THIS SITE HAS MOVED. Go here. More information below.

A GENIUS named Andrea Harris has moved this site to an entirely new, super-zesty zone right here. Bookmark this address:


It's a complete Moveable Type extravaganza, just like Damian Penny now has (except much less Canadian). There's comments and everything!

Well, until I remove them. There may be a zoomy new design soon, too, once I re-activate the designing process. And possibly the address will change. Whatever. You'll notice also that I have yet to completely alter the format to cope with headlines.

In the meantime, celebrate, for I am now free of Blogspot. To Andrea!


THANKS, TERRORISTS! The suicide bombers who attacked Casablanca have caused movie makers to halt a $200 million film deal in a Muslim country - and transfer the whole operation to evil Australia.

THE MELBOURNE Age today reviews Beavis and Butt-head, apparently unaware that the final episode went to air six years ago. In next week's Age: Should Murphy Brown have a child out of wedlock?

HOW DO you improve dull wire copy? You add pictures. I learned this old trick when I worked on newspapers.

RAPE CHARGES against the Governor-General have been withdrawn. And he isn't quitting - not yet, anyway - despite the braying of Simon Crean.

THE UN is back, and it's better than ever!

The new UN Security Council resolution on Iraq approved today showed the world body "is back", French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said.

Speaking on state-run France Inter radio before the vote, he said: "We can consider that the UN is back, and at bottom that is now the key issue: to make sure that the UN can resume its place" in the handling of the Iraq crisis.

"We are convinced that the UN alone is capable of bringing its legitimacy, experience and effectiveness on the ground," he noted.

Dominique should have expressed these noble thoughts in verse:

Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign Minister, has written an 800-page book about poetry, including examples of his own work.

Here is an extract from his preface: "This eulogy owes nothing to artifice or chance. It has ripened inside me since childhood. From the bottom of my pockets, stuck to the back of my smock, hidden in the corner of abacuses, poetry gushed out …"

Maybe not. Smock-wearing poem gusher.

this, I just had to go buy a Treacher t-shirt from Honest Jim's House of Items:

Tim's alright, you know. I don't always get what he's talking about, with all the stuff about Aussie politicians and TV shows nobody in the civilized world has ever heard of, but he's good with the zingers. Seems like most of the people who really hate him have no discernible sense of humor, so I think it's less of a left/right thing than a stick/no-stick-up-the-ass thing.

And if I was a woman or a homo or just really really blitzed, I'd probly do 'im. Fortunately for him, I am none of those things at the time of this writing.

Jim's alright, too. I just never want to share a prison cell with him. Oh, here's the shirt. Buy one for that special person in your life and hear her exclaim: "What the hell?!"

LEARN ABOUT Australian politics the easy Tok Pisin way via the ABC's Papua New Guinean news service! Here's the latest on Australia Praim Minista John Howard and his Foren Minista Alexander Downer, who recently asked Robert Mugabe to step daun. Zimbabwe bilongs to ol the pipal!

THE SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS got the ball rolling on the whole Jayson Blair affair. As Mark Harden reports, however, it has since done everything in its power to stop that crazy ball:

In a preemptive bid to cut off discussion of the pernicious influence of racial preferences which was brought to wider attention as a result of the scandal, local writers from Clack ("Don't put other journalists in same boat as Blackbeard Blair"), to Rangel ("Big Apple's bad apple must not ruin march toward diversity") to Fletcher Stoeltje ("New York Times' shame is about human nature, not diversity") have rushed to toss a blanket over the elephant in our living room.

Mark has all the links. Go read.

ACIDMAN'S Blog Survivor contest has me in its hostile, unblinking gaze. Will I survive? Nobody knows!

The A-man might be on to something here. Blog-related reality shows could be the Next Big Thing. Marry a Blogger, for example, with various babes competing for the right to support the posting habits of a semi-employed blogging spouse. Big Blogger, in which several bloggers post at the same site while an unseen tormentor randomly changes their sign-ins. And Weakest Link, a study of weblog spelling errors that lead to Error 404 pages. Hey, I'd watch!

REMEMBER how the residents of Moab were furious that a bomb was named after their town? Well, imagine how the people who live here must feel.

UPDATE. Reader Andy D. writes:

Never mind how the town feels about the journalist; how must the journalist feel about the town? This place is an overwhelming affront to everything he stands for! I mean, how does a population of 361 manage to support not one but TWO Lutheran churches!? This is an outrageous example of homogenised monotheocentrism! Why are these people not embracing multiculturalism and theological diversity? It's appalling!

In a good and perfect world, John would be spinning in his grave over this.

NICOLE KIDMAN without a few grams of tobacco between her fingers = Australia's favourite actress. Nicole Kidman with = horror monster baby-eater outcast freak beast:

Her face has graced the covers of hundreds of fashion magazines worldwide and she is regularly voted one of the most beautiful women.

But the world glimpsed uglier images of Nicole Kidman at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday when she smoked her way through an international press conference.

THE JOHN KAMPFNER debate continues. Now Tim Dunlop - an early doubter of the Lynch rescue story - adds this furious condemnation:

I must say, the BBC guy doesn't sound all that convincing.

Whoa! Don't hold back, dude!

