IT'S THE poem everyone's talking about! In an exclusive extract from his forthcoming memoir – somehow obtained by Mark Steyn – Andrew Motion reveals the creative process behind his chart-topping Causa Belli:

'They read good books, and quote, but never learn."' Learn. Fern. Yearn ... Nocturne. Postern. They read good books, and quote, but never learn ...

A decent poem like Keats's Ode On A Grecian Urn? The lyrics to the Byrds' big hit Turn, Turn, Turn, Turn?

Got it! "A language other than the scream of rocket-burn!" I said, triumphantly. "Note the way my general point is made even more forceful by my use of a very specific vivid image."

I'M A few days late noticing this, but Viking Pundit has an early bid in for 2003's Best Use of the Word "Dude" in a Belittling or Sarcastic Context.

THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE'S Lani Silver wonders: Why do men like war so much?

Men seem to be out of control. They like war way too much.

They are way too aggressive. My proof: 200 million people were murdered in the 20th century because of war and genocide. Since most decision-makers are men, and most soldiers are men, we need to reflect a little on this problem.

I know, you want to yell out Indira Gandhi! Margaret Thatcher! Golda Meir! (Everyone gets so excited that they can name three women who fall into this war-mongering category. Can anyone name a fourth woman who belongs here?)

Condi Rice, maybe? She's involved in decision-making. And didn't Janet Reno mong some war against a bunch of folks in Waco? In the non-government sector, Ann Coulter could possibly be interpreted as being cautiously in favour of war. As well, there are all those bellicose women we sometimes read about online. They seem to be out of control! They are way too aggressive!

FALSE CLAIMS and bogus assumptions from Richard "sure does" Blow:

Michael Moore has a problem: Nobody wants to put him on television.

Democrats desperately need to counter the conservative dominance of TV and radio.

Why are there so few liberals on television?

Michael Moore isn't ugly.

He's also funny and smart.

(Via Gareth Parker)

WHAT WOULD BLOGGERS DRIVE? Damian Penny surveys the Blogworld's wheels. My next car (hey, it could happen): a Caterham Super Seven. With a Cosworth BDA engine, if I luck into some major cash and can somehow swing compliance.


Australian troops will begin heading for the Gulf within weeks after the Prime Minister announced yesterday he had approved an advance deployment ahead of any declaration of war against Iraq.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Security Committee, Mr Howard said a squadron of 14 F/A-18 jet fighters was marked for the Gulf, along with an SAS regiment of 150, likely to take part in sabotage, reconnaissance and advance incursions. PC-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and three naval vessels are also likely to be dispatched.

THE INTERNET as a parental shaming device.

GQ MAGAZINE is stupid. So, probably, is Kate Winslet.

UPDATE. Maybe Winslet was duped. Contrary to the SMH piece linked above, the Daily Telegraph reports that the actress did not approve GQ's photo re-touching: "I do not look like that and, more importantly, I don't desire to look like that … I can tell you that they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third."

SECOND THAT A. MOTION. The Andrew Motion poet laureate challenge has been met by, oh, about 150 superior poets, including Joanne Jacobs, Justin Katz, Laurence Simon, Peter Briffa, Acidman, Barry Briggs, the Rottweiller, Frank J., Uncle, Andrea Harris, Michele Catalano-Brejwo, David Janes, and Tom "call me dipnut" Perry.

Among poets whose work is of a non-linkable nature, we find … Will Warren! Will briefly un-retired himself to write this tribute to Motion's Causa Belli:

COURSES YUMMY by Will Warren

They knead, good cooks, and gloat, but never burn

a flan or other creamy dish: that, you can be sure, they learn.

Our waiter's walk is far from straight: like Dad

he's soused, but brings my salad: oil, well clad.

Brazilian super-poet Nelson Ascher – this is so cool; I'm publishing an Ascher original! – contributes a plaintive lament:

POOR ENGLAND by Nelson Ascher

To have as poet laureate Andrew Motion

whose business is not verse, but self-promotion,

seems bad enough, but then it's more appallin'

to think he'll be succeeded by Tom Paulin.

Quite aside from the quality of his words, Jim Whyte deserves inclusion for his poem's title and his lyrical nom de plume:

COSI FAN BELTI by Adelard Moonbat

Where do they get this verse of rocket-rage,

Which Guardian finds worthy of its page?

Mayhap, its bien-pensants still crave his sound,

But that Motion lad's a knothead, I'll be bound.

Jim was among many to point out that "Mooshu's Latin stinks. The Latin phrase in international law is 'casus belli' (case or event of war) and not 'causa belli' (cause of war). Masefield or Tennyson wouldn't have made that mistake, and neither would more competent newspaper editors (but it's the Guardian, after all)."

Quite so. Now, on with the verse:


They whinge and scream but never suggest

How else might power from Saddam might be wrest;

Pampered pacifists have never heard

That keeping the peace takes more than words

Angie Schultz has Motion properly pegged as yesterday's poet:

CAUSTIC JELLI by Andrea Stoppage

He would turn the tide of Hell

With four poor lines of doggerel.

You can see the man's behind the times:

He writes poetry *that rhymes*.

Glen Johnstone sees up upside:

They carry bright torches, chant, and so yearn

for a day when the Westernized world all will burn.

For pursuit of that course we should all be quite glad:

contrasts with idiots are good to be had.

If I knew how, I'd write music to accompany Joseph Latino's beautiful verse:

They drink good wine, but never try

To understand that brave men die

So they can carp, and whine, and cry

That freedom's leader isn't a fucking idiotic socialist appeaser of fascism.

