Terry Hicks, father of Wahabbist wombat David Hicks, sure has changed his tune during his son’s Guantanamo holiday. Currently posing for the cameras in New York, the evermore outraged Daddy Hicks was initially seriously reasonable about Dave’s fate:
"We don’t support him on the fact that he was fighting … I don’t believe in it and I told him what I thought of what he was doing. He’s 26 years of age. He’s his own man … He’s so adventurous, it’s only the latter part that wasn’t too bright. Now it looks as though he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison."
Then the human rights lawyers got to him, I guess, and convinced him that his kid wasn't 26 years of age and wasn't his own man.
Muslim extremists are “preaching social disharmony and intolerance” to young followers of Islam, and should be vetted by Immigration Department authorities.
Who says so? You might be surprised ...
Last night’s speech went surprisingly well. About 100 or so people turned up, which is about the same as Quadrant drew for speeches from Theodore Dalrymple and Daniel Pipes. A full house, in other words. Much thanks to Peter Kelly for inviting me, and Miranda Devine for introducing my talk.
Greg Hywood covers a few points I made about the ABC in this opinion piece in today’s SMH, except without the bitterness and the juvenile slurs. Meanwhile Mark Day says stop with all the ABC-bashing, already. Hey -- we’re only getting warmed up!
From Barwick to Bolt: Professor Bunyip examines David Marr’s history of bias.
This week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin mentions John Donne, Uday Hussein, Qusay Hussein, Matthew Jeffery, Justin Fleming, James Zala, James Oakes, Peter Bradley, Saddam Hussein, Alaa Hamed, Anne Summers, Gina Wilkinson, Nick Grimm, Ralph Peters, John Howard, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithfull, George W. Bush, Chris Jagger, Bob Howard, Keith Richards, Peter Costello, and Janette Howard.
Janet Albrechtsen on the new fundamentalism:
Often couched in the language of religion, it is in fact deeply rooted in politics. Its adherents, like all fundamentalists, keep their politics of hate simple. Rejecting nuance, ignoring the complex, they present us with the world according to them. If we disagree with them on issues such as Iraq, illegal immigration, a republic or indigenous affairs, our motives are impugned or, worse, we are evil, shameful, depraved. And because there are so many of us who disagree with them, they preach that Australia is an evil, shameful, depraved place.
Silvio Berlusconi has banned spiders. Arachno-Italians are furious.
In other animal news, Oky Pinoky has finally been banished. Berlusconi’s involvement in the Pinoky scandal is unknown.
A gigantic weapon of mass destruction has been found! Turns out it was right in front of us the whole time. Or above us.
(Except you can’t really see it or anything, so maybe it hasn’t been “found” in the sense that weapons inspectors "find" things. And it probably doesn’t even exist. But hey! WMD!)
Australian cultural supremacist Andrew Mason would have us believe that his latest film, Deckchair Danny, bravely protects “the Australian identity” from evil foreign influence:
Mason promotes home content wholeheartedly, fearing that through free-trade agreements Australia is at "most risk of giving up our culture", surrendering our uniqueness to a flood of American and British productions.
"It's one of my main hobbyhorses," Mason said. "It is important for Australian identity that we produce our own content. It's important for our children to shape their identity from local dramas and comedies, not just sport and television news, and it's also important to create impressions of Australia internationally."
Man, what a load. Hanson's ... er, Mason’s new film is plainly inspired by an American’s deckchair flight above Los Angeles, which led to the creation of this US-based air sport. All of which I’m fine with; just so long as Mason quits his nationalist culture-pleading.
Where are they? Maybe they never existed. Possibly they’re buried in the desert. Perhaps they were destroyed. In any case, they are unlikely ever to be found.
Not weapons of mass destruction. Andy Capp’s eyes.
Mark Steyn’s latest:
At the BBC and Le Monde and the Sydney Morning Herald, anti-Americanism is the New Universal Theory: It explains everything; it's the prism through which every event is viewed. But it's an unlikely strategy for American electioneering. One anti-Bush Democrat at a protest the other day carried a sign reading ''FRANCE WAS RIGHT!'' That's not a winning slogan, even in Vermont.
It’d be a winning slogan in a contest for the slogan most guaranteed to get you laughed out of slogan college. Here’s a much better rallying cry: RAISINS, NOT VIRGINS! Well, if you want to win yourself a big fat fatwa, that is:
Arguing that today’s version of the Qur’an has been mistranscribed from the original text, scholar Christoph Luxenberg says that what are described as “houris” with “swelling breasts” refer to nothing more than “white raisins” and “juicy fruits.”
What is there to be said of the man? The holes in his first attack on Bolt have been pointed out at some length by the victim, yet when Marr turned again to the subject last night, the only response was a dismissive "apology" followed by this snide advice to Bolt: "If you want to convince your readers you're a fair and truthful commentator, put your energies into your column." At Media Watch, truth is whatever Marr and the boys choose to make it.
Media Watch is looking kinda train-wreckish. Maybe I’ll talk a little about Dave and his Marrtians at 1.45 today when I’m on James Valentine’s show. Or maybe I’ll skip the show, buy myself a Uday Hussein Go-Pack, and hit the road:
What does a psychopathic dictator’s son pack when he’s on the run? According to CNN, found in Uday Hussein’s briefcase (in addition to US $400,000): Viagra, a condom, packaged underwear (first thing he reached for when the 101st rang the doorbell), cologne and a "tacky tie".
Mike Marshall, editor of Alabama’s Mobile Register, has been debating Maureen Dowd’s evasiveness with NYT editorial page editor Gail Collins:
Dear Ms. Collins:
Now that the Times is settling in with a new editor, I need clarification on a matter that came up during all the post-Jayson Blair newsroom tumult.
As editor of the Mobile Register, I subscribe to The New York Times Wire Service. Until earlier this summer, we printed Maureen Dowd's columns on our op-ed pages. We stopped running her column after publishing the following correction:
An opinion column by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, published in the May 15 Mobile Register, should have quoted President Bush as saying, "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al-Qaida operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore." Dowd's column changed the president's meaning by omitting the quote's second sentence and the opening words of the third sentence: "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated ... They're not a problem anymore."
A reply (one of two) from Gail Collins:
After Maureen received complaints about the editing of the quote she decided to reprint it in full in a later column, which ran on May 28. We're confident it was never her intention to distort the meaning.
This (rightly) wasn’t good enough for Marshall, who fired off another e-mail:
I was aware that Ms. Dowd used the president's full quote in a subsequent column, but that column makes no reference to the earlier blunder. That would not qualify as a correction or clarification in any editor's book.
And that, as Marshall writes, is where the matter stands. No correction. Hit the above link for unabbreviated exchanges.
(Via hyper-alert reader H.J. Farmer, of Dothan, Alabama.)
A photoshop lesson: never crop and post.
(Possibly not work safe.)
The Centre for Political Song just couldn’t work out a way to fit “bulldozer” into this Rachel Corrie anthem:
I wish I could look into your hardened eyes,
who drove that tractor as young Rachel dies
Is there love in your tractor, of fifty-two tons
is hope and desire in your tanks or your guns
If she could be with us, Rachel Corrie would say ...
Umm ... “If you see a bulldozer, get out of the way”?
Gerard Henderson questions the ABC’s independent review of Senator Richard Alston’s complaints. Which is fair enough, because the review wasn’t independent.
Wave your hands in the air like a boat is sinking:
Dannii Minogue sparked a new dance trend at an outdoor concert when she tried to alert the crowd to a capsized boat in the lake behind them.
The Australian pop star began pointing frantically over the heads of the audience as she saw the boat overturn at the water park in Warwickshire, England.
But the fans thought it was a new dance move and began joining in, pointing back at her, British newspaper the Daily Star said yesterday.
Robert Manne should try telling this to the families of 300,000 dead Iraqis:
As we now know, almost everything we were told about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was false.
Except the part about him being a “threat”. Reined in by UN inspections, he would have remained a menace to his own people. Free of inspections, once the UN’s jelly-like will dissolved ... well, who knows? Anyway, problem fixed. No more Unky Saddam. Turn that frown upside down, Robert.
This is cool. Age writer Nathan Cochrane has picked up a sweet half a million bucks in a quiz show. And he’s sticking with his day job, among Australia’s most complainy, leftoid, anti-wealth journalists, who generally only inherit that kind of dough. Man, the hostile looks he’ll get!
If Osama bin Laden was captured, how would proof be delivered that it was he? CIA veteran Cofer Black knows:
“You’d need some DNA. There’s a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you’ll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it.”
Leslie Townes Hope leaves the stage. I wonder how many people who named him in their celebrity death pools died before Bob did.
Is New Zealand’s pre-match rugby union war cry the greatest ritual in sports?
Well, it sure is terrifying -- I’ve seen it a few times, and always feel like fleeing -- but the greatest?
Some other contenders:
”Gentlemen, start your engines!” The annual call at the Indianapolis 500, an event which has seen a competitor, spectator, or crew member killed for almost every year it’s been run. Chilling.
”Play”. A simple instruction issued by a Test cricket umpire to signal the beginning of an Ashes series. Or any Test match.
”Racing!” Invariably the first word shrieked by the trackside caller of the Melbourne Cup.
”Bink”. An approximation of the sound made as the red lights are extinguished at the commencement of a Formula One Grand Prix. Not that anybody can hear it.
”???????” The train-like siren blast that begins an AFL Grand Final. Come up with your own approximation.
There’ll be not much bloggin’ from me in coming days. Tax bills are due, and money work must be done.
While I'm gone, go check out all the recommended sites to your left. Or, if you’re reading this page upside down as a radical means of combatting your dyslexia, to your right.
According to a report in today’s Sun-Herald (no link available) Media Watch host David Marr has phoned Melissa Doyle and David Koch to apologise for his bizarre insult issued last week. Doesn’t mean much unless he also apologises on his show, of course.
Peaceniks howl about “sanitized war” when they don’t see all the bloody gore and bitch about “human dignity” when they do. (Jim Treacher is particularly outraged.) Maybe the images of U-Haul and Queersy should’ve been photoshopped first. You know, with all flowers sticking out of the bullet holes and cartoon elves sewing up Udag’s chest cavity.
We now join Mark Steyn in a live cross to the scene of another dictator’s demise:
Good evening. Reports that the former Italian leader Benito Mussolini is "dead" and "hanging" "upside down" at a petrol station were received with scepticism in Rome today. Our "reporter" - whoops, scrub the inverted commas round "reporter", the scare-quotes key on the typewriter's jammed again. Anyway our reporter Andrew "Gilligan" is "on" the scene "in" Milan. Andrew...
Australia’s conservative government remains popular, despite all the “lies” that led to war in Iraq. Hugh Mackay blames this on a population that has become:
... disengaged from the political, social and economic agenda ... we have taken our eye off the big picture. We don't want to know. We've shifted our gaze to the things we can understand and control - the minutiae of our personal lives ... we prefer TV programs about backyards to news and current affairs ... we have become more self-absorbed; we are obsessed with the idea of security ... we're more prejudiced and, correspondingly, less interested in information that might challenge those prejudices ... we have been destabilised by too many changes coming too quickly; we're tired of "issues", disappointed in our leaders and disturbed by our own sense of powerlessness ... we have taken refuge in the celebration of our ordinariness, our normality, our domesticity ... we're scared, so we've switched off.
Switched off what, Hugh? The television? The lights? The oven? Is that why we’re scared -- because all of us have left the oven on? Best that we all check, then. Mine seems to be OK.
The status of Gary Sauer-Thompson’s oven is unclear, although his mind is currently a little overheated. Yours may become so too, if you attempt to work out how someone with Gary’s literary skills became a university lecturer and published author. This apparent impossibility is known as The Sauer-Thompson Paradox. Pray for his students. Weep for his editors.
Photographs of what are said to be the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein's two sons Uday and Qusay have been released by the United states.
Maybe I’ll send the news director an Achewood t-shirt.
My sister writes from Ireland:
As soon as you finish reading this e-mail, pick up the phone and book your trip. You won't regret it. I mean you could just fly over and talk to people in the pub for a week and not be bored. They are all very gifted storytellers, or full of crap. Depends on how you look at it ...
Blixt fisks Modo. In which a Weekly Standard intern sets the Pulitzer winner straight.
Read the newspapers, Phillip. You might learn something. In a column mocking Australia’s “influence on American life”, Adams writes:
Every day, on my way to the theatre, I pass the General Motors headquarters in Fifth Avenue. There’s another Australian company doing really well here but, for some reason, you can’t buy a Holden.
He’s wrong. The rest of the column is unremarkable, except for Phillip’s 1,000,000th mention of “reversed baseball caps”.
Sitting on a cactus when you’ve got no pants
Losing all your money in a game of chance
Michael Moore performing an erotic dance
CPR inside a moving ambulance
David Marr getting snippy about arts grants
There’s an E320 Merc getting around Sydney with the personalised number plate “TARDIS”. Which I suppose indicates a Doctor Who fan. Trouble is, the spacing between a couple of the letters is wrong, so it looks more like “TARD IS”.
Which I suppose indicates a Doctor Who fan.
”Come on, gobble, gobble.”
Taking a lead from the BBC, Kim Myong-Chol is sexing up his North Korean crazytalk:
Most Americans deny that they are in love with the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Il. However, sooner or later Uncle Sam will find himself left with no other option than to accept a shot-gun marriage with the North Korean girl and eventually desert his long-standing South Korean mistress. Once married, the American man will be totally fascinated by the feudalisticly loyal, sexy North Korean wife. No additional extramarital relationships will be tolerated.
Not even a holiday fling with Cuba? Jeez ...
Reuters correspondent Deanna Wrenn disowns Reuters:
This is from a story that Reuters news service ran this week with my byline:
"Jessica Lynch, the wounded Army private whose ordeal in Iraq was hyped into a media fiction of U.S. heroism, was set for an emotional homecoming on Tuesday . . . Media critics say the TV cameras will not show the return of an injured soldier so much as a reality-TV drama co-produced by U.S. government propaganda and credulous reporters."
Got problems with that?
I do, especially since I didn't write it.
Way to go, Reuters. Way to go to hell.
(Via Chuck Simmins.)
Check this headline at Islam Online:
Iraqis Irked By, Jubilant At Death of Qusay, Uday
Confusion reigns! And here’s Islam Online’s entry for Scare Quotes Usage of The Year:
Other Iraqis in Baghdad “celebrated” the killing of Uday and Qusay, both widely hated by the Iraqi people for their cruel treatment of dozens of persons, with firing thousands of bullets in the air all through Tuesday night and early on Wednesday.
Only dozens? Maybe Islam Online has a exchange staffer working at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:
The man who led US troops to Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay was last night paid a $US30 million ($46 million) reward for his act of betrayal.
Ask the celebrating Iraqis how much of a “betrayal” this was.
(Thanks again to reader Zsa Zsa, who’s gotta start his own blog.)
Real ER. Not like the TV show. Funnier and cleverer, and with faucet-based sex advice.
He’s bigger than Rush, has more fans than O’Reilly, and sells books faster than Coulter. Followers plead with this “folk hero for the American people” to run for president. Reviewers compare him to Twain, Voltaire, and Swift. Unlike Rush and company, the appeal of this blue-collar megastar extends far beyond the hoi polloi. Hollywood and Manhattan agents wave gazillion-dollar contracts in front of his face. He wins prestigious awards that will never grace the Limbaugh or O’Reilly dens—Oscars, Emmys, Writer’s Guild Awards, and jury prizes at Cannes (where his latest movie received a record 13-minute standing ovation). People stop him on the streets of Berlin, Paris, and London—where, according to Andrew Collins of the Guardian, they consider him “the people’s filmmaker.”
Kay S. Hymowitz’s article on Michael Moore does not continue in this cheery vein. Go read.
So now we know why he called the band Wings:
Pop icon Paul McCartney today fired a salvo for chicken rights, accusing fast food giant KFC of condoning cruelty to the "remarkable" birds that end up as take-away meals.
McCartney's band also featured drumsticks. The whole deal was nothing but a clandestine chicken tribute from start to finish.
US restaurant chain Arby’s has adopted the Australian Naming Rules.
Why is John Howard so popular? Miranda Devine writes:
The secret of Howard's success is, as always, his enemies. No one likes a bully, and the cowardly, unimaginative pack-bullying practised by what passes for intelligentsia in urban Australia, whether they are writers, artists, academics, journalists, John Hewson or Paddington wives, whether you call them the left, or elites, as David Flint has in his new book, is particularly repugnant.
As the former Howard adviser turned spin doctor Grahame Morris said yesterday: "I do think some opponents, almost by default, galvanise support for the PM. Australians will always back an individual having a go against the system."
Who needs an Opposition when you have Phillip Adams? Howard is "a deeply suspicious man, filled with ... resentment", "bitterness and bigotry, cunning and vengefulness" "devoid of glamour", "utterly joyless" , with an "insatiable, unapologetic need for power [which] sublimates the sexual". He is "far and away the worst prime minister in living memory", Adams has written so far this year in The Australian. Howard is a "willing dupe" guilty of "pious hypocrisy" (Mike Carlton). Howard's Government "runs on little else but prejudice", and "I don't know a charity that would hire him, and I don't believe, if they did, he could manage it" (Hewson). He was a "tired, soiled leader with a tired, soiled message" who "should get out of public life" (Alan Ramsey). I could go on, but you get the idea.
Adams, Carlton, Hewson & Ramsey. The Prime Minister's PR factory.
UPDATE. New York reader Kim H. sent John Howard an e-mail earlier this year thanking him for his support of the U.S. In response, Kim received this letter:
Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning Iraq. I very much appreciate your words of support.
There has always been a special bond between the people of Australia and the people of the United States. We share a common love of freedom and respect for democracy.
The decisive victory of the American-led coalition reflects great credit on the strength and determination of President Bush's leadership. Through its action the coalition has sent a clear signal to other rogue states and terrorists groups alike - the world is prepared to take a stand.
The Australian Government does not for one moment regret the decision to join the coalition of the willing. Australian military forces have participated with just cause, in an action properly based in international law, which resulted in the liberation of an oppressed people.
We are enormously proud of the magnificent job done by our defence personnel but we also pay tribute to the contributions of the American and British forces. They have behaved and conducted themselves with great honor and distinction and set new standards of integrity and ethical behavior in military conflict.
All the coalition partners are now focussing their efforts on rehabilitating Iraq's dilapidated infrastructure and renewing its social, economic and political framework. I am deeply moved to think that for the first time in my lifetime the people of Iraq have a real and genuine opportunity to have a free, open and democratic society. I am confident that with our support and assistance they will achieve this objective.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write me and for your support.
Several US readers have received similar letters after contacting Howard. As Kim writes: “Mr. Howard has class. At some point, this New Yorker needs to buy beers for my friends from Down Under.”
