"THE build-up of demonstrations since the 1999 World Trade Organisation debacle in Seattle has a deja vu feeling for anyone who witnessed the rise of national socialism in the 1930s."

Helen Hughes has had enough of anti-globo fanatics, and in today's Australian she weighs in with a mighty article. Another grab:

"The demonisation of multinationals is a key issue. It is couched in exactly the same language used by Hitler to attack Jews in the '30s. The multinationals are accused of exploiting their workers, notably in developing countries, accumulating vast profits and conspiring to control the world."

BRIEF thing by me in Thursday's Australian.

STATE governments fund all road safety signs in Australia, which means they are dull. So dull they are a driving hazard. On my way from Sydney to Albury today, I must have passed about fifty signs asking: "How Fast Are You Going Now?"

Please, give me something to keep me awake here. Not so long ago, local councils would devise their own roadside safety warnings. My favourite, seen in South Australia, featured a mangled car suspended in a tree. A shopfront mannequin dangled from the vehicle's crushed cabin.

Whoever created it went overboard on the special effects. The mannequin was almost completely covered in blood-red paint, as was the car. A killing spree had obviously preceded the murderous dummy's fatal crash.

Beneath the grisly tableau was a sign: "This Is YOU!"

It was clever, andit made you think. Actually, it made me think of returning to the tree under the cover of darkness and adding some ping-pong ball eyes, sprung from the Manson Mannequin's head by the force of impact.

So, anyway, I'm in Albury. I was here with Ken Layne during his fabled author's tour of 2001. It was in this very town that Layne purchased a steak sandwich from which he removed every non-steak component before scarfing down the micron-thin remains. He looked like a bearded buzzard picking apart an armadillo carcass.

The locals speak of it to this day.

More driving tomorrow. Must sleep, if sleep is possible with that Layne/buzzard image in my head. Hey! There's a roadside safety campaign that would slow drivers down – billboards depicting Ken looming above crash victims, preparing to divide their bodies into categories of edibility. If anyone from the New South Wales state government is reading this, send your money my way now.

SOME BACKGROUND to James Lileks's two-fisted takedown of The Guardian's man in Alabama: Matthew Engel, the chap who wrote the offending article, is better known as a cricket writer.

This explains a great deal. Cricket writers tend to be appalling snobs. Perhaps this is due to the very Englishness of the game, which, like the lovable soccer sociopath, is an enduring symbol of Britain's greatness.

Cricket attracts writers who see themselves as above sports journalists. The languid pace of a standard day's play encourages correspondents to feed a shocking amount of flowery bilge into their reporting. You sometimes struggle to discover who won, or even who played. Was it Post-Modern Allusions versus Literary Supplement? Did Jane Austen triumph again?

Shakespeare is referenced way too often. One English cricket writer, Peter Roebuck, is addicted to Hamlet comparisons. "Like Hamlet he's inclined to hover upon the brink rather than plunging into the action," Roebuck wrote of India's Rahul Dravid. That was last February. In August, Australia's Adam Gilchrist got the Hamlet treatment: "Fortunately he did not resemble Hamlet, constantly on the verge of action. Instead he acted."

Mere days later, Roebuck rolled out Hammy again, on the occasion of former England captain Michael Atherton's retirement: "He sifted and sorted like Hamlet weighing up his options."

Which is more than Roebuck does. It's Hamlet for him every time. C'mon, Pete – throw in a Shylock once in a while. Or a Sir Toby Belch. Shakespeare gave you a whole range to choose from.

(It should be noted, however, that the finest modern cricket writer, Gideon Haigh, somehow manages to include abundant literary and social comment while not appearing an idiot. Haigh is Australian.)

Another factor to consider: Engel is an English cricket writer. This means he's been watching for years as his home team has been ground into paste by vulgar Australians. Plainly, this has broken him. Now Engel lashes out madly at America, hoping somehow to avenge his nation's pitiful cricket record. So we've lost every series against Australia since 1987, have we? Well, Olive Garden restaurant chain, taste my wrath!

Or maybe Engel has a deeper, more personal reason to despise Americans. Engel was for eight years the editor of Wisden, a 139-year-old cricket annual. It is easily the most British of all sports publications: tiny font, fussy statistics, assumed authority, arcane presentation. The whole Ye Olde Brit deal.