ONE DAY after the national president of the public sector union died of a brain aneurism, a colleague offers this tribute:

"He had a big friendly smile and a good brain."

JOHN HOWARD'S AUSTRALIA is supposed to be a cruel place, rejecting innocent refugees and beating up on little Afghan children. Yeah, sure:

Two members of the Indonesian terrorist group responsible for the Bali bombings have been granted permanent residency after claiming religious and political asylum in Australia.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveal 10 members of Jemaah Islamiah were refused protection visas by the Refugee Review Tribunal, but two men were later granted residency.

Both of the successful applicants, who claimed persecution on the basis of their membership of JI, are believed to be Indonesian-born and have been free to travel in and out of Australia.

Yay. Freedom.


THE US House of Reps awards a $2 million military contract - to the French! From Wyeth Wire:

WASHINGTON - U.S Representative Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today announced that the House Defense Authorization bill contains nearly $2 million for a Michelin facility in the upstate area to assemble tires for the Marine Corps' Land Attack Vehicles (LAV). The House is scheduled to pass the annual Defense Authorization bill later this week and the funding is expected to be formally appropriated later this year.

UPDATE. An ex-Michelin employee writes:

Don't go to a liberal slanted blog for your information. Yes, technically, Michelin is French (although they've moved the "corporation" to Switzerland for obvious tax reasons).

But: Michelin has plants all over the South East U.S. (especially concentrated in South Carolina, and in Jim DeMint's district). These tires will be made in the U.S., the tire molds will be made in the US, and the rubber, steel and fibers will all also made in the US.

In fact, these tires were probably designed in the US (The Greenville, SC area also has the North American R&D facility.

The profits may benefit to Michelin shareholders (and that won't be significant in this "almost commodity business), but very little to the French government or government run business.

BTW - Almost all the top jobs in Michelin North America are held by North Americans (A few that I know personally are US Military Academy, West Point, grads).

And from Maureen:

Actually, I regard that piddling $2 million contract as an insult to the French. Last year the US spent $518 billion on the military (not counting intelligence operations), and I'm sure it's much higher this year and will be higher still next year. Add to that the fact that, while the tiny award went to a French-owned company, the work will be done in the US, so US workers at the tire plant will reap some benefit and the facility's local government will take in some tax revenue. It's sort of like leaving a penny tip to punish a bad restaurant experience, and I hope the Pentagon keeps it up whilst awarding juicy contracts to our friends.

HMMM. According to Four Corners' account of conditions inside the Woomera Detention Centre, a "19-year-old Afghan" threw himself into razor wire. The Bunyip has evidence that suggests the "Afghan" was actually a member of the Baktiyari family - who were refused visas because they are Pakistanis rather than Afghans.

Was the man featured in the program the same chap shown here? I didn't see the show. Anyone who did is welcome to compare and correspond.

(Another point: one of the more antagonistic former Woomera staff members interviewed on the show "was soon given the sack over another matter." Four Corners provided no additional information. Curious.)

JENNIFER LOPEZ has found a studly new boypal. Will Matt Welch's father audition for a lookalike role? Maybe I should; I've got this guy's look completely down.

ANTI-AUSTRALIAN brutality in New Jersey. Several emus killed.

adopts the Howard position.

THE AUSTRALIAN states it plainly:

The ABC is falling short of the duty, stated clearly in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act and reiterated in the ABC's own code of practice, to present news and analysis that is accurate, impartial, and balanced.

ACTUALLY, the ABC isn't presenting any news at all. Richard Glover just announced on ABC radio: "Due to industrial action there will be no 6pm news." Your taxes not at work.

IT'S THE MOST BORING INTERNET QUIZ EVER! Are the following lines from The Dullest Blog In The World or from South Australian leftist academic Gary Sauer-Thompson?

Test your dullness-guessing abilities! (Answers may be found a couple of posts below):

1. I have a number of objects in my house.

2. I sat outside on the balcony this morning.

3. I've been thinking about the Howard Government's third term reform agenda.

4. As I was looking around my house I noticed that there were a number of empty glasses.

5. I cannot figure out the digital Swedish washing machine.

6. I'm still catching up with the reading of the newspapers.

7. I came home and needed to open the front door to get into the house.

8. I was having breakfast and doing the washing this morning.

9. I was doing some things and noticed that it was nearly time for something to eat.

10. I noticed that there were a few things lying around here and there.

11. I left the room and walked past the ironing board.

12. I had breakfast in the early morning autumn sunshine.

13. I ate one or two biscuits this evening.

14. I'm slowly getting around to reading the weekend newspapers.

15. I looked at the internet for a while.

16. I have been trying to get connected to broadband this week.

17. I have become a little tired of the war with Iraq and I wanted a break from it for a moment.

18. I logged onto the internet and thought about posting something on my blog.

19. Whilst on holiday I missed out on a lot of reading of newspapers.

20. I have not been following events in the Middle East since the fall of Baghdad due to renovations.

21. I read a few articles from one section of the newspaper.

22. Whilst surfing the internet I happened upon a page which had a number of links on it.

23. I have been wandering in cyberspace late at night.

24. Today I logged onto the internet.

25. I have been trying to get connected to Broadband today.

26. Whilst walking along I noticed that there were some cars driving along the road.

27. I went into a cafe the other day.

28. I did not see any television whilst on holiday.

29. I did some washing up this evening.

30. I have realized that Tim Blair has no pity or compassion for the vulnerable and the fragile.

UPDATE. Gary gets into the spirit of things.

