3.30.2002

ROBERT FISK – several weeks overdue for another whuppin' – takes his moral equivalence act a step further:


Terror, terror, terror. Like a punctuation mark, the word infects every Israeli speech, every American speech, almost every newspaper article. When will someone admit the truth: that the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a dirty colonial war which will leave both sides shamed and humiliated?

Just listen to what Sharon has been saying in the past 24 hours. "Arafat is an enemy. He decided on a strategy of terror and formed a coalition of terror." That's pretty much what President Bush said about Osama bin Laden. But what on earth does it mean?



Beats me, Bobby. At a guess, it means Arafat is the enemy and a terrorist. But that's just my reading of things.

MILLIONS OF MILLIPEDES MARCH. From the Melbourne Age:


Millipedes stopped the Melbourne to Ballarat train dead in its tracks in the early hours of Good Friday morning.

The sprinter service carrying football fans was unable to continue on its journey because the plant-eating insects had coated the tracks.

For more than an hour, the driver attempted to nudge the train at crawling pace.

The driver's best efforts proved futile, and the train returned to Bacchus Marsh at 1.35am.



Missing from this story: exactly howthe millipedes were able to stop a train. Do crushed millipedes present a safety hazard? Or are we now so highly evolved as a species that we cannot bear to see our multi-limbed, planet-sharing insect brethren destroyed?

MORE BAD NEWS for Michael Moore: Obese People More Likely to Die in Car Crashes.

LOBSTER ATTACK! Attention, seafood clerks of Canada: if Charles Mills wants to weigh his own lobsters, then he's gonna weigh his own damn lobsters, OK?


The Toronto man pleaded guilty to tossing a live lobster at a seafood counter clerk.

Authorities said he became irate when the clerk told him not put the lobsters on the scale himself. He was shopping for 10 of them.

The clerk suffered two small cuts to her hand when she deflected the flying crustacean. The judge banned Mills from the store and gave him 12 months probation.


POOR NATASHA. Everything was meant to be so perfect. All the newspapers loved her, and she gets on television anytime she wants. So why are things going so badly since Natasha took over as leader of The Australian Democrats?


Democrats deputy leader Aden Ridgeway has conceded, nearly a year after the ballot that propelled Natasha Stott Despoja to the leadership, that dumping Meg Lees was a mistake that damaged the party.

"I think that we were probably better off as a party sticking with the leadership we had," he told The Age yesterday.

"In terms of being seen as stable, and as a party that was serious about dealing with national issues, and appealing to the small-l liberal vote, there was a potential that we would have been able to hold on to that part of the voting population."

Days away from the anniversary of Senator Stott Despoja's rise to the top, an Age survey of her colleagues found only three who said the leadership change was a success - Andrew Bartlett, John Cherry and Brian Greig.


3.29.2002

LATEST radio reports claim that two columns of Israeli tanks are closing in on Yasser Arafat's compound. A bulldozer is apparently already at the compound. Arafat is believed to be inside.

Update: Ten News says Israel has declared Arafat an enemy of the state. The network is working fast off some sketchy information, but claims now that a tank has trained its gun barrel directly at Arafat's office within the compound, from a distance of only 15 metres or so.

THE NEW YORK TIMES says that the web is "no longer fun".

Unlike the laff-filled, fun-packed, surprise-on-every-freaking-page New York Times.

FIRST, read this: James Lileks's heartbreaking yet empowering response to the Passover suicide attack.

THEN, consider: he writes this for us to read for free. It's like having Michelangelo drop by to help with the bathroom tiles.

ROBOTS are the future of journalism:


"Frustrated by what he considers a dearth of solid news from the Afghan conflict, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher has set about trying to build a roving, multimedia reporter.

"A remote-controlled robot could help journalists troll for news in the world's hotspots, witnessing battles at close range and even conducting interviews, says Chris Csikszentmihalyi, director of the Computing Culture group at MIT's Media Lab."



Attention, editors! Tired of your reporters coming back from overseas assignments all beaten, bloody, and brainwashed?

Then YOU need the brand new all-automatic Fisk 5000! Just charge up the Fisk 5000’s batteries and send it to the front lines. The Fisk 5000 can do interviews, take photographs, even make crazy robot love with enemies and friends alike! Yes sir, the Fisk 5000 is a complete reporter – but without all the expense claims and obscene, biased copy.

