OPEN YOUR yap to announce how stupid and inarticulate George W. Bush is and you'll invariably prove the same about yourself. Here's Paul Begala in a recent Crossfire:

You can add Limbaugh and Bush's IQs together and it couldn't boil water.

So? You could add Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking's IQs together and it couldn't boil water. You can add 'em, multiply 'em, divide 'em – man, even square 'em – and that water won't be getting any warmer. Here's some camping advice for Begala: take matches. Leave the calculator at home.

Presumably Begala meant to draw some comparison between the temperature at which water boils and the combined IQs of Rush and Bush. Too bad he's so stupid and inarticulate.

UPDATE. Reader Fred Butzen writes:

The real question is whether Begala had the Fahrenheit or Celsius scales in mind. Water boils at 212 degrees F, but at 100 degrees C. The Fahrenheit level, divided evenly, would leave both Messrs Bush and Limbaugh slightly above normal; 100 would leave each basically a moron. The first situation isn't much of an insult, and the latter is too absurd for words.

But that's Begala for you: not much of a writer, not much of a thinker.

And a piss-poor boiler to boot. Philip Breen, of Perth, Western Australia, has more:

Fred Butzen could have also added degrees Kelvin, the absolute measure of temperature used in physics. Water boils at 373 deg K, giving an average IQ for the two gentlemen of 186.5 – making each a genius by a country mile.

Jeff Wimble at PoserPundit reminds us:

Don't forget the Rankine temperature scale. (The same "size" degree as Fahrenheit, with zero at absolute zero.) On the Rankine scale, water boils at 672 degrees. This would give Bush and Limbaugh enough mental capability to bend spoons or maybe even make other people's heads explode using telepathic powers.

WHAT WOULD Jesus hate? Joe Bob Briggs knows.

MARK STEYN on the bizarre property deal involving Australian diet-pill conman Peter Foster, his soft-porn girlfriend, her psychic mother, and Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair:

Nude models, diet quacks, psychics: I cannot speak for Britain, but in North America these are three of the four categories of person that most of us spend the first 10 minutes of our day dumping from the in-box. If Cherie had a fourth confidante with a guaranteed plan to increase the length of Tony's penis by three inches, the Blairs would have a full set: they could throw the perfect spam dinner party.

Perfect. It remains a puzzle as to why no newspaper in Australia uses Steyn as an op-ed regular. Maybe a magazine like The Bulletin should sign him. By the way, check the letters section of Steyn's site – it's almost a blog. Kind of. Well, it mentions lots of blogs, anyway.

WHERE IS the House Committee on Un-American Activities when we need them? Seriously.

THE STRANGE thing is, most days my house looks exactly like that. Who is Penny's informant?

YOU KNOW, if you were a Japanese watch manufacturer, it would probably pay to be a little more careful about the display date you choose …

HUSSAIN THE DICTATOR must be removed!

REMEMBER ALI BAKHTIYARI, the tragic Afghan refugee who became the poster-loser for Australia's illegal refugee campaigners? The guy whose story suckered Bob Ellis and Robert Manne, among others? And how none of those saps apologised for smearing the government when it was revealed that Ali was actually a plumber from Pakistan?

Well, old Ali is in the Villawood detention centre today after immigration officials completed their investigation of his claims and cancelled his temporary visa.

SOMETIMES, EVERY few years or so, an Australian court gets it right:

The Court of Appeal has ordered the family of dead lung cancer sufferer and lifelong smoker Rolah McCabe to return the $700,000 compensation awarded to her in April.

The court found yesterday that a Supreme Court judge had overreacted in ruling against a tobacco company that destroyed potentially damaging internal documents relevant to her case.

HERE'S ALL THE Carmen Lawrence news 'n' views, helpfully gathered in the one place so it can be easily ignored:

Simon Crean says Carmen is disloyal; Carmen may become a magnet for other Labor dissidents; Carmen is a Super Brain who was once "widely tipped to be deputy prime minister within months"; Carmen is a self-indulgent hypocrite; Carmen is more demon than prophet; Carmen has deliberately damaged her party; Carmen is unrealistic; letter writers to The Age say Carmen is brave, profound, and principled; letter writers to The Australian say Carmen is visionary, notoriously unreliable, rare and beautiful, and poisonous; and letter writers to the SMH say Carmen is Lawrence of Amnesia, a potential leader, a potential Green, possesses a soul, is courageous, has regained her memory, and would cause old Labor members to vote Liberal if the party adopted her policies.

WHOA! MORE than a few people didn't make it to the third graf in the post below before sending furious/sad/outraged/despairing e-mails. Just a joke! I'm here! And thanks for the nice e-mails, as well.

THIS IS difficult to write. I've been blogging for nearly a year now, and through it I've met so many brilliant, gifted people (online and in person) that it truly can be described as a life-changing experience. In the last twelve months I've learned and read more than in any previous year.

