MICHAEL DUFFY addresses the anti-WTO, anti-capitalism, anti-deodorant crowd in today's Daily Telegraph:

Naomi Klein, author of the book No Logo and your heroine, is actually a dangerous idiot. For example, she writes that free trade in Asia has been a disaster, "a case of one step forwards, three steps back". Yet people in Taiwan and South Korea are nine times wealthier than they were 35 years ago and other Asian countries are catching up fast as they free up their economies. I'm sure Klein is not in the business of telling massive lies to sell books, but you have to wonder just how much she really cares about the welfare of people with darker skin than her own.

Naomi won't tell you this, but since China opened its borders and moved towards free trade in the late 1970s its poverty-stricken people, who comprise one in five of the world's population, have become six times more wealthy.

IN THE mistaken belief that model Gisele Bundchen is actually an endangered gazelle, PETA protesters stormed a Victoria's Secret fashion show to demand an end to her exploitation. Gisele ignored them completely.

THE usual pinheads have defended Sydney's subliterate protest community during this week's demonstrations against the WTO. Let's see them defend this:

Commander in charge Superintendent David Darcy told The Daily Telegraph he was scared for the safety of his officers.

"They came up to my officers, kicked them, moved back and they did it all under the cover of a mask on their faces," Supt Darcy said.

He was forced to climb on to a barricade and direct his men to safety as protesters crushed police against a wire fence.

"They attacked us," Supt Darcy said.

"They were there to injure us ... they were the most violent, aggressive protesters I have seen in my career as a commander of police responding to protests like this."

Three police were injured, one seriously. Meanwhile, what evil was the WTO hatching that demanded such action?

The 25 world trade ministers meeting inside the Novotel Hotel struck a deal to deliver life-saving medicines to poor nations.

UPDATE: Gareth Parker has some great posts about Naomi Klein's idiot offspring. My favourite: the guy who forgot which socialist organisation he represented.

FLAG BURNING is free speech, says wicked conservative bully fascist tyrant monster Australian Prime Minister John Howard:

Prime Minister John Howard today stopped short of backing Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson in backing prosecution for those who burned the Australian flag.

"Repugnant though it is to me, in the end I guess it is part of the sort of free speech code we have in this country," he said on Melbourne radio 3AW.

"I say that as somebody who is regularly and as far as I am concerned proudly labelled as a traditional conservative Australian."

That's pretty much as I see it, too. Besides, is there a single instance of any political movement in the West achieving success by burning flags?

THE BENEFITS of free trade just keep on coming:

Singapore may lift its ban on chewing gum as part of a free trade agreement with the United States.

Chew the sweet gum of liberty, brothers!

KATE EDWARDS, an Australian anti-Israel activist who was hospitalised in April after volunteering for Israeli army target practice, sends this note:

hey there Tim

so what, you don't like human rights activists? or what? There were some funny sides to me being shot in Palestine, I thought so too, but you seemed more into being nasty than witty...what's it all about mate?

See what living in Manchester does to your grammar? I do like human rights activists, Kate, but only those who see that "human" is an all-encompassing term. But you take sides. You want the Palestinians to win. You're a Palestinian activist. Don't give me this "human" crap.

As for me being nasty rather than witty … send in your funny story about being shot, and I'll run it verbatim. Just keep it below 300 words.

NFL WIDE RECEIVER Michael Moore spends more time trying to hide the ball than catch it. The National Fat Left hall of famer has removed from his archives all traces of his deeply wrong Payback Tuesday article, in the same way he removed his notorious September 12 column about Republicans deserving to die in the 9/11 attacks.

Moore is the only American leftist who censors himself. He doesn't need a right-wing oppressor. He's his own personal Ashcroft.

In his honour – and to note the achievement of Rachel Lucas, who has preserved Moore’s damning article – I propose that the fateful election date be known hereafter as "Fat Tuesday".


JUST CAUGHT a few moments of Larry King interviewing Barbara Walters about how freaking wise and funny Al Gore is. It went something like this:

Larry: "Everybody who knows Al Gore knows how funny he is. So why wasn't he funny during the campaign?"

Bawa Wawawawa: "Well, he has a certain way of speaking – earnest, slow – so that even when he is being funny, you don't realise it."

Gore can't tell a joke, but he's still a funny guy! Bawawawa Wawaaaawawa then told this Al Gore side-splitter, which had the few strands of protein holding old Larry's heart together straining not to explode:

"He sometimes starts his speeches by saying, 'Hi, I'm Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States.'"

And then they both laughed and laughed in the choking, mirthless manner of androids.

FROM BALI, appeasement bongo Putu Nix writes:

I read with interest your comments regarding Asana Viebeke's speech. As a long-time resident of Bali it is obvious why the Muslims chose the Sari club area to unleash their bomb. To them it probably was Hell. Scantily clad women, drugged and drunken tourists, prostitutes and children all mixing together in an atmosphere of sin and debauchery. Have you ever actually been here?

No, but it sounds like my kinda place.

