2.02.2002

BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Andrew Sullivan: The more you learn, the more you recoil in disgust; I want my Enron bribe!; controversial goshekap letter; purebred welfare beagle; Albright anger is another good sign for Bush; resale rage; God and gays

Glenn Reynolds: Virginian gagster exposed; Gitmo media mistreatment; NYC protesters scared away by slightly unpleasant weather; EU's grim Mugabe stance; the future is Soledad; Den Beste in searing form; Harvard teeters on brink; Rall and Fisk have set idiocy bar too high; when common culture is ignored, corpses pile up; leftist intolerance

Natalie Solent: Link farm; Bush knows how to work a crowd; delighted children greet "brutal Afghan winter"; sell your weasel coats

Matt Welch: Americanism busting out all over; new Welch supergroup's latest; finding intelligent common ground with bozo people; valuable drunk-burying guide; Sontag makes humour attempt

Bjørn Stærk: Treatment of woman the key difference between West and the rest; fabled funny hate borrowed by wacky Wahhabs; Israeli building not blown up; care for Norway, all of you; Morten Strand outlines awesome Norwegian responsibility

Rand Simberg: Sudanese atrocity; no Winter Olympics for Rand; my name is Joshua Skolnic, and I'm a Bubbaholic; Albright all but right; Instapundit's power

Virginia Postrel: Go, Sam, go!; new Postrel column in NYT

Ken Layne: No Logo, No Protest; anarchists are actually bullies; fearful news about Daniel Pearl; I will wreak vengeance on Eudora; tubes of delicious fat; genuine HYC protests difficult to tell from mock protests

Shiloh Bucher: Winona charged; Will Wilkinson puts the left in a (large) nutshell; Know Your Rights, INS rabble

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Japanese happy-spending down; Krugman slowed by Krugmania; Yahya the surly co-worker walks free

James Lileks: Burger sensibilities affronted; cartoon booze hounds; Durante lives; sauce world inverted; buy Kick'rs, or the terrorists have won

Iain Murray: Verdict in on jury trials; multiculturalism a root cause; Altman's cinematic ode to rotters and cads a frightful bore

Jay L. Zilber: Complicated Sullivan has closed his mind

Bill Quick: Don't get tricky about Dickie; what the world needs now …; SF Chron reader confuses sexual and fiscal conservatism, and probably thinks himself smart for doing so; Chelsea's steamy Oxford passion; begin the Blogger dissertations, eggheads

Christopher Johnson: Nice things about the French; all your bases are belong to Rhodesians; correct the "market drifts" and sing along!

Jason Soon: Bush wrong on fetus rights; Jason not about to become a suicide bomber

James Morrow: "The Jews are Bloodsuckers and Will Yet Conquer America"; what you talking 'bout, Kit?; global burger shortage

Hey, Hey, LBJ

How manyBlogsdid youWatchtoday?

2.01.2002

THIS MIGHT BE the most promising Blog debut in history. Juan Gato's Bucket o' Rants promises a "bunch of crap from a moron", contains links to people who Gato admits he doesn't know, won't ever know, and has nothing to do with, and declares that with the birth of his Blog, Gato's "journey to loser is complete."

Something strange and possibly good might be about to happen here.

IF ONLY GEORGE W. BUSH WAS BLACK, AND BIT PEOPLE: The Guardian's main editorial today is a by-the-numbers assault on Dubya, warning against "conservative Republicanism set dangerously loose in September 11's aftermath", among other things.

A second, smaller editorial defends Mike Tyson. "In condemning him for his wrongs, we should not forget that there is something about him that is also almost tragic," The Guardian claims. The paper describes Tyson as a "victim", which would be news to the people he's variously bitten, beaten, and raped.

So that's how a rich, violent American gets good press from The Guardian: by having the good fortune to be born a certain colour. Yet in its anti-Bush rant, the paper accuses the President of viewing the world in a simplistic, "black-and-white way". The Guardian should know.

STUPID WORLD vs. REAL WORLD

In which the forces of normal do battle with the forces of dumb

This week: 60,000 World Economic Forum protesters in New York take on Brian K., of Kansas

Stupid World:"If we back down now, we'll send the message that the globalisation movement has been scared quiet. I think it's more important to come together and put our message out, knowing full well the media may spin it in such a way that's unfavourable, but that's a chance I think we have to take." – Brooke Lehman, member of Another World Is Possible, one of the anti-globo, anti-McDonald's, anti-Nike goon squads assembling in New York.

Real World: "I work at the County Sheriff's Department from midnight to 0800 in the morning. On my way to work, I became hungry." – reader Brian K., of Kansas, via email

Stupid World: "It's a brilliant PR move, to essentially dare the anti-globalisation movement to do anything in confrontation with the NYPD. The minute a provocateur puts a brick through a window in Manhattan, the media will grab onto it and that'll be the story. In the post-September 11 climate, this is a trap." – Mike Dolan, of the anti-globo Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, New York.

Real World: "The ice has been intense. There is inches of it on tree limbs and power lines. All schools and colleges and universities in the area were closed, as were most businesses, except for the 24hr stores." – Brian K., Kansas

Stupid World: "We feel like we're under some obligation to do something, and to show that if you can do it now, in New York, you can do it anywhere. It's scary, they're going to kick our asses, but we've got to do it anyway." – David Graeber of Anti-Capitalist Convergence, New York

Real World: "There was only one place on which I could rely. McDonald's. Open late, and always fast, friendly service. I entered the shoveled parking lot and pulled up to the drive-thru where the workers (mostly hard-working Mexican immigrants making a nice $10/hr) had cleared all tree limbs. Just so that I could get a hamburger for 29 cents! The cashier greeted me with a smile and sincerely wished me well. After arriving at work, I opened the much-welcomed sack of food to find that they had given me free fries and an extra burger!" – Brian K., Kansas

Real World: 2 (includes bonus point for extra burger)

Stupid World: 0

BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Andrew Sullivan: Arthur Andersen, heal thyself; Catholic crimes covered up; Brit press referee an Enron man; trembling before a fine film; Ledeen on Dubya's "zingers"; achingly good Wash Post report on Bush post-Sept. 11 …

… let's break with Blog Watch protocol. Here's an excerpt from the Post's account, here covering Bush's meeting with victims of the attack on the World Trade Center:


The families gave him a round of applause when he came into the area. Then suddenly it was so silent that only the ventilating system could be heard, whirring in the background. It was a potentially awkward moment for Bush, who wasn't sure how to approach people. The families didn't know what to do either.