But a combination of changed circumstances and new financial responsibilities compel me to give it up. I'll no longer have the time to continue running this little site. Hell, I'll be lucky to have the time to read blogs, much less publish one. So, adios!

(Only joking. It's just that quitting seems to be the fashionable thing for bloggers to do these days, and I felt left out. Me quit? Never!)

THESE SO-CALLED Office Party Horror Stories are lame-o. Where's the drunken violence? The cruel abuse? The desperate lust? The wrath and the tears with the remorse and the fists and the braaaawling, hoyven maven?

Send your best office party terror tales my way. A selection will be published next week, in time for this year's wave of Christmas co-worker hostility. Names will be deleted, if required.

A MILITANT COLLECTIVE of Australian children's entertainers is opposed to war against Iraq:

Hi-5 is spearheading a coalition of children's performers warning the Federal Government against following the United States into war with Iraq. Hi-5 has joined with 12 other kids' entertainers, authors and producers including top-selling authors Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman and ABC television presenter Benita Collings.

Take a look at the members of Hi-5, then imagine them "warning" the Federal Government. Run for your life! It's the Al-Aqsa Smilers Brigade, come to kill us all!

The project is the brainchild of three-time children's ARIA winner Peter Combe. "If we go to war, there will be literally tens of thousands of Iraqi children blown off the face of the earth," Mr Combe said yesterday.

That means they'll never get to hear Fishy O Fishy and Mrs Wiggeley Woggely Wheeze, or any of Peter's other award-winning songs. Sad.

Mr Combe found his fellow children's entertainers shared his concerns and all signed letters to Mr Howard and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer. "We have received no answers," Mr Combe said.

Maybe Big Bad Mr. Howard sent the replies, but silly Mr. Postman got lost on the way to delivering them to Enchanted Elf Village and then he traded all the letters for a Dancing Pony.

"We all wondered how many children Prime Minister Howard thought it was worth killing in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein."

Why don't you write a song about it, Pete? You could adapt one of your existing tunes to create Wiggle And Roll (The Nerve Gas Has Got Me!).

Ms Collings, a presenter with Playschool, said she was sceptical about Mr Howard drawing a link between Iraq and terrorism.

And I'm sceptical about the existence of sentient, ambulatory, bear-pursuing bananas, you lie-peddling child deceiver.

Via Peter Kerr.

WHAT DO the US, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, Australia, Tunisia, Pakistan, Yemen, Bali, and Moscow have in common?



• Current regional planning practices are woefully inadequate.

• The dissemination and assimilation of this information is woefully inadequate.

• "It's woefully inadequate," he said of the report.

• You are woefully inadequate at police procedure.

• This page is, at the moment, woefully inadequate.

• The pork industry's current use of lagoons and sprayfields to handle huge volumes of hog waste is woefully inadequate.

• I feel woefully inadequate in the animal department.

• Huge demands on the education budget mean subsidies are woefully inadequate.

• Call your favorite diaper company and tell them they make woefully inadequate diapers.

• India's efforts to combat the disease are woefully inadequate.

• I am concerned that the materials furnished in this survey were woefully inadequate.

• People with mental illness are held in prisons instead of mental health facilities and the mental health treatment they receive is often woefully inadequate.

• Your answer to Steven P. about copying an existing Windows disk to a new one was woefully inadequate.

• My Woefully Inadequate Hugh Jackman Page.

• The response by governments and international financial institutions has been woefully inadequate.

• The ass-erasing Kenneth Cole Reaction pants I bought for that "slim, shiny look" are woefully inadequate. So what's a fella to do?

• My knowledge of what's happening in the UK is woefully inadequate.

• A $200 million state program for the developmentally disabled is so woefully inadequate that it poses a threat to the very health and safety of the 10,000 people it serves.

• Burrowing Weasels heretofore accustomed to more spacious boxes will find their new accommodations woefully inadequate for their burrowing-weasel needs.

• Almost everywhere you look, regulation of fishing vessels is woefully inadequate.

• As you are well aware, the treatment of pain is woefully inadequate in our country.

• I quickly realized was that my early mediation training had been
woefully inadequate.

• J. Robert Hunter, a former Texas insurance commissioner who is now director of insurance for the Consumer Federation, says: "The settlement is woefully inadequate."

• In public, I have been, in all respects, a male heterosexual. And like many real males, I've felt woefully inadequate.

• ASCII is woefully inadequate. I suppose it was barely adequate in the days of punch cards.

• American scholars, and more specifically those found mostly in the humanities departments of U.S. universities, are woefully inadequate intellectually.

• Africa's telecommunications infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

• While the medium laser could do considerable damage, the
light laser was woefully inadequate.

