SADDAM HUSSEIN has helped create a unique copy of the Koran:
A skilled artist copied the 605 pages of the holy book using Saddam Hussein's blood. The Iraqi dictator donated three pints over two years and this, mixed with chemicals, was used for every verse.
Perhaps this will start a new publishing trend. Look for special editions of John Pilger's New Rulers of the World bound in the author's luxuriously tanned, leathery skin, Noam Chomsky's 9-11 printed on paper milled from the bones of Khmer Rouge murder victims, and Stupid White Men written entirely in Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q Sauce.
BRUCE ELDER, the Sydney Morning Herald television writer who routinely weaves anti-Americanism into his little TV previews – and who sometimes invents anti-American nonsense just for the hell of it – proves that he can do the same when he's writing travel stories:
Abandon all those negative cliches. New Zealand has changed. Forget about the necessity to pack all your meals because the local food is inedible. Recognise that Barry Humphries's rude remark that New Zealand is "a country of 50 million sheep, three million of which think they're human" hardly takes into account that in 2001 New Zealand was such a desirable destination it earned almost $4 billion from tourism. Admire its principled stands, decades before the rest of the world, on both US imperialism and environmentalism.
What was that about "abandoning negative cliches", Bruce?
NOBODY HERE but us friendly allies …
Western oilfield and medical workers who fall victim to terror attacks in Saudi Arabia are routinely arrested and tortured until they confess to planting the very bombs that maimed them. Canadian biochemist Bill Sampson awaits beheading in a Saudi prison on just such a trumped-up charge.
Confronting the Saudis with aggressive threats and sanctions may not be the answer in the short term: Taking care of Saddam comes first. But rolling over completely in the face of their despicable behaviour is not in the West's interests either. Lives are at stake, and it would be an unpardonable tragedy if apparently innocent Westerners such as Bill Sampson were executed simply because our governments cannot find the stomach to demand certain minimum standards from our supposed ally.
READER MARK WHITE, who is a Deep Green, writes regarding this post:
Are you really saying African governments should be forced to distribute food that has been found unfit for human consumption for consumers in developed nations?
What do you think might be better for starving Africans, Mark? GM food or no food at all? Your call.
UPDATE. Professional debunker Aaron Oakley responds to Mr. White:
Your Deep Green friend is full of shit.
There is nothing wrong with the GM food cited. It is perfectly edible. Tell him to send me some and I'll cook it up with my next batch of waffles.
From Steven E. Ehrbar in the US:
Nobody beyond a few nutjobs and panicky politicians has ever found GMOs unfit for human consumption. The EU did a scientific review and found it was perfectly fine. The UN has done numerous studies, and found that it's fine. The U.S. studied it and found it safe, and there's not been so much as a single pimple traced to GMOs over 1.9 billion man-years of GMO consumption in this developed country.
Mr. White's position is not merely mistaken. It is evil. He wants to consign people to death by starvation for no reason. He, and people like him, are why these people in Africa are dying. These Greens are murderers, and should be completely ostracized from civilized society.
First we'd have to introduce them to civilised society. And from Fred Butzen, also in the US:
Regarding Mark White's assertion that GM food is "unfit for human consumption", we here in the United States eat the stuff all the time, and have been for years. It doesn't do us any harm. If Mr. White were to drop by, I'd be glad to share some of my wife's corn bread with him - very tasty and nutritious, and made from lovely GM corn.
However, it wouldn't surprise me if Mr. White did not regard us Americans as being fully human, thus disqualifying our experience.
THE REVEREND Harold Pinter is raining hellfire upon the congregation at the church of St George of the Galloways. Mark Steyn reports:
Pinter informed his young flock that the real Santa had been assassinated on Christmas Eve 1977 by the Shah's secret police, using Washington-supplied cruise missiles and that the present "Santa" was a CIA stooge with an obvious false beard.
"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen?" Mr Pinter asked rhetorically. "Forgotten. No longer referred to. Millions of dead reindeer slaughtered, their blood streaking the ice all around Santa's Workshop. Never mentioned. Millions of elves born without genitals. But you never hear about them.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose," he continued, "and, if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. You know why that is? Depleted uranium."