Viebeke did not say they were justified, simply that the Balinese can understand why the people who committed this atrocity did so.

Viebeke didn't describe the attack as an "atrocity". The word used was "misunderstanding". Viebeke also asked us to "create beauty from the tragedy", and to not pursue the murderers: "Why seek retribution from people who are acting as they see fit? … What has happened has happened."

You ask how the parents and friends of those killed would feel in response to the letter. Surprising as it may seem, those Australians whom I have been personally in contact with have ALL UNRESERVEDLY SUPPORTED IT.

All three of them?

Many have sent it on to their friends and relatives. It is spreading throughout the world because it is a true message of peace and reconciliation.

It's spread all the way to Dancing Star's website of the Mystical Flying Space Horse.

Your attitude is the same as that of the Americans who went to kill camels in Afghanistan. You are of the old world. Spreading hatred and mis-information.

And as much camel death as I can get away with.

If you want to play a bigger role in the reshaping of a better world, please strive to become intelligently informed and to use your brain a little more, rather than your ego.

If you want to play a bigger role in the reshaping of a better world, please tell your Muslim friends to stop murdering people.

You are not part of the solution. You are perpetuating the violence you seem to abhor. You embody the 'Misunderstanding' of which you speak.

You misunderstand. I don't speak of "misunderstanding"; Asana fucking Viebeke does.

Thank God that those who run the Sydney Morning Herald are brighter, are more compassionate and have more of a grip of the real issues than you do.

The SMH: endorsed by terror apologists the world over. See you at the club, Putu! I'll bring the prostitutes.

UPDATE. The always-sharp Alex Bensky, of Detroit, writes:

"Ah, Mr. Blair, you have become a captive of that crude, cowboy, American culture. I too believe in creating beauty from tragedy.

"And what could be more beautiful than hunting down and killing the perpetrators of the Bali bombing and anyone else who has such plans?"

"The aesthetics of that would be wondrous to all and no doubt contribute to a healing and closure."

WAS THE New York Post's story about director Larry Clark beating up an anti-US film distributor in Britain too good to be true? No way, writes actress Tiffany Limos, who had a ringside seat:

It was exactly how the New York Post stated it in the paper.

When was the last time you heard anyone say that about an article in, say, the New York Times?

GUNS DON'T kill people. Elmo kills people.

ALL RIGHT-WINGERS are presumed by the Left to be dumb or evil. It is our burden. Some deserve the dumb tag, of course, like Victorian opposition treasurer Robert Dean, who only days out from an election has been exposed as ineligible to vote because he failed to enrol.

And some don't, like George W. Bush, as Pejman Yousefzadeh's Tech Central Station column makes clear. Check the mass of feedback following Pej's piece for residual "Bush is dumb" fundamentalism, including:

Republicans are stupid evil hateful people!!!! And I hate all you people!!!!


Makes me ashamed to be an American, that so many Americans are just plain stupid and cruel, like Bush and his admirers here on this site.

Dumb, Evil, Stupid, and Cruel. Four of my favourite dwarfs.

SCOTT RITTER, bipolar spokesman for whatever side of the Iraq dispute he thinks will focus attention on himself, has been speechifying at Caltech. Joel from Gene Expression was there:

Doors opened at 7:30, but I figured it would be popular, and I was the 10th person (or so) in line, shortly after 7. The Green Party, "War For Sale", and "Amnesty International" all set up tables right in front of the lilypond I'm always tempted to push people into, and boy was I tempted tonight.

ULRIKE MEINHOF'S brain is going home:

German prosecutors say the brain of the urban terrorist Ulrike Meinhof, which had been removed after her suicide in 1976, will be returned to her family.

Send it to Australia! George Fishman, letter writer to The Australian, says brains are needed here:

I witnessed the violent anti-globalisation demonstration in the streets of Sydney and can confirm a head count of over 2000. Sadly there wasn't a single brain among them.

WASHINGTON-BASED Oz blogger Tim Dunlop has left Blogspot, and can now be found here. And Diane E.'s Letter From Gotham has simply left:

I have decided to stop blogging … To those of my readers who have flirted with the idea of starting their own blog I'd recommend it heartily. Give it a go. Go until you reach the end. Then stop.

Then start again. Diane E. is welcome back anytime.

IF INTERNET users download major Hollywood motion pictures, then the terrorists will have won:

Star Wars producer Rick McCallum told a Melbourne audience that the fight against P2P swapping of films was as important as the war on terrorism.

Big budget film-making faced a total collapse in three years if studios don't quickly address the threat posed by movie downloading on the internet, McCallum said.

No more Susan Sarandon films? No more Alec Baldwin thrillers? Oh, the terror ...

THE USUAL intellectual coherence is on display at the anti-WTO demonstrations in Sydney:

Three naked women who covered themselves in mock blood and lay on a United States flag in Martin Place were among 14 people arrested at demonstrations against the World Trade Organisation yesterday.

I bet that both the flag and the mock blood were Asian imports. Long live free trade!