The Fisk 5000 is available in a range of designs, from Young Hotshot to Grizzled Veteran. Custom accessories include the Steely Gaze, Fake Sympathy Generator, Chrome Modem Wig, and Pomposticator. Order your own Fisk 5000 today!

Note to previous customers: a general recall has been issued for another of our robot products, the Ted Rall Jabbertronic. Please return your Jabbertronic to its place of purchase and in recompense you will receive the equivalent of its weight in fish heads. Thank you.

SAY you're aged, oh, anywhere between 15 to 55 or so. All your life you've known about Hitler and Auschwitz and Mengele and the Final Solution and Kristallnacht. Terrible things, terrible people. Terrible history.

Except it isn't history. A version of the same thing is happening right now, in the Middle East. Damian Penny speaks for me and countless others when he writes:


"I notice that I've been posting a lot about the Israeli-Palestine conflict these past few weeks, and some of you are probably wondering why I'm obsessing over the issue. It's because I can't stay silent in the face of this, that's why. The more you read Indymedia or conspiracy-freak websites, the more you hear about what gets printed in the Middle Eastern media about the Jews, and the more cowardly, disgusting attacks on civilians which occur, the more important it is that we speak out. We've already seen one attempt to wipe out the Jews in the past century, and I'll be damned if I'm going to stand aside and watch another."


THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper recently ran a photograph that showed a person smoking.

Yes. A person smoking.

Of course, government officials were quick to pounce. They believe any smoking image promotes cigarettes, and have the power to issue fines of up to $60,000.

The Australian is not taking this threat lightly. Thursday's editorial railed against the government. An extract:


"We thought the idea was to publish newsworthy pictures. Newspapers tell how life is. Some people in public life smoke."



As do some people in government. The Australian should run photographs of government ministers lighting up outside Parliament.

LUCKY AMERICANS. Holden – the Australian arm of General Motors – will soon begin exporting its Monaro coupe to the US. Possibly it will be badged as a Pontiac GTO.

You will want this car.

Or you may want the HSV version, with a Reeves Callaway-tuned Corvette V8. Christ knows I do.

3.28.2002

FOR TOO LONG, MY PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED. Miranda Devine reports on a new force for Australian justice:


"Just founded this month in a New York bar is the G'Day B'rith society, modelled after the Jewish B'Nai B'rith, and dedicated to stamping out vilification of Australians.

"With wonders from Down Under taking over The New York Post and The Times, London, dominating Oscar nominations, getting all the best seats at the Academy Awards and snagging more than their fair share of invitations to the must-go Vanity Fair after-party at Morton's, there are signs Australia's flavour-of-the-moment status is turning sour. Just who do these Arsies think they are? Even if they are Kiwis, like Russell Crowe and the Lord of the Rings mob.

"Hence, New York-based members of G'day B'rith plan a letter-writing campaign every time an Australian is slurred in the US press, or even called 'Aussie'. The organisation has its work cut out for it this week, amid all the weeping and gnashing of Antipodean teeth over the fact Our Nic and 'Our' Russ didn't score an Oscar, and because Our Baz's masterpiece, Moulin Rouge, was scorned, except for awards in costume and art direction."


NOT THE FACE! NOT THE FACE! Lyle Lovett has been bull-stomped in Texas.

I AM entertained by the wrongness of everybody. Tonight Collingwood plays Richmond in the opening game of the AFL season, and so-called experts actually expect Collingwood to lose.

Join me in laughing out loud. Ha! Ha!

Look, please, at this: people employed by The Age newspaper specifically for their football wisdom somehow conclude that Collingwood has no chance at allof victory. Only one of their 16 tipsters selects Collingwood. The Age's computer – a steam-era instrument programmed by a common housecat – thinks Collingwood will lose by 50 points.

(The Age's Jake Niall, by the way, is known to me as a Collingwood fan. Yet he tips Richmond!Niall has revealed himself to be a collaborator.)

The game begins shortly. Every omen points to a Collingwood walkover. How can so many people get it so very wrong?

STEPHEN GREEN is a charming writer with a deft, genial touch. But when things get serious – abominably so, in the wake of the latest Palestinian outrage – Green is capable of rare gravity and power. He proves it today.

SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR THE FISH. From the Geelong Advertiser:


Alex McKenzie loved to get together with his friends but yesterday's gathering was the saddest of all.

More than 400 people paid tribute to the man they described as the local larrikin.

Instead of laughter there were tears as the man who loved to fish and work on cars was taken to his final resting place.

Mourners gathered at Alex's family home yesterday for the funeral of the popular 20-year-old who loved motorcycles and four-wheel drives.

They heard touching tributes in a simple service that celebrated a full life.

Friends sobbed and consoled one another as the coffin with a snapper on top was taken from the house.



via Bernie Slattery

GUARDIAN READERS discuss Michael Moore.

TODAY STARTED BAD, AND ISN'T GETTING BETTER: First we learned that Dudley Moore had died. Now Milton Bearle has joined him.

DAN QUAYLE, INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN: Former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange claims that ex-VP Dan Quayle wanted Lange "liquidated" because of his opposition to US warships docking in NZ harbours.

The NZ Evening Post reports:


Mr Lange said in a TV interview two days ago that former United States vice-president Dan Quayle told the Australian Cabinet in 1989 Mr Lange "would have to be liquidated". Mr Quayle today rejected the claim as "absolute nonsense".



Which it would seem to be. Lange, however, is not backing down. More from the Post:


Mr Lange, who has been particularly impolite to a number of reporters in recent days, hung up today when first telephoned by The Evening Post.

When called again and told The Post wanted a response to Mr Quayle's comment, he said: "Of course they do, that's why you're a hack and you work for the bastards. I've given my word on the matter and you're seeking to (portray) . . . me as a liar.

"You prefer the evidence of a man who can't spell potato . . . who was a ghastly vice-president and who now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Well you and The Evening Post can go and get knotted."

When told The Post was not trying to prove he was a liar but was out to get the facts, Mr Lange relented a little.

"I am content in myself. I know what happened. I've checked my sources again yesterday, I checked them again last night. It's immaculate.

"I'm waiting for all these bastards to set themselves up (names of several journalists) . . . and in due course I'll knock 'em off their perch one by one. All these little sods that wander around trying to prove I'm a liar, I'm going to let them squirm on the spit and then I'm going to light the fire, when it suits me."



Dan struggled with "potato", but can Lange spell "paranoid"?

WHOA! Russell Crowe ran up a $57,000 bar tab after the Oscars. West Hollywood hasn't seen this sort of action since Warren Zevon abandoned vodka.

THE GOVERNMENT wants to ban car advertisements that depict vehicles being driven in any fashion other than sedentary. I've written something about this for The Australian.

DOUG ANDERSON writes television previews for the Sydney Morning Herald. Not that you'd know from reading his copy; in fact, you'd struggle to discover that oldster Doug wasn't a teenage Indymedia gimp. Here's an extract from Doug's preview (sadly not available online) of a recent West Wing episode:


"As ever, the program exposes how matters might proceed if the level of debate in the actual Administration was as open and provocative as it is here – and if the tenth-rate bozo steering the nation at present had the mental acuity of the fictional president. US foreign policy more resembles a concoction by the writers of the vicious cartoon The Itchy and Scratchy Show than the work of the people who create this eminently watchable series."



At least Doug addressed, albeit in passing, the TV show he was meant to be telling us about. Try this next extract; a prize awaits the first person (first person outside Australia) to identify the program Doug is previewing:


"Doubtless the piranhas, leeches, carpetbagging moguls, venal auditors of dubious repute and spin doctors of even less desirability are already conspiring the scenario for next year's Oscars (trademark heavily registered) binge. It's a total crock … a traffic accident of grotesque politics and media masturbation. Big money, glamour and questionable togs designed to reinforce whatever propaganda statement offers comfort to Hollywood's global strategies. These, in turn, provide beneficial stimulation for whatever coalition imperatives may be seen to benefit from a tiny injection of spin."



I've cut eight lines from this that give the game away. Send your guesses my way. A delightful hat is your reward.

FORMULA ONE driver (and occasional fluke winner) Eddie Irvine has triumphed in a legal battle with British radio station Talksport, which Eddie claimed had used his image without permission. Irvine was awarded damages of $3000.

