WORLD WAR III is a real possibility, according to Australia's defence chief:

Terrorism was not contained, the Middle East was soaring "out of control" and global war threatened, said Admiral Chris Barrie.

"There are some key analysts in the United States, and there are analysts in this country who are forecasting the prospect of a third world war," he said.

Admiral Barrie said civilian safety could not be guaranteed in any country in the months ahead.

"I would just say to people, what do you think is going to happen on September 11 this year?"

THEY REALLY dig those 72 virgins. Paul McGeough reports from Terror Central:

Khaled, a hotel worker, spoke in wonderment of a martyr's encounter at the gates of heaven as someone having their file checked: "There will be blessings for 70 of his family and friends. The 72 virgins are real - their skin is so pale and beautiful that you can see the blood in their veins. If one of these virgins spits in the ocean, the seawater becomes sweet. The martyr is so special he does not feel the pain of being in the grave and all that his family has to do to cleanse his file thoroughly, is to repay his outstanding debts."

Saddam's $25,000 will take care of that. Turns out, by the way, that the Palestinian suicide recruiters won't accept just anyone:

The factions say that suicide volunteers under the age of 18 are rejected. So are married men with children and anyone who is their family's only breadwinner.

See? They're not that bad after all.

JAMES LILEKS explains that picture, in response to some wasteland stoat's solitary imaginings:

The picture was taken at Toy Fair, an annual convention that introduces the next generation of gotta-haves for America's overindulged brattery; I've been to five Toy Fairs, and have had my picture taken with Enviroman, Mr. T, the Cowboys from Moo Mesa, the Power Rangers, various noble Klingons and too many others to mention. The pic was posted in reply to a Clueless post, and I hardly tried to convince anyone that she's my girlfriend, nor would I want to, since it would reflect poorly on my wife - who is much better looking. And if I can grind it in a little harder, lads, each one of those trips to Toy Fair meant a trip to New York, all expenses paid, including liquor and supper anywhere I wanted. And all I had to do was write about clutching bored empty-headed rent-a-Laras.

THE LATEST FOX COLUMN is up. Today's piece is from a collection of essays I've contributed to. The book - Blaming Ourselves: September 11 and the Agony of the Left - is about to be published in Australia. Any potential buyers outside Australia should e-mail me; hit my name at the top left of the page.


These breasts are impossible to ignore. Bursting out of their scanty covering, pressed inwards and pushed upwards, they represent a frontal assault on Sydney.

SHOCK HEADLINE OF THE MILLENNIUM: "Despite its efforts, UN seems powerless".

WHO WANTS TO BE BLOWN INTO A MILLION TINY PIECES? In a crazy Saudi adaptation of the popular TV quiz show, the families of brainwashed Palestinian suicide drones compete for vast riches. From the Sydney Morning Herald, via AP:

A princess donated her Rolls-Royce, a woman gave up her dowry and other Saudis poured millions of dollars into a fund in aid of families of Palestinian "martyrs" in a nationwide telethon on Thursday organised by official television and radio stations.

Wheelchair-bound children braved unseasonable rain in Riyadh to drop cash into boxes outside the TV station. Cars jammed the area, with drivers giving cash, gold jewellery and clothes to volunteers with collection bags.

In the first five hours of the 11-hour campaign, 44 million riyals ($22.7 million) had been donated.

"We love you," Sheik Saleh bin Hussein al-Ayed, of the Islamic Affairs Ministry, said, addressing the Palestinians during the telethon. "We cannot forget you or ignore what's happening to you by the [Israeli] aggressors."

The event, broadcast live by local and Saudi-owned satellite channels, comes at a time when Saudi-based charities have been under scrutiny since September 11 attacks, which Washington says were carried out by 19 hijackers, 15 of them Saudi.

We've always been told that poverty is the cause of terrorism. So what's the deal with the Rolls, the gold, and the millions of dollars, you goat-dicking Saudi sand scum?


RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! It's the cycle of violence!

GREENPEACE, the planet's self-appointed tyrant school marm, has presented its nuclear proliferation report card.

Well done, England! You've got a D+.

Try harder, Russia. Only a D- for you.

France! France, stop throwing rocks at Israel, and quit giving all your lunch money to Germany. Here's your report: D.

China? I'm very disappointed in you. Only an F. And you were doing so well in Mr. Stalin's Advanced Executions studies.

You at the back of the class! America! I've had just about enough of your rough-housing. Let Afghanistan go and come up here to collect your report. It's an F-. That's right; F minus. I hope you're proud of yourself, young man.

Now for some quiet time. Iraq! I said "quiet time", not "fund the murderous Hamas psychotics time"! Put your allowance away and be silent!

BOB "WATERGATE" WOODWARD first met George W. Bush last year. Here is an account of that meeting:

Prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Woodward planned to write a book about Mr. Bush's first year in office. He had spoken to senior advisers but had not met the president until one day at a Connecticut university where Mr. Bush was speaking.

Woodward was waiting offstage when Mr. Bush bounded toward him, filled with enthusiasm and adrenaline.

When Woodward extended his hand and introduced himself, the president said: "Duhh! I know who you are." A moment later, Mr. Bush squeezed Woodward's head and called him "Woody."

An old-fashioned presidential head-squeezin'! You have to go way back to T.R. for that kind of thing.

AND THIS IS HOW THEY EAT MY LEG … from the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

A famous shark researcher who said his knowledge of sharks kept him from being bitten lost part of his leg to one on Wednesday as he led a class on the predators' behavior.

Erich Ritter, 43, was in waist-deep water with four students at Walker's Cay in the Bahamas when what was thought to be a big lemon shark [note: not to be confused with the even deadlier lemon chicken] bit off a large portion of his left calf. He went into shock and was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Hospital officials confirm Ritter was treated there, but would release no further information.