• The monitoring of surface waters in the U.S. is woefully inadequate, according to Dr. Ruth Patrick.

• Fine, you say, but what if StarBurst goes big time and both the $300-per-share price and the insurance are woefully inadequate?

• The main method of surveillance for cattle and bison, slaughter surveillance,
is woefully inadequate.

• "The general construction of these homes was woefully inadequate, not in accordance with approved plans and specifications, in violation of the Uniform Building Code, and below accepted standards for the construction industry," said Kenneth Kasdan.

• I care only about Canada and its woefully inadequate system.

• After 11 days of woefully inadequate response to the Dayak rampage that killed at least 469 people, Indonesian security forces patrolled Borneo island Wednesday with orders to shoot rioters on sight.

• The only thing a girl's ever called my dick is woefully inadequate.

• The creamer supply was woefully inadequate. The coffee was decent, though.


The explosion which killed three people at a McDonald's restaurant in the Indonesian city of Makassar was caused by a bomb, the national police chief Da'i Bachtiar said today.

Meanwhile, in Eunice, Louisiana:

The FBI has arrested a teenager accused of slipping razor blades into three hot apple pies at the McDonald's store where he worked.

THE FIRST campus meetings are probably already being held to kick this guy out:

A UC Berkeley scientist published in Science today an alternative view of energy use by the world's two billion rural poor, arguing fossil fuels may actually present a viable energy solution in certain situations.

Advocating fossil fuel use in developing regions of the world as a reliable source of sustainable energy, UC Berkeley environmental health professor Kirk Smith shifted focus away from wind and solar energy toward more cost-effective solutions.

A VIOLENT and destructive force is threatening Australians, and the Sydney Morning Herald is actually glad that something is being done about it. Maybe there's hope for them yet.

READER ANTHONY LEACH notes that "it's not popular in mainstream Australian to heap buckets of praise on multi-national corporations", but he's prepared to try:

Late this afternoon on Mike Carlton's 2UE Drive programme a topic being discussed was the closure of the F3 Freeway between Sydney and the Central Coast as a result of the bushfires. The focus of the discussion was that approximately 120 truck drivers had been there all day near the commencement of the Mooney Mooney Bridge. It's an isolated area with no petrol stops/conveniences nearby.

A call came in to the show from the Marketing Manager of that most evil of multi-nationals which employs thousands of Australians – McDonald's. This gentleman's dastardly plan involved his South Gosford store preparing and supplying, free of charge, food and drinks for all those people who had been stranded all day on the freeway.

And how were they planning to get the food to the stranded travellers? The next caller to the show was from the NSW rescue service and volunteered the services of one of their choppers. Of course, the choppers are sponsored by another disgraceful multi-national – Westpac. Fancy a filthy bank helping people in a time of crisis. I guess you won't read about this in Socialist Weekly!

Anything is possible when you combine the power of banks and burgers. Well done, McWestpac.

WHY HASN'T the Margoyle posted anything on the Lawrence resignation? We haven't heard from Kingston for two days. Maybe Bob Carr has imprisoned her.

ALEX ROBSON has achieved a rare feat – he's somehow managed to get a pro-gun article published in a mainstream Australian newspaper.


Dr Lawrence, once touted in the ALP as likely to become Australia's first female prime minister, said her decision was precipitated by her strong objections to the party's asylum seeker policy, which was approved by the caucus yesterday.

Well, at least the SMH's Mark Riley picked up on a point I made earlier:

If she felt that aggrieved, she should have resigned altogether. That would have been a real statement of principle … Who looks gutless now, Carmen?

NICK DENTON is unhappy, reports InstaPundit. That's because Nick has spent too much time in Europe. Europeans are always unhappy. A recent Q & A in F1 Racing magazine (no link) with Europe-based Brazilian Formula One racer Rubens Barrichello included this exchange:

Q: What's the best thing about Brazil?

A: Smiley people. I miss that in Europe.

GOTTA LOVE those South Park right-wingers. John Hawkins has a selection of fine South Park quotes, my favourite being this Mr. Garrison response to Rosie O'Donnell:

People like you preach tolerance and openmindedness all the time but when it comes to middle America you think we're all evil and stupid country yokels who need your political alignment. Just because you're on TV doesn't mean you know crap about the government.

You tell her, Mr. Garrisaaan.


THE SYDNEY FIRES have intensified. Here's the latest suburb-by-suburb guide.


"I hate the chickens. I think we should be able to kill them," Horwitz said.

AAP reports on the Lawrence resignation:

Labor frontbencher Carmen Lawrence today resigned from Labor's shadow cabinet in protest at the party's new immigration policy.

Ms Lawrence also said Labor needed to speak up more strongly against any pre-emptive strike against Iraq.

So why doesn't she resign from the party, instead of just the shadow cabinet?