Finally, Bush waded into the crowd. "Tell me about yourself," he said to one person, and then another and another. Each time he heard the same story. Every one of them, he would say later, "believed that their loved one was still alive."

Many in the room were crying. The president was teary-eyed as he made his way from one family to the next. One man, cradling a child in his arms, was carrying a picture of his brother, a firefighter who had been killed. The child pointed at the photograph and said simply, "My uncle."

An hour or so into the session, Bush seemed to regain some of his buoyancy. There were bursts of laughter from some of the relatives of the missing as he continued, for two hours, to move among them. Bush spoke with every family.



… and back to Blog Watch: Steve Bell claims the Ted Rall trophy; Conason-Sully agreement

Glenn Reynolds: Tennessee sun; I Will Bash Who Deserves To Be Bashed; markets and war, and Virginia; Robert Fisk headlines "hilarious and pathetic"; don't dare corral my German horses

Natalie Solent: French tough to like; bring on the profiling, already; awe at American seriousness over State of U speech

Matt Welch: Welch is the Blog Catalyst; D.A. Blogger; fact checking Pilger's fact checker; Kinsley earns cash, social cachet from business ties; Genoa will be as nothing compared to the rage of New Yorkers confronted with anti-globo kids; United gets the finger

Rand Simberg: Stalinist space plan; President Kim Il Sung secures loach soup for grateful followers; Jesus lawsuit

Ken Layne: Afghanistan reviewed; Salon article may be worth reading (but still not worth buying); what's the deal with the SF shoe fellow?; Havrilesky's sass-mouth; hunting the ever-elusive Unablogger

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Can't load site! Update later

Margo Kingston: She (we gave her most of our lives)

is leaving (sacrificed most of our lives)

home (we gave her everything money could buy)

She's leaving home after living alone

For so many years. Bye, bye
… but she's returning on my birthday. Great

James Lileks: Pampers hunting; some men will never buy a doll, but then again some folk’s’ll; Friedman Pulitzer tip; everything is happy, funny and happy, until Aaron McGruder arrives; so very brave, Mr. McGruder

Jay L. Zilber: Hot elbow action; literature warning

Rallying Point: Tappet brothers noisy, need replacing

Christopher Johnson: Whiskey votes are in

Jason Soon: No Fatah Chicks; Israel's Stern gang plan; are you ready for the country, docs?

James Morrow: Elvis done in by low birth weight, not high death weight; human rights groups silent on human rights issues; Turks cool

I coulda been most anything

I put my mind to be

But theBlog Watch life

Was the only life for me

It's a strong man's occupation,

Watching Blogs and running free

But a shrewd man will prevail

Where a strong man often fails

I'm an old man now, with nothing left to say

But oh God, I've sureWatched some Blogs today

COUNTER opinions are now emerging from within Australia's Immigration Department, accused of racism and brutality over treatment of asylum seekers detained at Woomera. One besieged Immigration Department staffer – who cannot be identified, lest she/he be fired/executed – sends the following, via a trusted contact:


"Conditions at Woomera were pretty good: clean rooms, air conditioning, clean linen, good food, musical instruments, computers, TVs. That was until the first group of rioters smashed the instruments, computers, TVs etc, then invited the 'shocked!' press in to photograph people sitting around listlessly because their musical instruments, computers and TVs had been smashed.

"The rioters (a small group of men who have made trouble since the git-go) also smashed the windows, leaving the place impossible to aircondition properly, and the poor 'victims' complaining (to an eager press) that they were cold at night.

"The child who became Exhibit A for 'abuse' showed every sign of having been coached. Can't say that, though, children are beyond criticism, and no parent would do that to a child. Not before sewing his lips together, anyway.

"Before they were offloaded at Nauru (what a brilliant stroke that was!) the passengers on the Manoora turned the ship into a manure heap, smearing the interior with feces and necessitating an expensive refit.

"All these facts were made available to the press, which for some reason
neglected to print them, or carefully buried them in more simpatico
material.

"Don't they get it? These people are NOT confident their refugee claims will be believed (if they were, why would they stuff things up for themselves?). As a result, they are tense and nervous and won't be able to relax till they get their way, i.e. a visa.

"Funny that, though they're free to leave these shocking! conditions at any time, the ‘refugees’ insist on staying put, holding out for a ticket to the heartless nation that has offered them only harsh cruelty, insufficient television, and a limited choice of halal breakfast options. I guess the only explanation for their continued desire to come here is a weird antipodean mutation of the Helsinki syndrome: they've fallen in love with their tormenters!

"To people from despotic Mideastern lands, where all discipline comes from above and none from within, tantrums are the first recourse of scoundrels. Being able to throw a tantrum without fear of arrest and the firing squad must be positive relief. Faced with clear and impartially applied rules (which despite generous appeal provisions would ultimately disqualify many of them from entry), they simply open the bleeding-heart assault manual: threaten to throw selves into sea, threaten to throw kids into sea, refuse to eat, threaten suicide, sew lips together, sew kids' lips together, etc. Howard had it right very early when he said, 'they are trying to exploit our decency.'"


