jet landing on an aircraft carrier last week, George Bush wore a flight suit and a helmet and had to take underwater survival training in the White House swimming pool.
But as it turns out, the United States President chose to make the jet landing even after he was told he could easily reach the ship by helicopter, the White House said, changing its explanation for Mr Bush's Top Gun-style event.
Well, it's not as if he delayed anyone while he got a haircut.
Chris whipped up a 'toon - referring to Australian Prime Minister John Howard's visit to Crawford - for my column. A damn fine 'toon it is, too. Possibly you'll shortly be able to see it at Chris's site.
And the only payment Chris demanded (apart from several hundred dollars in cash) was Australian beer! And the link you now see to your left. Chris is one deadline-hitting, topic-nailing act. He'll be appearing in The Bulletin again.
UPDATE. Obviously, I'm far from the first to notice Chris's talents. One of the first to publish him, though. Hope he'll still speak to me when he's rich and married to Jane Pauley.
MARK STEYN ... movie star!
THE MELBOURNE AGE now has a blog. Displaying The Age's usual acute understanding of its audience, the blog is devoted solely to the television program Big Brother.
Before The Age's online forum on the program was closed (after only ten responses!) this is what readers had to say:
Big Brother is just another example in a line of awful home produced shows.
Who gives a stuff?
It's cheap, over produced, and hopefully dead in the water after this series.
Big Brother is for main stream follow the rest of the heard mindless zombies.
Are we that pathetic as human beings that we depend on a fictional interpretation of life (TV dramas) for entertainment?
The Age's pointless blog (is there a sponsorship connection or anything to justify it?) even uses an out-of-date brunette shot of newly-blondified BB host Gretel Killeen. The Age can't get anything right.
THE MOTHER wanted something more traditional, like Fuckto the Goat Boy:
One of the key suspects in last October's Bali bombings has named his son "Usama", apparently after well-known terrorist Osama bin Laden, news reports said today.
Ali Gufron, one of three brothers who have been labelled key suspects in the October 12, 2002, bombings of two nightspots in Bali that killed at least 202 people, decided to name his recently-born sixth child Usama while awaiting his upcoming trial.
This kid is going to be hell on wheels when he starts teething. How do you pacify something named "Usama"?
CLEAN UP in aisle five ... clean up in aisle five ...
THE ABC website features a quiz to decide whether you prefer hot blondes or mulish enviroskanks. At least, that's what I think the quiz is about.
THOSE DAMN JEWS. Now they've captured Tony Blair:
Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House, sparked outrage last night by accusing the Prime Minister of "being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers".
In an interview with Vanity Fair, the Left-wing Labour MP named Lord Levy, Tony Blair's personal envoy on the Middle East, Peter Mandelson, whose father was Jewish, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who has Jewish ancestry, as three of the leading figures who had influenced Mr Blair's policies on the Middle East.
See how they plan these things? They've clearly been working on Tony Blair for generations, even before he was born! No wonder he eventually fell to the devious machinations of the "cabal".
The Prime Minister, Mr Dalyell claimed, was also indirectly influenced by Jewish people in the Bush administration, including Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, and Ari Fleischer, the President's press secretary.
Jews! Jews everywhere!
(From Henry Hanks at Jeeeew Bl ... er, Croooow Blog.)
WARNING: the following news item contains concepts and ideas that may shock some readers. This website advises that a physician be present for the next four paragraphs:
Australian journalist John Pilger has won the 2003 Sophie Prize for his work in helping the public to examine the real causes of the war in Iraq.
In its citation, the jury said that over the past 30 years, Mr Pilger has contributed to uncovering the lies and propaganda of the powerful, especially as they relate to wars, conflict of interests and the economic exploitation of peoples and natural resources.
The panel has highlighted Mr Pilger's coverage of the Vietnam War and a recent documentary on the Palestinian situation, which it said shocked and provoked debate.
It says he assisted the public in critically assessing the true motives for the war in Iraq and its legitimacy.
Well, I guess that's sort of true, if we understand this to mean "Pilger presented the polar opposite of reality in such a way as to easily convince the public of the immediate need for total war." Congratulations to John on his Sophie. But will he ever win a prestigious Moxie or an Aimee?
IRAQ'S WEAPONS of mass destruction have so far proved difficult to locate, but mass human destruction is tragically all too apparent:
Iraqis clawed or shovelled through a mass grave yesterday to uncover dozens of corpses, some with blindfolds and hands tied, who appeared to have been executed during a 1991 Shiite uprising.
At least 20 bodies, including a few women, were unearthed from the site about 20 km north of Najaf. Many had plastic-coated identity cards in their rotting clothes. Combs, coins and watches lay among them, along with bullet casings.
IT'S AUSTRALIAN Fashion Week. So, fashion pictures.