Ritter, who lives in Miami, has told the media he can keep sharks away by modifying his heart rate. In August 2000, he told The Associated Press he had never even been nipped, attributing that largely to his ability to understand sharks' body language. Ritter could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

According to an earlier article, Ritter prefers the term "shark accident" to "shark attack". Whatever, hoppy.

LAST WEEK poor More Than Zero complained hatefully about The Wiggles, a virus-like children's entertainment troupe from Australia. MTZ had been subject to hours of video Wiggles frolicking, and emerged from the experience scarred and twitching.

My young nieces are Wiggle fans. That is to say, if – or perhaps when – the Wiggles announce that it is time to join the Alien Masters drifting in the wake of the Hale-Bopp comet, my nieces will have their Nikes affixed within seconds.

Sadly for MTZ, the Wiggles movement continues to grow. Last year they earned $14 million – almost as much as the Crocodile Hunter, and more than Kylie Minogue.


SPIDERMAN, BATMAN, DUCKMAN, ALTERMAN: I don't know too much about this Eric Alterman guy, except that he sounds like a choir-based superhero and the few columns of his that I've read have made me feel angry. Angry and tired.

But he sure can spin. Matt Welch has been chronicling Alterman's attempts to twist his way out of some hellacious journalistic bungle, and with each passing day Alterman increases his revolution rate. He's presently humming along at about 15,000rpm.

Soon he will achieve liftoff. Look! Up in the sky! It's … ALTERMAN!

THE LATEST Bleat is up, and a whipsong of a Bleat it is. Lileks addresses those Warblog profiteering accusations – you know, the big issue all week with the Senate subcommittee – and by the time he's done, accusers all are scattered limp upon the ground.

This ruthless ground-scattering ability is a genetic trait, apparently. No sense extracting highlights; just go read. Special feature: abundant local angles for the Australian web consumer.

IN HIS April 8 CNN interview, Michael Moore announced: "I have never met a stupid black person."

Lardo the Liar strikes again. Moore has met O.J. Simpson, who he described in his book Downsize This! as being too stupid to have murdered Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. From an Amazon review:

Moore aims his broadsides at such deserving targets as Washington lobbyists, institutional racism, and a rogue's gallery of overcompensated CEOs. He also lets his hair down sufficiently to discuss "My Forbidden Love for Hillary Clinton," and to argue that O.J. Simpson was too stupid, rich, and unenterprising to be guilty. Righteous indignation is seldom this funny.

Does this treble-chinned burger-processing unit ever tell the truth?

(Thanks to reader Steven Dalla Vicenza for the tipoff.)

GOUGH WHITLAM says he'll donate his brain to science. This is news to many Australians, who thought he already had. Decades ago.

CAR COMPANIES have caved in to the anti-free speech lobby. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Racing a car around toys in a driveway, using 4WDs to play soccer on a beach, or terrorising tractor drivers with a fleet of fast hatchbacks - all these scenes could be wiped from TV screens.

The car industry yesterday volunteered to put the brakes on advertisements that glorify speed and reckless driving.

It met Federal Government officials to discuss a code of conduct following public outcry.

What "public outcry"?

READER Doug Buckser is correct on both counts:

G'day Tim,

While driving to basketball last night and contemplating how badly the mighty Magpies are going to destroy piss-weak Carlton on Friday night, the ABC news broadcast at 9 p.m. destroyed all inner harmony.

The description of the Hamas-backed bomber who blew up a bus was a "Hamas operative".

The ABC appears to believe that the suicide bombers are the equivalent of salaried security agency members. They're not terrorists - they're out-of-uniform soldiers. Presumably the next step is to label the suicide bombers "freedom fighters".



LETTERS TO AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS. Various A-grade moronisms emphasised:

The sooner we stop demonising so-called suicide bombers, the better we will understand the reasons for their acts of courage and sacrifice. The sooner we start to look at the world through their eyes, the quicker we will accept the need to change the world they live in – a world where the supreme act of sacrifice is their only way to inflict damage on an enemy they believe is intent on destroying their very reason for living.

Bill Ethell,

Kensington, Vic

The rejected Iraqi refugees should arrive home just in time to be blown to bits by George Bush and his axis of idiocy.

Andrew Laycock,


Why is Dubya hopping mad about Saddam Hussein's order to stop oil exports? Aren't trade embargos what we civilised nations use to express our disapproval of others' political actions. Certainly better than terrorism.

Sam Miller,


Rather than take the moral high ground, and use past injustices as an excuse for current aggression, Jews and Israel should make a more intelligent response. That is to show that we abhor violence, terrorism and war, and that we value human rights and human life above anything. That is what our history should have taught us.

Both sides are to blame for the current war and deaths. The fact that Israel is even being criticised publicly by America shows just how out of line Sharon's policies are. Israel is not and should not be above criticism no matter how much its people have suffered in the past.

Gabe Snyder,

St Kilda

LATEST thing by me in The Australian, notable mainly for containing the phrase "lazy, techno-shy coffin-dodgers".


MICHAEL MOORE, the Ham-Ass terrorist, might be one of the most racist people in America. Here are some extracts from a recent Moore interview on CNN; the pandering and patronising are exceptional:

"I have never met a stupid black person. They are all pretty smart, you know … as a white guy who's not always that smart himself, I found that it's time to really try and make a change here and I thought I would be the one to start doing that."

Moore thinks it's "time to make a change" and that he's "the one to start doing that"? Coretta King should bitch-slap Honky Tubs all the way back to Michigan.

