“Uni students get fired up over Greiner's smoking role,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald:
The appointment of former NSW premier and tobacco industry representative Nick Greiner to a position at Sydney University was untenable, protesters said today.
Wow! A protest! Young people speaking out! More than 170 words later, we learn just how many of these impassioned idealists had confronted the nicotine pusher.
Wonder what the cutoff point is at which a “protest” is considered non-newsworthy ... 30? 20? Six? One activist and a puppet?
We backed a winner with this guy. Jake Ryan phoned this morning to offer an astonished thanks to everybody who contributed to the Beer Fund, and he turns out to be funny, clever, and completely overwhelmed by the generosity shown to him. Your Beer Fundage could not be going to a more appreciative person.
(Luckily, he also turns out to be among the tiny percentage of Australians who like beer. The decision not to run a Frozen Yoghurt Fund is vindicated.)
The speech that led to all this was, he says, totally spontaneous, although he was careful not to become too aggressive: “The federal police were nice guys, but they warned me that if I jumped the fence [between the spectators and the accused] I’d be going home in a coffin.”
He’s back home in Queensland now, making plans to spend $1,355 with his mates on a monster night out. Photographs are promised. Send Jake a note. And here are all the people who donated, and whom Jake wants to thank:
Sarah H., Michele, William M., Sean S., Kevin, Daniel R., Michael H., Erik Z., Barbara S., Bernie Slattery, John D., Robert T., Jan S., Damian Penny, Ernie G., James L., Kristin D., William T., Ronald M., Debra L., Scott Wickstein, Jake D & Miss Noosa, Tim A., Chris U., Mark S., Oscar Jr., Ken B., Steve B., David L., Ricky Dardenne, Scott W., Ian F., John Y., Roger Bournival, Michael S., Charles H., Kevin M., Professor Bunyip, Gordon K., Ed F., Silent Running, Jim C., Ward A., Michael B., Charles Austin, Andrew M., Jack Strocchi, Gary S., John H., Gary Gravett, Scott S., Paul Bickford, Maurice T., Benjamin R., Andrew Lloyd, Robert A., Michael L., Tony the Teacher, Hedley T., Michael Jennings, Stephen S., Paul S., James W., Brian J., Robert R., Matt C., Silflay Hraka, Guy H., Gerarde A., Ricky D., Stephen S., Charles N., Matthew K., Zsa Zsa, Michael Gebert, James M., Ian F., John S., William B., Andrew M., and Josh Crockett, who variously hail from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Philadelphia, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Kentucky, New Jersey, Wyoming, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, New York, California, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Nevada, Florida, Missouri, New Zealand, England, Canada, and Hong Kong.
Lots of people didn’t provide an address. Apologies to any slighted states/nations/principalities that participated in the Coalition of the Beering, and my personal thanks to all who supported this little idea. Beer 1, Terror 0.
Hey, Sydney bloggers, blog readers, and cyber stalkers! This Friday is the Fourth of July, so head for the Nelson Hotel in Bondi Junction to:
I’m not sure if I’ve got everybody’s politics correct there, or even if everybody linked is actually in Sydney. Who cares? Bring your bitter prejudices, personal issues, and credit problems to the back bar of the Nelson (232 Oxford St., Bondi Junction) and everything will be made better. Let’s start at ... oh, 8pm or so?
Dinesh D'Souza, who emigrated from India to the US, lists ten great things about his adopted land, including this:
Newcomers to the United States are struck by the amenities enjoyed by "poor" people. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s when CBS television broadcast a documentary, "People Like Us," intended to show the miseries of the poor during an ongoing recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with a view to embarrassing the Reagan administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have TV sets, microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception that I witnessed in an acquaintance of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States. I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America?" He replied, "I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."
D'Souza’s points about anti-Americanism recall certain loser sectors of the Australian populace. Speaking of annoying the antis, WogBlog has dicovered a fine Italian site, about which the Wog observes: “Gotta have pallone of steel to call your blog I Love America while you are living in the Bel Paese.”
Agence France Presse journalist Josette Michy-Giraud warns Merde in France to “stop writing in English”:
to begin with stop writing in English and stop sucking off the Brits and the Americans they have enough power as it is! One must criticize one's country that's important, but to denigrate constantly does not make any sense, just apply for American citizenship, things will go much quicker! You are knocking yourself out when all you have to do is get a green card!
Josette: just stop writing! Other brief items:
•The NSW Carr government is reissuing fines from decades past, including ancient (and already paid) dangerous dog penalties.
•Katherine Hepburn has died at 96.
A show that will never bomb, no matter how many infidels are surrounding the studio:
A satellite channel has offered Comical Ali a lucrative deal to host a current affairs show.
Abu Dhabi TV has asked Iraq's former information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf to move to the United Arab Emirates to work for them.
One TV executive said: "He would be like your Jeremy Paxman."
Evil Google discriminates against the stupid:
It was a Left-wing political activist from Texas, Daniel Brandt, who started it, noting that his website – a database of news clippings and facts he had been creating since the 1960s on a list of 100,000 public figures – was coming up only sporadically on Google searches.
The effect, says Brandt, is a vicious cycle: with a low PageRank, your site may not be crawled and therefore will not appear in Google's index. The result: no links from other sites and a perpetually low PageRank.
"In other words," he says, "the rich get richer, and the poor hardly count at all. If you don't get on Google and people don't know about you, there's no point in maintaining a website.
"This is not uniquely democratic, but uniquely tyrannical. It's corporate America's dream machine, where big business can crush the little guy."
So start your own Google, Daniel. Make it search for sites nobody wants to read!
With friends like these ...
One of the world's best-known terrorists of the 1970s and 1980s has written a book lauding the man suspected of masterminding the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.
Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, praises Osama Bin Laden's "shining" example in a selection of writings from his prison cell in France which went on sale on Thursday.
A convert to Islam since his imprisonment for three murders, Sanchez preaches "revolutionary Islam" - which is the title of his book - as the new, post-Communist answer to what he calls US "totalitarianism".
I look forward to the Jackal’s lecture tour. What’s that? He’s in prison until he dies? Too bad.
I don't know how Harry scrubs up at 15 but Judith Torzillo isn't bad for 11.
The Sydney Sun Herald’s Rachel Browne mentioned O’Brien’s creepy comment in her Sunday column (no link available). For the benefit of US readers, “scrubs up” is Brit-Australianese for “looks”; such a remark usually refers to a person's attractiveness or desirability. Imagine Dan Rather describing an 11-year-old as “hot”.
“I would like to say that I think the comment by Kerry O'Brien regarding how well the 11 year old girl interviewed for the Harry Potter sequence 'scrubbed up' was totally inappropriate and offensive. This is not the way that one of Australia's pre-eminent media personalities should be seen to regard an 11 year old child.”
“Expressing an explicitly sexual assessment of the appearance of an eleven year old girl with the implication that she looked much older than her years is more aligned with the thinking of a pedophile than a well adjusted adult.”
“I think I have just witnessed the biggest faux-pas ever by Kerry on tonight's episode of the 7.30 Report. The show opened with a shocking story about paedophilia and one man's struggle for justice. Then to close the show after the Harry Potter segment, Kerry utters: 'I don't know about Harry Potter at fifteen, but Judith (Forgot surname) scrubs up pretty well for eleven.' For God's sake, I think we at the very least deserve an explanation of that comment, and the context in which it was meant.”
Over to Media Watch for its verdict. Was O’Brien’s remark in context?
The Independent’s Kathy Marks reports from Melbourne on the death of gangster Jason Moran:
Some observers believe his killing was retaliation for the murder of Victor Pierce, shot dead outside a supermarket last year. Pierce was an associate of Frank Benvenuto, gunned down in 2000. The theory is that Pierce blamed the Morans and shot Mark as payback. Jason then murdered Pierce - and was killed himself. The other suspect is a rival amphetamine manufacturer who survived after being shot in the stomach, allegedly by the Morans, over a £160,000 debt.
Whatever the reason, Jason knew he was a marked man. He changed addresses frequently and varied his routine. His only regular activity was taking his twins to football training. He would have felt safe there; killing people in front of children is regarded as bad form, even by gangsters.
The flouting of that code has shocked Melbourne's most hard-bitten characters. Kath Pettingill, matriarch of a renowned crime family, said: "It's not on. It's a sad world if it comes to that."
Great reporting, Independent. Kath isn’t just the “matriarch of a renowned crime family”. She’s the mother of Victor Pierce, who you mentioned in the previous paragraph. She’s also kind of sweet, in a deadly sort of way. Hi, Kath!
Official Bush War Machine™ comedian Dennis Miller continues to taunt the deserving:
He had a special barb for one candidate, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who has questioned the Iraq war, comparing him to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who followed a policy of appeasement of Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.
"He can roll up his sleeves all he wants at public events, but as long as we see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain's name on his right forearms, he's never going anywhere," Miller said.
Bush, whose own comic timing is often misunderestimated, loved it:
"I spent an amazing couple of hours with Dennis Miller," Bush said during his Los Angeles speech after Miller's routine. "He keeps you on your toes."
He added: "I was also honored to meet his wife, Carolyn. Like me, he married above himself. It may not be all that hard, in his case. But I'm proud to have his help."
Lennie Lower’s riotous Here’s Luck somehow avoided being listed among Australia’s top 40 books. The Sunday Telegraph’s Paul Pottinger, justly incensed, is now campaigning for Lower’s recognition:
With Lower rights holder Tom Thompson planning to belatedly republish Here's Luck around Lennie's centennial on September 23, moves are afoot to bludgeon the great and worthy into formally recognising one of Australia's most neglected scribblers.
Pat Sheil is the Presiding Chief Petty Under-Secretary of the Lennie Lower Centennial Organising Committee, which is leading the push to have former hack Bob Carr unveil some form of official plaqueand kick off what Lower would have no doubt have called "a quiet, respectable turnout".
In any event, the occasion will not be allowed to go unnoticed. Watch this space.
Good work. Fans of the book, by the way, will recognise the source of a certain pundit’s online persona. Here’s to Stanley!
Seems to me that this might almost be a form of discrimination:
An Oxford University professor has provoked outrage by rejecting an application from an Israeli PhD student purely because of his nationality.
Andrew Wilkie, the Nuffield professor of pathology and a fellow of Pembroke College, is under investigation after telling Amit Duvshani, a student at Tel Aviv university, that he and many other British academics were not prepared to take on Israelis because of the "gross human rights abuses" he claims that they inflict on Palestinians.
"As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another lab if you look around."
The London Times reports that after the BBC broadcast its provocative documentary Israel's Secret Weapon on its World Service channel, Israel has broken off contact with the venerable broadcasting organization known as "Auntie".
Israeli officials will refuse BBC interviews, impose visa restrictions, and be decidedly unhelpful to the BBC at road blocks and Ben-Gurion Airport.
"The BBC will discover that bureaucracy can be applied with goodwill or without it. And after the way that they have repeatedly tried to delegitimize the State of Israel, we, as hosts, have none left for them," Daniel Seaman, director of the government press office, told The Times.
He said that Israel has come to believe that the overall BBC attitude towards Israel is "verging on the anti-Semitic".
"We decided that we had to draw a red line rather than just complain about a consistent attitude in which successive BBC programs attempt to place us in the same context as totalitarian, axis-of-evil countries such as Iraq and Iran," Seaman continued.
The BBC should have been booted after its reporting on the Jenin non-massacre.
The Beanie Baby Hero Bear looks like he got his face all slashed. Probably in a knife fight with another drunken Beanie.
Congratulations to Albania, the latest region to qualify for the Amazon Deforestation Comparison World Cup:
The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon, the largest stretch of forest in the world, has increased by 40% in the past year, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the Brazilian government.
Almost 10,000sq miles (24,000sq km) of virgin forest - an area the size of Albania - were lost.
Previously deforested, burned, farmed, threatened or otherwise dicked-with slabs of Amazon have been described as equal to the size of New England, the size of Denmark, the size of France, twice the size of France, the size of Belgium, the size of two Belgiums, half the size of Belgium (“Belgium” is a global standard for Amazon measurement, apparently), eight times the size of the urban sprawl of the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, the size of Maryland, nearly the size of Israel, ten times the size of Costa Rica, four times the size of Portugal, the size of
Britain and France combined, and the size of Italy.
Each year, the Amazon loses an area almost the size of Washington State, land the size of Portugal, an area of rainforest the size of Brazil, a chunk the size of Connecticut, forested acreage the size of Poland, and an area equivalent to the size of Rhode Island.
Who will be the first to write that the Amazon has lost an area of rainforest “equal to the size of the Amazon”?
It’s taken a couple of months, but the honourable member for Baghdad has finally put his money where his big fat Saddam-kissing mouth is:
The controversial anti-war MP George Galloway yesterday issued high court libel proceedings against the Daily Telegraph over a claim that he was in the pay of Saddam Hussein.
Should be fun.
Chatting to a senior journalist here a while ago. He was surprised to learn that George W. Bush’s academic record was comparable to intellectual titan Al Gore’s; like many people, journalists or not, he simply assumed that Dubya didn’t have no schoolin’, and ain’t never got no degrees or nothin’.
It sometimes seems that journalists are desperate to reinforce this idea. A case in point: recently Dmitri Piterman, president and wannabe-coach of Spanish soccer team Racing Santander, told a writer that he was qualified to instruct the team despite not having a coaching certificate. "There's a dork out there running the most powerful country in the world without a qualification to his name,” he told the journalist. “And you want me to have a diploma to run a football team?"
In an event previously unknown in the history of modern airtravel, a person has been searched at an airport:
The spiritual leader of Australia's Muslim community was subjected to a "humiliating" search by customs officials at Sydney airport this week, his spokesman said today.
He had cleared customs when, waiting at the baggage carousel with a travelling companion, he was taken by a customs official to have his bags comprehensively searched.
P.J. O’Rourke on Hillary Clinton’s Lumbering History:
If you plan not to read this summer, "Living History" is just the book. Hillary Clinton's new memoir is more than 100,000 pages long. At least I think it is. There are only 562 page numbers, but you know how those Clintons lie. A mere ream of paper could not contain the padding that has gone into this tome. Hillary--with the help of at least six ghostwriters--nails the goose of a manuscript to the barn floor and force-feeds it with lint.
We are informed, for instance, that Jackie Onassis was once, herself, a first lady and later married a Greek shipping magnate. We learn how a chief executive walks to the podium to deliver a State of the Union speech: "The president greets members of both parties who, by tradition, sit on opposite sides of the aisle." Even Hillary's grief over the death of her dad is padded: "My father would not be at the table vying with Hugh and Tony for one of the drumsticks or asking for more cranberries and water-melon pickle, two of his favorites from childhood." And then there are the fulsome tales of official junkets--unimportant, uninteresting, uneventful, and unending. "I had given a lot of thought to how Chelsea and I should dress on the trip. We wanted to be comfortable, and, under the sun's heat, I was glad for the hats and cotton clothes I had packed." And I was glad for the scopolamine transdermal patch.
UPDATE. Stephen Romei in The Australian has an entirely different view of Hillary’s book. No link is available, but these few lines of his review should be enough:
The insider's story of a White House fixed in its ways after the Reagan-Bush years is told with wit and grace ... Some see Living History as the opening shot in the Hillary 2008 campaign. For what it’s worth, I think they’re right and I hope she wins.
He doesn't even know yet who her opponent will be.
A bunch of us in a bar the other night. We meet a babe wearing a miniskirt and boxing shoes.
As a noted fashion expert, I commend this look for both hotness and practicality.
Canadian Mark Steyn is no longer published in Canada. What are dey tinking up dere? Anyway, given the laws of supply and demand, this should push Canadian sales of Steyn’s terrific Face of the Tiger into Harry Potter territory. My copy - sent by a great friend in Oxford, many thanks - includes a note from Steyn that indicates he’s been paying close attention to Australia’s media ownership dispute. Fairfax would profit from his cunning plan.
Tiger isn’t for sale in Australian bookstores (there’s so little space, what with all the Pilger and the Noam) so click on the link above to get your copy. You need this book.
Imagine the future uses of this device:
Mark Grasmueck can see underground and, without hardly anyone noticing, he has been peeking below downtown Miami.
Grasmueck, 36, has developed a device that he slowly and methodically pulls backward like a reverse lawn mower, each time targeting a four-inch strip of ground.
A particularly sophisticated form of ground-penetrating radar, the device visually slices the earth into fine layers. When reassembled, the exquisitely thin images create a movie that takes the viewer on an underground tour.
According to archeologist Robert Carr, “He produces what appears to be an X-ray movie of what's below the ground. It's like the greatest science fiction film you ever saw. Nothing like this has ever been done in the history of archaeology.” Think of what the Ground-O-Scope™ might find beneath the streets of London, say, or Athens.
Did you know that it’s dangerous to mock the United Nations?
The federal government's United Nations bashing was today attacked as hypocritical and dangerous.
Labor said Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was suffering from amnesia, former Australian ambassador to the UN Richard Butler said he was displaying breathtaking double standards and the Greens said his approach could make Australia a regional mini-imperialist outcast.
If Labor, Butler, and Brown all oppose this, it is almost certainly a sound notion deserving of our complete support. Let’s see what Downer has to say:
Mr Downer, citing Rwanda and Kosovo, said yesterday that Australia was more interested in results than in preserving the multilateral principle embodied in the "behemoth" UN or the notion of sovereignty.
What’s not to like?
Rumour is that ABC presenter Tony Squires has quit and moved to the Seven Network. Nothing online to support this yet, although the story has apparently been around since midday yesterday.