CARMEN LAWRENCE has quit the Labor front bench. She says her party has "lost its sense of direction." No link yet available.

That's my weekend newspaper reading ruined. They'll be full of Carmen retrospectives, Carmen analysis, Carmenology, Carmenalia. For some reason Australian journalists are obsessed with the "difficulties" faced by women in politics; expect this theme to feature largely.

Oh, and all journalists who refer to Lawrence as "the woman once tipped to become Australia's first female Prime Minister": I will bash you!


Swept up in anti-American sentiment, Palestinians increasingly want the Marlboro man out of town.

Many smokers, especially young trendsetters, have switched to French-made Gauloises, which they say are similar in taste and a dollar a pack cheaper.

UPDATE. Reader Bryan S. writes:

Marlboros and Gauloises are "similar in taste"? Is that bad reporting, a justification for a little anti-Americanism, or sheer stupidity? As a "sometime" smoker, I've smoked just about every brand on Earth and Gauloises are the most foul, disgusting twigs in existence.

'Course, this could just be a justification for my anti-Frogism, but I can think of no cigarette that smelled worse, tasted worse, or hurt more going down than a damn Gauloise.

JOHN HOWARD won't back down, the SMH reports:

Prime Minister John Howard today refused to apologise for suggesting Australia would launch pre-emptive strikes against terrorist groups on foreign soil.

"I said what I said very carefully. I have been invited to resile and I have declined that invitation," Mr Howard told reporters.

Meanwhile, the SMH is yet to apologise for this grave insult against an Asian leader.

MR. PILGER? Your room is ready:

Tourists to Russia can now experience one of the horrors of Soviet life and spend one night in a Stalin-era gulag, local media have reported.

Russians may still shiver at the name of the Perm work camp in the Urals, but tourists can now voluntarily stay the night, eat prisoner food, and feel what it was like to be a political prisoner in Soviet times.


WOGBLOG HAS a neat summary of the investigation into that Genoa anti-globo demonstrator's death. Essentially, its findings are as follows:

You do not attempt to injure an Italian police man. They are armed. And Italian.

Sound advice. Also, WB has news of an Australian journalism prize being awarded to an Arabic radio show – even though none of the judges could understand Arabic.

AUSTRALIAN COMEDIAN Jimeoin recently toured regional Victoria. Someone should have warned him that even when he's performing in venues far from the major cities, a blogger may be in the audience.

JEFF JARVIS predicted this.

RUSSIAN BLOGGER Moska (the name, he says, "is my mocking nick") lifted InstaPundit's blogroll and posted it on his own site. He explains:

Glenn, I'm sorry!

I just wanted to get links to American blogs, so I figured I put yours. If you want I can put your copyright on them. But please, don't ask me to take them off. Russians are saying thanx to me for them!

Bloggers – keeping the Cold War dead.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK – it's Weekly James!

MARGO'S LATEST MISSPELLING would seem to indicate that ex-PM Bob Hawke has suddenly become warlike:

Webdiary columnist John Wojdylo is a hawke on invading Iraq.

Oh, and be sure to check out the quality link work in the same post. It's like 1995 or something.

READER OLIVER DUVAL has a fine marketing idea:

We're all being warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks in shopping centres over Christmas. Some shops may be less at risk than others, though – according to this article, Australian Muslims are being urged to boycott US-owned companies including McDonald's, Coles Myer, David Jones and Red Rooster. I suggest these companies cash in on their unwanted publicity by promoting themselves as "terrorist-free zones".

Well, gotta go - off to Red Rooster for lunch. followed by Xmas shopping at David Jones!

NOAM CHOMSKY and John Pilger are extremist Islam's favourite Western analysts, reports Greg Sheridan:

Travelling recently in South-East Asia I was struck by how often, in the offices of Islamist activists and fellow travellers, I saw the works of Noam Chomsky, and somewhat less often our own John Pilger, two of the iconic figures of mad Left denunication of their own societies.

Chomsky and Pilger provide the Islamists with much of their interpretive narrative of the West.

Many Islamic activists believe the CIA was responsible for the Bali bombing. Why wouldn't they believe this madness if they've been consuming a high-octane diet of Pilgerist Chomskyism with its endless conspiracy theories about the unregenerate evil and secret wickedness of the US? Both Chomsky and Pilger cast Australia as a lieutenant evil-doer of the US.

And there's this:

Recently The 7.30 Report rang to ask if I would debate Pilger on television. Sure, I said. A couple of hours later they rang back: Pilger would not debate me.

That's been his policy for some time, not to debate people on the facts. For the ideologue knows the truth already. What need has such a one for facts?

Pilger has refused to be interviewed by me on several occasions. One of his flunkies explained that he never speaks to News Ltd employees (the weasel once cancelled a scheduled interview with Sky News in Australia when he learned it was part-owned by News) but I was also unable to secure an interview when I was a senior editor at Time. What a puss.