1.31.2002

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE columnist and online practice target Glenn Sacks sends warning of three upcoming columns:


"In Defense of the Insane Pyromaniacs Who Almost Burned Down Sydney"

"I Was (Almost) an Insane Pyromaniac"

"In Defense of the Insane Pyromaniacs' Parents"



I'm still waiting to read John Walker Lindh's "I Was (Almost) Glenn Sacks".

THE STATE OF THE UNION IS STRONG … but the state of Dubya's sex appeal is in dispute. Dr Alice D. writes from the US to support Sandra Lee's claim that George W. Bush rocks: "I say yes! He's a hell of a lot more attractive than Clinton. Decency has its own appeal. And he's not bad looking."

All-seeing, all-knowing Momma B., of parts unknown, agrees: "I liked GWB before it was fashionable ... he is a genuine WYSIWYG ... it just takes dumb people (like the media) longer to realize he is for real."

WYSIWYG, for the acronymically-challenged, stands for: "What You See Is What You Get." Or, if you're an anti-Bushite: "White Yuppie Scum Invades Washington … Yeah, Great."

Matthew Yglesias might be a member of the anti-Bushites. His opinion: "You (and Sandra Lee) seem to be conflating the sexiness issue with the 'is he a good President' issue. Some kinky political junkies may be turned on by people whose politics they find redundant."

Don't blame me, Matthew. Sandra wrote the story. I just work here in the mail room.

Coco L. was another who rejected the idea of a hot George. "No, not even vaguely," she wrote. "And I voted for him." The most comprehensive response came from Tampa Bay's Eden Mackay:


"Speaking as a woman who finds such conventionally 'cute' men as Tom Cruise or [insert any Baldwin here] completely unappealing, I can still honestly say that Bush is not physically attractive to me at all.

"Having seen too many shows which describe in detail how wide-set eyes and symmetrical features contribute to our perceptions of attractiveness, I can tell you that this is due almost entirely to how close that man's eyes are together. Any closer and his left eye could watch his right one. (Which would be bad because he'd trip often in addition to his verbal gaffes.) Also, he has a totally unappealing mouth, and his most common pausing mouth position (half open, virtually lipless) makes me wish I could recommend a couple of alternatives to his trainer/handler or whoever is in charge of making us believe he is fit to be President. I mean, this is a guy who pauses a LOT while speaking, so why not make the best of it?

"I was thinking about this very issue (I try to focus on what's important) while I was watching the State of the Union address last night.

"However, I can see the point of the ladies you cite who find his lack of pretense charming in a political landscape populated by oily, condescending, pompous-assed land sharks."



So, no Big Oil connections for Dubya. In a refrain we've heard more than once since September 11 - but not often this sharply - Eden adds:


"All this said, I will join lots of other proles here in the US by being fervently thankful Gore is not in office right now. If I can say one thing about my President, it's that I want him to be the candidate who wears the least rouge."


BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Andrew Sullivan: Kurtz hammers the pundits; why don’t liberals support green W?; college kids more libertarian than liberal; John Pilger's madness unrestrained; Enron clarity; editor of Out is named Lemon, has punctuation skills of same; Bush gets it; co-opting the Democrats; shock puritan confession

Glenn Reynolds: Pleading for a Gitmo holiday; new column; "civilised world" makes long-overdue comeback; Global Crossing prediction; Bush no great talker, but clear and sincere; Dick Gebhardt ensnared in Copycatgate; new traffic record, again

Natalie Solent: New Labour has Old Labour problem; no longer in love with the EU; New Dawsonian Era begins

Matt Welch: Pilger shredded by blogland wolverines; great letters; Bjørn as good as the goodest lutefisk

Bjørn Stærk: Ancient anti-war arguments resurface; same arguments are blown to atoms

Rand Simberg: High marks for Dubya; nature is not our friend; nor is Mike Tyson

Ken Layne: Cruise shilling for Scientology; gadget inspectors; Kournikova kurves; Layne's Australian plan part of a broader philosophical concept that will guarantee him quality Mexican food anywhere on earth; Ken noir; lure of the cube heater; the state of our nation is … gurglegurgle; our future language is Googlish

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Punditwatch!; Bronski beaten; Signorile vile; Pilger pulled to pieces; Twilight Zone-like journey into 1953

Margo Kingston: Nothing new here, folks. And she gets paid for this

Lawrence Haws: The edumakation president; clueless vegetarian Alicia Silverstone; clueless vegetable Mike Tyson; it's Rall v. Kahil in the world lightweight superidiot cartoon title bout!

James Lileks: Ancient audio equipment finds eternal life in animation; ghosts only dwell in buildings of a certain age; miniminds at Metafilter; new homepage suggestions, anyone?

Iain Murray: Bent coppers; Bhopal bike blues; food is good; elite monkeys can cope with cocaine; Saint Tony looms; Hofer aces Enron; draining the Magna Carta of its precious bodily fluids; by the way, "Iain Murray" is an anagram of "May ruin I.R.A."

Bill Quick: Media gaffe gaff frenzy

Rallying Point: Cross about the cross; analysing world events through the Star Trek prism; ban the fight game; Leon Kass must be stopped

Christopher Johnson: Islam and the true enemy

Jason Soon: Downer gets it right on Hicks; bribes as therapy

James Morrow: Sydney Morning Herald fails to enrage; God v. Aboriginals over critter copyright; French resistance to competition; letter-writing losers dashed to the ground

Holly came from Miami, Fla

Hitchhiked her way across the USA

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her legs and then sheWatched A Blog

AUSTRALIAN NAMING RULES, CONT'D: Two paint sniffers told their sad story on ABC radio this morning. The hobby is known as "chroming" and, according to the ABC, it is a Very Big Problem That Touches Us All.