More sackings at the ABC yesterday, too. The place is in a little bit of trouble right now. Don’t believe claims that it’s all to do with budget cuts, by the way. If the ABC can afford to pay Phillip Adams $120,000 per year, it doesn’t have budget trouble.
The once-defiant former Iraqi information minister appeared humbled and evasive in a TV interview aired today, describing the fall of the Iraqi regime to coalition forces as an "earthquake" and refusing to blame Saddam Hussein for the war.
Hire him, ABC!
(First Ali link via Matt Howell.)
I won't be back here for several hours, so go nuts. Comment, editorialise, suggest, rant, hector, or abuse. Post new dance steps. Propose to a stranger. Defame your own family. Up to you.
The presence of US troops in Sydney on their way home from the Gulf inspires the Sydney Morning Herald’s Malcolm Knox to unburden himself:
With the Imperial War Machine in town this past week, it's been tempting to exercise a democratic freedom and make some lame but satisfying gesture, such as vomiting on a marine's fatigues (you've seen that camouflage? they'll never know!) or murmuring a sinister "Yankee go home" or "Sure you didn't leave the oven on?"
Malcolm is being funny! Funny Malcolm. Of course, many of those who served endured much worse than journalist vomit. Say, witnessing fellow soldiers being killed, for example.
I don't buy the whole "Hate the War Love the Soldier" thing. Everyone is following orders, be it the marine saying "Yassuh" to his superior, Dick Cheney saying "Yassuh" to Halliburton and the rest of the big oil club, or George Bush saying "Yassuh" to Dick Cheney.
Or Malcolm saying “Yassuh” to Yasser and the rest of the murdering scum he would elevate above any representative of the West.
So I was about to make some profoundly ineffectual statement to a group of marines toting Gowings bags down Market Street when something struck me that changed my mind.
A fist, hopefully.
Did anyone notice how young these people are? They are children. (Which explains, for a start, why American soldiers are so good at killing themselves in combat: a 21-year-old male can turn a Daihatsu Charade into a weapon of self-destruction.)
The next time anyone accuses me of making light of the deaths of Hamas terrorists, I will refer them to this paragraph. If it’s OK for a peacenik like Malcolm ...
Seeing how young these soldiers are, a half-forgotten history lesson came to mind. A fight between nations is only one way of defining war. Seen differently, the real losers in war are the people who get killed, from both sides, so wars are waged by rich old men using poor young men as fodder.
Here we go. The war in Iraq was just the latest version of WWI, etc ...
In World War I, vainglorious old industrialists and monarchs managed to see off a whole generation of young working men. When you look at the lists of Americans who have died in Iraq, they're dominated by under-25s and sub-corporals. I don't see many victims of their commander-in-chief's age, nor many who went to Yale.
Nor, in Iraq, were entire generations (from either side) “seen off”. In fact, future generations may have been saved.
So there are reasons to sympathise with soldiers. We're sore at being lied to? Imagine how they feel. If anyone is the victim of propaganda, it's the young, trusting soldier.
We are indeed sore at being lied to, Malcolm. So quit it.
The other way of looking at imperial wars - rich white nations protecting and extending their economic interests to keep the poor 80 per cent of humanity under the heel - also softened me towards the marines. If neo-imperialism is a crime, aren't we all complicit? If those trained killers aren't defending my liberty in Iraq - an absurd notion - they are, ultimately, defending my lifestyle, where I can duck out and grab clothes and toys manufactured by slaves and food subsidised by a wealthy state ripping off impoverished trading "partners".
At this point, I’m about to vomit on myself. Our toys are made by slaves?
So we and the US marines are equally innocent or equally guilty. Either way, unless we're willing to renounce the fruits of our outrageous good fortune, we're all in the same aircraft carrier.
Malcolm knows little about Australia, much less issues beyond these shores. Still, he eventually admits to a grudging affection for those bloodthirsty US warpigs:
Another reason to like them was the contribution of First Sergeant Hessler and Gunnery Sergeant Anderson, who gave a motivational speech pepping up NSW for their State of Origin victory. Apparently they impressed the Blues with their tales of courage from Baghdad.
Now courage is an absolute value, so next year why not go major league and get inspiration from soldiers who are defending their very homes, with hopelessly outdated equipment, on starvation rations, lacking body armour, vulnerable from air attack like fish in a barrel, and haven't been paid in months. That's real courage.
Saddam’s courageous troops. Bravely dumping the corpses of children into mass graves.
Hooray for them. Hooray for Malcolm Knox.
Your quest: to create the cutest image in the world.
(Note: not safe for work, allegedly. Where do you people work, by the way? A nun shop?)
Strom Thurmond has died at 100.
No announcement yet on whether he plans to quit politics.
"No B.S., no high-minded rhetoric, just money for beer," writes contributor Josh Crockett. "This is how a charity drive should be run." Thank Brian J. and D. for the idea, Josh. And major league donors like Kevin and Kristin, among many others, for making the amount so huge.
Note: no cash will be diverted to unrelated healthcare facilities:
Mr Ryan says the Red Cross's allocation of public donations to other causes is a kick in the teeth to victims.
"Hundreds of people that I know on the Gold Coast that have donated money, not only to the Bali victims but to my brother and myself and the guys at the Sharks, only to have Red Cross go and throw it into a tuberculosis clinic out in the middle of nowhere," he said.
"We find that really insulting.
"People donated it for the Bali victims and that's where it should go."
The cheque flies Jake’s way on Monday.
The house nigger has moved from government-issued horse to government-issued desk. They pride themselves on ministerial invitations to barbecues, appointments to boards and reference groups. They know their place. Blackness without offence. Coloured company free of the challenges of difficult questions. The house niggers do great damage. Their presence legitimises seven years of policy without substance.
White privilege asserts its right to dictate the boundaries and issues in indigenous affairs. House niggers readily support this exercise of privilege. When the minister uses phrases like "Indigenous people I've spoken to say ..." or "Indigenous people around the country tell me ...", it's worth asking who these nameless, faceless, unrepresentative boosters are.
It’s also worth asking who Darren Godwell - despiser of house niggers, foe of white privilege - is. Here’s a picture. Godwell is on the right.
BBC special correspondent John Sweeney in the latest Spectator:
I accuse John Pilger of cheating the public and favouring a dictator.
Read the whole, damning thing.
(Via Damian Penny.)
According to German scientists, “Monkeys can link certain sounds with facial expressions”.
Two would-be Palestinian suicide bombers were shot dead today attempting to infiltrate the Jewish state from the West Bank, an Israeli military source said.
"The two Palestinians were on their way to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel," the source said. "A bomb expert is currently defusing the explosives found in the two large bags the killed terrorists were carrying," they added.
Were. Past tense. Good.
Oh, great. After I’d paid the deposit and everything:
Via the SMH:
Lleyton Hewitt is the "dumbest" ever Wimbledon winner, says former champion Ted Schroeder.
"Hewitt may not be the worst-ever Wimbledon champion but he is certainly the dumbest," said Schroeder, 82, the 1949 Wimbledon champion.
"He has no idea how to get out of a scrape or change his tactics to suit the conditions.
"He just continues to hit the ball as hard as he can. And what can be more dumb than that?"
Answer: Lleyton Hewitt’s advertising campaign for toilet paper.
The oppressive Blair regime again aims to stifle dissent:
Alastair Campbell unleashed an extraordinary onslaught on the BBC yesterday for lying, bad journalism and having a hidden agenda against the war with Iraq. Tony Blair’s communications director turned a rare public appearance intended to defend government handling of Iraq intelligence into a ferocious attack that startled the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
He said that he and Tony Blair had demanded an apology — and would go on demanding it — over persistent BBC reports suggesting that the Government had asked the intelligence services to “sex up” their report last September on the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons — particularly by suggesting that they could be deployed at 45 minutes notice.
“I simply say in relation to the BBC story — it is a lie,” he said, adding that in the run-up to the conflict “there was an agenda in large parts of the BBC . . . there was a disproportionate focus upon the dissent, the opposition to our position.
I like this Campbell fellow. And in response:
The BBC said last night: “We do not feel the BBC has anything to apologise for.”
It regretted that Mr Campbell had chosen to accuse it of lying.
”The BBC” said? ”It” regretted? Is the BBC some form of cyborg, capable of speech and rudimentary logic functions? Does it have emotions? Who instructs it? What does it eat?
It’s usually little trouble to locate a counter-stereotype; a black nerd, say, or a spendthrift Scot. A lazy Chinese student. A polite English shop assistant. A charismatic Belgian, a warlike Frenchman, a quiet Italian - they’re all out there.
But can someone please find me a leftist with a fucking working sense of humour and direct this unique being to my comment boards? The current lefty voices here are almost parodies of the modern “don’t run with scissors” socialist. I put up a post asking for examples of speeding; the lefties counter with tales of road crashes. Laugh at an Iraqi moustache? How unfair to mock someone’s appearance! We raise some cash so a survivor of terrorism can have a party; some fun-sucked sourpants says that a war widow is more deserving.
(Note to whoever that idiot was: we can raise a thousand bucks. That we can do. But the tens of thousands sought by the war widow? Sorry, pal; you’ve got “blog” confused with “gigantic government department”.)
And don’t even get me started on the howling drone who complains about context whenever I fail to post the entire damn text from wherever I’m linking to. Just hit the link, fatso. It won’t kill you. Those headlines about cancer links do not refer to HTML coding. Your pancreas is safe.
The Left’s energy is these days apparently directed towards running around placing warning stickers on everything, or slathering institutional grey paint on anything bright and shiny. You people are boring as hell, and if you don’t fire up I’ll sack the lot of you and hire a whole new team of commenters from a cheap comment-making sweatshop in Taiwan who’ll work for next to nothing because they know if they complain I’ll sell their other sisters into prostitution just like I did to Mee Ling.
Lester Maddox has died. Peter Jennings on the US ABC network just presented a brief report; it mentioned that Maddox was a high school dropout but neglected, so far as I could tell, to inform viewers of Maddox’s party affiliation:
Lester G. Maddox, 87, a Georgia restaurateur who drove blacks from his business with ax handles and parlayed the resulting publicity into political power, becoming in 1967 the state's last openly segregationist governor, died June 25 at a hospice in Atlanta after a fall while recuperating from intestinal surgery. He had pneumonia and prostate cancer.
Gov. Maddox, a Democrat ...
Could be that the ABC mentioned this and I missed it. Anyway, whatever wretchedness old Maddox caused during his lifetime, he at least inspired one of my favourite Randy Newman tunes.
Even the courtroom cops like Jake Ryan:
He said he was not told off by the Australian police in the court after his outburst at Samudra.
"As soon as I got out, I asked whether I had done the wrong thing," he said. "They were pretty supportive actually.”
The Jake Ryan Beer Fund now stands at $A1,179. Bloggers and writers who’ve contributed include The Wall Street Journal’s Robert Toth (“A few bucks from an office looking out on Ground Zero. Hey, Jake -- my sentiments exactly”), Charles Austin, Silent Running, Jack Strocchi, Roger Bournival, Silflay Hraka, Michael Gebert, Brian J., and the great Damian Penny. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone, but my inbox is crazy with the donations.
Many contributors want to send Jake a message. From Ernie Gudath: “I'd really like to shake Jake's hand, but this is the best I can do right now. I've got a Cooper's Sparkling Ale on ice to drink in his honor. (I need to thank Tex for putting me on to that - that's one righteous beer!)”
Prolific website commenters Jake D. and Miss Noosa “wish Jake Ryan and his family and friends the best and we hope in time you can rebuild your lives after this tragedy. Terrorism will not defeat us.” Fellow commenter ZsaZsa “takes great satisfaction from donating US$10 to help keep Mr Ryan in beer.”
Matt Crowe hails “Jake the Aussie anti-terror poet warrior”. Matt, by the way, was in the nightclub on the night of the blast, and missed the bomb by just 15 minutes.
From Barbara Skolaut in Richmond, Virginia: “Tell him thanks for me, too. And if he ever gets to the States, the beer's on me.” And Ward Anthony van der Veer has an idea: “Do you think we could get some beer into Imam Samudra as well? It may kill off those defective brain cells which cause him to think strange thoughts, like ‘Allah wants me to kill innocent people’.”
US authorities in Iraq have been forced to change the name of the planned Iraqi armed forces, after learning that the orginal title they came up with created an unfortunate acronym in Arabic.
The planned force was originally entitled the New Iraqi Corps, whose initals in English produce a colourful Arabic synonym for fornication.
This is why I almost always avoid mowing down nests of rabbits:
Two men who mowed over a nest of rabbits, killing some of them, and another who cleaned the mower developed a rare disease known as rabbit fever, US authorities said.
The federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has launched an investigation into the incident.
The disease, also called pneumonic tularemia, is generally treatable with antibiotics but can lead to pneumonia.
Samples from John Hawkins’ v. funny interview with Ann Coulter:
"Communism is like vegetarianism in that it's actually not very healthy for most people but leftists continue to defend it because it seems like the thing to do."
"Ozzy Osbourne has his bats, and I have that darn 'convert them to Christianity' quote."
"Please buy your children a copy of my book before they are old enough to vote."
Something is wrong in Jasperwood, and if it stops James Lileks writing his Bleats (or anything else), Mossad-level vengeance must be deployed. Ken Layne, Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan and Jim Treacher are on the case. Treacher received this almost-reassuring note:
Most everything is fine, and what isn't will be soon. And this has nothing to do with my job vs. my website, as some are speculating. Nor is this Moxiesque in any way.
We might learn more when the next Bleat is posted, in three hours or so. Then we’ll know if it’s time to turn green and enormous and monosyllabic and start smashing people. Hulk want Bleat!
UPDATE. It’s not happy news, but nor is it catastrophic:
Short version: my wife was sacked.
If this forces Lileks to write more for money than for fun, so be it. I’ll buy.
More rage and heartbreak in Bali:
Another Australian spectator at the trials of the Bali bombers left the court in distress yesterday, saying he wished only for the suspects to be executed.
Louie Zervos, 32, of Sydney, wept outside the court after watching the trials of Mukhlas, the alleged overseer of the Bali bombings, and his alleged trusted lieutenant, Imam Samudra.
Mr Zervos's sister, Louiza, of Marrickville, and his two cousins Dimmy Kotronakis, 27, and Elizabeth Kotronakis, 33, both of Blacktown, died in the blasts on October 12. The three were bridesmaids who had joined the bride and groom on their Bali honeymoon.
Mr Zervos, seething with anger, said he had come to Denpasar with his friend George Giannoulas to represent the families who had lost loved ones. He had ignored pleas from his family not to travel to Bali because of the perceived danger.
"I just want them to die," Mr Zervos said of the suspects. When asked what his objective was in coming to the trial, he would not elaborate. Flanked by Australian Federal Police, who have watched him more closely than any other spectator, he then said through pursed lips: "Most people probably know what my goal was."
I can guess. And I wish he’d had a chance to achieve it.
UPDATE. Today Louis Zervos confronted the accused bombers with photographs of the women who were killed. This is what Sumudra screamed as he left the court:
"With Mecca, with the Kabah, Muslim people, destroy Christians, destroy America, destroy Jews."
Three U.S. officials told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that an Iraqi scientist who was part of what Saddam called his “nuclear mujahadeen” had led intelligence officials to a barrel in the back yard of his home in Baghdad, where they found plans for a gas centrifuge and components of a uranium enrichment system.
Yeah. Sure they did. Right.
Edward Said meets Rachel Corrie’s family. There’s too much stupid happening in this article to highlight any primary examples, except for Red Ed’s observation that suicide bombing “does much more harm than good”.
No kidding, Ed! Pray reveal the good achieved by suicide bombing!
If you believe this, I’ve got a bomb to sell you:
Hamas has agreed in principle to halt attacks on Israelis for three months but is seeking support from other armed groups before a formal announcement, an Islamic Jihad group leader said today.
Hamas officials in Gaza would not confirm the report, but there have been growing signs that a truce is near. Palestinian sources said they expected a formal truce announcement by the militants by Friday, possibly issued in Cairo.
Will it be an explosive announcement?
Early yesterday, when the Fund was running at about $800, I received an e-mail from Todd McKenzie, a director of the private member All Coast Employees Society Inc. in Broadbeach, Queensland. He generously offered to turn on some beer and BBQ for Jake’s football club in sufficient amount to raise overall donations to a grand. Now he’ll have to charge people so he can lower donations to that figure.
I’ve got a feeling he’ll put on something big regardless. Updates to follow.
In the meantime ... how damn great is this? I expected we’d raise $300. Maybe $500. That we’re able to send a cheque to Jake for more than $1000 - after only a couple of days of online campaigning - is astonishing. Australia’s national newspaper has picked up on the story:
When young footballer Jake Ryan did his block at the alleged Bali bombing field commander Imam Samudra in Denpasar and called him "a f---ing dog", he hit a chord with many Australians. Web blogger and occasional columnist for The Australian Tim Blair on Tuesday launched a "Jake Ryan Beer Fund" on his website with the object of raising money to buy the expressive 22-year-old a few coldies when he returns from Bali. As of yesterday afternoon $1000 had been electronically lodged in the account – promising that Ryan and his mates at the Southport Sharks football club will have more than enough moolah for a big night out.
They surely will. Cheque to be posted Monday, so as to allow much time for Jake and his team to plan a huge Friday night.
Via the Washington Times:
A special U.S. intelligence team in Iraq has searched a half-dozen graves and more than 40 locations in Iraq but has not found missing naval aviator Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, defense officials say.
A team of about 40 intelligence officers dedicated solely to the search for Capt. Speicher, who has been missing since his F-18 jet was shot down over Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, is continuing to hunt for the pilot.