And since 1992, Wisden has been owned by an American: Paul Getty. Good heavens! Who permitted this atrocity?


NO POSTS from me for a few hours. I'm driving down to Melbourne today to compete in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. Wish me luck.

Well, by "compete in" I mean "watch" and "write about". You know how we journalists exaggerate.

No exaggeration here, though: hundreds of emails have arrived in the last few days, and the demands of Actual Paying Work have meant I’ve barely been able to answer any of them. Expect replies shortly, either directly or via the site.

Now, I'm outta here.


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

Andrew Sullivan: Ditch Krugman, hire Lewis; happy Gitmo mail; Catholic church child sex cover-up chaos; Orwell not a Goodwill Games man; Kaplan vs. you at the Book Club; a Rummy in his prime; Chris Matthews achieves near-impossible feat of denial; at Easter, the golf ball reappears; admirable Anderson; Bloggers to read; Cali Repubs attempt suicide again; are we post-gay?

Glenn Reynolds: Blogging slowness; Target relocation plans; French advised on root causes; NOW ditches Andrea Yates; hype always collapses, then comes the revolution; Postrel's re-emergence; still no sex at Salon; Berkeley remains staid; 10 millionth Blogger post; Sully's Blog piece best yet; butthead deserves condemnation, not charges; brunettes are cool;

Glenn Reynolds on FOX

Natalie Solent: That Dupont girl put in her place; Mugabe video anomalies; best wishes to Natalie

Matt Welch: Way to go, Goldberg; Letterman memories; overwhelmed by Slobo-Googling; local donut shop revealed

Bjørn Stærk: World domination plans undone by fake uranium; Saudi prince in contest for hypocrisy gold medal; excellent Bensky email

Rand Simberg: InstantMan's craving for hits is boundless; bring on the FreeBlogs!; popular vote vs. electoral college; backsliding Billy Clinton

Rand Simberg on FOX

Virginia Postrel: Luntz caught out again; Cambodian donut shops and the future; Will Wilkinson learns and returns; lowered standards in med school; vulgarity and freedom; bar codes provide consumer justice

Ken Layne: Afghan warlords rethink whole warlord deal; site rethought; don’t let Langfield quit the cruel journalism game!; secret Blogger power meeting in NY; Nader's bold opposition to sports parks

Ken Layne on FOX … and it's a killer:

"What happens when an industry mistreats its customers and its suppliers? When 8,999 of 9,000 audits show shoddy accounting practices? When a core business is bungled and the marketplace shrugs and moves on? When scandals and greed lead to massive layoffs and massive disgust?

"I'm not talking about Enron. I'm talking about the record industry."

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Tide turning against underperforming execs; Julia Louis-Dreyfus might have a life after Seinfeld; Will and Tony book club

Will Vehrs on FOX

Lawrence Haws: Ridiculous "rogue state" claim ridiculed; hooray for the Bad Dudette

James Lileks: Life in a biohazard zone; binge sleeping; refrigerator editing; Target frenzy; zigging for great goose justice; burn down your homes for the geese!

Iain Murray: PM Blair enrages Germans, so he must be doing something right; further reasons for the UK to remain non-EU

Juan Gato: The joy of non-carpool traffic; Guardian writer attempts cuteness; socialised medicine means no medicine; Ted Rall's genius proved again; loads of laffs from the NYT; Krugman's axe ground down to a nub

Bill Quick: Animal Libbers exposed as frauds; Axis of Evil nations actually appear to be, well, evil; intra-Islam warfare; Superman may fly to England; Cher upset that ancient human-like form (not her own) is covered up; Bardis the barman has no defence; another obvious Bush-Enron link

Christopher Johnson: Paul O'Neill should be fired; shock Muslim poll; a Guardian man in deepest America; Reese insane

Jason Soon: Puzzling over population growth; the folly of feminist solutions to population issues

James Morrow: Sierra Club could do with some clubbing; Breslin lacks alcohol excuse; France's problems unsolvable by French

I've been alive forever

and I Watched the very first Blog

I put the words and summaries together

I am Blog Watch,

and I Watch the Blogs

IWatch the Blogsthat make the whole world sing

I Watch the Blogs of love and special things

IWatch the Blogsthat make the young girls cry

I Watch the Blogs, I Watch the Blogs


HUNTING GOOD WILL? The latest PunditWatch from Will Vehrs is on Fox.