Liz Feizkhah has a theory on how to stop the Motion:

BEER BELLI by Andrew Motion

They buy my books, and say, This stuff is shite

But that doesn't stop me preening, or dashing off more tripe

Once you're Poet Laureate, you can never get the sack

The only way to shut me up is to invade Iraq

History lesson #1, from Donnel Jones:

He's read his history yet fails to learn

How cowed the move of Chamberlain's concern.

To speak more plainly: evil has the notion

It's bosom pals with men like Andrew Motion.

And history lesson #2, from Christopher DiGrazia:


"No blood for oil!" We hear the cry -

"No daddy's shrub sends us to die!"

But when it's Clinton, it would seem,

"Bomb the Balkans!" is the scream.

Ken Summers didn't like Motion's meter, so in his poem he's changed it to something a little more "hip":


Roses are red

Violets are blue

All your stupid Islamofascist friends are going to be hunted down and killed like the vermin they are and their remains will be left to rot in the gutter and be fed on by rats and cockroaches and they will spend their eternity in the hottest corner of hell with their 72 "virgins" consisting of aging former members of really bad boy bands with not a good-looking goat or camel in sight

And so are you.

Loretta Serrano hits a Will Warrenesque note:

BIG BELLI by Loretta Serrano

We read cookbooks, sautee and never burn

an omelet; golden with a single turn,

Our simpler fare is drowned in sauce béarnaise,

Al dente, honey, olive oil and mayonnaise.

Adriane & Tami Wollaston combine warfare and skincare, and introduce to poetry the phrase "goggled cavalry":

The cause of war is simple,

S. Who'sinsane's a pimple.

And how to fix a pimple ... Please.

Send the night-visioned goggled calvary o'r the desert sands in the dark of the early March 2003 new moon and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.

Nobody dares deny that Rob Toth is, as he claims to be, the poet laureate of Bayonne, NJ, USA:


Us hippie schnooks, we always spurn

Any cause harder than 'Turn, Turn, Turn'

We talk, talk, talk, and boy we're glad

Our constant chit-chat's sponsored by Dad.

Look out! It's lefty blogger Vaara, come to beat up on us brutish conservatives:

They have computers, ISPs, and lovely site design,

So they can just repackage fucking crap they've found online.

They call themselves "Warbloggers," but the truth is more obscene:

It's the greatest circle-jerk that our poor planet's ever seen.

No, that would be American Bukkake 7. Matt Walter of Washington, DC, took the oft-scorned ee cummings path:

poet laureate, poet laureate

impart on us your peaceful wishes

for the appeasement of monsters

while your head remains buried in sand

the world must be surprised

and impressed

by your stance against war, i wish you would

visit iraq

to see the misery

the shame

human shield, human shield

we beg thee

one less talentless poet laureate

jane galt … hey, the keyboard's stuck in ee cummings mode! … Jane Galt sympathises with the folks who pay Motion's wages:

A simple poet, talking straight to power:

"Those meanies haven't asked me how to cower!"

How must it grieve the taxpayers to find

Their simple poet has a simple mind.

LA's greatest Greg, Greg McIlvaine, sends this gem:


I know that I'm wise 'cause I have a degree

I think history started in 1960

If I ignore evil and really hate war

The islamofascists and homicidal dictators won't kill us no more

The irredeemable Wogblogger aims to offend most everyone:

He writes fine words but bitches 'bout the dopes

and cretins, gimps and dumbos, wogs and slopes

who call him to his face a dickhead poof:

appeaser with his fist all filled with spoof.

Imre Salusinszky – Oxford grad, poetry maven, and who actually knows Andrew Motion – would appreciate the Wog's work. His poem:

CAUSA GETFUCKEDI by Imre Salusinszky

They read crap books by Chomsky and Mike Moore

then quote and whine and sermonise and bore.

Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:

wankers, pinkos, fools, and poets bad.

Out of Cincinnati, Ohio, the majestic Mel Kreitzer writes:

UPSET BELLI by Lacking Notion

They eat good food, but never learn

That this can lead to bad heartburn

My poem sucks but my heart is pure

'Cos my appointment is a sinecure.

Scott Helgeson talks power to peaceniks:

They read good, and quote, and write junk, but Dude!

We're much smarter 'cuz we march in the nude.

Our hippy talk is 'cool', but made fun of a lot:

Bad poetry, Marxism, Sean Penn, and pot.

Kevin Bloom defines our era:

They read good poems, bad ones too

know not the difference between the two.

Turgid rhymes are all the rage;

in the whiny Causa Belli Age.

Eric Alexander ponders the biological improbabilities of Andrew Motion:

COARSE, BIG LIE by Stupid Potion

How did I end up born? The slowest sperm

must have been lucky, though clearly infirm.

The fact I have this job proves merit's bad

at shutting idiots up about Baghdad.

Another poet laureate – Dave "poet laureate of Hill St, Saco, Maine" Schipani – takes on his English counterpart:

OFF THE SCALE-I by Stupidity Quotient

They sip fine wines, and sniff, and won't admit

That one G.I. is worth a million Pommie twits.

I wonder if their poems would suck as bad

In German (or in Russian.) Ike was had.

"You know, it's not easy to find a rhyme with 'leftists'," writes Billy Hollis:

They read bad books from commies and greens

Their opinions were frozen when they were just teens

Oh, pity the plight of the modern day leftists

Of all the lost souls, they must be the bereftest

Could Motion next become the poet laureate of Iraq? We, along with Sheryl Veazey-Rudy, can only hope:

Perhaps 'Drew studied verse; one can't discern

The verity of this from his most recent turn.

Like Sarandon, suppressed speech makes him so mad.

Perhaps there's better laureatin' to be done in Baghdad?

And we'll end with Alex Bensky's "sheer, talentless doggerel" which is nevertheless, as he says, "equivalent to at least one effort of England's poet laureate". Thanks to all who versed, and apologies to the many who weren't published.