Australian actors are so talentless and unpopular that they’ll all be out of work unless government regulations protect them, Claudia Karvan admits:
The regulations that we have in place for our industry are totally crucial. I mean, they're just not something that can be negotiated in any degree whatsoever, because the fact of the matter is, I don't think we would have… we almost wouldn't have an industry if we didn't have the regulations we have and I wouldn't have a job. I wouldn't be earning a living.
Karvan’s grandfather migrated to Australia from Greece, and once here immediately set about taking jobs away from Australians in our local food industry. No regulations protected them. And his grand-daughter is now stealing the acting work that rightfully belongs to others. Damn free trade! Damn all foreigners!
The peaceniks don’t want another Vietnam in Iraq. And, as James Morrow explains, that’s exactly what they’re getting:
Those who continue to try to play the quagmire card should look at, and recall, the facts. US involvement in Vietnam lasted a decade and cost more than 50,000 US lives. So far, it has been barely four months since US troops first crossed into Iraq, and since the end of major combat on May 2, just 33 US soldiers have been killed by the so-called "Iraqi resistance".
Robert Fisk will probably sue for this unauthorised use of his “so-called” sig line.
Kofi Annan wants unilateral action, and he wants it now:
The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has urged the United States and West African nations to take decisive action to stop the war in Liberia.
Why doesn’t he ask France or Germany?
A friend once concluded a tale of adolescent sexual misadventure with the line: “And then he jizzed all over the television screen!” Now cartoon advice cat Ray Smuckles takes things even further:
Are you trying to relive your first clumsy sexual experience and make up for shooting all over her stuffed animals the second you got out of your pants? Ten bucks says that your subconscious mind is still trying to compensate for a bukakke’d-up Snoopy.
That’s an image that just won’t quit. Ray also has this advice for Goths:
Basically, it seems that the Goth phase tends to naturally end in the late teens. This is because Goths get tired of constantly being told that they "look like idiots" and "are annoying" and "can't work the Drive-Thru if they keep dressing like Dracula's Knob-wipe."
Ray gets better every damn week. He knows stuff.
Mark Steyn on the Unremarkable Hulk and shrinking female leads:
As Bruce Banner, Eric Bana (no relation) is not just nerdy but utterly unmemorable: unlike Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in Spider-Man, he can’t hold his own with his alter-ego. As Betty, Jennifer Connelly spends most of the movie lost in passively impassive reaction shots. I dunno what she’s thinking about, but I found myself pining for the zaftig Jennifer of old. A few years ago, she looked fabulous: a 1950s starlet for the 21st century, all curves and what Ian Fleming used to call “insolent breasts”. She and her She-Hulk-sized bosom seem to have shrunk in inverse proportion to the Hulk: her incredible bulk has shriveled away to a dolorous cadaver with a cute l’il freckle on her upper lip. What a tragedy.
The phrase “mixed feelings” always seems to appear in stories about the reaction of expats to events in Iraq. Here’s an example from the ABC after Saddam’s statue was brought down:
For many, those images were a powerful symbol of the end of a regime that had driven them from their homeland.
Yet their joy at the prospect of a new freedom in Iraq is tempered by apprehension for friends and family lost in the chaos.
You get the idea. Saddam is bad, but so is war bad too! A story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald also refers to mixed feelings, but these feelings are a mixture of delight that Uboy and Quasar are dead and bitter regret that the pair of death-dealing Saddam spawn aren’t alive so they can be tortured like common lab rabbits and then killed:
Death came too quickly to Saddam Hussein's sons - Ameen Kherasani wanted to see them punished first.
"They were lucky," he said. "I wanted them alive. I wanted to tie them in a square in Baghdad for everyone to come along in a line and beat them. All Iraqis suffered because of these dictators."
Mr Kherasani, 33, working in the Dijlah corner shop on Auburn Road, Auburn, battled mixed feelings yesterday. Four of his brothers were killed during Saddam's reign. He was happy that Uday and Qusay Hussein were dead but felt cheated that their end came in a shoot-out with United States soldiers.
Down the road in the Sinbad Restaurant, Hani Hadedi, 32, was disappointed that Saddam's sons were not captured and tried. "I wanted to see them in court so they could be punished before they die. It is very, very easy to die like this," he said.
Other Iraqis in Sydney were delighted at the news. Razak Ruda, the secretary of the Iraqi Australian Cultural Association, heard reports of the deaths on television late on Tuesday night. "I was jumping and dancing and I woke up all my family. Then I started to laugh and cry at the same time," he said.
Everybody’s happy! Killing them Hussein boys has brought multicultural Australia together. When Saddam eventually gets it in the neck, the Sinbad Restaurant will be the place to be; in fact, customers would like to see him on the menu:
At the Sinbad restaurant in Auburn Road, Saddam Hussein had few friends. "I want to eat him," said Ali Albuswelim who has had no news of his father and brother, jailed since 1991.
A bunch of us got together the other night to celebrate the arrival in Sydney of Sasha Castel. Very funny, very sweet Sasha. Much talking took place. I remember this exchange:
Me: “1977 was the finest year in history.”
Jack Strocchi: “Yes. Yes, it was.”
That’s about it. Alcohol was involved.
Jessica Lynch has been released from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. But was the story of her daring release true, or was it a stage-managed Pentagon propaganda exercise? Next week, in a hard-hitting BBC documentary, veteran broadcaster John Kampfner will claim that:
•Officials knew there were no Iraqi forces at the medical center when Lynch was released;
•Her release involved Hollywood-style theatrics, including television cameras;
•No hostile fire was encountered during the release;
•No actual bullets were fired;
•And, for that matter, no blanks were fired either.
Commenting in advance of the documentary’s screening, Harper's magazine publisher John MacArthur said: "It no longer matters in America whether something is true or false. The population has been conditioned to accept anything: sentimental stories, lies, atomic bomb threats."
Eoghan Harris knows that when he’s inside the BBC, he’s behind enemy lines:
Politically, I would call myself a conservative social democrat in Irish terms: I loathe the IRA, have a lot of time for David Trimble, and wanted to smash Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet I am forced to approach any appearance on current affairs programmes for the BBC as an appearance before a hanging judge. From start to finish I know the only way to survive is to accept that I am among enemies.
As I am usually going on to attack a terrorist organisation, defend a decent man like Trimble, or to support a war against a gangster like Saddam, you would think I could feel myself among people who, though they might want to put tough questions, basically shared my assumption that the IRA is morally delinquent, that Trimble is trying to do his best, and that Saddam should be shot on sight.
You would be wrong. By and large, the researchers and reporters I will meet in any branch of the BBC find these beliefs revolting.
Same general deal at Australia’s ABC. Public funding attracts those sort of people.
(Via the vigilant Zsa Zsa)
So they are dead. Or are they? Even Baghdad exploded in celebratory, deafening automatic rifle fire at the news.
Who else could it be but superjournalist Robert Fisk, master of the “What the hell?” introductory paragraph. “Even Baghdad” might be celebrating the news that Uday and Qusay Hussein are (or are not!) dead, but Robert is far from happy:
The burned, bullet-splashed villa in Mosul, the four bullet-ridden corpses, America's hopes - however vain - that the death of Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay, will break the guerrilla resistance to Iraq's US occupation troops, all conspired to produce an illusion last night: that the unidentified bodies found after a four-hour gun battle between Iraqi gunmen and US forces must be those of the former dictator's sons - because the world wants them to be.
It’s not looking like much of an illusion now.
Of course, they might be dead. The two men are said to bear an impressive resemblance to the brothers. A 14-year-old child killed by the Americans - one of the four dead - might be one of Saddam's grandsons.
Or it might be one of the thousands of kids Saddam had killed over the years, just left lying around the house for laughs. Fisk doesn’t mention those kids very often.
Qusay was a leader of the Special Republican Guard, a special target of the Americans. The two men obviously fought fiercely against the 200 American troops who surrounded the house.
Brave little guys! Battling overwhelming odds! My heroes! Swoon!
The Americans used their so-called Task Force 20 to storm the pseudo-Palladian villa on a main highway through Mosul. Task Force 20 combines both special forces and CIA agents. But this is the same Task Force 20 that blasted to death the occupants of a convoy heading for the Syrian border earlier this month, a convoy whose travellers were meant to include Saddam himself and even the two sons supposedly killed yesterday. The victims turned out to be only smugglers.
And American intelligence - the organisation that failed to predict events of 11 September, 2001 - was also responsible for the air raid on a Saddam villa on 20 March, which was supposed to kill Saddam. And the far crueller air raid on the Mansour district of Baghdad at the end of the air bombardment in April which was supposed to kill Saddam and his sons but only succeeded in slaughtering 16 innocent civilians. All proved to be miserable failures.
Like practically every one of Fisk’s predictions since September 11. Quagmire in Afghanistan! Quagmire in Iraq! Muslim uprisings! Gophers winning spelling bees! Edible magnets! Underpants that teach you first aid!
And in a family obsessed, with good reason, with their own personal security, would Uday and Qusay really be together? Would they allow themselves to be trapped. The two so-called "lions of Iraq" (this courtesy of Saddam) in the very same cage?
Robert’s careful acknowledgement kept him out of Baghdad’s infamous plagiarist torture cells.
Saddam's early life was spent on the run. But he always travelled alone. In adversity, the family had learned to stay apart ...
I hope Kenny Rogers never reads this. He’ll have a song composed in minutes.
Even if DNA testing proves that the corpses are those of Saddam's sons, will Iraqis believe it?
They might, if The Great Fisk deigns to tell them.
Though Uday was both a cruel man and a psychopath ...
A cruel man and a psychopath? What are the the odds of that?
... they were appendages to the king, mere assistants in the monster's cave. Saddam lives. And his voice is still heard on tape throughout Iraq. It is his fate of which Iraqis are waiting to hear.
They seemed happy enough to hear about Queasy and eBay. The celebrations for Saddam’s death will probably be audible in Alaska.
Secondly, and far more importantly, there is a fundamental misunderstanding between the American occupation authorities in Iraq and the people whose country they are occupying. The United States believes that the entire resistance to America's proconsulship of Iraq is composed of "remnants" of Saddam's followers, "dead-enders", "bitter-enders" - they have other phrases to describe them. Their theory is that once the Hussein family is decapitated, the resistance will end.
The only way to prove a theory is to test it.
But the guerrillas who are killing US troops every day are also being attacked by a growing Islamist Sunni movement which never had any love for Saddam. Much more importantly, many Iraqis were reluctant to support the resistance for fear that an end to American occupation would mean the return of the ghastly old dictator.
Prepare now for some Advanced Fisk Logic:
If he and his sons are dead, the chances are that the opposition to the American-led occupation will grow rather than diminish - on the grounds that with Saddam gone, Iraqis will have nothing to lose by fighting the Americans.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? One minute everybody is celebrating the deaths of the tyrant family that enslaved them, and the next minute they’re thinking: “Hey, you know what would be really cool? Killing the Americans who killed Ubie and Quozy! Let’s rock!”
Now I've got my own personal Tim Blair tribute blog!
Saddam’s murdering sons are dead, oil prices are down ... and this AFP piece makes it all sound like bad news.
Congrats to Coulter. GO BABY GO!
A bus. Several ducklings. And a fateful decision:
A Brisbane bus driver has been sacked for running over four ducklings.
Tony Campbell said he made a decision to run over the ducklings rather than brake hard and risk the safety of his passengers.
Mr Campbell was a part-time driver with Brisbane Bus Lines for 15 months until July 10 when he was sacked.
A Brisbane Bus Lines director said there had been other issues with the driver before the duckling incident.
Jeff Jarvis predicted the other day that “before you know it, we'll see Jayson Blair and Andrew Gilligan weblogging... because they'll have nothing else to do.” Well, turns out Gilligan has already tried his hand at the blogging game. David Steven presents an analysis of Gilligan the warblogger.
Point 8 is especially worth noting.
Former Director of the CIA James Woolsey spells it out:
America and the western world are at war with 'fascist' Middle East governments and totalitarian Islamists. The freedoms we stand for are loathed and our vulnerable systems under attack. Liberty and security will be in conflict as we line up behind the new march of democracy.
We and you are cordially loathed for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, open economies, equal - or almost equal - treatment of women, and so on. It is not what we have done wrong that is creating the problem; it is what we do right.
If that is true, then this is not a war that will end with an Al Qaeda Gorbachev; it will not end with an arms control agreement. It is a war to the death, like the war with the Nazis, and we should understand that it will have to be fought that way.
Or we could just sit around like idiots and argue about African uranium.
The Sydney Morning Herald, today:
The Pentagon doesn't want to admit it, but this is guerilla war.
Associated Press, last week:
The former administrator of the U-S reconstruction team in Iraq acknowledges American troops are engaged in a guerrilla war.
Sydney Morning Herald readers think that the ABC’s war coverage was “never biased”. VOTE!
Media Watch presenter David Marr last night deemed the hosts of Channel Seven’s Sunrise program -- a typically light, goofy, early-morning commercial TV show -- to be fuckwits.
It’s difficult to work out why. Their crime seemed to be that they quickly removed from the program a guest who used that word, and followed it up with a chat about inappropriate language.
What’s Marr’s fucking problem? The fucker got all fucked up when Miranda Devine described fuckwad terrorists as "cockroaches". And now he’s calling people fuckwits? Fuck him.
She's not saying we deserved this atrocity. She's saying bigots and xenophobes in Asia THINK we deserve it. There's a difference ...
And there’s a BIG difference between Marr’s belief and Broinowski’s reported statements:
Her view is that the Bali bombing that killed more than 200 people, 89 of them Australians, on October 12 last year was Indonesia's response to Ockerism and the bossy, all-the-way-with-Dubya tone of John Howard's foreign policy. The book, About Face, does not say Australians deserved what they got in Bali but suggests, as Broinowski makes clear, Australia "invites the region's contempt".
She puts it this way: "The dead and injured in Bali may have been the victims of Canberra's ventriloquistic mouthing of Washington's world view, or of their Western appearance and lifestyle, or of the longstanding hostility of many Indonesians towards Australia, or of all these." At the end of 230 pages, mostly a history of Australia's links with its northern neighbours, the conclusion is: "Certainly, those Australians who didn't know or care about how their country was perceived in Asian countries were brutally reminded that it mattered."
According to Broinowski, beer-swilling (seen as eccentricity when Bazza McKenzie got on the turps in London in the '60s) is an insult likely to provoke violence when Australians hit the bars of some Asian countries. She quotes a syndicated Malaysian journalist, Rashid Rehman. After Bali, he described the targeted Sari Club as filthy and reeking of beer, sweat, drunken foreigners, and smoky air "jagged with Strine".
All that may be true, but was it the reason the club was bombed and so many Australians killed and maimed? Broinowski suspects so.
Where’s her condemnation of Indonesia’s "bigots and xenophobes"?
Diversity is cool! And homeless people are cute! Sydney Greens politician Silvia Hale wants to keep the cute homeless folks in Darlinghurst, because that’s what people want. She’s arguing here with Stateline reporter Janice Petersen and St John’s church rector Greg Thompson, who plans to build apartment blocks on church land:
SILVIA HALE: They will do nothing to add to the diversity and they will certainly do everything to drive out the homeless from this community.
GREG THOMPSON: You have never been interested in this church until this. It's all about your political aspirations on the back of homeless people, and you are prepared to align yourself with wealthy people who do not care for our work.
JANICE PETERSEN: St John's has allowed development to happen before. In the 1960s, its school was demolished and the land leased. But what does the local community want?
SILVIA HALE: They want the park, they want open space, they want homeless people, they want community facilities. What they don't want is 6-storey high-rise apartments that cater only for the wealthy, and that's what you're proposing here.
JANICE PETERSEN: Local resident Jo Holder agrees and says the development also threatens the characteristic diversity of the neighbourhood.
JO HOLDER, DARLINGHURST RESIDENT: This is designed to be an ecclesiastical -- essentially a 12th century monastic estate. They're really turning it into a sort of 2000 equivalent of a Westfield shopping mall.
The ABC isn’t biased, according to an investigation of the ABC by the ABC:
The ABC today said it upheld two of the government's complaints about its war coverage, but denied it was evidence of bias.
The ABC today handed Communications Minister Richard Alston its response to his complaint of alleged bias about the Iraq war coverage.
ABC managing director Russell Balding today said the national broadcaster's Complaints Review Executive (CRE) upheld two of the minister's 68 complaints.
A privatised ABC could be as biased as it likes, with no government complaints at all. I’m surprised that ABC types don’t urge that the broadcaster be sold.
It looks like The Australian sexed up its coverage of the Blair-BBC-suicide story:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, facing the worst crisis of his political career, has been accused by the family of Iraqi weapons expert David Kelly of hounding him to his death.
His family made clear it wanted someone to shoulder the blame for his despair.
"Events over recent weeks have made David's life intolerable and all of those involved should reflect long and hard over that fact," they said in a statement on Saturday.
The final paragraph of that extract doesn’t really support the first, does it? The Age only saw trouble for Blair arising from the controversy:
At issue is whether Mr Blair's office or the Ministry of Defence leaked Dr Kelly's name to defuse the increasingly potent scandal over whether Britain exaggerated Iraq's weapons capacity to justify the war.
In fact, as a global wrap-up in The Scotsman indicates, the media were in complete herd-mode on this. It took a day or so before the idea filtered through that, hey, this might be worse news for the BBC than it is for the Prime Minister.
Which is what Jeff Jarvis realised almost immediately.
Posting will be light 'n' low while I take care of a few paying jobs. Exploit my absence by swamping the comments with your stories and opinions on:
•'70s album cover art;
•Traumatic childhood incidents;
•Passive-aggressive relatives and co-workers;
•Inexplicable celebrity crushes.
I've programmed the comments to automatically delete all entries not concerning these subjects. Back soon.
Tony Parkinson continues using reason and sense in his campaign to alienate Melbourne Age readers:
Critics of military intervention in Iraq got much of their pre-war intelligence wrong. The 250,000 deaths predicted did not happen. Nor the refugee crisis. Nor the cholera epidemic. Baghdad did not become a replay of Stalingrad, nor was the Arab world set aflame.
To make this point is not to accuse opponents of the war of lies, deception or propaganda. Doubtless, many of these same people would be greatly relieved that some of the more exaggerated pre-war fears were to prove unfounded.
For others, however, the war over Iraq is far from over. Just as Saddam's "bitter-enders" are mounting a ferocious guerilla campaign against US forces in an effort to sabotage moves towards economic reconstruction and political reform, so too are revisionists on the march in the US, Britain and Australia. Their aim? To discredit the war in Iraq as unjustified and immoral.
William Shatner is involved in another one of those typical Hollywood horse semen disputes.