The Rule of Three delivered a wonderful year for us Australian oppressor males. Natasha Stott Despoja lost the Democrats leadership, Carmen Lawrence fled Labor's front bench, and Janet McCalman was fired by The Age. All glory to the Rule of Three!
AMERICANS FOR CHICKEN SAFETY: "ACS is a non-partisan, not for profit advocacy group that has no affiliate with 'Big Chicken' or any political action committees."
PHILLIP ADAMS devotes his latest column to '70s-style mock-Freudian theorising:
They say that men don't give birth. But they do. The penis, the most dangerous of weapons, calls into being the pistol, the revolver, the bayonet, the rifle, the bomb, the missile.
Whatever you say, Ms. Steinem.
Somehow we have to calm ourselves down. Beat our penises into ploughshares. Remember the central proposition of the hippies? Make love, not war.
Making love is pretty difficult when you've mashed your genitals into farming implements.
Distract the penis. Keep it busy. Make it happy.
Phil's been doing that for years. Mostly on Radio National.
"WE'VE FINALLY entered an era in which you can't dismiss someone's fiscal/political politics by calling them a racist," writes Ken Layne, who adds this qualifier: "Save for those hippies who call everything and everyone racist. They're beyond help."
Include Tim Dunlop in that group. Dunlop is convinced that conservative Australians are racist, Australia's conservative Prime Minister in particular:
Can you just imagine how John Howard would have reacted if one of his ministers had been caught out in the way Republican and Senate Majority leader, Trent Lott was? It would have been "we can't judge yesterday's world by today's standards" and "on balance things are better now than they were then", and "well I like Trent Lott and many people share his point of view" and any other other bit of mealy-mouthed obfuscating and slimey doublespeak he could muster as he blew his dog-whistle, rallying his troops around an old-fashioned bit of race politics.
Luckily, there exists a non-hypothetical case by which we can test Dunlop's theory. In 1996, when then-unknown Pauline Hanson wrote a letter to a newspaper claiming that Aboriginal welfare was the cause of racism, Howard forced her disendorsement as a Liberal Party (ie, Australian conservative) candidate. Mark Hinchcliff edited The Queensland Times, where Hanson's letter appeared:
This particular letter we didn't pay a lot of attention to it. In fact we didn't want to overblow it and placed it fairly well down the page. But the issue really became something when it was pointed out to the Liberal party, the Liberal party then reprimanded her; she then stood by her comments and that sort of infuriated the Liberal Party and eventually came to a head where she resigned.
Howard and his party moved more swiftly against Hanson than did Labor against Graeme Campbell. Still, Howard is a conservative, and therefore must be racist and evil. As am I, according to this mind reader (hiding behind the pseudonym "Simon Crean") who in a comment attached to Dunlop's disgraceful post imagines me – in a hypothetical reaction to Dunlop's hypothetical scenario – to be an instinctive apologist for racism:
In the US right-wing bloggers gave Lott a serve; if it happened here the Oz righties would contort themselves to say, y'know, this is a storm in a teacup … Tim B. would certainly react as I described.
Well, naturally. I'm conservative, so I must be racist, or tolerant of racism. The connection doesn't make sense anywhere but in the minds of Dunlop and gutless "Simon".
There's a lot of "I know what conservatives think" kicking around at the moment. Carmen Lawrence, for example, is also able to divine the Prime Minister's innermost beliefs:
"Part of Howard's make-up is that the white Anglo-Saxon culture is inherently superior to others and that the gifts we have are not accidents of history, they are by dint of our own hard work and diligence and anyone who doesn't have those things, whether it be individuals or countries, has really no one else but themselves to blame."
Mr Howard had a colonial mentality rather than a racist one, she said. "It's more of the born to rule, rule Britannia stuff revisited. You can see from the way he behaves that he regards himself as inherently superior to these people."
She said Mr Howard had allowed to gain currency the idea that Australia might send a missile into Jakarta if it thought there was a terrorist there. "He's allowed it to be imagined and a lot of people around the bars in bowling clubs think that's exactly what he's saying."
That's because they're stupid working class idiots, I suppose. Margo Kingston is another with a direct line to Howard's brain:
If, God forbid, terrorism strikes in our country over summer, John Howard is almost certain to claim - regardless of truth - that it's all because he didn't have his ASIO bill the way he wanted it.