INSPIRED by a Washington Post story on schoolgirl bitchiness, Gregory Hlatky satirises Maureen Dowd and her classmates:

"She's smart and sassy. She knows who's in and who's out, what's hot and what's not. She's got a tongue like a shiv and isn't scared to use it. Maureen's Numero Uno at Northeast Corridor High School and she knows it.

"Maureen is the alpha girl at Northeast Corridor, and she, Frank and Paul consider themselves the arbiters of fashionable attitudes there. If it's Hollywood, fashion, the theater, or money, they dictate the trends and treat those who don't listen to them as outcasts to be scorned in the harshest terms."

Go check out the whole thing. See if you don't feel sorry for Connie, "an extremely intelligent, poised African-American girl. Her grades are excellent and she works hard at whatever she does. Still, she doesn't get any respect from Maureen's crowd."

A TALE OF TWO HIPPIES: The sixties were the worst of times. Not the least because we've had to live with that blighted era's cultural fallout ever since. Thanks for all the rotten poetry, bastards.

Some sixties folk have lately examined their behaviour during those years. Take Jonathan Lerner, for example; in yesterday's Washington Post, the former Weatherman and admitted imbecile terrorist published a self-description so scathing that it amounts to a suicide note of the soul:

"I started out wanting to humanize the world, but ended up perverting my own best instincts and dreams. I lied. I stole. I put innocent people in danger …

"We gloried in our violence, and glorified it, and in so doing, we helped to create the atmosphere in which, to some inhabitants of the planet, terrorism now seems like right action …

"Plenty of affluent white Americans – radical or not, then and now – have felt guilt over class and race. It's an understandable, if essentially useless, emotion. But we took our own bleak vision of white people to heart, transforming our guilt into self-hatred …

"It has taken me until now – 25 years – to fully realize how foolish and wrong we were, and to be able to say these things out loud. I had to wait for my father to die, so I wouldn't break his heart. I try not to gratuitously hurt people anymore. And I had to know for sure that the life I have made is good for me, and good for the world, and all mine. I still have my political sensitivities, to things like racism and the dangerously worsening disparity between the rich and poor of the world. But I do not need to be the one who changes it all. It feels strange to find myself supporting our country's current war."

Compare Lerner's agonised journey of discovery to the following, by Australian sixties identity Richard Neville. Neville was a radical leftist writer who swiftly mutated into a mainstream soft alternative voice, frequently appearing on TV chat shows and writing dismal books and columns. He was never a terrorist, like Lerner, but these days Neville is a lot more terrifying; here he imagines how a newspaper story written in 2051 might review the events following September 11, 2001:

"Fifty years ago in a single stroke, Osama bin Laden ripped the blindfold from a billion eyes. After September 11/01, many in the West looked in the mirror and saw themselves anew. We thought we'd been having a ball, they cried, but now our lives seem crazy and cruel …

"The President of the then most powerful nation on earth, a devout Christian, wanted his enemies dead, no matter who got caught in the crossfire … In the US, Muslims were rounded-up and incarcerated … To the oil millionaires and arms dealers who dominated the White House, their blind-folds intact, the issue was simple. Good against evil. You're with us, or we hunt you down with cluster bombs. End of story.

"A silenced minority stood dazed on the sidelines, their empathy deep for the innocent victims, their empathy deep for the fate of the down trodden, the fate of the earth … the silenced minority felt alienated from the public effusions of rage - the cries for vengeance, the grandstands of fluttering flags, the recruitment of an apple pie God …

"What a gift it would have been to the future if the U.S had responded with magnanimity. 'Of course we thirst for revenge', it might have told the Security Council, 'but we are mindful of the laws of course and effect. We will sit down with all nations that can help bring a just resolution to this villainy. We accept that the best course is a police operation assisted by the United Nations on behalf of the international community.'

" … Alas, such a course was not contemplated. It would take another fifteen years before the West woke up to the full extent of its responsibilities towards the dispossessed, and to overcome an addiction to fossil fuels and personal money-grubbing …

"Those who dared to raise doubts at the time were regarded as traitors. Either applaud the B52's or be branded a coward, an appeaser. Early on at a Pentagon briefing, Donald Rumsfeld, then US defence secretary, was asked if America had run out of targets. 'First we're going to re-hit targets,' he said, 'and second, we're not running out of targets, Afghanistan is ...'