The two chromers, obviously coached to within an inch of their sanity by social workers and lawyers, offered the usual excuses: "The, uh, shops put all the, you know, spraypaint cans right where, uh, kids can get them, uh, you know? And, uh, there are no, like, warnings or anything … "

He's wrong – paint cans, insecticide cans, and even white-out containers all carry health warnings – but the ABC didn't bother to correct their fume-addled informant. More interesting was that even under the influence of various inhalants, our chromies held fast to the Australian Naming Rules, which demand names of only the most blandly literal hue:


"We, ah, used to go to this, um, park, you know? And we'd chrome there every day. We even, ah, renamed the place. We called it … um …"



I held my breath.


"… Chrome Park."



Yes!

1.30.2002

KEN LAYNE has begun a guerilla editing campaign against the New York Times. Run for your lives, NYT functionaries!

ATTENTION, LIP-SEWING AFGHAN REFUGEES: Your Prime Minister says the Taliban is all gone now and you can come back home.

COLUMNIST, broadcaster, ex-commie and witless bore Phillip Adams always complains when he is labelled "elite".

But how else to describe someone with a $20 million art collection?

FOX ROX: For the first time, Fox News Channel has led CNN in viewership over a one-month ratings period. This is despite Fox still being available in fewer US homes than its cable news rival, and despite hiring Geraldo.

AUSTRALIA, LAND OF LOMBORGS: Decades of sky-is-falling environmental panic has failed to convince Australians that the sky is doing anything besides remaining firmly in place.

Alan Woods notes in The Australian that only three per cent of car buyers consider "environmental impact" the most important factor in choosing a car, and that the number of Australians who claim to be concerned about environmental problems has fallen from 75 per cent in 1992 to 62 per cent now.

Even the Sydney Morning Herald, usually given to enviro-hysteria, is waking up: a column yesterday by Larry Mounser trashed greenhouse concerns, and so far has only attracted one negative letter to the editor.

IS GEORGE W. BUSH SEXY? You bet, says Sandra Lee, New York-based Australian freelance journalist and fulltime attractiveness analyst. Some excerpts from Sandra’s op-ed in today's Australian:


"Bush is appealing to women. There is no getting away from it. Yes, the thirtysomething members of the media, especially women, are not supposed to find Republicans – or, for that matter, conservative politicians – interesting. Yes, the hothouse environment of the media breeds a co-operative consensus like a Petri dish breeds fungus. I know that I was supposed to buy the company line that Bush is a buffoon who can do only wrong. And I know I'm an anomaly."



Maybe not. I know of at least one babeish thirtysomething lefty femme journalist who shares Sandra's Dubya attraction. Because she works at the Sydney Morning Herald, where such feelings are grounds for instant dismissal, she cannot be named. Meanwhile, in New York, Sandra has uncovered other covert George fans:


"One female friend, 37 and a previously registered Democrat voter, said that she found Bush's spontaneous moments infuriatingly seductive … She was seduced by his simple honesty and referred to his plain-spoken manliness – or, as she described it, his 'just the facts, Ma'am' Texas way."



I think I know who this friend of Sandra's is, and can imagine how outraged she must be at finding Dubya less than despicable. This might be a common NY problem. More from Sandra:


"There is no arrogance or silver-tongued smarminess about him, but rather conviction and self-confidence, and that's what women find appealing. W is a real man, and that's what women want."



Over to you, womenfolk of the world. Has Dubya got it goin' on?

BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Andrew Sullivan: Compassionate conservatism a Wash Post winner; agonised linking of Bush to Enron; Georgia gay civil marriage test; Powell is no war wimp; New Republic drowning in swamp of bigotry; Howard Zinn collects Sontag nomination; "I heard that there was this ninja who was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon the ninja killed the whole town."

Glenn Reynolds: Aryan Nations locked in unaccountably ugly dispute; Al Qaeda suits should go to ebay!; do US academics ever write their own stuff?; Natalija sexy; Salon sexless; Rachael Klien newly sexed-up; mail your own aircraft terror devices; beautiful Irish Times letter

Natalie Solent: Clever things learned; "posh blog stop" sounds like upmarket roadside lavatory; awful death of child; Patrick O'Brian's moral flaws

Matt Welch: LA miniquakes; Nick Denton's matchless career; pondering Blogger Pro upgrade; putrid David Shaw piece good for some; cinematic Jesus gambit pays off; remembering Challenger; remembering racism challenge over Challenger

Rand Simberg: Islam's Dark Ages are now

Ken Layne: Book nears completion; Rabbit contacted; David Shaw's eviscerated corpse kicked around awhile; Ashcroft of Arabia

Shiloh Bucher: Buy Berlinski; puzzled Palm update; Nat Post gets POW saga right

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Will ill; Tim Noah confusion

Margo Kingston: Incomprehensible paranoid moralistic blather

James Lileks: Child wild in grocery store aisle; Great Gobs of Kali's Ghee!; coin cakes; fone frolics; novel revived

Lileks II – Flotsam Cove: Invasion of the Dayalets!; for the love of God, don't look at Starchy Pete, I beg of you

Iain Murray: The force of shared values, and the Rights of Man

Jay L. Zilber: Postrel's Sully v Klugman conclusion; personal dispute between Klugman and Sully suggested

Bill Quick: Evil racist cartoonist condemned; "Enronian" not a word for the common man; McAuliffe's evasive populist dumbness; the Jake Tapper Curse

Rallying Point: Intelligentsia really need a new name; apologise, nude-hating Ashcroft!

Christopher Johnson: Euro-clueless invade Wash Post; hizbollah.org; NRO's Dreher confesses – it's a Blog after all

Jason Soon: Sydney Morning Herald stuns hemisphere by printing greenhouse facts

You got to know when to hold 'em,

Know when to fold 'em,

Know when to walk away

And know when to run.

You never count your money

When you're sittin' at the table;

There'll be time enough for countin'

When theBlogs are Watched.

1.29.2002

A FACT you won't hear from any of the anti-freedom activists about to defile New York (via Time):


"Those countries that have opened themselves up to world markets have seen dramatic reductions in poverty, with the number of their people who count among the very poor declining by 120 million in the 1990s alone."