I've got a notion

That Andrew Motion

Should take a potion

And go jump in the ocean.

UPDATE. Imre Salusinszky writes:

It is true that I know Andrew Motion, albeit slightly: he was a friend of my supervisor at Oxford, John Fuller. I also know his ex-wife, Joanna Motion, who showed her superior taste and judgement by emigrating to Melbourne.

To be fair to Andrew Motion, all lovers of poetry owe him a debt for the excellent job he did in editing the letters of the greatest poet of the 20th century, Phillip Larkin. However, if Andrew had spent less time lately reading Chomsky and Pilger, and more time reading Larkin, he wouldn't have written his silly poem, or added his shilly-shallying comments to it. Larkin, who died in 1985, was an enormous fan of Margaret Thatcher, and would have zero tolerance for the leftie-fascism-appeasers who dominate the "arts community" now, as they did in his own time. He despised them.


HOW COME the left isn't demanding an attack on Iraq? Johann Hari points out that suffering Iraqis would welcome some precise and speedy warfare:

What has become of the left which argued that we had a moral responsibility to defend our fellow humans from fascist dictators? By taking the route of hunting for WMD, and only accepting the overthrow of Saddam on those grounds, we have made a crucial mistake. The greatest possible evidence for this is that, while some in the West celebrate today, the Iraqi people will be weeping.

We do not need Bush's dangerous arguments about "pre-emptive action" to justify this war. Nor do we need to have the smoking gun of WMD. All we need are the humanitarian arguments we used during the Kosovo conflict to remove the monstrous Slobodan Milosevic – and this time, we can act in the certain (rather than probable) knowledge that the people being tyrannised will be cheering us on.

That's until they realise that their freedom is really all about oil.

UPDATE. Jim Nolan sends word that at least some Australian lefties have called for Saddam to be offed.

WHAT IS the "last acceptable prejudice"? Turns out it's lots of things.

BRITAIN'S RICIN GANG may have been trained in Afghanistan:

Agents in Paris, who have been co-operating with the authorities in Britain, said yesterday that some of the men detained in London belonged to a group of Islamic militants which has been monitored for several months.

Some of the men - six of whom are Algerian and one Ethiopian - are believed to have undergone "training programmes" in Afghanistan, the remote Pankisi Gorge region of Georgia and Chechnya.

The ricin being made in London may have been intended for use in France rather than against UK targets.

Unlikely. In France, ricin would be used as a sauce.

A FURIOUS Beckett dispute is ripping Sydney apart.

PETER RYAN on the Era of John Howard:

The minority rule of trendoid ratbaggery is ending, and we are returning our attention to less exciting matters, such as national survival in an envious and hostile region, and to the everyday sort of Australia that most people truly want.

This has not been done by the unaided effort of John Winston Howard, yet somehow one can't imagine it having happened without him. As we used to say, it takes a long while to slow an ocean liner and to turn it around. It takes even longer with a nation, but long views and immense patience are defining Howard qualities.

After years of venomous bias, the media are now changing tone. Even journalists can see that Howard's political ascendancy is total. They still don't like him, but they realise that when the battle smoke of yet another election blows away, they might all look very silly, sitting out there alone in no-man's-land.

EVEN THE DEAD suffer under Mugabe. Zimbabwe has run out of gas to fire its crematoriums.

PAT RAFTER, the nice guy of Australian tennis, has retired. A two-time US Open winner, Rafter should also have won Wimbledon in 2001, but was swamped by an inspired Goran Ivanisevic.

Rafter is sometimes criticised in Australia because he minimises his tax payments by basing his finances off-shore. Hey, it's his money. Let him do with it what he wants.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE BRITAIN'S POET LAUREATE? You'd be surprised how easy it is, judging by the latest chunk o' verse from poet laureate Andrew Motion. And The Guardian thinks Motion's notions are extremely important, for some reason:

In a rare step for a poet laureate, Andrew Motion today speaks out in his newest poem against the momentum towards a US-led invasion of Iraq using British forces who would be serving nominally under the Queen.

In the 30-word poem, Motion, who was appointed by the Queen in 1999, sides with those who are "doubtful" about a war - and against the political leaderships of Britain and America.

Here's Motion's "newest poem":

CAUSA BELLI by Andrew Motion

They read good books, and quote, but never learn

a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.

Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:

elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

Call that a poem? This is a poem:

COARSER BELLI by Handcare Lotion

They read good poems, and write, but never learn

a better phrase to rhyme with than fucking "rocket-burn".

How did you become Boss Poet when your poetry's so bad?

The fucking competition must be dead or fucking mad.

Not great, I admit, but it has a certain flow the original lacked. Think you can do better? Of course you can! Send your Causa Belli parodies my way, and I'll forward them to The Queen.



The times are being compared with the Cold War. More police are on look-out duty and public alerts have been issued on the city's signature structures. Comfort zones have narrowed and, in response, psychiatrists have predicted more anxiety and depression.

The mood is subdued. When people talk, even light-heartedly, about bracing themselves for a Harbour Bridge crossing, it is a sign that something has clicked in the city psyche. Summer crowds - at the cricket, at concerts and malls - now look like places to be avoided.


Far from shunning large public gatherings because of the threat of terrorist attack, Australians are flocking to events in record numbers.

From the cricket to the Sydney Festival to the Big Day Out, Sydneysiders appear to be ignoring any perceived threat and getting on with the business of enjoying themselves.

MULTIUNILATERALISM: Someone please tell Laurie Brereton that France is now preparing to join the war effort. Unilateralism never had so many partners.

PETER FITZSIMONS can't believe that Bob Dylan has taken up golf. He's written a whole column for The Sydney Morning Herald about how upset this makes him:

No, Bobby. Please, no. It's just not you, babe. And I, for one, simply refuse to believe that the deity who designed The Times They Are A'Changin', Idiot Wind, Isis and the Chimes of Freedom Flashing is doing what they say you're doing.

