August 30, 2004


Stand by for Reason magazine's Republican Convention weblog, featuring Matt Welch, me, chart-topping Latino dance sensation Julian Sanchez, and random others.

Of course, it would've been easier to simply hire Lewis Lapham (he's already attended the convention) but Reason are sticklers when it comes to that old time-and-space continuum, so here we are. First posts, due later today, should deal with the fun anti-Bush march currently in progress.

(That's if Blog Team-Leader Welch ever returns from his adventures of last evening. Saturday night in New York City, and what does Welch do? He goes to Hoboken, New Jersey. I haven't heard from him since.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:33 AM | Comments (130)


October 9 has always been a happy day with lots to celebrate, but this year Australians will have to interrupt their Che Guevara is Dead! parties so we can vote for the leader of our nation.

Who's going to win - the sickly, often hospitalised candidate or his vibrant, healthy opponent? Nobody knows! The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age seem to think Mark Latham is favourite, which probably means he'll lose.

And here's another reason to bet on John Howard, who I think will win by a narrow margin -- although I'd be ecstatic with a Latham victory, simply for the entertainment it could provide. Then again, Latham might govern quite rationally; and he can always rely on his mother, Simon Crean, to help:

It’s the way Mark Latham keeps misremembering his boyhood that shows us what makes him dangerous. Take his recent speech to Labor's national conference.

"When I was young, my mum used to tell me there were two types of people in our street -- the slackers and the hard workers," he thundered.

In fact, his mum thought we were all either no-hopers or hard workers, as Latham explained in the draft of speech.

But then his shadow treasurer, Simon Crean, checked the draft, took out his red pencil and turned all those no-hopers into slackers -- presumably because he knew Labor delegates hate such judgmental language.

And that's what Latham ended reading out -- Crean's version of what Latham's mother said, and not the truth.

Today's editorial in The Australian summarises the election's main issues, and here's a useful shorthand guide to the Australian election process (minus all the stuff about ritual scarification, which we prefer to keep secret).

UPDATE. Melbourne blogger Alan Anderson breaks in to the SMH's op-ed pages! Excellent.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:45 AM | Comments (32)

August 29, 2004


"Kerry had momentum," sobs some stupid kid, "and now it's gone, all because of a Rove-engineered lie." There, there, little one. The ways of grown-ups are a mystery to you. Speaking of lies, here's the latest spam from the Kerry campaign:

Dear Friend,

Five days ago, we asked you to sign a petition demanding that George Bush call an end to the smear campaign and get back to the issues. Your voices were heard: 400,000 of you have already signed, with tens of thousands more signing each day. Thank you for making it clear that this election deserves a discussion of the issues, and not slander and character assassination.

As reader John D. points out, somebody forgot to inform the Kerry-friendly Portland Oregonian about this no-smear policy. The newspaper has dredged up news of a ten-year-old affair to discredit Swift Boat vet Alfred French:

Clackamas County prosecutor Alfred French, who called Sen. John Kerry a liar in a political commercial, acknowledged Thursday that he lied to his boss when confronted about an extramarital affair with a colleague.

Hours later, the Clackamas County district attorney's office said French had been placed on a 30-day paid leave while it conducts an investigation into his conduct.

French's former boss, James O'Leary, said he asked French about the rumored affair with a secretary about 10 years ago, but French denied it. O'Leary said he would have fired French if he'd admitted the relationship because it violated office policy.

French, who said he served in the same military unit with Kerry for two months in 1969, has come under intense scrutiny in the past week as the anti-Kerry ad has become a central issue in the presidential campaign. Suddenly, the well-respected Oregon prosecutor found himself the target of questions about his own credibility and the truthfulness of his statements against Kerry.

I wonder if French would have been a target if he'd been one of the few Swiftees who support Kerry.

(DU link via LGF)

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:07 AM | Comments (40)


The Kerry campaign has produced a wonderful map illustrating the links between the Swift Boat Dissenters and their Halliburton-financed neocon enablers within the Bush Reich House. Please post links in comments to your own Photoshopped versions of this map, possibly including the whereabouts of John Kerry's Magical Forbidden Mekong Super Hat of Thunder.

UPDATE. Mark Steyn:

My sense is that the Swiftvets have changed the dynamics of the race. With the candidate's retro braggadocio on ice for the foreseeable future, the Kerry campaign late on Friday revived that old favourite, the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, releasing a flow chart full of multi-coloured arrows showing that Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is a "close friend" of Merrie Spaeth, a public relations consultant to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Yawn.

UPDATE II. Dorkafork and Evil Pundit get with the Photoshoppy action.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:45 AM | Comments (37)


Can't think of anything to wear at Sunday's big NYC protest? Try this!

Meanwhile, a reader disguised as a wealthy Manhattan elitist plans to take part in the march and file a report afterwards, either to this site or to Reason's convention blog. These guys may figure prominently.

(Commies for Kerry link via the excellent Dawn Eden, one of a whole bunch of quality onliners met last night, including Elizabeth Spiers, Maccers, Oklahoma delegate Michael Bates, Nick Denton, and Wonkette -- in actual human non-cartoon form.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:40 AM | Comments (4)


Trouble has erupted at Barney the dog's official White House site, where Bush operatives are accused of suppressing Willie the cat:

Trish, from Portage, IN, writes: I have never seen the Cats Picture. I have no idea whats hes or she name is. Show more of the Cat. I am a Cat Lover.

Jimmy Orr, White House Internet Director: We have featured Willie the Cat twice (when we ran out of Barney photos). Willie is elusive and far harder to capture on film (kind of like the Loch Ness monster).

There's your WMD mystery solved. This administration has problems locating a housecat, much less anything buried in canisters in the desert.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:37 AM | Comments (13)


At least they've stopped calling it Flyover Country:

Piraro suggests breaking up the country into Eastern America, Western America and "everything in the middle can be Dumbistan. They can outlaw condoms, sex education -- anything they want."

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:39 AM | Comments (44)

August 28, 2004


Sorry for the lack of posts lately; I've been working on my costume and sign for Sunday's big peace rally in New York, and it's taken me days to dry out the palm leaves so I could make a proper conical hat. And don't even start me on the difficulties of finding a suitable Ao Dai in this place!

I'm going as a Vietnamese peasant, with a sign reading: "John Kerry Shot My Dad".

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:48 AM | Comments (84)


• Andrew Bolt notes the sheeplike qualities of Australian writers, and mentions in passing this historic literary gathering.

• Stand back as Currency Lad greets a new publication from Australia's old left, featuring an odious crybaby column from "the half Don Lane, half Richard Neville freak" Julian Nimio.

• This will make Naomi Klein happy. Charles Simmins scans the latest US census figures, and turns up some interesting stats: "The female to male earnings ratio is down for 2003, but the ratios for all three years of the Bush Administration are much higher than at any other time in history, with 2002 being the record year. The 2003 ratio of 75.5% is still much higher than the previous high, before Bush, in 1998 of 74.2%."