MYONGWATCH! has a Myong update, including an actual photograph of the Myong himself. Myong on!
The Age’s Annabel Crabb reports a significant development in Australian politics:
A major indigenous community has lobbied John Howard to stay on indefinitely as Prime Minister, dismissing the left of politics as "clueless" and calling for a new alliance between Aborigines and conservatives.
In a letter written to Mr Howard on the day before he announced his intention to fight the next election, influential Cape York Land Council chairman Richie Ah Mat begged him not to retire.
"Many people in media and politics promote a set of attitudes that are supposed to be 'moderate' and 'progressive': republicanism, harm minimisation, the elusive ideal of reconciliation and so on," Mr Ah Mat wrote.
"We fear that if you go, there will be a shift in public discussion.
"Otherwise the whole project will regress back to progressivist platitudes about symbolic reconciliation and walking bridges.
"On behalf of many people in Cape York Peninsula including Noel Pearson, I urge you to stay as Prime Minister."
The letter is dated June 2.
On June 3, Mr Howard gathered Coalition MPs together to announce that he had decided to stay on as leader for as long as the party continued to require him.
I wonder if Ah Mat’s letter influenced Howard’s decision. According to Google news this story has been up at The Age’s site for about 24 hours, yet nobody seems to have pursued that possibility. In fact, nobody else, so far as I can tell, has even reported Ah Mat’s letter. Not the Sydney Morning Herald, not the ABC, not News Ltd ... nobody. Here’s more:
"Many of the conclusions we have arrived at in Cape York Peninsula are regarded as backward conservatism by the urban elites," Mr Ah Mat reports in his four-page letter.
"They believe in harm minimisation and social engineering as the solutions to the indigenous crisis.
"They can afford to adhere to their orthodox ideological prejudice, because they are far away from the suffering in remote areas and in the segregated underclass lives of many urban indigenous people."
The solution proposed by Mr Ah Mat is a new alliance with the right of politics.
"Conservative people at least have a relationship with indigenous people because of their closer relationship with the regional and remote Australia and with the primary industries," he says.
"There are many conflicts between us and the political right, but it is pointless to advance our cause as a 'progressive cause' in opposition to the right.
"Progressive people are clueless and can't get a majority."
But they can stop an important story getting wide mainstream coverage.
(Via Melbourne reader Huddo.)
Stephen Pollard used to write book reviews for the leftist New Statesman. Not any more:
Three articles and an editorial push the line that [Tony Blair] is essentially deranged. I was sickened this morning when I saw that my review of Mark Steel's book appeared alongside these Goebbels-like smears. It's one thing disagreeing with the PM on Iraq and other issues - we are all entitled to our view. That's something some of us want to fight to protect, of course. But a concerted campaign to brand him a psychopath is, to my mind, not merely gutter journalism but contemptible. And how can I carry on writing for a publication I view as contemptible? The answer is that I can't, and I've written to tell them so.
Good move, Stephen. Here’s Blair’s speech, by the way. If anyone has an audio link -- you really need to hear this -- post it in the comments.
(Via Zsa Zsa, finder of linkables.)
UPDATE. Blair’s speech is the most-watched video at C-SPAN, indicating that some US outlets may have underestimated interest in what he had to say. The speech was widely covered in Australia, by the way.
Millionaire Phillip Adams advises:
In a toss-up between love and money, go for the love. Money can’t buy it. The BRW Rich List fails to inform you that many of our wealthiest people are among our loneliest and least loved. So if the choice presents itself, or it’s a toss-up, go for love. It’s a better investment in the long term and pays more generous dividends.
Speaking of money, it would be interesting to find out how all the donations to the Australians for Just Refugee Program have been spent (Phillip is one of many AJRP board members). Mostly on anti-Howard propaganda, I suspect. In April 2002 Adams reported that the organisation had received $250,000; despite this, they don’t seem to have done much in the area of continuing achievements. Nice website, though.
Mike Carlton is all crybabyish about being described as anti-American:
Frank Devine recently offered me this hoary insult in Paddy McGuinness's Quadrant magazine and again in The Australian - an unsurprising coupling - along with the baseless libel that I had plagiarised a column from Maureen Dowd of The New York Times. There is no gutter too mucky for these chickenhawk warriors to roll in.
What a pansy. Note that he’s yet to correct his Dowdesque error.
I can’t be bothered checking, but Indymedia’s conspiracy meter must be redlining at the moment.
UPDATE. It begins:
So it could be that the Blair government and its agencies is now following the example of the Bush family, government and agencies in simply murdering people who represent a threat to the regime Dicounting the British Marconi scientists and virologists who have mysteriously died in the past, is this to be the first of many?
Blair is frontman for the hidden government
He puts out the required propaganda and will do until his public demise (quite soon it would appear)
Dr Kelly may well have been doing an unpleasant job at the service of this agenda.
He was also accused of leaking - perhaps he had a fragment of conscience.
He maybe proved himself a threat with too much knowledge
And he suddenly appears dead
You can bet HM security services won't hesitate to murder any british citizen who poses an embarrassment to powerful brit establishment and government figures such as tinpot totalitarian tony blair.
It seems mightily coincendental that the one man who might be able to lend some serious weight to the BBC's assertions concerning the Iraq dossier is now found dead lying in the woods.
If it is found that he was murdered then it will show that Blairs government is increasingly becoming more desperate in its bid to clear its name of war crimes, so deperate that it is willing kill its own citizens.
Spin Ali and Holls Hoon are directly responsible for the disappearance of Dr. Kelly.
Andrew Lloyd finds a Peace 'n' Luv Professor who demands that US troops get out of Iraq as soon as possible -- just like they did in Japan. Winds of Change and the affiliated Winds of Change War Watch have lots of solid opinion and researchy goodness. TVs Henry has moved. Welcome Bangladeshi blogger Rezwanul. And Corsair reports:
I got this Google hit in my referrer log. "Tim Blair" + hunk? You seem to have groupies! Maybe you should post some pictures.
I have, once or twice. Tends to kill the "hunk" searches, that's for sure.
Amir Taheri reports from Baghdad:
There are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future.
"After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone," says Mohsen Saleh, a geologist in Baghdad. "A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold."
Australian actress Delta Goodrem is 18 years old. Last week she was diagnosed with cancer.
Lefty blogger Matt, at A Bright Cold Day, wasn’t interested. He was so uninterested he had to write about it:
There needs to be a word for the almost total disinterest I have when a celebrity contracts a fatal disease or suffers a tragic loss.
I have a sneaking suspicion the Germans already do. The word would be distantly related to schadenfreude - in the sense that it concerns the misfortunes of others - but with bemusement in place of malice. Of the 400 people who will get Hodgkin's Disease this year in Australia, we will choose to care passionately (using column inches as a proxy) about Delta Goodrem.
This word's definition would need to leavened, however, by pity. Pity that a millions women's mags and newspapers will be sold with Ms Goodrem's sallow, bandana-clad head on the cover. Pity that Ms Goodrem can pose for that photo willingly or a paparazzo can take it for her.
Hmmm. Matt is usually more civilised than this. Tim Dunlop -- who recently accused right-wingers of a lack of compassion for arguing with the views of Brian Deegan, father of one of the Bali dead -- responded to Matt’s post:
Does "ennui" fit the bill?
Several other lefties left their suggested words (including “apathy” and “anomie”) in the comments to that post. The fun -- and the evasions, and the changing of subjects, and the denials -- began when I added this line:
Bet none of you would say this if Cathy Freeman developed cancer.
Freeman is an Aboriginal celebrity. Go read the rest of the comments. They are instructive of a certain mindset.
Australia’s national cricket team plays Bangladesh in a Darwin Test match beginning this morning. List your match predictions here in the case of a) Bangladesh batting first, and b) Australia batting first. Nominate your top scorer and wicket-taker.
Note: To restore his Test average to 50, Steve Waugh requires 35 runs without being dismissed; 85 runs if dismissed once; and 135 runs if dismissed twice.
Jared Keller has all the latest from "everyone’s favourite crack-smokin’ commie", Kim Myong-Chol. Including sports tips.
Paul Johnson identifies anti-Americanism as the prevailing disease of intellectuals today:
Like other diseases, it doesn't have to be logical or rational. But, like other diseases, it has a syndrome -- a concurrent set of underlying symptoms that are also causes.
Visit any town in Australia and you’ll find a memorial to those killed in World War I. We lost more than 58,000 from a population of only four million.
Hundreds of the dead may have been located in France:
A mass grave containing the remains of 250 missing Australian soldiers is believed to have been found in a French field, 87 years after they were killed in the battle of Fromelles - one of the bloodiest encounters of World War I.
(Via reader Zsa Zsa.)
Through clenched teeth, The Guardian reports:
A majority of Baghdad residents feel US and British troops should stay in Iraq for at least a year, according to the first attempt at an opinion poll.
The poll said 31% wanted troops to stay "a few years", while 25% said "about a year."
Only 13% said they should leave now, while 20% said they should go "within 12 months".
The survey also found that half thought the US-led coalition was right to invade.
Via alert reader Irene A. Meanwhile Australian troops aboard the HMAS Kanimbla have returned home to happy families. One serviceman told Network Ten news: “I’ve never felt so proud. I’d do it again.”
The freakazoid Left continues trying to pin the entire cause of war on a claim that Saddam sought uranium from Niger -- even though, as Mark Steyn points out, us Right Wing Death Beasts™ never even heard about the place often enough to pronounce its name correctly:
I wrote a gazillion pieces urging war with Iraq, and never found the time to let the word Niger pass my lips. And, if it had passed, my lips would have said ‘Ny-juh’ and not ‘Nee-zhaire’. But here’s what the President had to say, when he ‘LIED OVER NIGER URANIUM CLAIMS!!!!!!!!!!!’ back in the State of the Union address in January: ‘The British government has learnt that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’
That’s it: 16 words. Where’s the lie? Though the CIA director George Tenet now says his boys shouldn’t have approved that sentence, Tony Blair is standing by it. The unusual attribution to Her Majesty’s Government might have been because Bush was only mired in all this multilateral justification-shopping as a favour to Blair and his wobbly Cabinet. Or it might have been because of the source: under the rules governing intelligence-sharing, the British were unable to pass the direct evidence on to the Americans because they got it from the French, and the French wouldn’t let them give it to Washington. Niger’s uranium operations are under the supervision of the French Atomic Energy Commission.
But, whether or not that’s true, I repeat: where’s the lie?
Way to lose the peace as well as the war, Leftoids.
Some child-destroying pervert was arrested after he left a tape of his crimes inside a VCR he delivered to a repair shop. Prosecutor Sal Vasta is gentle in his description of police procedure after the tapes were located:
Mr Vasta said in going to lengths to identify the girls, a "very bad decision" was made by police to allow some parents to view the videos to try and identify the children.
Check this tard-style hack on Australia’s National Archives website. USA can do nothing? Damn!
Reader Danielle writes:
Wandering through Martin Place on my lunch break yesterday, I noticed a crowd of people holding placards and chanting something about "Korea" and "Law." I thought it might have been about the plight of starving North Korean children, or perhaps regional security issues, but no.
These protesters had a far more serious mission than that.
They were raising attention to the plight of dogs and cats that are eaten in that haven of terror, South Korea, as part of the "bok (dog) days of summer"
I managed to get a flyer off them whilst accusing them of communist vegetarian sympathies (in their defence, they did deny the vegetarianism), so I can direct you here for pearls of wisdom like "Loving animals is loving ourselves." (And hey, who can wait to hear what the Imam has to say about that?)
The Imam doesn’t have much to say about loving dogs, but he is clear on the subjects of stunned chicken meat and wives who cook too much and keep their husbands happy with sexual items.
And Allah Tim'mah Knows Best.
On the subject of festive activities: latest word on the upcoming Jake Ryan Beer Blast should be arriving shortly. A webcam may be involved.
In which the Imam hands down his long-awaited ruling on man boobs:
Q: Is it permissible to fondle with one's own chest? Also if water is used to satisfy one desires is it allowed?
A: It is not permissible for one to awaken one's carnal desires and fondle with any part of his/her body to satisfy his/her desires. That is similar to masturbation.
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
If hockey players and Rugby League players and baseball players and AFL players all take it "one game at a time", how do National Geographic World Championship competitors take it?
This may come as a surprise, but the Professor has already written a cheque: an unsigned one for the generous sum of two cents. Readers might care to do likewise. A deluge of worthless donations will disabuse our two heroes of any misconceptions that they speak for anyone other than their fellow sprout-eaters. And if enough paltry contributions turn up, the bank might even decline to play its assigned part in the appeal, since the price of the stamps required to inform "donors" that their cheques are invalid will make the cost of administering the account unacceptably high. With any luck, the next marks Burgess and Saunders make on a wall will be an array of little vertical lines indicating how many long days of incarceration have yet to be served.
My cheque is in the mail.
The issue was debated many times, but it took shape, for me, in the course of a lengthy and brilliant discourse on the future of the market economy, from a French speaker. While outlining thoughts on financial regulation that would have sat perfectly well on this page, he devoted one section of his speech to the “symbolism” of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre. It was of course, he said, an evil act, but the twin towers, as symbols of Western capitalism, had become an almost inevitable target for terrorists; their collapse had something of the Old Testament about it — the razing of a monument to untrammelled power. If we were to counter future threats, we should create different symbols — a form of capitalism that would be less divisive than the American version.
It slipped in so neatly, so rationally, that no one, not even the Americans, listening intently through their earphones, thought to challenge it. Indeed, it was only as I considered it afterwards that I realised what had been said. The implication, not openly stated, was that US economic power was, in itself, a justification for terrorism ...
“Cheney under pressure to quit over false war evidence,” reports The Independent:
Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President and the administration's most outspoken hawk over Iraq, faced demands for his resignation last night as he was accused of using false evidence to build the case for war.
The allegations against Mr Cheney have come most vocally from a group of senior former intelligence officials who believe that information from the intelligence community was selectively used to support a war fought for political reasons. In an open letter to President George Bush, the group have asked that he demand Mr Cheney's resignation.
The article is co-written by Andrew Buncombe.
I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of ATSIC to look at the signature to see if the writer has an Aboriginal name. If so, I tend not to read it.
Too few people in this modern world are prepared to declare an interest when it comes to this kind of thing. It would be enormously helpful, for example, if those clerics and journalists who have been defending David Hicks, the so-called Australian Taliban terrorist, were to tell us whether they themselves are terrorists. Some do, but more don't.
The issue arises partly because, in both cases, these people are often accusing the other side of being prejudiced and biased - we are either Islamophobic or anti-Aboriginal.
Scroll way, way down to see Australian literature leprechaun Thomas Keneally endorsing a sad lefty website.
”As a committed libertarian,” writes Ross Fitzgerald, “I do not believe in legal action as a solution.”
He also writes:
Bearing in mind recent class-action litigations against tobacco companies, why, I wonder, aren't those who make and supply alcohol (brewers, distillers, publicans) being sued as aggressively as tobacco companies have been?
Since the alcohol industry seems determined not to admit publicly that what it sells is, to a significant minority of Australians, an addictive and socially damaging drug, the threat of widespread class actions may push companies towards greater social responsibility. The line that "We just make the stuff, it's the user who needs to be responsible" rings about as hollow as "Guns don't kill people, people do".
As with the debate on gun control, Australians need to confront the damage that alcohol causes when moderation gives way to excess and abuse, and to decide who's ultimately responsible for the negative outcomes.
A couple of hundred people saw Ken Park last night. One freedom-lover’s verdict:
Daisy, 25, of Camperdown said while the film was confronting, it was worth being shown.
"I think incest is still a topic that is taboo in our society," she said.
"If seeing something like this helps make it less so than that's a good thing."
What have Jose Bove's supporters got against bicycles?
Lance Armstrong shrugged off a disruption caused by demonstrators to retain the lead in the Tour de France after Dane Jakob Piil won the 10th stage on Tuesday.
Armstrong had to cope with a protest organised by supporters of the radical French farmers leader Jose Bove, who blocked the peloton for two minutes by sitting on the road.
Such unseemly disruptions wouldn’t occur if Tour de France competitors rode these.
Is it plagiarism if you acknowledge a source while plundering enough material to compose an entire column? Maybe not, but it sure as hell is lazy, and definitely not worth paying for. Professor Bunyip -- no lazybones he -- has caught Phillip Adams rewriting an article from the New York Review of Books (for the second time).
But before you visit the Bunyip for the full story on The Australian’s untouchable rewrite robot, take this fun online quiz:
What Did Phillip Adams Write? Select A or B from each of the following nine pairs of extracts from Phil’s column and The New York Review of Books article he harvested:
1. A: The centre was managed by Jim Wilkinson, a 32-year-old Texan and protege of the brothers Bush. When last seen, Wilkinson had been speaking on behalf of Republican activists protesting against the Florida ballot recount.
B: The Coalition Media Center is managed by Jim Wilkinson, a fresh-faced, thirty-two-year-old Texan and a protégé of Bush's adviser Karen Hughes. Wilkinson made his mark during the 2000 presidential election when he spoke on behalf of GOP activists protesting the Florida ballot recount.
2. A: Jim Wilkinson was known to rebuke reporters whose copy he deemed insufficiently supportive of the war; he darkly warned one correspondent that he was on a "list" along with two other reporters at his paper.
B: Wilkinson would loudly rebuke reporters whose copy seemed insufficiently supportive of the war – and recalcitrants were warned that they were on a list.
3. A: ... in contrast to the ranks of retired generals and colonels we saw enthusing about the war on American TV.
B: ... in contrast to the retired generals and colonels we saw on American TV.
4. A: All Mintier had to do was echo Brooks points with clear approval.
B: CNN's Tom Mintier, by contrast, would faithfully recite Brooks's main points, often with signs of approval.
5. A: Al-Jazeera took us to hospital wards to show us screaming children, women in pain, men without limbs. The camera lingered on stumps, head wounds, and tubes inserted in nostrils and chests. On gurneys in hallways lay bodies bandaged, bloodied, and burned ...
B: Al-Jazeera was taking cameras into hospital wards to show screaming children, women in pain, men without limbs, bodies bandaged and bloodied on gurneys.
6. A: With a much smaller staff than the BBC, this London-based channel (partly owned by Rupert Murdoch) seemed far more nimble. One of its correspondents, Geoff Meade, became known at the media center for his sharp, if sometimes grandiloquent, questions.
B: With a much smaller staff, Sky's team was judged more nimble – with one correspondent, Jeff Meade, singled out for special praise.
7. A: CNN's international service was repackaged, bearing more resemblance to the BBC than to its domestic –- and domesticated – edition.
B: CNN International bore more resemblance to the BBC than to its domestic edition -— a difference that showed just how market-driven were the tone and content of the broadcasts.