IMRE – er, I mean Professor Bunyip – is back!

SYDNEY FIRE LATEST: the SMH has a map and pics. On the map, follow the line from Homebush/Rookwood right, to a few millimetres from the coastline. That's where I am, and the smell of burning wood is heavy in the air (we are totally safe and far from any tree-surrounded fire zone, incidentally). Closer to the threatened areas, the smoke must be overwhelming.

MENTIONED IN today's column for The Australian: Peter Garrett, McDonald's, Pauline Hanson, Exxon, Sony, the Prime Minister, the Queen, Spinal Tap, and Bjorn Lomborg.

THIRTY SYDNEY HOMES were destroyed yesterday by widespread bushfires:

It took just an hour for 60 fires to grip the city yesterday, as residents were forced to form human water chains and ferry buckets as they battled to protect homes from the onslaught of flames.

At one point 17 houses were lost in an hour. New fires erupted every two minutes. More homes are expected to be incinerated today:

Around Sydney, people whose homes were threatened - including Berowra, Berowra Waters, Berowra Heights, Arcadia, Birralee, Maraylya, Dural and Menai – were advised to stay home tomorrow to help firefighters protect their properties.

Thankfully, the human toll is so far limited to injuries:

Three firefighters were injured, two suffering fractured legs and one was burnt as fire engulfed his tanker.

Readers will remember last December's fires. This is the same deal, all over again. Christ.

FROM THE Department of No Surprises: John Howard's popularity is at an all-time high.

CHRIS TEXTOR is one clever, funny guy, and the only non-pro racer I've met who has topped 170 mph on a motorcycle. He's visiting the US next April, so US readers should drop by his site often and get to know him before he comes screaming through your house on a Kawasaki. (By the way, the "particular American blogger" he mentions is Ken Layne, and the story refers to an incident involving Layne and a street mime. Ken is waiting for the statute of limitations on mime-related violence to expire before he tells the story publicly.)


THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD is deeply concerned that Prime Minister John Howard may have offended Asian leaders:

At a time when Australia more than ever needs the help and friendship of its nearest neighbours, the Howard Government appears intent on poisoning the well of regional goodwill.

But the SMH seems intent on doing the same thing. A story with the headline "Palace bitch from slums wins the heart of a nation" in yesterday's edition was accompanied (in print) with a large photograph of Thailand's King Bhumibol – alongside his wife. The article began:

More than 100,000 people queued to buy the book of her life on the first day of its sale.

And though she is from the humblest of origins she is now the king's favourite.

It appears as though the SMH is calling the wife of Thailand's king a common slum bitch. You've got to get past the photograph and the first two pars before you discover that the article is actually about Tongdaeng, the king's beloved pet dog …

This from the same newspaper that describes John Howard as "unwise" and "unnecessarily careless".


In creating Hey World, Here I Am (The Streisand Story), Avigail Herman has wisely eschewed aping "the actress who sings".

She is out, primarily, to ignite Barbra Streisand's songs, linking them with biographical tidbits.

Igniting Streisand's songs is a great idea. Ignite all of them! Hopefully the show includes evergreen Streisand classics such as I Believe, What Kind of Fool, Absent Minded Me, and Babs' signature tune, the timeless Left in the Dark.

BEGINNING IN about 30 minutes: live web coverage of the solar eclipse.

INTERNATIONAL BUY SOMETHING DAY has been a frightening success. Go check out the updated Honour Roll and marvel at the economic diversity. And, yes, Dave Burge is the winner (although, on Buy Something Day, everybody is a winner!) Read his entry (#56) to discover why. Dave's prize is on its way as soon as I work out what his prize is.

BSD Hero #50, Helen Belisle, writes:

So, is December 3rd International Buy Something Day, or is it always on the first Tuesday in December?

Why, it's always been on first Tuesday of December, as long as I've known it. We'll have no tradition-wrecking revisionism here. The first Tuesday it has always been, and the first Tuesday it shall remain.

Of course, BSD has its foes, like Buy Nothing Day stalwart Joe Cambria:

Unlike you and your friends, I took Buy Nothing Day to heart and decided that yes, I am consuming too much and I will forego something. I have decided to end my subscription to the Melbourne Age newspaper. I won't miss it and certainly won't feel that I will ever need it. Yep. Buy Nothing Day made me think about what I really need in my life, and I just don't need The Age.

I made this decision while I was on my way to refuel my Mercedes ML500.

Way to go, Joe! And a spendy BSD to all!


AS TEX demonstrates, there's "fisking" and there's "FISKING!!!"

