Anyone figured out yet exactly what this Margo statement meant?
We have got to free our minds to use the brains.
Yes. And if we free our faces, we can use the eyes. Free our hands to use the fingers. Free our digestive system to use the lower intestine! One of
Margo's free-minded brain users recently visited Parliament, on the occasion of George W. Bush's speech. It was a day of wonder:
Am directed up more stairs. Find self in area behind soundproof glass, not public gallery as such - that's full. Chairs here all full too, many security passes from US Embassy. Remember fuss about closure of entire public gallery of Australian Parliament to Australian public. Wonder.
Security/courtesy official repeats request. Tell her as invited guest am happy to sit in one of those empty seats if they don't want one. Not possible.
Wonder why, aloud. Offer only extends to people who won't make a disturbance. Wonder, aloud, why as an invited guest of member of
parliament I'm suspected of potential disturbance. No hat? Remember dove.
Crean speech. Joining most warmly in the Prime Ministers welcome. Above all, Australia looks to itself [as an] independent people. Wonder. Honesty is the foundation stone of that great Australian value - mateship. Baby-faced spook smirks and snorts. Involuntary memories of Tampa. Excision, anyone? Look at Americans around me in what passes today for public gallery. Wonder.
Bush continues. We celebrate the spread of freedom. Wonder - does he mean Vegemite? Remember Victory Gin. Nettle interrupts. The Speaker responds. The Sergeant will remove Senator Nettle from the House. Feel bit sorry for Sergeant, approaching, tassel waving. Bush responds - I love free speech. Coalition applauds, many Labor also. Wonder.
Leaving chamber, escaping excited Prue/True scrum, more hats, walk directly into Mrs Habib, looking sad. Wonder.
Free our minds to use the brains. Wonder.
New York's anti-smoking laws bite in so many ways. Last night three of us -- all journalists, and all from Melbourne's western suburbs -- were denied swift service at a bar because the bartender was forced outside for a cigarette.
Violence, terrible violence, loomed. Don't these people realise they're dealing with westies?
The usual e-mail address is down -- has been for several days -- due to an Ozemail upgrade. Try here instead.
My listening tour continues. Currently in NYC. Signs of hope: Michael Moore's new book is already reduced by 30% at Barnes and Noble ("Dude, Where's My Profit Margin?") and last night I was repeatedly assured by an actual broadsheet journalist that next year Bush would carry 45 states. For obvious reasons, the journalist has requested anonymity.
Did I say I'd be gone for a couple of days? I meant nearly a whole week! I’m in Los Angeles. My unexpected relocation comes about due to the UN’s need to balance the Distribution of Evil, what with George W. Bush being in Australia.
Actually, it’s all about the evil of Ken Layne and the Corvids, whose first show was in North Hollywood on Saturday night. Absolute secrecy was required so I could sneak into town without Layne alerting the authorities.
Brief review of the show follows:
End brief review. That was Saturday; on Sunday came the wedding of Charlie and Bonnie – at LA’s Union Station, known among students of railway station architecture as the Railway Station’s Railway Station. My own wedding plans – currently involving a bus stop outside Victoria Park – may need to be upgraded.
So I’ll be in the US for a few weeks. Where might I turn up next? Nobody knows! Well, apart from me being in New York this weekend. After that, your guess is as good as mine.
Meanwhile The Bulletin has hired someone named Tim Blai to cover for me while I’m away. Wish this promising newcomer luck! I like his style. And wish all the worst to the terrorists who prevented me (and many others) from posting until tonight (which was spent in the company of Matt Welch and Emmanuelle Richard and tuna sashimi and beer and wine; life in Arnifornia is good).
Regular posting will shortly resume, in an irregular fashion.
I’ll be away for a couple of days, so make your own fun in the comments! Readers may address in this comments section any issues concerning pets, addiction, neighbours, court appearances, your favourite deceased magazine, screenplays, or the New Imperialism.
Here you may discuss learning foreign languages, Phillip Adams, analog recording equipment, Japanese cartoons, the UN, denial, and the advantages of a police state.
This is reserved solely for comments about lunch.
The conspiracy deepens. Now Victorian conservatives are openly listening to a greenhouse theory “doubter”:
Professor Plimer, who heads Melbourne University's school of earth sciences, is also a managing director of mining company Consolidated Broken Hill.
He argues that the greenhouse effect and global warming is a natural occurrence unrelated to human activity, and says the Earth is in a normal phase.
Speaking on the ABC last year, he described the orthodox notion that human industrial production of carbon dioxide causes global warming as "a political bandwagon being pushed".
“Who we gunna turn to, John? Who we gunna turn to?” asks Margo Kingston, driven to new levels of eloquence by George W. Bush’s happy description of Australia as a “sheriff”. Cue the madness:
Democracy has no place in the world of Bush, supreme commander and Howard, sheriff. The world as fashioned by Bush - Howard as echo chamber - is too dangerous for democracy. They're creating a world in which they wield absolute power. In America, George's thugs are making sure of that by rigging the voting system with the help of his big corporate mates. In Australia, Howard's put Senate reform on the table and is trying to crush skeptical media voices by handing control of what's left of Murdoch and Packer's competition to the big two.
In America, the Democrats and many, many Americans are fighting back hard, led by Democrat presidential candidates General Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, both trenchant critics of Bush's war.
How low can Bush go? As Simon Crean refuses to ask Howard the big questions on Iraq and presses Labor MPs to give Bush a standing ovation next week - for what, exactly? - Bush's regime hawkes pro-war form letters to his long-suffering troops in Iraq and sends them to home town newspapers.
The power of the net exposed Bush's latest fraud on the American people and their soldiers after US newspaper The Olympian received identical letters from two soldiers and a news service searched the net for more and contacted confused soldiers and their families.
She’s only a week or so late on this. Pretty good for Margo. But how does she figure Bush is to blame for the letters controversy, if it can be so described? And who is “Hawkes”, the shadowy figure mentioned in the first paragraph?
David E. Sanger of the New York Times on George W. Bush’s Australian visit:
Then it is on to Australia, which provided special forces for the early days of the Iraq war, and where Prime Minister John Howard has made the alliance with Washington a key element of his tenure.
Past presidents have taken in the restaurants of Sydney or the wonders of the country. Not Mr. Bush: He cut the trip down to a visit to Canberra, a capital that is a bit like Ottawa but not quite as vibrant.
"Sanger", by the way, is Australian slang for "sandwich". A "david sanger" might from this point be known as a "shit sandwich".
(Via reader John S.)
Ted Rall writes:
I'll be speaking and signing books at next week's Vegas Valley Book Festival in Henderson, NV, a stone's throw from Sin Strip, on Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25.
Hugh Hewitt recounts an entertaining televisual exchange between Fox News host Tony Snow and Democrat Jay Rockefeller:
[Rockefeller] told Snow and a national television audience that President Bush has alarmed the nation with a speech warning that an attack from Iraq was imminent.
Snow coolly played a tape of the president's State of the Union speech where he in fact said exactly the opposite. Bush warned the Congress that the United States could not wait for a threat to become imminent, to appear suddenly and without warning.
Snow then read from a speech that Rockefeller himself had given, one in which the West Virginia Democrat had proclaimed the threat from Iraq to be imminent.
Sen. Rockefeller was exposed and embarrassed and babbled on incoherently ...
“We did not go to war to bring democracy and prosperity and peace to Iraq,'' Rockefeller told “Fox News Sunday.''
“It was all about weapons of mass destruction and the imminent threat of America getting attacked. And what's ironic is that, in spite of the incredible job that our soldiers and Guard and the Reserve have done, we really are in more peril today than we were at the end of the formal part of the war.”
And that’s it. No mention of how Rockefeller’s “imminent threat” claim was instantly shot down, or that Rockefeller himself had previously said: “Saddam's existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America now.” The Bush “imminent threat” myth -- repeatedly exposed by Andrew Sullivan -- just gets stronger the more it is refuted. Jesse Jackson believes it:
The president's prewar statements painting Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States have been exposed as false.
So does Gary Sauer-Thompson:
The initial justification for going to war with Iraq---that Iraq constituted an imminent threat to the national interest---looks threadbare.
And, going back a few months, Tim Dunlop, too:
Saddam was meant to be a imminent threat to the United States and its allies.
Sad. Given that these people can write, one assumes they can read. But Bush’s State of the Union address just never registers. Kathleen Parker puts it down to AP-quality myth repetition:
Everybody knows that Bush cast Iraq as an imminent threat, right? We know it the same way we know that one in seven women in college have been raped and that more women are victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day.
We “know” these things, even though they are not factually true, because we’ve read and heard them repeated so often. So it goes with “imminent threat” even though Bush, factually, claimed the opposite in both his address to Congress a year ago and in his 2003 State of the Union address. In the State of the Union address, he said:
“Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”
Read again the first line of the above paragraph. Repeat until understood.
UPDATE. Gareth Parker covered much of the Australian angle on imminence back in June.
Them Jews is plenty smart, according to Mahathir Mohamed:
Jews rule the world, getting others to fight and die for them, but will not be able to defeat the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has told a major Islamic summit.
"The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them," Mahathir said.
He called on Muslims to emulate the Jewish response to oppression, saying the Jews had "survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking".
"They invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others.
"With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.”
Mahathir added that Muslims “cannot fight them through brawn alone, we must use our brains also.” Give it a try one day, Mahathir.
(Via reader and fellow Zionist puppet Rob Bresca.)
Issues? This guy's got 'em:
Serial killer Paul Denyer declared he was a Muslim before demanding the right to wear women's make-up.
“Was it the curse of the goat?” wonders an AFP piece in the Sydney Morning Herald. The article then unaccountably alters the creature’s species and ownership, thereby committing one of history’s greatest ever animal/baseball-related journalistic howlers:
If the Cubs are denied a World Series appearance in 2003, an unthinking fan may go down in Chicago history alongside Mrs O'Leary's cow which was once refused entry to the ballpark, causing the owner to put a curse on the American baseball team that has lasted for decades.
As reader Donnah D. points out, Mrs O’Leary’s cow had a rather more dramatic effect on Chicago than did Mr Sianis’s goat. The cow incident did, however, occur in the same year that the goat-cursed Cubs joined the National Association.
UPDATE. Gareth Parker reports on the Kurse of the Kangaroo.
Question of the day, from The Guardian’s online daycare centre for friendless British children: Is it time to assasinate George Dubya Bush?
He is perhaps the most dangerous man currently to inhabit the earth. A hypocritical lunatic, his family have been sponsoring terrorism around the globe for decades - first he was cosy with Saddam and then he was'nt, then he was cosy with Bin Laden and then he changed his mind. His motivations are greed and he cares little for the sanctity of human life, and will support any state, no matter how brutal their administration, as long as they are compliant with US companies.