"The briefing room erupted with laughter. Civilisation in action. ( In 2011, the World Court convicted Donald Rumsfeld of war crimes). Gradually, however, as the bombings continued, and citizens with access to alternative sources of information were able to peel away the layers of propaganda, ever more voices were raised in protest …

"Once the guns were silenced, new conversations began. The explosion of weaponry was replaced with an explosion of ideas. This new struggle was less bloody, but incredibly significant, as it revolved around efforts to instigate a shift in the evolution of human consciousness. People of all persuasions became embroiled in a long campaign to rescue the future."

What a long, strange trip it's been. Jonathan Lerner has faced his demons. Richard Neville has become one.

PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE: columnist John Derbyshire is actor Harry Dean Stanton.

EXCUSE me, but has Utah been hosting some form of sports carnival? Can someone tell me who won? I've been watching the Test cricket from Johannesburg.

Test matches are usually played over five days. Australia defeated South Africa within three.

Among the highlights:

Australia's victory, by an innings and 360 runs, was the second largest winning margin in 125 years of Test cricket;

South Africa's defeat was its worst ever;

Australia's Adam Gilchrist scored the fastest double-century ever in Tests;

Australian Shane Warne's six wickets moved him into second place on the all-time bowlers' record list;

Three Australians scored centuries in Australia's first innings score of 652 for seven, which was a record total against South Africa;

And Glenn McGrath's eight wickets cost fewer than seven runs each.

Australia stands astride world cricket like some freaky mega-super-colossus, swatting aside all who would dare challenge us. Two more Tests await in the current series.

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

Andrew Sullivan: We are at war with Nazis; Sontag imagines an American jihad; campaign finance reform favours Republicans; you vill pay our taxes, says German chancellor; promising, albeit Botoxed, Democrat identified; ask Bob!; Frank Rich reeks of deceit; wealthy correspondent writes; scary Derby pic

Glenn Reynolds: More plagiarism watch; Mugabe prepares to take flight; Krugman's rep dissolves before our very eyes; something big happening in Somalia; Tracy Quan's weblog is free, but no kissing; MRC analysis of the Axle of Elvis; Jesse Helms, scientist; purple-haired libertarian; kids learn the true meaning of patriotism; wonderful Weatherman recollections

Glenn Reynolds on FOX

Matt Welch: Live across Denver … it's Matt Welch!; Old Man Welch celebrates his 63rd; mysterious Linse-like female takes over BadDude website; Slobobos Googled by global crew; Dr Frank's site runs what independent punk press rejected, and it's terrific

Bjørn Stærk: Dubya teases Chinese with visions of democracy

Rand Simberg on FOX

Ken Layne: Pat Robertson on CNN, off leash; Metafilter headline confounds; the book! The book is finished!; Don for hire; beer fury heats up Winter Games

Ken Layne on FOX

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: WSJ op-ed page working; Rummy's evasive Russert exchange; TV PunditWatch is live; overlooked by the National Post; big crazy thug in Washington

Will Vehrs on FOX

Lawrence Haws: Pakistan's Klan-like race murder law deserves denunciation

James Lileks: Best Jasper picture yet; gothic Gomer Pyle; deals with Satan not good long-term; day-care hysteria explained; Buddy Ebsen craves your blood; preparedness is the key for Cyd Charisse bar invasions; what is it with disease and the Lileks household?

Iain Murray: Teach history, avoid stupidity; gun rights are right, and always have been; scoring a 100 per cent match with Kant on the Philosophy Quiz

Juan Gato: Only the good, like Michael Moore, get rich honestly; Sorkin sucking down 'shrooms again; the usual apologies to readers; accusing himself of pretension

Bill Quick: Horrifying Pearl details not as important as finding his murderers and killing them; fine Steyn; irrational teaching debate; where to now, Mugabe?

Rallying Point: Copyright Law article a keeper; divided minorities; Syrians want Western tourist money and the right to continue hating us

Christopher Johnson: Oddly apposite random Googling; here's to Canada, kings of the rink and the bloody, toothless mouth; French judge wins Winter Olympics backflip contest

Jason Soon: Australia's declining birthrate whined about; Starbucks conquers Lebanon; female writer breaks from the pack on Andrea Yates; DVD coding rips off Australians; how free is my country? Read this and find out; potentially good story mutates into buttheaded sociology; VS Naipaul has finally had enough of the Fisky-Chomsky bleaters

James Morrow: We must help the Wurtzel woman; Jimmy Breslin goes to the dogs – sensational work here, so read it now!