SLOWLY, SLOWLY, the cultural Left is becoming aware of the threat presented by Islamic extremism. Green Left Weekly's Leon Harrison reports on anti-gay hate speech in Sydney:

While I have always supported struggles for social justice in Palestine and I am opposed to the US war drive against Iraq, I find that, as a gay man, my own community is under attack from not only Christian fundamentalism but also Islamic fundamentalism.

On June 28, representatives of the Canterbury-Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Group (CBD), the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) West, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Western Sydney and South Western Sydney Area Health Service attended a lecture at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Bankstown campus, entitled "Islam and homosexuality: an Islamic, scientific and logical approach".

The content of the lecture was grossly homophobic. The organisations attending were extremely alarmed that such a meeting was permitted in a place of public learning and social enquiry. Some of the main concerns arising from the lecture included:

•Sheik Shadi, an Islamic cleric, called for an Islamic court to be set up in Australia, which would give Muslims the power to stone gay men and lesbians to death;

•Keysar Trad, vice-president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, rejected the concept of anti-discrimination and anti-vilification legislation and urged Muslims to defy these laws; and

•Hannan Dover, a lecturer in psychology at UWS (Bankstown), told the meeting that she would not allow a gay lecturer at the university to attend the lecture. She also informed the audience that she would not allow progressive, pro-gay Muslims to attend the lecture, nor would she allow them to join a group she was establishing for Muslim health workers.

Sadly but not surprisingly, "gay and lesbian community newspapers have been silent on this issue", according to Harrison. For that matter, so has the mainstream press.

SOMEONE CALLED "Soap Distant" writes:

In the assumption that this website is not, as I originally thought, taking the piss out of right-wingers, what is your argument against socialism and the left wing in general?

Here's an argument for you, Soapie: it's my money, and you can't have it.

SANTA IS the new Satan:

As many as 50 childcare centres and kindergartens across the nation [have] banned nativity scenes and Christmas festivities, including Santa Claus.

CANADA IS crazy for the Hezbollah, but doesn't want its citizens assisting Israel. Nice.

TODAY IS International Buy Something Day. Please do your part to make this day a success by buying at least one item from a store, retailer, merchant, or even a friend or family member. Each individual purchase, no matter how small, can make a difference. End poverty and injustice – buy something now! Spread the wealth!

Send details of your purchase and you'll be added to the Honour Roll:


1. Tim Blair/$A12.99 bottle of wine

2. Andrea Harris/Starbucks Grande Vanilla Latte

3. Maurice Tate/1,000 rounds of .45 calibre ammunition ("Eat your hearts out, Australians!")

4. Alice Dick/$US1.60 Starbucks coffee

5. Mark Amundsen/$US5 pack of smokes ("helping the farmer and plugging the ozone layer")

6. Amy Dawson/$US250 worth of groceries ("hail capitalism and food that lasts for weeks in the fridge!")

7. Ellie Kimmel/$US3.67 large Starbucks Iced Latte

8. Combustible Boy/$US2.75 package of Thomas' Original English Muffins ("to give some propers to the Anglosphere")

9. Laurence Simon/$US4.99 container of high-quality catnip

10. Sheryl Veazey-Rudy/$US114 Christmas Gift basket (with gift card and shipping) from Harry and David

11. Charles Austin/$US800 repairs (estimated) on leaking Dodge Grand Caravan cylinder

12. Stephen Berg/two anti-moth hanging cedar blocks, lint roller and refill roll, batteries, sweater (Gap), long-sleeve thermal shirt (Gap), one pair Ben Sherman sneakers, olives, chocolates, mini R/C car, gasoline (for an SUV), hooded sweatshirt, assorted junk food/snacks/drinks, cell phone and cell phone plan

13. Vince Williams/$US138 loafers ("Merry Buy Something Day!")

14. Michael Jennings/Whopper Extra Meal, plus Double Medium Latte

15. Michael J. Totten/autographed copy of James Lee Burke's "White Doves at Morning"

16. Ryne McClaren/$US250 used Ruger KSP-321X .357 Magnum

17. Damian Penny/sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub at Subway ("had I known it was 'Buy Something Day', I would have gone to McDonald's")

18. David Gillies/$US242 Motorola cellphone and service contract ("to help spread the wealth to those less fortunate than myself – people with tech stocks")

19. Gregory S. Taylor/$US179.99 HP Photosmart 130 printer

20. Andrew Ian Dodge/Apple Ipod 5mb for me, colour Samsung mobile phone for Sasha

21. Stefan Sharkansky/$US2.49 bagel and juice at Noah's Bagels, $US3.25 large low-fat no-whip mocha at Peet's

22. George Lukes/50 rounds of .308 Nato (aka .308 Winchester) ammo

23. James Morrow/several thousand $A worth of Qantas air travel from Sydney to New York ("spent on tons of ozone-destroying jet fuel, to say nothing of so-called free booze! Just doing my part")