Hooray for Eddie, right? Wrong, as grandprix.com explains:


"This is bad news for Irvine as he last year rejected an offer of settlement from Talksport for $7500 and so has been ordered to pay costs, which could amount to anything up to $500,000. The judge said that the legal teams could appeal his decisions but noted that further legal action will push up the costs still further."



Grand prix drivers. Away from the track they're as slow as any of us.

JOHN PILGER takes Marc Herold's ambit Afghan death count and adds a couple thousand more, just for the hell of it:


"Any attack on Iraq will be executed, we can rest assured, in the American way, with saturation cluster bombing and depleted uranium, and the victims will be the young, the old, the vulnerable, like the 5,000 civilians who are now reliably estimated to have been bombed to death in Afghanistan."



"Reliably estimated"? Pilger doesn't exactly have a history of reliable anything. His estimations are especially suspect.

In July 2000, Pilger wrote that "about 200,000 people walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge as an expression, it was reported, of their 'basic human solidarity' with Aboriginal people." That number is supported by various contemporaneous accounts.

Pilger revisited the Aboriginal march story in January. Now he says the Sydney Harbour Bridge crowd was "almost a million". He repeated this claim recently during a speech at Sydney Town Hall.

A crowd that size would have represented a quarter of Sydney, or one 19th of the entire Australian population. It's bullshit, and Pilger knows it.

Weirdly, Pilger's contradictory stories are both at his website, providing easy pickings for Pilger-debunkers like me. Does he wantto be caught? What kind of self-destructive maniac are we dealing with here?

AUSTRALIA has committed $1 million to Afghanistan for earthquake relief. This is addition to $40 million already donated. When will the West's cruelty end?

BRILLIANT clip-art dude Jim Treacher sends his own Crowe haiku:


Thanks toRussell Crowe

The unthinkable occurs:

Moby seems okay



While we're on the subject of Crowe, reader Greg S. of Chicago has crushing information:


"I was in Los Angeles a couple of months ago and I saw the guy, and he was courteous towards me. He waved me through a crosswalk with a friendly smile. He was on a motorcycle. It was a terrible experience for someone who tries to hate movie stars."



I share your pain, Greg. Filthy movie people … now they're trying to make us think they're nice.

3.27.2002


"WHEN LIFE hands you lemons, what do you do? Right: make a laser-guided lemon capable of taking out super-hardened subterranean smallpox labs."



James Lileks presents the case for a military solution in Iraq. Nick Kristoff provides him with set-up lines so delicious you'd swear they were written by Mike Nichols.

IT IS an article of faith among the craven anti-West left that sanctions against Iraq have killed hundreds of thousands of people. It's all our fault, writes Robert Fisk, who has campaigned against the sanctions for years:


"We have taken enough innocent lives. We have killed enough children."



Yep. All our fault. Nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. You can't blame him. According to John Pilger:


"If Saddam Hussein saw advantage in deliberately denying his people humanitarian supplies, he would do so; but the UN, from the secretary general himself down, says that, while the regime could do more, it has not withheld supplies."



But now we discover that Saddam Hussein has handed out some $10 million to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Lately he's boosted the reward from $10,000 to $25,000 for each family that donates an exploded son to the cause.

That $10 million, of course, could have saved the lives of Iraqi children. Instead it was diverted to murderous imbeciles. Still blaming sanctions, Pilger? What about you, Fisky?

IN SALON'S premium section: "Why does Michael Moore keep saying the Bush administration gave $43 million to the Taliban -- months after that story was debunked?"

Because he's a waddle-gaited, slobber-chinned, faux-poor compulsive deceiver, that's why.

WAYNE & SALLY & ANTHONY & KELLI update: Carey Does Dallas! According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Dallas Cowboys want Wayne:


"Tarnished AFL star Wayne Carey has been approached to play in the American NFL, with the Dallas Cowboys understood to be seeking his services.

"Carey, who retired from the Kangaroos a fortnight ago after having an affair with teammate Anthony Stevens's wife Kelli, has received interest from the glamour gridiron outfit."


PAY NO ATTENTION to Ken Layne's lies. I didn't help him with his wonderful latest FoxNews column; all I did was put him in touch with the Sydney Morning Herald's Paul McGeough.