KANGAROO COURT: Aboriginal activists have lodged a writ with Australia's High Court seeking to remove the kangaroo and emu from the national coat of arms.

The writ claims Aborigines hold copyright on the kangaroo™ and emu™. Lawyer for the activists, Len Lindon™, said the writ sought an injunction against use of the symbols.

A signatory to the writ, Wadjularbinna Nulyarimma™ from the Gungalidda™ people in Queensland's north, said the creatures were connected to ancient Aboriginal religions™.

"If you forsake your religion, you're forsaking the law," the confused woman™ told reporters. "Living in this society, with foreign laws imposed on us, we're doing it all the time and it's causing mental trauma."

In the wake of the High Court move, senior government advisors were urgently convened to assess the legal status of the wombat™, the playtpus™, the spiny anteater™, beer™, the use of beetroot™ in hamburgers, and the term "mate™".

GREAT NEWS: Mark Webber has signed to drive with the Minardi team in this year's Formula One world championship. He's the first Australian since 1994 to make it to motor sport's top level.

Naturally, being an Australian, Webber is sponsored by Foster's. His team owner, Paul Stoddart, is also an Australian. Weird trivial aside: a few years ago, when Stoddart discovered that his favourite brand of cigarettes was being taken off the market, he bought 20,000 of them.

Stoddart has another elite quality. He is a Collingwood fan.

BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Andrew Sullivan: Krugman quote demolishes Krugman; "no brainer" analysis of Gitmo explains why Brit press are so wild for it; NYT bias reaches "pukingly obvious" level; Tom who?; Dubya's NYT poll win; make mine a Tall Triple Venti Sugar Free Decaffeinated Ristretto Vanilla Non-fat Extra-Hot Soy Double Cup Latte with Sweet'N Low already in it; TNR cashless without Sully; urging Bush to secure gay vote; believing Goodwin; another conservative brought down by Punditgate; Dowd tells truth

Glenn Reynolds: Guns 'n' Scholars; journalist-terrorist discord; the President must Blog!; Europe small, worthless; UN running ho operation in Bosnia; CIA lost plot on Al Qaeda; Lagos debacle; Greens took Enron greenbacks; nonwhite atrocities ignored

Natalie Solent: Brit Punditgate candidate excused; FAQ frequently not asked; Parris still pertinent; midden dialogue; hatless Welch, coatless Layne; refuting refuters

Matt Welch: LA Time's David Shaw eviscerated

Bjørn Stærk: Courtney Sletter calls the shots down Gitmo way, and some folks ain't liking it; Moussa Abu Bazooka claims Palestine has long-range missile-thing

Rand Simberg: Challenger memories, direct from the source; space junk

Ken Layne: Email clue to kidnapped journalist's whereabouts; hats hated; don't stand next to Mark Sokolow; Prague blogger located; Layne's cinematic confusion; WSJ wants money for story of its own captured journalist; exiled eloquence from Afghan leader; spear whitey!; clues to Atta's madness

Shiloh Bucher: Movin' on up to Blogger Pro

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Pippi Longstocking author kicks the bucket; Sedentary Limping Army reunites; front pages from coast to coast; juicy orts

Margo Kingston: Youngster gripes about life; long email from Adelaide impossible to read; Labor purge urged; Swiss-based Australian misses Clinton, point; Margo belongs in entertainment section; mindless quote cited; refugees treated OK; still fixated on visa-overstayer smokescreen; starvation plan to support illegals; using the Sydney Morning Herald's website to run personal campaign; other gibberish

Lawrence Haws: Picture Of The Week

James Lileks: Wife sniffly; Tombs of the Mall; a new enemy; child sugar-zapped; He Asked For The Tape! The Tape!

Bill Quick: Dershowitz's tortured letter; don't try pushing the US around; back off, law dudes!; Mrs Goldberg falls for joke; SF Chron runs revolution plea

Rallying Point: I know nothink!; nuclear waste fixable; gloating over the Linse super-party; Horsehead Nebula bound for Space Mafia pillow

Christopher Johnson: Palestinians "stupidest people on earth"; Ted Rall defeats quality field to claim Greatest Living Western Anti-American title

Jason Soon: Aussies buy one million vibies every year; Hezbollah cleric slams OBL; idiot upset that Bush has Arab guard; antitrust is anticompetitive

James Morrow: Damn this Netscape 4.7 – it won't display Morrow's wisdom

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says

15 miles to the...Bloggggggg Watch!Blog Watchyeah

I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway, lookin' for the love getaway

Heading for the love getaway, love getaway

I got me a car, it's as big as a whale and we're headin' on down

To theBlog Watch

I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20

So hurry up and bring yourBlog Watch money

THE ABC, ever mindful of its role as Australia's least-reliable source of information, tonight broadcast an astonishing damnation of conditions at the Woomera Detention Centre, where hundreds of angry illegal immigrants are held.

It was one of The 7.30 Report's finest efforts. The program repeatedly condemned conditions at the Centre without once telling us what those conditions were. They even found some medicos who'd spent time inside the Centre and were happy to damn the place as well, yet even they declined to offer any details about any alleged wrongness. Shamefully, the ABC didn't press for any details, either.

Here's the (slightly abridged) transcript. I drop in from time to time:


KERRY O'BRIEN, HOST: After almost two weeks, there is still no sign of an end to the hunger strike by detainees at the Woomera Detention Centre. Authorities put the number of hunger strikers, including men, women and children, at 259.

Despite the mounting pressure, neither PM John Howard nor Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock show any signs of backing down.

Anne Barker reports on two doctors who have decided to speak publicly about the conditions they witnessed inside Woomera.

ANNIE SPARROW, PAEDIATRIC REGISTRAR: I've never seen so many depressed and traumatised and disturbed children as I have in the two weeks that I spent there just now.