Lefties love to whine about the Right "shutting down debate". Yet nothing shuts down debate more completely than the belief that your opposition is wicked – that they are liars, and their arguments conceal a secret, corrupt agenda. Why argue with such awful people? They are clearly racist, even if no evidence exists to prove them so.
Dunlop and "Simon" merely think that conservatives are prejudiced. Evidence of their own prejudice, meanwhile, is far from theoretical. It abounds.
EUROPEANS AND the green movement don't want a war against Iraq. Innocent people may get hurt! But they (and blockheaded African governments) are quite happy to let starving Africans die:
African leaders who refuse to accept food aid due to fears of genetically modified products are committing crimes against humanity and should be put on trial, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
He said Europe, which has effectively banned the development and import of new genetically modified crops, should do more to help millions of people facing famine in southern Africa and reassure them over the safety of such crops.
"People that deny food to their people, that are in fact starving people to death should be held responsible ... for the highest crimes against humanity in the highest courts in the world," Tony Hall, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations food agencies, told reporters.
The EU's approach to genetically modified foods has been wary, partly due to consumer fears about safety.
The bloc has refused to license any GM strains for use in the EU since 1998 pending regulations aimed at ensuring consumers can avoid GM foods if they wish.
SAW BRIAN Wilson at the State Theatre tonight. Great show. Each song as simple and complex as a molecule. Killer band. And Wilson is a natural comic.
READER JUDY S. writes on the subject of toy guns:
I caught the tail end of the radio discussion this morning – well, 'discussion' is a generous way of describing it … Anyway, from my point of view, as a mother of two boys (7 years and 5 years), I’d rather they were outside, running around, enacting some historical fantasy with toy swords or guns, than sitting in front of a Playstation. The joy on the faces of visiting kids, both boys and girls, at seeing our considerable cache of plastic weapons and armour, is fine to behold. The toy weapons serve as props for a whole range of games and play-acting scenarios, and (dare I say it) make the kids feel powerful.
The Kidsafe bloke whose contribution appeared to be "kids don't need the sort of issues raised by guns", thus missed the point entirely.
Not surprising he missed. He doesn't know how to aim.
HYPOCRITE OF THE YEAR. The Melbourne Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt bestows this prize upon Rabbit-Proof Fence director Phil Noyce (no link available, because the Herald Sun website is stupid):
Noyce has done, in effect, what his film condemns a former chief protector of Aborigines, A.O. Neville, for doing – "stealing" Aboriginal children.
Because Noyce himself "stole" 12-year-old Everlyn Sampi. Much as Neville "stole" Molly Craig, the girl Everlyn plays in Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Just 11 when removed by Noyce – with her mother – to South Australia to do his film, she already smoked and had missed too much school.
Everlyn was worked hard on the film, and a documentary shows her being physically stopped from leaving. "I'm sick of it," she complains.
Noyce accused her of showing "signs of the worst behaviour that I've observed" in his career, and has added: "During the rehearsals, she ran away twice. We found her in a telephone booth ringing up inquiries trying to book a ticket back to Broome."
She was caught and brought back to Noyce, of course. For her own good.
In a documentary shown on Channel 9 in February, reporter James Thomas confronted Noyce with this.
Thomas: "Picture this: a white man enters a remote Aboriginal community with the best intentions, takes three girls out of their community and promises them fame and fortune. Does it sound familiar?"
Thomas: "Are you aware of the irony that exists in what you're doing with this film and the actual topic of the film itself?"
Noyce: "Well, I suppose in one way you could say that in a different context, in a different time, I'm A.O. Neville promising these young Aboriginal children a better life, asking them to do things that are against their instincts, perhaps because it's for their own good. But we do live in a slightly different world."
(Note to self: 25 years from now make a film called Wouldn't It Be Noyce? about a tyrannical white director and a young black girl. Hawk it around the world as an example of entrenched Australian racism. Earn lots of money. Act important.)
SPEAKING OF Beach Boy song titles, I've got a spare ticket to tonight's Brian Wilson show at the State Theatre. Who wants it? Send an e-mail.
ONE OF the guests on this morning's radio show, a South Australian childcare specialist, mentioned the case of a four-year-old boy who told his parents he was building a cannon. Why? "To protect Australia from terrorists."
The specialist was obviously horrified. My on-air response: "Good for him!" Julie McCrossin seemed to agree.