That’s some great writing, kid. As LGF notes: “The Guardian is right there in the rubber room with Nazimedia.”
This Boondocks strip was rejected by the Washington Post, according to Fox News (via contributor Zsa Zsa). Probably for good reason. Take a look and see if you agree.
Peter FitzSimons declares Iraq a complete disaster and urges Australians to mock George W. Bush. I think. It’s kind of hard to tell, because his column is written from the perspective of a someone with a brain infection. Also, Vietnam is mentioned, as usual.
UPDATE. George W. Bush doesn’t care if Labor MPs protest:
"Not at all," Mr Bush said when asked if he would be offended by Labor MPs turning their backs. "I don't expect everybody to agree with us, but one thing's for certain - the Prime Minister was strong, and the Australian military performed brilliantly."
That’s from an Australian television interview, which also included this:
He bristled slightly when asked why his own popularity, according to current polling in the United States, had suffered since the war while Prime Minister John Howard's had remained high in Australia. "Well, it must be his charisma," he replied. "He married well, and he's smart."
UPDATE II. Paul Kelly meets the Prez.
Adams, you blundering oaf! Writing the other day about his bestest pal James Randi, the Inaccurate One claimed that Randi “proposed the following constitutional amendments” based on his literal Biblical interpretations:
a) Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women (Gen 29:17-28, 2 Sam 3:2-5.) Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wives. (2 Sam 5:13; 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Chron 11:21).
b) A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21). Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30).
And so on. All very funny. Adams wrote that “James’ proposed amendments to the US Constitution will place a great premium on virginity, permit men to have multiple partners within wedlock and eliminate the necessity for expensive pre-nups.” But according to Randi himself, these aren’t his proposals at all. He sent this reply to a reader e-mail:
I’m suitably flattered by my excellent friend Phil Adams.
However, those “amendments” did not originate with me, and I should not be credited with them.
Adams should pay closer attention to his friends.
By changing a few key words, we can almost turn the Archbishop of Canterbury’s vile speech into something sensible:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged Europe to recognise that Americans can "have serious moral goals".
He said that while warfare must always be condemned, it was wrong to assume its perpetrators were devoid of political rationality. "It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable."
He said that in ignoring this, in its criticism of America, Europe "loses the power of self-criticism and becomes trapped in a self-referential morality."
That’s looking a little better than the original, at least. Williams is a loser and a tool; he allows for a moral dimension to terrorism but denies that to those who respond to terrorism.
do not be alarmed. this is only a test.
"Liberal TV is dead on arrival. You just can't do it."
For one terror-filled night, the gods deserted Bali, and, a year on, many islanders like Agus are still agonizing over why. "In the beginning I was simply shocked," said Agus. "I asked God, why did you do this to our beautiful island?" But, gradually, the Bali bombings compelled Agus to undertake a spiritual self-examination—and to ask more difficult questions. Had the Balinese grown arrogant because of their island's beloved place in the world? Were Balinese going to the temple just to pray for more money? Was the attack heavenly retribution for the sins of Kuta, where drugs and prostitution were allowed to flourish? "Maybe," Agus concluded, "we forgot what is really important."
Thank you, Jimmy Jim.
Jim Treacher on hate mail:
Amy Alkon's got a serial hate-letter-writer with some sort of fetish for bodily eruptions. She gets all the best hate mail. Mine just says the same two or three things over and over again, slightly reworded each time. There's no poetry, like "The acidity that bleeds out of your offal is ultimately more sad than anything," or "... hence the pus that permeates your spittle amidst your weekly printed rants." I mean, that's just beautiful. Make an effort, people!
Everything that Gov. Bush does is by definition illegal because his rule is illegitimate.
And everything that Rall does is by definition ... well, Rallish. As evidenced by the following:
Next year I'm publishing a collection of essays, columns and cartoons about the Bush Administration. I'm entertaining several possible titles, but to tell the truth I'm none too thrilled about them. That's why I'm turning to you for help.
Send your suggestion for a title (and subtitle) for my 2004 Bush Administration book to email@example.com
Let’s help Ted:
Can’t Write, Can’t Draw
Can’t Think Up Book Titles, Either
This Book Does Not Exist
Because Dissent In Bush’s Amerikkka Gets You Killed
Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Millionaire Bastard
and i crave his audience
That Thing Up My Butt?
It’s My Head!
It’s All About Raaaaalllll
And Maybe Lots of Afghans And Iraqis Now Living In Freedom, But To Hell With Them
Deliver your own remainder bin title notions to Ted at the above address.
This government frightens and outrages me. I smell Nazism every day in the news and I want to know where to go to meet like-minded people to talk, to protest, and if necessary in the long run, to revolt. I don't know where to find people like this.
Have you tried your local mental institution? Many inmates possibly share your ability to detect Nazism nasally. Or you could run a personals ad:
Idiot with Hitlerian nostril fixation seeks similar idiot for long walks in hospital corridors, shared delusions, fomenting revolution, romance. Non-smoker preferred. Kids OK.
Poor K.E.’s olfactory senses would have been overwhelmed after this report in yesterday’s SMH:
A gay British bishop today likened Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen to Adolf Hitler over his opposition to gay clergy and same-sex marriages.
Bishop Martin Reynolds also said anti-homosexuality was the last vestige of evil in modern society.
Whatever your stance on gay marriage (I’m for, by the way) Bishop Reynolds’ view is obviously insane. Archbishop Jensen merely opposes gay marriage -- he doesn’t want to imprison or kill anybody. As for gay clergy, well, it’s their club, and they make the rules. I’m not allowed to join the clergy because I’m agnostic. Damn you, you damn Hitlers! Stinking up the news with your Nazi scent!
Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin are lobsters, the Welsh, Phillip Adams, Saddam, Qusay, Uday, Chief Wiggles (read more about him here), the coolest hat ever, Matthew Hayden, Brian Lara, Scott Burchill, and Germaine Greer.
And in the letters pages, a note from Bali survivor Erik de Haart:
I, too, was in Bali on an end-of-season trip, with the Coogee Dolphins rugby league team, and lost six mates. Here in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, we lost another 14 people and countless more injured. In the past year, there have been plenty of dark moments, days and nights of despair, but there have also been plenty of good moments. I have been stopped by many people who said that I made them cry when they saw me on TV. I have been uplifted by the number of guys who turned up this year to play with the Dolphins, by the many people who said that they looked for the Dolphins' scores each weekend and by the many people who took the time just to drop a line, send flowers or send a nice card. For those of us who lost people in Bali, there will never be closure; we will never be able to consider Bali as a holiday destination again. It will always be, for me at least, a place of ongoing pain. This year, the Coogee Dolphins are going for their end-of-season trip to Perth, where we will meet up with Simon Quayle and the boys from Kingsley Football Club. Perhaps on that day all of us will be able to share a drink, to laugh about all our mates, and to console each other on our losses.
Read it and weep, terrorists. We're closer together than ever.
George W. Bush is meant to be a moron with profound communication problems. But George Monbiot, of all people, paints a different picture. Observing Dubya address US troops, Monbiot describes a linguistic savant:
He quotes their mottoes and songs, retells their internal jokes, mimics their slang. He informs the "dog-faced soldiers" that they are "the rock of Marne", or asks naval cadets whether they gave "the left-handed salute to Tecumseh, the God of 2.0". The television audience is mystified, but the men love him for it. He is, or so his speeches suggest, one of them.
Bush is also a tactical mastermind, according to Monbiot:
He starts by leading them in chants of "Hoo-ah! Hoo-ah!", then plasters them with praise and reminds them that their pay, healthcare and housing (unlike those of any other workers in America) are being upgraded. After this, they will cheer everything he says. So he uses these occasions to attack his opponents and announce new and often controversial policies.
And so effective is this Bush tactic that Monbiot believes it amounts to “an abuse of his position as commander-in-chief”. The Left that once laughed at Bush’s words now fears them.
MARK WILLACY: Mr Arafat has been attending meetings and greeting diplomats and dignitaries, so for now he's continuing to carry out his function as Palestinian President, but there's no doubt he looks pale, he looks frail and this Parkinson's related illness he's had for some time is taking its toll on his health.
PETER CAVE: But as you say he is obviously well enough to keep fighting the good fight.
MARK WILLACY: That's right Peter. He's obviously been greeting diplomats as I've said, he's been chairing meetings. He even swore in his new Cabinet this week, Ahmed Qurei as Prime Minister and his emergency Cabinet. So he's still turning up to these events. His doctors have probably said look, you have to rest, but Yasser Arafat has always been one to be firmly in control, to be at these meetings, to take a lead role in everything he does, so it's unlikely he will rest.
While Arafat’s campaign is “the good fight”, the ABC -- as a matter of policy -- refuses to describe Australian armed forces as “ours”.
(Via the valuable ABC Watch.)
Andrea Harris has discovered the ideal Christmas gift for toddler-lefties. Guaranteed to provide many Centre of Attention moments!
And Sam Ward spies a brilliant piece of art which would be appreciated by any brutal right-winger -- courtesy of the usually anti-right kids over at whitehouse.org. In fact, they’ve got a whole range of excellent artwork. Collect the entire set!
The ABC’s Greg Jennett is offended by reaction to a terrorist’s death:
The Australian Government's enthusiasm for al-Ghozi's death bordered on the ghoulish.
Not mentioned in Jennett’s report: al-Ghozi admitted carrying out bombings that killed 24 people in the Philippines and Indonesia. And here is the alleged ghoulishness of Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, to which sensitive Greg refers:
It is with great delight that the Australian Government has learnt that al-Ghozi has now been, um, has now been, um ... well, he's actually been shot. Perhaps one shouldn't say we're delighted that someone's been shot, but nevertheless, we are delighted that he is no longer on the loose.
As Matt Hayden writes:
I'd describe his reaction as "bordering on the subdued" myself.
Me, too. More ghouling, please.
George W. Bush has rebounded to 56% approval in the latest CNN/USA Today poll. Democrat support for Wesley Clark has dipped slightly to 18%.
It’ll be interesting to see how little attention is paid to this poll in comparison to the previous poll conducted by CNN/USA Today, which had Bush vulnerable on 50%.
Not a lot is noteworthy about this fatwa, except the source:
FATWA RELEASED BY THE SHARI'AH COURT OF THE UK
The Shari’ah Court of the UK has been issuing death sentences and other delusional decrees for years, apparently without attracting the wrath of British authorities or a great deal of media censure. Imagine the outcry if an anti-Muslim version of this was published by a white supremacist group:
Following the stabbing of a Jew in Stamford Hill we issue this press release as a warning to all Jews and Muslims in the UK and elsewhere so that they can be aware of the consequences of the conflict taking place in Palestine under the occupation of Israeli Jews and of the consequences of the hostilities and aggression for Israeli interests and aggressors world-wide. We would like to make it abundantly clear that it is an Islamic obligation upon Muslims everywhere to support the Jihad against those who fight Muslims anywhere in the world or who occupy Muslim land and that this support must be financial, physical, military or verbal.