NICOLE KIDMAN smokes. It's unheard of - an actress, smoking! And in front of the impressionable, non-smoking French! Right Thinking salutes the brave Australian, and Moxiegirl contributes grade-A commentary. Will Nicole's tragic nicotine habit bankrupt her? Not likely; she's the only "solo self-made woman" in this year's list of the 200 richest Australians.

WOMEN PLAYING golf with men? Unthinkable, says feminist Pat O'Shane:

While Sorenstam is good, she could never be as good as Tiger Woods, however we construct society. And why she - or any other female - would want to compete in a male event in any power sport is beyond my understanding.

Maybe she just wants to see how good she really is. Meanwhile Steven Den Beste posts on women competing in power sports of a massively higher order.

Boring Quiz answers:

1 - Dullest Blog in the World

2 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

3 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

4 - Dullest Blog in the World

5 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

6 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

7 - Dullest Blog in the World

8 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

9 - Dullest Blog in the World

10 - Dullest Blog in the World

11 - Dullest Blog in the World

12 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

13 - Dullest Blog in the World

14 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

15 - Dullest Blog in the World

16 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

17 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

18 - Dullest Blog in the World

19 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

20 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

21 - Dullest Blog in the World

22 - Dullest Blog in the World

23 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

24 - Dullest Blog in the World

25 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

26 - Dullest Blog in the World

27 - Dullest Blog in the World

28 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

29 - Dullest Blog in the World

30 - Gary Sauer-Thompson

JOHN HOWARD says yes to dope - with certain conditions.

INVEST in earplugs! The shrieking over this will deafen millions:

Australia has been approached to provide bases for US forces and combat and reconnaissance aircraft as part of a bold plan to bolster the war on terror in southeast Asia.

The US approach is also understood to be related to concerns in Washington over threats to Indonesia's stability from fundamentalist Islamist groups and separatist movements, such as in Aceh.

THE AGE reprints a UK Sunday Telegraph piece on the non-deadly nature of passive smoking. Watch the letters pages, er, light up.

READER R.H. Hardin writes regarding my regretted suggestion (scroll down) that people donate to the Red Cross in the wake of the Bali bombing:

I can't believe you ever recommended a large organization.

First, there's Hannah Arendt's observation that goodness that goes public turns into the worst sort of evil. You could gloss it that actual good takes a lot of work and actual knowledge of individual cases. The rest is feel-good make-work.

I know he's right. But from Chuck Simmons, a compelling Red Cross defence:

I've spent a career as an accountant for not-for-profit organizations in the United States. What I see is 2.7% of donations being spent on administrative expenses, not unusually high. Indeed, here in the U.S., it would be fairly outstanding. Some charities and not-for-profits operate with 60-70% overhead and get away with it. Jesse Jackson's groups, as an example.

Nor is it unusual that distributing sums of this size take time. The same criticism occurred with the World Trade Center charities. Followed by the 40 plus arrests for fraud against the charities.

They've disbursed $11 million. That's not too bad for sixteen months. I'd be upset if they'd disbursed $2.2 million and still had $11 million.

The article you cite doesn't tell me what services are normally provided by your government, nor does it tell me how many victims, in total, are eligible for aid. It just lays out some criticism by Mr. Marsh and unnamed critics.

Indeed, it is the responsibility of the Red Cross to make some determinations about the money, the veracity of the claim, and how each claim is weighted compared to the others. There may be criticisms based
on fact, but this article has none. The donors, as is usually the case, expect first of all that the money will go to those who need it, and that determination cannot be done without some effort.

I'm feeling a little better now. Incidentally, drop by Chuck's site to see what is actually happening in liberated Iraq.


CHECK IT OUT: I'm a leading referrer to
Mr. Toys. Tremble at my power.

ANDREW LLOYD uncovers the Eiffel Tower oil conspiracy.

MATT DRUDGE has a preview of Jayson Blair's book proposal, to be published tomorrow (along with an interview) in the New York Observer. Some interview highlights:

"Anyone who tells you that my race didn't play a role in my career at The New York Times is lying to you."

And there's no arguing with this:

"I'm a symbol of is what's wrong with The New York Times. And what's been wrong with The New York Times for a long time."

It seems as though Jayson's old confidence is returning:

"From my perspective, and I know I shouldn't be saying this, I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism ... They're all so smart, but I was sitting right under their nose fooling them ... If they're all so brilliant and I'm such an affirmative action hire, how come they didn't catch me?"

Jayson? They did.

UPDATE. Radley Balko has more on Blair's book deal, as does Scrappleface. And on issues of nuance: Juan Gato.

JUDGING by Phil's midweek column, BlairPoll™ is right on the money:

It's all my fault. I'm personally responsible for the decline of two great Australian institutions.

According to John Howard, I'm what's wrong with the ABC. And according to Mark Latham, I'm what's wrong with the ALP.