Blog Watch, that's all I ever heard

Blog Watch, how I learned to hate the word

Blog Watch, he's no good they warned

Both sides were against me since the day I was born

We never settled, went from town to town

When you're not welcome you don't hang around

The other children always laughed at me

"He’s noBlog Watch IIorBlog Watch III"


JUST A THOUGHT: If Blogger ever relaunches as a larger, better-funded Net publishing service, it should consider changing its name to Mumia.

Imagine all the free advertising! Demonstrations worldwide would appear as though they were defending the exciting Net business. "Why, look at all these young Internet activists," Wall St types would gasp. "What tremendous brand loyalty!" Any faults with the revamped service could be rectified with a "new trial for Mumia".

Of course, Bloggers would become known as Mumians, but that's not important. What is important is that the service remains free. Free Mumia! Let the voice of the voiceless be heard!

THE IOC GETS TOUGH ON DRUGS: Spanish skier Johann Muehlegg has tested positive for darbepoetin – but he'll be allowed to keep two of the three gold medals he won in Salt Lake City.

That'll teach him.


BILL CLINTON believes America's strength will last for no more than "a few decades."

The 42nd Prez, in Australia to shake down corporate donors and build on that legacy, told the 2002 World Congress on the Peaceful Reunification of China and World Peace in Sydney on Saturday that the US would be all-powerful for "just a brief moment in history":

"This is just a period, a few decades this will last, and I think that all of us who are Americans should think about this and ask ourselves how do we wish this moment to be judged 50 years from now."

Well, who knows? Clinton might be right. The weird thing is, he apparently thinks that a weaker US would be a good thing. According to AAP:

"Acknowledging the United States would not be the world's most powerful nation forever might lead to a better approach in its current international relations, former US president Bill Clinton said."

Some further quotes from Clinton's speech:

"How would we like to be treated when we no longer have this pre-eminent position and we have to work in a cooperative fashion with others to a far greater extent than we have to do today?

"It seems to me if we would think about it like that it would be much more likely to lead all Americans, without regard of their party, to making the right decisions about how we should approach a lot of these problems that we face.

"I feel that I should be careful in what I say [but] I believe that the [current US] President has been much more interested in international cooperation since September 11th, and I take that to be a very positive sign."

Clinton is downright sounding Carterish. Scary.

THIS is just plain sad. Among the top ten-selling non-fiction books in Australia this week are the following:

On Equilibrium, by bulb-headed Canadian leftist lightweight John Ralston Saul.

Ralston Saul's latest is the best selling non-fiction work in the country. Possible explanation: teen ravers think it's a user's guide to a new party drug combining Ecstasy and Lithium.

This review, by Australian Saul suckup Bob Ellis, claims that Saul's only fault is that he naively believes humankind in general "can be nudged towards sensible solutions as easily as Canadians." Sensible = socialism.

The Curly Pyjama Letters, by Mr Retarded Childhood Innocence himself, Michael Leunig.

In which Australia's favourite grey-haired pixie-hippy-halfwit cartoonist commits serial crimes against taste, sense, and reason. Currently at number four after eleven weeks in the top ten.

Leunig is, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, "worried about our psychic health and diagnoses a widespread denial of our painful, anguished state. In times of war it is not only those directly involved who can be damaged; entire societies can be brutalised by the war mentality. He worries that 'sick souls' in corporate, political and military life are making vital decisions."

September 11, by Noam "Chump" Chomsky.

Not really a book, but a collection of Noam's post-attack reactive scribblings for various journals bound together in book form for ease of disposal.

"I'm kind of simple-minded," admits Noam in this Salon interview. What a fucking news flash.

LEO Schofield's Sunday Telegraph column is the most powerfully boring on earth. You want bland insights into the painfully obvious? Leo's your man. These are the highlights – I swear to Christ, the highlights – of Leo's latest column, for which he was sent all the way to Utah:

"Greetings from Salt Lake City, home of the Osmonds, the Mormons, Roseanne Barr and the 2002 Winter Olympics."