"QUOTING HISTORICAL figures can be perilous," according to David Makinson, one of Margo Kingston's Webdiary lab rats. It sure can be, Dave, especially when you quote the same bogus Julius Caeser lines that got Barbra Streisand in trouble a couple of months ago:
Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervour. For patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and patriotism, will offer up all of their rights to the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Julius Caesar.
Presumably the Margoyle also believes this quote to be genuine, otherwise she wouldn't have posted it. Unlike Natalie Solent, who discovered this el primo Webdiary foul-up, these people don't pay attention. Let's see what else Dave has to say:
The trouble with most of the right wing positions are that they are just plain old fashioned stupid. They are self-destructive and just don't stand up to any kind of reasoned scrutiny. Stupid and dangerous.
That's us. Dumb as dog meat. Why, we might even fall for already-exposed fake quotes or something. Clever Dave also opines that "You don't put out fires with gasoline, and you don't stop violence with bombs". Really? Firefighters often put out fires with gasoline. It's called back burning. Bring on the "reasoned scrutiny"!
CAR TARIFFS will be cut – not quickly enough and not by as much as they should be – under new plans announced today by the Prime Minister. Still, it's a start.
FOR A lowly immigrant, the Wog Blogger sure has a way with words:
Lefties like to spoonfeed. That is because they think only they know how to hold the spoons.
ABU BAKAR BASHIR thinks he can destroy our entire nation:
Australia will be "destroyed instantly" if it launches a pre-emptive strike against terrorist targets in other countries, warns the man Western governments say is spiritual leader of the terrorist group accused of masterminding the Bali bombings.
Abu Bakar Bashir, the cleric said to be head of the recently banned South-East Asian group Jemaah Islamiah, said Australians would be dragged into a war with Muslims if they went along with the "crazy idea" of a pre-emptive strike floated recently by the Prime Minister, John Howard.
"So, if John Howard's stance is followed by the people of Australia you must know that there will be war in the world and, God willing, Australia will be destroyed instantly due to the crazy idea of its Prime Minister."
Abu Bakar said that "Australian people, God willing, have no problem with Islam" but their leaders, like Mr Howard, "do influence their people a lot to make enemies of Islam ... the incumbent prime minister is the ally of George W. Bush, the worst and most evil president in the world. John Howard is his ally."
Abu Bakar, who heads a militant Islamic boarding school in Central Java where thousands of young men have studied, also said suicide bombings were a "noble thing" when used in the defence of Islam.
Abu? Fuck you.
Update. Reader Craig M. writes:
Perhaps Abu will finally unleash his ever-straining dentures upon us, until now held back only by Allah's grace.
I'm purchasing a house-boat so I can float around where the continent would have been. Until our pre-emptive strike I'll park it out the front of the house and wear a life-preserver. Must hone my fishing skills, and watch "Waterworld" again for tips.
The "instantly" part intrigues me. Has the corrupt, satanic western value of instant gratification spread to Islamic fundamentalism?
Craig sure is right about the dentures. Tremble, Australians, before the awesome presence of a man who would erase your country!
I'LL BE ON Radio National tomorrow morning around 9am talking with host Julie McCrossin and a bunch of childhood experts about whether kids should be allowed to have toy guns. Their opinion: no. My opinion: yes. Should be fun.
As it happens, when I was a kid I didn't have much interest in toy guns. My favourite toy – true story – was an axe.
WHAT IN the name of Allah is happening at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Brisbane? The Bunyip has a disturbing (and hilarious) report. Among his findings: St. Mary's no longer has priests. These days they are called "mass presiders".
UPDATE. Brisbane's Paul Bickford writes:
This particular church has been infested with ratbags and yahoos for some time. I drive past it regularly to go to West End's Vietnamese restaurants, and they always have a banner out the front pushing some idiotic barrow, none of which have any relationship to the Catholic church – most you would expect to see as banner headlines in "Green Left Weekly" and such equally religious publications. The "mass provider" who runs this cabal of commies was one of the first to publicly state that he would harbour escaping illegal immigrants, and comes out from time to time with the odd spray of gibberish on some lefty agenda. Only to be expected, seeing as our current mayor is a former Catholic priest who has a website bagging asylum-seeker policy, and has spent millions on bikeways that no bugger uses because it's too bloody hot for bicycles.