Adams once remarked that "Australia hasn't had 20 years of television, it's had one year of television 20 times". Reader Siltstone writes to remind that Adams could say the same about his columns.

JAMES MORROW in today's Australian:

If recent events prove anything, it is that nations like Australia are more secure now than they have been at any time since September 11, 2001. Where once Islamists were able to strike with impunity in New York and Washington, the very heart of the Muslim "House of War", today they are confined to hitting targets only within the "House of Islam".

And be sure to check out the new Morrow venture: Duckseason.

GET YOUR protest banners ready, kommie kids! Dubya is coming to town:

President George W. Bush has plans to make a trip to Australia in October in response to an invitation from Prime Minister John Howard.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Catherine Millett, another foreign cultural imperialist, is here this week. Janet Albrechtsen is unimpressed.

THE LATEST Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions John Howard, Not In Our Name, Saddam Hussein, Joanna Murray-Smith, Carmen Lawrence, Richard Neville, Hugh Mackay, Phillip Adams, Pedro the mule, Steve Waugh, John Williamson, Glenn McGrath, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Steve Bracks, the National Corvette Museum, Jayson Blair, and Simon Crean.

ACCUSED BALI bomber Imam Samudra is at it again:

"Hey Bush, John Howard ... like this," he said, running his hands across his throat in a threatening gesture. Then he called out to the crowd: "You (are) also next. I get.

"Gun, gun for you. Don't forget (this is a) terrorist country. Life for life. Soul for soul. I am a killer for you.

"As long as you kill our Muslim country, we also attack your country and your people."

So bring it on, Samudra. What's stopping you? Oh, that's right; you're under arrest and will probably be executed. Gun, gun for you.

POLICE want to ban drinkers from entering Kings Cross bars after midnight, citing violence, sleaze, and filth. Meanwhile the Kings Cross heroin injecting room - in which, by the way, you are not allowed to smoke cigarettes - is still open with full government approval.

THE PRESS is going nuts about this Annika Sorenstam golf thing in New York:

When Annika Sorenstam hits off the first tee at the Colonial Golf Club tomorrow, it will signal the start of the biggest sporting battle of the sexes since Billie Jean King whipped Bobby Riggs on the tennis court 30 years ago.

So enormous is interest in the event that 568 journalists and photographers have been accredited and extra work space and car parks established to accommodate them.

This is more than twice the number who normally cover the longest running tournament on the tour.

Big deal. In 1974 Lella Lombardi arrived in Australia from Italy to compete in a couple of rounds of the Australian National Formula One championship. Driving an old, formerly uncompetitive racer, the tiny Lombardi tore the local guys to bits. Nine-year-old me saw her at Sandown Park - a terrifying track - carving past Kevin Bartlett for second place. Lombardi went on to become the only female driver to score points in a world championship Formula One event. Tougher than golf. And the press remain largely unaware that it ever happened ...

FOLLOWING the bomb attack in Bali I suggested that readers donate to a Red Cross appeal for survivors. For this I now apologise. The Red Cross is wasting your money and wasting time. Compounding my guilt, several readers wrote to me warning that exactly this would happen.

To the reader who donated $1500 (scroll down) I really don't know what to say, except sorry. The Red Cross deserves to be condemned. Hopefully the negative publicity they've drawn will speed things up, and deliver the donated cash to those who need it.

CNN interviews an evasive John Kampfner, presenter of the BBC's "Fake Moon Landing in Iraq" story. They should be interviewing Warren Smith ... or perhaps they don't want to compromise their access to top-level BBC staff. Oh, the stories CNN will be able to tell once the BBC is liberated!

PSYCHOPEACENIK Carmen Lawrence, far from being silenced by the result of the war, is sticking to her ... well, I guess she isn't sticking to her guns, because guns are bad. Maybe she's sticking to her Tutti Frutti Scented Modeling Dough.

VOTE FOR BMX Bandits. Vote now! Other bloggers - get out the BMX Bandits vote, already!

YOU ARE woken by a loud noise. Several loud noises. You go outside to investigate, and all seems calm - except for the weird dents all over the car. You walk over to investigate, and notice smoking chunks of ... something, something metallic, in the yard. They smell faintly of cigarettes. By the glow of a red neon sign somewhere above, you see a man down the street. He calls into the night: "Jasper."

You rush inside and away from the inexplicable, Lynchian vision. Then - here's the really spooky part - you read this.


BLAIRPOLL UPDATE: 300 votes counted and "Himself" is holding a microfine 12 nomination lead over "Evil Amerikkka". Third is "some other wank" (64 votes) while the rest are polling at Socialist Party of Alabama levels.

Polls will remain open until early Saturday morning Australian time when Phillip's column should be posted. Or until Jeb Bush and FOX and Katherine Harris tell me to "close those polls, boy! The fix is in!"

HERE'S a sneak preview of Michael Moore's next cinematic triumph:

Its about the Bush family, their extensive connection with the Bin Laden family and the environment within the USA post Sept 11. He has footage of the Bush family dining with the Bin Laden family. It elaborates on the business relationship between the families that has existed for many years. It explores how a Saudi charter plane travelled the US immediately after Sept 11 and how the FBI were pissed that they couldn't interrogate its Bin Laden passengers as they were ferried to Paris. It looks at the way in which the government used the events of Sept 11 to push their own agendas.