Listen. We, your devoted Dylan followers, can forgive you for having "gone electric" in the mid-'60s, and we can just maybe forgive you for briefly becoming a born-again Christian a couple of decades ago. But this time you have gone too far!

Stop mumbling into your harmonica for a moment and damn well look at me, Bobby, 'cos you ain't a'going nowhere. And you know what I'm talkin' about. I'm talkin' about the media report which asserts that you have taken up the game of - I still can't believe it - golf.

Some "devoted fan" FitzSimons is (and some researcher, too). Here's a Der Spiegel interview from 1997 in which Dylan talks about his golf game (handicap: 17). This piece, again from 1997, also mentions Dylan taking up golf. Hell, here we find a fan talking about playing golf with Dylan 23 years ago.

Next from FitzSimons: a piece warning Jim Morrison to adopt a healthy diet "before it's too late".

UPDATE. Terry Ingalls writes to remind FitzSimons that in I Shall Be Free No. 10, on the album Another Side, back in "oh, I'd say 1964", Dylan predicted his golfing future:

I'm gonna grow my hair down to my feet so strange

So I look like a walking mountain range

And I'm gonna ride into Omaha on a horse

Out to the country club and the golf course.

Carry the New York Times, shoot a few holes, blow their minds.

TODAY'S COLUMN in The Australian is on the Raelian cloning controversy, and mentions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pixies, Brigitte Boisselier, clone wranglers, Rael, bloodlusting wardogs who won't be happy until Saddam's head is on a stick, and milk-drinking pacifist girly-boys who believe in the healing power of hugs.

While we're on the subject of Raelian nonsense, AP reports that "mainstream scientists and the media are beating a hasty retreat from what already was widely considered to be a dubious enterprise." It took them long enough.

BUSH CUTS TAXES, and Australia wins:

The local economy - and millions of Australians through superannuation - will benefit from the $1 trillion in tax cuts unveiled yesterday by President Bush.

ENVIRONMENTALISM takes one more step towards becoming an official religion:

A holy alliance may be in the making between the world's religious faithful and advocates of environmentalism and sustainable development, according to Gary Gardner of the Worldwatch Institute.

Religious and environmental groups "essentially are interested in improving the world . . . they both see some intrinsic value to nature . . . and both have some interest in curbing the excessive consumption that drives many industrial societies."

And both believe in big, invisible, unknowable things only Wise Men can tell us about, like God and the greenhouse effect.

UPDATE. Nelson Ascher, in his column for Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, on the convergence of religion and leftist activism:

If the religions have lost their political power, they've in exchange conquered a kind of monopoly of good intentions and the same may be said, particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union, about the contemporary left. Even when the doctrines and activities of a church or NGO causes poverty, hunger and sickness, they still go on being considered morally superior to any corporation that, in order to "mercenarilly" satisfy its share holders, were to discover the cure for AIDS or to solve, with GM food, the problem of hunger in Africa. In other words, it is not relevant anymore if a doctor can cure the sick, what's important is to know if he's acting out of love or for money.

NEW TO BLOGS? The Capitol.Net has a fine list of recommended sites, from Ernie the Attorney to Angie Schultz and beyond.


MOORE, MOORE, MOORE! It's multiple Michael Moore madness time! The Independent's Yasmin Alibhai-Brown condemns Moore's now-ended London stage show:

What we did not expect was to feel so enraged at one point that we almost walked out. It was when Moore went into a rant about how the passengers on the planes on 11 September were scaredy-cats because they were mostly white. If the passengers had included black men, he claimed, those killers, with their puny bodies and unimpressive small knives, would have been crushed by the dudes, who as we all know take no disrespect from anybody.

(UPDATE. Reader John Davies of Pittsburgh, PA, writes: "Maybe Michael Moore can tell us if Amtrak passengers are all black.")

Fox also noted Alibhai-Brown's piece. Moore's show wasn't a critical success with the UK's Theatre Guide, either:

This is a really lousy show. About 25% of it is offensive, without being witty or fun, about 25% is annoying, and the rest is just plain dull.

Whatever his success on film, Moore turns out to have very little charm or stage presence in person. He wanders aimlessly about the stage, mumbles, giggles at his own jokes, forgets the points of his stories, and doesn't know what to do when bits fall flat.

Things fell really flat when Moore tried some jolly audience interactivity aimed at trashing the US:

A mock quiz show pitting the dumbest Brit in the audience against the smartest Yank dies when the American wins, spoiling his point.

All of this is but mere prelude to Rachel Lucas's hilarious psychoanalysis of the Giant Michigan Landcow. Go read it now. It's worth his weight in gold.

THE WASHINGTON POST'S Anne Applebaum makes with the blog-style Raelian cloning gags:

I have just cloned a baby. To be precise, I found some sticks and stones in my back yard, crushed them with my coffee grinder, threw them in a cauldron and added eye of newt and toe of frog. Then I boiled everything down, nurtured it for nine months in a test tube and -- Voilà! -- a cloned baby. I would now like to be interviewed simultaneously on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox, please, so that I can hawk my book about cloning and make a million dollars to support my future scientific research.

YOU TRY to help those poor Third World people, and what do they do? Steal all your royalty profits, that's what:

HANOI (Reuters) - The director of "The Quiet American," the first major Hollywood film shot in Vietnam, says he is saddened by the emergence of pirated copies of the movie in the country so soon after its release.

Although major international films are routinely pirated in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia, Australian director Phillip Noyce had hoped authorities would be particularly vigilant with The Quiet American because of its historical and emotional significance … "I am saddened that pirated copies...are permitted to be sold in Vietnamese cities, after all the work undertaken to promote the film."