• "It looks like the swift boat ad is working." intones the left-leaning "Kerry is now dropping in the state polls as well as in the national polls."

• And from Byron York: "A new Gallup poll provides what might be the best measure so far of the effect the Swift Boat controversy is having on Sen. John Kerry's presidential candidacy. The poll, conducted August 23-25, shows Kerry's unfavorable rating at its highest point since Gallup began measuring Kerry's performance in February 1999."

• Robert Corr discovers that the Sydney Morning Herald is publishing a secret blog, authored by Kingstonite headcase Antony Loewenstein. It's been running for a few weeks now, but has no link from the main SMH page (or from the opinion page, or anywhere that I can see). Why does the SMH launch something like this and tell nobody about it?

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:30 AM | Comments (59)


Hey, Paul McGeough! Got a great story for you, pal! It looks like Ayad Allawi is now working for Moqtada al-Sadr!

In other Moqtard news, Norman Geras reports that Naomi Klein is completely fine with the Moqster's innovative reform plans. As Norm points out: "He's only a theocrat, after all, who wants to turn Iraq into a theocracy like Iran; he's not of the Republican Party."

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:56 AM | Comments (14)


The Guardian's John Sutherland turns out to be a good sport. He writes:

There is so much daily traffic on your website, you may not remember a hilarious trashing of a piece of mine in the Guardian, a few months ago. I found it by the masochistic device of googling "Sutherland"+"idiot". A depressing number of hits.

The head comment and email string are very funny and I certainly made some blush-making errors (breasts and all that). The "fundagelism" essay, isn't, I have to confess, a column of which I feel proudest. At least, not now. They all look good when you first see them in print.

The email barbs are very sharp. I wish they had been directed somewhere else.

I'm sorry not to have reacted earlier. We won't agree on opinion but I'll
certainly follow the action on your site with interest.


John Sutherland

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:44 AM | Comments (34)

August 26, 2004


Acting on Ken Layne's wise advice - "the last thing you want to do is remind people every day that John Kerry fought in Vietnam" - Mark Steyn persists in reminding people that John Kerry didn't fight in Cambodia. Few others are eager to pursue this story, however:

Would it be too much to expect so-called political journalists to investigate Kerry's Cambodian stories? You know, the way they did when the comparatively minor question arose of whether Bush was AWOL from his National Guard base three decades ago. Boy, The New York Times loved that one:

February 4: "Military Service Becomes Issue in Bush-Kerry Race"

February 11: "The President's Guard Service"

February 13: "Seeking Memories of Bush at an Alabama Air Base"

February 15: "Still the Question: What Did You Do in the War?"

As the Times put it, "Mr. Bush himself also made the issue of military service fair game by posturing as a swashbuckling pilot when welcoming a carrier home from Iraq."

Well, the other feller made his military service fair game by posturing as a swashbuckling Swift Boat lieutenant to the exclusion of the other 59 years and eight months of his life. The story now is not John Kerry's weird secret-agent fantasies but the media's willingness to act as elite guardians of them. They're his real "band of brothers," happy to fish him out of their water, even if their credibility sinks in the process.

Meanwhile, Kerry had this to say about the Bush administration's failings during an appearance on The Daily Show:

We angered everybody in the world.

Sure, it was just a throwaway line during a lame interview ... but a comment like that is just creepy.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:15 AM | Comments (110)


Check it out - Tom Tomorrow compresses every Democrat talking point on the war into a single cartoon.

I must have heard this script at least fifty times in the past few weeks. The line that impresses me most is that Iraq was a "distraction" from the "real terrorists" - one presumes he means al Qaeda - who now have "time to regroup". Reading that, you might imagine that the likes of Tomorrow supported the war in Afghanistan.

They didn't, of course. Back in '01, the war against the "real terrorists" was characterized by Tomorrow, for example, as "bombing Kabul back to the stone age" and "terrorizing" the "people of Afghanistan".

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:04 AM | Comments (41)

August 25, 2004


Hey, who needs celebrities when you've got NASCAR?

The 2004 Presidential election may be a statistical tie according to a poll earlier this month, but based on political contributions from people associated with NASCAR, it's a landslide victory for George W. Bush.

Among Republican NASCAR contributors: Bill France, Betty Jane France, Brian France, James France, Lesa France Kennedy, Mike Helton, Greg Penske, the hated Tony George (destroyer of the Indianapolis 500), Jerry Carroll, William Miller, Teresa Earnhardt (Mrs. #3), Joseph Hendrick IV, Dale Jarrett, and Darrell Waltrip.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:06 PM | Comments (34)


To your left. Underneath ads and such.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:22 AM | Comments (17)


Ralph Peters is no fan of George W. Bush:

The truth is that I'm appalled by Bush's domestic policies. I believe that the Cheney-Halliburton connection stinks to high heaven. And I'm convinced that Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld & Co. have done colossal damage to our military and to our foreign policy.

But don't get him started on John Kerry:

John Kerry lied. Without remorse. To advance his budding political career. He tarnished the reputation of his comrades when the military was out of vogue.

Now, three decades later, camouflage is back in the fall fashion line-up. Suddenly, Kerry's proud of his service, portraying himself as a war hero.

But it doesn't work that way. You can't trash those who served in front of Congress and the American people, spend your senatorial career voting against our nation's security interests, then expect vets to love you when you abruptly change your tune.

Kerry's tune-changing is now so constant as to be the theme of his campaign. Now the Kerryites are apparently conceding that their man's first Purple Heart may have resulted from an accidental self-inflicted injury:

Kerry received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered on December 2, 1968. But in Kerry's own journal written nine days later, he writes he and his crew, quote, "hadn't been shot at yet," unquote. Kerry's campaign has said it is possible this first Purple Heart was awarded for an unintentional self-inflicted wound.

If so, Chris Matthews should offer an apology to Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE. Mark Steyn:

Pat Oliphant, who appears in the Washington Post and many other newspapers, offered a cartoon showing the Swiftees as Bush-backing deadbeats sitting round a bar bitching: "I never seen Kerry do nothing hee-roic," says one loser. "Damn right," says another. "You and me was right there in latrine maintenance. We orta know."

The redneck spelling's a nice touch, ain't it? I wonder which of the anti-Kerry campaign's 254 Swift vets, including 17 of Lieutenant Kerry's 23 fellow officers, Oliphant thinks were in latrine maintenance. Maybe he's got in mind fellows like Paul Galanti, who appears in the latest anti-Kerry ad and whose plane went down over North Vietnam in 1966. He was held in the "Hanoi Hilton" Viet Cong POW camp until 1973. That's seven years getting tortured by the gooks, only to be mocked by some lame-o cartoonist as a redneck latrine operator.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:18 AM | Comments (34)


Andrew Bolt rounds up some sensational lefty quotes:

Murderer Anu Singh, about whom an unflattering book has been written: "The unfortunate thing about [the] book is that it seems to perpetuate this notion that people who commit crimes are bad, are evil."

Revolting author Bob Ellis: "I assume Saddam, a ruthless, ambitious fan of Stalin, did bad things and killed a lot of people in his time. But kill them pointlessly? I don't think so."