THIS WEEK'S Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions the Scientific Apparatus Recycling Scheme, the San Antonio Rocket Society, the South African Revenue Service, the Swedish AMC Rambler Society, Shenzo Gregorio, ABBA, John Howard, George W. Bush, Dr Helen Caldicott, Lemrick Nelson, Yankel Rosenbaum, Helen Clark, Greenpeace, Antonio Pizzonia, Mark Webber, Steve Waugh, Russell Crowe, Jimmy Barnes, Bob Ellis, Natasha Stott Despoja, and Carmen Lawrence.
GEORGE GALLOWAY'S whole world of trouble is big news everywhere but at the ABC, which formerly gave the commie clown every available opportunity to rant about whatever stupid notion entered his small, flat head.
Since the story of Galloway's alleged Iraqi connections broke on April 22, however, the ABC has been noticeably silent. A brief wire story features on the ABC site today, but ABC radio and television seems to judge George's travails as not newsworthy.
The state broadcaster also fell mute when one-time Mr Popularity Scott Ritter became involved in a sordid Burger King teen-luring debacle. Our ABC: half the news, all of the time.
UPDATE. ABC radio in Sydney ran two sub-minute Galloway stories this morning - one during the 6:30am news and another during the 7:00am news. Wow, primetime!
And ABC contributor (he has no choice) Lew Bretz writes:
No wonder Media Watch has it in for you.
Are you suggesting that 2.8 seconds on the George Galloway story is a form of censorship to help the Left cover its embarrassment? I heard it this morning and yes, every last bit of detail that could be put in a 16 word sentence was included.
And think of the many, many, many, many interviews Our ABC has had to conduct just now to fish out the reservations that all and sundry might have about the Governor General not resigning. If they couldn't invest the time to conduct this journalistic softening-up operation, how could they and like-minded media folk then run polls to ask people whether they think the G-G should go ahead and resign? What do you think they are, journalists???
Please let the ABC get on with its noble work and stop bothering them with all this fair-play nonsense, as if they somehow weren't being evenhanded outside the righteous spectrum ranging from Carmen Lawrence to Bob Brown.
If they didn't know why George Galloway's treachery was less important that Peter Hollingworth's good-faith error in his previous incumbency, they couldn't act as public servants, could they? And certainly David Marr, who's assured us he hasn't a left-wing bone in his body, wouldn't let them get away with an error brought about by anti-American or anti-Howard bigotry. Not that there's any of that about, of course ...
THE SYDNEY Morning Herald has obtained audio tape of someone who sounds like Saddam Hussein, apparently recorded just two days ago:
A tired-sounding voice calls on Iraq's people to stand together in a new underground war against the occupying forces.
"I don't want to talk in details about the occupation and why and how, and I am going to focus instead on how to face these invaders and kick them out from Iraq," it says, pausing to cough.
"... It sounds as if we have to go back to the secret style of struggle that we began our life with. Through this secret means, I am talking to you from inside Great Iraq and I say to you, the main task for you, Arab and Kurd, Shia and Sunni, Muslim and Christian and the whole Iraqi people of all religions, your main task is to kick the enemy out from our country."
The SMH has played the tape to various folks who say, "Oh, man! That be Saddam for sure!" Decide for yourself, Hussein fans.
STEPHEN MAYNE has lately been friendly to the Left, but the Left isn't being friendly to Mayne:
The internet publisher Stephen Mayne, having been forced to sell his house in response to a defamation action by the radio presenter Steve Price, has now paid Senator Nick Bolkus $25,000 to settle a second.
Hmmm. Mayne's crime was to incorrectly slur Bolkus as a drunk driver. Wonder if I could get anything out of Media Watch, whose website currently states that "Tim Blair ... lies and spreads propaganda!" Legal opinions are welcome. Just for interest's sake, of course ...
Iraq's intelligence services bought gold jewellery that they planned to give to the wife and daughter of Scott Ritter, a filmmaker and former weapons inspector, in a project to encourage him to work closely with Saddam Hussein's regime, according to documents The Sunday Telegraph has discovered.
EVERY DAY we hear stories of lives ruined by doctoral degrees in media arts. How refreshing, then, to read of Isaac, who recovered from years of media studies abuse and finally achieved contentment:
Isaac is pumping his fists in the air, noticeably energized and happy ... That's a long way from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which awarded him a dual doctoral degree in architecture and media arts and sciences a decade ago.
LIVELY SYDNEY blogger Gianna has added a PayPal donation point to her site. Good for her! Being a lefty, however, and therefore deeply frightened of the Capricious Money God, she's anxiously concealed her PayPal link. Go to her site now. Try to find it.
You gotta promote, girl! Get out there and work it! Don't make me put my rings on.