"By God it's cold."

"It was inevitable that the exotically named Apolo Anton Ohno, the speed skating wunderkind from Seattle, would win gold. He's good."

"Security is tight here in Salt Lake. Really tight."

There you have it, from Leo the Lame: Salt Lake City has Mormons, winter is cold, the best athletes win, and for some reason security is an issue in the US these days. Upcoming in future Leo columns: cars have wheels, fish can't speak, it gets dark at night, and there is something going on in Afghanistan that is attracting quite a lot of attention at the moment.

I AM A TERRORIST. That's Matt C.'s opinion after reading my Fox News column. Here's Matt's letter, which in tone and content is typical of the rantings of the post-September 11 kindergarten Left:

"I hope you're fired for thinking the sane person should go out and get a gun. You should be the one that nervous right wing soccer moms are calling the CIA over."

Nervous right-wing soccer moms. Sounds like a great name for Frank Black's next band.

"I reacted to September 11th by calling my aunt, seeing if it was ok, and hoping people would immediately question americas fucking horrible international policies."

No more aid to Afghanistan!

"After so many days of 'America At War,' where THERE WAS NO WAR AMERICA WAS INVOLVED IN, and seeing everyone throwing rocks at Arabs, I was sick of america."

Everyone is throwing rocks at Arabs? What part of the US are you living in, Matt?

"Sick of patriotism, this rampant nationalism once found in more fascist countries. Yes, around 3000 people died. At the same time, around 39,000 people outside of the US died that day as well, but we are used to that, seeing as we perpetrate many of the actions ourselves."

Stop Amerikkka!

"America does not have a clean track record, or a reliable government, I am very scared by the patriot act and the recent 'terrorism' bills that allow anyone to stop me for any reason, Bush's only plan to stop terrorism is apparently taking away all of our civil rights."

Have you actually been stopped, even once? Could you please list the civil rights you no longer enjoy? Do you understand the function of a comma?

"Dissent has been eliminated by stupid and incompetent biased one-sided right wing writers like yourself, saying CITIZENS, ARM YOURSELF, THE ARABS ARE COMING."

We're not that stupid, then, are we? You call us incompetent, but we've totally eliminated dissent. And it only took us a few months.

"Cracking jokes about arabian citizens, teaching children to hate, they think video games cause problems.. they should take a look at slanted media checked and even fed by groups such as the CIA."

I'll be right back. Someone's at the door. Hey, great! It's another delivery of lobsters and pie from the CIA!

"The OSI, the CIA's newest office, was founded to send black propaganda over seas to 'ensure our safety' and were minimally worried about possibly losing a little bit of credibility."

Who are they sending overseas? Al Sharpton?

"I thought we were working on this world peace agenda, yet israel/palestine, columbia/farc, korea/us, and all the other obvious problems are thrown out because they think they can get away with shorting us out on more rights."

It's all a plot, Matt. A plot to remove your rights. Your right to use capital letters for proper nouns – removed! Your right to coherence – gone!

"The conservatives have come back to power and I, for one, will not stand it."

Washington trembles.

"I call every senator for NY (I live in rochester), the white house hotline, write letters, and participate in peaceful grassroots movements to try and ensure civil liberties that should have been given to us by the constitution, but are obviously abused."

You called the White House hot line?

"I really hope the ever-slanted sensationalist fox news network, who really has no credibility itself anymore (after cancelling such a thought-inducing critique of modern society as family guy and replacing it with none other than … GLUTTON BOWL?), should let you go to find your weapons, or at least report YOU as a terrorist, for this racial profiling and bullshit."

So that's the extent of your civil rights restrictions … no more Family Guy. Why, this is worse than Nazi Germany! (By the way, when did Family Guy run on Fox News? After O'Reilly? Before Hannity and Colmes? Did Stewie Griffin appear on the Beltway Boys?)

SMART and snappy Joanne Jacobs writes FoxNews.com's weekend Blog column. Among those zinged therein are pompous college presidents, stupid educators, timid state employees, and Berkeley pinheads.

WHO will become the new editor of the London Times? The NY Daily News (no link to this story available) believes the job will go to Robert Thomson. And why would Times owner Rupert Murdoch select Australian-born Thomson, currently editor of the US Financial Times? Let the NY Daily News explain:

"They speak the same language, since Murdoch was also born in Australia."