Unreadable crypt-dwelling Age columnist Ken Davidson: "Arguably . . . Iraq can only be held together by a monster."

Marx-sucking ABC presenter Terry Lane: "When they say 'Saddam was a very bad man' why should we believe them?"

Creepy Age movie reviewer Adrian Martin on the hideous anti-Semitic letters of David Hicks: "A mixture of homely familiarities and passionate declarations of his newly-adopted lifestyle".

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:08 AM | Comments (67)

51? 52?

Just like Hugh Mackay, former Labor leader Bob Hawke seems confused about the number of states in the US:

Mr Hawke hailed the Labor leader as the "larrikin" politician most likely to forge an independent foreign policy -- and not turn Australia into the "52nd state of the United States".

This Associated Press item covers for Hawke (or else the reporter in first item is one of the many Australians who for some reason think the US already has 51 states):

Mr Hawke said if John Howard was re-elected, Australia would simply be signing up to become the 51st state of America.

A trawl through newspaper archives would no doubt find several commentators who made this observation during Hawke's reign. It should disqualify people from public life.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:58 AM | Comments (53)

August 23, 2004


Ken Layne recently attempted to inform readers of a conversation we'd had regarding matters political.

Ken's recall of that conversation, possibly influenced by the excitement of a new stolen t-shirt, differs from mine. For example, Ken doesn't mention that for several sections of this "conversation" I was actually absent while he howled and jabbered in the darkness of his patio all by himself.

I'd get back from checking my email or phoning Sydney or, in one case, driving to the next county to pick up some car parts and find him still there, shouting at his invisible demons.

So I missed most of what he said. When I'd return, I'd just ask questions as though I'd been there all along. "What would you have done as President after September 11, Ken?" I ventured at one point. The bearded clothes-bandit wheeled around. "I wouldn’t have spent seven minutes reading to children, that's for sure!" he answered.

Ken is famous for his efficient use of time. Not a moment is wasted in the Layne household!

Slipping on some unpaid bills he'd thrown outside to soak up spilled wine, Layne spoke of a "media conspiracy" to silence the "fact" that John Kerry had an insurmountable lead in projected electoral college votes; turned out he'd earlier stumbled upon some website run by a prisoner or a drifter or a former member of his band and confused it with news.

Ken returned several times, like an unpopular girl checking the mailbox on Valentine's Day, to one theme: that we minions of Bush were fools to focus on John Kerry's Vietnam record. "You're only reminding voters that he served," Layne crowed. “You're helping Kerry get elected! You should STOP IT!"

Follow Ken's logic:

He does't want Bush re-elected; instead, he wants John Kerry to usher in a golden new era of love and prosperity. In order to achieve this, Ken advises the pro-Bush cabal to stop doing something Ken believes will deliver the result he craves.

Why would Layne urge an end to such a campaign? Because it's working.

You know, if Ken trusted his theory he'd be turning his own blog into the Wal-Mart of "John Kerry was a Vietnam faker!" sites. Every item would remind readers of Kerry's glorious record in Vietnam by highlighting the dozens of contradictions and puzzles to have emerged from Kerry's four Mekong months. Meanwhile, the Layne Gambit's collapse has caused Kerry to move from this:

If [Bush] wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on.

To this:

A new Kerry TV ad urged the president to "denounce the smear" and 'get back to the issues" because "America deserves better."

Wha’ happen to "Bring it on"? Suddenly it's Kerry who wants to avoid any mention of Vietnam.

Layne should have a word to him.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:22 PM | Comments (74)


A frightening metamorphosis awaits Australia if John Howard is re-elected, warns Margo Kingston, nowadays broadcasting her views in the manner of an opinionated homeless person:

If there are no consequences, then he will succeeded in being unaccountable to the people house, and therefore to his employers, the Australian people. If his employer's condone such behaviour by returning him to office, Australian politics will be transformed.

The people house! The people house! Why will nobody getting succeed unaccountable for the people house already? Do you know who does it? It is Jews! The employer’s.

Give me money for the bus home!

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:13 PM | Comments (48)


• Met Glenn Reynolds in Knoxville, where several vital issues were discussed, including: Why were biker chicks so hot in the '70s, and why aren't they hot now? And: how many staffers would you need to monitor all the blogs worth monitoring?

• Like, for example, the fine Questions and Observations group blog featuring Richmond, Virginia, radio identity Jon Henke (whose site, along with Currency Lad, is now added at left). Visited the Museum of the Confederacy today with Jon and his two-year-old Alec:

Jon: "What does it say about me that after just a few hours Alec prefers your company to mine?"

Me: "It’s all about parenting skills, Jon."

• Donate all your spare money to Andrea Harris! Or she will ban you!

• Ever wonder how Ray Smuckles got so rich?

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:13 PM | Comments (12)


Of the upcoming NYC Republican Convention, Mark Steyn writes:

One of the most agreeable aspects of the Republican Party is that there's minimal risk of running into celebrities.

Not so! Roger L. Simon will be there, determinedly running into as many people as he can. (Granted, Roger isn’t a “celebrity” in the usual sense, i.e. mentally ill and unable to read, but he’s the best we can expect.) Actually, I think we’ll see more than a few celebs at RepCon DeathFeast ’04 … mainly amongst the protesters. They’ll have to chant extra loud.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:56 PM | Comments (9)

August 20, 2004


Just a few quick notes before I go wandering around Memphis:

• Oklahoma City is cool.

• When in Oklahoma City, I advise seeking out the company of Frank Hill, Will Scovill, Kent Post and Meredith Milligan, who are fun company.

• Frank Hill, who appears to be only in his early-mid '50s, alarmed the entire group when he said: "Retirement sucks."

• Much thanks to Kent Post and his six-year-old daughter Sophie, who yesterday morning took me to the Murrah Building bombing memorial. It's an impressive, thoughtful design; as we walked into one of the final rooms, which contained photographs and tributes to all the victims, Kent turned to me and said: "This is the hardest part."

• Kent was right.

• Many apologies to the gang at the BBQ Shop in Memphis, gathered together last night by reader Mike Hollihan. A one-hour traffic delay outside of Little Rock (damn you, Clinton!) and other problems meant I missed a BBQ feast.

• Beale Street has the finest police station in the United States. It's a museum that doubles as a functioning police zone. Some of the photographs, of police and criminals from the 1920s-1950s, are screaming to be used as book covers.

After Memphis stroll ends, on to Knoxville.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:44 AM | Comments (67)

August 18, 2004


Rain and roadworks slowed me yesterday, so I arrived in Albuquerque too late for any interactive reader/drinky fun. Apologies. Here's a timeline of my night:

10.50 pm: Arrive. Exhausted. Seek out first downtown hotel with lights on.

10.55 pm: Check in to the Desert Sands, the early '60s grandeur of which has not so much faded as been Photoshopped entirely out. Heartbreakingly, an aerial photograph of the hotel in its prime - back in the days when they bothered to fill the swimming pool - hangs in the lobby.