If they can’t find him, it will prove that Capt. Speicher never existed.
To achieve peace in the Middle East, George W. Bush must first solve the issue of Sammy Sosa’s bat. The Palestine Chronicle explains, sort of:
Americans often boast about how much better we are than the people of the Middle East, but in the past few days we've seen some strange things that raise serious questions about American morality and ethics. American baseball "great" Sammy Sosa may have lied and intentionally cheated to achieve his record-breaking homeruns, using the wrong bats. And Martha Stewart, who has been the icon of mainstream Americanism, has been indicted on charges that she used insider information to profit on some stocks. And we look back and see American icons who have done the same in the past, former President Richard M. Nixon broke the law and resigned from office. Predecessor Bill Clinton lied about his sexual affairs. So why shouldn't Arabs be skeptical about the sincerity of President George W. Bush ... ?
Makes sense to me. Of course, that could just be the narcotics.
Justin Webb, the BBC’s Washington correspondent, recently attended the annual dinner of the American Radio and Television Correspondents Association, which was addressed by Vice-President Cheney. Where was the BBC’s table?
Next to the lavatories and the emergency exit.
Weirdly, the story attached to this headline doesn’t once mention abortion:
Killing unborn children may be outlawed
Apparently new legislation is to be considered in New South Wales following the death last year of an unborn baby following a car crash. The person who caused the crash wasn’t charged with any major offence because in NSW a foetus is not considered to be a child.
Abortion is legal in NSW under what is known as the Levine ruling. Seems that a new law “relating to a criminal act causing a child, capable of being born alive, to die before it has an existence independent of its mother," could alter things. Or not; I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know. Are the words “criminal act” sufficient to distinguish between abortions and unwanted deaths?
Iad Taisir Taher Samodi was killed on June 23, 2002 in the village Yamon, while trying to resist arrest. Three cell phones, a gun and ammunitions were discovered on his body. Thirty pipe explosives ready to be used for attacks were subsequently found at his house.
Special effects! Those were all just for special effects! Meanwhile Arab Film Distribution provides an alternative ending to this story:
On June 23, as Israeli forces besieged Yamun, Samudi was shot and killed as he was leaving a military-closed area with three friends.
The police has two different specially marked vehicles. There are white and green Mercedes Benzes that can be spotted in the streets daily. There are also Black Toyota Land Cruisers that can be spotted only on special days.
Due to the increase of the instability of the society over the past few weeks first the number of the green Mercedes Benzes increased and as it got more chaotic more of the black Land Cruisers were also spotted. It is evident that most of young people are more afraid of the black Land Cruisers than the green Mercedeses. there reason for that is the Land Cruisers can hardly be seen in the streets and they only come out when the situations are very severe.
The reason for this change is mostly psychological rather than physical. The main purpose of the police force for this change is to create and intensity and fear among people and to keep themselves in a high position in society.
The English isn’t great (it’s still way better than my Farsi) but the message is clear. And “special days” is brilliantly ominous.
Five days in the desert will make a man thirsty:
He sparked a major search after going missing in the outback for five days, but the first thing 31-year-old Benjamin O'Connor wanted when he walked up to the roadhouse bar was not food, but a beer.
"He just walked in and looked like he was in a pretty rough way," publican Shane Able said today.
"He didn't bother to order anything to eat, he just asked for a VB, threw it back pretty quick and then started asking people at the bar if he could get a lift to Alice Springs.”
Could Europe get any more rulebound?
Advertisements that affront "human dignity" by demeaning women would be prohibited under proposals being drafted by the European Commission.
Television programmes would also be censored to ensure there was no promotion of gender stereotypes.
Tabloid newspaper Page Three pictures would also be threatened. Most forms of gender discrimination - either for or against women - would become illegal, affecting welfare benefits, education and health insurance.
And these people worry about Ashcroft. Please.
You readers rock. More than $A825 has now been donated to Jake Ryan - that’s eight hundred and twenty five delicious, frosty beer-buying dollars from readers in Australia, Asia, the US, and Britain. I’ll keep the Beer Fund rolling until Friday, then send a cheque to Jake care of his football club.
Blogger doners will be linked in the next update. Massive thanks to everybody who has so far contributed. Now for some Jake reaction from Malaysia:
As a Muslim, I am very glad and proud of what Bali bomb victim Jake Ryan did, even if it breached the official conduct in court.
Good on you Jake – that Imam Samudra extremist deserves to be shouted at with the worst of language and even more.
Using Islamic terms for the wrong purpose to confuse people about Islam not only paints a bad name to the religion but also to Muslims the world over.
He and his gang should be given the harshest of punishments.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What he said. Follow earlier Beer Fund reports starting here.
An exchange of glances was today characterised as the making of “goo goo eyes”, wire services report.
The phrase was employed despite both parties to the exchange being adults. It is believed to be the first time “goo goo eyes” has been published since a William Kincade quote sickened readers last month.
Kincade is being held by authorities at an undisclosed location.
Another Australian airlines security lapse:
A Qantas flight from Perth to Singapore was delayed after a passenger reportedly was found to have a box-cutter in a seat pocket.
All 233 passengers were removed from the aircraft and re-screened, a Qantas spokeswoman said.
She would not confirm an ABC radio report that a passenger was found to have a box-cutter stowed in a seat.
The war isn’t over, despite everything thus far achieved:
Six British military police were killed in Iraq, possibly in an incident in a local police station, and eight British soldiers were injured in a separate incident in southern Iraq, Defence Minister Geoff Hoon said.
"Initial information suggests that they may have been involved in an incident in the police station," Hoon said, adding that he could not confirm any other details.
I am not in custody, I am roaming free like the gazelle, no force can constrain me:
US troops have arrested Iraq's information minister under Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf - dubbed Comical Ali - at a roadblock in a Baghdad suburb, a media report claimed today.
There was no immediate reaction from Washington. But Britain's Daily Mirror claims the ex-minister, dubbed Comical Ali for proclaiming the defeat of US forces even as they moved into Baghdad, had been hiding out at a relative's house watching satellite TV.
The report said he was caught on Monday night.
"He has some serious talking to do...this time," a senior coalition source was quoted as saying.
Mr Ryan's mobile telephone was running hot, victims and families at home congratulating him for doing something no Australian had yet done.
"If anyone thinks it is the wrong thing, put yourselves in our shoes," he said yesterday. "He is one metre in front of you looking you in the eye and screaming out, what would you do? I've got no regrets at all."
Nor should he have. Meanwhile the BBC and Radio National place Jake Ryan where they believe he should be placed - at the very end of reports about how cruelly accused Bali bombing mastermind Ali Ghufron was treated by police. Who exactly is the victim here?
Jake Ryan lost his right heel, had other people's bones embedded in his legs and shrapnel pierced his abdomen. He was on crutches for four months.
So donate, if you haven’t already.
What is this thing called "sleep"?
Falling asleep after sex is common. But sleeping during sex?
Medical researchers have discovered an intriguing condition, sexsomnia, in which people who are asleep proceed to initiate sexual activity with their bedmates.
Look at the peaceful peace protester. Imagine him pulling this crap somewhere other than peaceful Australia.
A 25-year-old Filipino man has been stabbed dead for singing a Frank Sinatra classic out of tune during a birthday party.
Maybe you live in Noosa Heads. Maybe you’re an excellent food thrower. Check it out:
Local lad David Williamson has seduced not just Australia's only two Booker prize-winners, Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally, to speak at the Noosa Longweekend, starting Friday, but also that angry old leftie John Pilger. And isn't Pilger's presence causing the sand to fly among the denizens of Brisbane's far north shore. Leonie Palmer, long-time Victorian exile and restaurateur, says there are more than a smattering of Noosa devotees who hold firmly to the Auberon Waugh view of the campaigning journalist and can't believe the invitation. Nothing like a bit of controversy, she admits, but as the host of a "breakfast with Pilger" in her riverfront establishment, she's hoping she won't be mopping up German cheese tart for hours if the food starts to fly.
Direct hit wins a prize!
Andrew Wilkie sells himself as the spy who couldn't be fooled over Iraq. He's the one spook who didn't buy what he calls the Howard Government's "fairytale" and "exaggerations" about the threat of Saddam Hussein.
But when I go through the only secret report that Wilkie ever wrote about Iraq as an Office of National Assessments analyst, I wonder just who fell for a "fairytale".
When I note the risks Wilkie then warned of - horrific chemical attacks by Saddam, "mass panic" as refugees fled his biological weapons - I ask who indeed "exaggerated".
Mentioned in the latest Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin: Harry Potter, Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, Gretel the Enchantress, happy pro-war people, various website commenters, Bob Brown, J.K. Rowling, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Jenson Button, and the homeless parking ticket conspiracy.
Hans Blix reveals another of his formerly hidden agendas:
Dr Blix, speaking after his last official function before retiring as chief UN weapons inspector on 30 June, also praised the Australian scientists who went to Baghdad before the war, to help search for Iraq's weapons. "They were excellent," he said.
"We had lots of staff from Australia, very competent staff. Australia is one of the most active (nations) on non-proliferation, maybe because you are producing yellowcake and uranium, and you have a sore conscience."
Yeah, that's us, Blixy. All guilty and sore. Now go away.
Bloggers who’ve donated so far include Tony the Teacher, Andrew Lloyd, Paul Bickford, Professor Bunyip (via a mysterious third party, to conceal his Bunyipish identity), Ricky Dardenne, Scott Wickstein (who donated rum money, in the interests of cultural diversity), Oscar Jr., Gary Gravett, and Bernie Slattery.
Roast Beef is waiting ... waiting for a sign.
The New York Post’s Page Six column reports:
Barbra Streisand is back on her soapbox. The diva is urging "blacks and Jews" to unite in order to defeat President Bush. "I have reflected a great deal over the years about the need for dialogue and unity among various minority and progressive communities," Streisand writes on her Web site. "The presidential primary process is underway . . . keep in mind that the end goal for all of us is to elect a Democratic president . . . With a shared history of oppression and slavery, as well as a common ingrained culture of social justice, Blacks and Jews, over the years and still today, have been natural allies . . . “
You’ll notice she doesn’t demand the Democrats field a black or Jewish candidate. Run, Condi, run! Force Barbra to vote against her “natural ally”!
Sales of whiner wine continue to fall:
A study by Information Resources Inc. published in Wine Spectator showed that between April 21 and May 18, sales of French wine in the United States fell by 26.2 percent in terms of case volume, and by 27 percent in dollar value.
CNN/Money reports sales have sagged even in metropolitan areas where there was more opposition to the Iraq war.
Another wine vendor put the blame on the economy and the higher price of French wine.
"I think it's a holdover from the economy," Ray Thompson, manager of S&S Beer and Wine in Dallas, told CNN. "Basically, people are buying less expensive wines. They're switching to more Australian and domestic wines."
And sticking with them, apparently.
Man, Washington Times ed-at-large Arnaud de Borchgrave lays it on thick. The Washington Post has details of his Saddam interview request:
He told the Iraqi leader 2 1/2 years ago he hoped such a sit-down "would lead to a reappraisal of American policy toward Iraq."
In a Jan. 11, 2001, "Your Excellency" letter -- recently retrieved from Iraqi intelligence files -- de Borchgrave said he could "guarantee" that an interview with him "will have worldwide resonance as well as two entire newspaper pages in The Washington Times, the newspaper of choice of the Republican establishment."
In the letter, de Borchgrave reminded Hussein that he "had the honor of interviewing you" as a Newsweek correspondent in the 1970s.
De Borchgrave has a point when he says that you don’t get interviews by abusing people, but please ... some dignity or something.
This acceleration monster was trapped by his own handiwork:
A Staffordshire county councillor has been caught speeding - with the mobile speed camera he bought for the local police force.
Robert Marshall had paid for the detector with money given to him by the council to spend on good causes.
He was caught doing 42 miles per hour in a 30-miles per hour zone but said he was glad to know the equipment was working.
(Thanks to Rob Corr.)
In today’s CapitalR blog, Alan RM Jones writes that the author of the celebrated “Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!” line was “an Iraqi everyman's Rousseau, extolling a Jeffersonian declaration for the divine Rights of Man, a veritable Tom Paine. All right, already. I'll cut the crap. He was just saying 'Let the good times roll!' But it turns out Mr al-Jefferson party animal was close to the mark”:
As America's first president and one of its canniest early entrepreneurs, Washington liked a sip of cinnamon whiskey -- and he distilled his own. More than that, he started a thriving business selling a raw, clear liquor made from rye and corn.
"Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk," Washington wrote in a letter to his nephew in October 1799.
Donations are already rolling in to buy an Australian hero a drink. Just indicate somewhere in your PayPal message that the donation is for Jake, and it will be forwarded to him via his football club. Any donations from businesses will be rewarded with free ads at this site, and donations from bloggers will get you a link. Bernie Slattery, way to go!
(Regarding free ads: 60,000 hits a week here. Value, huh?)
UPDATE. The Beer Fund has already raised about $A80 - and every cent will go entirely to Jake. This isn't some bogus Red Cross deal! Blogger links will be posted tonight.
The entertaining virtual War of the Moxies may have led to a sinister real-world problem. Well, more than a problem. Moxie Pop, accused of stealing Moxie.nu’s identity, has now lost her job. Jim Treacher explains:
A week ago today, the president of her company got a fax from a blocked number, claiming to be from a potential client who would never do business with a company that employed someone like her. She wasn't allowed to see the fax, and that's all the HR person would tell her when she was made aware of it last Thursday. She was fired that same day, without even a chance to clean out her desk. She's still in shock, but she's trying to find out the details of the fax, whether there's any way to find out who sent it, and what she can do about it.
Jim makes many sound points in his post, mostly along the lines of “Calm down, you freakin’ morons! What the hell, someone has a similar name? Let’s all kill each other then!” And so on. By the way, the person who sent that fax? You ain’t right. Anybody who supported such an extreme response? You ain't right neither. But you know that. The unusual feelings you are experiencing now are called "guilt" and "shame".
Mapchic’s controversial announcement shocked her family:
I will never forget when one of my cousins actually burst into tears when I said out loud “I am a Republican” at a Thanksgiving dinner when I was in college. Another cousin, who is a university poli-sci professor, told me that I was not really a Republican – I was just confused. I was forced to get up from the table and get my membership card for the College Republicans out of my wallet to pass around the table to demonstrate to my horrified relatives the reality of my political affiliation.
Tell of your own family’s reaction to terrible conservative confessions. Bonus points for fist fights, decade-long feuds, being written out of wills, etc.
It’s another record for Lleyton Hewitt:
Hewitt became the first defending Wimbledon champion to lose in the first round since tennis turned professional in 1968.
Here’s Phillip Adams on April 16:
Make no mistake, if the US can't find those chemical weapons in Iraq, it'll smuggle some in and plant them.
Andrew Wilkie anticipated the same thing:
Interviewed by Richard Glover on ABC radio in Sydney on April 15, Wilkie went so far as to suggest the US just might "plant" some significant WMDs in Iraq post bellum.
Joint apologies are expected any year now.
Imam Sumudra, accused of organising the Bali bombings, did his usual “Allahu Akbar” shouting thing in court yesterday. This time an Australian injured in the attack shouted back:
Jake Ryan, 22, rushed towards the accused and shouted, "You're a f---ing dog, mate, you're going to die, you f---".
Mr Ryan, of the Gold Coast's Southport Sharks football club, said after yesterday's incident he had been frustrated at being unable to make eye contact with Samudra throughout the 4½ hour hearing.
"I just wanted him to look at us, just once," Mr Ryan said.
"He started shouting, so I tried to shout over the top of him. He definitely knows who I am now.
"When he started shouting, I thought, 'you f---ing smart arse - I'll have you.'"
I am compelled by a primal Australian force to seek out Jake Ryan and buy him at least 10,000 beers.
UPDATE. Buy Jake a drink! Simply hit the PayPal button on your left and include “Jake Ryan Beer Fund” somewhere in the message. I’ll forward all donations to Jake via his football club, or you may donate directly at this address:
Southport Australian Rules Football Club.
Corner Musgrave & Olsen Avenues
PO Box 1610
SOUTHPORT, QUEENSLAND, 4215
Michele at A Small Victory posts childhood memories of her sister:
She is the one who wrote several songs with me when we formed our fake band, Pond Scum. My favorite song was:
Save the whales
Save the whales
Send your money
Through the mail
Keeping with the theme, my fake band is called Blobfish.
A friend whose late father was a drinking pal of Mordecai Richler sends news that Quebec's language stasi, the Office Québécois de la Langue Française, has told the Sir Winston Churchill Pub in Montreal to get French:
After a recent spot check by one of its investigators, the government agency placed the Sir Winston Churchill on a list of 31 establishments it says are contravening Bill 101, the law the Parti Québécois created to ensure that the French language remains the first-use language in the province.
"It's their attitude," complained Gerald Paquette, a spokesperson for the provincial agency.
"If you were in Toronto, and everyone answers you first in French and not English, what would you think? We're not zealots; we don't want to exclude English. But French should be first. When you meet a waitress, they should first say, `Bon jour', not 'Good day.' They can go to English after the French, but that is not what they do at The Sir Winston Churchill."
We really need more laws to regulate the order in which words are spoken. These, for example, are clearly in the wrong order: Gerald fuck go yourself.
Richler, who died almost two years ago, beloved by Anglos and loathed by many hard-core Québécois nationalists for his caustic essays, immortalized the bar and its waiters in his book Barney's Version. He often took to his stool at Winnie's to talk to reporters about the PQ's authoritarian streak.
As the son of his old drinking mate writes: “In Bosnia and Kosovo we called this 'ethnic cleansing' and sent in B-52’s.”