CITING GEOGRAPHIC concerns, John Howard has ruled out the idea of Australia joining a formal Anglosphere:
Australia would reject ever becoming part of an Anglosphere group of nations in recognition of the importance of Asia to the nation, Prime Minister John Howard said today.
While there was talk in some diplomatic circles of the creation of an Anglo-group of nations, taking in Australia, the United States and Britain, Mr Howard said he saw no reason to join it.
Well, we don't need to. We're already in. Meanwhile George W. Bush is laying on the praise, which some interpret as a swipe against Canada:
When the White House announced on April 13 that Bush was scrapping his planned May 5 visit [to Canada], it cited his "ongoing obligations" tied to the war, not the simmering anger in Washington over Ottawa's refusal to back the campaign.
But just one day later, it announced Howard would join just a handful of world leaders invited to the US leader's Prairie Chapel ranch, leaving little doubt that he was snubbing the United States' northern neighbour.
NOSTRADAMUS predicted this, you know. Here's the relevant quatrain:
The great power and the weaker one
Shall in conflict create a grander being;
His words of unshaken faith
Then appear on garments of the beasteater
BBQ aprons bearing Mo Sahhaf's undying line "God will roast their stomachs in hell" are possibly the coolest Mo-related gimmick thus far, along with this t-shirt: "We will kill all of them ... most of them."
And now there's a Mo movie:
A comedy short movie has been produced in Egypt about Saddam Hussein's top spin doctor Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, who became a global celebrity for his persistent refusal to admit US troops were in Baghdad.
The 12-minute film, titled I am not Sahhaf, tells the story of a man of the street who admired the former Iraqi information minister so much that he ends up thinking he is Sahhaf.
Location shoots were a problem:
The film was shot in the crowded streets of Cairo and almost triggered a riot, because "people actually thought it really was the Iraqi minister of information", said Rageh, who heads the production company Shouaah.
"We had to call in the police to break up the crowd," he said.
There were no crowds! Never!
QUESTION: Why would Beazley want to be leader of the ALP?
If a federal election had been held at the weekend, Labor's primary vote would have hit its lowest level in 100 years, confirming fears inside the party that it risks an electoral wipe-out.
UPDATE. Mark Latham doesn't want Big Kim to return:
Volatile Labor frontbencher Mark Latham has warned Kim Beazley off challenging Simon Crean after yet another round of opinion polls showing diminishing public support for the embattled Opposition Leader.
"We had two massive opinion polls about Kim Beazley - they were called general elections and, unfortunately, we lost them both," Mr Latham told The Australian last night. "That's why Kim stood down on election night 2001 for his preferred successor, Simon Crean."
NOW EVEN the Left is trashing Michael Moore:
Moore is not just a quirky guy with enough talent and dough to reach a wide audience. His political criticism signals problems faced by the left more generally: marginalization, a tendency to seek the purity of confrontation rather than to work for long-term political solutions, a cynicism about the possibilities of politics today, and questionable political judgments. Moore exhibits all these weaknesses.
Unfortunately, an effective left cannot draw energy or inspiration from a deeply cynical view of politics that blurs entertainment and argument. Moore takes short-cuts when it comes to politics. He entertains, but he doesn't always do much more. That speaks to the state of the left; we are angry and sometimes vocal, but we have too little to offer those looking for or needing social change. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry chugs on, denigrating serious political argument and avoiding deliberation. That is the depressing world Michael Moore has broken into.
(Via Angela Bell.)
WHATEVER YOU do, don't mention the owls:
Several years ago, a bias and sensitivity review panel working on contract for the federal government ruled that, when testing the reading comprehension of fourth graders, any mention of owls ought to be verboten.
The reason - that owls are taboo to the Navajo and might upset someone of that ancestry - may have seemed farfetched, had the panel not made an even stranger decision to eliminate a story about a dolphin. That story was judged to be "regionally biased" and potentially confusing to kids who didn't live near an ocean.
The above is from a review of The Language Police, by Diane Ravitch, which might become to publishing what Bjorn Lomborg's Sceptical Environmentalist was to the green movement. Some more censor highlights:
A typical publisher’s guideline advises that:
* Women cannot be depicted as caregivers or doing household chores.
* Men cannot be lawyers or doctors or plumbers. They must be nurturing helpmates.
* Old people cannot be feeble or dependent; they must jog or repair the roof.
* A story that is set in the mountains discriminates against students from flatlands.
* Children cannot be shown as disobedient or in conflict with adults.
* Cake cannot appear in a story because it is not nutritious.
Which explains why my groundbreaking children's text, Dr. Feeble, The Old Mountain Man Who Shot His Grandchildren For Eating Cake Then Made His Wife Clean Up The Blood, never made it to the bookshelves.