11.15 pm: A disturbance downstairs; two tenants are being thrown out over some violation of Desert Sands rules. The night manager shouts something about "beer" and "the dumpster".

11.17 pm: Police escort the former tenants from the building. When one attempts to return, the night manager confronts him with a can of mace and yells: "Want to find out what this is?"

11.18 pm: Make note to self: avoid beer and dumpsters.

11.27 pm: Returning from an ATM, witness a third occupant being asked to leave. "Not so funny now, is it?" the busy night manager tells him.

11.35 pm: You know, I could really use a drink.

11.45 pm: Step into Sonny's, a biker bar minus any bikers. Group of stoners discussing the ideal housewarming gift decide on two options: "bread" and "lunchmeat".

12.10 am: Decide to poll stoners on their election choices:

David: "Kerry. Because Bush is a fuck."

Matt: "Kerry, because Republican trickle-down theories are pure crap." (Matt adds: "I also don't trust Kerry, because he's a lying son of bitch."

Brittney: "I'm not voting. I don't know enough about politics, and I wouldn't want to make the wrong choice."

12.25 am: Polling is interrupted by a waitress who places a crescent head screwdriver on the bar and tells patrons: "This was on the pool table." Nobody steps forward to claim it.

Chris: "Kerry, because the bigger concern now is education." Chris, 21 and extremely articulate, turns out to have an Australian adoptive parent and is very aware of Australian politics and history.

Ashley: "I haven't decided. I'm not really for Bush, but I don't think Kerry will do much better."

Kevin: "Kerry, because he's the lesser of two evils." Polling is subsequently suspended while Kevin, a noted local chef, explains his current speciality dish: Green chilli and cream cheese stuffed pork chops with orange/pineapple/jalapeno glaze.

1.10 am: Return to the Desert Sands. Yet another eviction is taking place. Discuss matters with the night manager, who reveals that he once unloaded an entire can of mace at a hostile customer only to have the man bust a postcard stand over his (the night manager's) head.

1.12 am: The postcard stand, in two pieces, is presented for examination.

1.15 am: What are these people doing to get thrown out all the time? "Let me show you," says the night manager, and we inspect the room from which three were earlier booted. There are perhaps 80-100 syringes on a bedside table, piles of empty beer cans on the floor, and an electric frying pan, showing recent evidence of attempted meal construction, lying next to a broken bicycle. If the Smithsonian ever displays a "Rolling Stones in 1972" retrospective, they could use this room as a life-slice exhibit.

1.20 am: Back in my room, I notice that while I was out the night manager has installed a brand-new security chain. God bless him.

Tonight, in Oklahoma City, the recommended bar is called Edna's. I have no idea yet where Edna's is, but will try to be there by 8.30pm. Presently in Tucumcari.

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:50 AM | Comments (112)

August 16, 2004


Several residents of the famed New Mexico city suggest via email that the Nob Hill area is the place to be. But which precise bar? Sort it out in comments while I'm driving.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:14 PM | Comments (59)


Just like John Kerry, I'm now on a cross-country tour. And just like John Kerry, each mile brings me nearer to Cambodia.

I'm currently in Reno, Nevada, where Ken Layne has made a foolish $100 bet with me on the US election result. He's asleep now, so in a few minutes I'll simply remove the cash from his wallet. This will save Ken the trouble of selling his car in November.

Here’s my Nearer to Cambodia tour schedule:

• Sunday August 15: Salt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Lake City on a Sunday night! Could life get any wilder?

• Monday August 16: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

According to cartoon folklore, a left turn is required somewhere around here.

• Tuesday August 17: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

It's in Oklahoma.

• Wednesday August 18: Memphis, Tennessee.

Home of Doctor Nick!

• Thursday August 19: Knoxville, Tennessee.

Everyone comes to Knoxville eventually.

• Friday August 20: Greensboro or Winston-Salem or Durham, Sou ... North Carolina.

Haven’t worked out where yet. Whichever is nearer to Cambodia, I guess.

• Saturday August 21: Richmond, Virginia.

Practically on the shore of the Mekong!

Most nights I plan to be in a bar in these places. If anyone cares to join me, please send an email. Also, advice on motels, bars, nuclear silos, secret briefcases, and local speeding laws would be appreciated. And Ken Layne needs $100, so send him some money!

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:41 AM | Comments (105)

August 15, 2004


Tim Dunlop reports a friend’s almost-collision with an aimless Washington identity:

He was heading home from work, riding his bike north along 19th Street towards Dupont Circle. Up ahead he could see a homeless guy clutching his shopping bags and ambling along the sidewalk. This guy registered with my friend because past experience had taught him that whenever he rides his bike, someone manages to step out in front him, and this guy seemed a likely candidate.

Sure enough, when he was nearly level with him, the guy he had spotted fulfilled my friend's prediction and stepped from the sidewalk into the path of the bike. Mentally prepared, but still a little shocked, my friend swerved safely out of the way, though he came awfully close to bowling the guy over. It was only at that moment of near-contact that he realised the guy in the dirty grey raincoat, carrying the pile of shopping bags and shuffling aimlessly across the street was in fact Ralph Nader.

And so could've ended third-candidate politics for the 2004 Presidential election.

Nader might’ve been removed years ago ... if Democrats drove SUVs.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:34 PM | Comments (18)


The Melbourne Age's circulation is up, and the Sydney Morning Herald's is down. Professor Bunyip explains why.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:30 PM | Comments (3)


Via Scott Canon of the Kansas City Star, John Kerry’s Cambodian concoction is reaching a wider mainstream audience:

John Kerry's "reporting for duty" salute at the Democratic National Convention last month emphasized the key biographical boast of his campaign — decorated combat service in Vietnam.

Now his repeated claim that he also weathered combat upriver in Cambodia has drawn harsh skepticism — driven by anti-Kerry veterans who star in a political commercial and book financed by Texas Republicans.

Armed with his magic CIA hat, Kerry will surely see off this latest threat. Who knows what other powerful devices he conceals within that mysterious, ever-present briefcase of his ... brie taster? Rich widow radar? Senate-attendance avoider?

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:29 PM | Comments (28)


Last week John Howard was coasting to victory; this week Mark Latham is a clear winner:

Soaring support among women, the under-35s and over-60s has propelled Labor into a stunning election-winning position, an exclusive Sun-Herald opinion poll reveals.

The sample of 600 in NSW and Victoria, taken on Monday and Tuesday nights, also reveals a growing restlessness with the phoney campaign, with more than half urging Prime Minister John Howard to call an election now.

"Soaring", "stunning", "phoney" ... the Sun-Herald seems to be playing this a little desperately, don’t you think?

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:26 PM | Comments (22)

August 13, 2004


George W. Bush misspeaks, and the press even as far away as Australia reports it, includes video links, and runs reader polls.