Just a thought, but this might be more to do with their parents threatening to starve themselves to death than any fault of the "conditions".


ANNE BARKER: Annie Sparrow spent last weekend in tears, tears shed for the hundreds of children detained at Woomera, where, until just over a week ago, she was employed to look after them and tears for the wretched conditions she said she witnessed inside.

ANNIE SPARROW: I saw a 16-year-old who attempted to hang himself and a 14-year-old girl who cut her wrists and I saw another 14-year-old boy who tried to choke himself.



Those aren't "wretched conditions". Those are self-destructive actions that may be wholly unrelated to any conditions. Did Michael Hutchence kill himself because of slow room service at the Ritz Carlton Hotel?


PAUL CARROLL, GENERAL PRACTITIONER: When you walk through those barbed wire gates, you are sort of overwhelmed by this atmosphere, this aura of foreboding.



Welcome to myworld, doc.


PAUL CARROLL: There is this sense of oppression and of people being essentially just locked up in this incongruous place in the middle of the desert.



The kids are in Vegas?


ANNIE SPARROW: I've never been to a more miserable place. When I went inside the compounds and looked at the rooms in which they live, which are very small and cramped, there are no facilities for the children to play on and no basic grass for the children who are born in detention to learn to crawl or even walk on.



No "basic grass"! What a terrible thing for a baby to miss out on. A baby lamb, that is.

(By the way, while Sparrow was saying this, footage was being screened depicting clean, air-conditioned, mid-sized rooms featuring bunk beds and desks. The contrast between words and image was worthy of David Lynch. Note, too, that Sparrow doesn't actually give any dimensions of the rooms, or note how many detainees were assigned to each room. She just says the rooms are "small and cramped", and the fuckheaded ABC is happy to leave it at that.)


PAUL CARROLL: It is difficult to understand why we have to make their conditions so unpleasant and from what I saw from the people that I looked after while I was there, their health deteriorates while they are there.



That might be a side effect of sewing their mouths shut. But, hey, you're the doctor. And these "unpleasant conditions" … some examples, please?


ANNE BARKER: Last week, members of a Federal Government advisory committee visited Woomera to see first-hand conditions inside.

They gave the centre a tick and found that detainees have good food, plenty of clothing and air-conditioned accommodation, claims that Annie Sparrow and Paul Carroll dispute.

PAUL CARROLL: I'm not sure how they came to those conclusions because that certainly was not the conclusions I came to when I was there.

My understanding is that things are worse, if anything, than they were when I was there.

I did not agree with any of the comments I read of their assessment of the way these people were treated.



Is it too much too ask for some actual information here, sawbones? You know, that might give us a reason why you disagree?

This guy is meant to be a doctor. His diagnoses must be something else. "We've got your test results back, Mrs. Jones. They are very bad. Goodbye."


ANNIE SPARROW: It is not until you go inside the compounds and see how they live, and eat with them in the mess as I have done and eat their food, which I think is far from adequate, and see their quarters, which are degrading places to live in and understand that they really have a simply desperate way of living there.



Whyis the food bad? In what waysare their quarters degrading? Howare things desperate? Whyisn't the ABC asking you any of these questions?


ANNE BARKER: The volatile situation inside Woomera escalated even further at the weekend with claims that as many as 370 detainees are on a hunger strike.

A situation so serious that even the Red Cross, a strictly neutral and apolitical organisation …



(Choking noises)


ANNE BARKER: … broke its usual silence to voice its concern.

MARTINE LETTS, RED CROSS AUSTRALIA, SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have considerable concerns for the welfare of people who are clearly very vulnerable in those centres right now.

We make no judgment as to the whys or the wherefores – that is not Red Cross's job, that is not our international mandate either.



Whoa! Don't hold back, Martine.


ANNE BARKER: For all the distress they have witnessed at Woomera, Paul Carroll and Annie Sparrow will not rule out going back.

But for now their main concern is to correct what they say are negative misconceptions about asylum seekers in the border community.



At last, their agenda is revealed. They've got no beef with the conditions; they just want us to Love Everybody.


PAUL CARROLL: Most of them are normal people like you and me and just under extraordinary circumstances.

ANNIE SPARROW: I do not think if you put a subset of Australian children in detention they would do as well on the whole as these children have done.



Maybe not, but they'd do a better job than you of telling us why this place is so bad, if indeed it is.

From this program, we've learned that conditions are "wretched" because there's "an aura of foreboding" (ooooo!), it is "incongruous" (I bet the detainees are really pissed at the incongruities), there are no "facilities" (meaning?) for children to play on, no "basic grass" (only that damned luxury grass), that things were "unpleasant" (no details offered as to why), the food was "inadequate" (again, no details) and the living quarters were "degrading" (we don't need no stinkin' details!).


Pathetic. The ABC should be closed down.

1.28.2002

TWO YEARS AGO The Age celebrated International Women’s Day by handing over editorial control of the entire newspaper to female staff. On that strange day, even the obituaries were a male-free zone; only dead women were featured.

Something has changed. Now The Age is running sensational cheesecake thumbnails. Expect the letters pages of The Age to become incandescent with outrage and fury over the next few days.

DANCING MACHINE: John Walker Lindh hates the US and supported the bombing of the USS Cole. No – take a step back. He loves America.

Lindh had no interest in girls. Hold it! About face! He wanted four wives.

He was a pacifist; no, he was a warrior. Used to be Catholic. Changed to Islamic. His name was John. Now it's Abdul.

Tie all this frantic movement to Walker's love of rap and his lawyer's promise to provide "many motions of many different kinds" and you've got the ingredients for a dance craze that will sweep the nation: the Lindhy Hop.