You know, if they keep on like this, there's a real danger that the wellspring of sympathy and goodwill for Muslims might one day run dry.
In other SMH news: Margo Kingston has got religion.
UPDATE. In a new thumbnail image, the SMH has fixed Stan’s head.
Asked whom he would most like to play, fur-covered commie bowling ball Ed Asner replied:
"I think Joe Stalin was a guy that was hugely misunderstood. And to this day, I don't think I have ever seen an adequate job done of telling the story of Joe Stalin, so I guess my answer would have to be Joe Stalin."
He calls him “Joe”. Cute. Sir Frank Packer, father of Kerry Packer (proprietor of The Bulletin, which pays my bills, full disclosure, etc etc) once told the story of Joe Stalin perfectly in just three words. Having been handed the planned poster for a 1953 edition of Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, then owned by Packer, he objected to the announcement: “STALIN DEAD”. Packer wanted the poster to read: “STALIN DEAD. HOORAY!”
Sadly, Packer’s masterwork was blocked by tyrant-lovin’ lefties. Not much has changed, has it?
Parents of students who attend an Illinois school district are suing over the use of Wi-Fi technology in classrooms, alleging that exposure to the low-level radio waves may be damaging to students' health.
"We've been trying to raise the issue with the school district for almost two years," said Ron Baiman, whose children are among the plaintiffs. "We aren't seeking any monetary awards; we're seeking a moratorium until use of the technology has been proven to be safe."
Or, as Virginia writes, until they prove a negative -- something that literally can never happen. Wi-Fi is merely a means of delivering information; other info-delivery technologies have existed for some time. Printing, for example:
In the printing industry, the incidence rate for injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers was 5.0 in 1999, compared with 5.4 in 1998. The lost workday incidence rate was 2.6 in 1999, compared with 2.8 in 1998.
In the paper and allied products industry, the incidence rate for injuries and illnesses remained above the national average at 7.0 in 1999, compared with 7.1 cases per 100 full-time workers in 1998. The lost workday incidence rate remained the same in 1999 at 3.7.
Wi-Fi faces shutdowns and legal challenges before it is even put in place, yet deadly printing continues without threat. It should be halted -- until it has been proven to be safe.
Was The Age duped? A letter to The Age from US Embassy public affairs counsellor Susan R. Crystal suggests that something is amiss:
Your article "Bush program ruffles feathers" referred to an alleged White House briefing memo about President Bush's upcoming visit to Australia. The White House issued no such memo nor was the memo itself on White House stationery. We do not know who wrote the memo, but we do know that the October 8 White House statement announcing President Bush's trip to Asia is the only official document released by the US Government on the visit.
In reviewing the alleged briefing memo, I counted four references to Prime Minister John Howard before one obviously mistaken reference to "John Major". It is clear that whoever wrote this report knew that John Howard was the Prime Minister of Australia and just made an inadvertent error.
Finally, I would like to note that, contrary to what the article stated, President Clinton also visited Australia and addressed a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.
Interesting. According to The Age, the alleged briefing "gets off to a shaky start by identifying the Australian Prime Minister as John Major" -- yet Crystal writes that the Major reference came after four mentions of John Howard. As is the case so often these days, I’m more inclined to believe the government than the press (and I'd believe Zelda the carnival fortune teller before The Age, which, you’ll recall, recently published Alison Broinowski’s Dowded-up version of a Richard Armitage speech).
We are paying in blood for John Howard's arse-licking, ignorance and xenophobic bigotry.
That was from Bob Ellis. Haven’t heard much from Bob lately. Is he in Gitmo? And from Fraser Nock:
Assuming that Islamic fundamentalists are to blame for the horror in Bali, I am angry with the US for helping to foster a global environment where such acts are deemed necessary.
He blames Islamic fundamentalists, but is angry at the US. Carlo Canteri wrote:
I explicitly place the responsibility at the feet of Howard and Downer. They may as well have pushed the button themselves.
Judith Maher was even more to the point:
Prime Minister, I blame you.
Have these monsters evolved at all in the last 12 months? Not much. Here’s John Forth in today’s Age:
What happened in Bali? A terrorist bomb exploded in a neighbouring country - not Australia. Many people were killed and injured; a significant number happened to be Australian citizens. End of story, more or less. It seems to me that most of the response is essentially media and Government-generated hype. An example of collective self-indulgent narcissism.
Nice. Real nice.
Professor Bunyip muses on the specialness of Phillip Adams:
Isn't Phillip Adams just the most special fellow, a friend whom the world's great minds make a point to keep informed of their latest thoughts? Evidently, because the name-dropping Olive Rancher writes in the Australian of receiving an e-mail "from my friend James Randi, the magician" and says "James told me" about his latest research on the Bible.
Click here to discover just how special Phillip really is.
What the hell does Bob Carr think he’s doing presenting a $50,000 peace prize to Hanan Ashrawi -- a member of Yasser Arafat’s cabinet?
Carr might ask Ashrawi what she means by comments like these: “When newspapers ask if Palestinians deliberately sacrifice their children, it's an incredibly racist thing to do ... We are not fond of mass suicide, but we want the right to resist occupation and injustice.”
Not fond? Meanwhile, on the subject of Yasser, the ABC is currently updating its obit for the old freak. Seems the national broadcaster isn’t convinced by the Arafat tummy ache theory.
UPDATE. In other local generosity news, former Viet Cong soldiers will visit Australia next year on the taxpayers’ tab. Some vets aren’t taking this well:
Vietnam Veterans Federation of Australia NSW president Frank Grady said he did not support the visit.
"I would like to shoot them at the airport, and so would 40,000 others," he said.
"They are communists who subjected their own people to years and years of repression."
We spoke about shoes.
UPDATE. As William Bowe points out in comments, The Age’s obit unfortunately refers to Cairns as “a died in the wool left-winger”.
It shouldn’t pass without comment that Margo Kingston -- assisted by self-appointed teller-of-truth Bruce Power -- used the anniversary of the Bali bomb attacks to once again announce: Howard knew!
The Australian government can’t win in this situation. If it issues warnings, the antiwar Left accuses it of needlessly frightening the populace for the purpose of convincing us the War on Terror is a vital necessity; if it doesn’t, it is accused of not properly protecting us. In the case of Bali, the foreign minister asked the ONA some months before the attacks if warnings should be upgraded. He was advised in the negative. There wasn’t sufficient specific intelligence.
Which is a circumstance Margo should appreciate. Let’s review her immediate response to the attacks:
I know little about Bali, and whether we've respected and nurtured the place we love to visit or colonised it with our wants. A friend in Byron Bay said Australians had taken Bali over, business wise, and that acquaintances with businesses in Bali were considering coming home before this horror. They sensed resentment, and felt a growing unease.
Maybe part of it is the lack of services for locals. A completely inadequate hospital, for instance, so graphically exposed in the aftermath of the horror. Some people - foreigners like us, elite big-city Indonesians - make their fortunes. Have residents lost their place, their power to define it? Did the big money fail to give enough back to the people who belong there, whose home it is? Have Muslim extremists destroyed the vibe of Hindu Bali to force us out?
Bad rich whitey. Ruining everything with their ... er ... money and trade and jobs. Bad!
UPDATE. Professor Bunyip remembers the shameless Bali soapboxers, including Margo, Adele Horin, Robert Manne ...
CNN? Oh, that's that network with Larry King, who, like the Son of Sam, is a native of Brooklyn. Used to be owned by Ted Turner, who, like the Cincinnati Strangler, is a native of Cincinnati. Now part of Time Warner, founded by the Warner Brothers, the oldest of whom, Harry Warner, like many Auschwitz guards, was a native of Poland.
Why did Americans elect Bush? Because they’re stupid, according to this Democratic Underground superbrain:
What we MUST realize in order to win - Americans are stupid and uninformed
This is very important because in order to win we must understand the way the average American thinks. I'm afraid WE have nothing in common with them.
I came to the two following conclusions when I saw the large number of people who voted for Bush back in 2000.
#1 - I would dare to assume that most of us here are in the upper 1%-20% of the population intelligence-wise. We must come to the realization that the majority of the population is in the lower 80% to 99% percent of the bell-curve. WE are not the norm. The Republicans understand that the average American is not very bright. They cater and pander to the masses. The Democratic Party tries to appeal to the population about "issues" that these people just don't understand.
Hmm. The same idiot population that elected Bush voted in greater numbers for Al Gore, and twice elected Bill Clinton.
(Via Best of the Web.)
Was there a massacre in Jenin? Well, yes there was.
Little wonder that the ABC has lately been found guilty of bias:
Serious bias was displayed in 12 cases of the ABC's Iraq war coverage, an independent review panel found.
The Independent Complaints Review Panel upheld 17 of the 68 complaints, and said 12 of them involved serious bias by a reporter or presenter within an individual broadcast.
In relation to another four complaints, the panel identified breaches of an ABC editorial directive requiring presenters and reporters to refrain from emotional language or editorialisation in reporting the war.
In another instance, sources were inadequately identified.
Here’s The Australian’s report on the findings. Privatise the ABC.
Suppose you’re a fat stupid guy with no great education and not even enough motivation to last more than a single day on a production line. You complain all the time, your appearance is terrible, you struggle with accuracy, and you make enemies easily. You think the government is conspiring against you. Your overall skill-set barely qualifies you for homelessness.
With these talents, where on earth might you expect to become a millionaire?
Why, only in the US, which rewards Michael Moore with terrific wealth. His truly is a great American story; blessed only with the ability to bitch and moan and eat, Moore proves by example that even plus-size pullthroughs can make it big. Or, in his case, morbidly obese.
Yet according to Moore, nobody has a realistic shot at wealth:
Listen, friends, you have to face the truth: you are never going to be rich. The chance of that happening is about one in a million. Not only are you never going to be rich, but you are going to have to live the rest of your life busting your butt just to pay the cable bill and the music and art classes for your kid at the public school where they used to be free.
And it is only going to get worse. Forget about a pension, forget about social security, forget about your kids taking care of you when you get old because they are barely going to have the money to take care of themselves.
I wonder how Moore’s fans feel reading this rich guy telling them they’ll never be able to live in his rarefied circumstances -- having bought a copy of his book, thereby making him even richer. Like idiots, probably.
UPDATE. Another Moore contradiction. Here he is in The Guardian:
[Moore] believes some well-placed suicide bombs or terrorist attacks could change everything. "At that point, you will find millions of Americans clamouring for martial law ... The American people will be so freaked out they will demand that the White House take action, round up anyone and everyone. That's what I fear."
And here he is on the Today Show:
"There is no terrorist threat."