UPDATE. Dr. Alice sends a list of children's classics that wouldn’t have made it past modern book-slashers:
Grimm's Fairy Tales - Oh, forget about it. Disobedient children who go to hell/kill their stepmothers/are punished for not conforming to gender roles. Grimm, you are so busted.
Huckleberry Finn - the ultimate disobedient kid. Also uses the infamous "n word."
Mary Poppins - She's a caregiver! Even if she is a magical one. Away with her! Also, the father is a banker, and uncaring toward his kids (though he does change his ways at the end).
Green Eggs and Ham - a saga of virulent discrimination against these innocent ptomaine-bearing viands.
The Jungle Book - Mowgli decides he likes living with the wolves better than joining humans and contributing to the survival of the village collective. He is clearly an entrepreneurial capitalist and must be destroyed. Also, the book implies that it's okay for carnivores to eat herbivores and the vegan point of view is not presented.
Also from Dr Alice: via her trainer, the inside word on dogs. Labrador owners, look away in shame.
THE TRAGEDY of looted Baghdad continues to be not so tragic:
U.S. military officials charged with rebuilding Iraq's emergency services say that hospitals in Baghdad are in far better shape than previous reports of massive looting had indicated.
Far from having been stripped bare, the majority of hospitals have adequate equipment, and more crutches and medication have arrived than are needed, thanks to contributions from international humanitarian organizations.
Many of the those being treated appear to be victims of Iraq's lively business culture:
Patients at the Al-Thawra hospital in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad included Abdul Nagi Hamid, who was shot in cross fire during what he described as "trading" activity, and Sayed Abdel Abas, 36, a restaurant manager shot through the neck during a quarrel at work.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS, state and federal, dump $4.5 billion dollars every year on alleged arts and culture. Andrew Bolt presents a damning study of artistic tax mooching, including:
* $68,000 to send seven writers to live for months in Rome and Paris
* $321,000 to 11 literary magazines
* $22,100 to the Workers Cultural Action Committee
* $300,000 to send visual artists to live in Spain and Italy
* $40,000 for a "BioFeel" display of "Tissue Culture and Art" from a university's anatomy department
* $25,000 for a satellite-guided tour of Melbourne
* $12,000 for four musicians to create new songs with Arab lyrics
* $6000 for a CD of new work inspired by Brazilian choro music
* $89,000 for a dance-opera that tells the story of a doomed cosmonaut Viktor Khlebnikov
As an artist working in the medium of blog, I want in on this gravy train. Give me the free money!
GEORGE GALLOWAY tastes eggy justice.
POLLS CONTINUE to show Crean sliding, Beazley rising, and Howard coasting:
More than 50 per cent of Labor voters want Kim Beazley to return as party leader, but barely one in 10 says Simon Crean should keep the top job.
A special Age-ACNielsen poll also reveals that Labor's primary vote has dropped to 35 per cent, its lowest level in 100 years, as Prime Minister John Howard's Coalition holds a 53-to-47 lead over Labor in two-party-preferred terms.
Mr Howard also has opened a 42-point gap over Mr Crean as preferred prime minister.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald portrays the Prime Minister as a dog in an illustration alongside Texan SMH intern Leo McKinney's confession that he is ashamed that George W. Bush is from his home state. Leo is obviously angling for a naked Entertainment Weekly photoshoot.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS are upset that a conservative, in the estimable person of Ron Brunton, has been appointed to the ABC board. John Cavanagh sets them straight.
PHILLIP ADAMS, Robert Fisk, and Robert Fisk's girlfriend. The Bunyip has it all, including an Adams about-face that should draw Media Watch's attention. After all, as Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy once said, "we're more than happy to come down on some lefty columnists if we catch them stuffing up."
So come on down. We've been waiting for years.
WHEN YOU'RE stealing essays from the Internet, it pays to proof-read:
"In the middle of the last line it said, 'click here for further links'," Lithgow High School maths teacher Mike Manderson said. "The kid got zero."
ON THE SUBJECT of teachers, Teacher Tony's recent visit to Sydney - which involved a couple of civilised wine-tasting evenings and the occasional chair-kicking and obscenity-screaming - has resulted in him swearing off alcohol.
I feel slightly responsible for this, although all I did was ply him with drink and encourage his violent outbursts. Honestly, Tony's behaviour wasn't all that bad - I've done worse, and pledge to do so in the future. In the meantime, here's a booze-free toast to teetotal Tone. He's welcome back anytime.
FORMER AUSTRALIAN politician Cheryl Kernot, now an amorphous campaigner for various causes in London, believes victory in Iraq has hurt Tony Blair in recent council elections:
A Baghdad backlash - not the predicted Baghdad bounce - cost Labour 700 seats! Don't you just love it when the voting public continue to contradict accepted political wisdoms?