John F. Kerry misspeaks (to say the least) for decades, and the major press ignores it.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:24 AM | Comments (81)

August 12, 2004


Noted madman Richard Neville writes:

Truly, America is the most bloodthirsty nation on the face of post Stalin earth. It’s military, it’s government, its corporate carpetbaggers are sinking into such a swamp of deceit, denial and depravity that fair minded people the world over, including its own better informed citizens, can but recoil in horror. It’s as if the heart of darkness has become an American franchise, a Satan’s Starbucks, specialising in torture, invasions, illegal incarcerations, aerial bombardment (wedding parties a specialty) and war crimes.

Side dishes include cluster bombs, Geneva Convention busting, mini nukes and – in the words of disillusioned marines - "shooting anything that moves", often women and children. Military outlets ring the globe and will shortly span the stars. Its movie & media industry is, for the most part, a relentless engine of propaganda.

(Via Tex, who reminds readers: "Richard isn't just some conspirazoid headcase on the web. This idiot is actually a well-known and respected media commentator." All true, despite his problem with "it's".)

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:01 PM | Comments (81)


America’s most celebrated rubgy player is looking at a big win, according to one analysis. Meanwhile, Matt Welch and Jeff Jarvis are annoyed by people paying too much attention to John Kerry’s Swift Boat service, including daring Cambodian raids in 1968. Here’s Matt:

What I don't understand is how anyone professes to truly give a flip about what John Kerry and George Bush did 32 or 36 years ago.

It’s not so much what Kerry did 32 years ago; it’s what he’s been doing ever since, i.e. telling people how his magical hat accompanied him on some bogus Cambodian CIA gig. And this isn’t an example of what Matt describes as a presidential candidate merely “embellishing” his military experience. The Cambodian story has a point far beyond embellishing; it’s presented as evidence of deceit by a former Republican administration (as though there was a shortage of more believable examples of deceit regarding said administration).

What Kerry actually did 32 years ago isn’t part of why he’s being pursued over this. The Cambodia story didn’t happen, by all available accounts. But as recently as last year Kerry was using the story to promote his viability as a candidate. That’s why questions are being asked.

(Matt is only a few rooms away as I write this, still puzzling over my assertion that the sun can dry clothes. What is it with Californians? They’re always demanding alternative energy sources, but when one appears every day right above their heads they shun it in favour of an SUV-sized drying device running on nuclear- or oil-derived electricity. Planet-hating monsters.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:33 PM | Comments (55)


Who is buying all those copies of Margo Kingston’s book? Possibly the deep-thinking folks at the Australian League of Rights, whose site is currently promoting Margo’s masterwork:

BOOKS FROM THE MAILING SERVICES: 'Not Happy, John' by Margo Kingston: Solicitor, lecturer in business law and political commentator, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Margo Kingston thinks its crunch time for Australia. She tells us she isn't interested in the old, out-worn left-right rhetoric, what she is interested in is the urgent need for Australians to reassert the core values that once made this nation a humane, egalitarian, liberal democracy - the core values with which she agrees. We could agree with her on many issues.

Alerted to this, ungrateful No Thappy John functionaries issued a quick disclaimer:

NHJ does not support the aims, intentions or ambitions of the League of Rights.

Really? Perhaps the NHJers shouldn’t be too hasty. On at least one subject, the League of Rights and Margo sound very similar indeed:

The Australian League of Rights continued to hold meetings, conduct campaigns and seek publicity in its organs for its anti-Semitic analysis of domestic and international affairs. In January the weekly On Target warned that "Australian Zionists" exercised "destructive influence" and were able to do so because of "their mastery of Talmudic dialectics." In February it claimed that the "global program" of US "internationalists" (which it identified as a danger to Australia) was due to "Zionist Jews," including "Madeleine Albricht [sic]," the daughter of "the Jew Josef Korbel, a senior diplomat in the Czekoslovakian government before the collapse of Communism." The June issue of the monthly New Times asserted that the Jews of Germany had destroyed German traditional culture by 1848, and then imposed their plans on the US, which included flooding the country with immigrants, so that America would be dominated by "Jews who slavishly follow the Zionist program."

Now we know where Margo gets her progressive ideas.

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:19 PM | Comments (16)


The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough is peeved that US officials won’t drop everything so they can investigate his killer Allawi stories:

They did nothing in the wake of last month's Herald report of eyewitness allegations that the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, murdered six prisoners; and they refuse to act on a Red Cross report on systematic abuses at half-a-dozen Baghdad police stations, including the Al-Amariyah police centre where Allawi is alleged to have carried out the summary executions in the days before Washington gave him control of the country.

Authorities apparently require something a little more substantial than the vague and contradictory statements of two men as relayed by a declared opponent of the war before they begin investigating claims that the Prime Minister is a serial killer. Imagine! But not McGeough; despite having no more evidence of Allawi’s crimes now than he did when the SMH first published his fanciful story, the award-winning reporter declares him guilty:

It seems that if you have Washington's backing, you can get away with murder.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:28 AM | Comments (30)

August 11, 2004


The Byron Bay Echo has stunning news about double-agent Margo Kingston:

Her lengthy book includes website contributions, an examination of the Zionist lobby's influence (being Jewish, Kingston is on safer ground than many) and a full-frontal on the Tony Abbott-led 'Australians for Honest Politicians' that led to Hanson's jailing.

Kingston? Jewish? Well, that explains the whole Zionists rule the media thing - Margo was in on the deal the whole time! And the claim she doesn’t have a sense of humour? Just a clever ruse to avoid anyone making the link between her and a Jewish cultural stereotype. This infiltration is truly deeper than any of us imagined.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:01 PM | Comments (41)


Hey, Phillip Adams! Alan Ramsey! And all the rest of you gullible

You’d better move quickly, before these are all sold out!

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:36 AM | Comments (41)


Remember Barbra Streisand’s anti-Bush reworking of her magical hit song People? It expressed particular concern for fish:


Well, it turns out Bush isn’t to blame. The real villain is the common cormorant. According to The Independent, just a single one of these ocean-harvesting slaughterbirds will scarf down 30,000 tons of fish a year – or, as Scott Burgess points out, more than 82 tons every day.

The fishes are dying in the world, people. And what is the UN doing about this cormorant-led speciescide? Absolutely nothing at all.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:57 AM | Comments (31)


Who’s the military man with the lucky hat and the invisible gun? Why, none other than John Kerry, on a special mission in Cambodia:

There's a secret compartment in Kerry's briefcase. He carries the black attaché everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case.

"Who told you?" he demanded as he reached inside. "My friends don't know about this."

The hat was a little mildewy. The green camouflage was fading, the seams fraying.

"My good luck hat," Kerry said, happy to see it. "Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."

Kerry put on the hat, pulling the brim over his forehead. His blue button-down shirt and tie clashed with the camouflage. He pointed his finger and raised his thumb, creating an imaginary gun. He looked silly, yet suddenly his campaign message was clear: Citizen-soldier. Linking patriotism to public service. It wasn't complex after all; it was Kerry.

He smiled and aimed his finger: "Pow."