HUMAN BEHAVIOUR is best examined at its extremes. That's why I love crime non-fiction. Sure, it means I can never hear a Yorkshire accent without thinking of Peter Sutcliffe, or look at a clown without imagining the John Wayne Gacy dwelling within, but the benefits of this are that my elevated fear of Yorkshiremen and circus performers will help protect me against their menace.

Add meat workers to that list. I've just read Beyond Bad, the first book by a friend, Sandra Lee. It's about Katherine Knight, a cheery-looking lady who once worked in a meat processing plant.

One day she brought her work home with her, in a manner of speaking. Her husband was professionally carved up by sweet Katherine and served as a meal for the children. His head formed a delightful centrepiece, surrounded by vegetables.

It's a true story.

Here's some more about the book, here's what James Morrow thinks, and here's where you can buy it (many have already – Beyond Bad went into a second print run after only a week or so in the bookstores). Buyers in the US should note that the price is in Australian digeridollars, which are worth roughly half the US equivalent amount. It's a bargain. Go buy now!

JOHN PILGER and Bob Ellis and every other Australian leftoid campaigned for years for a free East Timor. Good for them. But it now appears certain that their cause was one of a number to have provoked Osama bin Laden. This from CNN's piece on the latest alleged bin Laden tape:

"Australia is the one that we have warned before not to participate in Afghanistan. Not to mention its continued awful chapter in East Timor," the tape says. "They ignored our warning, and they woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali, but the government pretended that they were not the target."

Today's SMH runs a more emphatic translation:

"We warned Australia before not to join in the war in Afghanistan, and against its despicable effort to separate East Timor," the voice said. "But it ignored this warning until it woke up to the sounds of explosions in Bali."

Pilger, so far as I can tell, has yet to address this statement of Osama's (if indeed it is he) or any earlier indications that The Great Bin was displeased with Western meddling in East Timor. Also silent are those of the Australian Left who supported the Free East Timor campaign, then blamed the West for bin Laden's terrorism. They are in a bind; how now do they blame the Howard government for making us a terror target by aligning with the US when their own pet issue seems to have done the same thing?

Meanwhile, the East Timor angle in O'Sammy's speech was entirely overlooked by today's Australian:

A tape released yesterday, which the Howard Government believes carries the voice of Osama bin Laden, warns Australia to pull out of the war on terror "if you don't like looking at your dead".

"We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan," said the man claiming to be bin Laden. "It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali."

What, no East Timor? Alan Anderson was alert to this yesterday, noting that all mention of East Timor was omitted from an AAP report on the speech published at News Ltd websites. The Australian appears to have relied on the AAP piece for today's story on the bin Laden speech without anybody apparently noticing the mention of East Timor in any other reports.

"I AM NOT A BLOGGER." Margo Kingston set the record straight last night during a Radio National program on the Weblog phenomenon, correcting various journalists who insist on describing her as such. In fact, the reason she was on the program was that Radio National thought she was a blogger too.

Several actual bloggers were involved, including Neale Talbot. Hosts Bill Leak and Libby Gorr don't pretend to know much about the Internet, so much of the program was spent explaining and re-explaining "sites" and "links" and other basics. It was like a preview of the Indianapolis 500 that focused on the workings of the internal combustion engine ("You're telling me that the methanol-air mixture actually detonates within the combustion chamber? Hoo, boy, race fans, this Memorial Day weekend is sure gonna be big!")

I was mentioned briefly: "The person who started the weblog scene in Australia is a right-wing warblogger called Tim Blair, and he sort of helped other people who wanted to get into it, left and right." And who said this? Margo! Hey, we're pals. (Note to self: stop helping lefties.)

UPDATE: Neale Talbot has some stinging post-radio opinions – and his appearance on Radio National has created a brand new blogger!

STUPID ME. In my column for The Australian I describe congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as the only representative to vote against any of the resolutions authorising force against Iraq. She was in fact the most senior Democrat – of quite a number – to vote against authorising force. Der.

DON'T BOTHER reading the entire story about Hussein's latest dance with the UN. It can be summarised in these two paragraphs:

President Saddam Hussein has accepted a UN resolution on weapons inspections, Iraqi state-run television announced tonight.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Iraq had made similar promises before and broken them.

There. Now you're fully informed.

THE BALI BOMBER has been cracking wise with the coppers:

The confessed Bali bomber, Amrozi, was paraded before the media yesterday as he joked and laughed with Indonesia's national police chief during a public interrogation.

At one point, the Javanese mechanic pointed to Western journalists and said in Indonesian: "Those are the sorts of people that I wanted to kill."

In bizarre scenes at Denpasar police headquarters, a room full of police and reporters erupted with laughter at Amrozi's remark.

Nice folks.

TODAY'S COLUMN in The Australian mentions Leo Tolstoy, US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Australian Labor Party leader Simon Crean, ALP backbencher Julia Irwin, English cricketer John Crawley, Minnesota loser Walter Mondale, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, former NSW premier Neville Wran, Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh, ex-Fonda husband Tom Hayden, former ALP leader Bill Hayden, Australian cricketer Matt Hayden, Ronald Reagan, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Saddam Hussein, and (by implication, although his surname has a different spelling) England cricket captain Nasser Hussain.