8. A: Wilkinson, a member of the naval reserve, appeared in the same beige fatigues as the career officers working under him.
B: The Bush activist was repackaged as a member of the Naval Reserve, appearing in beige fatigues identical to the career officers working beneath him.
9. A: As Baghdad was about to fall – without the discovery of a single weapon of mass destruction – Meade asked: "Is this war going to make history by being the first to end before its cause could be found?"
B: When Baghdad was about to fall without the discovery of any weapons of mass destruction, he asked, "Is this war going to make history by being the first to end before its cause could be found?"
Answers two posts below. All hail the Bunyip!
Why can’t I find that New York Times story I’m looking for?
(Via Mr. Bingley.)
Britain’s harsh catapult laws obviously aren’t working:
British police charged two men with manslaughter Tuesday following the death of an Oxford University student who was flung from a giant catapult.
Bulgarian Konstadin Yankov, 19, died last November when the stunt near the West Country town of Bridgewater went wrong.
"He had been thrown by a replica medieval catapult and failed to reach the landing net," said a police spokeswoman.
So now they’ll bring in new replica medieval catapult laws that will punish the 99% of us law-abiding replica medieval catapult owners who carry -- or drag -- our replica medieval catapults purely for personal protection. Bet on it.
I encourage all readers to send me e-mail only when they’re very drunk:
Hwllo time im dunk
In my sober moments I want to ask you a quetions
but i.m tooo diffiedent
Heer is ithe question
I enjoy your blog.
I combat the leftwing pwerosn who works next to me, and try to convince him that I do not eat babies.
Yet it is obvious he thinks i am beneath contempt on all byt computer quetsions.
So, and here is the question,
Can right wing people ever be considered human?
Well the real question is (just the first quetion in disquise)
Is there a culture war goining on?
We have won the economic and geopolitic war, but we have not won the cultural war: that is my drunken thesis.
An now at lats your blog and others are the vanquard of the bid to win the culture war.
Or is this just the old right/left stuff that always went on and i wasn't paying attention.
Is the culture war new? Or is it inevitable that the unis and the national broadcasters and the etc are as they are.
Ushote is fan mail: thkas
Please excuse my note m as I am snorted on butterscotch snapps it was revolt9ing, so I rworte an revoltint memo ini talics!!!
Actually, he (or she) makes a sound point or two in there. I think. More drunk mail!
Gerard Henderson on Monbiot, multilateralism, and the mass debate in Adelaide:
George Monbiot - who has been described "as the champion of Britain's left" - is in Australia hawking his latest book, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order. The Guardian columnist has just completed a gig at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas where his strident anti-Americanism is sure to have gone down a treat.
The Adelaide Festival of Ideas seems to have taken over the ground once occupied by the ABC as a luvvies' collective where everyone (or almost everyone) agrees with everyone else. Segments from the 2003 event will soon be played on Phillip Adams's ABC Radio National LNL program (sometimes called "Late Night Luvvies"). So there will be an opportunity to hear direct from the Monbiot manifesto, or parts thereof.
This may possibly be too little, and too late:
Senior Jewish Labor figures, including NSW general secretary Eric Roozendaal, have formed a political group to counter an anti-ALP backlash in the Jewish community.
Anger has grown within the Jewish community over a pro-Palestinian resolution put to parliament last November by outer-Sydney backbencher Julia Irwin. Inner-Sydney MP Tanya Pilbersek has described Israel as a rogue state and labelled Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a "war criminal".
Nice lady. For her part, Ms. Irwin has this to say:
I welcome the input of the Australian Jewish community to the discussion of Labor's Middle East peace policy.
How generous. She also says that Labor “cannot be bought”. Julia, the problem is that nobody wants to buy.
Q: Hey, Imam! I have heard that a woman could travel without a mahram a journey up to 3 days and night by herself as narrated by hadith. Most likely this was when people used horses as their fastest mode of travel. That scenario also leaves a woman alone for three consecutive nights! Now that we have airplanes that could take you around the world in less than 3 days. Do you think a woman can travel to any part of the world all by herself in plane?
The Imam answers:
Three days and nights of traveling in those days is equal to 48 miles of today’s traveling, hence, it will be compulsory for a woman to be accompanied by an adult male Mahram for any journey above 48 miles, whether on road or by place, etc.
For metric Muslims trying to work out if they need an adult male Mahram for their commute, that's equal to 77 kilometres.
This will provide fuel for the next 700 Phillip Adams columns:
Australia has been urged to seriously consider becoming the 51st state of the US.
American-born historian Dr David Mosler told a Brisbane audience yesterday there was a 20 per cent chance of Australia becoming an American state in the next 50 years.
Australians, he said, had no flag of their own;
Don’t tell these guys.
A weak sense of nationhood;
That’s why none of us care about issues like border protection.
No prime minister in the Lodge, with John Howard living in Sydney;
People weep in the streets about this.
No national bushfire or water plans, even with the worst drought in history;
Every real nation has a national bushfire plan.
And no "broad knowledge of nation in public discourse or popular culture".
Mosler’s been teaching here since 1993. He’s obviously not doing a very good job.
He said Australian governments, attuned to the British, Americans, Japanese and global capital markets, had "sold off the farm" - electricity, water, ports, airports, resources - while Australians weren't offended by such "treasonous behaviour".
If public ownership of utilities is the key to nationhood, the US should have become Australia’s seventh state about 20 years ago. Let’s deport the Mosler fellow.
Welcome to 2003, Mr Wallis:
Slowly but surely, Terry Wallis is rediscovering his world. After 19 years in a coma he has a lot of catching up to do.
But now the crash victim's family are steeling themselves to break the news that during those lost years his wife had three children by another man.
They will also have to tell him the daughter he remembers as a six-week-old baby is now working as a stripper.
He’ll get over it. But what about fellow coma sufferer Garry Trudeau, whose worldview remains exactly as it was in 1973? When will someone tell him that the joke he thought was funny 30 years ago now isn’t working at all?
“Yo, Imam,” asks a young reader (I’m paraphrasing). “What’s the deal with ‘toons, dude?”
The Imam responds:
We assume that your query is about cartoons viewed on television.
At the outset, television is not permissible. Furthermore, it is not
permissible to view such cartoons due to the many un-Islamic factors in
them, e.g. futile talks, lies, immodesty, etc.
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
The latest Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions Natasha Stott Despoja, Cheryl Kernot, Geoffrey Rutledge, Peter Fitzsimons, Nancy Wake, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Burgo’s Catchphrase, Margarita Windisch, John Howard, corrupt parrot fish barons and coconut magnates, Tim Freedman, Billy Joel, Fight Fire With Fire, David Hicks, and Malcolm Fraser.
Also mentioned is this site’s banning (or inadvertent blocking) at the Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently this is now fixed, although at least one site is still banned; the SMH tech guys tell me they can’t look at Big Brother online.
Everybody failed over Iraq, according to Scott Ritter. Bush was wrong, Kofi Annan was weak, Hans Blix was "a moral and intellectual coward", Cheney lied, France and Germany were strategic losers. Everybody. Except Ritter, and even his present beliefs contradict the Scott Ritter of 1998.
But ... how do we know the “Scott Ritter” promoting a new book is in fact the same Scott Ritter who earlier took such divergent opinions on Iraq? The latest Ritter could be a body double in another CIA plot.
Noting that the forces driving Muslim terrorism operate across several Middle Eastern nations -- usually at a less-than-official level, making it difficult to isolate and pin responsibility on individual governments -- Australian navy captain Peter Layton ponders a multi-state deterrent nuclear retaliation policy:
A declaratory policy could be devised based on the threat of retaliation if an attack occurs in the West by nonstate actors using the Arab way of war. In such a circumstance, there could be a strategy of instant, graduated response: nuclear strikes against several of the capital cites of the Middle Eastern nations that long have demonstrated support for this method of war. The response's intensity and discrimination would vary based on the severity of the WMD attack. This approach would be a policy of deterrence through the threat of brutal and immediate punishment of particular societies.
In this new application, the citizens of several Middle Eastern nations would be held responsible for their own actions, rather than the actions of their governments. The societies' futures would be in their own hands.
There also should be an incentive to motivate Middle Eastern societies to change their ways and be taken off the instant-response list. The Arab way of war starts in the schools and educational facilities of particular nations. Twenty years after a society stops teaching children to hate and kill, and twenty years after the last attempted terrorist attack by the members of that society, their capital should cease to be targeted.
The above -- originally published in March -- is an edited extract. Go read the whole thing.
(Thanks to reader Zsa Zsa for the tip)
Muslim blogger Ismail Royer (used to post here, more recently here) has been denied bail after being charged with violating the Neutrality Act -- ie, that he was part of group committed to jihad against India. Tim Cavanaugh has earlier background.
Hit this link, scroll down a little, and then ... behold! It’s the largest PayPal icon on earth!
The guy must really want your money. In other blog news, the commenter known as Nemesis -- who fled this site last week after encountering views with which he did not agree -- has launched his own blog. Drop in; leave a comment. And Michael Totten is calling for Dude, Where’s My ... variations. Jay Reding already has a bunch. Here’s one more:
Robert Fisk: Dude, Where’s My Looted Iraqi Museum Antiquities? Oh, Here They Are.
Flag-waving anti-freetrader Dick Smith gets a run in the press whenever he opens his mouth to whine about foreign businesses investing in Australia and giving us jobs. The German supermarket firm Aldi, which has invested more than $750 million in Australia since 2001, was a recent target:
Mr Smith appeared on a number of current affairs programs in May, saying Aldi was secretive and its profits went back to Germany.
Aldi boss Michael Kloeters has hit back, pointing out the high percentage of Australian products sold by Aldi and the number of jobs it provides in its 50 Australian stores. Smith, the above-linked article notes, was unavailable for comment because he is currently spending his money overseas.
This appeared at one of the ABC’s peace at all costs online forums. Links are added:
The campaign to bestialise North Korea is in full swing. They must become vile, baby-eating demons so we can invade them and save the world. Why, otherwise, do we never, ever see any images from North Korea other than goose-stepping legions of grim troops? Are all the North Koreans always goose-stepping in uniform? Women, children, peasants, farmers, bus-drivers, lovers, all spending all day every day goose-stepping along broad boulevardes?
The North Koreans were told by George W Bush that they were part of the "axis of evil". Why would they not arm themselves in response to such belligerency? Why would they not try to rattle their sabres, like toad fish that puff up so they seem too hard to swallow? Aggression is, as usual, the outcome of aggression. That's where the mistake is being made. We should be trying to include North Korea in the civilised world, not push it into the dark margins. By orchestrating hatred just as we did with Iraq we are showing ourselves to be no better than ignorant bullies.
Meanwhile nobody is treating wannabe warmonger Kim Myong-Chol at all seriously. Major loss of face for you, Mr Myong!
The BBC claimed an easy victory in the Least Believable poll, beating the New York Times 428 votes to 237, with the ABC third on 158. The London Sun and Melbourne’s Age were the least Least Believable, scoring 12 and 14 votes respectively.
This week’s poll asks: Which local columnist would you slap? Here’s your list of potential slapees: The Australian’s Phillip Adams, The Daily Telegraph’s Piers Akerman , The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen, The Bulletin’s me, The Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Carlton and Miranda Devine, syndicated Fairfaxers Hugh Mackay and Robert Manne, and The Australian’s Emma Tom.
We’ve got an equal representation here of bedwetting lefty tools and mouthbreathing conservative brutes. Vote!
All hair removal answers are checked and approved by Mufti Ebrahim Desai for your questioning safety.
It’s more expensive than shooting him, but at least it gets Mugabe out of the way:
Robert Mugabe will relinquish his leadership of Zimbabwe's ruling party by December, paving the way for his exit as President and new elections by June 2004, the South African President Thabo Mbeki has told George Bush.
The Independent has established that Mr Bush has pledged a reconstruction package for Zimbabwe worth up to $10bn over an unspecified timeframe, if a new leader takes over.
Trial begins in September.
Here’s a headline nobody could ever have anticipated.
Crazy Kim Myong-Chol puts down his spaniel burger for a few minutes to threaten Australia with atomic death:
Kim Myong-Chol from the Centre for Korean-American Peace last night said if North Korean ships were stopped at sea, North Korea could turn its nuclear arsenal on Australia.
"If Australia become part of American manipulation against North Korea, North Korea reserve the right to strike back on Australia," Mr Myong-Chol told ABC TV's Lateline program.
"That is official North Korean position.
"If Australia become part of American operation, North Korean response is to attack Australia."
Mr Myong-Chol said North Korea had the ability to strike Australia at any time.
"North Korea is carefully monitoring all Australian behaviour, so Australia must be careful in its behaviour to North Korea," Mr Myong-Chol said.
"Otherwise, harm to Australia."
Myong-Chol has previously issued similar threats: “Too much risky for America”, etc. He's a rich source of comic bluster. Someone should set up MyongWatch.
Might I offer a couple of small suggestions to those British citizens who would prefer not to stand trial in military tribunals where the punishment for some crimes can be execution? Don’t join terrorist organisations that fly planes at skyscrapers, and don’t dedicate your life to mass murder.
In all the grotesque campaign of disinformation, special pleading and mischief-making that seems to have gripped the entire chattering classes in recent days, one central fact about the nine British subjects being held in Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, appears to have been overlooked. They were captured by US forces seeking out al-Qaeda terrorists whose central purpose is to inflict as much death and carnage as is physically possible. They were not arrested for shoplifting, for fraud, or even for an isolated act of murder. They were held because they were thought to be part of an organisation that, as 9/11 proved, has no concept of morality.
Astonishingly, there are otherwise sane people who have not yet cottoned on that we are at war: a war to defend our very existence. That means that the rules of the game have been changed. Not by President Bush, nor by others who are defending us, but by the terrorists themselves. We did not ask for this fight. Unless we meet it head on, however, we will lose.
Scroll down to the entry titled Mossad Understands.
The Eurofun continues. Ralph Peters writes:
Several years ago, in Verona, I made the mistake of speaking German to a companion as we entered a restaurant. The manager swiftly informed us that there were no more tables. When I expressed my regret in broken Italian and English, his expression changed entirely. After asking if I was American, he apologized and seated us at a perfect table, then sent over a special wine for us to try.
Germany is fighting back with state-of-the-art topless weaponry. When will the UN intervene?
Just as everyone suspected, the Bali bombing was actually a nuclear attack directed by the US and their Jew pals:
Accused Bali bomber Amrozi bin Nurhasyim today claimed an American or Israeli nuclear device, rather than his own explosives, may have been used in the October 12 attack which killed 88 Australians.
Amrozi suggested the bomb may have been a "mini nuclear" device set off after tracking by American or Israeli satellites.
He said the US and Israel had satellite devices that could have tracked the car bomb and detonated an explosion as the car drove down Legian Street in Kuta's nightclub strip.
Even so, the blast was good news:
"With this incident, God willing, many people realise that they had forgotten God and neglected their worship and avoided places of worship so that mosques became empty, churches became deserted, monasteries and temples also became empty without occupants or visitors," he said.
"Often things we don't like are in fact good for us," he added.
Hey, let’s not get all judgmental here. Amrozi is a human being too, you know.
Ordinary Iraqis think the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council is a bunch of junk, according to the ABC’s Mark Willacy:
Ordinary Iraqis are very dismissive of this body. That's not really surprising, because they do regard it as a bunch of exiles who are merely puppets for the real power, which is the American administration.
You mention names like Ahmed Chalabi in the streets of Baghdad and you get very dismissive responses. They see him as a crook, as someone who is a friend of the State Department and the Pentagon in Washington.
Willacy phoned that report in from ... Jerusalem.
UPDATE. Salam Pax, reporting from Baghdad for The Guardian, is obviously talking to different ordinary Iraqis:
I am happy, we all are. The general sentiment is: "Yes, of course we know it is not a real government, but it is a start." The mix is right; they just have to work more on the choice of characters, and they need a massive PR campaign. People just don't know who they are, especially the women ...
Whatever, as one very wise taxi driver told me later, this is only temporary. When we get to choose, it will not be the same people we have up there now. This is really the first step and if we stumble, it is not a problem; we learn.
The NYT’s Walter Kirn reports:
According to a recent academic study, raising speed limits to 70 miles per hour, and even higher, has no effect whatsoever on the death rates of young and middle-aged male drivers
Not everyone is immune to these break-neck speeds, however:
Higher speed limits do increase the death rates of women and the elderly. The scientists can't agree on the reason for this discrepancy, and if they're wise they won't try ...
Responsibility for your own decisions sharpens the senses, while regulations numb them.
The Australian’s Matt Price last Saturday:
If history is any guide, praise from this column normally guarantees a dismal Dockers performance.
I should've put a bet on this. Damn it to hell.
Malcolm Knox today chides fellow SMH columnist Miranda Devine for reporting “from Sydney” on Jessica Lynch’s rescue. Then he makes this comment about Saddam Hussein:
He certainly wasn't a leader with 100 per cent electoral approval, as he claimed, but then in a free election he'd still likely have won more votes than the 24 per cent of Americans who voted for George Bush.
Malcolm not only reports on Iraq from Sydney, he runs exit polls from here. Knox should stick to sport. Meanwhile Frank Devine graciously mentions this site in a commentary on another SMH wrongster, peroxided pensioner Mike Carlton.
Reader Neil L. locates some anti-SUV hate speech in the Melbourne Age:
Four-wheel-drive buyers are making themselves safer, but the cost is being borne by other road users. For every serious injury or death that is saved by buying a four-wheel-drive, nearly three more result.
Writes Neil: “This, statistically, means that for every new 4WD owner for the last ten years, the death/injury rate has climbed by 200% (1 saved, 3 result).
”Given the rate of sales of 4WDs as a proportion of all vehicle sales over the last 10 years, does that not mean that the motor vehicle death/injury rate Australia-wide has increased due to the uptake of 4WD vehicles?
”No.The death/injury rate has fallen, not risen, despite many more 4WDs on the road.”
Maybe The Age is including deaths caused by worry over 4WDs. Such as is killing the staff of the eternally-alarmist Age.
Meanwhile CIA labs are analysing the contents of what Tim sput in front of the President.
When Mohammed meets Marx:
An Islamic conference in the Spanish city of Granada has called on Muslims around the world to help bring about the end of the capitalist system.
The call came at a conference titled 'Islam in Europe' attended by about 2,000 Muslims.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, leader of the worldwide Muslim group known as Murabitun.
Mr Vadillo said America's economic interests had become the religion of the world and that people slavishly adjusted their lifestyles to suit the capitalist model.
But he said capitalism cannot sustain itself and is bound to collapse.
I’ll take that bet. Another speaker at Marxo-Muslimfest was German Abu Bakr Rieger:
He said Islam could only be practised in Europe in a traditional way, not in one adapted to European values and structures.