"In front of the camera, we are fortunate to have a lot of African-Americans on as news anchors and reporters or whatever. But behind the camera, if you look around here, right now even at CNN, and actually this is one of the better places, just looking around, you'll actually see one or two. But I work in an industry where it's a pretty much white industry."

And you're pretty much white yourself, Mike, all 48 square miles of you. Is Oprah one of these "news anchors or reporters or whatever"?

"And I just think, you know, instead of complaining about it, why not just do something about it. So I just started hiring black people. And boy, I tell you, it's a lot nicer in the office."

I bet it is, massa.

"White people just -- they are just so, you know, I don't know, just always giving me a lot of problems. I mean, it seems like every problem I've had in my lifetime, whether it was the teacher that flunked me or the landlord that kept my security deposit or the car salesman that sold me a lemon, it always seems to be a white guy."

Note that Moore seems to think his black-friendliness is shocking and confronting in 2002 America, and that blacks are shut out by an entrenched white power elite. Two words, fat boy: Condoleezza Rice.

SOMEONE in the United States is running a giant millipede racket. Australian customs officials have busted it wide open.

THE ISLAMIC world is "the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unhealthy, the most unenlightened, the most deprived and the weakest of all the human race".

Who says so? You might be surprised

MONKEY BUSINESS. From the Melbourne Herald Sun:

An elderly Buddhist monk shamefully exploited five of his followers by having sex with them under the pretext of religious ritual, a judge said yesterday.

Ajarn Manivong, 81, was yesterday jailed for at least a year, despite having only a 50-50 chance of surviving the next 12 months, the County Court was told.

Judge Leslie Ross said Manivong made outlandish claims to young women so he could have sex.

Three of the victims had become pregnant.

THE ENTIRE fucking Palestinian economy is now suicide-bomber based.

Good old Collingwood forever

They know how to play the game …

GARETH PARKER, sleepless with rage and shame over the result of a football match played last weekend, has lashed out in a maddened delirium against my cogent and balanced Media Watch review (see below).

We'll deal with his arguments in a moment. First, let's look at some numbers – numbers that will have no impact at all on readers outside Australia, but will send Gareth reeling to his nearest Perth booze trough:

17 18 120

18 11 119

All righty. Here's Gareth's savage rebuke, which he posted a couple of days ago:

"The Age and the SMH are – despite what Blair keeps telling us – two of Australia's most important newspapers, roughly equivalent to the Washington Post and New York Times in that they are the influential broadsheets of Australia's two largest cities."

He's partially correct. They are newspapers. Influential? No way. No Fairfax-led campaign – from the republic to the Tampa to heroin injecting rooms to any number of anti-conservative causes – has gained ground with the broader public. In fact, Fairfax support is a kiss of death; a final siren, if you will.

"To have them under the control of the bloke who also owns the nation's highest-rating television station might pose a problem for the editorial independence of news services."

He's talking about Evil Kerry Packer. Let's assume that a Packer-controlled SMH and Age would conceal anti-Packer news. Would that make the papers any worse than they are now? So much is already buried or distorted by the Fairfax press that many would tolerate a Packer-friendly Fairfax that covered other topics currently ignored or wilfully twisted.

Not that I think Packer would actually be bothered interfering to any great degree. He wants Fairfax for its advertising revenue, and doesn't much care for print media otherwise.

"This is a legitimate concern, that Media Watch is correct to raise, especially when media ownership laws – that currently prohibit ownership of a newspaper in the same city as a television station – are under review. That it is 'a point Marr has been labouring for many years' does not make it any less valid."

Marr and Parker – whose football team, by the way, is coached by a timid pharmacist – fail to examine the best media ownership option: complete deregulation. Packer loathes the idea too, because if the market were to be deregulated, he'd be revealed as a minor player in the global media world, and Fairfax would not be his to buy. Other, bigger players would easily outbid him.

Because Marr believes that the media should be controlled, he rarely touches on deregulation. This is why he gets so bound up about Packer, who is the only Australian rich enough to buy Fairfax. Marr wants it both ways: to keep Fairfax locally owned, and to keep it out of Packer's hands. It can't be done, son. Not fairly, anyway.

"Blair, it must be remembered, has an almost pathological hatred of the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald. But in dismissing these concerns as 'Bad Things', I'm yet to hear him explain how editorial independence or the interests of good journalism will be protected."

The market, not the government, serves to protect good journalism. It does so by paying for it and keeping it alive. The worst journalism is not responsive to public need.

It's worth mentioning here that the current lamentable media situation in Australia is less to do with wicked owners than with government regulations that restrict mass ownership to a small pool of proprietors. The likes of Conrad Black have been blocked. Competition and therefore quality suffer. Australia's press is the WAFL of world journalism.

As for editorial independence, the wholly-state funded ABC should, in theory, be completely independent, at least according to the Marr/Parker model. Media Watch is an example of how it isn't. The ABC is captive to a cranko-leftist mindset that is reflexively hostile to free thinking and market solutions.

In conclusion, allow me to present some further compelling numbers:




STUPID HAMDI Qandil has returned to Egyptian television. This is the guy, you'll recall, who demands boycotts of US products – but drives a Jaguar.

Which was made by Ford.

Which is a US company.