Don't you just love it when Cheryl Kernot presumes to comprehend the voting public?
ANOTHER CARD is out of play:
Coalition forces have captured one of Iraq's top biological weapons scientists, defence officials said.
Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, among the top 55 most wanted members of Saddam Hussein's fallen regime, was taken into custody yesterday, a Defence Department official said.
US intelligence officials said Ammash, 49, was believed to have played a key role in rebuilding Baghdad's biological weapons capability since the Gulf War in 1991.
On the Pentagon's list of the 55 most wanted, she is number 53 and referred to as the party's Youth and Trade Bureau Chairman.
My most-wanted-Iraqi playing cards, which arrived today courtesy of Firebox in the UK, include Huda as the five of hearts. The pack is getting thin.
THE SYDNEY Morning Herald's readers urge that George W. Bush be assassinated, wish that he'd choked, believe him to be the equal of Idi Amin, and condemn his connection to "key Jewish power-brokers" :
"There's only one solution to preventing him taking the civilised world down his own private S-bend - take him out immediately; one bullet through the forehead at point blank, and all of a sudden the gene pool will be that little bit cleaner."
"really wish he'd choked on that pretzal... "
"George Bush is the most arrogant, despicable, horrible excuse for a human being I can possibly imagine. He is a dishonest, sly, disgustingly rich and priveleged lowlife. If this man had been born into any middle or lower-income family in the US, he'd now be living in some trailer park, beating his wife, kids and dog. He is filth, and I know this because I've watched his antics pretty closely for the past several years. I am a US ex-pat who also cringes at the very thought that people might associate me with GW Bush in any way, shape or form. I wish he'd eat another pretzel because I think the world would be a much better place without him."
Note the assumption that poor people beat up their wives. Why are lefties such snobs? The hate continues:
"Without doubt he represents a dangerous development for the wider world, and is too far in debt with corporate America financing his ascent. Directed by key Jewish power-brokers the US support for Israel's illegal actions in the middle east is only one example of dozens of double-standards it operates around the world."
"Bush is currently the greatest treat to world peace, he is a second IDI Amin, he over estimates his own self worth, I put him up with all the othe dictators of the world. The IQ of America can move from 1 to 2 if he is put in exile. I continue to deplore anything American, as they are one of the most backward countries in the world."
THE WOGBLOGGER'S links aren't working, which is just as well, because there is too much goodness happening there for individual links to be worth linking to. Go read the whole site, but pay special attention to the posts on Jana Wendt's hysterical interview with North Korean "unofficial spokesman" Kim Myong Chol, and the latest British bingo call.
I WAS WRONG. The flag that was draped over the statue of Saddam did not come from the Pentagon. Media Watch last night presented two impressive sources who contradict widespread international reports - and my own repeated and, as it turns out, incorrect claims - that the flag was sourced from the Pentagon on September 11.
But what Media Watch won't admit is that they didn't know they were right when they aired their initial report. It took Media Watch three weeks of research - prompted by this site and various comments at the Media Watch website - to prove their case. Their situation is analogous to someone who assumes OJ Simpson is guilty because of his race, and who is subsequently proved correct by DNA evidence.
On April 14, Media Watch described as "incredible" a Daily Telegraph claim that the flag had been under debris at the Pentagon on September 11. Numerous sources, however, indicated that the flag had been at the Pentagon; the only dispute seemed to be whether it had been anywhere near debris.
Media Watch ducked and dived on the issue. Questions asked of Media Watch went unanswered, or were bluntly rebutted with non-specific assertions that "Media Watch's criticism stands". No evidence was offered as to the non-Pentagon origins of the flag until last night's episode.
You won't find this on the Media Watch website, but the e-mail from one of their sources confirming that the flag didn't come from the Pentagon was sent on May 1. Which tends to confirm my original comment that "Marr and his Media Watchers appear to have run with the first opinion they received that supported their prejudiced notion that the Telegraph had fabricated the flag story."
Only after three weeks did they finally locate a source supporting that claim. Still, the bigger issue is the flag story itself, which Media Watch has clearly settled with something of a global scoop.
Me totally wrong. Media Watch completely right.
And now the readers have their say. From John McBeath:
Tonight you copped the put down you so richly deserve.
The artfully named "artful me" writes:
If the latest Media Watch research is correct, and the flag in question was simply purchased as a present from a giftshop at the pentagon (apparently only coincidentally on September 11) and had no other links to that event than any more than any other pen or packet of tic-tacs bought on that day, will you be issuing any sort of acknowledgment or apology to Media Watch? Or are they not the only ones who are "Shameful and gutless"?