No Western film director can compete with wily guerilla capitalists in a video jungle war.

MUCH GOODNESS is on display over at OmbudsGod.

MODERN AUTOMOBILES – even SUVs, Satan's runabouts – don't create an enormous amount of pollution. But think how much pollution would be generated by a burning vehicle: there'd be toxins from the incinerated tyres and interior plastics; poisons from the different alloys and metals; and all manner of atmosphere-choking by-products released by burned brake fluid, transmission oils and the like.

Now multiply that by four, and try to imagine what kind of earth-hating bastards would do such a thing to our fair planet.

Answer: the bastards from the Earth Liberation Front, who pollute in the name of non-pollution.

(via Alan K. Henderson)

UPDATE. Reader Joe Guderjohn writes:

As an engineering student (a long time ago), I did a trial calculation on the amount of pollution we'd have if automobiles had never replaced horses. Talk about being "up to your neck" in it ..."

And horses are so much more difficult to burn. They keep running away.

HARRY EAGER writes to ask how come nobody has volunteered to be a human shield for Rabbi Gabriel Farhi. Good question.

CRUSH THEM before they kill again. Two extracts from Rohan Gunaratna's column in today's Australian:

Throughout last year, al-Qaida or its associate groups killed German tourists in Djerba, Tunisia; French naval technicians in Karachi, Pakistan; Australians and other Westerners in Bali, Indonesia; and Israelis in Mombasa, Kenya.

Worth pointing out to anybody who underestimates the present situation. Also worth remembering:

Al-Qaida has suffered because of the arrest of nearly 3000 organisers, operatives and supporters in 98 countries since October 2001.

Who says no progress is being made in the war against terror?

ANNA KOURNIKOVA has a new tattoo. Just thought you'd like to know.

THE MOST EXALTED GRAND AUSTRALIAN MUFTI, charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a cop, claims he's being victimised and is threatening to sue police:

The spiritual leader of Australia's 300,000 Muslims was leading prayers at Lakemba mosque a day after his roadside arrest, accusing police of acting in a "Rambo way" and the Federal Government of political point scoring.

Sheik Al Hilaly, 62, is facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police, as well as three other traffic charges, after he was pulled over on King Georges Road, Wiley Park on Monday.

Yesterday, the sheik dismissed suggestions that police had genuine cause to search his car for a weapon: "He [the officer] tried to do his job not the Australian way, the friendly way. He was doing his job by the Rambo way, the Chicago way."

Witness Ranesh Ramtohul disputes this account, alleging that a young Mufti functionary took on the Rambo role:

"A young guy just pushed two police to the ground. He tried to bash the two of them but two more police came to the rescue. The police did a good job - it was cool. They tried to explain to those people calmly."

"Cool" isn't a word you'd often associate with Sheik Big Al:

The sheik earned the ire of Sydney's Jewish community in the 1980s, when he was quoted as saying Jews were the source of all wars. Last year he claimed a number of race-related rapes in Sydney's south-west were the product of "Australian society".

THOSE CRAZY RAELIANS! They're able breed human clones with ease, but it'll take a while longer before they can replicate a dead dog.

THE LATEST example of extreme moral equivalence from the extremist Left:

It's all very well to be oh-so-wise after the September 11 terrorist attacks, but making generalisations about Saudi Arabia having "no freedom of the press, bill of rights or democratically elected parliament" is a bit rich when you take into account the rights of Americans like Taliban fighter John Walker and censored TV show host Bill Maher, and the absolute debacle that the Florida vote was.

Those Indymedia lunatics just can't help themselves, can they? John Walker Lindh took up arms against his country and was tried and jailed for it; this reveals, in the writer's mind, a nation with a similar regard for the rights of its citizenry as exhibited by Saudi Arabia. Poor Bill Maher's show got canned; this means the US has no free press. And the 2000 election was a "debacle" that apparently delivered a government with the democratic authority of the House of Saud. Who's making the generalisations here, idiot?

Actually, the quote above isn't from any teenage Indymedia acne warror. It's from Sydney Morning Herald television writer Henry Everingham's preview (no link available) of the documentary Errors In Judgement, which aired last night on SBS. Here's an excerpt from another of Everingham's Tuesday previews:

Alexander the Great remains one of history's greatest generals. He led from the front, showing no fear. Sadly, we don't get commanders-in-chief like him any more. Just privileged cowards.

It's times like this I remember the words of my dear old grandmother, God rest her soul, who took me aside one day and said: "Timothy, the Sydney Morning Herald is run by paste-brained non-people no better able to distinguish right from wrong than would be the pool of bloody vomit next to your grandfather's drinking chair."

She used to say that a lot. Eventually we had to cancel our subscription.


KEN LAYNE has produced a New York Times parody so accurate that the Times will probably add it to their own archives. Genius.

VIA A Yobbo's View we learn of an accused sex offender's innovative bail application:

Defence lawyer Swaran Ludher said his client needed bail because he was Muslim and needed "a certain lifestyle to remain sane".

Bail was refused.

MICHAEL MOORE, friend of the workingman and the triple Whopper, has fled Britain after abusing lowly-paid theatre staff:

American satirist Michael Moore has stormed out of Britain after a bust up with the London theatre hosting his one-man show. The Bowling For Columbine moviemaker performed Michael Moore - Live! to packed audiences for two months before Christmas at The Roundhouse in Camden, North London.

Moore plays to a packed house even if nobody is in the audience.

But on the penultimate night he reportedly flew into a rage, verbally attacked everyone associated with the theatre because he thought he wasn't being paid enough. During the performance he complained he was making just $750 a night.

Why, that's less than $4000 per week! How's a simple guy from Flint meant to survive?