WORLD WARS Two and Three compared, by The New Republic's Yehuda Mirsky:

There has been an astounding and historically unprecedented adoption of Nazi-like anti-Semitism not only by Arab masses, but also Arab governments, including our ostensible ally, Egypt. This results not only from the fact that the material is out there, and not only because "the enemy (Hitler) of my enemy (Jews) is my friend," but also because, then and now, Jews both exemplify and champion the Western political and socio-economic order that has given them enormous freedoms and opportunities--all while clinging to a particular and demanding ethnic identity. The dynamic tension that poises them on the cusp of local and global, old and new, is in no small part what makes Jews interesting and, for people whose own sense of identity is deeply threatened, maddening to watch. Moreover, while Israel is not a colonialist state, its founders made whatever use they could of the configurations of colonial power. Today, it stands as a reminder of the European map-drawing that created nearly every Middle Eastern border. Worst of all, it's an achievement by the people who used to be pathetic outcasts. (As one Yale-educated Saudi put it to me: "The State of Israel is the living embodiment of the castration of Islam and that is why it must be destroyed. To be defeated by America is one thing, but by Jews?")


TWO NEWSPAPERS, TWO SETS OF NUMBERS. First, the opening par from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Australia will have to accept or find another home for at least 311 boat people after the Immigration Department and the United Nations yesterday declared them genuine refugees in the first test of the "Pacific solution" border protection policy.

And now, the opening par from the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Just seven of the 292 Afghan refugees being detained by Australia on Nauru have been found to be genuine refugees. It is expected the remainder will be returned to their homes from the island from July.

These pieces aren't necessarily contradictory (although the Herald Sun puts the number of people picked up by the Tampa at 301, while the SMH claims 433); instead, what we have here is an indication of the respective papers' attitudes.

The SMH gathered data from every refugee camp to come up with its 311 figure, and dropped the Tampa information to the fifth paragraph. It has the effect of making the government appear bad. The Herald Sun focused on the Tampa, which stands as a more memorable single episode of refugee arrival, and makes the government appear good, or at least somewhat justified. Interesting, isn't it?

Welcome to MEDIA WATCH WATCH, the webcolumn that watches the program that watches the media.

Last night was new host David Marr's first Media Watch. He promised last week that he would provide "very serious exposés … I'm very interested in things that don't appear … things that are quashed by courts, sat on by management or blocked by government."

So what stories did he run? Let's see:

The Northern Territory News (circulation: 1,000 people and two kelpies) incorrectly identified the Queen Mother. They called her Queen Elizabeth I! Imagine! Surely they will now close their newspaper out of shame!

A chap called Colin Stanley-Hill appeared on early morning television and in an op-ed in The Australian offering his opinion on the Queen Mother's death. Colin claimed to be a personal aide to the old biddy. Media Watch have discovered that his claim was somewhat inflated. Good Lord!

Marr became grave as he reported the death of Chris Aurora, international stringer for the Daily Telegraph. Turns out the name was a concoction, slapped on AP or Reuters copy which otherwise had no byline. Telegraph editor Campbell Reid has recently ended this practice, providing Marr with his witty death gag.

There was no question about the accuracy of the reports, incidentally. Just that there was no such person as Chris Aurora (named, as everyone at the Telegraph knows, after the Aurora Hotel, where the Telegraph staff drink.)

Big deal. We invented names all the time at the old Truth newspaper. Wire copy from Greece was given the byline "Con Crete". The sports editor refused for some reason to use his own name on stories which ran outside of the sports pages, so used the alternative title "Henry Lippman".

Much of my own copy ran under the name "Dr Malcolm Bollard", who was billed as "the world's foremost authority". On every Bollard story, an asterix pointed readers to a fuller description: "Dr Malcolm Bollard is a recognised expert."

(I wonder how Marr will react when he learns about Pops McDonald, the Telegraph's long-time fictional letter-writer, turned columnist, turned autobiographer. Or that Melbourne motoring writer Bill Tuckey wrote for decades as Romsey Quints. Big stories, Dave! Expose the lies!)

So far, so what. Next, Marr revealed that the Nine Network wasn't running negative stories about its owners. There's a shock. This angle was simply to drive a point Marr has been labouring for years: that if the Nine-owning Packer clan were to take over the Fairfax papers, Bad Things would happen.

As Marr put it, there would be a greater chance of David Hicks receiving a fair trial than of Fairfax papers running anti-Packer news under Packer ownership.

Hicks is Australia's John Walker Lindh. The Indymedia elves wish him a fair trial, too.

Which brings us to an interesting point; there is a war on in Afghanistan, and war of a kind happening in the Middle East. Coverage of those conflicts has been erratic, error-prone, and marked by bias. Marr all but ignored this, except to briefly point out an apparently faked live TV cross to Gitmo.

He could have examined the Sydney Morning Herald's casual anti-Israel bias, evident even in the newspaper's Icon web review section last weekend, which mockingly diminished Palestinian terrorism by putting those words in quotes. It also recommended www.pna.net as a great place to find "the latest news and graphics about the Palestinian struggle", and promoted the Peace Now site as providing "an alternative voice from the hard line of the ruling Government … the light blue outline of the peace dove illustrates the values of the organisation."

Or he could have asked why the SMH ran a days-old Maureen Dowd column about the US Office of Strategic Influence after the office had already been closed. Or why the SMH allows rugby writer Peter FitzSimons to opine on subjects he knows nothing about, and which he always gets wrong – the war in Afghanistan will fail, the Governor-General will resign within a week, Australian Rules football was invented in the 20th century …

Or why the SMH letters editor published claims that Chris Corrigan had physically harmed striking dock workers, and even after apologising in print left the offending letter on the SMH website for days. Or why Margo Kingston’s gigantic errors about Enron were never corrected. (For that matter, where is Margo? She promised she'd be back on April 2). Or why SMH television reviewers spend more time writing about the evils of capitalism and the US than they do about TV.

Beats me why Marr didn't examine these things.

Perhaps it's because Marr works for the SMH.