TODAY'S MAUREEN DOWD column in the Sydney Morning Herald is only three days old. So fresh it's almost stale!

UPDATE. Reader J. Brant writes:

"Did you notice the difference in Ms Dowd's column in the SMH as opposed to the NYT? In the SMH version she doesn't miss John Ashcroft. Guess that's why you wait three days. For the fine tuning."

There's more! From Andrew Davey:

"I noticed another telling difference between Maureen Dowd's column in the New York Times and the one in the Sydney Morning Herald. The NYT doesn't assume that its readers are too stupid to know what a 'scofflaw' is."

Sandy J. points out the curious time-delay factor:

"While Wednesday's SMH readers get a three-day-old Maureen Dowdy column - online readers can read her latest Wednesday column in the NYT, fresh as a daisy."

And for free. I wonder how much money Fairfax wastes reprinting this old junk.

RICK HIEBERT, of Canadian newsmag The Report, is the latest journalist to hit the blogging trail.

YOU COULD put this micron-accurate parody of The New York Times – note the Apple story subhead – on newsstands and most readers wouldn't notice any difference.

THIS ASSAULT on John Lennon's Imagine is brutal and fine in every way, except that it doesn't offer a remedy for people who might accidentally wander within range of a radio playing the bleak anthem.

The solution is to sing alternative lyrics. A friend of mine survived two children using this method, whereby he replaced the grating lyrics of their favourite nursery rhymes with entertaining lines of his own creation. Little Miss Muffett, in particular, underwent a shocking metamorphosis.

You can do the same with Imagine:

You may say I'm a cleaner

But I'm not the only one

Or any awful Lennon dirge:

All we are saying

Is give police a chance

Here's a Lennon song site. Go nuts!

SURE, I've put on a few pounds, but I'm really not that fat.

STARRING Walter Mondale:

Three decades after Robert Redford's character, Bill McKay, won a seat in the United States Senate and pleaded, "Now what?" Warner Brothers says it will make a sequel to the 1972 film The Candidate.

IGNORANT JOURNALISTS keep describing Sydney Morning Herald online writer Margo Kingston as a blogger, apparently taking the term to mean anyone on the Web who publishes opinions and feedback (all newspaper websites, by this definition, are just big multi-person blogs).

So yesterday I asked for reasons why Kingston isn't a blogger. Alex Bensky of Detroit writes:

Setting up and running a blog requires a certain minimal competence in acting logically and maintaining contact with the real world.

That's Margo disqualified. From Terry Ingalls:

What I like about bloggers is that they are direct, immediate, informative, entertaining, and ever-ready to admit a mistake or engage in illuminating debate with one another. Which brings us readily to why Margo isn't a blogger.

Paul Bickford says Margo is better suited to serious journalism – and he doesn't intend that as praise:

Margo proves that a total lack of talent, ability, grasp of basic English, and a total absence of respect for facts are NO impediment to a career in "serious" journalism; in fact, they seem to be an advantage. Such shoddy work would never be tolerated in a blog.

Australian blogger Paul Wright points out a painful truth:

A six-figure salary means never having to install a PayPal link.

Stephen J.'s answer was so expletive-loaded that brutal censorship is required:

Because she's a ******* ****** ****. (According to Margo's standards of
"logic" and "evidence," this is a full and reasonable explanation.)

Ken Layne, freshly reanimated after a brief cryogenic suspension, simply notes:

Bloggers know how to operate home computers.

And Juan Gato detects cultural and societal currents that will forever deny Margo her chance to join the blogging elite:

Because the term 'blogger', as well as the internet, are inventions of men. White men at that. And don't get me started on the controls that the false constructs of language put on her. Due to the hegemonic oppression of the patriarchal system, womyn such as Margo, doubly cursed because her white skin forces her to also suffer the guilt of the sins committed by white men, cannot truly willingly agree to blog.

Therefore all blogging is rape.

SPEAKING OF Margo – Hi! – one of her drones has supplied his Hive Queen with a 3,200-word bolus of rich, sweet, delusional nutrients:

Webdiarist David Palmer wrote several pieces for Webdiary after September 11 on the best way ahead. He's now responded to my invitation to assess the United States election result.

Palmer does all the heavy lifting for Webdiary; Margo gets all the Webdiary money. It's exploitation, is what it is! She's practically commissioned this piece and paid nothing for it at all. Is this right? Is it ethical? Would Margo herself ever donate 3,200 words to a for-profit concern like the Sydney Morning Herald?

Then again, maybe nothing is the going rate for crap. Go read the whole thing; I haven't the energy to dissect it here. Suffice to say that the usual points are made: Republicans are racist, the victory means much less than it appears, Bush is Rove's puppet, the economy will never recover, Wellstone was a god, nukes are everywhere, and so on. Worth every penny.