And Moore doesn't?

Moore expalined that since COLUMBINE and its appearance at the Oscars he receives 6,000 pieces of fan mail a day and gets given pieces of footage that he can't talk about now but will make this perhaps the most incendiary documentary of all time. In his words 'If I don't make this, I may as well stick my head in the sand like everybody else."

He'd have to pull it out of his arse first.

"WE MAY be overwhelmed by environmental catastrophes that seem to occur with alarming regularity," claims the ABC, "but there is a simple way each of us can make a difference."

Halving the ABC's budget would be a good start. Make Phillip Adams trade his SUV for a skateboard. Hell, if we're being "overwhelmed" by "catastrophes", the ABC should cease all operations immediately. Don't they realise the damage they're causing, what with flying journalists all over the planet and producing books and such? Instead, the ABC demands that you take a stand. You must cease to use plastic bags!

Plastic shopping bags have a surprisingly significant environmental impact for something so seemingly innocuous ... In the water, plastic bags can be mistaken for jellyfish by wildlife.

That's why wildlife is so bad at shopping.

Disturbingly, it is claimed that plastic bags are the most common man-made item seen by sailors at sea.

Could be. Then again, they might just be looking at bunches of jellyfish.

Once an animal that had ingested a plastic bag dies, it decays at a much faster rate than the bag. Once the animal has decomposed, the bag is released back into the environment more or less intact, ready to be eaten by another misguided organism.

If it's only misguided organisms dying, then I say to hell with them.

Plastic bags also clog drains and waterways, threatening not only natural environments but also urban ones. In fact, plastic bags in drains were identified as major factors in the severe flooding in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998.

CNN reports that bags also helped people survive: "In one area, relief workers found families living atop dikes in shelters made from straw and plastic bags." Praise bags!

According to Clean Up Australia, Australians use in excess of 6 billion plastic bags per year. If tied together these bags would form a chain that is long enough to go around the world 37 times.

Well, maybe that's exactly what we're trying to do, art haters.

In September 2002 federal Independent MP Peter Andren and Greens Senator Bob Brown introduced private member's bills into parliament that would put a 25 cent levy on plastic shopping bags, and direct the funds raised to an education program publicising the environmental costs of plastic bags in Australia.

If we assume that plastic bag use would drop by 50% as a result of the levy, this means $15 million would be raised each year solely for bag awareness. Has anyone considered the environmental impact of so vast an education program?

If you don't want to take your bags back to the supermarket to use again next time you buy your groceries, there are a multitude of ways you can use them around the house, limited only by your imagination.

I use them for lining garbage bins.

One thing they should not be used for is lining garbage bins.


If everyone accepted one less plastic bag every time they went shopping, the number of bags used would be reduced substantially.

And the amount of groceries rolling around on the floor would increase hilariously.

There are a range of alternatives to plastic bags. Some retailers save the cardboard cartons that stock is packaged in, so customers can use them to pack their groceries. Others may offer paper bags.

Or jellyfish.

So next time you go shopping, hold your head up proudly as you reuse or refuse a plastic bag. You may not be in a rubber dinghy chasing a whaling boat or pursuing ivory poachers, but you have made a contribution to the future of the planet.

Go and get fu ... I mean, thank you for your kind advice, nice ABC person.

I WANTED something to read, so I went here.

SAME COLUMN, different slant. In the SMH, Gerard Henderson's piece followed this preamble:

Al-Qaeda's apparent new focus on soft, even non-Western, targets could be its death knell, writes Gerard Henderson.

But in The Age, however, it was all fault of the Evil Empire:

The American war on terror has caused the terrorists to seek softer marks, writes Gerard Henderson.

IT'S MEDIA WATCH fun time! Yesterday's episode featured an item on a lame anti-Howard cartoon that was cut from The Age. David Marr, who evidently believes that editors shouldn't edit, complained:

Those who think joking about this sort of thing is 'just not funny', should remember that Bill Leak won a Walkley last year for his take on the same subject.

My question to Media Watch:

Re Bill Leak: How does winning a Walkley prove that a cartoon is funny? Is (2002 Walkley cartoon judge) Betty Churcher now the official arbiter of that which constitutes a joke? And where can I get a tape of her stand-up routine?

And Media Watch's puzzling reply:

The Walkley didn't make it funny. It was funny when The Australian published it. It's still funny.

Er ... I didn't say that the Walkley made it funny. Media Watch did. Moderator Peter McEvoy (I'm assuming it's Pete; he would have a lot of spare time each week) signs off with this:

On a different kind of funny: surprised to see you crawl from under the debris so quickly.

Oh no! Nice Pete is trying to crush my dissent!

GIANNA on the pressure of modern blogging:

I've taken down the donation button ... I found it a bit inhibiting having that button there (even if it was reasonably well concealed) as I imagined there was implicit pressure to perform, in order to justify any potential remuneration. So I'm going to reclaim the all-too-apparently amateur nature of this blog. Money just complicates things.

Her blog, her choice. Myself, I've always found that money buys things.