British Labour MP Ann Clwyd has an alarming secret. “I haven't talked about it,” she tells The Guardian. “People might misunderstand it."
Some people weren't reading Harry Potter on the weekend:
Officials of the Malaysian prime minister's party gave out copies of American industrialist Henry Ford's anti-Semitic book "The International Jew" to delegates at a party gathering yesterday.
Party workers at the assembly's secretariat handed out free copies of an abridged version of Ford's book, translated into Bahasa Malay and published in Johannesburg.
The book, first published in the 1920's, also contained the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which was originally published in Russia in the early 20th century and has been used through the decades to peddle theories of an international Jewish conspiracy.
Some known about, some not. All clever and funny. Scroll through the goodness.
“My personal life is a Brazilian soap opera, but without really hot sex on satin sheets with my twin sister's husband during an amnesia bout.”
“I don't know about anyone else, but I've certainly moved beyond having to handle my own waste. Way-y beyond.”
“The Hong Kong government is running a series of ads to get people to register to vote. One of the characters is called Fu Kit.”
“I'm nearly coming up to six months myself--wowee. And it's funny, what I've really learnt during those six months is how little I actually know about the things I thought I knew everything about when I first started blogging.”
“This ninth grader could be a real threat to me.”
“Macs suck dogs.”
“I am in a slump worse than a major-leaguer who just found out he got slapped down to the minors.”
“When Pilger maintains that he’s advancing empirical evidence for his prejudices, then that’s the time to get involved.”
“It's painful to watch the major media try to analyze things they barely seem to understand.”
“Why are you asking me how to score with women? It’s not like I know what I’m talking about. Seriously.”
“If Al Gore tells a funny joke at the highpoint of the DNC convention to a bunch of sycophants, will anyone laugh? Of course not. That's why he resorted to eating Tipper's face.”
Look who’s become the Mission District's latest mural martyr, alongside Mumia Abu Jamal and Che Guevera.
UPDATE. Lotsa comments at Little Green Footballs.
This isn’t stupid. No sir, this isn’t insane or crazy or brutal in any way at all:
Wayne Jeffrey, a seven-year veteran of the Fall River force, was fired May 29 after an internal investigation, prompted by an unsigned letter that claimed he smoked tobacco at a party.
Wonder what the penalty is for smoking radioactive salmon.
Bye bye, Beetle:
The iconic Volkswagen Beetle, the most popular car ever made, will cease production this summer, 69 years and more than 21 million sales after Adolf Hitler's Third Reich first commissioned the durable, dome-shaped little "People's Car."
Volkswagen officials said earlier this month that the last Beetle assembly line in the world, in VW's massive plant here in central Mexico, will shut in the coming weeks.
"My heart is sick," said Antonio Cholula Olvera, who has assembled Beetles for 40 of his 59 years, watching a line of unpainted Beetle bodies waiting for their chassis to be welded on. "It's a beautiful car. Everybody loved it. Maybe I love it too much."
Who doesn’t love the Beetle? I drove a ‘74 Superbug across the US in 1990 - new clutch in Memphis, blown off the road by storms in Florida, sold to hippies in Baltimore - and enjoyed every minute, especially when the ignition died and I was stranded for three days in Shreveport, Louisiana. Meanwhile, in other Kraut-related machinery news:
The Australian War Memorial will today unveil a never-before displayed German Messerschmitt Bf-109.
The World War II fighter plane is the only one in the world to still bear all its original paintwork.
It also has carefully concealed graffiti from PoWs who built it.
It’s Monday, so why not skive off work for the rest of the afternoon and play this.
(Via Dave Barry.)
The Al Aqsa Butterfingers Brigade strikes again:
Four Palestinian militants died late Sunday, apparently when a bomb they were planting went off in northern Gaza.
At first, Palestinian security officials said Israeli tanks fired at a group of militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah, killing three men and wounding four others, in the northeast Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Another died later in a hospital, doctors said.
Later, however, loudspeaker trucks drove through the area saying that the four died while "fulfilling their national duty," a phrase used in the past to announce accidental deaths.
Feminist Academics decry choice of male as GG
Former SAS Commander choice shows 'Australia becoming a militarised police state' says Greens Senator Brown
New GG's Vietnam service under the microscope
New GG's conduct in controversial military operation under scrutiny
GG's 'Nam tour - did he shoot people?
Pressure mounts on controversial Vietnam veteran apointee
New GG linked to deaths of "many" Vietnamese
What did the GG do in 'Nam? Questions go unanswered
GG denies taking drugs
GG denies shooting civillians
GG denials "proof of something to hide" says whoever is leader of the Democrats this week
New GG murdered my grandad says Hanoi resident
Mounting concern on possible war crimes by new GG
Could Belgium extradite new GG to face charges?
New GG's war crime links a slap in the face to Asian economic partners says Keating
Mounting pressure on GG to step down over alleged links with controversial ... um ... stuff
Pig-headed neo-conservative PM refuses to heed nation's call
New GG steps down, cites "national outbreak of lunacy" as reason
Big-time congratulations to Matt Welch, the Los Angeles journalism prize magnet. But I’m mainly linking to this for the hot spatula action starring Heather Havrilesky.
From Stephen Mayne’s Crikey bulletin today:
There are always a couple of bushfires to put out on returning from a break and Crikey has just discovered that Tim Blair has been ripping into us over the "shallowest hack" series - something which was always going to be highly controversial.
Whilst Crikey was blissfully unaware of the stoush, Tim was letting fly on
his blog which is a good example of how journalists are in a good position
to respond when criticised.
What is he talking about? Anybody is able to publish a blog. Can you sue someone just for being stupid?
Jose can you see, by the dawn's early light, the policemen are here, and they've brought with them 'copters:
French anti-globalisation activist Jose Bove has been arrested to serve 10 month in jail for destroying genetically-modified crops.
Eighty police officers backed up by a surveillance helicopter picked him up at his farm during an dawn raid on his farm in southern France.
His lawyer complained that police took him from his home in what amounted to a commando operation - involving a helicopter, police dogs and policemen who rammed his front door.
Sounds fair enough. Now Bove knows how that innocent McDonald’s felt when he destroyed it.
An Australian tabloid has disciplined one of its reporters for plagiarizing material from the Star Tribune and apologized to the reporter whose words were stolen.
Glenn Mitchell was disciplined by his newspaper, the Herald Sun in Melbourne, after an internal investigation confirmed the plagiarism, deputy editor John Trevorrow wrote Friday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. He did not specify the punishment.
"Plagiarism is emphatically unacceptable and the Herald Sun does not tolerate it," Trevorrow wrote.
Read more in this earlier report, which includes samples of Mitchell’s theft. While we're on the subject, Peter McEvoy presents a three-point response to claims that Media Watch let Phillip Adams off the hook:
Media Watch has looked at the articles and concluded that it didn't make the grade:
1. Adams has rewritten the information sufficiently so that he isn't using Schuessler's manner of expression.
Whoa, there! “Rewritten sufficiently”? WTF? Here’s the original:
While he entertained audiences with automata that played the flute and the organ, his most celebrated invention was a copper duck that realistically "gulped" food through a flexible neck and then excreted it on a silver platter. First displayed in 1739, the duck caused a sensation. "Without the shitting duck," Voltaire quipped, "there would be nothing to remind us of the glory of France."
And here’s the rewrite:
Jacques amused himself, and others, with automata that played the flute and the organ. And then there was his immensely successful copper duck. History records that the creature would peck away at food, apparently swallow it through a flexible neck and then, voila! excrete it onto a silver dish. First displayed in 1739, the duck was the toast of Paris. “Without the shitting duck,” said Voltaire, “there would be nothing to remind us of the glory of France."
Same information in the same order using many of the same words and concluding with the same quote broken at the same point. Why, it’s almost the same as plagiarism! McEvoy continues:
2. Adams cites a vague source - "history tells us". It's not a great acknowledgement, but it does indicate that he's using secondary sources for his information rather than passing it off as his own.
It does, if by “history” you mean “the February 13 edition of The New York Review of Books”.
3. The two paragraphs are a minor part of the article.
So only mention it briefly (Media Watch once attacked Miranda Devine over a single word). Incidentally, why include the brevity of the offence as a mitigating factor if Media Watch has already decided that this isn’t plagiarism?
UPDATE. The Bunyip has more.
Did the Sydney Morning Herald lie? ABC Watch alleges that last Friday’s report on Andrew Wilkie’s appearance before a British parliamentary inquiry was written before Wilkie actually made his appearance:
It reported Wilkie as having given evidence when in fact it was reporting only Wilkie's untested assertions available to them, and the rest of us, before the Select Committee sat. Unfortunately, the British Parliament is inconsiderate enough to meet overnight, Sydney time ...
According to the Herald report, written before the event, Wilkie "has told a British Parliamentary enquiry" about Australian Government exaggerations. And so on, all in the past tense.
It pretends the Herald correspondent was there to hear Wilkie's evidence being presented.
This matters, as ABC Watch writes, because Wilkie’s eventual appearance did not go unchallenged, as the Herald report implies. Guess we’ll have to wait for Media Watch to tell us the full story.
Mark Steyn on Iran:
It's mullah time! The question now is whether Iran's ayatollahs and the original ''Islamic republic'' can survive the summer, or whether President Bush will mark the second anniversary of Sept. 11 with two-thirds of his axis of evil consigned to the trash can of history.
That would be a remarkable achievement, by any measure save that of Democratic presidential candidates such as John Kerry, who seems to be running as the French foreign minister (a niche market of limited appeal even among Dem primary voters, one would think). Senator Kerry will continue to insist it's all a disaster and possibly a cover-up, too. But over in North Korea, the third member of the axis will get the picture. For one thing, it's hard to be an effective axis when there's just one of you.
Damn straight. North Korea would be a mere axle stub.
(Via the super-speedy MidEast Politics News Digest.)
According to certain economic indicators, the Vietnamese economy is booming.
Who knows stuff about how firewalls are configured? Get in touch. I need expertise. No illegality is involved.
Colby Cosh needs cold hard cash. He’s one of Canada’s best, so send some PayPal love his way.
Terry Lane in The Age:
The best Americans ask themselves daily how it is they come to be governed by the worst Americans. Is there some fatal flaw in democracy itself that tends always and irresistibly to government by the malign?
As opposed to dictatorships, which are never governed by the malign.
There is a theme developing in the writings of the best analysts that democracy has been so corrupted by money that what rules from Washington now is a committee that does the bidding of the American corporations. It may have taken more than 100 years for the penny to drop, but here it is. Karl Marx was right: in the end, the politicians in a liberal, capitalist democracy are the messengers, couriers and enforcers for their corporate owners.
No doubt Terry will refuse any payment for this column from the capitalistic John Fairfax corporation, owners of The Age. Their money is tainted with workers’ blood!
James Kiehl died fighting for good. His funeral is reported at Jessica’s Well.
Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals, is also a Formula One fanatic:
Newkirk thinks nothing of staying up half the night to watch races in Australia or Malaysia. Her office floor, in addition to being covered with welcome mats for cats and magazines like Animal Times and Meat & Poultry News, is strewn with the latest issues of Car & Driver and AutoWeek.
Sounds just like my office floor. Except for the cat stuff. And the Animal Times and the Meat & Poultry News. I do have an elephant’s foot umbrella stand, however.
An academic narrowly avoids righteous blog vengeance:
I was really offended by a chemistry professor yesterday, who said something really snide to me after I disagreed with a theory he was talking about. I thought to myself, “I am sooo blogging this”. Then I remembered that I didn’t know who this professor was, and realized that it’s probably not a real theory. On top of that, I’m no longer in college, and the whole argument was, in fact, a dream. So, I guess I won’t slam him. But, man, I was mad at him.
As everybody knows, the New York Times is a lapdog of the Bush war machine:
A reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, is the target of claims that she and her newspaper have been the vehicle for White House and Pentagon "propaganda" over Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Miller, a Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of a best-seller on biological warfare, is a hawk in the United States media coverage of Iraq's alleged weapons possession.
Miller's star status, frequent TV appearances and her newspaper's position as the daily US news agenda-setter, made her reports crucial to the war debate.
Those crazy Protocols just won’t go away:
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion - supposedly a transcript of a meeting of the world's top Jews, called to discuss the achievement of world domination - was concocted by an ultra-orthodox member of the Tsar's secret police, Sergei Nilus in about 1903. By the early 1920s it was being widely circulated in Europe and America, was later taught in the schools of Nazi Germany and is now to be found on any good neo-nazi web-site near you. It is the classic of Holocaust-era anti-Semitism, portraying the Jews as a conniving, Machiavellian race, plotting how to gain power well beyond their puny numbers, through manipulation and money.
So what on earth is it doing in the twenty-first century manifesto of an Islamic movement?
Good question. David Aaronovitch seeks an answer.
Little bits of possible Saddam are under the microscope:
American specialists were carrying out DNA tests last night on human remains believed by US military sources to be those of Saddam Hussein and one of his sons, The Observer can reveal.
The remains were retrieved from a convoy of vehicles struck last week by US forces following 'firm' information that the former Iraqi leader and members of his family were travelling in the Western Desert near Syria.
Via Collin May we learn that Matthew Parris believes the United States to be overrun by Germans, including Paul Vülferwitzenberger und Donüld Rumsfeldengassenchamber. Which explains why the US is such a vigorous defender of ... Israel.
Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam are two of Australia’s most respected political elders, as Michael Duffy points out:
Let us revisit Parliament House on September 14, 1976. The occasion was the death of Mao Zedung, the greatest tyrant and mass-murderer in history. Then prime minister Malcolm Fraser disgraced Australia by moving a motion that Parliament "records its sincere regret at the death of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, expresses to the people of China profound regret and tenders its deep sympathy to his family in its bereavement".
Gough Whitlam told the House of his admiration for the psychopathic Chinese leader, whom he had met.
"No one who visited his country could be in any doubt of the veneration in which he was held by the people. It was an affection which grew rather than diminished with time," he announced.
Whitlam went on to pay tribute to Mao's "courage, his sagacity, his gifts as a writer and interpreter of Chinese philosophy and civilisation".
Naturally, both Fraser and Whitlam opposed war in Iraq.
Hey, local Harry Potter freaks. Don’t buy the new Potter book at a major bookstore. Buy it at K-mart, where it only costs $30 - a $15 discount. Use your savings to buy Harry Potter™ petrol or codeine, or whatever Potter stuff they're selling these days.
UPDATE. Mark Steyn writes:
Well, the big day is here! Around the world this morning, bookstores opened their doors and millions of customers who'd spent the night waiting patiently in long lines eagerly stampeded to the counter and said, "Here's the copy of Living History I bought last week. I'd like my money back, please."
ANOTHER UPDATE. Caz writes:
Thank you for flocking to the mall en masse today and getting in my way and ruining my holistic shopping experience, you freaks.
I’d also like to mention that I saw two ADULTS sitting on a bench outside Collins in Westfield Belconnen reading their new Harry Potter books in public. What tools! Like they couldn’t wait to get home, they had to start reading a stupid kids book in a major thoroughfare. That is all kinds of fuckwittedness.
Don’t any of you people have a home to go to?
Someone who would like to see JK Rowling impaled on a stake
UPDATE THE THIRD. Bookseller Sean Hackbarth reports
from the center of the publishing whirlwind.
Robert Fisk hasn’t received much attention of late, mainly due to The Independent’s recent policy of hiding their star misreporter behind a cash firewall. But his column of June 11 has been reproduced here, and it is remarkable reading. Safe from the fact-checking piranhas of the blogosphere, this is what Fisk has been up to:
Then we have Paul Wolfowitz — or ‘Wolfie, as George Bush likes to call him — blowing the whistle on America’s motives for the invasion of Iraq. Asked at a Singapore conference why the (real) threat of North Korean nuclear weapons was being treated differently from Iraq’s (less real) threat, Wolfie was reported in ‘Die Welt’ to have given a truly revealing reply. “Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.” This, by the way, comes from the same man who told Vanity Fair that “for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: Weapons of mass destruction.”
Incredibly, some three days after The Guardian had apologised for using the misleading and poorly-translated Die Welt quote - and many days after the inaccuracy had first been noticed - Fisk repeats it. By the time Fisk put this column together, the entire world knew exactly what Wolfowitz had said, in the English used during the press conference. But it suits Fisk’s purposes to use a version translated from English to German and back to English.
Maybe that’s how he writes all of his columns. It would explain a lot.
The second quote, from Vanity Fair, isn’t from Vanity Fair. The magazine never published Wolfowitz’s words in that form, nor did he say them. Fisk is misquoting a misquote. Here are the relevant lines from the DoD transcript:
”The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two.”
And this is the Vanity Fair version, as reported by CNN way back on May 30:
The article by Sam Tanenhaus quoted Wolfowitz as saying, "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
Another thing everyone can agree on: Robert Fisk is a complete basketcase.
(Apologies in advance to any bloggers who’ve already covered this. If you did, I failed to notice it.)
The Sydney Morning Herald reaches a level beyond equivalence:
Herald Correspondent Ed O'Loughlin in Gaza meets the Palestinian group that answers Israel blow for blow.
Hamas. The “Palestinian group” they’re talking about is fucking Hamas.
Media ownership laws in Australia shouldn’t be changed. They should be removed.
The French sure can teach us a lot about peace:
A butcher went on the rampage in the southwestern French village of Salleboeuf early today, stabbing six people including his five-year-old grandson, police said.
Two adults were seriously wounded and two children lightly in the attack which took place in the main street of the town, which lies just to the west of Bordeaux.