UPDATE II. Commenters note that according to Moore’s math -- the likelihood of getting rich is “about one in a million” -- only 280 millionaires must exist in the US. In fact, there are two million. Therefore, your chances of Moore-like riches: 140/1. I like those odds!
Why does Reuters bother writing junk like this?
The Bush administration, which has yet to find evidence to back its charge that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ...
The question of whether [Saddam] was still in the WMD business is no longer open. "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities," Kay testified, "and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002" -- concealed, that is, from the hapless Hans Blix.
Kay's list is chilling. It includes a secret network of labs and safe houses within the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi foreign intelligence service; bioorganisms kept in scientists' homes, including a vial of live botulinum toxin; and my favorite, "new research on BW [biological weapons]-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin" -- all "not declared to the U.N."
I have been to medical school, and I have never heard of Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever. I don't know one doctor in 100 who has. It is a rare disease, and you can be sure that Hussein was not seeking a cure.
Andrew Bolt has more on the strange unanimity exhibited by the media in covering Kay’s report.
(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, freshly returned from the Congo.)
Even the kids in Kabul wanted Gray Davis out.
(Via Peter Kerr.)
Rob Corr wrote a letter to the West Australian recently on the subject of flag-burning. Leave aside the ethics of his ensign-incinerating hobby, and consider instead the ecological impact: a burning flag must release all manner of smoky toxins into the precious environment.
You’d expect, on this basis, that environmentalists would be opposed to flag-burning. What if the trend becomes more widespread? Massive flag bonfires may soon be regular events. Associated pole-burning will only add to the environmental hazard.
The dangers of secondhand flag smoke, of course, are well documented.
So it’s something of a surprise -- even to Rob -- that his letter has resulted in a response from the Western Australian Greens seeking his membership. Apparently the torching of fabric in urban settings is something with which the Greens agree. Burn on, freaks!
The most surprising thing at Bathurst isn’t that Greg Murphy is quickest -- he’s brilliantly speedy -- but that he’s been consistently fast all week. Murphy’s weakness is in car set-up, which can drop him down the time sheets if weather conditions change or other variables are introduced. Former Murphy technicians are scathing about the lack of feedback he’d deliver in testing. “He’d just say, ‘It’s too slow’,” one once told me. “What am I meant to do with that?”
Compared to Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife -- both of whom provide computer-like analysis of their car’s behaviour -- Murphy is limited. But, man, when he gets it together ... today’s 2:07.9503 is the quickest lap ever at Mt. Panorama, and builds on an entertaining feud between Murphy and HRT hardhead Mark Skaife. Note to Murphy: Skaife is a former junior boxer. Don’t push him.
Some might be surprised at John Bowe’s third placing, but Bathurst is a track that rewards experience. Larry Perkins, for example, was always fast here, although during regular season touring car rounds he’d be swamped by rapid youngsters. Bathurst’s high speeds and blind corners have a way of spooking the kids -- which is why so much was made of Lowndes’ second place during his first Bathurst in 1995. Fast and young is a combination rarely seen here.
For his longshot selection, Niall is leaning towards the elderly -- Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst in the second HRT car (I’m not sure Niall is correct, by the way, about Skaife being cross-entered in both HRT Holdens. I think that provision was ditched a few years back). Under previous race regulations I might agree with him, but with the introduction of the safety car the race is now a series of sprints rather than a single endurance event. A faster driver pairing -- although Richards is an impressive eighth -- should win.
(That being said, who isn’t fast these days? The top 38 cars are separated by only 4.6 seconds; in 1978 that was the gap between the fastest qualifier and fifth.)
Let’s see how things look after today’s shootout for pole position. If Lowndes/Seton maintain their pace (currently just five-tenths behind Bowe in the quickest Ford) they will be serious top three candidates (as Niall has already nominated, along with Skaife and Richards). And someone will likely take another few tenths out of Murphy’s record time if the rain holds off.
Read it all.
Meanwhile Australia’s Prime Minister has pledged to fight terrorism to the end in memory of those killed, and former Labor staffer Michael Costello -- no Howard fan -- accuses the Left of whiny, loss-fixated nostalgia.
Being egalitarian types, Sydney Morning Herald readers like Kevin Bennewith want everybody to be able to participate in politics:
I sometimes think that people should be obliged to pass an examination in economics, history, geography, social science, current affairs and politics in order to earn the right to vote. Nothing against our friend Arnie, of course, who is a very worthy gentleman and probably not guilty of all the scurrilous things of which he has been accused. Yes, a minimum 50 per cent pass in the afore-mentioned subjects should be required for anyone to be given the title voter.
That examination would disqualify most SMH journalists.
Labor groupie Peter FitzSimons was infuriated back in March by the government’s unanimous support for the war:
Here in Australia, our Liberal Party apparently stands totally united behind its leader. How can it be that in all the ranks of the parliamentary Liberal Party there is not even one person with the courage of their convictions to make a stand and say what they surely must feel: that this is crazy? Just one!?
So I wonder how FitzSimons feels now that his beloved Labor Party is actively crushing dissent:
Labor leader Simon Crean has intervened to ensure his MPs do not insult US President George Bush, quelling a backbench plan for Labor politicians to turn their backs to the world leader when he addresses Parliament later this month. Labor backbencher Harry Quick was yesterday called in and reprimanded by Mr Crean for his attempts to organise a silent protest.
Reprimanded! No! Fitz will surely die of shame. Still, much thanks to the big idiot for this February piece which gave all us mongers of war the perfect excuse to attack Saddam:
We believe that of all the lessons the tragedy of September 11 demonstrated, the most salient is that just one person with enough white-hot hate in him can become a weapon of mass destruction all on his own.
Just one person can be a WMD? Excellent. David Kay may now call off his search.
The excuse used by Bush, Blair and Howard to invade Iraq was the imminent threat posed by Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. This claim now appears to have been untrue.
Despite lingering allegations of boorish behaviour, women came out in force to vote for the "Teflon Terminator" Arnold Schwarzenegger, ushering him into California's governor's mansion.
"Women supported him, which is amazing," said University of California professor Elizabeth Garrett.
"He was the most popular candidate for women, which is a very hard thing for a Republican candidate to accomplish in this state, especially Arnold with the allegations of sexual harassment against him."
But support him they did, prompting Daily Variety to dub him the "Teflon Terminator" because the sexual allegations would not stick.
A CNN exit poll showed that ...
... Schwarzenegger, like Hitler, is a native of Austria. Actually, I don’t think the Teflon title works, because the LA Times hit pieces may have drawn voters to Arnie. He could be more of a “Conan the Neodymium Magnet”.
UPDATE. Matt Welch seeks new Arnie nicknames.
The actor's socially liberal views on gays and abortion may attract more Californians back to the Republican Party, which in recent years has assumed the conservative moral and religious attitudes of the American South.
Which, like CNN, is based in the American South.
CNN reports Arnie’s victory:
Schwarzenegger, who, like Hitler, is a native of Austria ...
UPDATE II. Sydney Morning Herald intilectuals have their say:
WEll it just shows how ridiculously stupid americans are it bad enough chosing a retarted president who is a pupet but now they go a chose a movie star when will that country learn and then they wonder why the world hates them???
Sadly, this is one of these incidents under the "it could only happen in America" files. Ronald Regan was another but I think he had a little more intilect that Arnie S...
Thank you for chosing to share your views on pupets and the retarted. Gareth Parker has more -- including baffoons.
Bernie Slattery reports that Bali survivor Jake Ryan has been receiving threats from people unhappy with his opposition to terrorist pinheads (EvilPundit links to a brief ABC item on this). Jake’s immediate response to one anonymous text threat: let's fight, then. Right now.
The reply was not accommodating.
Finish this sentence:
Yasser Arafat suffered a mild heart attack last week, but the news was not made public for fear it would create ...
a) dangerous levels of joy
b) whoopin’ and hollerin’
c) a chance at restarting peace talks with a new Palestinian leader
Matt Drudge is reporting an Arnie landslide: 51% voting for Arnie, 30% Bustamente, 13% McClintock. On Drudge’s numbers the recall is locked in, too: 59%. Gray Davis -- terminated!
There's trouble in Wesley Clark's world, too:
Wesley Clark's campaign manager quit Tuesday in a dispute over the direction of the Democratic presidential bid, exposing a rift between the former general's Washington-based advisers and his 3-week-old Arkansas campaign team.
Just so long as Mary doesn't quit. He's doomed without Mary.
Gratuitously disgusting Phillip Adams compares the murder of thousands in the World Trade Center towers to another “attack” -- that killed nobody -- on a more important building in New York:
You'll recall how the US responded to al-Qa'ida's destruction of the World Trade Centre twin towers. It mounted a full-scale attack on a neighbouring and more important New York landmark: the UN building on the East River.
Yet somehow the UN building still stands.
Bush insists the removal of Saddam Hussein is a price worth paying, though thousands collaterally damaged wouldn't agree.
Thousands more Iraqis, according to all available polls, would. And you just knew this was coming:
Yes, Hussein was a monster, but ...
It’s barely worth continuing after that. I’ll just highlight these three Adamsisms:
So was killing thousands of Iraqis and wrecking the nation's infrastructure necessary?
Despite their promises to fix things fast and the decision to privatise just about everything (without asking for views, let alone the permission of the Iraqi people), they've failed to fix up the supply of electricity, water and oil. These days, Iraqis can't even buy petrol for their vehicles.
Little wonder the UN is pulling out of the physical rubble and political ruin that US ineptitude has created.
Removing a brutal dictator = “political ruin”. Adams gets sicker and meaner by the day.
Look at mass-murderer Julian Knight, still recognisable after 16 years in prison. Despite his whining about conditions inside -- he’s gone to court over “improper treatment” -- the fact he resembles the gutless kid who killed seven people in 1987 is testament to how well he’s doing (the murder scene, by the way, was opposite a flat I’d lived in a year or so earlier).
A friend told me once of a lawyer pal who visited a client inside Britain’s Broadmoor Prison. During their meeting a hideous, scar-faced ruin shambled past. “You know who that is?” the client asked. “That’s Peter Sutcliffe.” Constant beatings, knifings, kickings, and bitings from other inmates have destroyed the Yorkshire Ripper. As Moe Szyslak once observed: “He ain’t so pretty anymore.”
And in related science-type news, Stephen Green rages against developments in de-weaponising.
Mentioned in this week’s Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin are George W. Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, Margo Kingston, John Pilger, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Gerhard Schröder, Edward Said, Valerie Plame, Mike Hersh, Richard Nixon, Joe Hockey, Terry Lane, Jack Harvey, Warren Payne, Steve Cowley, Michael Lawrance, David Stuart, Robyn Williams, Bjørn Lomborg, Alison Broinowski, and Richard Armitage.