Certainly, it appears that the essence of the Telegraph article, that there was a direct association between the flag draped over the statue and the tragic events of September 11, seem completely unjustified, except perhaps to the chronically pedantic. It would be like saying a soldier was draping an Autralian flag flown at the 2000 Olympics when they just bought it at the corner duty free while the Olympics was on and waved it at their next door neighbour.
Just wondering what your position will be now after your attacks on Media Watch ?
Evan E. Hughes sends an SMS-style smackdown:
SUCT in, U got 2TALLY RIPT by David MA on M WATCH and that U should CHK UR SRCES Prop R ly NXT time! CUM ON how CUD that FLG EVA have cum from the 5agon?
Need a translation?
Ask David Marr, he seems to know more than you, smarty pants! (Ouch, now THAT has GOT to hurt)
tim, i think you are a disgrace - not mediawatch
And this from Stan McKeon:
Where's the flag from again?????????????
Lets go to the giftshop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sale of the Century price only $9.00
Gareth Parker says it's game, set, and match to Media Watch, while support arrives from Matt DuPree:
You're dead-on about MW running away with their own bias, then checking the facts later. And at least you 'fess up when you're wrong, unlike so many other columnists. You're still all right.
And further from Jeffrey Collins:
In regards to your admission that Media Watch was right about the Pentagon flag, I'm surprised that you didn't point out that a major part of your original criticism still stands. As you pointed out, several news agencies reported the story, but Media Watch singled out the Telegraph because of the Murdoch connection.
Kevin V. Russell inquires about my preferred brand of cigarette:
You stated that the flag came from under the pentagon with any proof and yet you take a poke at Media Watch for saying it did not without any proof? Just what is it you are smoking?
Craig Lawrie isn't swayed by MW's latest offering:
Media Watch is a joke. David Marr is the smarmiest, most patronising person on TV. To think that they would devote all the air-time, research time, and what must be huge expense just to cover their own lack of fact checking in the first place! Why didn't they make the calls weeks ago? Then they weaseled around your argument. The issue was what the Telegraph reported and MW's initial attack on them - NOT whether the flag came from debris or not.
You have obviously got up their nose for them to come after you this way. David Marr was swinging his chair around and fidgeting about all over the place. On a commercial network he'd get a blast. He was obviously extremely nervous about the confrontation and yet still managed to be patronising, arrogant and insipid all at the same time.
Reader Rick has a tip for MW's next investigation:
You're to be commended for so manfully taking your medicine in that inestimably important story about the provenance of the U.S. flag unfurled by the jarhead in Baghdad. Since this is a tempest in a Barbie&Ken teacup, the fact that the flag carried by that one Marine, at that moment in time, had any thread going back to the Pentagon is merely Gee Whiz/Truth Stranger Than Fiction stuff.
Now, will your triumphant Media Watch conquerors ride any journalists and commentators about any big deal they may have made over the Incredible Shrinking Museum Looting story? I doubt it, too.
The point's evidently been missed by Mediawatch in any event. Their transcript says "... we took the Daily Telegraph to task for its incredible claim about the flag ...'' -- but that really isn't the issue. Lots of things are incredible at face value, the appropiate question for journalists is whether they're true or false. The Telegraph's claim was false by any measure, but as it turned out not particularly unbelievable at all; the surprising and unlikely fact was the relationship of the flag to the attack on the Pentagon -- but in fact that relationship did exist.
It's hard to call the Tele's error particularly misleading, but there's an interesting point to discuss that's well within Mediawatch's charter: the tendency to take significant, metaphor laden events, and exaggerate them into hyperbole, based on wishful thinking and a lack of effort put into fact checking. Hell, this story has it in spades: from the Tele's hyperbole and random blogs' exaggeration of the flag's origins, to Al Jazeera and others taking the brief showing of the US flag as a symbol of forthcoming American dominance, to, at a stretch, Mediawatch considering a single error of fact warrant to dismiss the entire story out of hand. The story alone is interesting and moving, there's no need to embellish it or pretend that it's more than it is. It's a pity that the story Mediawatch presented was just an excuse for its trademark sneering contempt.
Tim Train sends congratulations:
It appears that Media Watch was right, and you were wrong, though you did provide at least three credible sources in your April 16 post. That said, the spectacle of David Marr gloating over his victory is unpleasant, to say the least - you would have thought that they would have been gracious enough to acknowledge the sources you provided.
In this context, your post today (May 6th) was everything that it should have been - polite and gracious in defeat. Congratulations.
As a closing note, I might say that if it hadn't been for your incisive commentary, Media Watch would not have pursued the debate this far. Again, congratulations for your good journalism and your graciousness in defeat.
And finally, I think, from Bob Bunnett:
You are dead right that MW are a disgrace and this whole episode only shows that more completely than ever. Sure, they have uncovered what (at this stage) appears could be the true facts of the matter, but only after they were forced to do their research. It is clear that they have tried throughout to cover their initial sloppy performance - your criticism remains perfectly valid in that regard.