McGeough is, along with Miranda Devine, the only reason to read the SMH. I once had the privilege of watching McGeough at work, covering the Thredbo disaster in 1997. He is tenacious to the point of obsession. At one point, both of us were dragged away by police and threatened with arrest for some alleged security breach. You know, the usual thing.

A moment like that would hardly register on McGeough's fear meter. Last November he was aboard a jeep that was attacked by the Taliban. Three journalists were killed in the assault.

Now McGeough is covering matters Palestinian, and doing a terrific job. He and Layne should get together some time. They'd definitely end up in prison.

KNOW ANYBODY who wants to make a bunch of money publishing an insider's account of Ralph Nader's 2000 election campaign? Point them towards Matt Welch, who rode shotgun in Ralph's election Corvair. Suggested title: "Unelectable At Any Speed."

A RARE creature emerges, blinking in the sunlight: the latest Australian blogger.

Meet Scott Wickstein, who might be more of a cricket freak than even me. He's also a fellow free-trader. Among his first posts:


"Malcolm Fraser's rant against the US steel tariffs is like a retired whore condemning prostitution. I wonder how other countries deal with their embarrassing retired leaders?"



Scott joins scholarly Sydney libertarian Jason Soon, Perth wonderboy Gareth Parker (check out his alternative Australian flag), drunken Richard Baillie, veteran Geelong journalist Bernie Slattery, commie Rob Corr (who thinks I'm "unfunny" and wrong on illegal immigrants), Andrea See (who is actually Singaporean, but visits Australia occasionally and supports Australia in sports events) and James Morrow, who is from New York but is now based in Sydney, except when he's back in New York, which he is currently.

Nadia and I were with James and his partner Claire in a bar last Saturday. Claire is ferociously Australian.

As she was feeding infant Nick Morrow, James boldly addressed me: "Sir, are you staring at my wife's breasts?" Claire was quick to calm him. "It's all right," she said. "They're out of season."

3.26.2002

RUSSELL CROWE failed to win an Oscar, so the world was deprived of his acceptance speech. What great themes might the awesome actor have touched upon? What poem would he have attempted to read?

With a 45-second limit on Oscar speeches, he'd have likely been restricted to a haiku:


Threatenan old man

Tell him he's apiece of shit

Haveanother drink



Perhaps Crowe's encounter with bulb-headed technoid Moby will provide a hint about the contents of Crowe's undelivered speech. Moby claims Crowe attacked him at a Sydney nightclub, pinning him to a wall and bellowing: "You stupid American, your country, you think you own the world."

May I take this opportunity to remind everybody that Crowe is from New Zealand, not Australia?

WAYNE & KELLI & ANTHONY & SALLY. The greatest story ever told continues to evolve. In recent developments:

An Anglican archbishop says Wayne is a "whipping boy", and a victim of "social cannibalism".

Wayne wishes Anthony "the best", and says he is not thinking about football at all.

Various fans say Wayne is an emotional wreck and that there are "two Waynes", and some condemn his Fox Sports interview as soft. Another writes:


"Come on guys, cut poor Wayne some slack, let him get his mill a year for kicking a ball around. Why should us working people on average salaries be the only ones who can enjoy our best friends and workmates spouses and get away with it, as we all do?"



Wayne says he needs help.

Wayne can't face his ex-coach.

THE sequel to Gosford Park: Gosford Caravan Park.

LESSER CITIZENS may have been beaten into submission by the repressive Bush regime, but Adell Shay refuses to yield. She does not approve! Do you hear? She does not approve!


"I do not approve. Let me state that again – loudly, clearly and emphatically – I do not approve."



Specifically, she does not approve of the "environment of intolerance that has infiltrated America, beginning with the White House, and has silenced those who do not agree."

So how did Adell escape the dissident dragnet? Where is she writing from – a secure location in the Caymans, or a secret vault far beneath the earth's crust? No matter; sooner or later the Death Squads will reach her, and the Silencing will occur.

THAT CRAZY Michael Moore, always with the funny stories … Snopes.com has exposed another of Moore's fabulous tales, this one involving claims that the US government spirited bin Laden relatives out of the country following September 11. Thanks to Henry Hanks for the info.