That year-old Washington Post profile appears at Kerry’s campaign website, so presumably it’s an Officially Approved version of the Kerry-in-Cambodia story. It also contains this stirring line: "I'm running for president of the United States because I really believe it is time for this country to ask again, 'Why not?'"

(Byron York has more on Kerry’s secret agent career, while Instapundit is rounding up all the blogger coverage – including this excellent Kerry/Cambodia primer. Oh, and Mark Steyn has a must-read column, too.)

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:25 AM | Comments (34)


The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline: "Don't tax the rich, says Bush". And the story, sourced from AFP and Reuters:

There is no point taxing the rich because they just dodge their tax bill anyway, President George Bush said.

"Real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes," Mr Bush said on Monday during a campaign stop in suburban Washington.

Consider the evolution of that headline. First, you have Bush speaking about comparative rates of taxation, and the effects of a "rich-only" tax on the relatively non-wealthy:

Just remember, when you're talking about, oh, we're just going to run up the taxes on a certain number of people -- first of all, real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes. (Laughter.) And the small business owners end up paying a lot of the burden of this taxation.

This gets reduced to the assumption apparent in the first paragraph; that there’s no point taxing the rich. Which Bush clearly didn’t say. From there, it’s a short stroll to a headline that paints Bush as advocating a taxless existence for his vile billionaire cronies. The Sydney Morning Herald is getting worse by the day.

Posted by Tim Blair at 09:07 AM | Comments (17)

August 10, 2004


Mark Latham spent last week attempting some form of FTA-related cleverness. It was very boring, and now people don’t like him:

The Howard government has opened up a clear lead in the federal election race, with a new poll showing the Coalition commanding 54 per cent of the vote.

Is the poll accurate? Will Latham alter his strategy? Might the government announce an election? Who cares! Time to go to Malo.

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:18 PM | Comments (24)


Journalists are worthless scum. Meanwhile, in other media news:

• Marian Wilkinson’s selectivity is explored by the resourceful Professor Bunyip.

• Guzzle pundit Bob Ellis rails against "greedy Texas Christo-fascists" and considers offering $400 to anybody who can supply him with "one statement of John Howard's that over time proved wholly true." What’s the going rate for a truthful Ellis statement, Bob?

• And a discrimination case brought by disgruntled Age employee Aileen Keenan has heard several interesting claims about the way that strange newspaper operates. Hopefully we'll hear from Antony Catalano as the case continues.

Posted by Tim Blair at 12:27 PM | Comments (20)


Somehow I don’t think Alison Broinowski is the right person to be demanding truth from the Howard government.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:29 AM | Comments (18)


One of Australia’s weirdest vice-regal appointments has quickly flamed out:

The Tasmanian Governor, Richard Butler, resigned last night to end what he called a "malicious campaign" against him and his wife over their behaviour in the vice-regal role.

After three hours of crisis talks at Government House with the state's Premier, Paul Lennon, Mr Butler issued a statement saying the furore that had engulfed him in recent days would damage the "good name of Tasmania".

Who'll replace him? My wish: David Boon.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:24 AM | Comments (33)


In Los Angeles, imposing on Matt Welch and Emmanuelle Richard. Read Emmanuelle’s multilingual account of last night’s all-blog BBQ extravaganza, which featured spectacular contributions from Tony Pierce, among many others.

Posted by Tim Blair at 10:20 AM | Comments (10)

August 07, 2004


First he was in favour of reading the book, and then he was against it:

Sen. John Kerry yesterday said he wouldn't have stuck around to read to children after learning of the September 11 attacks, directly criticizing President Bush's actions that day.

"First of all, had I been reading to children, and had my top aide whispered in my ear, 'America is under attack,' I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had business that he needed to attend to, and I would have attended to it."

Show pony. How would Kerry have "attended to it"? Thrown his medals at the remaining hijacked aircraft? Testified before Congress? Hugged Max Cleland? Rudy isn’t impressed:

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani responded, "John Kerry must be frustrated in his campaign if he is armchair quarterbacking based on cues from Michael Moore." Mr. Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" chides the president for remaining with the students instead of leaving immediately upon hearing of the second attack.

Leave aside that if Bush had rushed from the room, possibly leaving the children confused and upset, Moore would have accused him of not projecting strength and calm. Consider instead Moore’s reaction to a dilemma of his own, over which he delayed not a mere seven minutes, but several months:

Filmmaker Michael Moore says he had footage of prisoner abuse in Iraq long before the atrocities captured international attention, but decided to stay quiet until his new movie came out. Now he's questioning that decision.

"I had it months before the story broke on '60 Minutes,' and I really struggled with what to do with it," Moore told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I wanted to come out with it sooner, but I thought I'd be accused of just putting this out for publicity for my movie. That prevented me from making maybe the right decision."


UPDATE. Via comments, John Kerry’s response to September 11:

Sen. Kerry, who criticized President Bush for not rushing out of the Florida classroom for seven minutes, sat paralyzed with his colleagues for a full forty minutes. He is hardly in a position to criticize President Bush for "inaction."

Says one thing, does another. Becoming a theme, isn’t it?

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:16 AM | Comments (164)

August 06, 2004


George W. Bush stumbles during a speech, so the Sydney Morning Herald runs it on the front page, provides video of the incident, and conducts a reader poll.

Imagine how they'd react if Bush said something really stupid, like "Zionists control Australia and the US".

UPDATE. From The Age, the SMH's sister paper: "Anti-Kerry ad mars presidential campaign"

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:48 PM | Comments (90)


The Australian's Imre Salusinszky dukes it out with the Sydney Morning Herald's Margo Kingston. An email discussion between the pair follows:

Imre: Still not happy, Margo! In response to the "postings overboard" revelations, you wrote: "As often happens with ethics codes, a conflict can sometimes arise and a judgment must be made." Well thank you, Peter Reith! And this, from the journalist who can read an entire conspiracy into a barbecue invitation list! From the journalist who has pinned her colours to the mast of ethical virtue! Has it ever once occurred to you to apply even a modicum of the standards you demand from others to yourself? You also wrote: "The removed material, in my view, is not relevant to the debate over the comment which has generated the debate." Oh please! It was all too relevant, which is why you secretly removed it, in direct contravention of your own code of ethics. You knew full well that your "throwaway line" excuse for claiming the Zionist lobby controls politics and the media would be undercut by this later, fully considered statement on the "obvious" fact the lobby chooses who will be Prime Minister of Australia. And you seriously expect us to believe that in two complete postings devoted to your original gaffe (July 26 and 27), there was no occasion to inform readers that other material on the same topic had been removed? (By the way: now that we know you did publish a more substantial theory about the hidden power of the Zionists, are you going to apologise for that, too? No, I guess you’re not, because all you’re really apologising for is offending people, and it wasn’t up long enough to offend many. You have no intention of apologising for the fact your views on this matter are silly, prejudiced and wrong.)

You told us 2004 would be the year you achieved "inner calm through articulation of my core values and living those values on a daily basis". Is that what it felt like, Margo, when you slunk back to your archive by darkness of night ("when few if any people would have read it") and started scrubbing? And yet, after this whole Nixonesque escapade, you’re still berating "big media" journalists as "stupid, ignorant, or corrupt". Credit where credit’s due, Margo -- you’ve got more front than Myers!