THE LATEST terrorist warning has been issued by Australia's government. Stay away from France!

Australians are being warned to take extra care when travelling in France after revelations that the country is a possible target for terrorists.

The Federal Government issued a travel warning to Australians yesterday advising them to "be especially alert to their own security", but is not yet advising them to leave or defer travel.

Too late. I've already postponed my French travel plans indefinitely.

CONCEALED beneath several layers of irony, Neal Pollack has recently been on assignment in Afghanistan for the British London Daily Independent Telegraph Statesman. His visit was not uneventful:

The crowd, which was mostly men but there also were some animals, kept on me. I flailed. A couple of the men went down when my thunder-kicks connected. Still, I was soon overwhelmed.

But even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they were doing. They were just noble brown skinned Third-World victims of the imperial war machine. And to them, I might as well have been Donald Rumsfeld.

"He is Donald Rumsfeld," said one of them. "Kill him!"

"No!" I said. "I exist with you in solidarity!"

My beating is a symbol of this filthy war. And I will not let you forget it.

Recently I wanted to beat up Pollack myself. Can't remember why. Recover quickly, good friend!

AN AUSTRALIAN is apparently among 35 people killed by tornadoes in the US:

At least 35 people were killed and more than 150 were missing after a series of tornadoes lashed the eastern United States, flattening entire communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes in one of the worst storms to hit the region for a decade.

Local reports in Tennessee said Karen Tooby, a teacher at Hazelwood Elementary and her Australian husband, Dennis, a welder were among three people killed on Sunday when an F1 tornado ripped through Clarksville blowing their mobile home off its foundation.

NEW ZEALAND won't send troops to fight in Iraq:

New Zealand's navy and air force are to join the war on terror but will not be available for any conflict with Iraq, Prime Minister Helen Clark has vowed.

"They are roped off," Miss Clark said. "It's quite a different operation – they are working under the Canadian leadership of the Maritime Interdiction Force, and the Canadian position on Iraq is the same as our own."

Yeah. Supine.

HERE'S VICTOR DAVIS HANSON on what the antiwar gophers should really be complaining about.

"NO WONDER Democrats have been clamoring for new election laws since 2000," writes FrontPage mag's Julia Gorin. "They're unable to follow the current ones." Sure seems so, judging from Gorin's damning piece:

The Democrats worked so hard. They made such a concerted effort. They sent people unsolicited absentee ballots in Iowa. County officials in Arizona helped illegal aliens vote. In Wisconsin, campaign workers for Democratic Governor Jim Doyle gave out pastries, soda and quarters to the mentally disabled in a bingo game, then directed them to absentee ballots in the next room. In the 163-strong Minnesota town of Coates, 94 voter registration forms had addresses that matched Jake's Strip Club. The NAACP in Florida held a registration drive at the Duval County jail to register felons, who then requested and in some cases cast absentee ballots at the risk of committing a felony. (And one wonders why Democrats are against the death penalty.) In Marion County, Indiana, voters seem to have misspelled their names on applications for absentee ballots and used correction fluid to get their addresses right, but couldn't always match their on-file signatures.

MORE ON Will Hutton (say it quickly) and his blundering analysis of the midterm elections. This from Sheryl Veazey-Rudy:

"I was born in Mississippi, attended grammar school in Memphis, TN, and Jacksonville, FL, graduated from the U.of Alabama, married a native Texan during my 19 years in Dallas, and then, five years ago, moved back to the southeast, Atlanta, GA to be specific. So, I'm a really, really native Southener, but not a native or long-time resident of Georgia. And, I'm white.

"This business of 'Barnes lost because of the flag issue' is all over various media outlets here, and frankly, I think it's a) a crock and b) based on a very racist assumption.

"On item (a), I voted a straight Repub. ticket last Tuesday, not because of the state flag, but because my observation is that every single Democratic party platform turns into the same old thing: get more taxes from the working folks to pay for programs that benefit 'feckless' people who will then vote for the Democrats who get them their money.

"On item (b), there seems to be an assumption that every white voter in the state will vote as a bloc for the Confederate battle flag version of the state flag, and so, hey, let's not let the eeevil whiteys vote - they're just stupid rednecks and can't be left to their own devices. In point of fact, a lot of folks probably would vote for the old flag back, just to thumb their noses at the Atlanta-centric form of state politics. I for one wouldn't vote to get the old flag back, but I'm not very happy at the nanny-state mentality that won't even consult me about it."

Angie Shultz takes issue with Hutton's claim that Missouri is a "stronghold of liberalism" and provides the bewildered Brit with a handy US political primer, while from Conshohocken, PA, Eric Mastrocola writes:

"Hutton definitely hasn't done his research. I'm from Pennsylvania where Ed Rendell, Democrat, recently won as governor. This doesn't represent any liberal values at the local level. Rendell won because he was seen as a fiscal 'fixer' who cleaned up the city of Philadelphia's finances (quite a feat, especially after 40 years of the Democrats overpaying the city union workers). He was also pitted against one of the most lifeless Republican politicians in recent memory. Rendell had no coattails - the Republicans added to their majority in state senate. This last fact has never been referred to nationally while Rendell's victory is often cited as a key Democratic victory."