Also in The Bulletin: Todd Hallenbeck previews the Bathurst 1000. I’ll be posting on The Great Race starting with unofficial practice today and cross-linking predictions and tips with complete political opposite Niall, with whom I am as one on the subject of fast cars (for that matter, I could probably even talk cars with Pilger and Phillip Adams. Adams is an ex-Ferrari owner; one of Pilger’s first freelance pieces in Europe was a study of the Ferrari factory in Maranello).
UPDATE. Instapundit might have the scoop o' the day: is Hillary running in '04?
Here’s John Kerry's favourite joke, told most recently on October 4:
Five thousand years ago, Moses said, "Hitch up your camel. Pick up your shovel. Mount your ass. I will lead you to the promised land."
Five thousand years later, Franklin Roosevelt said, "Light up a Camel. Lay down your shovel. Sit on your ass. This is the promised land." Today, George Bush will lay off your camel, tax your shovel, kick your ass and tell you there is no promised land.
Kerry grinds out this excruciating gag (he calls it a “story”) every chance he gets, drawing pitiful applause from people who can’t remember the same joke referring to Clinton, the first George Bush, Reagan, and Nixon. One oldtimer has the fossilised witticism pegged to Harry S:
That camel/ass story is older than I am, and I'm 62. I first heard it during the Truman administration.
Posted by: Pat in CA at September 13, 2003 06:18 PM | Link
It’s hard to believe Kerry’s advisors let him run with material so incredibly dated and sad, or that Kerry dupes apparently lap it up:
John Kerry came alive in Boston. He was real. He was emotional. He was charismatic and people related to him. He gave a rousing speech to an enthusiastic crowd that couldn’t wait to scream his name — he was like a rock star on stage and it seemed like he was loving it. The ONLY time I have seen him spontaneous in a crowd was tonight. He veered off his speech several times — the biggest variation was this joke ...
You know the one.
Arnie’s vote in far, far north-eastern California is bound to be reduced by this:
The news out of New England is vandals have defaced Robert Frost's farmhouse in Derry, New Hampshire, spray-painting the south side of the poet's house--a national landmark--with swastikas and the slogans "Arnold is a racist" and "Arnold is a Nazi." That makes it official: recall has taken the road more traveled--by partisan nimrods.
By the way, my futuristic vantage point in Australia (where it is already late afternoon Tuesday) enables me to tell you who won the election. I don't want to spoil the fun for everyone, so I'll just say this: it's the first time I've ever heard a victory speech consisting entirely of "Yes! Yes! Ohhhh, Yesss!"
It’s another one of those honour killings England is becoming famous for:
Two men murdered their cousin on her wedding day because her family did not approve of her choice of husband, a court heard yesterday.
Rafaqat Hussain deliberately waited until just before the ceremony was about to begin before stabbing Sahjda Bibi 22 times with a kitchen knife, it was alleged.
The man she planned to marry was a divorcee, which explains why she had to be killed. I mean, there’s just no way around a problem like that, is there?
Gina Wilkinson, the ABC reporter who asked Iraqi children to gambol and caper around unexploded ordnance, has quit the network following her exposure on Media Watch. Where will she go next? Possibly to Webdiary, where Margo Kingston could use some help negotiating the minefield that is the English language:
Cancun. The World Trade Organisation. Free trade. It's too hard. That's how the big players like it - too complex for us poor sods who have to wear the pain and surrender our democratic rights in its service and so secretive we're don't get the chance to work it out even we we wanted to.
Margo. The Sydney Morning Herald. Good writing. It’s too hard! Hey, at least she’s successfully defused the G’Day Bomb that was giving her so much grief; Margo’s latest Webdiary jabber actually begins with a proper G’day.
No word yet, however, on her apparent breach of Sydney Morning Herald ethics. My e-mail to SMH exec editor Tom Burton hasn't been answered. Is he being so secretive we're don't get the chance to work it out even we we wanted to?
David Kay’s interim report on Iraq’s concealed WMD was filed after only about 8% of weapons storage areas was searched (which is much less, obviously, than 8% of total areas within Iraq where evidence of WMD may be hidden). Yet the search seems to have turned up more than 8% worth of proof that Saddam had it goin’ on with the biological and chemical weapons. As Kay tells Fox News, “This is information that, had it been available last year, would have been headline news.”
In other headline-worthy information, James Lileks has the best line yet on the Rush Limbaugh drug controversy:
I am also sure that upon hearing the news, Al Franken spronged sufficient wood to knock the table over.
Michael Moore presumes to speak on behalf of the September 11 dead, and the whole of America:
I have seven questions for you, Mr Bush. I ask them on behalf of the 3,000 who died that September day, and I ask them on behalf of the American people. We seek no revenge against you.
That’s a relief. Although some Americans might still seek revenge against Moore for writing that hilarious satire of his on September 12. Following are Moore’s seven questions, extracted from his new book, Cashing In On Idiot Lefty Paranoia, now available wherever fools and their money can’t wait to be parted:
1. Is it true that the Bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?
Most Americans might be surprised to learn that you and your father have known the Bin Ladens for a long time. What, exactly, is the extent of this relationship, Mr Bush?
I remember reading something about Bush sending a whole army to kill bin Laden. I guess the relationship isn’t going so well.
2. What is the 'special relationship' between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family?
Mr Bush, the Bin Ladens are not the only Saudis with whom you and your family have a close personal relationship. The entire royal family seems to be indebted to you - or is it the other way round?
A major chunk of the American economy is built on Saudi money. They have a trillion dollars invested in our stock market and another trillion dollars in our banks. If they chose suddenly to remove that money, our corporations and financial institutions would be sent into a tailspin, causing an economic crisis the likes of which has never been seen. Couple that with the fact that the 1.5m barrels of oil we need daily from the Saudis could also vanish on a mere royal whim, and we begin to see how not only you, but all of us, are dependent on the House of Saud. George, is this good for our national security, our homeland security? Who is it good for? You? Pops?
A better question: is it good for Michael Moore? Three years ago Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal invested $50 million in the Disney company, which is financing Moore’s next film. The Prince invested a similar amount in Amazon, which distributes Moore’s films and books, and has $1.05 billion in America Online -- with whom Moore has an account. Why, Moore is practically swimming in evil Saudi cash!
3. Who attacked the US on September 11 - a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friend, Saudi Arabia?
The headlines blared it the first day and they blare it the same way now two years later: "Terrorists Attack United States." Terrorists. I have wondered about this word for some time, so, George, let me ask you a question: if 15 of the 19 hijackers had been North Korean, rather than Saudi, and they had killed 3,000 people, do you think the headline the next day might have read, "NORTH KOREA ATTACKS UNITED STATES"? Of course it would. Or if it had been 15 Iranians or 15 Libyans or 15 Cubans, I think the conventional wisdom would have been, "IRAN [or LIBYA or CUBA] ATTACKS AMERICA!" Yet, when it comes to September 11, have you ever seen the headline, have you ever heard a newscaster, has one of your appointees ever uttered these words: "Saudi Arabia attacked the United States"?
Because Saudi Arabia didn’t attack the United States. Fifteen Saudis did, under the command of bin Laden. What’s so hard to understand about this?
4. Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the US in the days after September 11 and pick up members of the Bin Laden family and fly them out of the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?
Mikey gets one right! Well, partially right. Snopes explains.
5. Why are you protecting the Second Amendment rights of potential terrorists?
You can waive their Fourth Amendment protection from unlawful search and seizure, their Sixth Amendment rights to an open trial by a jury of their peers and the right to counsel, and their First Amendment rights to speak, assemble, dissent and practise their religion. You believe you have the right to just trash all these rights, but when it comes to the Second Amendment right to own an AK-47 - oh no! That right they can have - and you will defend their right to have it.
He’s unhappy when rights are denied and he’s unhappy when rights are upheld. Make up your mind, Keiko.
6. Were you aware that, while you were governor of Texas, the Taliban travelled to Texas to meet with your oil and gas company friends?
According to the BBC, the Taliban came to Texas while you were governor to meet with Unocal, the huge oil and energy giant, to discuss Unocal's desire to build a natural-gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and into Pakistan.
Mr Bush, what was this all about?
7. What exactly was that look on your face in the Florida classroom on the morning of September 11 when your chief of staff told you, 'America is under attack'?
Your face went into a distant glaze, not quite a blank look, but one that seemed partially paralysed. No emotion was shown. And then ... you just sat there. You sat there for another seven minutes or so doing nothing.
George, what were you thinking? What did that look on your face mean?
Were you thinking you should have taken reports the CIA had given you the month before more seriously? You had been told al-Qaida was planning attacks in the United States and that planes would possibly be used.
Or were you just scared shitless?
Can you imagine people paying money to read this? These words actually subtract value from the paper they’re printed on. But just as Moore is seemingly all typed out, he suddenly has the most brilliant, perfect idea of his entire life:
I've always thought it was interesting that the mass murder of September 11 was allegedly committed by a multi-millionaire. We always say it was committed by a "terrorist" or by an "Islamic fundamentalist" or an "Arab", but we never define Osama by his rightful title: multi-millionaire. Why have we never read a headline saying, "3,000 Killed by multi-millionaire"? It would be a correct headline, would it not?
It would be, which is why some of us were writing it two years ago. But continue, please (and we’ll leave aside that only a few lines earlier you were doubting that a dialysis case in a cave could have planned September 11):
Osama bin Laden has assets totalling at least $30m; he is a multi-millionaire. So why isn't that the way we see this person, as a rich fuck who kills people? Why didn't that become the reason for profiling potential terrorists? Instead of rounding up suspicious Arabs, why don't we say, "Oh my God, a multi-millionaire killed 3,000 people! Round up the multi-millionaires! Throw them all in jail! No charges! No trials! Deport the millionaires!!"
Michael Moore is a millionaire. Round him up and deport him. He demands it.
(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, a clever white man.)
Jake Ryan recalls the moment Bali exploded:
I actually took a girl home the night before and I thought that her boyfriend must have found me. That was my first thought: ‘this bloke’s just whacked me’. I was down on the ground and thinking ‘jeez, he’s hit me a beauty’, and then I could feel people standing on me and I thought this guy was kicking me.
Jake’s story -- the rest of it is harrowing -- is part of The Age’s deeply researched and heartbreaking Bali memorial, published today. For a blog perspective on the events of a year ago, here’s my archive, beginning with the first reports of the attack. Scroll up from there. And this is the first opinion piece I wrote following October 12.
The Arnie Count has increased:
As the number of women claiming they were groped by Arnold Schwarzenegger grew to 15 today, the actor headed for a campaign march in Sacramento, while Governor Gray Davis signed a law making California the largest state to require employer-paid health care.
Any guesses what the number might be by election day?