"He was yelling 'It's the end of the world' and flailing around with his knife," said a local gardener who helped wrestle the knife from Perroy.
He’s gone ... meatal.
Another item in Sydney Morning Herald: a list of what it considers to be all the dubious pro-war stories told in the months before the war. A list of dubious anti-war stories would, of course, cause the whole Internet to explode.
Hugh Mackay writes yet another dead, ill-considered, specious column - but that’s OK, because failure is healthy and success makes you sick:
Perhaps we have become obsessive in our drive to punch above our weight as a sporting nation. When we take promising young players and install them in hothouses like the Australian Institute of Sport, honing their skills and fuelling their competitive urge, why should we then expect them to emerge as well-rounded human beings, full of joie de vivre, imbued with love for their fellow humans, passionate about fair play and with a realistic appreciation of the place of sport in a balanced life?
Wouldn't they be quite likely to emerge, instead, as rather driven individuals with some unattractive, unhealthy attitudes as a result of being encouraged to chant, year after year, the same mantra: Winning is everything! When your sense of personal worth is tied to your performance - whether you're a dentist or an athlete - dark and damaging neuroses lurk.
So if you’re a dentist who clumsily drives a drill through your patient’s cheek - hey, lighten up! Don’t get all neurotic about it. Could’ve happened to anyone. Mackay is wrong about most Australian athletes, too; he accepts the "ugly Australian" line commonly promoted in broadsheet sports pages. Hugh should actually meet some of the people he writes about.
Greg Sheridan on Australia’s Left, and its talent for myth-making:
Two myths are being constructed. One is that Saddam Hussein never had weapons of mass destruction. The other is that our participation in the war damaged our standing in Asia.
Whole column is good. Read all.
If it weren’t for those evil sanctions, all the Iraqi people would have been happy. Why, imagine all the money they would have had!
Stupid New Zealand signed the Kyoto Protocol and now the country is brawling over who should pay for it:
New Zealand farmers are being asked to cough up $7.33 million a year to help reduce greenhouse effects caused by flatulence of their millions of sheep and cattle - and they say the plan stinks.
Farmers argue that reducing greenhouse gas emissions benefits everyone so the costs should be spread across all taxpayers.
Go to hell, farmer dude! Why should vegan taxpayers perpetuate your cruel exploitation of livestock? Don’t make others pay for your ... your ... hate meat!
Tim Dunlop has an essay on bloggers as the new public intellectuals. It’s probably really good, but as a rule I avoid any document in which the word “intellectual” appears more than twice, although Tim's theory on political engagement is certainly compelling, and he also ... hey, look! It’s the Vodkapup! Wow, whatta dog!
David Schwimmer returned to his old university, but everybody treated the tormented philosopher as though he was just some idiot from a sitcom or something:
His brow furrowing, he starts to talk about the years immediately following his Beverly Hills adolescence as the offspring of highly successful and intensely left-wing Los Angeles lawyers.
The couple had sent their well-disciplined son to Hebrew school and Beverly Hills High, and instilled in him a mix of progressive ideas, artistic taste, social responsibility and driving ambition.
"I was a walking contradiction," Schwimmer says of his student years in Evanston, his voice making the briefly falsetto cracking sound familiar to his millions of television fans. "Was I a conquering capitalist or a socialist activist?"
"I still don't know," he says, his voice trailing off.
Schwimmer looks up from the podium at a sea of star-struck young eyes. Consciously or not, he's brought up the central dilemma of his entire young life.
Sadly, no one in the room seems to care. "Did you ever have a crush on Jennifer Aniston?" asks a student.
This casual, unintended deflation of the pompous actor is funnier than any episode of Friends. It might be Schwimmer’s crowning comic moment - and he was the straight man.
(Via Throwing Things, who linked to this when it was fresh and new.)
George W. Bush - not just a fascist, but a professional fascist.
It begins with a Jew-hating GPS device, and ends with multiple raccoon death.
(Via Andrea Harris, who knows a Best Bad Driver Story when she sees one.)
It’s tough work being both a Green politician and capitalist monster:
Newly elected Greens MLC Sylvia Hale – a self-declared champion of workers' rights – is accused of letting down her own employees.
Ms Hale's first speech to the Legislative Council last month included a pledge to promote the "rights of working people and unions".
But 17 striking workers at her family business, Southwood Press in Marrickville, say she has failed to address their grievances, including that one senior employee at the book publishing firm has been bullying and harassing workers.
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union printing division secretary Amanda Perkins said she had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Ms Hale to personally intervene in the dispute.
Amanda Perkins, by the way, was formerly known as Amanda Dole, and before she joined the International Socialists she used to appear in ... well, why not find out for yourselves? Happy Googling!
UPDATE. Exercise caution. Some sites located during these searches are total monsters, what with the multiple screens and the spam robots and the worms seeking out your haaaard drive, hoyven glavin. So watch it.
Eric Olsen previews Warren Zevon’s next - and last - album.
A glimpse into the exciting and dangerous world of special education, courtesy of Tard Blog:
I go back to my desk to begin sharpening tard pencils. Most of the tards come up, including Joe. One by one they hand me their pencils and I sharpen them. Joe steps up and hands me a magic marker.
I manage to explain to Joe that it isn't a pencil, and you don't need to sharpen it. Joe insists that it is a pencil and that I have to sharpen it. I'm about to explain for a second time, when Joe grabs the marker and shoves it in the pencil sharpener. He starts cranking the poor thing like crazy and the marker begins bleeding all over the desk. By the time I pulled Joe away from the sharpener he had mauled the marker down to a one inch stub.
Those who witnessed it will never forget the African Claw Frog Incident:
The class used to have a fish bowl on top of the cabinet with African claw frogs in it. One time, one of the cabinet legs bent in and the fish bowl fell on the floor. It took me most of that morning to calm down the tards.
And don’t miss Lunch lady gets the smack down. Tardtastic!
George Galloway was framed! The documents were forgeries!
Well, some documents were. Specifically those obtained by the Christian Science Monitor:
On April 25, 2003, this newspaper ran a story about documents obtained in Iraq that alleged Saddam Hussein's regime had paid a British member of Parliament, George Galloway, $10 million over 11 years to promote its interests in the West.
An extensive Monitor investigation has subsequently determined that the six papers detailed in the April 25 piece are, in fact, almost certainly forgeries.
So, is George off the hook? Out of jail? Home free? Not exactly:
On April 22, London's Daily Telegraph reported that papers retrieved by their correspondent David Blair from the ruins of Iraq's Foreign Ministry described alleged government payoffs to Mr. Galloway, a Labour Party MP and longtime critic of the West's hardline toward Mr. Hussein. The Daily Telegraph report received widespread attention in the European press and throughout the world.
However, the Monitor's documents were different in many details from those of the Daily Telegraph, and came from a different source.
One of the experts consulted by the CS Monitor has few immediate doubts about the Telegraph’s documents:
After examining copies of two pages of the Daily Telegraph's documents linking Galloway with the Hussein regime, Mneimneh pronounces them consistent, unlike their Monitor counterparts, with authentic Iraqi documents he has seen.
Looks like the CS Monitor was duped by one General Rasool, who quickly realised after the Telegraph’s scoop that documents bearing Galloway’s name might earn him a few quick bucks. Meanwhile Galloway is still trying to prove that the Telegraph’s documents are fake. Keep at it, George!
Robert Shilkin on Australian anti-Americanism:
The members of Australia's anti-war set are now choked by such a thick fog of anti-Americanism that it prevents them from responding rationally to any issue with which America is even tangentially involved. Most on Australia's left display an unthinking knee-jerk reaction to all decisions or statements that emanate from the current US administration. In their narrow world, everything that President Bush and the "neo-cons" say, or do, must be wrong. It is simply not possible to reasonably engage in debate with Australians of this mindset.
Read whole thing.
A little-known fact: jet aircraft emit no pollutants when environmentalists are aboard.
Global warming over the next century could trigger a catastrophe to rival the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet, scientists have warned.
Global warming author Mark Lynas, who recently travelled around the world witnessing the impact of climate change, said the findings must be a wake up call for politicians and citizens alike.
He said: "There needs to be an immediate phase-out of coal, oil and gas and a phase in of clean energy sources. People can no longer ignore this looming catastrophe."
I agree. We must ban authors from travelling around the world. Unless they do it on foot.
Mahatir Mohamad says y’all be sexual preverts, and doggone greedy with it:
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad launched a vitriolic attack on the European race today, accusing them of warmongering, indiscriminate attacks on Muslims, greed and sexual deviancy. Europeans, including "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand", wanted "to control the world again", he said.
Yee-ha! And he’s only getting started. Our base desires are a matter of great concern to old man Mohamad, who don’t much like fellers marryin’ fellers or any other kind of funny stuff:
"Marriage between male and male, between female and female are officiallly recognised by them. What we call incest is not regarded as serious by them.
"The culture and the values which they will force us to accept will be hedonism, unlimited quest for pleasure, the satisfaction of base desires, particularly sexual desires. Our way of life must be the same as their way of life. Asian values do not exist for them.”
For more on these chaste and pure Asian values, visit Conrad. He’s been studying them at length.
The case of the Brooklyn shoe killer has been closed:
A jury threw out manslaughter charges against a 220-pound woman alleged to have sat on her ex-lover's chest and clubbed him to death with her size 12 high-heeled shoe, her lawyer said on Tuesday.
The bizarre early morning fight in Brooklyn on June 7 made newspaper headlines, but a New York State Supreme Court grand jury decided on Monday that Anna Rhinehart, 40, acted in self-defense.
Rhinehart told police she fought Bonds in self-defense after he punched her in the mouth, knocking out her two front teeth. The struggle began when Bonds became angry after seeing Rhinehart at a restaurant with another man, police said.
Wonder how the rest of the date worked out.
How hard does Silvio Berlusconi rock?
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told France on Tuesday it should ''shut up'' about his Middle East policy.
''They missed a good opportunity to shut up,'' Berlusconi told reporters in response to French criticism of his decision not to meet Palestinian leaders during a recent trip to Israel.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said this week that Berlusconi had ''not satisfied the European position'' by holding talks only with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his June 9 visit to Jerusalem.
''I went (to Israel) as the prime minister of Italy. There's no way France can issue criticism over something that was the sole right and responsibility of the Italian prime minister,'' Berlusconi said, clearly bristling with irritation.
His choice of words in telling France to keep quiet precisely echoed comments made by French President Jacques Chirac earlier this year when he criticised east European leaders for their staunch backing of the U.S. position on Iraq.
Way to go:
A motorcyclist was recorded travelling at 157mph as he flashed past a police camera, followed by a friend doing 148mph, a court was told yesterday.
It is believed to be the highest speed recorded on a British road and both riders were warned to expect a stiff penalty after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.
My own personal best: a mere 135mph. Post your criminal speeding triumphs in the comments.
The Ace of Diamonds has been cut from the pack:
US forces have captured Saddam Hussein's top aide and presidential secretary, a man who American officials believe knows the fate of the deposed Iraqi leader and has information about banned weapons.
Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was No. 4 on the US most-wanted list of Iraqi leaders, behind only Saddam and sons Qusay and Uday.
And his moustache out-fuzzes them all. Inspect it for WMDs!
Richard Schickel on Michael Moore:
“I despise our gun laws in the States, too. But Moore’s tactics, I think, give aid and comfort to the enemy. In short, he’s careless with his facts, hysterical in debate and, most basically, a guy trying to make a star out of himself. He’s a self-aggrandiser and, perhaps, the very definition of the current literary term, ‘the unreliable narrator’. This guy either can’t or won’t stick to the point, build a logical case for his arguments. It’s all hysteria — but, I think, calculated hysteria.”
And from the same Times article, these comments from Moore’s former manager:
“He’s the only client I ever fired in writing. He was the most difficult human being I’ve ever met. There was no one who even came close. Michael Moore would never withstand the scrutiny he lays on other people. You would think that he’s the ultimate common man. But he’s money-obsessed.”
(Via Damian Penny)
Bernie Slattery, recently moved to a sparkling new Movable Type home, has been hectoring Media Watch over the program’s reluctance to investigate its commie pals. On Monday he posted this at the MW guestbook:
Again I await tonight's MW to see if there's any mention of Phillip Adams' plagiarism. Will I be doubly surprised and see Margot Kingston castigated for delivering a racist slur on Radio National? I think not. MW unfailingly delivers proof of its left wing bias by never pursuing bad journalism if it comes from the flat earth of socialism.
Bernie received this reply from the guestbook’s moderator, MW exec producer Peter McEvoy:
UPDATE. McEvoy now defends the use of “nigger in the woodpile”:
Media Watch is a program about the media and journalism that promotes a number of principles, including free speech. The phrase "nigger in the woodpile" is a colloquialism, which means a hidden or unacknowledged problem. Some people may feel it's in bad taste, but we wouldn't pick up someone for using the term in context.
What “context” does he mean? The speaker was talking about the abberant nature of NSW in Australian politics, or somesuch. Any number of less offensive terms may have been chosen to describe this. There’s no way “nigger in the woodpile” can be used in an accurate context unless you’re talking about ... well, an actual nigger in a woodpile.
As for promoting free speech, Media Watch criticised Miranda Devine for using the word “cockroaches” to describe terrorists, and Fox’s Neil Cavuto for the phrase “Shi’ites have hit the fan”. Some people - Media Watch, obviously - believed these to be in such poor taste that they should be highlighted and condemned. “Niggers” is OK, though. In context.
Regarding Adams, Media Watch once defined plagiarism as “taking other people’s work and passing it off as your own”. Sounds simple enough. Here’s an example, as broadcast by Media Watch last June. Note the substantial differences between the original SMH piece and Matt Sun’s re-write; by comparison, Adams' lifting from the New York Review of Books is far more blatant. If Matt is guilty, so must be Phil.
Did Candace Bushnell really say this?
"I talk to tonnes of guys when I go out - nice, single, married - about what they think and feel."
Australia’s forces in the Gulf have been welcomed home by Sydney crowds:
Claire Bibby, a solicitor, was typical of those along the route, having endorsed Australia's involvement from the beginning. "You have to have faith that John Howard did what he thought was right for the country based on the information that was given to him at the time," she said.
Able Seaman Stacey Milosevich, who had wept as she left Garden Island for the Gulf on her 20th birthday, was pleased to be home. And welcome.
"To have the community behind you is so good; it's like having a big street party with everyone embracing what you did," she said.
Anne Jongkind was in tears. "I had to come and welcome them all home, all these young people going off to protect our country," she said.
"They put their lives on the line for us and if we can't appreciate that then there's something wrong with this country."
Superexpert Alison Broinowski believes that Australia should have been all Swiss and neutral during the recent unpleasantness, just like the Asian countries. Alan R. M. Jones points out that Broinowski is, er, misinformed. And that she's a goddamn raving snob who thinks working class beer drinkers invite terror.
It’s been nearly two months since documents turned up in Baghdad apparently linking George Galloway to Iraqi oil money. “They are forgeries!” screamed George, who now says that the dates in the documents are accurate - and that he needs yet more time to prove his case:
George Galloway confirmed for the first time yesterday that he was in Iraq on the day that documents found by The Telegraph allege he met an Iraqi intelligence officer there to discuss "continuous financial support".
The suspended Labour MP also admitted that he was "not yet" in a position to disprove the documents, which he claimed were forgeries and which were discovered in the looted foreign ministry in Baghdad.
The papers purport to show that Mr Galloway received money from Saddam Hussein's regime - a slice of oil earnings worth at least £375,000 a year.
When a rock-tossing amateur athlete can spend less than 15 minutes on the web confirming a writer's humiliating legacy of bias, after reading one of his stories for the first time, then ya gotta know the jig is up.
Fact-checked by a rock-tosser. Excellent.
It may be part of the US but it doesn't see itself as a part of mainstream America except for the Confederate flags (in the back windows of all those pick-ups), the patriotism and the stars-and-stripes T-shirts emblazoned with "These colours don't run" ...
Most Alaskans happily voted for George Bush because he promised to open up the state's wilderness area for oil drilling, and oil drilling is something Alaskans reckon they do very well ... As well, there seem to be only three types of males living in the state. The Willie Nelson look-alikes, the Unabomber look-alikes and the hippie refugees. All of them wear check jackets, blue jeans, boots, long hair, beards and have a rolling, slightly bandy gait. The women, in contrast, are loud, wild and tough and many have more than a passing resemblance to Roseanne Barr.
Fat yokels. No wonder they voted for Bush.
Andrew Bolt de-Pilgers recent history in Iraq:
In Pilger's film, the Australian-born activist "journalist", who was recently the subject of a fawning exhibition at the Melbourne Museum, is shown touring a Baghdad hospital's children's ward.
There are skeletal children just hours from death, children catatonic with pain, children too weak to blink.
And there's an Iraqi doctor who silkily explains that many such children could have been saved -- if the United Nations hadn't imposed sanctions on Iraq that stopped these children from getting food and drugs.
Pilger, who has built a career in demonising democracies like ours, believed it. Believed it greedily. Thanks largely to our sanctions, he said, "at least 200 children are dying every day". The "viciousness" of our embargo -- imposed to stop Saddam from building more weapons -- could be called a "genocide".
But now for the truth -- because the peddlers of such corrosive hate-speech must be exposed and shamed, if not into silence then into moderation.
Go read the rest.
The Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age have Australian rights to republish items from The Guardian. It’s taken The Age more than a week to print David Aaronovitch’s June 10 piece outlining the Baghdad museum looting myth; the SMH hasn’t run it at all.