The attacks in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, despite their dramatic and devastating impact, may well be the last gasps of the monster of international Islamist terrorism. The hard facts speak for themselves. Acts of international terrorism fell by almost half from 2001 to 2002 - to the lowest figure since 1969.

Most centres for the study of global terrorism report unprecedented calm. Their analysis is backed by the latest annual US State Department report and an interim study, to be submitted next month to the G8 summit in Annecy. There were 199 "acts of global terrorism" in 2002. There were no acts of terror in the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, designated as special targets by al-Qaeda.

UPDATE. Brian Micklethwait analyses terror's retreat:

Why did they hit New York? Because they could. Now, they can't. Why did they hit Bali? Because they could. Now they can't. So why are they now hitting their own back yard? Because they can. And that's all they can.

THE PENTAGON says the BBC's ridiculous, fact-free account of Private Jessica Lynch's rescue is void of all facts and absolutely ridiculous. Go to Warren Smith, original online debunker of the BBC's version, for more. Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer seems to be buying the BBC line (via Stefan Sharkansky).


The Australian: No Budget rebound for Crean

The Sydney Morning Herald: Slap for PM's plans gives Crean a lift

The Australian: Embattled Opposition Leader Simon Crean has failed to get a lift from the furore surrounding the Governor-General or the budget, with John Howard and the Coalition retaining a commanding lead in the latest Newspoll.

The Sydney Morning Herald: The Howard Government's budget tax cuts and health and education changes have been overwhelmingly rejected by voters in a new poll that gives the Opposition Leader, Simon Crean, a much-needed bounce.

The Australian: Labor is struggling to make any headway against the Howard Government.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Labor [is] back within striking distance of the Government.

The Australian: Satisfaction with the way Mr Howard was doing his job rose from 59 to 61 per cent, while Mr Crean's rating went from 23 to 24 per cent.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Mr Howard's rating as preferred leader remained strong, falling three points to 61 per cent, while support for Mr Crean rose just one point to 23 per cent.

IN A NEWSWEEK interview, Jayson Blair warns people "not to believe everything they read in the newspapers." Talk about the pot criticising the kettle's commitment to minority hiring through a company-wide diversity policy.

Jazzy Jay is revealed in the interview to be an unlikeable type - at least, unlikeable by anyone except certain of his bosses at the Times, which might say something about the sort of people running that little show. Here's another extract, about the period following Jay's "coverage" of the Washington sniper story:

Within months, Blair was circulating drafts of a book proposal on the sniper story in which he discussed his own anger and frustration as an African-American. "[A friend] encouraged me to look for answers about the history of violence in my own family and that of Lee Malvo [the other sniper suspect], suggesting the search would not be in vain, if it at least ended my restless angst," Blair wrote. Later, he told friends that he identified with Malvo.

Here's a kid who rode the Guilty White Man Express first-class all the way to Timesville, yet he's angry and frustrated and identifies with the killer of innocent working folk just going about their daily lives without anybody giving them a Rainesian boost along the way. Sweet.

UPDATE. Go read Lileks. It's all about the moose.

IN THE following preview (no link available) of a bin Laden documentary to be aired this week in Australia, SMH television guide pinko Bernard Zuel declares his opposition to bias:

This was made before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre but that doesn't weaken it for it's a story that requires telling at any time. Bin Laden's upbringing in Saudi Arabia as one of 50 children of a wealthy Yemeni builder, his brief dalliance with a western life, his discovery of piety, his growth as a leader and finally his turn to anti-western terrorism, all add up to a great story. What does weaken the program though is a heavy US bias.

Bernie loves Binny.

ACCUSED BALI bomber Imam Sumudra offers his take on current events:

"We are going to destroy your countries all round the world," he declared.

Giving the thumbs-down sign with his handcuffed wrists, Samudra shouted in English: "Go to hell Bush, go to hell Tony Blair, go to hell Colin Powell and the alliance. Allah Akbar."

Maybe he's angling for a TV writing job with the Sydney Morning Herald.


REMIND ME never to drive in New Zealand:

New Zealand's Italian ambassador has hit back at the nation's drivers, labelling them "very, very bad" after several reported him for speeding and dangerous driving, it was reported today.

"New Zealand drivers are very, very bad drivers and also very dangerous because they don't think all the time," ambassador Roberto Palmieri fumed in a report in the Dominion Post.

Palmieri also described New Zealand as a small Anglo-Saxon country where people tended to be politically-correct and tell on each other.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD describes this as an inferno.

THE ABC, being opposed to the gross materialism and waste involved in motor racing, offered no preview of the Austrian Grand Prix in its 7.00pm news and sport coverage last night, despite Australia's Mark Webber competing in what ranks among the world's most popular sports. And this broadcast was in Webber's home state.

Instead we learned that New Zealanders had won several prizes in some local bicycle contest. As it turns out, Webber did rather well in the race; too bad for him that he doesn't ride a bike.


"OPPOSITION LEADER Simon Crean today dismissed the relevance of newspaper opinion polls," reports AAP. Crean's opinion on opinions was slightly different a couple of months ago:

I speak to you today, not only as Labor leader and Leader of the Opposition, but on behalf of millions of Australians who share opposition to this war.

LOTS OF good things happening at Tongue Tied.