People 3, Will Hutton 0.

BECAUSE I'M an idiot who should pay more attention, I missed all of Virginia Postrel's terrific writing in the wake of the Bali bomb murders. Virginia has been to Australia, has friends here, and wrote a series of excellent posts. Scroll down on her site to read them all.

ENGLAND'S CRICKET team, brutalised in the First Test against Australia, might seek psychological help before the Second Test begins on November 21. Maybe they should consider employing Corsair the Rational Pirate, who is as puzzled by the game as any England player:

As a clueless American all I can say is "HUH?"

With that attitude, Corsair is qualified to open the England batting. Meanwhile, Ireland's Mick Fealty delights in Australia's rugby union loss to his alcohol-fuelled team of demented Paisleyite loyalists. Not that anyone here is bitter about that, of course.


IN THE final ABC Media Watch of 2002, host David Marr raged (well, smugged) against the Cairns Post, which had taken to court a fellow who'd been handing out leaflets around town purporting to be the Post's Five Principles of Service. The list included:

We uphold the right to be racist, bigoted and intolerant towards people who are different from ourselves ... We will present this to you as a local cultural standard.

Sounds more like the ABC than the Cairns Post. Racist? You bet; the ABC routinely holds Aborigines and immigrants to a lower standard of expectations than white Australians. Aborigines need welfare! They're helpless without it!

Bigoted? Listen to ABC Radio National some day. You might be the first in your family to do so, and what you will hear (especially on Late Night Live with Phillip Adams) is irrational, unexplained loathing of the free market, plus attendant anti-Americanism.

Intolerant? Try to present anything to the right of Lenin and you will be kicked off air. I know. I was. As for the ABC upholding what it believes to be the "local cultural standard", Media Watch itself is evidence.

The Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt presents the Right's case against Media Watch – and much of the ABC – in this e-mail, sent in response to Media Watch's trawling for controversy. It's probably the best thing the program received all year, misspellings and all.

David Marr should be replaced as host in 2003 by someone not from the ABC-Fairfax Axis of Evil. I suggest excellent Sky News presenter John Gatfield.

IT'S EASY to get your blog mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald, even if it only gets 100 visitors a day. All you've got to do is write that John Howard is a racist who thinks all Muslims should have their houses raided and that Iraq should be attacked because its citizens are dark-skinned.

NEVER PARK your office chair in this neighbourhood.

Q: What's the difference between the Australian government and the United Nations?

A: The Australian government doesn't allow itself to be fooled by Afghan refugees.

I ONLY link to this contest because it is for charitits … er, charity. And also because Jessica from Australia is winning.

IT SEEMS that Al Qaeda has ignored the message of peace and love from the weekend's Florence peacenik goonfest:

The head of Interpol - the world's international police force – has warned that Al-Qaeda operatives are preparing simultaneous attacks in several countries.

'Something worrying is going on,' said Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble.

Don't worry, Ron. It's nothing that a few Communist slogans and some 30-year-old pop songs can't fix.

WHO WILL prevail in the current troubles? According to a poll at Laughing Hyena, "Whitey and his Zionist puppetmasters" are the clear favourites. Go us!

THE AUSTRALIAN Labor Party is about to lose the Jews, writes Glenn Milne, mainly because leader Simon Crean is too weak to confront a party member who has a proposal before Parliament today calling for the recognition of Palestine.

ON CURRENT daily averages, this site should record its 1,000,000th hit on November 19 – which is, happily enough, National Ammo Day.

WHY DO newspapers keep referring to Margo Kingston as a journalist who has her "own blog"? Margo ain't no blogger. Her Web Diary is published by the Sydney Morning Herald. She's paid a six-figure salary to write the stupid thing. And she's only now beginning to learn how to link.

Send your entries in to the "Top Ten Reasons Why Margo Kingston Isn't a Blogger" contest. Best responses to be posted tomorrow.

ANTI-SEMITISM WATCH: James Morrow discovers hatred of Jews hiding in plain sight during the weekend's "peace" protests in Florence.

GREAT LETTERS in today's Sydney Morning Herald from Brad Crosling, Stuart Sontag, and John Burnett. And a genuinely obscene message from Asana Viebeke, the head co-ordinator of some think-tank in the Indonesian village councils of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, who writes this about the attacks that killed nearly 100 Australians:

Who caused this tragedy? It's not such an important question for us to discuss. Why this happened - maybe this is more worthy of thought. What can we do to create beauty from the tragedy and come to an understanding where nobody feels the need to make such a statement again? This is important.

Why seek retribution from people who are acting as they see fit? These people are misguided from our point of view. Obviously, from theirs, they feel justified and angry enough to make such a brutal statement.

We would like to send a message to the world - embrace this misunderstanding between our brothers and let's seek a peaceful answer to the problems which bring us to such tragedy.