Here’s how the SMH reported the “looting” back in April, when it didn’t occur:
It is a cultural catastrophe. Yesterday the museum's exhibition halls and security vaults were a barren mess - display cases smashed, offices ransacked and floors littered with handwritten index cards recording the timeless detail of more than 170,000 rare items that were pilfered.
Worse, in their search for gold and gems, the looters gained access to the museum's underground vaults, where they smashed the contents of the thousands of tin trunks in which curatorial staff had painstakingly packed priceless ceramics that tell the story of life from one civilisation to the next down through 9000 fabled years in Mesopotamia.
As Mark Steyn notes, the current official number of missing items is down to ... 33.
Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin: Saddam Hussein, puppy dogs, Simon Crean, infernal bitch goddess Nature, Pol Pot, Steve Bracks, Cathy Bannister, Mr Toyota Camry, cane toads, Christopher Hitchens, the Dixie Chicks, and Hamas.
Here’s why we capitalistic tyrants support globalisation in the developing world:
Ten years ago, when Nike was established in Vietnam, the workers had to walk to the factories, often for many miles. After three years on Nike wages, they could afford bicycles. Another three years later, they could afford scooters, so they all take the scooters to work (and if you go there, beware; they haven’t really decided on which side of the road to drive). Today, the first workers can afford to buy a car.
Buy Nike, and liberate a third-world peasant.
Should the disabled be sterilised? Maybe only the ones who are members of the Australian Democrats. The ABC presented a program on this issue Monday night, and it wandered all over the place, lumping together the mentally incapacitated (unable to make such decisions) with articulate but physically compromised cerebral palsy sufferers (very able to make such decisions). Leave ‘em alone, I began to rant, when some shocking footage was shown involving an intellectually disabled fellow named Matthew Rushford:
DEBBI RUSHFORD, MOTHER: Matthew started working at the sheltered workshop in about July last year, I think it was, and Rhonda was already working there and that's where he met her. When Matthew started telling me that he had a new girlfriend, it was very interesting. It actually took Matthew two weeks to be able to remember what Rhonda's name was after he'd met her. He kept saying, "My girlfriend, my girlfriend. Um, what's her name?" As soon as I realised it was looking a bit more serious, I suggested to Matthew that if he thought he was likely to have sex with Rhonda he should make sure he had condoms, and asked him did he remember about using them. "Yes, yes, yes, you've told me." So I guess I was a bit surprised when it turned out that she was pregnant. I got home and he said, "Aren't you happy, Mum?" And I said, "Well, not really, Matthew."
JANINE COHEN: Why wasn't she happy that Rhonda was having your baby?
MATTHEW RUSHFORD: Oh, because I forgot wearing a condom.
JANINE COHEN: You forgot to wear a condom?
MATTHEW RUSHFORD: Yes.
JANINE COHEN: How did you forget?
MATTHEW RUSHFORD: Um... Oh, um...I don't know. I forgot buying the condom and forgot putting it on.
JANINE COHEN: Do you think you should have had a baby, Matthew?
MATTHEW RUSHFORD: I don't know.
That wasn’t the shocking part; I’m fine with Matthew and Rhonda having a kid. But following this was footage of Matthew driving a car. If anyone here travels even five kilometres per hour over the posted limit, they’re regarded as such dangers that they must be fined; yet we’re apparently handing out driving licences to people who can’t remember their girlfriend’s name, have no idea whether they’ve done the right thing by having a child, and possess a mental age of about eight. Hey, I like disabled folks, but I also like sharing the road with people who won’t forget what a red light means.
On Friday night, a commentator on Melbourne’s Triple M football team applied Australian abbreviation regulations to describe a failed torpedo attempt during the North Melbourne - Essendon game as a “torpey mung”.
Remember these guys?
Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee have resigned to protest the looting of Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities.
Martin E. Sullivan, Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan, each appointed by former President Clinton, said they were disappointed by the U.S. military's failure to protect Iraq's historical artifacts.
"The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation's inaction," Sullivan, the committee's chairman, wrote in his letter of resignation.
Sullivan appeared on Australian radio a couple of days ago, chatting with P. Adams. He sounded about as embarrassed as you’d expect, but at least had the grace to say he was glad to be proven wrong about the tragedy that never happened. “Me too!” bellowed Phil. “I’m happy to eat crow.” (By the looks of him, Phil is happy to eat anything). Another guest mentioned the destruction of museums in Afghanistan under the Taliban. This seemed to take Adams by surprise. “One forgets that the Taliban had ideological objections to much that was contained in the museums,” he said. (I’m paraphrasing; go listen to the audio for the full load of crap.) Strange how little is made of the Taliban’s artistic “criticism”, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, museum action continues in Baghdad:
Iraq's national museum, home to many priceless artefacts which were thought to have been looted after the fall of Baghdad, has been plunged into a new crisis because of a revolt by staff.
More than 130 of the 185 staff of Iraq's state board of antiquities office in Baghdad, which runs the museum, have signed a petition demanding the resignation of its directors.
Staff said they believed that some of the thefts from the museum were an inside job. They also accused Dony George, the board's head of research, of arming them and ordering them to fight US forces.
And Robert Corr smites Phil’s latest column. Fine smiting it is, too.
Stephen Mayne is publishing lies about me. Subscribers to Mayne's Crikey site may recently have read these letters in his e-mail bulletins:
What's with The Australian giving Tim Blair AND Dick Morris the space to slag off their ex-employers? One sacked for incompetence and the other for gross unprofessionalism and no disclaimer to that effect. I wonder if Chris Mitchell is going to give space for anybody fired by Rupert Murdoch to slag him off.
I’ve never been sacked for incompetence or gross unprofessionalism; actually, as Mayne knows, I’ve never been sacked. That letter ran last week - this week the idiot publishes another, in response to Crikey’s call for nominations for Australia’s shallowest journalist:
My nomination would be Tim Blair - but does he qualify as a journo? He is as shallow as a midsummer puddle in Perth, and has the dubious distinction of not cutting it in the Oz, where fellow shallowers like Miranda Devine flourish.Tim hates Pilger, whose work he derides as having a lie on every page but I believe that Tim should be re named Tim Bliar.
Clever readers you've got, Stephen! Again, I left The Australian. I wasn't fired. The Australian wanted me to stay. (Incidentally, Miranda Devine works for The Sydney Morning Herald, not The Australian).
I’ve written to Mayne about this and so far have received no response. Beats me why I ever supported the bastard, or contributed to his site, or helped him when he called asking for advice before a television interview. Have fun going broke, mate.
Here's the first line from Saturday’s column by Phillip Adams:
Endless, relentless repetition.
Adams is an expert on the subject.
John Naughton identifies the problem:
The mainstream US media seem to be largely in cahoots with Bush, Ashcroft & Co. It is as if the opposition to Bush has been atomised into millions of isolated individuals who are afraid to speak out because they fear being labelled unpatriotic.
In the current hysterical atmosphere, putting an anti-Bush poster in your window might result in a brick being thrown through it. Alternatively, of course, it might result in a ring at the doorbell and a neighbour saying 'Thank God someone has spoken out against this nonsense'. The point is that you cannot know in advance, and nobody is willing to take the risk.
”Nobody”? Next, Naughton proposes a solution to his imagined terror-state:
Now comes a thought that links Amazon with political atomisation. In principle, it would be possible to use collaborative filtering and other data matching techniques to allow people safely to describe themselves in terms of political or ideological values, and then provide them with anonymised contact details of others in their locality who have similar profiles.
It's really just an extension of online dating, but with a political slant. There would, of course, need to be serious security precautions - but then these are already taken by dating services.
The point would not be to facilitate the creation of virtual communities of like-minded people who might be physically located anywhere on the globe, but to enable the discovery of local communities of interest in cultures (like much of the US today) where overt demonstrations of individual dissent require more courage than most citizens possess. There is safety in numbers: but first you have to get the numbers. Maybe the Net could provide them.
This is a grave slur upon America’s anti-Bush dissidents. Naughton believes they are too stupid and timid to seek out like-minded pals. Hasn’t he heard of Indymedia?
Why are peaceniks unable to accomplish even simple tasks without ending up in trouble?
A professor's plans to bicycle 1,300 miles to promote world peace derailed in North Charleston on Friday after, authorities say, he tried to get a driver's license with a bogus Social Security card.
Luis Rodriguez, a 52-year-old English professor from Cuernavaca, Mexico, said he was only a week into his planned ride from Miami to New York when he became scared of sharing the roads with Charleston's aggressive drivers.
Rodriguez said he decided to get a South Carolina driver's license so he could rent a car and haul his Trek bicycle to a safer environment. The problem was, he tried to use a phony document to accomplish his goal, authorities said.
"I have a clean, clean record. I have never done anything wrong in my life," Rodriguez said, his eyes brimming as he sat in a jail interview room late Friday afternoon. "I just felt very unsafe riding here. People have no respect for bicycle riders.”
Sarah Baxter of The London Times on the Wolfoditzes at The Guardian:
A powerful editor of The New York Times just lost his job over the fabrications of Jayson Blair, a young newsroom protégé. Admittedly Blair lied deliberately, pretending to be all over America when he was actually at home in Brooklyn, but his little flights of fancy look trivial next to the casual anti-American distortions of so many newspapers.
The Wolfowitz story was too good to be true and too good to check. A freelance at The Guardian was so delighted with it that he went to the trouble of translating Wolfowitz from German into English, when he had spoken in English in the first place. And the German story was wrong anyway. No matter: another journalist turned it into the splash.
And on the bloggers who unmask them:
Gregory Djerejian, 30, is an American blogger (web logger) in London who runs a site called Belgravia Dispatch. A current affairs junkie, he took only minutes to do The Guardian’s job for it. “When I saw the headline, my first reaction was Paul Wolfowitz is too smart to say anything like that, so I did a quick Google search.”
A correction was up and running on Belgravia Dispatch hours before The Guardian got around to its own. “I don’t have a political agenda,” said Djerejian, “but I get a little offended by the constant conspiratorial agenda about the Americans.”
Iraq’s oil is being sold again on world markets. Give the place a couple of decades or so, and decent leadership, and it could turn out to be another Norway - minus the socialism, of course.
It’s getting good and lively in Iran:
Hundreds of protesters called for the death of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei as thousands of onlookers watched early today, the third day of demonstrations in the capital despite threats by the hard-line regime to crack down to end the disturbances.
The three nights of demonstrations have produced the largest outpouring of public opposition against Iran's leadership in months, involving hundreds of young Iranians, some still teenagers.
They shouted chants including, "Khamenei the traitor must be hanged," "Guns and tanks and fireworks, the mullahs must be killed," and "student prisoners must be freed," witnesses said.
I’m in Melbourne for a few days, catching up with wonderful friends, researching a story, and also to have a few drinks with my grandmother, who just turned 92. “One of my sisters died last week,” she told me today (the sister was 95 - women in my family live forever). Then she rushed off to prepare for a party being thrown by a young friend of hers (only 65) while I complained about all the radar traps I passed on the drive from Sydney. “I know,” she snarled. “Coppers everywhere. And all for government revenue.” Then I realise I’m discussing the microsecond deployment of high-frequency radio waves to detect the speed of oncoming vehicles with someone whose school bus was pulled by a horse.
Find someone aged 90+ who is completely lucid and has forgotten nothing and talk to them awhile. It’s like chatting with the Smithsonian.
UPDATE. Please read the comments. Gold.
You can never be too careful when you’re dealing with hairdressers:
Mohamud admitted she took the knife with the intention of using it on her hairdresser if necessary.
In other news, the temperature in Melbourne right now is 267º C, Hillary Clinton enjoys approval ratings of 98%, and Victorian drivers get more than one million speed camera fines every year. Oh, wait ... that last one is true.
UPDATE. The Age’s version of the same story runs with 7,000 in the headline.
A Danish pizzeria owner who refused to serve French and German tourists because their governments did not back the US-led war in Iraq was convicted of discrimination today.
Aage Bjerre, who owns a pizzeria on western Denmark's Fanoe island, argued the Germans and French were "anti-American".
Police were called in, and today a Danish court fined Bjerre 5000 kroner ($1200) or said he could spend a week in jail.
"I will not pay. I'll do the time," Bjerre said after the hearing. "I feel that I was convicted for supporting the coalition."
He said he had received more than 200 letters from around the world offering support, including letters from "nearly every single state in the United States".
"That means a lot more to me than losing money."
Has anyone in Europe been convicted yet for discriminating against Americans?
It’s helltime in Israel:
A suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in downtown Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding nearly 70 a day after Hamas threatened bloody revenge for an Israeli attack on one of its leaders.
Soon after the bombing, an Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a car in Gaza City, targeting a senior Hamas militant, Israel TV reported, the second such assassination attempt in as many days.
The bombing "is a message to all the Zionist criminals that they are not safe and that the Palestinian fighters are capable of reaching them everywhere," said Mahmoud Zahar, a leader of the Islamic militant group.
Sounds like the Iraqi information minister, don’t he? Hamas, like all terrorist organisations, is destined to lose; they’ll murder perhaps hundreds of innocents during their descent, but lose they surely will, because their aims violate every principle that has triumphed throughout human history. Right now Hamas is bringing its own demise ever closer, but they’re too stupid and blood-hungry to realise it. Forget the suicide bombing, you idiots. Just kill yourselves.
White Australian middle-class university student Robert Corr says “Yay!” for the Black Panthers, who were killing people before Rob was born:
I've just finished a paper on the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, in which I claim the Black Panthers were an inevitable, necessary and desirable extension of the non-violent civil rights movement. For all the symbolic gains made in the 1950s and 1960s, the situation for the average black American was worse than when the civil rights movement started. It took a group that was willing to stand up to the racist police force and justice system while challenging white middle-class sensibilities to effect real positive change.
Not once in Corr’s 5,500 word puke-a-thon does the name “David Horowitz” appear. Tex sets him straight.
What happens to moderate Muslims who refuse to join the extremist push? Miranda Devine reports:
The story of how a little mosque in Dee Why rebuffed leaders of outlawed terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiah, is as good an illustration as any that the war against terrorism is not a clash between Islam and the West, but a battle within the Muslim world. It is a battle between heroic moderate Muslims and the militant extremists trying to hijack their religion.
The hero of this story is Zainal Arifin, 40, the courageous former imam of the Dee Why mosque who refused to allow JI members to take control in the late 1990s. He was severely bashed as a result, and endured death threats and stress for three years before calling police and taking out an AVO against his attackers in Manly Court. JI moved its base to Perth.
Community leaders in Thailand's Muslim-majority south have expressed astonishment at the arrests of three local men accused of a major bomb plot, describing the alleged terrorists as liked and respected.
Lindsey Hilsum should be thrown out of journalism:
Channel 4 News diplomatic correspondent Lindsey Hilsum has admitted that she "self-censored" her reports from Baghdad and did not tell viewers that Saddam Hussein's regime was hiding Scud missile launchers in residential areas, because she did not want to be thrown out of the city.
Hilsum saw a missile launcher in a back street of Baghdad after losing her way when driving to the scene of the first marketplace bombing in the city, in which 14 people were killed.
Although Channel 4 News was not censored by Saddam's secret police, the Mukhabarat, Hilsum decided not to report on what she had seen for fear of being ejected from the city.
How does one so opposed to the most basic element of journalism - you see something important and tell other people about it - reach the level of “diplomatic correspondent”?
(Via alert reader Andrew Murphy.)
What, no colours? We can do better than this. How about a warning system indicated by Australian native creatures?
The Age’s Pamela Bone on Iraq:
I do not see, in the light of those mass graves, how it is now possible to say this war should not have been fought.
And on the ABC:
I listen to nothing but the ABC, am grateful for it and do not believe it should be more regulated. But that doesn't mean I can't detect its biases - even when I agree with them, as I do most of the time. I have heard the sneer in the voice, the tempering of anything resembling good news with warnings of what has or might go wrong.
Hay Bush wepon masterucshin? Their it is weight no just Irak babie no leg
Maybe, to avoid all the oppression and the murders and the deporting, the Dixie Chicks should change their name. Christopher Hitchens suggests a fine new title, which Ken Layne finds amusing, although I think he once wrote a song that included those very same words. Or at least all the letters contained in those words.
This is horrible. War has erupted between the two major Moxies. I read ‘em both, because they’re smart, funny, and absolute babes. The conflict arose out of some misunderstanding over which Moxie was the first Moxie (just like WWI!) and now threatens to engulf the region (by the way, how come nothing good ever engulfs a region? Why must engulfment always be a threat?). I demand a peaceful end to this conflict, and am prepared to protest naked -- if that is what it takes.
UPDATE. Further reading indicates that Original Mox is concerned that the worth of the Moxie brand - she uses it for professional writing as well as blogstuff - may be devalued by people using the same name. She's spent some years building on this, so some complaining is perhaps understandable, although "Moxie" is used by others besides her (very skilled) online foe. Originality is difficult; decades ago, having scoured the world to be certain that his new name would be unique, the Australian boat designer Bob Miller became Ben Lexcen - and immediately received mail from Lexcens in Ireland or some place asking if he was related.
A new sculpture has taken the place of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad’s Fardus Square. Says one of its creators:
"Building the sculpture was not a political dream, but an artistic one. The last thing artists think about is politics. Politicians get paid to talk, that's the opposite of what artists do."
A Danish pizzeria owner who refused service to French and German tourists because their governments didn't back the US-led war in Iraq was convicted of discrimination today.
Aage Bjerre, who owns a pizzeria on western Denmark's Fanoe island, was investigated by police after he wouldn't serve Germans and French.
Senator Bob Brown wants a Senate inquiry into pre-war claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Andrew Bolt requests a broader inquiry:
Let's start with Brown's warning on the ABC's Insiders program last September that "there may be hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq".