Margo: Hi Imre. As you know, I've closed this topic. Our records show that the Rubenstein piece was last edited at 11.44pm on Friday, the date of publication.

Imre: Hi Margo. No, I didn’t know that. Where was it announced? Anyway, I guess we’re going to restore democracy in Australia by lies and censorship!

Margo: Thank you for the insult.

Imre: No – thank you for providing an honest, independent and "open" alternative to the "big media".

It's interesting that leftoid bloggers have mostly avoided mentioning Margo's anti-Israel outburst. For that matter, it's interesting that Margo still has a job.

UPDATE. It continues!

Margo: I've devoted two Webdiary entries to this controversy and published every critical email for publication at that time. I've retracted part of what I've said, and explained what I meant. I published your email and answered your questions. In the last entry on the matter I said I had promised myself to write nothing further on it. If if think me dishonest, not independent and closed, fine. That's your view. Perhaps you could point me to a mainstream media forum which is more open, more transparent, more independent and goes out of its way to publish views critical of the journalist and his/her work.

Having responded to your call and first twom emails professionally, I'm not happy, Imre, that you've responded with contempt and gratuitous insults. So be it. I will not reply to further contact from you.

Imre: These aren’t "gratuitous insults" at all – I’m accusing you of deceptive conduct and bad faith, in precisely the way you routinely do of others, including me (read over some of Mr. Robertson’s tasteful postings on the moral climate at News Ltd, in which we’re called "His Lie Master’s Apprentices"). So I have to say, this is extremely precious behaviour from someone who so loves to dish it out. If Webdiary is so open and transparent, how come you’re closing the discussion down? You say you’ve "promised yourself" you’d write no more on the subject. Fine, don’t. Just publish my email!

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:22 PM | Comments (27)


Have the Olympics started yet? Well, here’s an Australian Olympic story anyway.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:47 PM | Comments (9)

August 05, 2004


We've come a long way since the beginning of 2003, when Margo Kingston vowed to seek inner calm:

For me, I hope last year was the last when anger, frustration and despair ruled my professional psychology. When you don't like what's happening around you, you can burn out with impotent rage or you can retreat to a space you feel you can control. I'm looking for a third way this year - inner calm through articulation of my core values and living those values on a daily basis. I'll try to be more measured in my observations, and will refuse to lose hope. That includes switching the emphasis on Webdiary from finding fault and railing against the horror around us to looking for the key disagreements on issues, searching for some consensus, and looking for solutions.

One of Margo's recent "measured observations", of course, is that Jews control everything. And here's more consensus-seeking from caring Kingston, in today's tragic Webdiary instalment:

Lots of political commentators write that Mark Latham is concentrating on the “little things” and avoiding the big issues. Are they stupid, ignorant, or corrupt?

Way to channel that impotent rage, Margo! Being neither stupid, ignorant, or corrupt herself, Margo is able to offer the only clear-eyed judgment of Latham's worth:

He’s fighting hard, our Mark, against powerful interests few would take on, for us, the people.

Our Mark? Oh, Latham must be ever so proud to have won Margo's endorsement. The government should hail this new alliance in a series of campaign ads: Vote for Mark Latham, official candidate of the barking mad Saddamist Left!

August 04, 2004


I knew I'd seen John Kerry's famous convention phrase somewhere before ...

Posted by Tim Blair at 01:49 PM | Comments (57)


Conversation with a Kerry campaigner, cnr Broadway and 87th:

Campaigner: "Hello, sir! Would you like to help elect John Kerry as the next President of the United States?"

Me: "No. Hey, how come the question has changed? Last week you were asking if people wanted to 'help defeat George W. Bush.'"

Campaigner: "We're trying a more positive strategy, sir. More upbeat. Plus, you know, until last week we couldn't really say 'elect John Kerry' because he hadn't been officially nominated."

Democrats have been running these street campaigns since April. My interviewer's clipboard still bears a sticker from the pre-positive era: "BEAT BUSH!"

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:09 AM | Comments (38)


The Australian Labor Party has announced that it broadly supports the proposed free trade agreement with the US. This is distressing news for Margo Kingston; why, she wonders, would Labor leader Mark Latham agree to such a thing? Webdiary oracle Robert Bosler -- in a piece promoted on the SMH website's front page -- explains:

Firstly, we need to understand the political climate we are in. Idealism is great for use as the overall measuring stick, and we must remain centred there. We have of course been removed, and in fact removed ourselves by allowing it, from a place anything near ideal. So, what is really going on?

I don't know, Robert. Something to do with Jews? Ask Margo.

The mass mind is known also for the fact it is impressed upon. While individual viewpoints exist, these exist because of what is given to that mind, whereby that mind has its thoughts shaped by what is given to it. There is, if you like, no deeper or clearer insight made by that individual mind, and it enmeshes into the mass.

Imagine the individual mind that reads this and thinks: "Wow! Here's something for the front page!" Bosler next considers what may occur when an election is called:

Mark Latham is then more of an equal contender. He is not now. He may be regarded as such, but in terms of power, he is not, not now. And then as the general public grows in interest, he breathes more energy. The more interest from the general public, the more energy. With energy, comes greater focus and power and forthrightness, for the one who is in contention, regardless of how much of those things he had before: the key has been thrown onto the table, and that gives energy naturally to the one who would pick it up.

This explanation doesn't satisfy Margo, who accuses Latham of "collapsing the energy [he] has built up among citizens". At this point the piece dissolves into a Beckett-like existential discussion between two people who have no idea where they are, what they're doing, or why they're alive. Also, one of the characters speaks in the all-knowing voice of a television kung-fu wizard:

Margo: Why did he do this, Robert. Why?

Sensai Bosler: Mark Latham has not collapsed the energy built up among citizens. He has collapsed the illusion he was anything but a politician. Of course he has made mistakes; we all knew he would. But the energy you speak of has not been collapsed. Further, what has been collapsed is the illusion that we would immediately and from this terribly divided national condition, exacerbated for nearly a decade by Howard, fight on the grounds of an ideal national way. That is not the playing field we are on.

The energy you are speaking of is a latent energy. You and your readers will find in him more of what you are seeking at that moment.

Bosler has spoken. Be at peace, my children.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:08 AM | Comments (55)

August 03, 2004


Contrary to my earlier post, it looks as though John Kerry has in fact gone backwards:

Democrat John Kerry got no poll bounce at all from the Democratic convention and actually lost ground as President Bush moved into a tiny 4-point lead, according to a stunning new Gallup Poll.

Gallup — the polling company that is the historic standard in tracking the convention bounce — said it's the first time since 49-state loser George McGovern in 1972 that a nominee failed to get a convention bounce.

This happy news will come as a shock to these guys:

When asked who would be a better president, the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1.

If Kerry can relocate those Washington-based journalists to key battleground states around the US, he might have a shot at winning.