We need a new term to describe these Catholic communists. Maybe "communics" will suffice.
Reader John O. has a better suggestion:
In the U.S. I think they're called "Jesuits", but I'm not sure.
Peter Nugent knows well of St. Mary's oddball nature:
It was on the list as a possible wedding venue for me. Then we heard about the permanent camp of local drinkers and wastrels. Apparently they're guests at your wedding whether you want them or not.
At this point I must quote David Pryce-Jones, from a recent Spectator:
Backwards, Christian soldiers,
Sneaking out of war,
So that this great tyrant
May kill thousands more
THE TENDENCY of Leftist analysts to view Islamic terrorism in terms of their own disagreements with capitalism and the West is something I once described as "politically-correct projection". Policy Review's Lee Harris expands on this notion in an essay published several months ago, which I somehow missed. Here's a tiny extract; please read the entire piece:
When confronted by a culturally exotic enemy, our first instinct is to understand such conduct in terms that are familiar to us — terms that make sense to us in light of our own fund of experience. We assume that if our enemy is doing X, it must be for reasons that are comprehensible in terms of our universe.
Just how unfortunate — indeed, fatal — this approach can be was demonstrated during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. When Montezuma learned of Cortés’s arrival, he was at a loss to know what to make of the event. Who were these white-skinned alien beings? What had they come for? What were their intentions?
How much wiser Montezuma would have been if he had said, "I do not know who these white-skinned strangers may be, or where they come from, or what they want. But that they are here to do evil I have no doubt. So let us act accordingly."
Harris's latest piece, on the intellectual origins of America-bashing, is also excellent.
Michael Moore was kind enough to publish my piece on the United States' new national security strategy on his website, and I've had a steady stream of hits from the United States ever since.
Naturally, Margo doesn't provide a link to Moore's kindness. Maybe she doesn't know how. She also removes the capital 'W' and capital 'M' from the title of Moore's book. Margo is a Stupid White Woman.
"EARIER THIS this year, I had a major operation for cancer," writes Harold Pinter. Apparently it was a cancer of the intellect.
AS A GENERAL rule, when politicians cry, they lie. Not sure if this applies in the case of politicians' wives, however.
THE MELBOURNE AGE reports:
For many young Kabulis, love in this post-Taliban time is more of an exquisite game. Some young men and women ring phone numbers randomly for hours, then engage in long, giggly phone conversations when they find a willing partner.
This sounds similar to what many in the sophisticated West call "Yahoo chat."
Unlike traditional publishers who can restrict sales of their publications by geography, internet publishers – simply by choosing to publish on the internet – are held to be subject to the various laws of every nation reached by the internet, which means, of course, of every nation on earth. The results are likely to be damaging for the internet, encouraging a lowest common denominator approach in which internet publishers strive not to be offensive according to anyone's standards, which is likely to mean not publishing at all, or publishing only inoffensive pap.
Reader Fred Boness predicts this possible (and plausible) consequence:
The High Court's decision that an internet page is published where it is viewed will cause sites to block IP addresses that are from problematic jurisdictions. Australia will be left sitting in the dark.
It ain't gonna happen, according to Australian legal scholar Ken Parish, who writes (with substantial explanation) that concerns of a dire "chilling" effect on worldwide Internet publishing are greatly exaggerated. Here's hoping.
"ISLAM MEANS submission, it is the fastest growing religion and the whole world will eventually submit to it." This peaceful sentiment wasn't uttered by Osama bin Laden. It's from our friends right here at the Western Australian Islamic Network. Busted, submission jackals.
THE FOLLOWING words appear at Margo Kingston's Webdiary …
I wish I were a writer. Then I could find the words that would get my message through with some approximation of what I actually mean. As it is, I struggle for expression.
… but they aren't written by Margo. Talk about your meta-level irony.
THE GREENS keep warning us about fossil fuel shortages. Ha! The first Mad Max movie was based on the same notion, as I recall, and now Mel Gibson is about to star in a fourth Max adventure. Will he drive an electric car? A Segway, maybe?
BRACE YOURSELVES for the shock of your lives:
Death metal, gangsta rap and contemporary Christian were not represented in the top 10 songs British people like to make love to, according to a survey released yesterday.