I BELIEVE in the Three-Foot Theory of Death - ie, that we're always within three feet of something (traffic, a skull-fracturing table edge, poisonous owls) that could potentially kill us. But there's no way even the most diligent three-footer could anticipate this.

While we're on the subject, the ABC notes that the trouble doesn't end just because you've had your head removed:

Members of the Lendu and Hema communities are trying to wipe each other out. On the weekend three babies were decapitated and slaughtered during the killing, which claimed dozens of lives.

WHO CAN you trust? Leigh Hanlon has captured the New York Times in pre-Jayson self-love mode.

Honest Jim Treacher's House of Items! It'll satisfy all your Mr. Clappy™ clothing and accessory needs, or his name isn't Jim Treacher. Er ... I mean ... oh, just go buy the monkey shirts already.

IN HONG KONG, Michael Moore is a superhung superhero. As Preston Whip writes:

It looks like guns and muscles aren't the only thing he's packing. Take a look at that posing pouch. I don't think you're meant to holster your Uzi down there, big boy.

UPDATE. Lee at Right Thinking wonders: "Have the Chinese actually seen Moore from the neck down?"

And don't miss his Headline of the Day.

LIBERALS are just too noble to succeed in talk radio, according to this Salon piece on washed-up Mike Malloy:

One of the arguments raised by those who doubt that left-wing talk radio will ever challenge Limbaugh is that liberals will always, by their nature, be more open-minded, tolerant and nuanced than conservatives -- and that those noble traits are a commercial snooze.

Helpfully, Salon provides examples of Malloy's open-minded and nuanced tolerance:

Those who do locate Malloy can hear him ridicule "President Dazed and Confused" and the "Bush Crime Family," playing songs like "Thick as a Brick" or "Pencil-Necked Geek" for sardonic punctuation.

When Paula Jones came forward to charge belatedly that [Clinton] had, years before, sexually harassed her, Malloy mimicked her in a creaky twang out of the "Beverly Hillbillies": "It was me. I was the one. See, it says right there it's me. Right here on my shirt label, where my momma sewed it on: 'That s.o.b. sullied my reputation.' That's what he did. Can you bring that camera in a little closer?"

The ascent of then-Gov. George W. Bush as a presidential aspirant in the late 1990s inspired all of Malloy's working-class contempt for a rich boy. "Oh, W., you want a baseball team?" he said in a typical bit, imitating the senior Bush. "How about an oil company? Off-shore drilling rights in the Red Sea. Red Sea. Never mind. We'll get it for you."

Careful. Don't step in any of the nuance.

BILL WHITTLE is the man who took away the magic. Read it all, especially his guide to Chomskyite deceit:

This is how you lie by telling the truth. You tell the big lie by carefully selecting only the small, isolated truths, linking them in such a way that that advance the bigger lie by painting a picture inside the viewer's head. The Ascended High Master of this Dark Art is Noam Chomsky ... Michael Moore used exactly this technique to make people believe that America is a land of terrified, racist murderers who are armed to the teeth solely because of their fear of black people. For this he was given an Academy Award, and Bowling for Columbine has been called "the best documentary film ever made."

THE LIBERAL MINDSET: Calpundit worries about press reports of speeding because they "just give people something to shoot for". Stupid people.

He's also confused about why a Porsche can't outrun a BMW M3. The reason both max out at 155-156 mph is because German carmakers voluntarily equip most of their European-market autobahn burners with governors.

Mmmm. Governors. Cue liberal drooling.

UPDATE. Calpundit writes:

It was just a joke, Tim. I drive a Porsche, that's all.

Durn librools and their fancy-ass Germanian sportspanzers. Wait until the UAW hears about this.

GEOFF HONNER is a fine new addition to Ken Parish's blogger posse.

LOOK - over on the left! It's a new poll! Here's your voting formguide.

The results of the last poll may be found here.

THE BBC - recommended by Jayson Blair.

ACCORDING TO this bunch of anti-SUV crap from The Guardian, which is reprinted in today's Melbourne Age:

When OJ Simpson was chased through Los Angeles, it was in a Lincoln Navigator.

As everyone knows - except for Guardian journalist Gary Younge, all of his copy editors, his proof readers, The Age's international desk, its sub editors, etc - Simpson was pursued while cowering in the back of a Ford Bronco. The Navigator wasn't even introduced until 1998, four years after the famous chase.

Simpson was driving a Navigator in 2000 when he developed a non-fatal case of his notorious Simpson Rage™, but the "chase" here involved another motorist following Simpson for only a few blocks. Getting this mixed up with the rather more well-known Simpson pursuit of June '94 is absurd; don't these people pay any attention at all?

AND HE never got a chance to appear naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly ...

HERE'S YOUR crushing of dissent. Write accurate yet unfashionable things in the Australian media and be shunned; spout fashionable inaccuracies and win awards. Read Paul Sheehan's entire article.


HMMM. Maybe I've been too harsh on Victoria's Bracks government. Judging by its enemies, it might be a fine government indeed.

JESUS. Elvira is still alive.