Posted by Tim Blair at 06:40 AM | Comments (49)


Queensland's Tom Knox, in a letter to The Australian, points out yet another Mike Moore misrepresentation:

The movie Fahrenheit 9/11 asserts the children of US congressmen are under-represented in US forces in Iraq.

There are 300 million Americans; 130,000 US troops in Iraq; 535 congressmen and women; and at least five children of congressmen serving in Iraq.

Thirty seconds of intellectual effort shows that children of US congressmen are very over-represented in Iraq; but 30 seconds is way over the capacity of admirers of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:22 AM | Comments (117)


US troops are getting in a little Halloween practice at the home of Moqtada al Sadr.

Posted by Tim Blair at 03:13 AM | Comments (14)

August 02, 2004


Mark Steyn identifies Ben Affleck's genius for word selection:

On TV the other night, young Mr Affleck offered a pearl of wisdom to Mr Kerry and his consultants: "You have to enervate the base," the Hollywood heartthrob advised solemnly. If it's enervating the base you're after, John F Kerry would seem to be the perfect candidate.

Days after Kerry's speech, I'm still enervated.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:52 PM | Comments (74)


I'll be on Radio National's Counterpoint show in a few minutes with host Michael Duffy and a panel of important discussers. We'll be discussing something important.

MID-INTERVIEW UPDATE. Man, who is this Juliana woman? The one talking about collage?

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:11 PM | Comments (20)


My Reason convention team-leader Matt Welch on our time at Democrat double-fantasy camp:

I have been gratified to learn that some people out there found our Reason coverage to be at least worth noting, and sometimes good for a laugh. It’s the consolation prize for what was really one of the most infuriating and difficult weeks I’ve ever experienced. New York, I can assure you, will be at least 300% better.

Mainly because something will actually happen there, whether it be speeches that might offer a policy besides "If we are attacked, well, we'll fight back, eventually, if Europe allows us" or wildcat rioters storming hamburger joints because they think Ronald McDonald is really Dick Cheney. Matt did all of the heavy lifting in Boston; I think he was hoping for someone to make a series of substantial points, but by the end of day two he looked like this and was becoming visibly agitated by my serial raids on the Reason expense account.

Anyways, Matt's work was terrific; whatever valuable fragments could be retrieved from the collision of evasion and assertion that was DemFest 2004, he got 'em. I came away from the convention with my usual number of thoughts (one). This is it: George W. Bush can run on his record. John Kerry can't.

Posted by Tim Blair at 05:04 PM | Comments (49)


More good news from Iraq via the tireless Arthur Chrenkoff. You'd think a newspaper would've begun running a series like this by now.

Posted by Tim Blair at 04:03 PM | Comments (21)


Margo Kingston possibly imagines that interest in her global conspiracy-mongering -- "the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia" -- has faded. It hasn't. Let's review things so far:

First, Margo announced her bold theory. The response of readers (and SMH staff) surprised her:

Obviously, I did not mean what many people believed I meant. I am not anti-semitic, and I thought what I wrote was a statement of fact. Is there a language problem here?

Note the bewildered tone, continued throughout that post. What I say? Then, after maybe getting a clue, Margo begged forgiveness:

I unreservedly retract my statement that fundamentalist Zionists "control" politics and the media in Australia.

Her "statement of fact" quickly morphed into something quite different:

I'm inexperienced in this debate, which I avoided before Ashrawi and have promised myself I will never enter again! It was a throwaway line that I deeply regret.

If Margo is "inexperienced in this debate", why did she enter it with such lunatic abandon? The blundering doofus then removed the "throwaway line" from Der Webendairystufel:

I have removed my response to this question after extreme sloppiness in my use of language caused offence to many readers.

Wrong. Margo's sloppiness didn't offend; her readers are used to that. No, people were upset by Margo's uncharacteristic precision. You can't get more precise than this: "The fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia." The Age's Pamela Bone was among the disgusted:

In Australia, swastikas on mosques and graffiti on a Sydney freeway saying "Jews make good lampshades". On the website of a respected journalist, the allegation that "the fundamentalist Zionist lobby controls politics and the media in the US and Australia". Strange that I've been in the media in Australia for 25 years and no one from this lobby has tried to control what I write.

Imre Salusinszky -- warning: Jewish! -- at The Australian then discovered that Margo had deleted earlier remarks on the debate she admits knowing little about. Specifically, these:

Far from protecting Jewish people against future atrocities, the Fundamentalist Zionist lobby is actually promoting anti-Semitism by its actions and tactics. Neither major party in either country is game to protest, because the power of the lobby is such that careers can be ruined. It is becoming increasingly obvious that John Howard is the lobby's strong choice to win the election, and that means big money and big power will be behind him.

Big money. Big power. Big Zion! Margo's unannounced deletion contravened Official Webdiary Rule #3827, which states that alterations to archives will be declared to readers. Her excuse was masterful:

Soon after publishing the item concerned on Friday night, I read an email from a work colleague who had found my comment in the previous day’s entry On the road again offensive. I then looked at the Rubenstein piece and cut out everything which I thought could conceivably offend anyone. I have no wish to personally offend people on Webdiary.

As often happens with ethics codes, a conflict can sometimes arise and a judgment must be made. Do I keep the lines I’d taken out in and cross them out? Or do I delete them and note that I’ve deleted unspecified material? Since the piece had not been published for long, and was published at night, when few if any people would have read it, I chose to leave it at that. So I breached one ethic to protect another.

Beats me what she means by "do I keep the lines I'd taken out in and cross them out"; reads like something Dr. Seuss might scribble after a visit from Samuel Coleridge. As for "I chose to leave it at that"; at what? Margo didn't leave the line there -- she erased it. Which ethic was she protecting? Margo doesn't say.

In unrelated news, Media Watch will be fun tonight.

UPDATE. Naturally, nothing from Media Watch on Margo's meltdown. But they did cover a three-week old celebrity controversy already comprehensively dealt with by Spin Starts Here and Out With The New.

Posted by Tim Blair at 02:05 PM | Comments (44)


Evil Republican operative Tom Ridge outlines the Bush administration's controversial new international relations policy:

"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a briefing with journalists. "That would be a primary means of attack," he said.

Can't say he didn't warn them. Meanwhile, the mood here in NYC is exactly as it was prior to the latest warnings of possible terrorist attacks. Requests that people "carry on as normal" are massively redundant.

Posted by Tim Blair at 11:43 AM | Comments (21)

August 01, 2004


Well, at least he didn't go backwards:

Coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Sen. John Kerry now holds a seven-point lead over President George W. Bush in a three-way race with independent Ralph Nader, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Three weeks ago, Kerry's lead was three points.

Kerry's four-point bounce is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll.

Half the poll was taken before Kerry's "Help Is On The Way" speech, which may actually inflate this bounce a little. By the way, if John Kerry is the guy America turns to for "help", what are America's problems? Can't tie a reef knot? Bicycle keeps falling over? Wife nuts?

Posted by Tim Blair at 07:10 AM | Comments (64)