He also said private terrorism would find no approval among European Muslims.
State terrorism is presumably just fine, however.
Since when is “cowboy” a religion?
A former cowboy who converted to Islam, Hicks has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for more than 18 months. He was allegedly captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.
I guess the fact that he's being held at Guantanamo kind of clears up any “allegation” that Hicks was captured, too. Via reader Zsa Zsa, who sees all.
The lie that never dies. Justin Huggler reports for The Independent:
... Mr Sharon, who has presided over the reoccupation of Palestinian towns and cities and the Jenin atrocities as Prime Minister.
John Lydon is becoming goofy in his old age:
British punk band the Sex Pistols want to bring their particular brand of anarchy to Iraq, vowing to play a live concert in Baghdad with the message that democracy has its pitfalls.
Lydon said the Sex Pistols, who famously touted anarchy in the UK in the late 1970s, said the Iraqi people should be made to understand the downside of democracy.
"If you are going to offer these people democracy, then offer it to them in their fullest extreme so they fully know what they're walking into," he said.
It used to be about the music, man.
Does anyone seriously believe that the disputed uranium claims were a primary reason for kicking Saddam out of power? And that disproving them completely undermines the coalition’s position?
In the gigalitre soup of war justification, uranium from Niger amounted to one-tenth of a crouton. Remove it from the argument entirely; no difference is made. And as for the invisible (and therefore never extant) weapons of mass destruction, David Lazarus summarised matters accurately in a letter to Friday’s Australian:
There were many valid reasons to to go to war in Iraq, but after ... seeing the reaction of most people to the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found, it simply confirms to me that the US, British and Australian governments were correct in using the existence of WMDs as their sole justification for launching the war.
Why? Because for many people, anything other than a very simple argument would only have confused them. A powerful example of this is the fact that many people are actually now saying that not finding the weapons proves that there were no such weapons in the first place. They ignore the fact that in the decade before the war, UN inspectors documented thousands of chemical agents.
To end the first Gulf war in 1991, Hussein signed a ceasefire that required the abandonment of all chemical, biological and nuclear programs, fully overseen and certified by the UN.
The US, Britain, Australia and other responsible nations didn't trust him, assumed the worst and launched a valid war to end the threat he represented, once and for all. As a result the Iraqi people have been freed from the evil tyranny of one of the worst regimes in modern history and the world is a safer place.
To remind people: “evil tyranny” is a bad thing. Removing it is good.
Possibly you have not yet bought a copy of Ken Layne’s Analog Bootlegs. Incarceration is the only valid excuse -- and even then, you’ve got to be in some place with a Supermax rating at least. Read Matt Welch’s review and send your money (only $9 or so) to Musical Ken today.
As proof of the Bush administration’s absolute and complete control over all aspects of its public image, the New York Times offers this:
Eric Draper, the chief White House photographer and the only photographer allowed at Camp David that weekend, had shown Mr. Bush the small image of the picture in the back of his digital camera. "I said, 'What do you think about this?"' Mr. Draper recalled in an interview in his West Wing basement office last week. "And he said, 'O.K., that's good.' "
Worse than Stalin.
George Best arrested in a bar? Why, that’s almost as unlikely as Terry Lane bitching about the West or the egomaniacal Butler fellow (currently appearing at Adelaide’s Carnival of Sour Left Wing Rabble) getting all crazy about the war.
According to The Age -- which is now 100% apostrophe free -- Tony Blair has lost his way:
Back in 1997 Tony Blair could do no wrong. Hed just won a landslide victory, Cool Britannia was everywhere and Bill and Hillary Clinton jetted into town just to have dinner with him. Six years later, hes fighting for his political future. What went wrong?
Even Jarvis Cocker, the erudite front man of pop group Pulp who had fawned over Blair six years earlier, recently articulated his sense of disappointment.
There’s an old saying in British politics: “Once you’ve lost Jarvis Cocker, the erudite front man of pop group Pulp, you’ve lost the people.”
Outside New York’s Dakota Building, John Lennon is approached by a creepy, fame-hungry loser ...
A Victorian man who donated his sperm in the "usual and customary manner" - by having sex with a lesbian - has been found liable to pay child support.
Despite the man [known only as ND] and the lesbian couple agreeing the sperm donor would have no legal rights or financial responsibilities to the child, the Family Court found the man was responsible because the baby was conceived through sex.
This guy wasn’t unknown to the mother:
The court was told the biological parents were a couple in 1997, but within a year the mother, known as BM, left him to begin a lesbian relationship. She underwent a "ceremony of marriage" with her female partner, known as LP, in 1998.
Soon after, the women asked ND - and he agreed - to donate sperm for their child.
The man had sex with BM on three occasions in the presence of her partner.
Wa-hey! But it all too quickly turned into a menage a ripoff:
It is not clear why the mother asked the magistrate's court to order the man be assessed to pay child support.
Probably for money. Yes, that might be it.
Live from the EU, Mark Steyn covers the launch of the Single European Stereotype:
M Giscard explained that the creation of the new Single European Stereotype, or the "stEureotype", had been inspired by Robin Cook's claim that ‘the modern Europe is built on the rejection of ethnic stereotypes' ... "And I think to myself is it not time to 'armonise these outdated stereotypes into a modern efficient European identity we can all embrace - the obnoxious garlic-breathed drunken homosexual concentration-camp bullfighter who's into organised crime."
They’re identical, apart from the omission in the SMH version of a certain controversial paragraph. Have the KP6 censored themselves? Is the demand to “end politically conservative appointments” now off the table? Maybe Media Watch will tell us.
Fetch your aluminium poles, people:
Officials in Sydney, Australia, are planning an Easter festival around racing with hopes of creating a tourist draw to rival the Melbourne Cup, which packs Flemington racecourse each November.
The festival, which is tentatively named Festivus, would also include rugby and surfing events.
And, of course, the Feats of Strength.
Mandy Block, the sausage mascot who was felled by pirate Randall Simon in a cruel race attack, isn‘t going to sue:
"I'm like, 'I'm just a sausage guys. It's not a big deal. I'm fine."'
She’s settled for an apology and the bat Simon swung at her. This marks a breakthough in the long-running bloodfeud between athletes and oversized costume wearers.
Via the World Tribune:
A North Korean defector now living in Japan came to Washington this week with an urgent message.
In a meeting with White House officials, he called for a pre-emptive strike on "selected targets" in North Korea before the Kim Jong-il regime succeeds in arming its missiles with miniaturized nuclear warheads.
On a similar subject, The Economist reviews JoHo’s newly-aggressive foreign policy:
Like his friend George Bush, Australia’s prime minister, John Howard, came to office not intending to pay much attention to the outside world. On his first official trip to Asia, after taking office in 1996, he is said to have told an adviser: “Frankly, I don't want to get too involved in foreign policy.” But just as has happened to Mr Bush, events have nudged Mr Howard to take an active role in world affairs—and to make Australia’s foreign policy more assertive than ever before.
We have gigglebite issues. Go read Andrea’s post and suggest a solution.
Music fans who illegally download their favourite tracks from the internet still buy albums in the shops, according to research.
The findings explode music industry fears that such internet file-sharing is killing the record industry. The results suggest most music fans still like to own genuine copies of their favourite albums.
Groups such as Metallica, Garbage and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers who try to prevent fans downloading their tracks are "shooting themselves in the foot" according to the research.
The source of this story is a little surprising, however. The Melbourne Age is getting bloggy with the links.
Phillip Adams, who has previously railed against nuclear bombs “that incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, dooming even more to lingering deaths from radiation”, now salutes the man who ordered those attacks:
Harry Truman, a failure at just about everything he tried in his pre-political days, became one of the more convincing of the modern presidents. True, he got his job via the grim reaper rather than the ballot box when FDR died in office.
But Harry went on to win in his own right – and to make a greater claim on history than, for example, five-star general/president Eisenhower. Clearly insipid incumbents like Carter and Ford couldn’t compare with such lusties as Kennedy or Clinton – but few in the Oval Office could top Harry, the humble haberdasher, when it came to political courage.
Few can top Phillip, the not-so-humble columnist, when it comes to political inconsistency. His main point today is a perceived similarity between Richard Nixon and John Howard:
And there’s something else Nixon and Howard have in common. Their achievement of power didn’t seem to lead to happiness, or personal security. While Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Clinton, Reagan and lots of other leaders were exultant in power, exhilarated by high office, Howard, like Nixon, seems utterly joyless.
Howard was right:
Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks has freely admitted to Australian intelligence agencies that he trained with the terrorist group al-Qaeda, a senior intelligence source has told The Age.
The comments support claims by Prime Minister John Howard, which have been denied by Hicks' family and legal team, who are yet to speak to the 27-year-old detainee at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
And Howard was wrong:
The Prime Minister conceded yesterday the intelligence suggesting Iraq tried to buy yellowcake from Niger was fraudulent, but said "anything that I have said that might be seen as misleading was not a deliberate misleading".
Like, big deal. In the context of arguments against Saddam Hussein, this is similar to discovering that the Nazis killed only 5.9 million people instead of 6 million. Murdering lunatic deposed, people. This is a good thing.
UPDATE. It’s true! My foreign policy really is that simple! As for my critic’s policy on WMD-lusting dictators, well, it probably involves hugs or the UN or bunnies or something. Or maybe he thinks they should just be left alone.
The Australian’s Greg Sheridan reports:
The US has discovered what it believes is decisive proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and taken the material to the US for testing.
US Undersecretary of State John Bolton told The Weekend Australian the US had evidence it hoped would prove Iraq's previous possession of WMD.
Well-informed sources have now told The Weekend Australian that US soldiers made the discovery in Iraq two weeks ago. They believe the material will contain chemical weapons materials.
However, the material was not in a pristine or readily identifiable state when it was discovered and it was decided to take it back to the US for comprehensive laboratory testing.
I guess this is important only if it shuts a few people up. I’m fine with simply getting rid of a WMD-lusting dictator. Meanwhile the SMH’s Mike Carlton declares John Bolton to be “one of the Bush Administration's madder right-wingers”. His evidence:
Bolton loathes the United Nations, once memorably remarking that "it is certainly rare to find genuine capitalists walking the UN halls". He believes the US can ignore the world body as it pleases because, as he puts it, "the United States is, simply stated, different from other countries".
Carlton might be more friendly towards the US if its officials were imposed rather than elected.
The voices in Hugh Mackay’s head are getting louder:
With increasing frequency and growing vehemence, you hear people saying they are ashamed to be Australians.
Hugh denies, however, that he is among the ashamed:
I've never felt that way, and I still don't. I know too many passionate, committed, wonderful Australians ever to feel ashamed of being part of the place. I am too full of admiration for our scientists, our writers, artists, poets, playwrights, directors and filmmakers, our comedians, our farmers, our doctors and nurses, our schoolteachers and academics, our students, and even our smartest entrepreneurs, to feel despair about our long-term future.
Even our smartest entrepreneurs, eh? Generous of him. The cause of Hugh’s worry is illegal immigration:
There are an estimated 25 million refugees adrift in the world - 25 million people who, tonight, have nowhere to call home - and we're worried about the tiny handful that try to come here in little boats?
And if we let that tiny number enter without restriction ... what does Hugh think would occur with the 25 million? Many would head for Australia, via people smugglers. How many would die between Indonesia and Australia?
A personal hero departs:
Arnold Nawrocki, the man widely credited with bringing individually wrapped slices of cheese into the homes of millions of families in the 1950s, has died at 78.
No news on the funeral, but I hope that he’ll be wrapped. Or even sliced. Arnold would’ve wanted it that way.
Drove to Canberra last night to speak at the Australian Liberal Students Federation conference. A well-read, alert audience -- and also polite, laughing at the right moments and not throwing any bottles. Much praise from attendees for the blogs of Alan Anderson and Gareth Parker, which I countered with aggressive lies (“Gareth? He’s really a 48-year-old software consultant. And Alan only blogs as a condition of his day release”). Fans were crestfallen. Cuban cigars were in evidence, not that Canberra’s brutal fume laws allow anyone to smoke them indoors.
Thanks to Nathan Barker, an executive member of the ALSU, for inviting me. I used to routinely refuse speaking requests, because I’m essentially inarticulate; a flaw that is magnified massively when you’re the only guy in the room with a microphone. It’s surprising how much you improve with each speech. Now I’m almost not terrible.
(Return time for the Canberra drive: 2hrs 45min. In a country with civilised speed limits, that distance -- 280 km -- should be two hours tops.)
UPDATE. Just to remind US readers: Australian Liberals are actually conservatives. As a commenter pointed out earlier, this is due to the Coriolis effect.
The Ken Park Six -- Christina Andreef, Martha Ansara, David Marr, Jane Mills, Margaret Pomeranz, and Julie Rigg -- explain the concept of diversity through exclusion:
We want an end to politically conservative appointments to classification boards, so the decisions are made by competent people with no axes to grind and with some understanding of Australia as a country of diverse communities.
Aren't these people meant to be in favour of free speech?
The Age’s headline:
Berlusconi sorry for 'arrogant blondes' comment
But according to the story, Berlusconi wasn't sorry for that at all:
Premier Silvio Berlusconi said today he was "sorry" for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after the German leader cancelled his Italian holiday to protest comments by an Italian official that Germans were "hyper-nationalist" arrogant blondes.
Berlusconi was asked to comment on Schroeder's decision during a visit to Positano, on the Amalfi coast, and responded: "I'm sorry for him."
The helpful AP reporter included the line twice in the top two pars, and the drunks at The Age still got it wrong.
The French government has banned its civil service from using the filthy non-French term “email”. From now on they’ll have to use “courriel”, a contraction of “courrier electronique”.
Or maybe it’s a contraction of “computer squirrel”. Alan R.M. Jones responds:
Waiting to hear what the official word for spam will be. I suppose the French have a point, don't they. I mean we mustn't let foreign words infect our culture. I had this very thought yesterday as I read my journal at a local cafe, while waiting to rendezvous with my wife, who looked very chic when she arrived. She had a cordial and I an aperitif. We nibbled on some hors-d'oeuvre before we set off for our favorite restaurant (which has a great a la carte menu) and then the cinema. Afterward, we stopped into a little bistro and had a liqueur. We had grand time, even though our automobile broke down on the route home. Luckily, Jacques Chirac just happened to be going by in his chauffer-driven limousine and he graciously conveyed us the rest of our journey to our apartment.
I’ve already made the appropriate alteration.
This David Hicks poll has been up all day at the SMH website. Check the number of votes.
Meanwhile, in important poll news, the BBC holds a 127-vote lead over the New York Times after 755 votes have been counted in the race to decide the least trusted media organisation on earth (see left). The Guardian is clearly the least trusted UK newspaper, while among local competitors the ABC has almost doubled the SMH’s tally. “Random Idiot on the Internet” is so far running fourth overall on 79 votes.
The Guardian reports:
Some of the great works of English literature could be scrapped from the syllabus of one of Pakistan's leading universities because of what professors fear is a rising tide of Muslim fundamentalism.
A review of books studied in the English courses at Punjab University in Lahore singled out several texts, including Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels as containing offensive sexual connotations which were deemed "vulgar".
The review appears to have been triggered by complaints made about the syllabus by the wife of a retired army general. She criticised the inclusion of two poems, including one by WH Auden, which she said promoted Jews, and a poem by Vikram Seth, who she said was too pro-Indian. She also said the poems of Adrienne Rich were unsuitable for study because she is a lesbian. "We have been tolerant for too long," the general's wife said.
The review was conducted by Dr Shahbaz Arif, and he isn’t messing around:
Perhaps the most bizarre criticism is of a Sean O'Casey play, The End of the Beginning. Dr Arif makes no specific comment on the text but quotes several passages in which the apparently objectionable phrases are underlined. They include the phrase: "When the song ended, Darry cocks his ear and listens." Dr Arif has underlined the word "cocks".
Let's not jump to conclusions. Maybe Dr Arif really likes that word.
Who said this?
"I haven't had a boy in a really long time."
National Review hails the happy Italians:
The Berlusconi affair illustrates how completely humorless and thin-skinned the European political elite and their media have become, especially since the war in Iraq.
But the lesson for Americans is that at least for the moment we have found our natural European allies — and they aren't British after all. They're the happy Italians. They don't care about European pomposity, they dress better than the Germans, they eat better than the French, they drive better than anybody, and they make stupid jokes about American TV. They're just like us!
Go say hi to Cose Turche, blogging up a feast of fun in Italy.
Laugh it up, funny guys:
Confessed Bali bombers Mukhlas and his younger brothers Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Ali Imron laid on a comic turn in court yesterday, but it was a performance that failed to impress the Australians in the gallery.
Melbourne sisters Samantha and Leanne Woodgate, both horrifically burned in the bombings last year, watched the alleged terrorists' antics with stony faces. "I suppose when you see them laughing it does make you angry, because you can see there's no remorse," Samantha said.
I’m now opposed to the death penalty. I’d prefer a torture penalty.
Peter FitzSimons imagines the following scene:
So anyway, trailed by the ubiquitous cameras of the White House press corps, President George Bush goes to a primary school in Texas to have a "photo-op" chat to the children about this and that and nothing in particular. When he is done, one little boy at the back of the room puts up his hand to ask a question.
"And what is your name, young man?" Dubya asks him.
"And what is your question, Billy?"
"I have three questions. First, why are you president when Al Gore got more votes? Second, what is the connection between Iraq and September 11? And third, where are these weapons of mass destruction, anyway?"
Within a few hours all comments posted at this site will display IP addresses. Should you require anonymity when commenting, please e-mail me your comments and they will be added (if I decide to post them) sans any IP background.
This isn’t an anonymous blog. We are family!
The website 1924.org (“Informing the Muslim community in Britain”) reports:
In a conversation with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, George Bush offered a measure of delusion and lunacy that surprised many. Not content with the mass murder, war and illegal occupation of the Muslim lands that he has engaged in for the past two years, he now claims divine authority for his crimes. In what can only be described as an obscene insult to any believer in Allah (SWT) and the last day, Bush has claimed himself as a messenger of god.
He told Abbas that he was ready to help him: "God told me to strike at Al-Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
Consider yourself “informed”, Britain.
The BBC reports:
Germany is starting a series of campaigns to improve the country's image abroad, seeking to replace the dogged stereotypes of Nazis and sunbed stealing tourists with a more relaxed, hip and even erotic portrayal of its people and language.
(Via Zsa Zsa the supplier)
This shouldn’t be a postcard. It should be a poster.
Australia’s latest colonialist invasion can only be about one thing. Gareth Parker has the scoop.