Well, that proved false, didn't it? The true civilian death toll seems fewer than perhaps 3000. Tragic, but it's still fewer than an average month's violent deaths under Saddam. So let's have an inquiry into that bit of disgraceful scaremongering.
Let's also investigate the claims promoted by his fellow Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, when she hosted the launch in Parliament House last November of a report by the Medical Association for Prevention of War.
This report, treated by the media with great respect, said the war in Iraq was "likely to result in between 48,000 and 260,000 deaths", and perhaps "millions of refugees and displaced people", as well as "famine and epidemics".
Each of those predictions has been proved utterly wrong. In fact, instead of creating millions of refugees, the war achieved the opposite -- refugees are returning to freed Iraq.
So were these claims, endorsed by the Greens, another example of "political dishonesty"? Were they "exaggerated and, in some cases, fabricated"?
The Greens - exaggerating? Say it isn’t so.
This sure makes me feel a whole lot better about being treated like a potential terrorist every time I fly:
A member of a violent Indonesian group with suspected links to Jemaah Islamiah and al-Qaeda has been actively fundraising in Sydney for "jihad" while working as a shuttle bus driver at Sydney airport.
The Australian understands that the man, who is known as Dance Darmince but often uses the alias Mohammad Darimi, heads a small group of Laskar Jihad members in Sydney and has been co-ordinating their fundraising efforts for the past five years.
Mr Darmince is an Australian citizen with an Australian passport and has been living in Sydney's Lakemba area for about 20 years.
Hairdressing is no occupation for the meek:
Heidelberg hairdresser Luul Jimale thought she had done a reasonable job of trying to redden Farhia Ali Mohamud's jet-black hair one Friday last year.
But after a weekend of phone insults, the irate customer returned to her shop on the Monday morning and stabbed Ms Jimale 14 times.
This week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin mentions Kim Beazley, Simon Crean, John Howard, Henry VII, Leonid Brezhnev, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Grease, the Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee on Nuclear Power, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tony King, Jilly Cooper, Sean McCarthy, Rene Rivkin, Di Fingleton, Shane Chartres-Abbott, McDonald's, Jack Straw, Colin Powell, and Paul Wolfowitz.
The Bunyip has been eavesdropping on conversations at the Sydney Morning Herald ...
A Greenpeace spokesman - named Red, naturally - demands that a gigantic global industry close itself down:
International environmental watchdog Greenpeace yesterday called on the coal industry to stop producing coal and to invest instead in clean and renewable energy.
"The coal industry bears a heavy responsibility in inflicting damage to the environment," a Greenpeace statement quoted one of its activists as telling a conference of coal companies in Bali.
"This industry should stop promoting coal and start investing in renewable energy," the activist, Red Constantino, was quoted as saying.
Greenpeace said Constantino told delegates at CoalTrans Asia 2003, an annual gathering of the world's largest coal companies, to act against the threat of climate change caused by burning coal.
Which terrible racist thinks associating with Arabs brings “nothing but shame and heartache"? Let’s find out:
Iraq is not the only place where pan-Arabism is coming under critical scrutiny. Libya is already distancing itself from the so-called Arab world. According to our sources, Colonel Muammar Kaddafi, the Libyan "Supreme Guide," plans to announce his withdrawal from the Arab League sometime in August. The Libyan "Popular Assembly" has just passed a bill to drop the word "Arab" from the country's official name. From next September Libya will describe itself as "The African Republic of Libya". "Associating with Arabs has brought us nothing but shame and heartache," says Seyf al-Islam Kaddafi, the colonel's son and possible successor.
My, my. The UN will not be impressed.
Whiskey bent Andrew Lloyd is now substantially less hell bound after moving to his new, non-blogger location. Go pay him a visit, and demand access to his hoarded stocks of single malt.
A woman whose ex-boyfriend died after she beat him with her size-12 high-heel shoe was charged with manslaughter Sunday, police said.
Roosevelt Bonds, 51, died early Saturday after the brawl outside a Brooklyn nightclub, police said. Anna Rhinehart, 40, apparently knocked him down and beat him repeatedly with the shoe, police said.
A CIA report has named a Sydney man as Osama bin Laden's "man on the ground" in Australia, it was claimed last night.
According to Four Corners, the CIA report, issued last June and based on uncorroborated intelligence from the Palestinian Authority, said al-Qaeda was very active in Australia.
It said there were "rank and file and leadership elements heading to Australia with forged passports". It named Bilal Khazal, a resident of Lakemba, Sydney, as having connections with al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
It said Mr Khazal, named by the program as the man behind the Sydney-based Islamic Youth Movement's magazine and website, had been closely watched since September 11.
Russia's FSB security services arrested 121 members of the Hizbi Tahrir party in Moscow, dismantling the cell of a group that aims to set up a Muslim state in Central Asia, the FSB said.
NTV television aired footage of the Friday raid, showing dozens of young men lined up against a brick wall as armed soldiers in camouflage stood guard.
"These are terrorists who want to overthrow the existing regime by military means," the FSB's top spokesman, Sergei Ignatchenko, told the channel.
According to Harold Evans, the right-wingers who despise the New York Times don’t even read the newspaper:
The news of the double resignation has caused rejoicing among the more paranoid circles of the right, who have never read the Times and never will but know in their hearts that it represents all that is rotten about the left. They associate it with the cultural excesses of the long-gone '60s, the ignominious American retreat from Vietnam, the eight years of Clintonism, the reluctance to take every word of George W. as gospel.
Harold hasn’t met these people and never will but knows in his heart what they believe.
Some on the right believe this nonsense even when they read the paper, since they take the opinions in the editorial and opinion pages as representative of the whole paper. This is a misunderstanding of the subtle relationships in The New York Times.
Where were the human shields?
Witnesses described yesterday how Iraqi intelligence officers executed at least 150 prisoners in early April, three days before US troops entered Baghdad.
The bodies of the dead, all blindfolded with cloth torn from their shirts and with their hands tied behind their backs, were dumped in a long trench in the grounds of the Salman Pak military training camp, 35 kilometres south-east of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, at ABC Watch:
AS THE MASS GRAVES OF SADDAM'S VICTIMS ARE UNCOVERED, and UNCOVERED , so the campaign against the liberators of Iraq for what they have yet to uncover continues, and continues and continues and continues and continues and continues and continues and continues........
Visit ABC Watch and scroll down for this post, and all the links contained therein.
The Washington Post on Iraqi looterism:
Reports describing the looting of Iraq's archaeological treasures from the national museum were exaggerated.
Most Australian media outlets have failed to correct initial Fiskian accounts of museum looting, which have now become Accepted Truth. Sad.
... because they eat workers:
Cannibalism is increasing in North Korea following another poor harvest and a big cut in international food aid, according to refugees who have fled the stricken country.
The reporter is being polite. What he means to say is “Following years of communism.”
Anyone caught selling human meat faces execution, but in a report compiled by the North Korean Refugees Assistance Fund (NKRAF), one refugee said: "Pieces of 'special' meat are displayed on straw mats for sale. People know where they came from, but they don't talk about it."
Wow! North Korea is almost as bad as George W. Bush’s police state.
This stupid joke idea reads better now than when it was written. Here’s a segment of Annie Hall in which Alvy’s lines have been replaced by comments about Maureen Dowd originally posted at Free Republic:
Scene: Lovers ANNIE and ALVY are in bed. ANNIE is propped up on one elbow, gazing adoringly at ALVY.
ANNIE: Alvy, let's never break up again. I don't wanna be apart.
ALVY: You are an exceptional liar. You betray the truth at every turn. You care not a whit about the facts of the matter. You blame entirely one side, while ignoring the crimes of the other. And you have lost much of the prestige that you formerly enjoyed.
Improved Sydney suburb slogans. Linked here at Bondi Junction, “home of the drunken Irish backpacker”.
The London Times on bloggers and the NYT:
Like British tabloid newspapers in hot pursuit of a wounded politician, they never gave up on their quarry.
The paper was pilloried for distorting polls on President George W Bush and for running the most doom-laden stories it could find on the war in Iraq. From the claim that Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, was against the war (his position was more nuanced) to revelations of a financial link between a columnist and Enron, the collapsed energy company, no subject was too large or too small for their notice.
Their latest target is Maureen Dowd, a star writer who jeered at Bush for claiming that Al-Qaeda was “not a problem any more” and has yet to acknowledge that she played fast and loose with his words.
The attacks on The New York Times have added to the suspicion among Democrats that internet pundits are part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” once alleged by Hillary Clinton.
Which explains why we bloggers are all so wealthy - Richard Mellon Scaife is funding us via PayPal.
UPDATE. Working links to the Times piece may be found here.
Take this test and post your grim results in the comments (being an obsessive law-abider, my sentence was only two years). I'm about to flee south at a state-mandated 15 kmh, or whatever the speed limit is this days, for farm fun in Bowral; back late Sunday.
I’ll never fly to Mars.
A light aircraft has crashed in LA:
At least 10 people were injured, five critically today when a light aircraft crashed into an apartment block in a densely populated Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles, fire officials said.
The Cessna aircraft ploughed into a building in the Hollywood area at around 3.50pm (0845 Saturday AEST), sparking a ferocious fire and spawning panic through the neighbourhood.
Too early for any details on the likely cause of the crash. This Reuters piece says the plane went all the way through the building, from roof to basement.
UPDATE. The aircraft was a Beech Bonanza, not a Cessna. This AP piece has a photograph of the crash site.
With trembling hand and fluttering heart I read the fax from Media Watch. It was very polite. Was I aware that the United States senator Robert Byrd had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan?
Had I known that fact when I referred to his "admirable background" in a piece I wrote about him last month? Did this change my view about that background?
Media Watch was keen to include all relevant facts and opinions on this matter, said the fax, just a bit pompously.
The program would appreciate my response by 10am Monday, June 9, 2003.
Well, the answers are no, no and yes. I was unaware that Byrd had indeed worn the pointy hood for two years from 1942. Plainly, that renders his background considerably less than admirable.
Took Media Watch long enough. Maybe next they'll start paying attention to Phillip Adams.
Bars are banning smoking, cell phones, and now possibly even swearing. Expect alcohol to be next.
Bloomberg news is apparently reporting that Howell Raines has resigned at the NYT. More soon, if this is true.
Where are the WMDs? BoJo knows:
I know exactly what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and I cannot believe I am alone. You have only to go to Baghdad to see immediately what must have happened.
There is one simple reason for the amazing no-show by the WMD: in so far as they ever existed, they have probably all been looted. If they were at all valuable, if even their bronze casings were of interest to the Bedouin pedlars, then they have been taken and flogged, distributed to the four corners of the world, along with the Akkadian vases, the bullion and Tariq Aziz's cigar case, currently in my desk drawer.
Maureen Dowd edits Damian Penny!
... but then again some folks’ll. Like Finn Enger, the Drammen yokel.
Andrew Bolt on tax mooch and blame-Australianoid Alison Broinowski:
It feels far more virtuous to savage rich capitalist whites for their "racism", than to criticise brown racists for blowing such whites to bits.
No doubt Broinowski would characterise this as another example of what happens when Australia “invites the region’s contempt”:
An al-Qaeda plot to assassinate mining magnate Joseph Gutnick in Melbourne has been revealed.
Intelligence sources last night confirmed they knew of a terrorist plot to bomb Mr Gutnick's home in St Kilda before the September 11 attacks on America.
Rumours of a rift between John Howard and Peter Costello are clearly false.
One of Maureen Dowd’s impressive sources (her optometrist? Some gal at the waxing salon?) has Colin Powell nailed:
As the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, prepared to make his case for invading Iraq to the UN on February 5, a friend of his told me that he had to throw out hours' worth of sketchy intelligence other Bush officials were trying to stuff into his speech. He reportedly became so frustrated that he tossed several pages in the air saying, "I'm not reading this. This is $%&."
MARK COLVIN: What do you think of the report that Colin Powell looked at some of the intelligence he was given and said that it [was] a pile of expletive deleted?
ANTHONY CORDESMAN: The problem with reports like that is, I doubt that they come from Colin Powell.
One problem when you're doing these unsourced background reports is you can say anything you want. You as a journalist are basically accusing governments of not being responsible by quoting people you cannot name saying that somebody said something under circumstances where you have no corroborating evidence.
And it is a fascinating exercise in how you can use any rumour or report you want to criticise a government. Again, if you look down the list of what Secretary Powell said, the uncertainties and the issue he raised are raised in the UNSCOM and UNMOVIC reports, they weren't invented whole.
Could anybody have known exactly what Iraq was doing in a climate of concealment, of lies, of proven cheating, of continued imports, of discovered programmes that were in clear violation of the UNSCOM regulation? The answer to that is no – intelligence isn't psychic and it can't look inside buildings of trace every activity, there's no magic capabilities involved.
Meanwhile reader Bruce Bridges has begun a letter-writing campaign to the New York Times in which he complains bitterly about Maureen Dowd comments - that he has aggressively altered by means of Dowdesque ellipses:
I would like to bring to your attention something that Maureen Dowd wrote today:
"For the first time in history ... war is over."
It seems that this is an incredible statement to make even if you are a Pulitzer Prize winner. How can she be so sure? What gives her the ability to make such an announcement?
Have your fact checkers confirmed that this is actually true?
Join in the fun!
Hillary Clinton believed her husband’s lies about Monica Lewinsky for six whole months. Imagine that wily intellect in the White House.
Anti-Americanism is way up. Or it's declining. The Guardian doesn’t know:
The conflict in Iraq has left lasting rancour, with anti-American sentiment widespread and at an all-time high in the Muslim world, a global research project released yesterday said.
But a paragraph or so later:
Although anti-US sentiment has waned since March in the 20 countries surveyed ...
It’s waned all the way to an all-time high! The above was noted by Michael Stillwell, who writes:
"Waning" is correct -- the full report (see table on page 29) shows that in all cases where a direct comparison is possible, the people view the U.S. *more* favourably now than three months ago.
Actually, the entire report is interesting, and isn't particularly anti-American. e.g. Americans have a more favourable view of ethnic and racial minorities than Western Europeans. (“African Americans and Hispanics are viewed much more positively in the U.S. than are Turks in Germany, North Africans in France, and Albanians in Italy.”)
UPDATE. The Melbourne Age reprints The Guardian’s story - and omits the line about waning anti-US sentiment ...
George W. Bush, the US President, has used his weekly radio address to again steal his nation.
(Via Andjam in comments)
Scott Wickstein has revived Ken Parish’s excellent Troppo Armadillo, which may now be found here. This marks the 1,273rd time Ken has moved since mid-December; word on the street is he’s on the run from an illicit Darwin mudcrab syndicate.
The Herald Sun reports:
Contraceptives causing pregnancies
THREE contraceptives used by 240,000 Australians have caused scores of women to have unwanted pregnancies …
”Failed to prevent”, maybe.
AIEEEEE! The Pilgersaurus is back, and it’s angry at all you people for messing with Iraq and Afghanistan. Hear it roar!
Stefan Sharkansky reviews Radio James:
You read a man's column for a year, you recognize his inner voice, but you've never heard his outer one until one day when you discover two things: (1) You've been mispronouncing his name all this time-- it's Lileks as in lie'-licks almost like lilacs, not Lileks as in lill'-ucks. This will take some time to get used to, but the adjustment will be for the better. (2) The guy is a natural for the medium, a joy to listen to. In addition to the smoov resonant broadcaster voice there is also the easy going conversation style. Hewitt asked him about current events in the Gopher state -- ths year's bear hunting season (made difficult by natural food, or something like that) and a new concealed carry law. All the news from Lake Wobegone that the other Minnesota radio guy will never tell you about. It was a slightly different persona than the one on the Bleat -- none of the elaborate surprising metaphors that can't possibly be spun extemporaneously, but the refreshing friendly irony was all there. Tune in again next Monday.
Gotta get me some tapes.
Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin are the Friends of the ABC, Senator Richard Alston, vampires, Maureen Dowd, the Lufkin Daily News, Marc Masferrer, Henry Kissinger, Robert Manne, Phillip Adams, Caz Guiney, Kofi Annan, Sir William Deane, David Hicks, Exxon Mobil, Greenpeace, crazed Hansonites, Philip Ruddock, and the Howard government.
Letters continue to roll in. This, from Gary Carroll, deserved to be Letter of the Week:
Surely you are not paying him for this rot.
As a wealthy hobby journalist, I do not require The Bulletin’s money. I only accept it to finance my shooting charity. Give the children guns!
Q: How do you confuse a blonde?
A: Tell her that the same people who predicted hundreds of thousands of casualties and a massive refugee crisis are now condemning US intelligence for supplying inaccurate information about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Yo mamma's so fat that when she sits around the house, she crushes dissent against the war on terrorism.
Q: How many New York Times writers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Ten. Nine to change the bulb, and one to claim the byline.
You might be a redneck if ... that area of your neck below the hairline has been exposed to sunlight as you’ve attempted to collect copies of Stupid White Men lying discarded in the street.
Q: Did you hear the one about the United Nations taking action against Robert Mugabe’s systematic destruction of his country?
A: Me neither.
Three human shields walk into a bar. And stay there until the war in Iraq is over.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To wave its anti-war banner in front of television cameras.
UPDATE. Dan Meijer, a note from whom inspired these gaglets, gets his evil views published in the SMH:
Jeremy Gilling (Letters, June 3) wrote that the Government "should be required to admit that the ... protesters were right and they were wrong".
Would they be the protesters whose intelligence told us there would be a long protracted war, with tens of thousands of casualties on both sides, bloody street battles, and so on? No intelligence is perfect, neither the Government's nor its opponents'.