A member of the stage crew says, "He completely lost the plot. He stormed around all day screaming at everyone, even the £5-an-hour bar staff, telling them how we were all conmen and useless. Then he went on stage and did it in public."

I need that crew member for my upcoming documentary about Michael Moore, which will examine Michael Moore using Michael Moore's documentary-making techniques. Call me, crew man!

Staff retaliated by refusing to work the following night, which led to the show being held up for an hour. Eventually he made a groveling apology to staff and the angry audience finally took to their seats.

Hooray! A victory for the working class over their millionaire tyrant boss.

A source reports that Moore then packed his bags and flew to New York the next day without saying thank you or goodbye to anyone.

Kind of like Charlton Heston walking away from Moore in Bowling for Columbine. Except Heston was more polite.

(via the all-seeing Bernard Slattery)

WE'VE ALL thought about it. Perhaps, late at night, in the company of loved ones, some of us may even have tentatively mentioned the subject. But only The Hawkesbury Gazette has the guts to simply ask the question:

Would you vote for Hawkesbury Mayor Rex Stubbs in a State election?

The response so far is crushingly negative. Then again, only 15 or so people have been brave enough to offer their opinion – hardly surprising, given current attitudes towards dissent.

(UPDATE: Stubbs has grabbed the lead! The people will not be silenced!)

Among other issues shredding rural Australia's social fabric, as revealed by online newspaper polls:

The Ararat Advertiser wonders: "Does Ararat need more parking places?" Projected winner: Yes.

"Do you believe bushfires will be a serious threat throughout the remaining days of Summer?" asks The Blue Mountains Gazette. The "yes" vote is leading, with "don't know" and "don't care" tied on 11.1%.

I think this was one of the foreign policy questions that tripped up George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign: "What is your preferred option for rubbish collection in Whyalla?" A poll in The Whyalla News would have us believe that 240 litre bins and crates are favoured. Vote rigging is suspected.

The mischievous Bunbury Mail exacerbates community tensions with its controversial inquiry: "Should Bunbury, Eaton, Australind and Dalyellup amalgamate?" More than 150 votes are in, with "no" leading. The real battle, however, is between "don't care" (3.1%) and "maybe" (2.5%).

"What retail development would you like to see in Ford Street?" Yes, it's the Wangaratta Chronicle again, still harping on the Ford Street retail issue after all these years. As usual, "Big W" is the preferred development, holding a huge advantage over "Coles or other". Give it a rest, guys!

The Ballarat Courier, meanwhile, tackles a more topical concern: "A group associated with the purported first human cloning believes aliens are preparing to engage the human race at an 'embassy' on earth. What do you think? Is there life out there?" Most respondents reply: "I am an alien".

LABOR PARTY figure Laurie Brereton has some tough – and illogical – words for his colleagues:

Labor should not support our country's military involvement in a unilateral attack on Iraq.

Where's the "uni" in an attack that would involve several nations, Laurie?

WHAT WOULD JESUS SMOKE? Loads of dope, according to some High Times biscuithead quoted in The Guardian:

Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.

The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine, High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.

"If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil ... and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ," Mr Bennett concludes.

According to Bennett's Bible, Jeebus turned water into weed.

"WHEN IN natural surroundings, [they] form friendships and social hierarchies, recognise one another, love their young, and enjoy a full life, dust bathing …"

Who are they?

a) Earth First! members

b) Raelians

c) Chickens

d) The staff of The Sydney Morning Herald

e) Golfers

The answer is … here.

MORE BRUTAL anti-Islamic antics from Australia's police, who've blatantly pulled over an allegedly unregistered and uninsured car driven by the King Aussie Mufti:

Sheik Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, 62, an Australian naturalised Egyptian, Mufti of Australia and imam of Lakemba mosque, was pulled over by an Ashfield highway patrol officer in Wiley Park at 11.25am yesterday.

As he drove to his daughter's home a tube of plastic was protruding from a passenger door window, according to Keysar Trad, spokesman for the Lebanese Muslim Association.

"It was sticking out five centimetres, it was very pliable and soft. It wasn't any danger," he said.

But police contend it was made of metal, not plastic, and found the late model Ford LTD to be unregistered and uninsured.

King Mufto the Great ended up in hospital complaining of "heart strain".

UPDATE. More from the Mufti:

The mufti said while the officer who arrested him was doing his job, he went about it the wrong way.

"Police officer, he try to do his job but not through Australian way; I think he try the Chicago way, not Australian way," Sheik Hilaly told Channel 7.

"The Chicago way"?

UPDATE. Jim Treacher explains that the ol' Mufti is referencing a popular film:

Yeah, you know: "They put one of ours in the hospital, we put one of theirs in the morgue. That's the Chicago way!" And deliver it with a Scottish brogue, even though you're supposed to be playing an Irishman.

Very appropriate, considering that the Mufti apparently believes himself to be Untouchable.

FIRST THE refugee lobby complained that visa over-stayers weren't being locked up. Now they complain that they are being locked up, and that they're the ones causing all the trouble in Australian detention centres.

Fans of softball ABC interviews will thrill to the above link. Nerf balls the size of boulders. I kid you not.

FOOD IS running out in Zimbabwe, and time is running out for Robert Mugabe. Now even his loyal goons have turned against him:

Robert Mugabe's shock troops, the so-called war veterans, were responsible for Zimbabwe's first food riots, it emerged yesterday.

The news that the notoriously volatile veterans have engaged in anti-regime violence is a blow to Mr Mugabe, who has used them to lead state-sponsored terror attacks against white-owned farms. The campaign is blamed for reducing the country to starvation.

A breach between the government and the thuggish "veterans" has been in the offing since their leader, Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, died of a suspected Aids-related condition 18 months ago. He was charged by the regime with ensuring that the groups behaved themselves.

"Behaved themselves". Interesting choice of phrase.