Despite Australia having “the most up-to-date” gun laws, gun crimes still happen somehow:
From 1999 to 2002 the number of robberies involving firearms in Sydney's most populated areas rose by 34 per cent, while handgun homicide has grown from 13 to 50 per cent since Martin Bryant killed 35 people at the Port Arthur tourist site in Tasmania in April 1996.
Those stats are from a UN conference, by the way. The proposed solution? More laws!
Mark Sawyer in today’s SMH:
A lot of us are better off. Our houses are bigger, our cars newer and roomier. Our interest rates are lower, and that's not to be sniffed at.
And yet it hurts to see the way John Howard has changed this country.
Leaving aside the standard SMH attitude ... how does Sawyer imagine Howard to be capable of influencing the interior dimensions of motor vehicles?
The Daily Telegraph wants some help:
What do you think the giraffe born at Western Plains Zoo should be called? Click here to send us your feedback.
I’ve gone for "Stilty, the leaf-suckin' sky horse". It was either that or "Ann Coulter".
“Politically, I am confused,” writes Brian Deegan, whose son was murdered in Bali:
It could be argued that these men who proclaim Allah has guided them did not single out my son. Rather, they viewed the group of tourists at the Sari Club on that October night as representative of a Western collective of terror whose leaders had bombed Muslim states such as Afghanistan and Iraq, so killing, albeit inadvertently, equally innocent children.
Surely, I'm not the only person to view this as an inevitable link in an unbroken chain in Australia's foreign affairs.
He certainly isn’t the only person with this view. It’s shared by Osama bin Laden, for one. With due respect to Mr Deegan’s unimaginable loss, if you’re going to structure foreign policy around the desires of a homicidal religious zealot, it’s time to give up.
UPDATE. Tim Dunlop writes that “all the fine, compassionate conservatives” are “going after a guy whose kid was killed in the Bali bombing just because he doesn't agree with their political views.”
This is insane.
That Deegan’s son died is undeniably tragic, but a family connection does not deliver to him the ability to determine the cause of Josh Deegan’s death -- which, by extension, would determine the reason for the deaths of 87 other Australians (and 114 from Bali, England, New Zealand and elsewhere) to whom Brian Deegan was not related.
Deegan presumes to speak for many Australians, and indeed many people around the world, who’ve lost family and friends to Islamic fundamentalism; many plainly disagree with him. They, too, deserve to be heard. As do people -- that is to say, all of us -- who are threatened by anti-Western terror attacks.
Canada and the UN are no longer bestest friends:
The United Nations has ranked Australia as the fourth-best place in the world to live.
Beating Australia to the top three places are Norway, Iceland and Sweden ... The list has upset Canada, which held the number one position for seven years in a row.
It is now ranked eighth.
The meanest thing about this demotion is that Canada is the only nation that cares what the UN thinks. This is callous.
This week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin mentions John Howard, Ken Park, Blowing for Columbine, Pearl Necklace Harbor, Pauline Hanson, Barry Humphries, George Monbiot, Abdul Aziz, Ali Ghufron, John Cherry, Richard Alston, Silvio Berlusconi, Herman Schmidt, George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden.
UPDATE. Includes entertaining blunder!
Well done, Gyorgy Scrinis, for one of the best and most hard-hitting articles against GM foods that I have read. The global food corporations must be worried with this sort of exposure of their motives.
Others disagree. Interesting that this was the only letter on the subject that the Age published. Maybe they had to make room for the lead letter, a comical work by a former Howard voter who complains about “the illegal invasion of Iraq”.
Labor’s traditionally strong relationship with the Jewish community has fractured over Israel, and Simon Crean has become a target for Jewish anger.
Leading Jewish voices are suggesting Jews will shift their support from Labor to the Liberals at the next election, and donations to Labor are at risk.
Senior ALP sources are aware of the deep Jewish discontent with Labor and concede fundraising from the Jewish community may not be as "dependable" as it once was.
That’s because Labor, now loaded with official Pals of Palestine, is not as “dependable” as it once was.
(Via sharp-eyed Andrew Lloyd.)
No Pirates of Penzance parody has ever before featured the phrase frogging spear. Or "bureau puke", for that matter. Doggerel Pundit corrects (hilariously) these historic wrongs.
In the midst of an historic right is Chief Wiggles, reporting from Iraq on MREs, MPs, POWs, and -- eventually -- WMDs. Or not; I don’t particularly care if WMDs are ever found. It’s enough for me that a guy who had 'em, deployed 'em, liked 'em, and wanted more of 'em, will never again be able to use 'em.
The Prime Minister is taking a personal interest in the case of al Qaeda dingo David Hicks:
Australian David Hicks had admitted training with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, Prime Minister John Howard said today. Lawyers for Hicks have conceded he was a Taliban soldier but denied a link with al-Qaeda.
"What is not an allegation, because the man in question has admitted it, is that he trained with al-Qaeda," Mr Howard told ABC radio today when asked about Hicks.
Mr Howard's office later clarified the prime minister "meant what he said".
Which is more a confirmation than a clarification. The dingo’s lawyers are startled:
"It's a total surprise to us," Mr Camatta said. "We have no basis to understand that to be the case.
"Maybe the prime minister has had access to briefings from the security services.”
The truth will no doubt emerge in this film about Hicks, to be funded by grateful taxpayers.
To justify that headline, I really need this guy to be driving a convertible.
They need some coin to play the Blogger arcade game ...
Money is evil, which is why idealistic lefty students get so angry when they’re asked to earn some to pay for their own education.
Thirty smiling American dollars arrived in the tip jar the other day, accompanied by this note:
Dumping salon.com for Spleenville. You win.
The Spleenville media machine is not only winning the cash race -- hey, we’re in profit here -- but we’re also trending up, while a certain San Francisco-based bunch of losers is ... well, just take a look at all the ugly red arrows.
But first we must crush Michael Moore, who lately has drifted within range of our low-budget weaponry. Onwards!
Want a new camel? Want a new wife? Can't afford both? Well now you can, with Fatwa Sam’s Camel and Wife Combi Deal.
GM food is a bad thing that will make rich people richer and starve the poor, and, hey, while we’re at it, let’s ban farming equipment. That’s the essential argument of Gyorgy Scrinis in Melbourne’s Age:
In reality, the new genetic technologies will largely be used to feed the power and profits of agri-food corporations, and they are more likely to exacerbate rather than alleviate the problems of widespread hunger and malnutrition in the Third World.
To make more money, these companies will have to make more food, which will require more third-world employees. Gyorgy can’t see a win/win/win when it’s staring him in the face.
GM products are primarily being developed to fit into large-scale, chemical-intensive, mechanised and capital-intensive farming systems.
Bring back the mule! Bring back wonderful back-breaking peasant labour!
Any increase in yields of crop and animal products will be headed for its usual destination: well-off consumers.
When I’m a millionaire, I’m going to build me a grain silo. Just like Howard Hughes.
Research and development of GM products is largely aimed at adapting crops and animals to the requirements of the global food industries. For example, producing non-softening fruits for long-distance transportation so well-off consumers can have access to year-round supplies of out-of-season fruits.
Too bad this sort of advance will never, ever trickle down to poor people, due to the economic law of “Go to hell, you poor people! You’ll never be able to afford cell phones or VCRs or food!”
Genetically engineered crops and animals further threaten the food security of the poor in a number of ways. First, to the extent that they enable large-scale, chemical-industrial farms to increase their productivity or profitability, this competitive advantage will enable the further squeezing out of small-scale farmers.
Greater productivity is wrong. Small, inefficient farms are cute. Right.
Second, GM crops may accelerate the erosion of farm labouring work in poor rural areas through the further introduction of labour-replacing technologies.
Gyorgy should be dragged by his tongue from one end of America’s wheatbelt to the other while a choir of rational economists serenades him with hymns to the Industrial Revolution.
What is actually required is a redistribution of fertile land, of incomes and of economic power, rather than access to genetic products.
Hey, it’s working in Zimbabwe.
There is an obscene arrogance in the idea that GM crops will "feed the world", or that the poor need to be fed by us. For in reality, poor people and communities around the world will either feed themselves, or they will not feed at all.
I don’t really care to dwell on the implications of that statement.
Genetic-corporate agriculture is in fact a system for feeding on the world rather than for feeding the world.
Although The Age describes him only as “a research associate in the Globalism Institute at RMIT University”, Gyorgy Scrinis is also a longtime campaigner for dirt socialist group Friends of the Earth. Which explains a few things.
It is about corporations and well-off consumers continuing to feed on the food, the cheap labour and other extractable resources of the Third World; about large-scale industrial producers consuming and displacing more small-scale and subsistence producers and rural communities; and about transnational agri-food corporations feeding on the work of more farmers by swallowing up and patenting the seeds and knowledge developed by traditional farmers over thousands of years.
Traditionally these people work in fields, every day, all of their lives, for a pittance. You want to keep them there, Gyorgy?
A new poll is up, and it’s a tri-nation, multi-proprietor trustfest. Nominate your least believable media outlet from the NYT, the BBC, the Sun, the Grauniad, the Independent, the Australian, the Age, the SMH, the ABC, or some geekazoid with a modem.
I’ve got a feeling this one will be close.
UPDATE. After 80 votes the BBC has taken an early lead from The NYT and The Guardian. Watch for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and the ABC to kick in from 9.00am Australian east coast time.
How many people missed out on seeing Ken Park? According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 200. According to The Australian, 250. According to the ABC, around 300. According to The Guardian’s David Fickling, who appears to be missing a section of forehead, 400. According to Associated Press, about 500. And according to the Queensland Sunday Mail, more than 500 people.
This phenomenon, whereby crowd estimates increase relative to distance and time from an event, is known as The Pilger Curve. It is named after its inventor, who within a year or so managed to inflate a reconciliation protest on Sydney Harbour Bridge from 200,000 to one million.
(Incidentally, the free speech advocates at the Sydney Morning Herald who are so furious at the Ken Park ban might ask their management why this site is blocked at their workplace. Do I have to show up at Balmain Town Hall and read to the poor journalists?)
It starts with just a few drops at a party. A couple of months later you’re doing whole glasses. And before you know it ...
Brideshead Revisited star Anthony Andrews is recovering after overdosing on water.
The star, who played Sebastian Flyte in the well-loved series based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, drank several litres which sparked a salt imbalance.
Andrews, 55, is now taking it easy and hoping to return to the West End stage for his role as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady.
He had to miss the production for an entire week while being treated at a clinic following his water binge.
Kids, please. Just say no to H2O.
An hour or so ago I sent PayPal a note questioning the legitimacy of an e-mail they’d apparently sent me. Something about it -- a couple of misspelled words, the details it requested about my bank account, the faint sound of malevolent giggling -- wasn’t quite right.
Jeff Soyer now has confirmation from PayPal that a scam is afoot. Beware.
A good thing about liberated Iraq: new newspapers. A bad thing: new newspapers.
After an Iraqi newspaper ran a story claiming that U.S. Marines raped a young girl and left her for dead, U.S. officials persuaded the publisher to run a retraction and fire the offending reporter.
When a newspaper reported that American night vision equipment can be used to see through women's clothing, U.S. civil affairs troops visited the editors personally to let them look through the goggles.
Some of the claims are breathtaking:
-- The Assaah newspaper on Saturday claimed that the Israeli government ordered the modification of its export laws to flood Iraqi markets with Israeli goods. The paper urged Iraqis to carefully check Taiwanese or Chinese-made appliances for hidden Stars of David.
-- The same paper recently reported that American helicopters swooped down on construction stores in the southern city of Nasiriyah to steal building supplies.
Well, you know how American soldiers love their rebar and gypsum board. Luckily Robert Fisk is headed back to Iraq; he’ll put an end to this nonsense.
The Arab News reports:
Saudi Arabia will host an international conference on human rights on Oct. 14, the first conference of its kind to be organized with the help of the Saudi government.
The conference will also shed light on the Islamic approach toward human rights.
The conference, the SRCS sources said, seeks to promote Islam as the religion of peace, tolerance and love. Islam is the first to acknowledge the rights of human being — a fact, which can be substantiated by historical evidence, they said.
Maybe. It sure can't be substantiated by a hell of a lot of recent evidence.
Andrew Norton at Catallaxy File’s has had it up to here with misplaced apostrophe’s:
The Australian Association for the Teaching of English is meeting at the University of Melbourne, and I’m thinking of gatecrashing to tell them what a terrible job they are doing.
Grow it, sell it, tax it -- just don’t smoke it:
The authorities in Lexington - the second largest city in Kentucky, a leading tobacco-producing state - have prohibited smoking in public places.
This kind of freedom-crunching is worse than anything Ashcroft is trying to pull. Oldtimers aren’t taking it well:
"I'm 85, have not seen a doctor for at least 18 years and smoke at least a pack of cigarettes daily. I would appreciate it if they would prove that my second-hand smoke has harmed anyone," Mable Smart wrote in a letter published by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper.
It can’t be done, Ma’am.
GM opponents lying? What kind of crazy talk is this?
Florence Wambugu, who grew up in poverty in Kenya, is a passionate believer in genetically modified food. In Australia, the debate over GM crops remains academic, but in famine-stricken Africa it is a matter of life or death.
The African nation of Zambia refused a shipment of GM grain last year.
"There was outright lying from the (GM) opponents," Dr Wambugu told The Age. "(They said) it was toxic and untested and poisonous."
Meanwhile, The Age takes this week’s prize for Profound Journalistic Insight:
Dr Wambugu knows about the importance of food.
I know, I know, it's only Monday. But try beating that.
From Mark Steyn’s mailbag, a rare example of Canadian unilateralism:
Are you coming back to the National Post? I'm getting so many requests from our readers, and I can't get an answer from our editorial.
National Post Online
And Steyn’s reply:
If you can’t get an answer from Editorial, you might try asking the Accounts Department. They stopped paying me before I actually left. What did they know and when did they know it?
Not every rich kid avoided military service in Vietnam. Brett Lunger, an heir to the du Pont fortune, trained as a Marine and was a member of a reconnaissance platoon in 1968. The story goes (according to an article I recently read, but can’t locate) that while in Vietnam he rescued the heir to another gigantic US business -- the Chesterfield cigarette company.
Further to the story of BBC reporter Jane O’Brien, who left her boyfriend for an FBI agent she met during the the war: at least two Australian war reporters also ditched their long-term Significant Others for people they’d met while covering the conflict. These guys took their embedding seriously.
The connection between bomb attacks and diseased fast food stores is explained by the latest informative commie poetry:
they negotiate and bid,
while they await
the anticipated carve-up of Iraq.
and they await...
to steal the oil
that saddam had once stolen,
and to plant diseased fast food stores
over bomb craters
At last the secret is exposed. All 24,000 7-Eleven stores are built above excavations resulting from military attacks. I don’t remember any recent warfare in Australia, but the existence of so many such places proves that something explosive must have happened. And the process continues -- here, for example, will be built an entire neighbourhood of nothing but fast food joints. Crater burgers for all!
South Australian lefties are in mourning:
The Adelaide Festival of Ideas, which begins this Thursday, will be without one of its most controversial speakers.
Outspoken author and Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk has sent a
message to organisers saying he can not attend because of the worsening
situation in Iraq.
Mr Fisk said his editor at the London Independent is anxious to get him back to Iraq as soon as possible.
Entirely understandable. His editor is probably as tired of Fisk as are the rest of us. Not to worry, Adelaide; George Monbiot is still turning up for your “festival”.
The University of Oxford is appalled that any member of its staff should have responded to an inquiry from a potential graduate student in the terms in which Professor Wilkie emailed Amit Duvshani on 23 June. A thorough investigation began as soon as the University became aware of this correspondence. Based on the information that was collected during this process, and in the light of all the circumstances, particularly the importance attached by the University to fair processes of selection, the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Colin Lucas, has taken the view that this matter should be referred for consideration by the University's disciplinary panel for academic staff, known as the Visitatorial Board.
Yes -- the fearsome Visitatorial Board. Incidentally, with all the anti-Semitism around lately, it was a delight today to read this:
Though [Alf Hill] was deeply suspicious of organised religion, and espoused no particular belief, he was forthright in his respect for Jewish people, whom he saw as survivors, and usually winners. Bill Jacques recalls ... “He admired Jews greatly, always wanted to be Jewish, claimed to speak Yiddish” ... Across Westrow Gardens, the Hills were especially close to Mimi and Phillip Levy. Mimi would regularly send across a plate of delicacies, which all five Hills would grab at, Big Alf sputtering through sticky lips, “Only the Jews make food as good as this!” ... “Make friends with Jewish people,” [Hill] instructed his children, “and you won’t go wrong.”
Alf Hill was the father of Benny Hill. The extract is from Funny, Peculiar, Mark Lewisohn’s excellent biography of the late comedian.
It’s great to see native Zimbabweans making financial progress:
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has had his annual salary hiked more than sixfold, while those of cabinet ministers and parliamentarians have also been increased.
The state-run Herald newspaper said Saturday Mugabe would now receive 20.2 million Zimbabwe dollars (24,000 US dollars) per year, up from the three million (3,640 dollars) announced last year.
Somehow I don’t think this is Mugabe’s only source of revenue.
UPDATE. Mugabe and his media functionaries have clearly been reading the Pilger-Rall-Monbiot-Fisk idiot playbook:
Mugabe told supporters in the Chivi district, 350 kilometres south of Harare, on Saturday that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were responsible for human rights abuses in Iraq, the Sunday Mail reported.
"When Bush visits here it should not send tremors to your nerves ... he would not dare to try what he did to Iraq. He knows the situation is different. After all, we do not have oil here," Mugabe told his Zanu-PF party's 125-member central committee.
Zimbabwe's state-controlled media called Powell an "Uncle Tom", who lied about political and economic conditions in the southern African country.
The newspaper said Bush will be "roaming around Africa for the first time since he stole the American election ... in a bid to spread his imperialist wings".
US "blood dollars" would be offered in return for pro-Western reforms in Africa for the benefit of corporate interests and to win African support in the fight against terrorism, the newspaper said in an editorial.
But Africa should not buckle to US pressure, the paper said.
"It really should not, because while Mr Bush has the resources, he doesn't have the brains," the editorial said.
So ... Bush is stupid, he stole the election, America is imperialist, the war was all about oil, Powell is an Uncle Tom, and the coalition is guilty of human rights abuses. Is Mugabe funding Indymedia?
Here are some opening paragraphs from recent stories about Bad Religious People:
A Roman Catholic priest and a Clay County Sheriff's deputy were among 18 people charged in a Kansas City area prostitution sting.
Bail was reduced today for a former Catholic priest accused of molesting a boy in Oceanside, but charges of child molestation and failing to register as a sex offender remain in place, for now.
A former Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse has started his 18-month prison sentence at the Maryland State Detention Facility in Jessup.