UPDATE: Crikey publisher Stephen Mayne thinks David Marr did a fantastic job. I suspect he's one of the few; within minutes of the Media Watch close, one of Australia's more significant editors called me with a crushing analysis of Marr's performance. Emails from other media types express similar views.

Here's Mayne's (slightly edited) review, from his subscriber e-mail service (go here to become a Crikey subscriber):


David Marr got off to an absolute flyer in his debut game for the Media Watch team - 3 Brownlow votes first up for the gun recruit.

He opened up exposing a couple of chestnut hoaxes. The first was a royal watcher wearing a grotesque rug who had several news outlets fall hook, line and sinker for his line that he was an attendant to the Queen Mother (Gaw' bless 'er). All it took was one phone call from Media Watch to establish that this bloke's yarn about being so entrenched in the inner sanctum that he read a newspaper article to the Queen Mother was complete bollocks.

The second was the Sydney Daily Terror's hoax of "Chris Aurora", their intrepid foreign correspondent who managed to find himself in all of the world's hotspots, apparently travelling at the speed of light from one destination to the next. Chris Aurora was in fact the pseudonym used on otherwise nameless foreign wire reports. Marr presumed this was the work of sub editors in honour of their local watering hole, the Aurora hotel just around the corner from News' headquarters in Sydney's Surry Hills.

Marr's big hit was on Channel 9 and their failure to report damning news against Big Kerry and Young Jamie.

Channel 9 in Melbourne and Sydney completely failed to report damning allegations by Brad Keeling in his Federal Court testimony that Young Jamie and PBL CEO Peter Yates had concocted a yarn about the plight of One.Tel and the fact that they'd been "seriously misled". [Mayne is possibly being a little unfair; allegations were aired in Sydney, albeit incompletely, as Media Watch mentioned.] Marr also noted that Channel 9 had failed to report a loophole in legislation which would allow Big Kerry to make political donations of over $50,000, despite the legislative intention of banning casino owners from doing so.

Both of these stories had been widely reported in the non-Packer media.

Just as one was thinking "well, that might be splitting hairs - someone has to make a judgment call as to what's newsworthy", Marr pulls out a story from the Today Show the following day which was a shameless puff piece promoting PBL's participation in a film development joint venture.

Well done and welcome back Media Watch, we've really missed you and wish you the very best of luck.


AUSTRALIA'S Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Philip Ruddock, last month proposed a five-point plan to better assist Aborigines. Those five points are:

Shift the policy emphasis towards individuals and families.

Target primary school students' literacy and numeracy skills.

Equal emphasis on each individual's responsibilities as well as rights.

Substance abuse should be a central focus of indigenous health strategies.

Ensure general programs cater to Aborigines so indigenous-specific funds go to areas of greatest need.

And fairly harmless, sensible points they seem to be. But Aboriginal leaders and the screaming weenies at the Sydney Morning Herald disagree. Here's some SMH-sourced response to the five points:

Patrick Dodson, the "father of reconciliation" … told Mr Ruddock a crisis meeting was needed over his policy direction.

Mr Dodson said he told Mr Ruddock: "You've got the five-point plan. We don't like it. We don't understand it. You don't understand why we don't like it and you don't understand why we don't like you."

Geoff Clark has joined other black leaders in warning that he will fight the five-point plan … if its emphasis on individuals becomes an attack on collective rights.

The Kimberley leader, Peter Yu, has called the proposals a "misconstrued ideological push for assimilation".

Indigenous academic Professor Marcia Langton said it was an attempt to turn Aborigines into whites.

Chief executive officer of the NSW Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, Sandra Bailey, said they would impose "culturally incompatible values of rugged individualism at the expense of the Aboriginal community".

Read the five points one more time. Try to find the sections that will do these terrible things.

REJOICE, FOR WE ARE THE BELLIGERATI! Here's Salman Rushdie in today's Melbourne Age on the crazy left's latest slur for us pro-war monsters:

"I woke up the other day to find myself transformed by the British liberal media into a member of 'the belligerati'. So did Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis. It's a term coined in The Guardian to describe those who have supported the United States campaign in Afghanistan, by the ex-revolutionary Tariq Ali, an enthusiastic advocate of the 'blowback' or 'America deserved it' analysis of the September 11 atrocities.

"This Two Dollar Shop jeer was immediately pronounced 'brilliant' by a second leftist journalist, while a third described my pleasure at the fall of the Taliban as a 'premature celebration of victory'."

Actually, The Guardian didn't coin "belligerati"; the first mention of it I can find is in this article from a six-month-old Village Voice.

Speaking of old, Rushdie's piece first appeared in the Guardian more than two weeks ago. The Age has only just picked it up. Thus, when Rushdie refers to "the other day", he's talking about March 16 - the other month.

Only the Parthenon has columns older than those in Australia's Fairfax press.

LEFTY mope David Marr hosts his first Media Watch tonight. The program is meant to expose bias and error in the nation's press.

Bet every cent you've got that anything suggesting a left wing bias will never be mentioned, although most newspapers and the (wholly state-funded) ABC are choking with it. Marr is a Sydney Morning Herald writer and a constant presence on the ABC.

But wait … in last week's SMH television guide, Marr announced that he wasn't a lefty after all. Asked if he was bothered by perceptions that he is left wing, Marr replied:

"It bothers me because I think it's bizarre. I do not call for the socialisation of the means of production in this country. I just don't."

Glad we got that sorted out. What could possibly have ever given anyone the impression that Marr was left wing?

I'll post a Media Watch Watch shortly after 9.30pm Sydney time. Or much later. It depends on the amount of sedatives I'll need.