Jeffrey Collins is also correct in identifying the unfair singling out of the Telegraph as an issue that they have tried to sidestep. It seems pretty clear that their sloppy initial conclusions were influenced by their hatred of all things Murdoch rather than any kind of genuine research.
Having said that, your readiness to acknowledge the greater importance of the truth of the flag story itself is an example of the kind of journalistic values these pricks are supposed to be upholding. The contrast with David Marr's performance on Media Watch could not be starker. I don't think I have ever seen such wriggling smugness in a public place, let alone on national television! It was a truly sick-making spectacle, made all the worst by its fundamental dishonesty in relation to MW's own bias, inadequate research and subsequent attempts to cover their tracks.
Still more, from Mark Joyce:
What in the world is Media Watch crowing about? Didn't they concede that the flag came from the Pentagon, just not from out of the rubble? Or did I misunderstand their whole point. Either they were wrong then or they are wrong now, too. They can't have it both ways.
Good on you for fessing up and taking your licks, although I agree with you that your central bitch with Media Watch is not diminished. The tinny left is desperate for a win and you are it. For those of us who trust your website, however, your coming clean only demonstrates your trustworthiness.
If only Media Watch could learn what you already know: anybody can make a mistake -- it's what you do after that reveals you character.
Fight 'er fair.
SOME SORT of racist vibe is troubling Laurence Fishburne:
Matrix star Laurence Fishburne, who has visited Australia twice to make films, said he felt racism while in the country, describing the "vibe" as similar to the US in the 1950s.
Fishburne was born in 1961.
SEARING POLITICAL INSIGHT from Robert Manne:
In the television age, it is vital for party leaders to interest people.
The same is true of newspaper columnists.
ISN'T cementing a car to a forest road kind of eco-unfriendly?
Megan Clinton, of The Wilderness Society, today said 50 activists had closed the road near Thomson Dam, north of Moe.
One was locked to a car, which had been cemented onto the road, she said.
THE AGE'S Terry Lane makes an unsurprising admission:
Do you ever have the feeling that perhaps you have arrived on an alien planet where you don't fully comprehend everything that is going on? Or that you are out of touch with the times?
LIZ HURLEY was about to have sex in front of other aircraft passengers. The passengers complained about it:
"First class passengers paying that sort of money don't really want to watch couples getting quite so close."
Maybe this is what Terry Lane was talking about. You people are insane. Liz Hurley!
FROM Martin Woollacott's exciting world of inversion, this report:
The United States today is discovering what other great powers have found before it: military victories can have results opposite to those intended. The world has not been made more pliant and respectful by a demonstration of American might, but is, on the contrary, more recalcitrant, sulky, and difficult than it was before the Iraq war.
ALAN RAMSEY'S crazy columns have broken the SMH's site, which is now presenting his unmoored thoughts twice.
ACCORDING to observers, Comical Ali remained in brilliant denial right till the very end:
"I saw American tanks on Haifa Street across the river and I asked him about it. He said, 'No, no, no, maybe there are two or three tanks, but they will go.' "
On the evening of April 9, a courier arrived with a videotape of what was supposedly Saddam's last recorded speech and an official handwritten note that ordered it to be broadcast continuously, and Sahhaf's spirits lifted visibly, said Mr Hassan.
"He said to me, 'As I told you, this is Saddam, this is the government, everything is normal.' But there was gunfire in the background," the studio manager said.
Apparently Mo digs the Egyptian chicks:
The former Iraqi general, who declined to be named, said Sahhaf wanted to get to Egypt as he had "a lot of money stashed there in a bank and loves those Egyptian women very, very much".
JAMES VALENTINE, one of Australia's least funny citizens, has sold a book of his, er, jokes for $500,000.
That means Jim Treacher must be worth about $25,000,000. Go give him some money now, and maybe he'll talk to you when he's rich.
THE BUNYIP writes a fine tribute to Michael Kelly.
TEX has returned from the US!
JEFF JARVIS is right. The Left are snobs.
ATTACK THE FRENCH and steal their oil!
IN MADISON, Wisconsin, a Daniel Pipes lecture attracts the usual anti-freedom screech bunnies. How he puts up with this, I have no idea.
A WISE young activist explains the theatrics behind the 2003 Stop Shopping Tour UK:
The group goes into a store, all wearing the same shirts. Then, in a line, each member pushes around empty shopping trolleys [carts in America] in a quiet meditation.
Er, so where did the identical shirts come from? Shops, maybe?
(Via Samizdata, who have a much longer examination of the anti-shoppers than I have time to produce. Due to a sudden and inexplicable desire to go shopping.)