YOU CAN choose your friends, but you can't choose your family:

A poverty-stricken petrol pump attendant who is a distant relative of Saddam Hussein and bears a striking resemblance to his infamous clansman has been repeatedly harassed by American forces, increasingly desperate to find Iraq's former dictator.

Mohammed Hussein, 64, who was jailed for three years under Saddam for being a member of the Communist Party, has been detained on several occasions in recent weeks by American soldiers.

Click to the story immediately to see the photo caption of the year.

SOONER or later, all racists end up sounding like Hitler:

Accused Bali bomber Amrozi today remained defiant, predicting more terrorist attacks on Westerners and describing Australians as "brutal".

He faces four charges of helping to plan and execute the attacks which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, in Kuta last October.

He said he was not sorry for the Australian victims of the bombings.

"With their brutality I don't feel sorry," he told Channel Nine.

"You can see it from their behaviour, they come here, American, Jews and their allies, they want to colonise.

"They want to control Muslim people, they make us weak.

"They want to control us, not only Indonesians but all over the world."

Amrozi predicted further terrorist attacks against Westerners in the region.

"How can I feel sorry?" he asked. "I am very happy (Westerners died) because they attack Muslims and are inhuman.

"There will be more bombs till the Westerners are finished, all of them who attack Muslims and attack humanity.

"Terrorism is ordered by Allah - in the Koran it means make our enemies frightened."

Listen to the little man: Westerners are brutal and inhuman, want to colonise Indonesia, and seek to weaken and control Muslims. Hitler wrote Mein Kamph in prison; it looks like Amrozi's been reading it during his days inside. See you at the shooting gallery, kid.

UPDATE. Some extended comments from Amrozi:

Q: Why are Australians brutal?

A: You can see from their attitude . . . they come here, people such as Americans, the Jews and their allies. They want to colonise, not just to play. They want to control Muslim people. They make us weak and they take our people to bars. They want to control all of us, not just in Indonesia but all over the world.

I wonder how the likes of Bali tourist (and anti-war ranter) Mike Carlton feel now that their merry holidays have been identified as a cause of terrorism. Perhaps they'll reconsider the motives of these bastards. It's you they hate, Mike. Not just George W. Bush or John Howard. You.

UPDATE UPDATE. John Softly writes:

The taxi drivers taking us "brutal" Australians to bars are Muslims. Most taxi drivers working for the Taxi Putih company along the club row are Muslims originally from Java. And yes, the Taxi Putih drivers were the taxi drivers killed in the Bali bombings.

DAMN exchange rates are killing my PayPal revenue.


WARREN SMITH shoots a few holes in this BBC story on the rescue of Jessica Lynch. Unlike the BBC, Warren knows weapons ...

UPDATE. Instapundit has a bunch more information on this, and Andrew Sullivan knows the BBC reporter who filed the comical story. A lefty, natch.

TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! The Gweilo is angry - and understandably so, seeing as the US government wants him to hand over thirty big ones.

FORMULA ONE NOTES: Tonight's Austrian Grand Prix will likely be the last in that country. On next year's schedule it is replaced by the first F1 race to be run in China ... The Jordan F1 team is selling the chassis spectacularly destroyed in the 2002 Austrian GP by Takuma Sato (with, er, help from Nick Heidfeld) on eBay (starting bid: $23,500) ... Thanks, Jacques! A dirt-spraying qualifying lap by Jacques Villeneuve ruined Australian Mark Webber's chances of a good grid position for tonight's race ... Webber's Jaguar teammate, Antonio Pizzonia, has meanwhile rescued his career with a highest-ever qualifying performance, finishing 8th ... Airboxes, those scoopy, engine-feeding apertures above drivers' heads, will be larger in 2004 due to a rule change intended to slow cars by interrupting air flow to the rear wing (and to allow more space for sponsor signage, thus spreading evil capitalism to China and beyond) ... When airboxes first appeared in the aerodynamically-unaware 1970s, designs were as diverse as today's are uniform; check this monster pod above the 1976 Ligier ... Ten of the twenty drivers competing in Austria have never won a Formula One race. This was once a lucky event for first-time winners, including Vittorio Brambilla in 1975, John Watson in '76, Alan Jones in '77 and Elio de Angelis in '82 (and almost Jarno Trulli in '97) ... Expect most teams to opt for one-stop pit strategies in tonight's race. Austria is easy on tyres ... Finnish cyborg Kimi Raikkonen has a tattoo of a smiling sun on his wrist; fans are delighted.

(News sources: F1 Racing magazine and atlasf1.com.)

BLAIRPOLL UPDATE. Polling (see left) closes tonight! A new poll will be up for Monday.

PHIL DONAHUE'S advice to conservatives:

"Take a liberal to lunch," he said. "Take a Dixie Chick to lunch."

Are they begging for food now? At least he didn't ask us to take Michael Moore to lunch. We'd have to sell our cars.

PASSIVE SMOKING isn't dangerous at all, according to the latest research. Tex, a guest at the Blair compound this weekend, will be praying this is true. He was also the victim of passive drinking.

MATT WELCH is competing with several other strong-jawed handsomites for a role as a Ben Affleck
lookalike. It's all part of Affleck's plan to confuse assassins opposed to his tyrannical Baathist regime.

Meanwhile, over at the J-Lo auditions ...