JUST A typical US mortar platoon, on manoeuvres in Kuwait …
They are a mixed bunch from every corner of the United States and a range of backgrounds. They are good humoured and tolerant. One of the newest members is a Muslim whose requirement to pray several times a day is fitted into the schedule.
They are, said Sgt Charles Weaver, "reluctant warriors" despite their professionalism. But after September 11 they know they are more likely to have to fight.
Nathanial Hoge, 20, from West Virginia, joined up after the attacks. "It got on my nerves to think that people could attack us like that and have to face no retribution. At my basic training there were a lot of people who had joined for that reason."
The youngest member of the 24- man unit, 18-year-old Andrew Robinson from Chicago, had a message for Saddam Hussein. "Get ready to be taken because we are going to win. I have faith."
UH-OH. Looks like Australia just ruined the Internet for everybody:
Libel cases based on internet material could be mounted anywhere in the world, after a landmark judgment handed down by the High Court today.
International news service Dow Jones failed in its bid to have a defamation action brought by mining magnate Joseph Gutnick heard in the United States.
In a judgment with implications for internet publishing worldwide, the High Court unanimously dismissed Dow Jones' appeal and gave the green light for the defamation case to be heard in Mr Gutnick's home state of Victoria.
The landmark judgment means material published on the internet is deemed to have been published in the place it is viewed online, not the country of origin.
So you write something in the US about some crazy Third World despot and you get sued in his country. Great. Check out more on the case here.
UPDATE. The Australian Internet Association says the decision isn't Armageddon but also admits some websites could be closed, experts are divided, and Joe Gutnick is a happy fellow. Be sure to read The Australian tomorrow for an op-ed on the subject by Glenn Reynolds; I've already seen it, and it rocks.
HOORAY! WE'RE all going to be Islamic!
The suspected spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, preached of establishing an Islamic state in Australia in his sermons to Sydney Muslims.
"The Islamic faithful in Australia must endeavour to bring about an Islamic state in Australia, even if it is 100 years from now," he told the gathering.
THE ULTIMATE TECHNO MUSIC: Formula One computer experts have taught a racing engine to sing.
Load the link and press play. First you'll hear a 10-cylinder, 750 horsepower Asiatech F1 engine being warmed up. Then it performs a rousing version of "When The Saints Come Marching In", to the delight of assembled pit staff and journalists.
Here's how the magic was achieved (technical/musical details via F1 Racing magazine):
As we all know, a V10 engine produces five combustions per revolution at a frequency per second of 60/(5 x revs per minute), which equals 12/rpm. Therefore, to work out the revs you need to hit a particular musical note, you multiply the note's frequency by 12. To play a 440Hz 'A', for example, you need 5,280rpm. For 'C', use 3,139rpm, for 'F' 4,191rpm, and so on.
Asiatech's French technicians (the engine, despite its name, is derived from a Peugeot design) simply programmed their engine to run through the various rev/note ranges in the correct sequence. The result is delightful. And think of the possibilities – BMW's F1 engine, which howls all the way to 19,050rpm, could rip through the entire Hendrix songbook.
Even better: imagine a massed NASCAR choir performing "The Star Spangled Banner"! Being eight-cylinder engines, the frequency per second would be 60/(4 x revs), which means you'd multiply the note frequencies by 15 instead of 12: 'A' would arrive at 6,600rpm, 'C' at 3,923rpm, 'F' at 5,238rpm, etc.
Mark my words, someone will be getting rich at Daytona next year selling a CD of NASCAR patriotic anthems. Send some of the royalties my way.
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! HE'S GOT A DVD!
Researchers in Sweden have found that today's state-of-the-art fast CD-ROM drives and DVD players can shatter discs, sending out knife-like shrapnel at near the speed of sound, causing injury and damaging equipment.
CARMEN LAWRENCE, the Paul Wellstone of Australian politics (if only she were as admired), is well summarised by Paddy McGuinness:
Lawrence's remarks about her leader and her party when she announced her departure from the front bench made her alienation from the electorate clear. She wants the Labor Party to become once again an ideological party which will advance the causes embraced by the sanctimonious Left, regardless of the feelings of the community ... this kind of party will languish in opposition until the great conversion takes place. And it never will.