Prosecutors said they will file charges Monday against a retired Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting five boys,
A Contra Costa judge released a former Catholic priest accused of child molestation on his own recognizance Friday morning, one day after a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned the law under which he was charged.
And then there’s this:
A 75-year-old religious leader has been charged with sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl at a playground, police said Thursday.
What the ... ? Religious leader? In this case you have to go all the way to the final paragraph to discover the full details:
Mohammad Saydur Rahman, 75, an Imam at two area mosques who also teaches children, was to appear at a bail hearing Monday.
Just goes to show how we in the West will do anything we can to demonise Muslims.
(Tip from Zsa Zsa, as were several of the above. Keep 'em coming.)
Here’s one BBC reporter who can’t be accused of anti-Americanism:
BBC newsgirl Jane O'Brien has dumped her fiance and run off to marry an FBI agent she met while reporting the Gulf War.
Jane, in her thirties, became embedded with the spy while sending back reports for the flagship 6 and 10 O'clock News programmes.
Just HOURS before her scheduled return to Britain at the end of the war, she stunned colleagues by saying she wasn't coming back.
Jane has quit her job, sold her apartment, flown to the US, and married her spy-guy in New York. A BBC spokesman isn’t amused:
"She seems to have let quite a few people down, let alone her boyfriend, who must be absolutely devastated."
Sleeping with the enemy. She’s a traitor to the BBC cause.
Australian Bradley McGee claimed the first yellow jersey of the 2003 Tour de France, Australian Mark Webber qualified in the top ten for the French Grand Prix, Australian Todd Woodbridge won his eighth Wimbledon doubles title, and tonight Australian Mark Philippousis will win the mens singles title. Old Europe trembles at our might.
John Howard has won the last three federal elections. The Melbourne Age, catering to an ever-shrinking audience of anti-Howardites, has at last tracked down someone who voted for him:
I am going to explain why I vote for John Howard. I am hoping this will make me an object of interest to those of you who have, among your acquaintances, no one who votes for Howard and who can't imagine why any decent person would.
The headline -- “Why I vote for John Howard” -- hints at the uniqueness with which this decision is regarded by The Age, allegedly a mainstream newspaper.
Mark Steyn on the UN and Satan’s aromatic leaf:
The UN bears the great weight of the world on its broad shoulders. This week, it decided to get tough with Cambodian strongman Hun Sen. Not because he scuppered the UN's plans for Khmer Rouge genocide trials, or because he deposed his co-prime minister, Prince Ranariddh, and tore up the UN-backed political settlement in Phnom Penh. No, as AFP reported, Hun Sen was "told by the United Nations he was the biggest smoker among world leaders" ...
As a general rule, whenever a great international crisis runs up against an anti-smoking policy, bet on the latter. That's been true ever since Hillary Clinton made Yitzhak Rabin go outside to smoke when he was at the White House for negotiations over the Oslo peace accords. (Mrs Clinton's husband remained in compliance with her smoking policy by keeping his cigar famously unlit.)
ABC television personality and host Tony Squires will switch to a commercial station next year after accepting an offer he just couldn't refuse.
Mr Squires, who hosts the popular sports chat program The Fat, will take up a contract with the Seven Network in 2004.
The print edition of The Daily Telegraph ran a ridiculous EXCLUSIVE banner on their week-late coverage. They’ve been picked up by Media Watch for doing this sort of thing before. Then again, Media Watch doesn’t exactly acknowledge all of its sources, either.
More than 23 million acres of the world's forests - enough to cover the whole of Scotland - are disappearing each year because of logging, mining and land clearance for agriculture.
Maybe. Fingers crossed. Watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on Monday night to discover if David Morgan takes the prize. Go Dave!
The Guardian’s Martin Jacques has a curious concept of democracy:
There are three senses in which democracy, as we have come to know it, is under pressure. First, traditional politics and its institutions are losing ground to the culture of a rampant, market-driven, consumer society. Second, the rise of an enormously powerful media has transformed the balance of power between the media and politics. And finally, the triumph of market values across society, the erosion of alternative logics and the weakening of the unions has bestowed on those with money - be they corporations, celebrities or the super-rich - a quite new influence over the political process. These trends can be seen throughout the west, Britain included, but they can be found in their most advanced and malignant form in Italy.
Democracy, according to Martin, is apparently weakened by the participation of people. What the hell are “alternative logics”, by the way? The confused correspondent continues:
The Berlusconi regime represents a degenerate form of democracy: a halfway state between democracy and a new form of totalitarianism that we have not witnessed before. The latter cannot be described as fascism even though the two share certain characteristics, and even though the Berlusconi phenomenon can be understood only in the context of a country that was fascist and still bears in its polity and mindset some of the traits of that period.
Stupid fascist Italians. In the interests of democracy, they should never be allowed to vote.
Australia is overwhelmed by witchcraft:
Positions one to six in this week's bestseller list are filled by versions of the books in J. K. Rowling's series. Seventh is a quiz book called So You Think You Know Harry Potter.
And eighth is a misprinted '70s television retrospective: Welcome Back, Potter: The Life of Gabe Kaplan.
Australians in New York are all het up over a sassy acronym, writes Caroline Overington:
The storm centres around Ken Allen, Australia's consul-general in New York, who is a friend of the Prime Minister, John Howard. A tall, effervescent former banker with a penchant for fine Australian wine and fly-fishing, Mr Allen is greatly liked by some sections of the expat community, and disliked by others. Mr Allen and his wife, Jill, appear to have upset some expats by trying to make changes to established social groups.
For example, Mrs Allen has come in for criticism for attempting to change the name of the Triple A's well-established women's group, AWNY (it stands for Australian Women in New York, and is pronounced "aw-knee").
The consul-general's wife said the name sounded too much like "horny" and she was tired of people asking her, in a joking fashion, whether she was "off to a meeting of horny Australian women".
Horny Australian women? Unpossible!
The Immutable Law of Adams, as identified last week by commenter Kalman Dee:
Have you guys noticed that the apex of literary wit for Alliterator Adams is to use alliterations? He employs this pathetic journalistic device in all his articles. Both the content and the form are crap.
In Saturday’s crap column, the Law is duly observed:
You can’t be too pro-American these days. If you’re bedazzled with Bush or rapturous about Rumsfeld ...
More likely you’re phed up with phucker Phil.
Isn’t the whole “Bush is a fundamentalist psychopath” notion getting a little old? Hugh Mackay doesn’t think so:
Somehow, Bush manages to balance his reputation as the most belligerent president the US has ever produced with his claim to be a born-again Christian ...
Logically, blowing everyone up is the only certain way of ridding the world of terrorists, despots and other assorted riffraff who don't happen to share the American dream.
You can imagine a Bush clone of the future, addressing the world via an international TV hook-up: "We've run out of patience. Today's the day. The Christians will go straight to heaven - the rest of you will just have to take your chances. Goodbye and God bless." Bang!
It says a lot about Hugh Mackay that his vision of the future includes such marvels as "an international TV hook-up".
A wild fight between two women celebrating a hen's night at the Icon Bar led to another man being assaulted at the Geelong Hotel later the same night, Geelong Magistrate's Court heard yesterday.
While at the Icon a fight between two women started inside the bar and continued on the street where one woman attempted to hit the other with a bottle.
A male friend of one of the women intervened in the fight pushing one of the women against a car.
The woman who had been pushed then said she was going to call a friend to deal with the man telling him, "You are going to get stabbed. You don't know what you have done."
I hear she called one of those infamous Stab Bloggers. See you at The Nelson at 8pm, in the back bar. No knives. Well, OK; small knives.
UPDATE. Fun, fun, fun! And subsequently, headache, headache, headache! The Fourth of July Sydney Blog Fest featured bloggers James Russell, Jason Soon and Jack Strocchi, James Morrow, Matt Hayden, and Paul Wright, plus the original Webdiary Warrior himself, Jack Robertson. Others in the crowd: author Sandra Lee, soldier Tim Robertson (just back from the Gulf), lawyer Jack Hoysted (who, unable to master PayPal, simply slapped a fifty on the bar and commanded bloggers to drink), actress Chloe Traicos (daughter of former Zimbabwean captain John Traicos), businessman and glider pilot J.P., mysterious Mack, beautiful Nadia, newly-blonde Claire, Nicholas the Morrow infant, and Cat Cat, his, er, cat. No violence was observed, although Wright did bring a knife.
Highlights: Jack Hoysted’s ALP stories, Paul Wright’s gambling tales, Jack Robertson’s determined belief that Mark Latham will be the next Labor Prime Minister, and Chloe’s observation that the arts sector in Western Australia, her former state, believed that she was a racist because she was South African, when, in fact, she is from Zimbabwe: “That’s how stupid they are.” We must do this again soon.
(Note: being Canadian, they use metric spelling.)
Thanks to Bruce T. in comments, we now have a line on Vegemite supplies in the US. Put it on toast; it’s great. Spread your Vegemite real thin, though; dump it on there like peanut butter or something and you’ll peel all the skin from your palate, leading to a condition known locally as “Vegemouth”.
Mrs Pol Pot has been laid to rest:
The cremation ceremony, attended by 15 chanting monks and held in a local temple, was just the sort of religious ceremony banned by the Khmer Rouge.
Also, she was dead when she was incinerated. Not the Khmer Rouge style at all.
Soon to appear on the Fox network’s World’s Crappiest Weddings:
A pair of newlyweds in China have won a refund for their wedding banquet after sad songs were played throughout the festivities.
As the couple toasted their marriage with guests at a restaurant in Keqiao, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, morose Chinese songs including You Took Away My Woman and Why Do You Love Someone Else Secretly were played in the background.
As opposed to upbeat Chinese songs like Please Help Me Conceal My Second Child From The Authorities and the evergreen Oh, Great. Rice Again.
Silvio Berlusconi has so confounded his opponents that communists are now feeling sorry for Nazis. The Guardian provides this translation from the Italian commie paper Il Manifesto:
This was not a gaffe, an incident, a slip. And even less an ironic joke. The prime minister let rip a vulgar, heavy below the belt attack, not giving a damn about the sensitivities of a nation, or its tragic history.
Poor “sensitive” Germany. How “tragic” about the Nazi reign. Well, it certainly was tragic for the six million Jews who died, but Il Manifesto is practically begging sympathy for the people who killed them. Commenter T. Hartin had a nice line earlier:
What most have missed is that Silvio was actually making a very sophisticated dig. By calling the lefty a "capo" he was saying that he was as complicit in oppressing his own people as the Jews who served as guards and trustys for the Nazis. He wasn't just reminding the little thug of his National SOCIALIST ancestry, he was doing something more intelligent than any of the "Bush=Hitler" crowd is capable of.
Which admittedly isn’t difficult. Still, Silvio does it better than most.
If it’s got wheels, and it's in Queensland, it’s legal:
Thousands of people have rushed to register their golf buggies, tractors and ride-on lawn mowers so they can legally drive them on Queensland roads.
More than 7000 vehicles were granted registration in the first month of the new conditional system, which began on May 1. Previously most were barred or exempt from registration.
George Jones would approve.
James Morrow writes in The Australian on a president who is actually doing something about Africa:
Fortunately, for the millions of people who call Africa home (to say nothing of the White House intern pool), the present US president doesn't live up to the reputation of his predecessor. Instead, at this moment, Bush is packing for a five-nation tour of Africa, six weeks after signing legislation to triple American funding to combat and treat AIDS on that continent.
Sounds terribly unilateral, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, former foes of unilateralism are demanding a unilateral US response to trouble in Liberia:
Some of the most vocal opponents of the use of U.S. military force against Saddam Hussein are now practically ordering Washington to dispatch 2,000 Marines to impose peace on the violence-wracked African nation of Liberia.
Chief among them is U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who argues that Washington has a "special responsibility" to take the lead in helping to stabilize the country, which was founded by freed American slaves in 1822.
The alleged sexing-up of documents by Britain’s government turns out to be a sexing-down:
Mr Campbell, Mr Blair's director of communications, suggested 11 changes be made to a draft of the Iraq dossier, published in its final form by the British Government on September 22, six months before it launched war on Iraq alongside the United States.
Among changes made were the removal of the words "vivid and horrifying" in the human rights section of the dossier after Mr Campbell deemed them to be unnecessary.
He also questioned why the draft report said Saddam's sons "may have" the authority to launch chemical weapons, instead of "have". But Mr Campbell's request for the removal of the word "may" was turned down by the JIC.
He was also told there was no intelligence to suggest Iraq had secured uranium and that the phrase "sought to secure" would have to remain.
Meanwhile, in a passage dealing with Iraqi dual-use facilities Mr Campbell successfully argued that the phrase "could be used" be replaced with "are capable of being used".
Wow. Scandal city.
My wonderful sister Dianne is in London, on her first visit to Europe. Being a fan of death, her first task was to seek out and explore Jack the Ripper’s murder sites. She’s fun like that. If you’re in London and crave Australian company or just like to chat about crime, contact her here.
Important information for those wishing to avoid tyranny:
Motorists have litigated against them, fired bullets at them and thrown garbage on them — all to get back at the traffic cameras that have caught them in the act of running a red light or speeding.
Now they have a new weapon in their arsenal, and it comes in a can for $29.99. A clear spray called Photoblocker can be applied to license plates to make them hyper-reflective and unreadable when the camera flashes.
Buy it here.
Spin Starts Here reports an advertising campaign aimed at the jaded:
Today, my favourite Australia Square cafe has a tray of pastries with a big sign reading "Pastries, all $1! Fresh, healthy, and good for you. Eat up! That should please your cynical heart."
Elsewhere today, Tasmanians Ron Smith and Jack Russell are involved in unseemly court proceedings, the salty greatness of Vegemite is under threat, and a tattooed guy from Melbourne’s western suburbs is on the verge of making Wimbledon’s semi finals. Go, Scud! And via Roger Bournival, news that a record seven Australians will compete in this year’s Tour de France. Eight if you include Lance Armstrong, which you really can’t do, because he’s American.
Glenn Reynolds is “now known as the ‘warblogger’”, according to this blog item in The Guardian. He is? Speaking of blogs, don’t forget tomorrow night’s Sydney blog debacle at the Nelson Hotel, where warbloggers, peacebloggers, and blogreaders will unite to create a utopian wonderworld.
UPDATE. Gianna warns that the event is a trap (see comments in original post). Maybe it is!
Silvio has upset the Germans:
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has caused uproar in the European Parliament by appearing to compare a heckling German MEP to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
"I know there is a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps," Mr Berlusconi said, "I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo [guard chosen from among the prisoners] - you'd be perfect."
Mr Berlusconi apologised for any offence he might have caused the German people but refused to made a personal apology to the MEP, socialist Martin Schulz.
The audio of this is hilarious.
UPDATE. Kevin Drum writes that “Italians everywhere must be cringing” at Berlusconi’s remarks. Not any of the Italians I know.
Look at the trouble Michael Moore gets into when he goes outside without his identifying Detroit Tigers cap.
I like gin and tonics, and am considering a move over to gin martinis, i.e., with Bombay Sapphire or some other top-shelf brand. Is it possible - or wise - to make such a big switch? I love the whole martini experience, but won't do it without top-flight hooch.
You would be surprised to hear how many people scoff at such a question. Not me, though. It’s all about the sugar, and boy do I hate a big-bodied gin or vodka. Crisp is the name of the game, and I am ready to slap anybody who does not belong in the game, completely slap them on their faces and the sides of their heads/ears. I will slap them.
It sounds like you’ll need to move over to an extra-dry gin martini, and the down-low on gin is that the ~80 proof Plymouth or Gordon’s are the best ones going. Tanq and Bombay are way too strong at like 95 proof, tasting too harshly of alcohol. Either way, take these shaken with a twist in a chilled glass.
Sound advice is also dispensed to reader JH, who asked something about the “current curtailing of American civil rights”:
Your letter makes a lot of assumptions about my political leanings. In fact, it’s mainly kind of a jerked-up advertisement for college-style thinking! In reality, you just pay your taxes and they are misused sometimes and used properly some of the time. No one ever guaranteed anyone a life in Utopia, so just go suck on your “college lollipop” until you realize that your “wonderful childhood” is “over.”
And let them be fast:
The Tories promised yesterday to raise the motorway speed limit from 70 to 80mph as part of a "fair deal for drivers".
Tim Collins, the shadow transport secretary, said this was part of a set of reforms to be unveiled later this month.
They will include the removal of the bus and taxi lane on the M4 between Heathrow and London and speed cameras that trap motorists "unfairly".
Unnecessary road humps and road tolls will be abolished.
Oh no! Now the Italian Satan is trying to trick schoolchildren into thinking that communism is bad:
The evils of communism appear front and center in one of the themes that hundreds of thousands of Italian high school seniors could choose to write about in graduation exams given this month. That topic invited students to ponder "terror and the political repression in the totalitarian systems" of the 20th century and gives brief descriptions of fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany and communism in the former Soviet Union and other countries.
Communism is blamed for the executions of about 100 million people, five times greater than the killings attributed in the exam to Nazism.
In the wording of the topic, it takes one sentence to denigrate fascism. It takes four to vilify communism.
Sounds like they’ve got the ratio almost exactly right, then. Naturally, leftoids are angry:
Some historians and teachers have complained that the balance of the question is out of whack. "I teach my students that of course communism must be seen in a negative light, but the goal of Nazism was to kill people, and the goal of communism was to unite them," said Giuseppe Costantino, 61, who teaches history in a high school in Naples.
A few of Berlusconi's political opponents have suggested that he or his allies might be trying to mold young minds.
Not like kindly Giuseppe. Or communists.
Che Guevara's daughter is in Australia to make money selling a book of her father’s stupid writing -- and to complain about the commercialisation of Che’s image. The Age provides some free publicity:
For millions, Guevara represents freedom, youth and the idea of rising up and being strong enough to change the system we live in. But who was the real Che?
Answer: He was an interrogator of elderly goat wranglers:
OCTOBER 7, 1967: The last entry in Che’s diary is recorded exactly eleven months since the inauguration of the guerrilla movement. The guerrillas run into an old woman herding goats. They ask her if there are soldiers in the area but are unable to get any reliable information. Scared that she will report them, they pay her 50 pesos to keep quiet. In Che’s diary it is noted that he has "little hope" that she will do so.
Way to go, Che. We now return to The Age’s worshipful report:
Aleida Guevara, his eldest daughter, is now touring the world to separate the myth from the man. It is a personal journey as much as a political one ... She bears a remarkable resemblance to her father and like him, she has studied medicine. Che was passionate about the future of young people. Aleida, 42, expresses her passion for youth through her work as a pediatrician at a children's hospital in Havana, where she lives.
And where others die after summary trials. How, by the way, do bullshit phrases like “personal journey as much as a political one” and “passionate about the future of young people” make it past a conscious editor?