THE ONLY person on earth who believes the Raelians' clone claims is apparently one Bob Ellis, a columnist for The Canberra Times.

Oh, and the Raelians want the Catholic church to compensate Australia's "stolen generation" of Aborigines. Why don't they just clone a whole new bunch of happy unstolen generations?

IT AIN'T all about oil. Certain factions also believe it's all about Palestinians, as The Weekly Standard's Max Boot explains:

Whenever the serious issues of the Middle East are raised, from oppression in Saudi Arabia to nuclear weapons development in Iran, the answer one hears from Europeans, Arabs, United Nations functionaries, all sorts of supposedly serious people, is invariably the same: The real issue is the Palestinians. Until we resolve their horrible plight, peace will never come to the Middle East. This is an absurd argument since even if Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, this would not affect in the slightest the tensions between Islamic fundamentalists and secularists, between rich Gulf kingdoms and their poor cousins, between Shiites and Sunnis, between democrats and dictators, or the countless other San Andreas-sized fault lines that run through the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam). It is helpful to remember that all of the dead in the Arab-Israeli wars of the past half century amount to only a tiny fraction of the million killed during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, the 100,000 killed in Algeria's civil war since 1992, or the 100,000 killed in Lebanon's civil war from 1975 to 1990.

VIA REUTERS, the news service you can depend on (for crap!):

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Right-winger Rolandas Paksas scored an astonishing upset victory in a Lithuanian election on Sunday, unseating President Valdas Adamkus by a 10-point margin that could unsettle leaders of the European Union.

Poor EU leaders, all unsettled by the result of a democratic election. Feel their pain. Reuters does.


ANNE SUMMERS believes that an anti-Chinese sentiment is sweeping Australia. Her sources on this are impeccable – not to mention invisible. We begin with Anne complaining of a racist backlash against high-scoring Chinese high school students:

The many high scorers who happen to come from Chinese families are being accused of being insufficiently Australian.

Who is accusing them?

These kids work too hard, do too much homework, get coaching, are disciplined, are fanatical and don't lead well-balanced lives (ie, don't play enough sport), say the critics.

They do?

It hardly seems smart of citizens of a country that once set being clever as a national goal to deride people for scholastic excellence.

Who's doing the deriding?

A vocal minority is begrudging the achievements of some students because of where their parents were born.

This minority, being allegedly "vocal", should be the source of many damning quotes. Got any, Anne?

As a nation we supposedly loathe dole bludgers, dope-smokers, surfing bums and others who loaf around, yet we can't bring ourselves to celebrate the results that hard work brought to a handful of our brightest students.

Beats me what she's talking about. Summers then segues into a rant about "a small band of highly ideological political marksmen" trying to re-write Australian and Aboriginal history (Summers and her friends could never be accused of this) before returning to her main thesis, to which she adds a shamrock angle:

Instead of embracing the success of a group that has moved beyond the stereotype of the market garden and the Chinese laundry, many of Irish descent feel threatened that their social hegemony is being undermined by people willing to work harder.

We'll have to take Anne’s word for this. Maybe she overheard a pipe-smoking Paddy complaining to the old village blacksmith: "Dey don't even eat pertaters, don't you know!"

So what if the Chinese students mostly do medicine and science? Irish Catholics once went mostly into the public service, into customs and taxation and immigration (where their bigotry continues to have an impact on policy) and later in large numbers into law. Most groups deal with discrimination - be it from Masons or whoever - by seeking the safety of numbers. What exactly is wrong with so many Chinese wanting to do medicine?

Short answer: nothing. Long answer: Nothing at all. By the way, is "Irish" the word Anne uses when she means "Australian Labor Party" or "unionists"?

It shows how far we still have to go as a country that likes to call itself multicultural that two groups which have historically endured prejudice and even persecution are once again on the receiving end of what looks like a concerted campaign of denigration.

By who?

We should be more than alert to what is happening here. We should be afraid. Very afraid.

Of what?

LATEST PIECE by me in The Australian is on Steve Waugh. Non-cricket followers should probably avoid, although several US sportsmen – including Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken, Darrell Green and A.J. Foyt – are also mentioned.

Cricket people might enjoy reading it to learn about the time Jeff Thomson bowled to Sir Donald Bradman …

THE DEATH TOLL in the Tel Aviv double suicide bombing has now reached 24. It's likely that many of the dead were immigrants:

Another 100 people were wounded in the blast near Tel Aviv's former central bus station, a poor area heavily populated by immigrant workers, sources said.

An ABC radio report on the psychotic attacks mentioned Sharon's "hawkish" leadership and "warnings" that reprisals were expected in the wake of recent Palestinian deaths. No link to that report is yet available. I'll post when it is.

UPDATE. Here's the link.

GARETH PARKER exposes the seething racist hatred fuelling White Australia's loathing of refugees.

WILL THE Liberal Party flourish or founder under Peter Costello's leadership? Imre Salusinszky argues it'll be the former:

There are new, non-Howard constituencies that Costello can appeal to: for example, younger voters. Younger Australians have grown up in the era of deregulation, market reform and globalisation. They have no longing to return to the distant era of centralised planning that forms the basis of the nostalgic reveries of a Kenneth Davidson or a Phillip Adams.

At the same time, they tend not to be social conservatives or monarchists. An approach such as Costello's, that is liberal both socially and economically, has the potential to attract their loyalty.

TIM DUNLOP has been conducting some in-depth toilet polling in the US. Careful, Tim. That sort of thing got George Michael arrested.

AUSTRALIAN WADE ROBSON says he didn't have an affair with Britney Spears. Well, hey, neither did I, but you don't hear me bragging about it.

SOME CRAZYHEIMER in a stolen plane terrorised Frankfurt overnight. His motives remain unclear, according to the BBC, "though some reports say the pilot was demanding to speak to the brother of a female astronaut who perished in the US Challenger space disaster in the 1980s."