A READER with a certain understanding of physical disadvantage sends this note regarding Stephen Moyes, the Daily Mirror's goggle-phobic fashion writer:


"I direct a university program in rehabilitation of the blind. In order to demonstrate the functional effects of vision loss and physical disability, I routinely hold classes in which we require students to don goggles (which we call "occluders" or "vision simulators/distorters"), earplugs (to simulate hearing loss), and heavy gloves (to simulate peripheral neuropathy or arthritis).

"If I'm feeling especially sadistically professorial, I require that students immobilize their joints (with splints and bandages) and place dried beans in their shoes (to simulate calluses, neuropathy, or arthritis). Students are required to spend considerable time under such simulation.

"How long do you think Stephen Moyes would last in my class? I'd probably find him whimpering in the corner after the first 15 minutes. What's that term you use in Australia? Whinging Pom?

"I'll spare him the trouble of enrolling. Excuse me for a moment ...

(fumbling for my grade book)

Stephen Moyes: Grade = F"


WHILE we're on the subject of the deserving oppressed (see post below) reader Tom Perry has noticed something alarming in The Daily Mirror's photograph of journalist Stephen Moyes, who last week clothed himself in Gitmo Gucci for a Mirror horror story about prison conditions. Tom writes:


"Mr. Moyes is shown kneeling in his orange jumpsuit and other gear, in what looks to be a carpeted hall, on some unrolled paper towels.

"He appears to have wet himself.

"The towels are soaked through in the region near his hinder parts. Of course, a jumpsuit is less humiliating if it's not soaked in piss. But why were the towels there? Was he planning to wet himself?"



I've just checked the picture. It seems Tom is right. Wonder if Sharkie ever has this problem?

END THIS TORTURE: He endures 120-degree heat inside his degrading costume. His visibility is limited.

Who are we talking about here? An Al Qaeda prisoner roasting in the Guantanamo sun? No – these are the complaints of "Jim", who served hard time inside the San Jose ice hockey team's Sharkie mascot outfit. My little joke the other day about mascots being brutalised and tortured turns out to be accurate.

But feel no pity for Sharkie. He is more pig than shark, according to San Jose's Joanne Jacobs, who has seen the cartilaginous pervert's ugly side:


"I've been molested twice by Sharkie - once at a hockey game, the second time when he visited the San Jose Mercury News - and I believe the plastic-headed creep is not oppressed enough.

"Imagine you are walking down an arena corridor when you're grabbed from behind. You turn to confront your attacker. It is a giant shark grinning at you. (To be fair, Sharkie has no other expression.) Oh, the disorientation. At least, I saw him coming the second time.

"It's time to stop coddling hug-happy mascots! That shark needs a set of manacles, a surgical mask (size XXXL) and a long vacation in a beach cabana."



Three cheers, then, for New York Rangers forward Theoren Fleury, who earlier this month beat up the loathsome landfish. Sharkie suffered a broken rib in the confrontation, which is less than he'll suffer if Jacobs ever gets her hands on him.

SOMETIMES I read of Bloggers mystified or bemused by bizarre Google searches that refer confused Googlers to their sites. Their experiences are as nothing compared to mine.

Yesterday someone arrived here via a search for "sexless human body". How did Google know?

MORE ON MARGO: Sharp-eyed Tom Veal adds further to our Guest Editor's five-minute dissection of Margo Kingston's Enron misunderstandings (scroll down for the earlier assault):


1. I haven't looked up the numbers, but I believe that Arthur Andersen's revenues from Enron last year were one-half of one percent, not a full one percent, of global revenues.

2. The reference to the "Justice Dept." should be to the "Securities and Exchange Commission".

3. Regarding Miss Kingston's claim that Enron "successfully lobbied Congress … to stop the shutting of its tax avoidance schemes": the only pertinent legislative proposals were measures that Congress enacted in 1998 to expand the reporting of tax shelters and increase exposure to penalties if they failed to stand up in court.

Some of the schemes utilized by Enron (and many other Andersen clients) were specific targets of that legislation. I don't know whether Enron lobbied against it, but it definitely did not lobby "successfully".

4. Only 71 percent of the Senate, not 75 percent, received campaign contributions from Enron.

5. On a more substantive point: if Mr. Lay sold Enron stock on the basis of material non-public information, he did indeed violate U.S. criminal law. His account, however, is that his sales were prompted by the need for cash to repay loans that had fallen due and that his public statements about his company's prospects were sincere, albeit mistaken in retrospect. I don't want to stir up sympathy for Mr. Lay, who is to business strategy as General Burgoyne was to military, but it is only fair to note that he held a large amount of Enron stock to the bitter end and that the company's bankruptcy cost him an annual pension of c. $AU900,000 as well as other benefits worth millions of dollars.


CONGRATULATIONS to Reason magazine's James Morrow and his Australian wife-to-be Claire on the birth of their first child, in Sydney at 6pm local time Sunday.

In a bid to avoid any Australian nicknames, they've named the boy Nick. Baby stats fans, take note: Nicholas Francis Morrow weighed 6lbs 9oz, and, more unusually, walked away from the birth unaided.

OK, he didn't. But he no doubt has other Special Qualities I'll hear about when James hands out the cigars this week.

(By the way, James's brand new weblog was born only days before his son. His blog – when fully functioning – will aim to fill a market sector ignored by most in BlogWorld: it's a weekly.)

SO, you think you work with some pinheads? Then meet "George", the helpdesk technician whose helpdesk tickets are so awesomely bad that a co-worker feels obliged to display them to the world.

Some are apocalyptic visions of computer confusion: "[User] is havening problems with her mouse, she says it is movening really weird stuff." (I can relate, George.) Others offer no information about the problem faced. The best contain George's homespun technical terms. Here's a few:

Quike player

anti-Norton virus

ghost image development environment

phax machine

orgamic keyboard

raz server

donagle lights

acrobate reader

orcale finacial analyser

I want donagle lights! And a virus to kill all these Nortons!