Do not bring malice to our world. What has happened has happened. Stop talking about the theories of who and why. It does not serve the spirit of our people. Words of hate will not rebuild our shops and houses. They will not heal damaged skin. They will not bring back our dead.

We beg you, talk only of the good which can come of this. If we can love all of our brothers and sisters, we have already won the "war against terrorism".

Naturally, the Sydney Morning Herald runs this evil nonsense ("Why seek retribution from people who were acting as they see fit?", "embrace this misunderstanding", "create beauty from the tragedy") as its lead letter. Imagine how the parents, spouses, children and friends of people being buried here in Sydney must feel when they read, in their hometown newspaper, that the murders were a "misunderstanding".

Send your own letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

PAUL SHEEHAN writes in The Sydney Morning Herald that the elections indicate a "decisive shift towards values despised by the dominant media". He continues:

Much of the commentary in the US (and the bulk of it here) has treated George W. Bush as a buffoon with a tainted mandate. That won't work any more. He keeps reaping big victories and high polling numbers. Florida voters rejected a chance to revenge the "stolen" election by rejecting the President's brother and instead gave Jeb Bush an easy victory.

The only gender shift in the election was towards conservative Republican women.


IT'S NOT enough for The UK Observer's Will Hutton that people vote. They must vote the correct way, otherwise it's a Dark Day for Democracy. Testify, Willy:

The election in Georgia said it all. The Democrat governor, Roy Barnes, had dared to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag last year. His Republican challenger wanted to bring it back, to honour, he said, 300,000 Confederate 'veterans'. A Republican has not occupied Georgia's governor's mansion since 1872. After last Tuesday, one does, courtesy of wanting to celebrate a civil war fought to defend slavery.

Georgia "said it all"? Hey, Will, you want to talk about racism in the US, go take a look at your friends on the Left, mate.

Europeans do not understand the curious civilisation that the current America is becoming.

Will knows well of what he speaks.

They especially do not understand the undercurrents of an increasingly self-confident and subtle racism that is its own variant of the forces that in Europe gave us Le Pen and Pim Fortuyn.

Was race an issue in the midterm elections? Anywhere?

Anyone who thinks the Tory party is 'nasty' has not encountered contemporary American republicanism. Georgia's Republican Party, for example, is now lead by Ralph Reed, a long-time crusader against abortion, divorce and single parent families.

Hutton is married with three kids. Could it be that he secretly shares Reed's "nasty" values?

And so one of American liberalism's darkest days was repeated across the country. Minnesota and Missouri, long-time Democrat strongholds, fell. Governor Jeb Bush, despite the Democrats insisting that justice now be done for those infamous chads, won in Florida.

Those chads only became infamous at Democrat insistence. Will's head is, as we say in Australia, up his arse.

There will be radical tax cuts for the rich and the corporations; a freezing of all efforts to stiffen regulation in the wake of America's corporate scandals; moves to privatise the social security system; and a roll-back of environmental protection.

Don't forget the death camps, the Venusian invasion, and the ominous rise of the HypnoToad.

Following the ideas of the high priest of ultra conservatism, Leo Strauss, they want to construct a republic of 'moral', god-fearing citizens who adhere to traditional virtues, rewarding the rich who can only have become rich through the virtue of hard work and penalising the poor who are only poor because of their own fecklessness.

More fecks for the poor! No justice, no fecks!

This is the most fiercely reactionary programme to have emerged in any Western democracy since the war, and for which last Tuesday's vote, argue Republicans, is an explicit mandate. Horseshit. George Bush has al-Qaeda and a low turn-out to thank for his victory.

Al Qaeda militiamen kept Democrat voters trapped in their homes until the polls closed.

America is not a happy place.

I've just driven across it, from NY to LA. September 11 notwithstanding, the US is happier than I recall it in 1990, the first time I drove coast-to-coast. You know what isn't a happy place? England. Nothing but bitching and crying and moaning all the goddamn time. "My skin is grey", "I've got mad cow disease", "Help, I'm being stabbed again". Would it kill these people to smile once in a while? Cheer up, Will, you great sneering nonce.

A generation of increasingly conservative policies has shrunk the American middle.

He might be right about the middle, but other areas seem to be doing OK. Next, Will tries his hand at designing a victory strategy for the Democrats, beginning with the idea that the US has a "silent liberal majority":

The trouble was that this silent liberal majority was only prepared to voice its preoccupations at state rather than national level, if it bothered to vote at all.

One sure way to remain silent: don't vote. Clever folks, them liberals.