Gareth Parker, returned from alcoholic post-study oblivion, has also done some fine work on the Great Western Australian Idealist.
MARGO KINGSTON'S FINEST ONE-LINERS OF 2002:
• "After my two part mega entry on the terrorism legislation last week, several readers complained that they couldn't understand what I was talking about."
• "There could be a cell in Sydney planning a terriers act in Italy."
• "It's like the captain sitting on his easy chair watching his troops die on television in the war he ordered and directed."
• "Some have asked what I'm think really happened."
• "The latest Newspoll shows that despite John Howard's concerted attempts to close down domestic debate on the Yank's threatened war on Iraq, Australians have gone ahead anyway, and aren't at all happy."
• "She finds it hard to mange her full-time job."
• "It's getting more and more interesting that Labor is not towing the 'all the way, whatever you say' line of the government."
• "Crean says he'll continue to back denuding boat people of any legal rights under Australian law. He will keep Christmas Island non-Australian. He will Howard's Pacific Solution."
• "When a split occurrs, reasons must be given."
• "Triple J surveys showed a majority of young people list Byron Bay as their ultimate destination and the Triple J cache would mean they'd come to the club when they came to Byron."
• "It can't be... It is."
During a stellar year, Margo also retitled the US firms Andersen and McKinsey, rewrote Enron's history, misrepresented statements by Liberal senator George Brandis, invented something called the "Federal Accounting Standards Board" for a grateful America, renamed Byron Bay, revoked Brisbane's proper-noun status, and pretended to have absolutely no idea what NSW premier Bob Carr was talking about when he slammed her Balinese root-cause theory. This was in addition to her main work of running around the Sydney Morning Herald proclaiming that the SIEV-X affair was the Howard government's Watergate and avoiding any direct debate with her ideological opponents. You go, girl! Just go!
WHENEVER I'M asked why I quit my nice full-time newspaper job, I always say: "Because of people like this guy."
Of course, it makes more sense now that I actually have an example to link to. Before, I just used to point randomly at anyone who happened to be walking past.
SADDAM HUSSEIN'S Western peacenik lawyers want the US to obey every tiny detail of international law before atomising the Iraqi leader. So why don't they demand the same respect for the law from their client?
BELIEVED TO be holed up in a northeastern Iraq mountain range known as Little Tora Bora – where presumably the winters are only slightly fierce – is Abu Wael, the pro-war movement's Holy Grail:
One body of evidence points to Abu Wael as a senior Iraqi intelligence officer and as Hussein's secret liaison with Al Qaeda and its Iraqi affiliate, Ansar al-Islam, or Supporters of Islam. That would make him the long-sought connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda -- and justification for tying a U.S.-led military operation in Iraq to the war on terrorism.
Not that I believe any link is needed to justify regime change in Iraq (does anyone?), but it would sure be nice to have Abu's extra "assistance". Come on down, Abu!
AS THE twig is bent, so grows the tree. A Palestinian mother interviewed as part of the ABC's usual Middle Eastern moral equivalence act wonders why her eight-year-old son "became very strange … always mentioning he wanted to be a martyr" and trying "to follow the tanks and throw stones."
The kid's name? Jihad.
"Jesus Has Two Mommies"
UPDATE. Reader Tim L. writes:
Jesus has two mommies, eh? So can Catholics now riot in the streets, or does the press only justify rioting and murder when the religion mocked is non-Christian and the people offended are non-white?
NO MORAL high ground is too high for Phil Noyce:
After winning two big awards for Rabbit-Proof Fence within days, the director Phil Noyce accused the Federal Government yesterday of inflaming racial hatred in its handling of the stolen generation and asylum seekers.
One of these alleged "big awards" was from the National Board of Review, a no-name bunch of teachers, writers, actors and movie production workers who are frequently confused with being a critics group. Their award for best documentary this year went to Michael Moore. Back to Noyce's self-righteous gibberish about the Australian government:
It was using "people's fear of those who are different" as a political trump card, he said.
There was a widespread view Australia had lost its humanity.
"It's not just the stolen generations issue. It's as much about our treatment of asylum seekers. It's as much about the generally negative attitude of this particular government. People are amazed that a government can be so out of touch on these particular issues."