BRAZILIAN poet Nelson Ascher sends a note from Paris, which includes this critical review of the recent anti-Israel demonstration:

"Yesterday the anti-Israeli 'manif' passed in front of my Parisian window. Their main slogan was 'Busharon, murderer'. They also made a rather poor pun on carnage: 'busherie'."

As well, Ascher has a clever take on Yasser Arafat:

"I found out the root of Arafat's anger and frustration. He gave the game away when he shouted at Christiane Amanpour on CNN that she should be more precise, or something like that, when talking to 'General Arafat'. The man's not looking for a country, he wants an army to command. He is an Idi Amin. He may even become a martyr, but never a general, while his arch-enemy whatever his shortcomings is a real general, in one of the best armies of the world, a general who has managed to win, and win brilliantly, the decisive battle of an important war. I think this is the thing Arafathead cannot live with."

(Being a cultureless goon, I'd not previously heard of Mr Ascher. Still, it's a strange thrill to learn that he reads this site. Almost as thrilling as an international poet describing ol' Yasser as "Arafathead".)

BAN SEXIST ADVERTISING! From the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Controversial outdoor billboards featuring women in provocative poses could be a thing of the past if recommendations made to the Victorian Government are passed.

A report presented to Women's Affairs Minister Mary Delahunty today calls for a raft of new regulations on outdoor advertising, including a charter committing advertising companies to positive portrayals of women.

The recommendations were welcomed by Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria chief executive Diane Sisely.

She said including outdoor advertising in legislation would give them power to act against sexist advertising.

ICELANDIC READER Andres Magnusson has a great idea:

"Seeing how people are now trying to strip Yasser Arafat of his Nobel Peace Prize (and others are trying to do Shimon Peres the same service) I couldn't help wondering why Tim Berners-Lee hadn't yet received one. I can't think of any one better suited for the award, fulfilling the condition that the winner be the 'person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations'.

"Keeping in mind that Berners-Lee selflessly gave his invention to the world rather than patenting the web should make him an even stronger candidate. But no, the academy is too far busy awarding Joseph Rotblat, Jody Williams and Kofi Annan."

Others, including ex-Novell boss turned Googlemeister Eric Schmidt, have previously urged that Berners-Lee receive a Nobel. Were there any justice, he would.

ONE of Australia's greatest sports writers, Les Carlyon, farewells another: The Age's Peter McFarline, who died yesterday morning. He was 57.

LAST YEAR the Sydney Morning Herald ran a series of articles moaning about the crisis in small Australian rural towns. Governments had cut social services, there were no jobs, everyone was leaving, and so on.

On Saturday the SMH wrote about some booming rural communities on the New South Wales north coast. Investment is up, property values increasing, construction work aplenty, etc.

And the SMH is still unhappy. The problem now? Poor people can't afford the rent, the small-town charm is vanishing, city folk are moving in …

MANCHESTER UNITES BETHLEHEM! Story courtesy of the Palestine News Agency. Some additional commentary by me:

London, UK, April, 7, 2002, Wafa - A Jewish woman from Manchester spoke last night of her terror after fleeing Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition into a crowd of peace protesters.

(This "fleeing" happened after she'd flown all the way from the UK to Israel, then gone to Bethlehem, then advanced on an Israeli tank during a time of frantic military action. What was she expecting – Euro Disney?)

Jo Bird, 31, a manager with the Co-operative Bank, watched as three of her friends were shot (at) during the peace demonstration in Bethlehem on Easter Monday.

(Bird's bumpkin bank sponsors such things as bicycle rallies. "As one of the largest organisations in Manchester, we are delighted to be supporting these popular events," the Mankie cow swooned last year. "We shall be providing all sorts of Co-op goodies to keep the cyclists going, from fair trade chocolate to Co-op cornflakes." Fair trade chocolate?)

Her friend Kate Edwards (real name Sharyn Lock), an Australian living in Manchester, is still in hospital in the West Bank after being hit in the stomach.

(Lock doesn't need her stomach. In 1997 she went on a hunger strike in Risley prison to protest genetically modified food on the prison menu.)

She underwent surgery to remove four bullet fragments, which ruptured her stomach and caused severe internal injuries (were the fragments genetically modified?). Ms Bird was holed (yeah, four times) up in a hotel in Bethlehem for three days until the British consulate stepped in to evacuate her and six fellow peace activists, including the comedian Jeremy Hardy. She finally flew home on Thursday evening.

Ms Bird, whose Jewish parents support her activities (maybe they thought she'd meet a nice doctor), told The Independent on Sunday: "We were peacefully marching in Bethlehem and then, without warning, two Israeli soldiers began firing live ammunition out of an armored personnel carrier.

"I was terrified. It was completely outrageous. My main concern was for my friends who were injured. I was close by when they were hit.

"I feared for my life, for sure. The soldiers carried on firing at us for 10 minutes." (And somehow didn't kill a single one of you. No wonder Arafat is still alive.)

The demonstrators, under the umbrella (obviously a bulletproof umbrella) of the International Solidarity Movement then began, Ms Bird said, an orderly retreat. (Ha!)

She added: "I am angry that our lives and our human rights were treated with such disrespect by the Israeli Occupation Force. It opened my eyes to the brutality of the Israeli occupation."

Oh, shut up.


BAN THE FAST CAR ADVERTISEMENTS! The Canberra Times rallies to the censor's cry:

Allowing them to continue adds to the culture of speed and aggression on the road that results in road trauma … Governments should tell the automotive industry to get their house in order or face mandatory controls of advertisements that glorify speed and aggressive driving techniques.

It seems absurd that the community is spending millions of dollars promoting a message that speed kills and at the same time permits glossy advertisements from car manufacturers offering powerful cars capable of high speed.