But the game isn't up. America's conservatives, blinded by their ideology and in control of every lever of government, will overreach themselves and the reality of what they plan will become evident to all, stirring the apathetic voter and reminding the best of America what it stands for. Last week represented the highwater mark of American conservatism and, although it looks bleak, the beginnings of the long-awaited …

Blah, blah, blah, more crap from someone who just phones it in and cops a pay cheque no matter what. Will Hutton should be:

a) celebrated as a journalist of piercing insight

b) presented with even more awards

c) forced to live in a squalid London housing estate with illegal immigrants and turned into food when he is shot during a burglary

UPDATE. Brad Ems writes:

"I live in Missouri, and anyone who claims that this state is a 'long-time Democrat stronghold' doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Sure, our current and former Governor are/was Democrat, but prior to that we had John Ashcroft, now the much-loathed Attorney General of the US, who left the office to become Senator (our other Senator, Kit Bond, is also a Republican). Missouri has been a conservative state for ages and even the Democrats in the Statehouse reflect that, with the exceptions of the inner-city Democrats from St. Louis and Kansas City."

Andrew E. Hansen has more on the alleged "Democrat stronghold":

"Republican John Danforth was elected 3 times by Missouri voters, in 1976,1982, and 1988. Kit Bond served two terms as the Governor of Missouri (1976, 1980) before being elected to the Senate in 1986, 1992, and 1998. John Ashcroft, the current U.S. Attorney General, also served two terms as the Governor of Missouri (1984 and 1988) before being elected to replace Danforth in 1994."

See what I mean about "phoning it in"? Hutton clearly hasn't checked anything, researched anything, or read anything beyond the most shallow analysis before filing his valueless copy. R.R. Ryan is another who knows more than the Observer's star columnist:

"Voter turnout actually set a record in Minnesota and was up by two percentage points nationally over 1998. Can't these twits get the most basic facts right?"

Nope. And from gmx.de comes this concluding dismissal of Will Hutton, superjournalist:

"The photo you linked to in illustration of the 'great sneering nonce' indicates that you probably already have appreciated this quote from Oscar Wilde: 'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.'

JANE FONDA has had cosmetic surgery. Well, would you like to be recognised as Ted Turner's ex?

HALF A MILLION white-flag Eurobunnies have gathered in Florence to protest about America, the war, and pretty much everything else:

Brimming with anti-American feelings and riled by a tough new UN resolution to disarm Iraq, young and old activists from as far afield as Russia and Portugal joined forces for the carnival-like rally, singing Communist anthems and 1970s peace songs.

Why no Gregorian chants or madrigals? Too old fashioned?

THE SHAREMARKET accomplishes what anti-globalisation activists never could – 175 McDonald's restaurants are closing down.

FINE WRITING and funny pictures at Jeff Soyer's blog, including a shot of Terry McAuliffe taken in an "unguarded moment".

MIXED RESULTS from my Googlism ego search:

tim blair is disturbingly good

tim blair is an inspiration to us all

tim blair is of course correct

tim blair is hilarious

tim blair is cute and funny

tim blair is a minor deity

tim blair is just funny

tim blair is a god

tim blair is smarter than robert mugabe

Well, I'd have to be, seeing as I'm a god and all. Now for the rebuttal:

tim blair is capable of being both patronizing and ignorant in the same breath

tim blair is a dimwit

tim blair is no pj o'rourke

tim blair is responsible for the deaths of 15405 babies every day

tim blair is a journalist

tim blair is the wannabe's wannabe

tim blair is a mean bastard

tim blair is not my favourite blogger

tim blair is biased

And cruellest of all:

tim blair is an avid guardian reader

FURTHER TO the alleged Bali bomber's claim that he meant to kill Americans instead of Australians, Charles Austin asks:

So which of the usual suspects (Mr. Pilger, line 1) will claim that Australia should not react to the Bali bombing since they didn't really mean to hurt Australians?

US reader Dean Cheng is of similar mind:

I fear that the most likely response on the part of the Australian Left to al-Qaeda's claim that they were targeting Americans, rather than Australians, is one of "See, we should have nothing to do with Americans." I would suspect that folks of this ilk will:

1. Buy the al-Qaeda claim that they're "sorry" for killing Australians.

2. Consider the deaths of Americans "understandable".

3. Blame the US for the deaths of Australians, since we were the target of the ire (similar to the "root cause" argument if ever there was one).

For these people, never comfortable with the US-Australian alliance and close security relationship, it would only make sense to argue that if Australia were separate and distinct from the US, undoubtedly al-Qaeda would've been more circumspect in their targeting.

Monday's letters pages in the Sydney Morning Herald will probably contain the first of the anti-US left's reaction to this story. Update to follow. Meanwhile, Indonesian cops – all credit to them, incidentally – have made a second arrest, this time of the bastard who supplied the chemicals to make the bomb.

TONY BLAIR has been banned from entering Zimbabwe, which is a little like being banned from hell. If Mugabe is serious about reviving his doomed nation, he needs to stop people leaving.

DESPISED, LOATHSOME, and dreary, California governor Gray Davis nevertheless emerged from Payback Tuesday™ as "arguably the most successful major Democratic politician in the United States and an early front-runner for his party's 2004 presidential nomination," writes Matt Welch.

I would have disagreed before reading Matt's piece, but, as usual, he musters some telling arguments. And his conclusion just kills:

After all, there is some precedent for a despised Californian politician surviving the political wars to emerge as an unlikely candidate for president. But not everyone has fond memories of Richard Nixon.