24. Scott Maffett/$US120 of Christmas presents ("probably more tomorrow … large families hit the pocket book hard!)

25. Neal Woolrich/$A3.99 Kleenex ultra-soft toilet paper ("I use the quality stuff on my rear end, but use the cheap no-frills brand for writing letters to the SMH")

26. Wallace/$US6.95 package of Lemon Flavored Alka-Seltzer Plus to fight the cold virus obviously implanted in my head by terrorists

27. Chris Siems/$US350 bottle of Penfold's Grange #2 Hill of Grace

28. Maureen Duffy/$US26.95 Chanel Nude Lip Pencil ("I am – alas – French. One must be chic while surrendering, non?")

29. Janis Gore/$US144 subscription to The Baton Rouge Advocate, $US10 groceries for dinner and snacks for parrot ("Wonder if The Guardian would turn down a subscription today?")

30. Paul Anderson/ $US280 Xbox console, games and accessories ("I specifically waited until this day to buy …")

31. Roger Franklin/half a dozen souffle dishes, a dozen bottles of Rutherglen shiraz, a comfy pair of Nike sneakers ("It had to be Nike to honour the spirit of the moment"), sweater with a home-boy hood, a scarf, underpants and socks ("in a variety of cheerful colours")

32. Ken Layne/$US50 for two cases – two freakin' cases! – of very tasty Charles Shaw Merlot ("All hail the bargains of capitalism!")

33. Alan Anderson/one right-wing Spectator magazine ("Take that, hippie scum")

34. Brian Jones/$US11.65 Pizza Hut's Chicago medium deep-dish Pizza, $US24.00 Picadilly cafeteria lunch for 4, $US15.00 groceries ("so we don't have to eat out so damn much the rest of the week")

35. Samantha Smith/US$5.00 milk and bread on the way home from work

36. Paul Bickford/$A13,000 transferred to Hong Kong to buy BMW 325i convertible ("I plan to run over hippies and bicycles as soon as it is released from customs")

37. David Odell/$US50 book from private bookseller via Amazon.com

38. Anne Edelmann/$US36.99 750mL bottle of Jack Daniel's ("I'm starting the work week with a bang. Woo-hoo!")

39. Marc Rittierodt/$US160 for eye exam and new contacts ("so that I can see through the bullshit better")

40. Craig McFarlane/$A288 Yes tickets ("as part of John Howard's push to lift the retirement age"), UK£127 of music from amazon.co.uk ("as part my the war on unpurchased CDs")

41. Bezowsky/$US38 plywood and molding for cabinets on my beach house remodel

42. Scott Chaffin/$US86 for 50 Atomic Hot Wings, carton of Marlboros, 12 pack of Shiner, three chili-dogs and a malt

43. Ed Charles/$A3.75 cat toothbrush (with paste) ("To remove globally-produced catfood/plaque")

44. James Russell/$A20 for concession tickets to "Brotherhood of the Wolf" and "Full Frontal", $A8.70 on drinks and snacks ("I begrudge the 'Full Frontal' ticket, though, cos the film was shit")

45. Neal Sheeran/$US18 Jameson's Irish Whiskey, $US29 for 17 gallons of Premium Warmongering gasoline, $US79 Band of Brothers DVD ("Just doin' my part to oppress the masses")

46. Jason Soon/$A37.70 for Pringles curry chips, Doritos hot salsa, 2 fun size Malteser bags, one toothbrush, seedless grapes (1.075 kg), eggs (600 gm), Schweppes lemonade, Doritos corn chips, Bulla 10 pack ice splits, strawberries (250g) ("And I have the receipts to prove it!")

47. Scott Wickstein/$A24.50 for one large jar of coffee, Dunhill cigarettes, chips, sundry food items, $A30 of BP fuel ("Got to support the Imperialists, hey?")

48. Bill Herbert/$US4 string cheese, $US4 Double Whopper value meal, $US17 CD (Geto Boys' "The Resurrection"), $US9 pair of weightlifting gloves

49. Tracey Peake/2 scarves,1 chenille throw, 1 grilled chicken burrito the size of my head ("yum!"), 3 extension cords, assorted lightbulbs, 4 packages of net lights ("to make my shrubbery suitably shiny"), paraffin refill for the hand spa, teething gel for the toddler ("Just doin' my part for the economy")

50. Helen Belisle/$US4.00 large latte with an extra shot of expresso, $US6.87 fill-up for 1991 AMC Geo

51. Donald E. Burton/$US4.95 copy of the Atlantic Monthly ("to read the article on paranoid lunatic Bobby Fischer")

52. Joy Rothke of La Fortuna, Costa Rica/loaf of Breddy bread (455 colones/ US $1.21), a Coca-Cola (200 colones/ US$0.53), copy of La Nacion newspaper (125 colones/ US$0.33), stamps for Christmas cards ("If there was anything decent to buy in this little town, I might have spent more … but the closest mall is three hours away")

53. Chuck Simmins/$US905 double electric ovens, $US100 install of ovens, $US11.69 supper from McDonald's

54. Sandra Lee/$A98.98 for one session of shrink time ("to discover why, as a woman who is genetically programmed to wear 4" heels, I haven't found my inner-shopper yet – and it's only three weeks to Christmas!")