Most automotive advertising is directed to attracting market share, so if all manufacturers agree on a code than does not promote aggression and speed, none is disadvantaged. But the community is advantaged because the subliminal message that speed is glamorous and acceptable is not delivered to impressionable young minds.

It is astounding that the automotive manufacturers should need the threat of the force of law to behave responsibly. It might be too cynical to suggest that they deliberately promote aggressive, reckless driving because it results in more wrecked cars and ultimately more sales.

Welcome to Australia, where newpapers campaign against freedom of speech.

"THE PREDICTIONS are almost cataclysmic," warns this AP report. "In 50 years, if trends continue …"

Global warming will boil us to death? An ice age will freeze us? Meteorites will flatten our cities? All the Beatles will be dead?

"… the number of people older than 60 will triple. Those 2 billion seniors
would outnumber the world's youths."

Oh, I see … so now the big problem we face isn't that we'll all die, but that so many of us won't die.

Thankfully, the UN is on the job. Is there no problem they can't solve?

PETER PATRICK picks apart pinhead politicians at his excellent Aussie omni-blog.

IS OSAMA BIN LADEN attempting to replicate himself? The UK Sunday Telegraph reports:

The world's first cloned human embryo is the son of a rich Arab, according to claims made by Severino Antinori, the Italian fertility specialist.

Dr Antinori said that the embryo was the clone of a VIP and that he had been experimenting to produce human clones "in an Islamic country".

Dr Antinori has told Giancarlo Calzolari, a friend and science reporter at Il Tempo newspaper in Rome, that the pregnancy is real and that he has a "limitless supply of money" for his experiments. Mr Calzolari said that he had been contacted by the doctor on Friday.

"He told me it was a clone of an important, wealthy personality," Mr Calzolari said. "However, he was vague when I asked him the name of the woman and to at least describe the father. He would only say that he was a grosso personaggio [a big cheese]."

THERE'S NO FOOL like an old fool. The Boston Globe's Alex Beam, famously suckered by Bjørn Stærk's April 1 conversion to communism, really has no excuse. His first job in journalism was as a rudimentary fact-checker:

Beam began his journalism career as a fact checker at Newsweek in 1977. He was later bureau chief for Business Week in Moscow and in Boston. In 1986, Beam joined the Boston Globe as a business reporter. His business column, which combined gossip, humor and purported insight into the world of New England business, won a Best of Boston citation and the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism.

Beam was checking facts before Bjørn even learned how to walk, yet still was tricked by an obvious gag post. Some people never learn.

THE CATHOLIC crackdown in the US is becoming crazy. In Dallas, a priest has been busted for not running criminal background checks on nuns:

In what appears to be a national precedent, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has removed a priest from his church for failing to do criminal background checks required by the diocese's sexual abuse policy.

The Rev. Efren Ortega, 67, a beloved priest for 12 years at St. James Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, is being reassigned to another Dallas parish as a pastoral associate. He can still perform sacramental duties, the diocese said, but he cannot serve as an administrator.

"This should send a clear message to all clergy and employees of the Diocese of Dallas that we intend to fully implement our safe environment program," said diocesan spokesman Bronson Havard. He said that Father Ortega has not been accused of sexual misconduct.

Far from it. You've got to read some way into the Dallas Morning News report to discover why Ortega has been demoted:

Diocesan officials summoned Father Ortega to their offices on Friday after The Dallas Morning News reported this week that the priest wasn't complying with the policy. The policy requires criminal background checks on employees and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults.

Father Ortega told The News that he didn't conduct checks on nuns who routinely work with children or on select volunteers.

Let's drug test these perp nuns while we're at it. We're on to you, Sister Morphine. You're going down.

THE AUSTRALIAN woman who was shot last week while cheering for Arafat has an interesting family background, as the Gold Coast Bulletin reports:

The former Gold Coast girl injured during a protest in Israel could be discharged from hospital in the next two days.

Sharyn Lock was hit by shrapnel during an Arab-Israeli clash near Bethlehem on Tuesday.

The former Somerset College student is the daughter of Peter Russell Lock, who was jailed for killing his wife with a hammer. Lock is serving eight years for the manslaughter of Gaye Elizabeth Lock after bludgeoning her to death at the couple's home in June 1997.

Sharyn, who was overseas at the time of her mother's death, returned from Sweden to give evidence about her father's character during his trial.

Ms Lock, believed to be a 'professional protester', has been recovering in hospital after lengthy surgery.

WAYNE & SALLY & ANTHONY & KELLI continues. In a dramatic bunch of developments …

Wayne has become a Garbo-esque Las Vegas recluse.

Anthony wants Kelli back. The reason? Their one-year-old daughter Ayva "deserves to have her Mum and Dad at least try to work things out."

Wayne is going to get more than $500,000 after quitting his football team. The high-level peace talks between Wayne and his ex-team mates have come to nothing.

And according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Kelli has been offered $10,000 to pose for Penthouse (no link available).

THOUSANDS of gentle, peace-loving Australians have protested against the awful violence being committed against Palestinians by throwing rocks, chunks of wood, and other objects at the Israeli Consulate in Sydney.

Two police were injured by the anti-violence activists, who underscored their peaceful message by burning Israeli flags and placidly denouncing Ariel Sharon as a terrorist and murderer.

NO MORE MOORE! Reader Mike Messina has had enough of Michigan Fats:

Checking facts, what a chore

Marxist puke, what a bore

Man of the people, what a whore

No mas Moore, por favor

Well, let's just get one more Moore mention in before Mike's poetic patience expires …

IN HIS REVIEW of Michael Moore's Stupid Fat Guy book, the San Francisco Chronicle's David Kipen reveals something astounding about our salad-dodging friend:

"Moore makes laughter look like -- and feel like -- fun."