GEORGE GALLOWAY was news in the US when he was a principled anti-warrior, but he ain't news no more.
HAPPY WORDS for John Howard from the Weekly Standard's David Hackett.
And unhappy words for anti-war New Zealand from Andrew Scobell, research professor with the US Army:
"At a higher level in the Pentagon there's disdain for New Zealand, especially when you contrast its policy with Australia's," he told the Christchurch newspaper The Press.
Dr Scobell also said he did not think the Pentagon was "thinking too much about New Zealand at the moment".
There's a shock.
THIS detailed and educational SARS primer is required reading for all concerned citizens.
POSTING WILL be light today while I travel to Melbourne, where I'm to be a guest of honour at the annual conference of the H.R. Nicholls society. It's a fine thing indeed to be invited to speak before a group described by The Age as "free-booting, far-right industrial relations libertarians".
Free boots! Free boots for all.
BOOZE BACKLASH! The haters at the Los Angeles Times are dissing Australian wine:
[The LA Times] lined up 10 Australian wines and compared them to 10 Californian tipples in the $US6 to $US10 ($10-$16) price range. The story, focusing on the phenomenal success Australian winemakers have had selling to the US, concluded that our producers should put a cork in it.
"The Australians aren't as good as they'd like to think they are," the paper said. "We know that because we put them to the test ...
"The Australian wine industry has worked feverishly to convince American consumers that its lower-priced wines are better than those made in California. But now the verdict from California is in. Sorry, Australia."
UPDATE. David Janes writes to say “LA Times be wrong!”:
Hmmmpf, just spent lunch time splitting a bottle Cape Mentelle 'Tinders' 2000 (matched with a spicy Veal Parmigiana ) and it seemed OK to me. And this month's Wine Spectator cover is on Australian wines and the articles specifically talk about how much they're a better value than California wines.
So who you going to believe? The pasty, eyeless nightcreepers at the LA Times, all covered in fungus and reeking of decay, or the robust, massively educated and shockingly urbane judges at Wine Spectator? Your call.
WARNING to business executives: goofy press photographs can return to hurt you when things go bad. Check this file image used by News Ltd. during the ongoing Pan Pharmaceutical debacle.
RUPERT MURDOCH says Australian universities are bullshit:
While he says good universities can be great catalysts for their communities, Mr Murdoch argues Australia's educational establishment is doing the country an immense disservice.
He calls for more money to be pumped into universities so they can "buy the best brains in the world", suggesting academic salaries of up to $1 million a year.
"I think the education establishment with its insistence on tenure at a tertiary level, and its power at primary and secondary level - setting bullshit syllabuses - is really doing the country an immense disservice," he says.
Here's an example of the bullshit Murdoch is talking about.
ANNOUNCING a new Australian blog. Tickets please!
MARK RILEY, political journalist with the SMH, has stern advice for the Prime Minister on the eve of his journey to Crawford:
It is a rare and crucial opportunity for Australia, through its Prime Minister, to articulate its candid views on the US blueprint for a new world order. It is a time to exercise the special relationship Australia has developed with the US to speak frankly about the inherent risks in the new US doctrine of pre-emption, its trashing of multilateral institutions and its assumption of an inviolable right to effectively colonise Iraq and reshape its political and economic character in a way that best suits America's strategic objectives.
Here's an idea, Mark. You run for office, you become Prime Minister, and then you can tell Bush exactly what you think. Howard's views are rather different.
LOOTING not so bad:
Even though many irreplaceable antiquities were looted from the National Museum of Iraq during the chaotic fall of Baghdad last month, museum officials and American investigators now say the losses seem to be less severe than originally thought.
Col. Matthew F. Bogdanos, a Marine reservist who is investigating the looting and is stationed at the museum, said museum officials had given him a list of 29 artifacts that were definitely missing. But since then, 4 items - ivory objects from the eighth century B.C. - had been traced.
"Twenty-five pieces is not the same as 170,000," said Colonel Bogdanos, who in civilian life is an assistant Manhattan district attorney.
They were only out by, oh, 169,975 or so. Easy mistake to make.
THE SYDNEY Morning Herald thinks that this is a sad image. I'm OK with it.
WHAT IS Viv Richards smoking?
Richards, now West Indies chairman of selectors, reportedly said in the Caribbean that Lillee had lost his aggression after the West Indies discovered a crop of electrifying pacemen, including Michael Holding and Joel Garner, in the late 1970s.
Richards had effectively accused Perth-based Lillee of cowardice, the West Australian newspaper said.
It said Richards had implied Lillee had stopped bowling bouncers regularly because he feared what he would receive in return.
Hmmm. I remember Lillee in his second-to-final season putting Richards on the deck with a bouncer that almost took Viv's head off. Obviously Richards doesn't.