LI'L KIM has outraged Mullah-Americans with this foxy cover shot. The Religion of Peace obviously isn't the Religion of a Piece of Ass.

ATTENTION, GLOBAL NEWS MEDIA! I would like to announce that I, too, have cloned a human baby!

You aren't allowed to see the baby, or the mother, or talk to any of the doctors involved, and I don't have any pictures or science-type information or anything, but take my word for it – I've cloned a goddamn human kid!

So get to it with the front-page stories. I want equal time with those Raelian dudes. My word is as good as theirs.

THE DOWNWARD spiral of leftism continues unabated.

A JOURNALIST FRIEND in Kuwait sends news of the limited job vacancies available to Taiwanese dwarfs:

I clipped a wonderful picture and caption from one of the Dubai papers on the way here; thought you may like it. The pic shows two American dwarfs at an airport; the man holds a bespectacled Asian dwarf in his arms. The caption reads: "Wes Rapp hugs his newly adopted daughter Lucy as his wife Sandy looks on at Taiwan's Chiang Kai-Shek Airport on Monday. The Rapps, a US dwarf couple from Texas, met Lucy, also a dwarf, for the first time at the airport. Lucy will have to learn a new language and make new friends. In Taiwan, opportunities for dwarfs are limited to selling lottery tickets and bubble gum."

So many questions … why only lottery tickets and gum? Does the Federated Union of Bearded Ladies control the peanut and theatre ticket industry? What is the penalty for dwarfs caught selling gums of a non-bubbling nature? Are dwarfs allowed to sell both tickets and gum?

I shouldn't make fun. The Rapps sound like good people.

MARLON McAVOY, of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, brings to a scholarly end our mini-debate on depleted uranium:

I am a radiation protection technician at a U.S. Dept. of Energy research facility, and can make a few points about the radiological aspects of DU.

"Depleted" uranium has been refined so that it is composed of U-238, the most common isotope of uranium. U-238 has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years, and unlike its cousin U-235 it is not a "fissionable" material; that is, it is not physically possible to generate meaningful thermonuclear fission from its use. While DU is somewhat more radioactive than granite, Mr. O'Keefe is correct in saying that it poses no practical radiological threat. DU would only be a true radiological hazard if one could somehow absorb large amounts in a dispersed form. Occupational exposure to DU (over a period of years and without the use of basic protective measures) would be a matter of concern, but even then the physical characteristics of DU would be a greater threat than its radiological ones. That is, heavy metal poisoning would get you long before the radiation did, much as if you had ingested too much (non-radioactive) lead.

Note that this is for U-238 only, due to its extremely long half-life. More active isotopes of uranium, such as U-235, have a correspondingly greater radiological hazard. But these isotopes are processed out of DU, thus its name. That the military uses uranium at all is not for its radiological properties, but for its pyrophoric ones.

As for that "mini-neutron bomb" business, it is utter nonsense. It is not physically possible. That gentleman's instructors were confusing the shell's physical and chemical potencies with imagined sub-atomic ones. While undoubtably the shells' tremendous kinetic energies ionize some electrons and nuclei (atomic reaction), they are orders of magnitude shy of sundering the nuclei themselves (sub-atomic reaction).

In short, being exposed to a barrage of DU fire is much like being near the detonation of a "dirty bomb": if you survive the explosions themselves, you are most unlikely to be felled by radiological residue.

And there you have it. Thanks to Marlon for taking the time to write such a detailed piece.

KEN LAYNE mocks Australia's Great Lord of Dirt and Bugs! Oh, the vengeance the Great Lord shall wreak! Ken's office will become all filthy and bug-filled within days.

Which reminds me of a fantastic, unrepeatable idea for washing machines Ken came up with the last time I visited. Or maybe I came up with it. Either way, It Must Never Be Spoken Of Again, or we'll spend the rest of lives in a prison for the criminally insensitive.

THE BARMY ARMY – English cricket supporters who, unlike England's soccer fans, are welcome everywhere – have been in fine voice during the Fifth Test in Sydney. Miranda Devine likes 'em, too.

They might have even more to sing about after today's play, although Australia is presently ahead of the run rate required to win. If Gilchrist is batting in the final session, we just could make it. Maybe.

MULTINATIONAL MONITOR – whoever the hell they are – last month produced their list of the 10 Worst Corporations of 2002. Among them: Caterpillar, for manufacturing the bulldozers "used by the Israeli military to carry out its program of home destruction."

How did Consolidated Rock & Pebble, makers of the weapons favoured by nine out of ten Palestinian children, escape this group's attention? And BlastCo Fashion – whose exploding belts (and matching shoes) are probably made in Asian sweatshops – aren't cited either. Even Arafat Brand Baby Wipes ("For the Baby Inside the Beardly Tyrant Bastard") missed out.

I MIGHT have to get "Great Australian Wag" tattooed somewhere. Thank you, Mark Steyn. Meanwhile, the Great Australian Wog pours boiling (olive) oil on the totalitarian artistic vision of a Paul Keating devotee, and I cannot find any story at all I can link to using the line "Great Australian Wig". Damn.

STAFFERS AT two Sydney media companies may wonder today why their bosses are in such savage moods. The reason is that both men are originally from Liverpool, and both are devoted supporters of the Everton football club:

Struggling third division club Shrewsbury dumped Premiership high-flyers Everton out of the FA Cup on Saturday in one of the biggest ever upsets in the history of the competition.

Take care, copy people. Be alert for headbutts.

PEACE IN the Middle East? Ha! Such matters are a trifle compared to the extraordinary developments in Melbourne, Australia, where warring tribes are now co-operating like common bees. Read and learn, Yasser.