She shares her father's idealism about creating a world free from oppression and is a prominent figure in the anti-globalisation movement ...
Which explains the world tour.
Visiting Australia for the first time, she is promoting a new book, Che Guevara Reader, a collection of her father's writing. Asked if she tries to be like her father, Aleida replies: "Everyone in Cuba has that commitment - to try to be like Che."
True enough. Che, after all, left Cuba.
On October 1967, 39-year-old Guevara was gunned down in the jungle by US-backed Bolivian troops. Aleida was seven at the time. She has only "very small memories" of her father, but she remembers his warmth, tenderness and capacity to love. The rest of the picture is filled in by stories that her mother told her and through her enduring friendship with Fidel Castro, whom she calls "uncle".
Aleida says she didn't really know her father "physically and personally" but she recalls the lessons he taught her. "The most important one was to try to understand another human being, even though you may not be sure of what's going on. And even when you are sure, be as delicate as possible with that other person."
While you are shooting that other person in the face.
In 1965 he wrote to his children: "If you ever have to read this letter, it will be because I am no longer with you . . . your father has been a man who acted on his beliefs and has certainly been loyal to his convictions."
Every murderer “acts on his beliefs”. Manson was “loyal to his convictions”. Big deal, Mr Philosopher Warrior.
Since his death, Aleida has maintained an affectionate relationship with Castro. "It's like a relationship of a father and daughter; whatever I don't understand, I ask him to explain it to me . . . I demand that he explains."
”Tell me, Uncle Dictator, why did you imprison the homosexuals?”
The 76-year-old Cuban president has been in power for 44 years. During much of that time American trade and travel embargos have crippled the island's economy.
But you don’t want globalisation!
She is an unwavering member of the Cuban Communist Party and she does not question Castro's leadership.
Maybe that's why she’s alive and able to be interviewed by The Age.
In a clear message to the Bush Administration that Cuba will not tolerate efforts by the US to build a dissident movement in Cuba, the Castro regime this year sentenced at least 36 dissidents charged with opposing Castro to up to 27 years' jail - the toughest political crackdown in decades.
There's a sure way to strike fear into Bush’s heart: imprison your own citizens.
Aleida is angry the dissidents have received worldwide attention while five Cubans jailed in Miami on conspiracy and spying charges remain largely ignored. She claims they were not given a fair trial.
Presumably she said that with a straight face.
She is committed to carrying on her father's fight for freedom for the oppressed by travelling the world and telling people about the real Che Guevara.
So why isn’t she trying to kill us imperialist scum -- you know, like Daddy did -- instead of pushing “Chicken Soup for Idiot Marxists” in the bourgeois press? Some commitment.
Maybe they just like looking at cars:
The Pentagon is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyse the movement of every vehicle in a foreign city.
The project's centrepiece is groundbreaking computer software that is capable of automatically identifying vehicles by size, colour, shape and licence tag, or drivers and passengers by face.
That Potter witchcraft craziness is continuing:
Author JK Rowling's Harry Potter boy wizard blockbusters have been banned by a conservative Christian school in Melbourne because they "promote" witchcraft.
The five books in the Harry Potter series will not adorn the library shelves of the Maranatha Christian College in Doveton and Endeavour Hills because of the school's policy on fantasy.
A policy on fantasy?
This week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin mentions John Howard, Michael Jeffery, Michael Stillwell, the Queen, Adam Gilchrist, Sir Donald Bradman, Alison Broinowski, Peter Ellingsen, Imam Samudra, Jake Ryan, Helen Caldicott, Lleyton Hewitt, Noel Casey, Peter McEvoy, someone employed at the Sydney Morning Herald, Orwell, Michael Moore, Margaret Pomeranz, niggers in the woodpile, towelheads in the TAB, homos in the primary school, slopes in the driveway, and retards in the swimming pool.
All in context, obviously.
Attention, American bludgers! The takeover of your culture has begun!
Americans have formally adopted the Australian arts of bludging and barbies, with the words included in the latest Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Their usage is defined as "chiefly Australia and New Zealand," but they are among 10,000 new terms in the Collegiate Dictionary's 11th edition which has 225,000 entries altogether.
Bludge is defined as "to avoid work or responsibility"; barbie as barbecue.
Bludgeblog (bludg-blog) n. An infrequently updated personal website. See Treacher, J.
All of Jake Ryan’s beer cash has been posted via registered mail to Ryan HQ in sunny Queensland. For anyone else attempting an online Beer Fund, here’s how the process works:
First, get your message out on the global Interblogwebnet.
Wait a few minutes, and ... wa-hey! Actual cash money appears on the keyboard somehow.
David Marr is impressed.
Carefully place the money in an envelope and address it to “Jake, Queensland”. It's that easy!
UPDATE. Just as well Jake has a home.
John Sutton, national secretary of the construction division of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, never stops fighting ... for the workers, of course:
Violent behaviour appears to be all in a day's work for Mr Sutton, one of Australia's top union officials. A surveillance video captures Mr Sutton vandalising managers' cars at a union picket outside a Sydney factory.
The video, obtained by the Herald, shows Mr Sutton kicking a senior manager's car numerous times as the driver tries to enter the gates of a can-making factory at Arncliffe on May 19.
Mr Sutton also repeatedly spits on the car, hits it, hurls abuse close to the passenger's window, and then violently rocks the vehicle with a hand on its roof-rack.
Each time he kicks the car, Mr Sutton looks around to check he is not detected by police at the scene. Next to him, a man wearing a cap interferes with the car's left door. When the company's general manager drives to the gates in a second car, Mr Sutton approaches from behind with a cup in hand. Watched by smiling protesters, he pours clear fluid over the left side of the vehicle and grins widely as he moves past.
Good to see that a man wearing a cap is still a fixture at union events. It must be a rule. And the best part of the story:
Mr Sutton took part in the melee at the Morris McMahon company even though his union was not involved in the dispute.
UPDATE. Lileks on unions:
Top union management would be the only subculture that could become hipper by getting into Dungeons and Dragons. At least it would give them a new set of descriptive terms for their foes. I’d love to pick up the union paper and read “Management takes cue from Mordor, hires scab-Orks” - it would suggest they have a sense of humor.
John Howard on the way down? Labor rebuilding? So a few pundits have been saying lately. Don’t believe it:
After suffering losses of support among young people and those aged between 35-49 years during the build-up to the Iraqi war, the Coalition has picked up support and has a lead over Labor in every age group - and by 20 points in the over-50s.
The Howard-led coalition is bound to lose eventually, of course. Just not at the next election. And probably not the election following.
Poor migrants are always forced to take menial jobs:
Taxpayers are footing the bill for a translator because an asylum seeker elected as a councillor struggles to speak English.
Liaqat Ali scored a stunning victory for the Liberal Democrats in Manchester's Longsight ward last month in a backlash against the war on Iraq. Now it has emerged he speaks only broken English and needed an interpreter to sit with him at his first full council meeting.
Heh. Now it has emerged. Didn’t he give any policy speeches? The Labor councillor who was voted out is furious:
"It is ridiculous. He is not able to do his job because he can't read, write or speak English.”
The ex-councillor’s name: Sajjad Hussain. Manchester is quite the ethnic melting pot, as another item from Manchester Online confirms:
Shopping mall bosses have relented in a rent row with an African art and crafts shop after they were threatened with a spell from a naked witch doctor.
Perhaps Councillor Ali sorted it out.
Does the BBC even realise what is it confessing here?
The BBC is willing to offer the government an olive branch by admitting that the source who claimed that No 10 had "sexed up" intelligence information may not have been entirely correct.
But it will do so only if Downing Street accepts that its story was legitimate in the context of general concern about the government's use of intelligence material.
So ... the BBC believes it is fine to run incorrect stories if the purpose behind those stories is to undermine the case against Saddam. That makes bogus information legitimate, somehow.
Repeated pedicures can activate the fabled Kennedy Curse, apparently. Kennedy family biographer Edward Klein reveals the secret of Carolyn Bessette’s fatal feet:
Klein said Bessette's self-absorption made her late for the fatal 1999 plane ride with her husband and sister, who had arrived at the airport in New Jersey while it was still light. The plane, piloted by Kennedy, went down in darkness off the coast of Martha's Vineyard near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Klein quotes a hair colorist named Colin Lively as saying he saw Carolyn order a pedicurist to apply her toenail polish three times that day to match a fabric she had brought to the salon. During the pedicure, her mobile phone rang over and over, Lively told Klein.
"What?" she said impatiently into the phone. "I told you I'm getting a pedicure."
UPDATE. CNN seems to have pulled that story. Here’s a local account.
Hans Blix is out of the Apple:
Days after his 75th birthday, Hans Blix formally ended his tumultuous three-year quest for Iraq's chemical, biological and ballistic missiles, insisting he was just a lawyer doing an apolitical job.
"It's sort of sad to be leaving New York because I like New York. I was here in my youth and I have spent three thrilling years here with a lot of difficult but also rewarding work," he told reporters Monday.
“I just wish I could have visited the Statue of Liberty,” Blix added. “But I couldn’t find it.”
A Melbourne Age staffer writes to Professor Bunyip:
You rave on about the bias here and you go overboard about it because you're a right wing ratbag and don't see the real issue. The real problem is management that's let circulation fall to 150,000 some days. The excuse was that we had "A" and "B" readers nailed down so circ. figures didn't matter. The Hun now has more of them than we do. Money is tight all the time and we don't have enough reporters. Plenty of associate-deputy-assistant editors, but bugger all reporters. If you came to Melbourne from Mars, you'd buy the Age out of curiosity but you'd read the Hun to find out what's going on. New printing presses are nice but won't make much difference. This is 2003 -- you think the punters are impressed by high quality colour? We don't even have a publisher any more. All the corporate focus is in Sydney. Mate, enjoy making fun of our columnists because they've only got a few years left at this rate ...
The Age learned last year that it had lost A-B readers to the Herald Sun. Attempts to regain them -- or to regain circulation -- have been weak, or seemingly haven’t been attempted at all. Judging by the tone of Bunyip’s correspondent, the place is fixin’ to die.
Two things leap out from this report. One is the phrase “leading French rock music station”. The other is the identity of the company financing anti-Semitic frog splodey-rap:
Tune in to the leading French rock music station, Skyrock, and you probably won’t have to wait long to hear a track from the album “Carved in the Rock.”
The album, by the rap group Sniper, was released at the end of May and has been ranked as high as number three in the official sales charts compiled by France’s National Union of Recording Publishers.
Those figures worry some French Jews, since the album contains a song called “Stone Thrower,” dedicated to Palestinian youth fighting Israel in the intifada.
Despite the attempt to come across as edgy, “Carved in the Rock” was produced under France’s East-West label, which is owned by Warner Music, an arm of the AOL Time Warner media conglomerate.
Silvio Berlusconi analyses the media:
"The leftist press in Italy has made war since I arrived on the scene and since they lost the elections. There is a division between the moderate people and the extremists, between love and hate, good and evil, truth and lies, that's what's happening in Italy with the newspapers."
It isn’t just happening in Italy.
He’s not smiling much these days:
Alleged Bali bomber Amrozi shifted uncomfortably in his swivel chair yesterday as the prosecutor in his trial called for the death sentence to be passed for his role in the October 12 attacks.
Just in case Amrozi didn’t get the message:
As Amrozi was being led from the court, Spike Stewart, from Werribee, stood and shouted "Amrozi!".
Catching Amrozi's glance, he then shouted in Bahasa Indonesia, "Kamu mati (You're dead)". He followed with "Bastard" as Amrozi was taken away.
Stewart’s son was among those killed in the Bali bombing.
This e-mail was recently sent to Australia by an American librarian. Roger Kimball at The New Criterion doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry:
Subject: librarian with question
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:11:08 -0400
I am a librarian trying to answer a reference question from a student. I found on the Web reference to a book you have written on the history of Australian philosophy and thought perhaps you could assist me. Could you provide a name(s) of any ancient Australian philosophers or educators pre-200 B.C.? The student is looking for information on ancient philosophers or educators that impacted modern education.
With a name, perhaps I can find more information in other sources.
Thank you very much for your help.
Well ... any suggestions?
(Via the great Pejman.)
The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade don’t particularly care who they kill. Just so long as the killing keeps happening, and dreadful peace is avoided:
Israeli and Palestinian commanders shook hands overnight, bulldozers dismantled checkpoints and Palestinian traffic flowed freely in the Gaza Strip - the most significant sign of disengagement after 33 months of bloody fighting.
But one man was killed in a Palestinian shooting ... The first full day of truce was marred by the killing of a Bulgarian consruction worker, Christo Radkov, 46, who was driving a truck. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility.
UPDATE. Meryl Yourish on the truce that isn’t:
I don't believe in it. The Israeli government and armed forces don't believe in it. Anyone with half a brain, nay, a quarter of a brain, doesn't believe in it.
But the media are all over it like flies on pieces of a Hamas bomber.
The questions from Lateline’s Tony Jones were fairly typical and straighforward:
“President Bush ... argued that the weapons of mass destruction constituted a clear and present danger to the US, as yet there is no evidence of that. If there is in the end no evidence of that, will that undermine his specific case, the legal case that he made for the intervention?”
“Does it worry you at all the accusation that a small group inside the Pentagon known as the office of special plans manipulated intelligence information that went to the White House?”
You want to replace a flat tyre? Here’s what you do: first remove the flat, then get the spare, and then put the spare on the car. You don’t sit around discussing the properties of vulcanization, or the complexities of Charles Goodyear’s finances. You don’t write poetry about jack handles, no matter how many opportunities for metaphor present themselves. You don’t talk or write. You do.
This drives Phillip Adams insane. Nearly three years into the Bush presidency, Adams still can’t understand why people don’t reject Bush for failing to offer complex analogies about wheel-changing ... preferring instead to change the damn wheel:
The excruciating misuse of language that made former US vice-president Dan Quayle an international joke has not destroyed Dubya – far from it. There's circumstantial evidence that it has made him the darling of the angry and inarticulate – at least in his domestic market.
It's not just his inability to pronounce nuclear or his regular retreats into Quaylespeak that defines the Bush style. It's the reliance of his entire administration on the most mind-numbing jargon.
“Mind-numbing jargon” itself being an example of mind-numbing jargon. Who exactly is the wordsmith here, Phillip?
The internet provides an endless selection of Bush jokes – principally his public utterances. While half the downloads on the net are pornographic, much of the rest are photos and transcripts of the incumbent President, suggesting he's one of the greatest fools in history.
Says an ex-communist.
Yet the joke is on us. He's the President and we're not. He's running the world and we're running scared. In a sense, it's his ignorance that gives him invincibility, whereas his critics, so eloquent and articulate, achieve invisibility.
If only. Phillip has two national columns per week plus a national radio program. He’s about as invisible as Michael Moore in an anorexia ward.
Although he'd still find it hard to find Iraq on a map, that doesn't stop George lobbing missiles on Baghdad ...
Although he can’t work out the stars on the flag or the alphabetical order of the states, that doesn’t stop Phil writing crap about the US.
The lesson is simple. Dull down your language if you want to deaden discourse and dull debate. Welcome to dumbocracy.
Hey, thanks for having us!
UPDATE. Adams says that “In the wit and wisdom of George W. we've learned that the French don't have a word for entrepreneur”. Status: false.
C-grade boxer Anthony Mundine is ragging on Olympic champion Cathy Freeman in the LA Times:
"Running can only do so much," Mundine said. "You think, 'Cathy is a great runner, she won a gold medal.' But in 20 years' time, 30 years' time, they'll say 'Cathy was a good runner.' But they won't say, 'Cathy stood up for her people. Cathy fought the system.' My fists can do the talking, but they can only go so far. Your words can last for eternity.
"She's been born with great athletic ability and the will to succeed in her sport. But beyond those boundaries, to take all of that pressure on yourself and be a leader of her people and be someone who fights for truth — she's not thinking that way. She's not born in that way."
Mundine may believe that he possesses a sophisticated understanding of racism, but he hasn’t grasped even an elemental notion of sexism; at another point in the story he refers to Freeman as “a really nice young aboriginal girl”. Cathy Freeman is 30 -- two years older than her dismissive adviser. Race-fixated historian Colin Tatz also tells Freeman what to say and think:
"Cathy's aboriginality has been the prime focus of her total persona, not just by her, but by the media and everyone else. If the aboriginality is so much a part of where she is today, she has an obligation to say something. She can't shake it off and say, 'My aboriginal life has nothing to do with my present life or my future life.' "
She doesn’t say any such thing, and never has. And as for this “she has an obligation to say something” bullshit ... well, Cathy sums it up pretty neatly:
"All I know is that people can see I am proud of my indigenous culture, of where I'm from," she said, a note of exasperation in her voice. "I've flown the aboriginal flag, alongside the Australian flag. Even a 3-year-old child can see that I'm proud of who I am and where I'm from."
Well said. And she didn’t have to say a thing.
(By the way, what's up with the lower case “aboriginal”? In the circumstance of referring to a particular people, it’s a proper noun, surely. Gerard Wright, the author of this piece, is Australian. He knows this. Maybe the LA Times house style is racist!)
McSweeney’s is preparing to publish a best-of humor edition featuring the finest jokes ever to have appeared at the McSweeney’s website or in the McSweeney’s journal. I’m in it, and so are three other Australians. You hear that, Canada? Your long dominance of the lucrative US humor market> is at an end.
And all because we supported the war in Iraq.
UPDATE. On second thoughts, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this ...
Lester Maddox, Georgia's last segregationist governor and a white restaurateur who closed his business rather than be forced to serve blacks, died last week, and neither ABC, CBS nor NBC could bring themselves to tell viewers that this man was (gasp!) a Democrat. Imagine that: a racist Democrat.
The same column has this killer take on Maureen Dowd:
Pronouncing Clarence Thomas ''barking mad,'' she declared, ''He knew that he could not make a powerful legal argument against racial preferences, given the fact that he got into Yale Law School and got picked for the Supreme Court thanks to his race.''
The cult of diversity stigmatizes all blacks: No matter how high they soar, the assumption of white liberals like Miss Dowd is that it's because of white liberals making allowances for them. How dare that uppity nigra be so ungrateful to Massa Sulzberger and all the fine ladies up at the big house who got him into the nice Liberal Guilt Academy for the Exotically Disadvantaged! ''It's poignant, really,'' sighs Maureen. ''It makes him crazy that people think he is where he is because of his race, but he is where he is because of his race.''
Here's a game we can all play: It's poignant, really. Maureen knew that she couldn't make a powerful argument if her life depended on it, given the fact that she got into the New York Times thanks to her gender. It makes her crazy that people think she's where she is because the buttoned-down white guys running the Times needed a fluffy-chick quota hire but ...
Speaking of Steyn: buy the book.