Despised by many in the media, the Prime Minister still enjoys a close rapport with the public. The Age's Mark Baker explains why:
They met in the corner of a hotel reception room crowded with grief, the Prime Minister and the Gold Coast cleaning contractor. After an awkward embrace, John Howard spoke quietly with Phil Burchett for more than 10 minutes, offering his sympathy and support.
A few days earlier, Burchett's stepson, Jared Gane, had been drinking with friends on the rooftop of Paddy's bar behind Bali's Kuta Beach when an explosion ripped through the ground floor, followed moments later by the eruption of a huge car bomb in front of the Sari Club on the other side of busy Legian Road. The 27-year-old backpacker was killed along with 201 others, 88 of them Australians.
Before he moved on to the next of the many grieving families gathered in the hotel room that day, Howard paused, looked Burchett in the eye and made a brave promise: "We'll get the bastards who did this."
UPDATE. And this is how they were got. Terrific reporting here from Mark Forbes and John Silvester.
It is now quite clear that Robin Cook and Menzies Campbell have simply lost the capacity for rational thought. Cook says the Iraq Survey Group has told us that Saddam did not have any WMD and posed no threat to us; Campbell says it now looks more likely that Tony Blair went to war on a 'flawed prospectus'.
Those idiots dealt with, Phillips delivers this conclusion on the ISG’s interim report:
Will the anti-war lobby now eat humble pie and admit they were utterly, totally, malevolently wrong? Not likely. For what the Iraq row has revealed is that our society now has a big problem with truth, logic and rationality. Faced with facts and evidence, it either denies them or draws from them instead the most perverse and irrational conclusions. The Iraq war is the defining event of our time, and illustrates with terrifying clarity how much of Britain has succumbed to a flight from reason itself.
One to add to the links, wouldn’t you say?
Peace and understanding. That’s what Rome’s anti-globalisation demonstrators want:
The demonstrators say the proposed constitution is designed to promote the free market and capitalism and is not focused enough on the need to build peace and understanding.
To reinforce their message, the demonstrators peacefully discussed matters with police:
"Protesters wearing helmets and carrying their own shields pushed up against the police lines and started throwing stones and bottles," a Reuters journalist at the scene said.
They understandably altered the architecture of an employment office:
At one point group of about 50 anti globalisation protesters attacked the offices of a temporary work agency before being chased away by police, and an ambulance was seen moving in to take away an injured demonstrator.
They delivered a whole load of peace to Silvio’s place:
In central Rome, a small group of anti-globalisation demonstrators hurled rolls of toilet paper at riot police guarding Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s offices - the day before, a group dumped barrels of dung in front of the Italian leader’s private residence.
And they offered traditional gifts of wood and stone while dressed in the colourful folk garments of understanding and peace:
As darkness approached some protesters, wearing hoods and masks and armed with sticks, forced a line of police to crouch under a hail of stones and missiles.
Wouldn’t it be terrible if these people ever turned violent?
(Via reader Bob B., a peaceful man who understands.)
Gerhard Schroeder kicked off the Day of German Unity with his usual rank anti-Americanism, and might have expected his fellow speakers to follow suit. One didn’t: Hungarian Nobel Prize winner and keynote speaker Imre Kertész. David Kaspar has the story, plus German reaction to Kertész’s excellent speech.
Hey, maybe some of those listening to Schroeder will be motivated to join the German army, currently seeking girlish new recruits:
"We get bombarded with Rambo types with knives between their teeth and a foot in the far-Right scene, but not enough reflective candidates who are interested in contributing to world peace and wouldn't mind going abroad, something they didn't have to contemplate 10 years ago," said Capt Thomas Huber, the spokesman for "Our Army", which, without a hint of irony, he described as a "travelling circus".
That’s what you need in a soldier. The capacity to reflect.
UPDATE. Alan R.M. Jones writes to point out that wily Gerhard carefully alters his message depending on the audience. Here he is last month celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany:
“The United States of America selflessly helped us restore our democracy after Germany took a series of wrong turns which culminated in the unprecedented barbarity of National Socialism. Nobody who, as I did, grew up during the post-war years, will ever forget the part the US played in our recovery. I am not just referring to the economic assistance from the Marshall Plan and the unique political guidance that helped us become self-confident democrats. That initially only benefited the western part of our divided nation. But without our democratic example, and without the United States as guarantor of freedom during the Cold War decades, Germany would never have been able to reassert its unity in freedom. And nobody welcomed and supported this unity as did our American friends. I would like to give special mention to the great services of George Bush, the US President of the time.”
Yeah. Pity about those “wrong turns”.
Yet more brutal US oppression of tragic Iraqis:
When they realized that the newly trained local police force desperately needed walkie-talkies, the U.S. troops who patrol Iraq's fourth-largest city didn't wait for civilian bureaucrats to buy them, as have their Baghdad counterparts.
The soldiers in Kirkuk found a dealer and ordered the radios with their emergency funds. They did the same with weapons, vehicles and office furniture.
"Security was our top priority, so we couldn't wait," said Col. William Mayville, commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade, the main ground force in Kirkuk. "We're a couple of chapters ahead of the rest of Iraq on a lot of this stuff."
And several light years ahead of the European Union:
With business-class air fares paid and an all-day limousine service on tap, Euro MPs had only to pay for the taxi home after dining out in Brussels’ vaunted restaurants. Now they have eliminated even that small cost.
Blithely ignoring charges of "moral corruption", MEPs have voted to give themselves an allowance of up to $50 a week to cover the cost of getting back to their Brussels pads after the free limousine service ends at 10pm.
No wonder Europe was so keen to avoid going in to Iraq. Imagine the airfares!
Katha Pollitt believes Arnold Schwarzenegger mistreated women. Her response is clear and direct:
Here is a man who seems to have a long history of contempt for women, who uses his celebrity to get away with sexual humiliation — why does he belong in public life?
Katha Pollitt believes Bill Clinton raped a woman. Her response is ... well, what can anyone do about it, you know? Nothing much, I guess. It’s a real pity. Just too bad:
I think Juanita Broaddrick told her story in a very persuasive way. She has people who say she told them about the rape at the time ... In my heart I believe her, yes. But what do you do with this information? One of the things that's so frustrating about this is: It's out there, people think about it, but there isn't anything you can do with it. It's not an allegation that anyone can use legally; it's only an allegation that people can try to use politically.
UPDATE. Patricia Foulkrod helpfully points out the difference between Ah-nold and Clin-ton:
"The difference is that Clinton was so brilliant," she said.
"If Arnold was a brilliant pol and had this thing about inappropriate behavior, we'd figure a way of getting around it. I think it's to our detriment to go on too much about the groping. But it's our way in. This is really about the GOP trying to take California in 2004 and our trying to stop it."
You don't say.
UPDATE II. AP is reporting that an Arnie-don’t-like-Nazis story emerged after he was accused of being a Nazi-lovin’ freak:
After getting a bruising from media in his adopted country, Arnold Schwarzenegger received a boost from the press of his native Austria, where reports said he helped break up a neo-Nazi rally.
The Austrian newsmagazine NU reported on Friday that Schwarzenegger and some companions disrupted a gathering of neo-Nazis in the city of Graz when he was 17.
The report comes after ABC News and The New York Times carried statements attributed to the action star in 1975, during the filming of the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron.
This is important, because if the anti-Nazi story followed the earlier pro-Nazi pieces, it looks like damage control -- and may be discounted because of that. But other accounts have the anti-Nazi story being published before Schwarzenegger was accused of Nazi fondness:
The interview was conducted in August and published in September but the anecdotes recalled by Gerstl, 80, a former leading conservative politician, reflect on questions being raised about Schwarzenegger as he runs for governor in the US state of California.
The BBC supports this version of events:
In a boost for Mr Schwarzenegger, a report in an Austrian Jewish magazine said that, as a young bodybuilder, he had helped break up a neo-Nazi demonstration in the Austrian city of Graz.
"There was a clash and Arnold along with some bodybuilders chased the Nazis down Herrengasse Street," Alfred Gerstl, the father of one of Mr Schwarzenegger's friends, recalled in the interview published last month.
Among the dead were five Arabs. Haifa is one of the most mixed cities in Israel, with a large population of "Israeli Arabs" - Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. It is one of the few places in the country where Arabs and Jews mix socially, and many of the families in Maxim when the bomb exploded were Arab. The restaurant, owned by Arab and Jewish partners, was a symbol of Haifa's more relaxed atmosphere, and some saw the bombing as an attack on the very idea that Arabs and Jews can live together in peace. The Christian Arab owner was said yesterday to be too shocked to speak.
So, five Arabs dead and a symbol of Arab-Jewish cooperation destroyed. And what does the killer’s family say?
"We are receiving congratulations from people", [her brother] Thaher Jaradat said.
"Why should we cry? It is like her wedding today, the happiest day for her."
UPDATE, via LGF. A psychopath at Indymedia is delighted that the attack has “taken out 18 of the enemy, the vicious murderers who oppose justice, freedom and liberation for the Palestinian people. Many other enemies of humanity, perhaps as many as 50, were injured, although, unfortunately, not fatally.”
“So, let's just say we gave the U.N. the leading role in Iraq, and buttressed the whole operation with the genius of French military might,” writes NRO’s Denis Boyles. “How would we do?”
Not so good, as it turns out. Read the whole piece.
Bill Clinton’s public support increased in the wake of his Monica frolics, and Arnie’s numbers are up after the LA Times front-paged his wandering-hands hobby. You’d think someone might have a word to Simon Crean about this proven poll-boosting technique.
In a bid to completely guarantee an Arnie win, the LAT has now found three more women who claim the actor touched them inappropriately. Finally, says Mark Steyn, we have a reason to read the dullest paper on Earth:
The story's chiefly of note as a belated sign of life at the LA Times. If you've never read the paper, let me say that, if there's a major world-class city anywhere on the planet with a duller choice of reading material over the breakfast table, I've yet to find it. Handed an unprecedented local story, the Times has spent the entire election campaign oscillating between weary patrician disdain at the vulgarity of it all and laughable boosterism for the beleaguered Governor.
So things must be pretty desperate if the Times has been driven to "go negative" - or, more to the point, to "go readable".
Roy has been attacked:
One of the tigers in Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas show bit Roy Horn in the neck Friday night, seriously injuring him, according to a spokesman for MGM Mirage.
Emergency officials treated Horn at the Mirage Hotel-Casino around 8:20 p.m., for massive blood loss.
Australian R&S fans were clueless:
A group of Australians witnessed the attack from the front row of the crowded theater, and said they thought it was just part of the show.
"A lady ran past me, freaking out and it was then I sort of, in the back of my mind, thought now this isn't part of the show," said David Strudwick. "And then you look at the staff and they had a bit of horror in their eyes and .. it was like, wait a second, it may not be a part of the show."
(Via the Gweilo.)
UPDATE. Roy is now listed as critical.