1.27.2002

BLOG WATCH I: Your guide to who is saying what, where

Glenn Reynolds: Jesse tells Enron employees, "I Have A Scheme"; scandal obliterated by complexity; UN acting in ways that don't promote unity; moping round Tennessee while Layne has fun; plagiarism story plagiarised?; Bellicose Women now key demographic; Krugman Deep Throats self

Natalie Solent: Krugman's tone crime; don't make me come after you, Solent!; death of one-eyed Afghan circus monster turns out to someone else other than Mullah Omar; killing Dipsy

Matt Welch: Contempt can be morphed into dread; bitter, hatchet-faced old lefty can scrape by for a couple of years on paltry $1.1 million; Cornel West, superstar

Bjørn Stærk: Fine essay on racism and the media; return of the funny hat

Ken Layne: West Coast Warbloggers Festival erupts in LA

Shiloh Bucher: Supreme Court Justices once courted

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Evidence of Linse disgrace soon to be released; military tribunals are right and proper; Tony plays the Borscht Belt; psyched for Cheney interview; boyband fetish announced; East Coast Bloggers plan Florida move – could be beginnings of gangsta rap-style turf war with West Coasters; Kaus lured by Dawson cheesecake gambit; say – or don't say – your prayers; Dem Underground deserves to remain underground

Lawrence Haws: 9/11 payouts are fair

Bill Quick: Detractors don't need fabricated reasons to loathe Kingsolver; dead poets ward; everyone sans frontieres; salute the red, black and green

Christopher Johnson: Quit grovelling to Saudis; peaceful Nigeria shows the way to enlightenment; Glenn Sacks a sure cure for the blues

I am Blog Watch, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much

To go back and pretend

'Cause I've heard it all before

And I've been down there on the floor

No one's ever gonna

Keep me down again

Oh yes I am wise

But it's wisdom born of pain

Yes, I've paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

I am invincible

I am Blog Watch


Via Vibe magazine’s interview
with mutant singer Michael Jackson, who discussed his reaction to September 11 …

THE ANNOTATED MICHAEL: "I was in New York and I got a call from friends in Saudi Arabia [where my records still sell] that America was being attacked. I screamed [of course] down the hotel hallway to all our people [Hey, Macauley! Bubbles! John Merrick!], 'Everybody get out, let's leave now!' Marlon Brando was on one end [no chance of using that exit], our security was on the other end. We were all up there, but Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel [NYC building regulations don't permit Taylor and Brando to share multi-story structures]. We jumped in the car, but there were these girls [sure there were] who had been at the show the night before, and they were banging on the windows, running down the street screaming ["The creature without a nose! It's alive! Kill it!"]. Fans are so loyal. We hid in New Jersey [and left our loyal fans behind to fend for themselves]."

In the same interview, Jackson reveals the inspiration for his song "Speechless". This is beyond mockery:


"You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water balloon fight - I'm serious - and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote 'Speechless.' Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in its entirety right there."



The 40-year-old freak splashes about with some German pre-teens and is motivated by this to write a love song. Speechless? You said it.

NO WONDER Mark Steyn wants to launch a website. It means he won't have to deal with idiot subeditors tampering with his work. Here's a letter from Steyn to The Sunday Telegraph in the UK:


"I should like to dissociate myself from the headline over my article on George W Bush's first year, "My how you've grown" (Comment, January 20, used in the print version, but not online). I am aware that it is the coventional wisdom in Europe, but as one of the few fellows in the British press to have consistently hailed Bush as a colossus bestriding the globe, I should hardly be likely to subscribe to it.

"As the piece made clear, the President hasn't changed and I haven't changed my mind about him. It is deeply embarrassing to me to be saddled with a ludicrously patronising headline more suited to a Guardian/Independent column by a knee-jerk member of the Euroweenie class trying to reconcile the contradictions of his own prejudices and Bush's successful prosecution of the war.

"Mark Steyn, New Hampshire"


GLENN SACKS'S website links to me and a host of other bloggers, most of whom would rather see blood in their urine than their name associated with the San Francisco Chronicle's notorious Johnny Walker apologist.

"Glenn's work has appeared or is discussed on the following websites," the site announces, which is putting it mildly.

"Please note," writes Sacks, "Glenn does not necessarily endorse the views or content of other material that appears on the following websites. Not all of those who enjoy or oppose Glenn's work are completely sane."

He's suddenly become all self-deprecating, in a creepy, Barry Manilow kind of way. An email from goofy Glenn arrived as I was writing this, promising "More John Walker Insanity from Sontag Award Nominee" Sacks (published in the Washington Times, weirdly enough).

It's a bunch of stuff about something Glenn did – or wanted to do – as a stupid young man. Zimbabwe is involved somehow. Who cares?

Turns out Glenn was just as gullible in his teens as he is now. He’s still insisting that Walker "has a lot of courage", although he also reports that the mighty warrior discarded his spine as soon as he was captured and "was providing the US with valuable information on the Taliban during the last stages of the Afghan war."

It's impossible to work out whose side this nutjob kid is on. The same can be said of Walker.

ACCORDING to Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper, the Enron scandal "has rocked Americans' faith in the financial system" and threatens to "engulf the Bush administration."

Whatever you say, Sun-Herald. While composing this imaginative work of fiction, the newspaper appears to have completely missed the rather more interesting story about the Australian Al Qaeda member who was the source of the Gitmo kill-threats cited by Don Rumsfeld earlier in the week (see item below).

Alerted a few hours ago, the News Ltd rapid response rewrite team quickly pulled together an article on David Hicks and his apparent desire to kill an American. Melbourne's Sunday Age added some local content to the original AP piece, but overall everyone seems to have hit this story hours late. Which is strange, because an email informs me that Drudge ran the AP article containing this information as his lead item for most of the day.

Papers here don't know about the Internet. The person I spoke to at the Sunday Telegraph newsdesk needed help to spell "Drudgereport". It was a New Word. Amazing.