So out of touch that it's been elected three times. Phil, if you haven't already discovered, is a dill:
In a fiery attack that followed Rabbit-Proof Fence being named best film at the Australian Film Institute awards, Noyce said he had been embarrassed by the increasingly negative view of Australia while promoting its release around the world.
Let's see … Phil makes a film that presents Australia in a negative way, and is then embarrassed that people have negative views about Australia. Smart guy.
UPDATE. Praise Jeebus for the return of the Bunyip. Without him, Tim Dunlop had no natural predator (few species can tolerate TD's ropey texture). An Andrew Bolt column addressing the accuracy of Noyce's film may be found at the Bunyip’s lair. Don’t poke at him!
STEPHANIE BUNBURY is a lazy, pointless journalist. In her Sydney Morning Herald piece applauding Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine", she has failed to conduct even the most elemental research. Here's her opening paragraph:
Wherever you went at this year's Cannes Film Festival, one film was being discussed: Bowling for Columbine. "Columbine" as in the Columbine High School massacre. "Bowling" as in what the murderers did before they opened fire on their classmates.
And "ignorant" as in Stephanie Bunbury. The murderers didn't go bowling. Forbes magazine corrected Moore on this last month:
TITLE: Moore titled the movie Bowling for Columbine because, he suggests, the two kids who shot up Columbine High in Littleton, Colo., went to a 6 a.m. bowling class on the day of the attack.
ACTUALLY: Cool story, but police say it's not true. They say the shooters skipped their bowling class that day.
Stephanie couldn't care less. Her entire piece is a celebration of Moore's bias and bigotry:
Our Mike is like a juggernaut, the irresistible force mowing down every reactionary in sight. "Isn't that great?" you think, with a huge sigh of relief, as you see him bearing down on the next racist lunatic or feral gun owner in his path. Go, Mikey! At least, that's what I think.
Bunbury plainly believes everything she sees. And hears, so long as "Mikey" is doing the talking:
Most documentaries, he says, are inherently dull because they are made to a plan. When he started Bowling for Columbine he wasn't sure where it would take him … Much of Bowling for Columbine is similarly impromptu.
Except for the scenes that aren't, because they were made to a plan. Here's Forbes again:
BANK: Moore says North Country Bank & Trust in Traverse City, Mich., offered a deal where, "if you opened an account, the bank would give you a gun." He walks into a branch and walks out with a gun.
ACTUALLY: Moore didn't just walk in off the street and get a gun. The transaction was staged for cameras. You have to buy a long-term CD, then go to a gun shop to pick up the weapon after a background check.
Recent events don't seem to have made a great impact on Stephanie:
The humour, the wildcard approach, have done the trick once again. Bowling for Columbine has set another record for documentary audiences for Moore. "[The film's backers] can't understand it," Moore said recently. "They tried to get me to change the title. And it turns out all the predictions were wrong. And I knew that they'd be wrong, because I feel like I have a sense of where people are in the country."
You sure do, Mikey! Two words: Payback Tuesday. How'd that work out, Mr "I Have A Sense Of Where People Are In The Country"? And Stephanie, here's a couple of Spinsanity pieces to chew over while you consider how best to approach your next assignment. You might start by learning how to use the Internet.
UPDATE. Zem kindly sends the full review (not available online, although here's a summary) from Australia's Empire magazine. Reviewer Richard Luck makes all the same mistakes as the Bunbury fool, and awards Moore's film five stars – the magazine's highest rating. Some excerpts:
At 6am on the morning of Tuesday, 20 April 1999, 18-year-olds Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went ten-pin bowling. Five hours later, they shot and killed 13 pupils and a teacher at Columbine High School, Colorado, before turning the guns on themselves.
A controversial film made more controversial by recent events, it's to Moore's credit that rather than skirt round 9/11, he confronts it directly. As brave as this movie is, it's no more courageous than confronting Charlton Heston or demanding that Kmart stop selling bullets, both of which he also does.
Wow. He confronts an elderly man. Real brave.
From classic Chris Rock stage material to our hero opening a bank account which comes with a free rifle, Bowling For Columbine entertains like few comedies … Moore's frightening, funny movie tells it like it is, while leaving you optimistic that NRA might one day stand for Not Relevant Anymore.
I'm more optimistic that "Moore" might one day stand for Morbidly Obese Opponent of Rational Explanations.