Guess that rules out anyone from England, where they only speak English. (Thanks to Peter Gilmore, formerly of Sydney's Daily Telegraph, now shaking them up at the NY Post.)

BLOGGER MEDIA INVASION CONTINUES: Via the ever-alert Damian Penny, this National Post article on bloggers and blogging. Ken Layne features extensively:

"I was surprised when FoxNews wanted actual blogs as part of its site," Layne said in an e-mail interview from his home in Los Angeles, "because commercial news sites want to keep the readers there and blogs encourage people to leave [by linking to outside pages]. But good blogs become habits, and the voice of the writer ends up being important as the interesting or timely links. So maybe a bunch of blog readers check out FoxNews for the first time and maybe they come back for other stuff."

Layne does not deny that blogs are influencing the news business. "Matt Drudge is really the father of news-blogging," Layne said, "and his effect on news sites is gigantic. The new book by The Washington Post writers [The News About the News by Leonard Downie and Robert G. Kaiser], acknowledges that Drudge is responsible for a huge chunk of washington post.com's traffic. That's what the bloggers really do: Point people to good stories and tear apart dumb stories."

Layne hopes more newspaper columnists might learn something from bloggers' attitudes. "U.S. papers are so damned dry," he said. "I mean, who picks up the paper and says, 'I wonder what the Pentagon reporter has to say this morning.' The good bloggers are not much different from old-time newspaper columnists. They have a style, they have a personal connection with readers, they don't seem like factory-made op-ed writers. Maybe newspapers will inject some of this first-person style into the news columns. What I hope news sites learn from blogs is that personality matters."

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

Andrew Sullivan: Mariane Pearl as brave as her husband; Book Club quagmire; report from Cool Britannia; get Krugman, urge letter writers; Bill Moyers wigging out; don't cave to kidnappers; dim Jim Carter; Noonan works out Rummy

Glenn Reynolds: Welch's hot legal team; cluster bombs were aimed, not scattered; Rachael the guy; no, she's a chick; and soon to be a wealthy chick; Googling the Slobobos; airport baksheesh shakedown

Glenn Reynolds on FOX

Matt Welch: The Original Home of the Googled Slobobo; another helpful idiot list; Michael Moore tries on the funny hat

Rand Simberg: French non to axis invasion; Rummy ain't no WASP; stupid Gitmo suit thrown out

Rand Simberg on FOX

Ken Layne: Another perfect day - he loves LA; bogus Gates murder site

Ken Layne on FOX

Shiloh Bucher: Student-Professor feud erupts on Amazon.com; hot Curry stories; get rid of the Electoral College, prepare for anarchy; click on "G-Force" in the Wonderbra post to see Gabrielle Ritchens, whose appearance on the sidewalk once caused me to almost crash my car in Oxford St, Sydney

Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna: Blog Watch II expands mercilessly; Ipse Dixit judging scandals taint Will's win; Father Drinan droning; QuasiPundits revealed!; Ivy League supplanted by Cow Colleges

Will Vehrs on FOX

James Lileks: Blocky sprites attack!; Columbine killers behind the games curve; computers need viscera-spraying nozzles; Entertainment Weekly's bullshit NYC golden days; "Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three" a great documentary; Rollie Pollie Elvis; Burgess Meredith as an indicator of Time's Remorseless March; webtheft war begins

Iain Murray: Opinion changed on the death penalty – required reading; an acceptable Euro; David Icke, madman; Canada's identity woes, eh; Britannia rules the ice; new column announced

Juan Gato: Missing Chuck Jones; Michael Moore's huge reeking mass continues fighting for our freedom; jagdorks Googled; Blogcest!

Bill Quick: European talk becomes cheaper by the minute; run, Al, run!; Robert Fisk twists and turns on crosses of his own seamy creation; capitalism cruel in short term, kind in long term; Russian skater a boon to delighted lowbrows; normals invade SF Chron letters page

Christopher Johnson: Doesn't feel quite himself today in wake of Chuck Jones's death; junk science on weight and death

James Morrow: Mild Iranian opinion on Israel and the US; Carter should go back to building rabbit-proof houses

I write a Blog Watch for my website

And I drive the main road

Searchin' through the Blogs

For another overload

I hear you singing in the wires

I can hear you through the whine

And thisteamofBlog Watchers

Are still on the line