UPDATE II: This isn’t the first tiger trouble for Roy and Siegfried. From the Evening Standard of January 21, 1997:
Tourists watched in horror as a white tiger used in the magic act by Las Vegas act Siegfried and Roy ate its mate. The tigers were on display at an indoor zoo at the Mirage Hotel on the Vegas strip between acts when the attack happened. Male tiger Baroda grabbed his mate Nirvana in his fangs and the pair had a twenty minute battle as shocked tourists and children watched from behind safety glass.
The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus, using the latest sonic voting-intention technology, detects a pro-Clark mood:
Last Thursday evening, at a dinner in New York, I listened to the Democratic candidates who hope to contest the presidency in 2004.
All eyes were on the newest runner - former general Wesley Clark. Anticipation mounted. And a few moments into the general's speech there was an almost audible sigh of relief from the hundreds of party faithful in the audience.
That sigh said one thing - here was a man who could indeed beat Mr Bush in the presidential race.
The interim report presented to Congress yesterday by the CIA's chief weapon's snoop, David Kay, brings to an end the whole Iraq-WMD saga ...
No, it does not. The word “interim” is a clue. After only three months of searching, about 92% of Iraqi weapons sites are yet to be examined, as the report states:
There are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined.
Back to Dunlop:
... there are no weapons of mass destruction; there were no weapons of mass destruction.
There were no weapons of mass destruction? How far back would you like to go? As for there being no weapons of mass destruction ... well, at the moment there is no water in my kitchen sink. But there is a tap. And I have plans; a program, if you will, not unlike one of the many located by Kay’s investigators:
We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN.
More from Dunlop:
Iraq was not an imminent threat. There was no threatening storm. The fact is, this was a war of choice sold in the most hysterical terms as a war of necessity.
As Tim well knows, the war was never presented by the US as a response to imminent threat. The war was preventative. He’ll recall George W. Bush’s words:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
Wasn’t Bush meant to be the one who stuggled with words? His opponents seem baffled by even the most obvious statements. They hear “interim” and interpret it as “conclusion”. They hear “not imminent” and believe this to mean “imminent”. They hear sighs ... or rather, they don’t hear sighs, and yet are still able to find meaning in them.
Margo Kingston warned John Howard two years ago that it was dangerous to get too close to One Nation, and wondered if the Prime Minister was “flirting” with the crazy fringe party. Scary!
Apparently those dangers are gone. Margo now admits to lobbying One Nation senator Len Harris on cross media laws -- a curious role for a journalist:
Len's an old gold miner from North Queensland. He talks slow and has excellent manners and a good heart. I lobbied him on cross media in June with trepidation, as the last time we'd come face to face was in Longreach during the 1998 election, when we had a row on the Wik legislation.
Margo’s lobbying would appear to place her at odds with The Sydney Morning Herald’s code of ethics:
Herald staff shall avoid any prominent activity in partisan public causes that compromises, or appears to compromise, the journalist or the newspaper.
Perhaps that doesn’t apply to Margo, who by her own account is no longer a journalist. She’s a pure politician, working with other politicians (such as Harris) and forging powerful new alliances:
He knew exactly what was at stake on cross media though, and we smiled at our unlikely alliance. It reminded me of the experience of a friend of mine, a member of a minor party, in 1998. She'd done a radio interview during which she praised Pauline Hanson for demanding a boost in spending on public education, only to be roundly castigated by some colleagues for sleeping with the enemy. But hell, most of us have common ground on some things - why are we so loathe to admit it and work together when we can?
Over to you, SMH ethics people.
• Eric Blumrich really hates Republicans -- and to prove it, he’s written a song that includes those very words! And pictures of Nazis.
• Arm-busted Dr Alice celebrates her first online birthday. Celebrate by raising a glass. Carefully.
• The BBC is confused and wrong, writes Darren Kaplan.
More B-Notes to come. They’ll be added to this post.
One Santo Santoro, a self-important neophyte Liberal senator from Queensland, has appointed himself the new tormentor of the ABC.
Under freedom of information legislation he has paid his $30 and demanded to see all its editorial directives concerning the Iraq war, asylum seekers and the "Pacific solution", and Australia's relationships with the US and Britain.
After much waste of time and public money, the ABC sent him the stuff on Wednesday. I fear he will be greatly disappointed. It amounts to no more than a small handful of innocuous foolscap pages.
Yes, but what do those pages contain, Mike? As Carlton has doubtless often been reassured, size -- at least in issues such as these -- isn’t important. We await details of the ABC documents. Now for Adams:
The world’s greatest power is led by someone ill equipped to run a doughnut franchise. The thought that this monumental mediocrity is the most powerful man on Earth will reassure Bush’s Christian fundamentalist followers that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is utterly wrong. Descended from apes? TheUS President hasn’t descended at all.
But don’t take my word for it. Read Bush at War, by Bob Woodward ... Woodward’s efforts, quite inadvertently, are as devastating an indictment of the incumbent as his Washington Post work was of Tricky Dicky. If there were ever a case for impeachment, you’d find it in Bush at War.
Adams supports his case by quoting Bush at War ... not once. Maybe he hasn’t read it yet.
"NO. This is not the way," wrote Peter FitzSimons before the war against the Taliban. He urged us to avoid conflict, so that we might “hand onto our children a world where peace is possible.”
What about a world where music is possible?
Check out Kabul’s ARMAN FM, now playing (without fear of death) all the hits from “Afghanistan, India, the Middle East, Iran, Central Asia and the West”. Half the presenters are women; you can listen to them laughing during their shows here. The all-Afghan station -- “ARMAN FM reflects our confidence in the direction and energy of Afghanistan’s redevelopment, and is an Afghan registered entity controlled by Afghan citizens” -- even has its own road cruiser, and aggressively promotes local businesses: “Do you have a favorite store in Kabul? Maybe the best prices, range or service. Let us know & we will let others know as well!”
ARMAN FM rocks.
(Via DJ Zsa Zsa.)
Arnie calls it early:
All but declaring himself California's next governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday triumphantly announced a 10-step plan for his first 100 days in office and declared that if legislators don't follow his lead, he'll seek approval for his proposals through the initiative process.
"I am not here today to talk about campaigning," Schwarzenegger, hoarse from the campaign, told an audience of several hundred local Republicans at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium. "I'm here today to talk about governing."
Could be Arnie is trying to counter this LA Times attack:
Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and in other settings over the last three decades say he touched them in a sexual manner without their consent.
That’s one woman every five years. Somewhere Bill Clinton is checking these stats and thinking: “Amateur.” Meanwhile Mark Steyn has upgraded his Huffington vote contest following Arianna’s decision to bail. Cinco de Grayo!
Australia’s celebrity classes tend not to admire the Prime Minister. Today Steve Irwin broke ranks. And how:
John Howard is the world's greatest leader, "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin said today as the prime minister visited his reptile park.
"In front of us right now is the greatest leader Australia has ever had and the greatest leader in the world," Mr Irwin told the pro-Howard audience at Australia Zoo, north of Brisbane.
He said it was the first time he had been given the opportunity to say how much he dearly loved the prime minister.
While Mr Howard was introduced to some of the animal residents of the zoo, including a giant boa constrictor, Mr Irwin said he hadn't realised the extent of the pre-election plug he was giving Mr Howard.
"That was straight from the heart, I've always believed it," he told reporters.
Last year a female celeb friend of mine actually whispered to me that she’d voted for John Howard. Her friends were nearby, and she didn’t want to risk them overhearing. Dissent is not tolerated.
• Iraq is becoming a no quag zone.
• Run for your lives! It’s the Arkansas Ape!
• Thailand can’t find its own weapons of mass destruction.
• Greg Sheridan has lost his mind.
• How can an idea as powerful and innovative as Gore TV possibly go wrong? This has got ratings success written all over it. Watch out, Fox News! Al’s planning a four-hour interview with Holland’s trade representative to the UN! Try to beat THAT!
• Have fun being shot to death, Ali Ghufron!
• Britney Spears says she was the man in her relationship with Justin Timberlake. Well, somebody had to be.
I attended the hearings of the Senate inquiry into the funding and regulatory legislation of higher education yesterday afternoon. I heard submissions from University of South Australia, the student unions of the three universities in Adelaide, Flinders University of South Australia and part of the submission from the South Australian government.
Plame, Plame, Plame. Who cares about the Plame? I’ve got more important things to worry about. Like yesterday I took all this flu medication and fell asleep watching The Cartoon Network. When I woke up a few hours later I was consumed by two thoughts:
1. If you drew a chalk square on the street, and surrounded it with police barriers, people would think SpongeBob had been murdered.
2. What happens to non-close friends who call him TC? What sanctions, if any, are imposed?
Anyway. Plame. Comments at this Jane Galt post point to interesting things, maybe:
The Washington Post (“Hunting for the Next Watergate since ‘74!”) reports that “Novak published her maiden name, Plame, which she had used overseas and has not been using publicly.” Yet Joseph Wilson’s Middle East Institute biography includes this: “He is married to the former Valerie Plame and has two sons and two daughters.”
A small matter, I guess, and not central to the whole secret CIA identity issue. Still, I think there’s a possibility this dispute will work in Bush’s favour. The Plame controversy -- fuzzy, inside-the-Beltway, no clear targets -- has dulled the bolder “Bush Lied About the War!” theme, and turned down the volume on any bad news out of Iraq.
(Galt tip via covert operative John S.)
ANOTHER UPDATE. Yes, this is destroying Bush:
Mr Bush's re-election bid received almost $US5.5 million in donations yesterday, a record single-day take for his campaign that included about $US3.8 million from the Chicago fundraiser at which he spoke about the leaks scandal.
Read this list of the worst jobs in science and you’ll never complain about your work again.
(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, now entirely free of probes.)
The Bunny Wabbit Militia issues a chilling call to arms:
Militant animal rights activists today claimed responsibility for bombing two firms near San Francisco and threatened to target their staff and customers too.
In an anonymous email posted on the Internet, the shadowy Revolutionary Cells group took credit for a September 25 bombing of a health product distributor and for an August 28 pipe-bomb attack on a biotech firm.
In their e-mail, posted on the website of Bite Back magazine, Revolutionary Cells threatened to double the size of its bombs targeting the companies in the future.
And here is the email:
We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10lbs, tomorrow 20....until your buildings are nothing more than rubble. It is time for this war to truely have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back. We will be non-violent when the these people are non-violent to the animal nations.
The animal nations? Like Puppystan and Owlstralia? The note continues:
In memory of all of those fallen before us in the war for liberation: Jill Phipps (animal activist), Barry Horne (ALF) [he must’ve been the guy inside the costume] Olaia Kastresana (ETA), Arkaitz Otazua (ETA), Angayarkanni (LTTE), Babu (LTTE), Bobby Sands (IRA), Patsy O'Hara (INLA), Carlos Guiliani (anti-globilization martyr), Lee Kyung-hae (farmer and anti-globablization victim), and many more on numerous other fronts. We won't forget you, we won't let your deaths be in vain.