Next from the insightful Kipen: massive throbbing agony makes migraines feel like pain, Hamas make suicide attacks look deadly, and Tera Patrick makes near-nakedness look attractive.

HAS SALON ditched all its editors? Cop the opening paragraph of Eric Boehlert's Salon piece on a Pulitzer spat between the Wall Street Journal and the Seattle Times:

"At 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon the sounds of champagne bottles popping open will be heard in a select number of newsrooms across the country as the winners of the newspaper industry's most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize, are officially announced."

Whoa! Red pencil time. It's still a crap lede – newsrooms across the country, in different time zones, won't all be celebrating at 3 o'clock – but at least now we're down to 24 words instead of 41:

"At 3pm Monday popping champagne bottles will be heard in select newsrooms as the winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize are officially announced."

OPRAH WINFREY has discontinued her notorious Book Club, apparently because Toni Morrison just wasn't churning out enough new product.

Tipped to replace the Book Club: Oprah's Snuff Porn Video Club.

AUSTRALIA'S PROUD claim to be the new South Africa is again under threat, now by the savage Danes. The UK Telegraph reports:

A controversial law on immigration … is now passing through parliament with the backing of 60 per cent of the Danish people. The legislation, introduced by the new centre-Right government that won power last November, will be on the statute book by mid-summer.

Its aim is to do something very "unDanish" – shut down national borders to more foreigners and slash their welfare payments, in some cases by over 30 per cent.

Requirements for asylum are being tightened, funding to ethnic minority organisations withdrawn, the waiting period for permanent residency extended from three to seven years, rights to family reunion curtailed, and rules put in place banning marriage by Danes to foreigners until the age of 24.

The laws - justified by the government on the grounds that Denmark has been too liberal and generous for too long - are causing inevitable resentment and confusion among its 300,000-strong immigrant community, 70 per cent of whom are Muslims.


Kolkata, Apr 2 (IANS) Scores of monkeys have swamped a girls' college in the hill resort of Darjeeling in eastern India, destroying thousands of books, stalling classes, clawing and slapping the students.

The monkeys have torn to shreds at least 6,000 books in the library and broken furniture. The damage to property caused by them exceeds Rs.60,000.

College authorities say the aggressive animals were unafraid of human beings. The truant monkeys have destroyed the college library, clawed and slapped students and invaded classrooms bringing lessons to an abrupt halt.

PETER FITZSIMONS was a rugby union player before becoming Australia's worst columnist. So you'd expect him to at least know a few things about sport, right?

Wrong. In his latest berko stream of unintelligible gibberish, FitzSimons writes:

"I stand to be corrected, but I believe AFL is the only game in the world where you get a point for simply 'having a go'. We'd all like to think that when the game evolved out on the goldfields last century, the emerging Australian culture asserted itself and said that even though you can't get six points for putting it right between the big uprights, you still deserve one point for bloody well giving it your best shot and getting close enough to put it between one of the big sticks and one of the little ones."

AFL isn't a game. The game to which Fitz refers – and which didn't evolve out on the goldfields – is called Australian Rules Football; the AFL is the Australian Football League. Is NBA a "game"? Let's have a game of NHL! I challenge you to a NHRA race!

By "the last century", Fitz presumably means the previous-to-last century. Try to keep count, dumbo.

And as for AFL being the only "game" to reward participants for getting close to their target, has Fitz ever heard of darts? Or Formula One racing, in which the driver who finishes second receives six world championship points? (The winner gets 10.). Lots of sports reward near-misses. In cricket, a shot played in error can nonetheless benefit a batsman. In tennis, the occasional mis-hit produces a winner.

Fitz continues:

"Reader Jeremy Light posed a good question this week. Why is it that in the AFL competition, a win gets you four points and a draw two points? Anyone got any answers?"

Get out your calculator and I'll talk you through it, Fitz. Four premiership points are up for grabs in every AFL game. Collingwood, for example, collected four points yesterday for defeating the West Coast Eagles. The Eagles, because they lost, collected no points at all.

But if that oddly feminine team had fluked one extra minor score and tied the game, the four points would have been divided between the Eagles and the deserving winners, Collingwood. I stand to be corrected, but I believe other codes worldwide use similar systems to deal with drawn contests.

By the way, if you think "gibberish" is a harsh call, here's how Fitz concludes this item:

"I think they're going to sing that song again ..."

"You want answers?"

"I think I'm entitled to them ..."

"You want answers?"

"I want the truth!"


W.F. DEEDES, writing in a recent UK Spectator, gets it right on refugees:

"Here, as in Australia, there are bleeding hearts who denounce as downright inhuman any move to discourage those who jump the queue by holding them in detention. The bleeding hearts are not easily persuaded that, while a small minority threatened by persecution in their own land deserve sanctuary, the majority are economic migrants; and that unless government keeps a firm hand on their rate of entry, things will fall apart.

"Though Australia's ration of immigrants to indigenous population is higher than our own, race relations remain outwardly harmonious. 'Compulsory language support' — which means that immigrants must learn to speak the native tongue — has been in force in Australia since 1980. A government that grows careless about such precautions and simply bows to the bleeding hearts (who dance all over Australia's news media) is asking for trouble."

THE REAL PROBLEM in the Middle East isn't terrorism, according to Tikkun editor Michael Lerner. The real problem is cars:

"Though we at THE TIKKUN COMMUNITY oppose the outrageous and disgusting acts of terror against Israelis, we know that the actual level of violence is small compared to the number of Israelis who die each year in automobile accidents."

Have you ever read anything so tikkun stupid? Michael Lerner is a tikkun idiot.