Rick Hiebert sends a remarkable article on Australian Rules Football being played in Canada. Remarkable because, unlike practically every other article on the game ever to appear in North American newspapers, this gets almost everything about the sport right. I blame the Internet and its abundance of facts.
Congratulations to writer Howard Tsumura. One small error (that I noticed, at least) did creep through; see if you can spot it.
Larry Jonestowne - a man who moves as easily from fiction to reality as ordinary people walk through doors - no longer subscribes to the New York Times. He forwards his message earlier sent to that newspaper:
Can you people please stop spamming my e-mail address, sending me junk mail & calling my house? I do not want your newspaper full of lies. If I want a newspaper full of lies I will go to the supermarket and buy the Weekly World News, or Rolling Stone. You should be ashamed every single day because of the lies you told to people who believed in what you wrote about news. How many people believed it and then did something that ended up being wrong, because of what you wrote?
I subscribed to your newspaper for 22 years. I believed every word and then I learned the truth: that you hire retarded people because of the government programs, and these people are made to write things they did not write, for reasons they did not know. First there is the one boy, then the older man with diabetes, then the "columnist" who jokes with lies about every little thing, and when would it end?
Is this the "president" now or is that your lie? I wonder because of widespread confusion, mostly because of the lies from your newspaper.
What about Russia? Did you lie about the welfares, too? This is how my mother raised me and it is honorable. Now what do you say, it is a lie, sorry?
Please take a look at the world around you , in which every person says "oh the New York Times, where you get a lie every day for one dollar."
One dollar! One dollar! If you sell a million papers that equals One Dollar! Lies, Lies, Lies! You should go to the place where people leave, and get a ticket.
First, from Michael Jennings:
I had a peculiar experience yesterday evening. I was sitting in a pub watching the cricket, and there was someone else on the other side of the pub watching the cricket. He looked very familiar to someone I went to school with, but I knew for a fact it wasn't him, because the friend I went to school with was killed in Bali last year. My point is that if you give me a gun, I'll be very happy to shoot Mr Sumandra in the back of the head for you.
From Tatterdemalian (among a bunch of excellent comments):
The reason why "dissent" is being marginalized is because the loudest dissenters are, not to put too fine a point on it, batshit insane ... The leftist media has marginalized itself, and people are turning to FOX, because while it may be biased, at least it isn't bugfuck.
And from mojo, a phrase to live by:
What would Ghengis do?
Speeding fines issued by Victorian police have increased by 330% since the Bracks government was elected in 1999. So far this year 76,673 more speed camera fines have been issued than for the same period in 2002.
This is a shakedown. People are being fined for being as little as 3 km/h (less than 2 mph) over the posted limit. And the Melbourne Age takes the government’s side, leading with:
The Bracks Government's crackdown on speeding motorists has resulted in a significant boost in revenue ... rural drivers are the main offenders ...
Disgusting. The article should begin something like this:
The Bracks Government’s doglike perversion has resulted in a significant decline in household budgets ... transport ministers are the main offenders ... smash speeding cameras ... roving gangs ... “liberty or death!” ... head on a stick ...
And then into the second paragraph.
According to Toni Morrison, Bill Clinton was the first black President: "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas."
Well, you know how blacks all come from Arkansas and only have one parent. But what of the tropes George W. Bush displays? He seeks information quickly, and from a range of sources; he is more skilled at acquiring information than he is at imparting it; and his questions are direct. “He doesn't get into global bull sessions,” says The Atlantic’s Robert D. Kaplan. “He wants your knowledge."
George W. Bush is the first Google President.
The ABC can’t get anything right:
In an article by ABC news and current affairs director Max Uechtritz on Friday's Opinion page, comments by Dr Martin Hirst of Queensland University were not attributed to Dr Hirst.
The inadvertent omission of the attribution occurred in the ABC's editing of the article before it was submitted to The Age.
Weird. The structure of the Uechtritz piece doesn’t really allow for easy attribution of Hirst's lines (which, even weirder, were published in a letter from Hirst to The Australian on the same day Uechtritz’s piece appeared). Something stupid is afoot.
A sweet obituary for the Sydney Morning Herald’s crossword king, Lindsey Browne:
Browne started writing crosswords in 1935 to top up his wage as a cadet reporter on the Herald. He admitted later to crossword addiction, completing a puzzle before breakfast every day.
The kitchen table at his home in Greenwich was often covered with thumbed and torn reference books and notepads bulging with grids and words.
Browne’s final puzzle (of 40,000 or so) is here.
It just isn’t a proper protest unless the naked French chicks turn up.
“Just about the only person criticising Bush in the US media is Sean Penn,” reports The Guardian’s Gary Younge:
Dissident voices do exist. While you will rarely hear them on television, most big newspapers have at least one columnist who was opposed to the war, and several magazines have published articles that are critical or revelatory. The problem is not so much that such views are unavailable as that they have been effectively marginalised. Only those sympathetic to them might seek them out, while others looking to form opinions are unlikely to stumble across them. Presumably Sean Penn would not have paid around $125,000 (£76,000) to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Friday to write an essay against Bush if he thought he could read it elsewhere.
But, as Younge writes, such views are readily available in “most big newspapers” and “several magazines”. Presumably Sean Penn is too stupid to find them, although he does possess the magic sympathy key required to “seek them out”. Where exactly are these dissenters being hidden? Behind fucking Garfield?
Fearing the contamination of the pool of domestic information, many Americans have voted with their remote controls and browsers. American audience figures for BBC World news leapt 28% in the first few weeks of the war, elevating its Baghdad correspondent, Rageh Omaar, to sex symbol status. Meanwhile, American visitors to the websites of the BBC and progressive news organisations such as the Guardian have risen exponentially since September 11.
Fearing the contamination of their collective minds, sailors aboard the HMS Ark Royal stopped watching the BBC. And stats at pro-war sites leapt at least as much as they did at any “progressive” (ie, not) website.
In short, views that offer an informed critical analysis of the Bush administration's foreign policy, particularly with regard to the Middle East, are not part of the national conversation in the United States.
In short, what?!
And until Americans can have that conversation with themselves they will not be equipped to converse with the rest of the world about the relative legitimacy or otherwise of their government's actions but will instead continue to retreat into a combination of belligerence, bemusement, defensiveness and demagogy.
Weren’t they the guys in the Banana Splits? “Hey, Demagogy! Check the mail!”
Is it time to destroy Robert Mugabe yet?
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader was arrested today, as the authorities sought to crush a week of anti-government demonstrations and strikes.
Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested at his home, accused of planning an illegal demonstration, said William Bango, an opposition official.
Maybe they can stay at George Galloway’s place:
Two daughters of Saddam Hussein are seeking asylum in Britain. Raghda and Rana Hussein are fleeing Baghdad to escape the fury of liberated Iraqis.
They want a home here after being booted out of the palace where they lived like princesses with their nine children.
The Guardian dares to mess with Texas:
Mr Chirac cannot expect to be invited to the Texas ranch any time soon, as Mr Putin was. This may be seen as a blessing in disguise. Texan cuisine is robust, rather than haute. And its red wine is still in the early stages of development.
So is the EU. The difference is that you have to be exposed to a lot more Texan red before you puke.
The best lines sometimes lurk in final paragraphs:
Security men removed a self-styled "shamanistic poet", Niall McDevitt, from the lecture, when he accused Prof Ferguson of trying to "alleviate guilt" [about the empire], while reciting a poem in pidgin on the imperial legacy in the New Hebrides islands in the Pacific.
"I know you are Irish," Prof Ferguson told him, "but what is your question?"
Randall Lee’s two brothers and his sister-in-law were killed in the Bali bomb attack. Now he’s been to court to see the accused, including a chanting Samudra:
"I think there's no place in the world for people like him," Lee said.
"I think he should be just taken away, shot in the back of the head and buried in a ditch with just no mark and so basically just wipe him out of existence."
The gap between the Sydney Morning Herald and reality continues to expand. Check this quote from defence minister Robert Hill in today’s SMH:
"On the basis of what we understood, the action was the right action to take," he said in Singapore. "If it turns out there were flaws in what we understood, then I think we ought to say there were flaws. But it's too early to say that.”
It’s not too early for the SMH, however, which ran this headline and lead paragraph:
Iraq's arms: Hill raises new doubts
The Defence Minister, Robert Hill, has conceded that flawed intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons capability may have influenced Australia's decision to join the war against Iraq.
Big letters, so people at the SMH can understand: HE DIDN’T SAY THAT.
When will Triumph’s debut album be released? An anxious world awaits.
If you write a friendly note to Tram Town, Semi might forward you a sample of the tragically discontinued Continuing Crisis radio show. Apparently he saved a few episodes on his computer. Hope they aren’t any of the lemons.
Via the ABC, where similar feelings abound:
Denouncing the United States, hundreds of former employees of Saddam Hussein's Information Ministry are protesting against the loss of their jobs following a US decree dissolving the ministry.
"America is against human rights. American democracy in Iraq means poverty and unemployment," they chanted.
The US civil administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, sacked more than 5,000 staff who used to run Iraqi state television, radio, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) and several newspapers, when he abolished the ministry a week ago.
"It is an unjust decision," Abdul Mutaleb Mahmoud, former journalist at al-Qadissiya newspaper, said.
Last week’s poll has concluded, and Annalise Braakensiek is duly elected as the new Governor-General! Naturally, this requires that I seek an in-depth interview. Possibly some stalking will be involved.
Meanwhile, a new poll is up. Vote once, several times, or not at all. It’s your choice!
ABC boss of news and current affairs Max Uechtritz in The Age last Friday:
The senator seems to think the media's duty in time of war is to fall meekly into line with the government of the day.
Pro-ABC academic Martin Hirst in the letters pages of The Australian last Friday:
The Senator seems to think the media's duty in time of war is to fall meekly into line with the Government.
The situation on the ground in Iraq was very fluid and many things were said by reporters and commentators that later proved false.
The situation on the ground in Iraq was very fluid and many things were said by reporters that later proved false.
Who was the copyist, and who was the originator? Is the ABC independent, or is some Higher Power supplying its talking points? Senator Richard Alston has noted these similarities and would appreciate an answer. So would we all.
Ross Gittins on Peter Costello and the vagaries of the currency market:
If you've noticed a secret smile on the face of Peter Costello, it's because he knows he has a moment of great vindication coming up.
Do you remember how, not much more than a year ago, the Opposition and myriad media pundits were crowing to high heaven about how he'd "lost $5 billion of taxpayers' money gambling in the currency market"?
It turns out to be bulldust. He hasn't lost money, he's made money. Why? Because the most amazing, unbelievable, utterly unpredictable thing has happened: the Aussie dollar has come back up!
Who'd have thought it possible? Certainly, none of last year's geniuses.
You can dismiss him as a maniac, a fool, and an idiot, but not as a crank:
Hunting is morally equivalent to rape, child abuse and torture, according to one of Britain's leading Christian experts, who is closely connected to Labour's religious establishment.
The incendiary claim, which brought immediate condemnation from pro-hunting groups, has been made by Andrew Linzey, professor of theology at Oxford University and a recognised authority on morality and its effects on people's relations with animals.
Supporters of Linzey said he could not be dismissed as a crank.
Oh, no. He’s a “recognised authority on morality”.
The ABC’s John Highfield has been in contact to correct my claim in last week’s piece for The Australian that he had quit the ABC. Turns out he has only quit presenting , and now has a management role at the ABC educating future Highfields. Which is great news. Just great.
"This is ... time to stir up divisions.
"You have ... to be told ... you must now choose between Europe and America.
"Hatred and aggression and murderous ambitions are ... our friends.
"I think it's unfortunate that ... Europe ... is right."
Is it still “crushing free speech” if the person doing the crushing is also the crushed? Ask superwimp Bill Bryson:
The Arab world is lined up as the next target for the spectacularly popular sardonic travel writing of Bill Bryson.
After describing journeys around Britain, Australia and America, Bryson is considering a new book looking at the lifestyle and culture of the Middle East.
The author later told an audience of more than 1,000 fans at the festival there were plenty of other areas of the world he had not yet visited, but that he might well 'chicken out' in the end and write next about Canada - a safer option.
'It is much, much easier for me to make fun of people in wealthy countries like Canada. I have a problem writing my kind of book about Third World countries.'
The patronising pantywaist also announced that he’s again leaving the US:
Bryson, an American who has lived in Britain, is returning to this country with his family this year and is buying a house in Norfolk.
'My reasons for leaving America are nothing to do with politics,' he said. 'It is about the education of my children, but George Bush certainly doesn't make it hard to leave. I was disappointed by Clinton, who could have been a good President, but Bush is an imbecile. The best thing he could do is retire.'
Or invade Canada. It’s the safer option.
Tony the Teacher and Supermercado have been absorbed into the Drivel Warehouse media empire. Sam Ward and Scott Wickstein are now picture bloggers. The sites of Mark Gallagher and Ken Parish are down due to a shared technical problem that defies quick analysis (“Worst case scenario: everything's been deleted,” writes Mark) and Kev Gillett has an invitation for ABC current affairs boss Max Uechtritz:
I am going to a Regimental Reunion in Wagga Wagga in August - you might like to drop in and explain to the blokes of my Infantry Battalion what you mean by 'lying bastards'.
Max should go. And the ABC should cover it.
The ABC is attempting to bluster its way out of bias accusations. The Age’s Peter Wilmoth reports:
The news and current affairs department at the centre of the controversy is not lying down. Mr Uechtritz told The Sunday Age it was "hellishly unfair" that hard-working professionals "have their work and themselves slurred by a broad brush and a narrow agenda".
Conservatives slurred by the ABC’s broad brush and narrow agenda would agree. The ABC is hellishly unfair.
The news and current affairs unit has prepared some early examples of rebuttals of Senator Alston's claims.
An item on March 21 reported on "international aid agencies . . . fear that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis could soon be streaming out of Iraq". Senator Alston cites this story as a "beat-up". He claims: "No catastrophe, not even a crisis. Only one aid agency (Red Cross), not hundreds of refugees, not even possibly."
The news and current affairs unit responded by citing a Care Australia website item that said "Care Warns of Humanitarian Catastrophe in Iraq - Care believes that the war in Iraq has the potential to cause significant civilian casualties, unleash a public health disaster . . ." It cites another website reporting that "the UN warns that up to 900,000 refugees could surge across Iraq's borders . . . while another 500,000 Iraqis could be displaced within Iraq."
The unit concluded: "The program faithfully reported the fears and preparations by several agencies concerning a large refugee problem . . . Figures in the 'hundreds of thousands' are consistent in the literature."
So the ABC was “faithfully reporting” the claims of other biased lefty organisations. Which turned out to be totally wrong. And apart from the Red Cross the groups weren't even cited by name, or quoted directly making the claims the ABC alleged. Great rebuttal. Here's Max Uechtritz defending the ABC:
In wartime, distortion - for good reasons and bad - is a given. And that's why the most essential tenet of journalism, healthy scepticism, needs to be applied with full vigour.
Where was this "healthy scepticism" over the refugee claims, Max?
Activists have rallied to support a good cause - the Exxon Mobil oil company.
Phillip Adams has somehow avoided Media Watch’s attentions over the past year or so, despite his crimes against journalism. But he still might find himself a candidate for the program’s coveted Campbell Reid Perpetual Trophy for the Brazen Recycling of Other People's Work following his Saturday column, which included the following:
Jacques amused himself, and others, with automata that played the flute and the organ. And then there was his immensely successful copper duck. History records that the creature would peck away at food, apparently swallow it through a flexible neck and then, voila! excrete it onto a silver dish. First displayed in 1739, the duck was the toast of Paris. “Without the shitting duck,” said Voltaire, “there would be nothing to remind us of the glory of France."
As the Bunyip reveals, Phillip’s shitting copper duck lines borrow heavily from the February 13 edition of The New York Review of Books:
While he entertained audiences with automata that played the flute and the organ, his most celebrated invention was a copper duck that realistically "gulped" food through a flexible neck and then excreted it on a silver platter. First displayed in 1739, the duck caused a sensation. "Without the shitting duck," Voltaire quipped, "there would be nothing to remind us of the glory of France."
Stephen Pile, a photocopier repairman from New Jersey, has strong opinions about the war in Iraq. For some reason this has attracted the attention of newspapers worldwide.
Oh, wait; my mistake. It wasn’t a photocopier repairman. It was a movie actor. And his name is Sean Penn, not Stephen Pile. Apologies.
UPDATE. Lee at Right-Thinking guides Mr Penn towards a better understanding of the issues.
Adele Horin believes that the ABC and the BBC are better than anything produced in the US. Why? Because in the US nobody is enhancing their nation’s "intellectual climate":
Britain and Australia have public broadcasters that enhance their nation's intellectual climate while the US, lacking a similar body, has hundreds of broadcasters and none worth tuppence.
Poor USA. No BBC or ABC for you. That's why Adele - blessed with ABC and BBC wisdom - is so much cleverer than all Americans. Will PBS sue her?
Australia’s alleged wooden stake hijacker isn’t a fundamentalist Muslim psycho - he is, in fact, a teetotal Catholic Hawthorn-supporting car fiend:
Mrs Brennan said Robinson was quiet and seldom had visitors to his neat brick home.
"He was a loner. He had a couple of mates over but not girls. He had a higher faith than me, he would often quote from the Bible. He was very bright."
A non-drinker, he had few hobbies but occasionally drove his white sports car to Hawthorn to barrack for the Hawks.
And he was previously employed in IT. A Hawk Geek!
Will tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix deliver Jarno Trulli’s first win? Place your bets, fellow speed freaks.