I’m sure they all thank you for that. Especially Lee Kyung-hae, the suicidal Korean farmer who kept his cattle penned inside electric fences.
Who are the revolutionary cells? It is an anti-gmo activist destroying a gmo crop, it is a basque youth driving a car packed with explosives destined for a spanish politician, it is a queer bashing back, a rape victim putting a bullet in the rapist, a corsican nationalist planting a bomb at a french bank, it is a cincinatti riot in response to police brutality ...
It is an idiot kid who cannot spell, a commie who doesn't capitalise proper nouns, a tard whose worldview will collapse as soon as he realises that the above-listed entities share no common aim. What happens to the "revolutionary cells" when the queer bashing back happens to be a GM food scientist, and the Basque bomber is a rapist?
I’m not sure if any tickets remain, but Sydney readers with an interest in issues environmental might enjoy Bjorn Lomborg’s speech this Friday beginning at noon at Pavilion on the Park, 1 Art Gallery Road. Call the Institute for Public Affairs on (03) 9600 4744 for details. The event is co-hosted by Quadrant. I’ll be making closing comments, and lunch is provided (assuming, of course, there are still seats available).
UPDATE. Also of interest: Thomas R. DeGregori’s Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment, about obstructionist NGOs and their hobby of starving the Third World.
Shock! A rugby team composed of French diplomats and parliamentarians plays like a rugby team composed of French diplomats and parliamentarians.
That Bush and The Rich -- a Seussian tale for the modern child:
The poor people dove down in Dumpsters for stuff
But The Rich, in his palace, cried "I don't have enough!
"What to do? Who to call? What button to push?
"I know! The red one that summons That Bush!"
The French have discovered a way to make mathematics exciting and relevant:
A French mathematics teacher is under investigation by education officials for asking students to solve a set of equations based on the death of actress Marie Trintignant after a domestic drama that shocked France.
This pop-culture math method could really catch on. Here’s a quick test:
One: Mary is 20 metres away. Sound travels at 331.45 metres per second. How long will it be before she hears General Wesley Clark’s pitiful cry for help?
Two: Three Dixie Chicks with a total surface area of 6.4 square metres must be photoshopped down by 30% before they will fit on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. It takes a Time Warner artist 20 minutes (at $150 per hour) to remove each 0.2 sq.m. How much does he earn for the completed job?
Three: Kofi Annan is permitted to say that he is deeply concerned only 250 times each year. Assuming that next year he announces his deep concern once every day from January 1, what is the date after which he can no longer use the phrase?
Four: A plate of ham sandwiches is located in the sole 40 degree corner of an Isosceles triangle. Assistants to Phillip Adams and Michael Moore have been ordered to retrieve the sandwiches and are advancing on them at equal speeds from the other two corners. There are no pickles. Which hungry millionaire’s representative reaches them first?
Six: Two adult Afghans land seven punches each on Robert Fisk’s head before Robert realises he is under threat. If we estimate children’s punches at one-quarter of the power of a standard adult Afghan punch, how many times must the children hit Robert before he understands?
Seven: For every three dissidents he executes, Saddam Hussein eats five grams of chocolate from his 480 gram Quality Street assortment assortment. How many dissidents will die before George Galloway needs to go gift-shopping again?
Eight: What is the minimum number of words Maureen Dowd must remove from the following paragraph to convert its message from positive to negative? “We stand with the Iraqi people as they assume more of their own defence and move towards self-government. These aren't easy tasks, but they are essential tasks. We will finish what we have begun, and we will win this essential victory in the war on terror.”
Please write your answers in the comments ... because I have no idea how to work them out myself.
... and meet the President. Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg’s account of his meeting with George W. Bush is fascinating.
At last, thanks to Andrea Harris, I finally have a handle on this whole Plame issue.
"When I was six, I wanted more than anything to have braids like my friend Shareen."
"I was the only one at school who knew that my friend Phyllis was homeless. She lived with her mother at the Motel Six, but when we started work on the senior class play ..."
"I never thought that it would be Daryll, who has Down's Syndrome, who would teach me the most important lesson in life."
"I met Orlando when I was tutoring kids in math at Mandela School ..."
As Joanne writes: “Woods advises students to go for the small epiphany to show sensitivity to slightest hint of bias.” Let’s give it a try:
“The other dancers laughed at Jennifer, but I knew that when her epilepsy and Parkinson’s and peripheral neuropathic tremor kicked in she’d show them who had the best moves.”
“‘You can’t play baseball with us,’ the team told Scott, my quadruple amputee friend. They had to think again when they realised they’d left home plate back in the shed.”
“He was known around town as Eyeless Hobo Pete, but to me he was a blind alcoholic itinerant.”
And here’s an example from a professional:
“The first time I met Osama bin Laden inside Afghanistan, it was a hot, humid night in the summer of 1996.”
The hideous Howard government has now expelled a popular folk quartet. Margo Kingston reports:
G'Day. Today, a statement in Geneva yesterday by Tony Morris, one of the chief researchers into the fate of Australian seekers deported by Philip Ruddock.
CLAIM: Virtually all criticism of Bush's policies has been deemed "unpatriotic" and suppressed.
SOURCE: Stupid television actress.
What are the odds? Yesterday James Morrow drops by to hide his sullen cat from the landlord and sees our fancy new cuboid chess set, which launches him into "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical Chess, except the hybrid Morrow version somehow includes lyrics from The Lovin’ Spoonful’s "Summer in the City":
Bangkok, Oriental city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty!
And then James Lileks posts this:
“One Night in Bangkok” just came on the internet radio. Perhaps the only song ever devoted entirely to itinerant globe-trotting chess players. (Has one of my favorite lines: “Siam, gonna be the witness / to the ultimate test of cerebral fitness.” Try working that into a conversation.) I know exactly where I was when I heard this song nightly: standing behind the counter at Ralph and Jerry’s Corner Store and Culture Center, waiting for the next customer or the first bullet. Every night, “One Night.” And every night, sometimes twice, another song that presumed were all wanted to know the state of, and location of, the Heat. So Glenn Frey would come on to inform us that the Heat was on, and that the heat was on the street.
I know exactly where I was when the Chess/Heat duopoly ruled the airwaves: sucking down fumes in an aluminium foundry and casting plant west of Melbourne, where the heat was often on or near my feet, due to periodic spillages. Ever worked in a casting plant? I hear these songs and instantly recall the scent of scorched sand. And my co-worker Mondo’s effortless lyrical restylings of the era’s music; a favourite was his one-word alteration to Bruce Springsteen’s "I’m On Fire", which gave the song a frightening deviant perspective:
Hey little boy is your daddy home?
The latest Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions Wesley Clark, George W. Bush, Mike Carlton, Mary, Hugh Shelton, Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Yasser Arafat, Bob Woodruff, Trevor Chappell, Russell Crowe, David Brent, Bjorn Lomborg, Clive Hamilton, Mark Latham, my maid and driver, Verity James, Robert Manne, Keith Windschuttle, and the Mongolian army.
Also in The Bulletin: my guide to tragic Collingwood grief.
Boys aged over eight were to be banned. So were girls over 15 who weren’t of the approved sexual orientation. Where was this awful banning meant to take place? At Lesfest 2004 -- mentioned earlier here -- which has just lost its lesbian-only discrimination rights:
The tribunal decision made earlier this month had allowed organisers to advertise for only female-born lesbians to attend or work at the seven-day conference.
But the exemption was today overturned because the organisers had failed to notify the tribunal about a complaint.
The Australian WOMAN Network (AWN), a transsexual lobby group, had applied to revoke the exemption because the term "female-born" was offensive.
The exemption would have ensured even caterers were lesbians.
Hmm. How would they have proved it?
David Brooks on the new web warriors:
The quintessential new warrior scans the Web for confirmation of the president's villainy. He avoids facts that might complicate his hatred. He doesn't weigh the sins of his friends against the sins of his enemies. But about the president he will believe anything. He believes Ted Kennedy when he says the Iraq war was a fraud cooked up in Texas to benefit the Republicans politically. It feels so delicious to believe it, and even if somewhere in his mind he knows it doesn't quite square with the evidence, it's important to believe it because the other side is vicious, so he must be too.
The warrior goes out looking for leaders strong enough to crush the devil. Wesley Clark appeals to the warrior mentality when he declares: "This is war. It's a culture war, and I am their greatest threat. They are doing everything they can to destroy me right now." It doesn't matter that Clark doesn't yet have policies. This isn't about policies. So far the campaign has not been shaped by how much of the Bush tax cut this or that Democratic candidate wants to roll back. It's about who can stand up to the other side.
The warriors have one other feature: ignorance. They have as much firsthand knowledge of their enemies as members of the K.K.K. had of the N.A.A.C.P. In fact, most people in the last two administrations were well-intentioned patriots doing the best they could. The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it's the haters themselves.
(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, who after reading this piece is reminded to say "Hi!" to frequent commenter Nemesis.)
(LATEST: I've been contacted by The Age following the post below and an email to the editor. The Age will tomorrow publish a letter from me containing more detail of Broinowski's creative misinterpretation.)
Michael Gawenda, the editor of The Age, had this to say during a 1997 interview with the ABC:
I think that the future of the print media will very much depend on the quality of information that we give our readers.
Can’t disagree with that. And from the same interview:
If we've made factual mistakes we'll correct them.
As one should. But yesterday The Age published something worse than factual mistakes, which are inevitable in any form of journalism; it published obvious and deliberate distortions of fact. And The Age’s response hasn’t been to correct these distortions. It has merely run a single letter of opposition, from a reader of this website:
Does Alison Broinowski (Opinion, 30/9) have trouble with simple English comprehension, or is it that she is being mendacious? Anyone who reads what Richard Armitage actually said will see that his speech contained no suggestion of the United States abandoning Australia.
Having said that, I congratulate you for publishing Miss Broinowski's piece, as it provides yet more evidence of the crude anti-Americanism that is the real animus behind so much of what, on the left, passes for debate in this country. If this is the best that the "anti-war" crowd can do, it is quite clear that they have lost the argument.
Peter Laverick, Bondi Beach, NSW
The Age, no doubt now aware that the quotes within Broinowski’s twisted article do not reflect the opinions of Richard Armitage, has chosen to leave her article intact at the newspaper’s website, perhaps as a kind of post-modern tribute to The Age’s dishonesty. What has Michael Gawenda had to say lately about his highbrow broadsheet?
We remain committed to quality journalism.
Nice words, Michael. Prove it.
(Please feel free to send more emails to The Age on this subject. It'll give them something to read while they ponder their ongoing circulation decline.)