In other Moore news, his tour diary hasn't been updated for nine days, and the forum at Moore's website remains closed "due to excessively high traffic." But the forum hasn't received any traffic at all since March 20, so why is it still shut down? Could it possibly be that Michigan Fats is blocking our freedom of speech? Oh well, there's always Yahoo …

3.25.2002

ONE MAN'S TERRORIST IS ANOTHER MAN'S CURE FOR BLINDNESS: Australia's Michael Ware reports from Kandahar on the magical properties of dead al-Qaeda soldiers:


"If anyone doubts the ardor of grass-roots support for the anti-American militancy in southern Afghanistan, Kandahar's cemetery for al-Qaeda fighters bears unequivocal testimony. Hundreds of mourners have descended on the graveyard from as far away as Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul and Uruzgan province. What began as daily homages have grown into all-night vigils. Men, women and children sleep by the graves. Devotees recite the Koran throughout the night. The paralyzed, ill and blind flock to the site seeking miracle cures, which many claim to receive."



There's lots of other great detail in Ware's piece. The combative Queenslander has been in the region so long that he's formed his own protective militia – seriously – and enjoys access to zones absolutely denied to other reporters.

One appreciative warlord apparently presented Ware with a tank. When he returns to Sydney, Ware mustwrite a book.

WELL-ARGUED responses continue to roll in from defenders of Michael Moore. This from David Massaron:


"Perhaps in the future instead of pirating everyone else's work you could give a sensible and well written opinion. Did you graduate high school??"



Wonder if Dave thought the same thing about all those lists of stupid Bush quotes …

THE latest inexplicable Google searches to deliver readers to this site: "fraudulent quelching" and "accutane transsexual". Hope you found what you were looking for, freaky web people.

WAYNE & KELLI & ANTHONY & SALLY, episode 1,742: Wayne's Day of Reckoning

Australia's football soap opera goes interactive! Wayne Carey tonight emerges from seclusion in Wagga Wagga to face interviewer Clinton Grybas, and – more interestingly – to be interrogated by the frenzied public.

Send your questions to whitelinefever@foxfooty.com.au, and don't hold back! Broadcaster Fox Sports claims that Wayne has placed no conditions on the interview. We'll see about that.

Meanwhile, Richard Hinds reports on Australian football's "culture of cover-up and denial", and a rambling drunk strolled on to the field to abuse Brisbane players during their match against Fremantle.

THIS FRIDAY is Boat People Day, a national day of moralistic, sanctimonious fun for all Australians.

You can find Boat People Day details here, including a handy guide to building a little paper boat. But why stop at a mere boat? Here are a few more paper-folding ideas to help make this year's Boat People Day the best one ever!

Paper Australian citizen

Look at him, the ignorant brute. He probably voted for John Howard.

Paper detention centre

Burns just like the real thing!

Paper Sydney Morning Herald reader

He's wondering why people don't care as much as he does about the plight of the poor boat people.

Paper shark

Don't fall out of your paper boat, paper boat people!

Paper John Howard

Why does he look so happy? Doesn't he know that he's a bad man?

Paper flying pig

To symbolise the chances of the ABC or the Sydney Morning Herald ever seeing reason on the boat people issue.

AFTER attacking George W. Bush's hypocritical steel tariffs, I got a lot of angry mail from Bush supporters. After attacking Michael Moore's general, all-pervading hypocrisy, I got a lot of angry mail from Moore supporters.

Emails from either camp exhibited distinct differences. First, here are some notes from Bush defenders:

From Jim King:


"While it may be true that in the short-run tariffs may alienate allies, and temporarily hurt the economy, if we as a country fail to see the warning signs and continue our mass consumerism and export of wealth, we will indeed fall. We may have to tighten our belts for awhile, but our country's great economy of the past century was not based on consumerism but on our industrial strength and ability to export our wealth of resources to the rest of the world.

"George Bush sees this (I believe) and he is taking hard steps in the right direction to correct a dying economy so that future generations of Americans will benefit. They may not be popular in the short-term but time will prove him correct. Study your history."



From Tim Dwyer:


"I work in the steel industry. Specifically I work at a forging company. We buy steel from the mills that you refer to in your article. We will pay more for some steel due to the tariffs. Although I don't necessarily think that a tariff is the right approach, I contend that something must be done to protect the steel industry.

"The primary responsibility of a government is to provide for national security. In WWII, our greatest advantage was our ability to quickly rebuild the Pacific Fleet. The steel industry proved to be essential for this. While this might not be relevant to someone living in Australia, as a former United States Marine, it is imperative to me."



And from Leonid Strakovsky:


"You, like many of your kind, just plain don't get it. Unions are bad, I agree. But, it's not the union members that Bush protects. There are industries that are strategic to country existence given that we live in a hostile world. China and Russia use prisoners to work in places like steel making and mines. Whatever you do, you can't compete.

"And if you worry so much about our friends being alienated, how about Japan that practically bars any rise imports, European countries have 400% tax on petroleum, Russia placed a one time tax $6 per barrel on export oil AFTER American companies invested in it's oil exploration. You can go on and on and find these examples."



The emails aren't happy, but do they contain actual arguments. The personal attacks (in all emails received, not just the above) were minimal.

Now take a look at these missives, sent by fans of Michael Moore:

From Peter McNeill:


"Hmmm, sounds like you must be one of those journalists who get a kick out of sucking up to the republican administration, hoping the prez will give you a nickname.

"And learned your 'trade' (and you really have traded away a lot) at the Rush Limbaugh school of information management."



From Forrest Baker:


"So let me guess, W. Bush put you up to this?"



From Brandon Young:


"Mr. Blair why would you take the time to point out that this guy is no different than 99% of all media or celebrities. You are included of course, for everything you say about him you have done the same. I am not defending him but take a look in the mirror pal. I could sit here and give you an endless stream of examples but why waste the time when you already know the truth."



From Rene Carrasquillo:


"Makes me wonder if the purpose of your article is out of anger or of the fact that his book is number one. Does it bother you that his book is number one to the point that you must write this pointless stupid, inaffective article? Rather than waisting time on ridiculing one who speaks truth, why not write an article on how the media has been bought out, and forced to become so called ‘Patriots’? So you can tare apart those who threaten the credibility of the political system. That is the article alot of US have been waiting for. We know it would take some time, but it will come up sooner or later. Face it. The people of this country are slowly, and slowly pulling away from current media corps for reliable news, and looking for the truth somewhere else, and we know that Michael Moore is not the one to blame for that. Have a nice day."



From Nick Murray:


"Regarding Tim Blair's article 'Sometimes Moore is Less', is this all I have to do to be called a reporter? Must've been some really fine Journalism School where Mr. Blair learned to write incisive pieces like this. Really couldn't find the news in the article, but I'll take another look at it and try to find what I'm missing."



And from Suresh Nair:


"How much did FOX pay you for this TIMMY boy ?"



No arguments. No attempt to debate. Just insults, and dumb paranoia.

IT BEGAN with Susan Sontag … Charles Krauthammer charts the idiot left's war against the War on Terror, from September 12 to the present:


"By year's end, with Afghanistan liberated and the Bill of Rights still intact, the opposition moved on. To military tribunals. Alas, no luck. Americans have not much appetite for giving Al Qaeda the run of a massive judicial apparatus designed for those who live by the American Constitution …

"Next? Torture at Gitmo! This story is the purest example of microhysteria — a sudden burst of intense herd sentiment that then disappears without a trace — since the death of Princess Di. The Guantanamo storm was based on a single misinterpreted photograph of bound Al Qaeda captives. 'TORTURED,' screamed the British tabloid The Mail. It took but a few days of fulmination about American brutality before people actually visited Guantanamo and found well-fed prisoners in a Club Med climate with a Koran in every cell and rather fine medical attention. End of story."


KEN LAYNE'S house is falling apart and catching fire. Nobody has any idea why. Perhaps it is haunted by the troubled spirit of a long-dead communist tyrant:


BELGRADE (Reuters) - Ghosts including that of the late communist leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito are stalking a Yugoslav apartment block built on an old military graveyard, residents complained on Thursday.

"Something strange is going on here, I tell you," resident Radmila Babic told the Nacional tabloid newspaper.

"Tito's image appears on the wall of our bedroom whenever rain falls on the cemetery," another tenant said referring to a nearby cemetery. Tito's grave is in Belgrade.