55. Bailz/$A7.95 Ralph magazine, $A32.00 bottle of Bacardi, $A28.00 bottle of Midori, $A37.00 carton of Boags Premium

56. Dave Burge/$US450 for a vintage 1962 Edelbrock aluminum six deuce intake manifold and six Holley 94 carburetors, for my anti-anti-globomobile ("Properly installed, this should add 50-100 horsepower, reduce my gas mileage to 6-8 mpg, and increase my green house emissions by 50%. If there's a prize, I think I've won")

57. Marm/$US10 bus fare to NYC, $US12 subway tokens, $US100 six sets of Buffy and Angel trading cards and a Matrix Reloaded advance poster ("the perfect purchase for BSD, as these items have no intrinsic value and are part of the crass American imperial culture")

58. Bill Cimino/$US200 DVD player, $US485 new starter and battery for piece of shit car

59. Alan K. Henderson/$US11 on high-fat, high-sugar groceries, $US43 on 4-piece luggage set

60. Jay Manifold/$US18.53 for 12.789 gallons of premium gasoline for the Lexus

61. Kim du Toit/$US100 at Amazon.com, mostly books on guns, $US40 on a USMC fighting knife, .45ACP, some .303, a thousand-odd rounds of .22LR ammo and some 6.5x55mm ("for the new Mauser purchased last week")

62. Hugh Christian/$US6.49 for 2 bags of de-icing salt ("damn snow ...")

63. David Morgan/$A1,200 (estimated) for repairs to alternator and central locking on Holden Commodore

ASKED IF he would attack a neighbouring country in a circumstance where there was no other alternative to preventing a terrorist strike against Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said: "Yes."

The key words here are "no alternative". Seems a reasonable enough reply, doesn't it? Yet half of Asia went nuts, Labor leader Simon Crean said Howard was "talking war", and the Sydney Morning Herald described his response as a gaffe. Well, let's ask them the same question: if there was no alternative, what would you do?


MARGO'S LATEST MISSPELLING is hellishly Freudian: "Here is a piece I wrote for smh.come.au on Friday."

"HEY, BLAIR!" a bunch of e-mails demand. "You're a stupid right-winger. What do you think about …":

a) Kissinger's appointment as 9/11 investigator?

Bad, for so many obvious reasons. No need to list them. You know them already.

b) Labor's gigantic win in the Victorian state election?

I'm fine with it. The Victorian ALP is now a right-centrist party that is chiefly concerned with maintaining the state as it was rebuilt by Jeff Kennett's conservatives. So long as they stay that way (and they will, if they want to remain in power) no grave socialist dangers can be anticipated.

c) Israel-US tensions over terrorist attacks in Kenya?

Go Israel.

Thus concludes today's edition of "Hey, Blair!"

FISKING OF a Fisking of a Fisking: Ken Parish disagrees with my assessment of Phillip Adams, and the Fisky fun continues in the comments section following his post.

MICHAEL MOORE is a compulsive liar. In an interview with Australian's Good Weekend Saturday newspaper insert (no link available), the burger Bolshevik makes this typically indefensible claim:

There has been a blackout on me since September 11. I've only been on two (American) TV shows, 90 per cent of the papers have not reviewed the book – yet I've sold more copies than any other non-fiction book in America this year.

Maybe that's because Moore has appeared on at least five American TV shows to promote his book, including Politically Incorrect, the Daily Show, Crossfire, Tim Russert's CNBC program, and Fox's Hannity and Colmes. CNN gave his book a positive review, and ABC News ran an item on the problems Moore had getting his book published.

Way to lie, liar. In Caroline Graham's fawning, ill-researched GW piece ("he is as much feared as revered"), Moore also offers this defence for enrolling his daughter in one of New York's most expensive private schools:

My child is not a social experiment and is not going to be the one used to undo the damage the rich have done to society.

Fine. Use some poor kid instead.

UPDATE. Bill Herbert e-mails:

You forgot to mention that Moore was featured on CNN's "People in the News" feature Oct. 19.

Also, I did a Lexis-Nexis search of TV news transcripts for "stupid white men" and found 21 different national appearances since January of this year.

In Moore's defence, at least 21 has a "2" in it.


THE SYDNEY Morning Herald usually runs Maureen Dowd's Sunday column several days after publication in New York. Perhaps reacting to mockery from the blogworld, the SMH now runs Dowd on Monday.

On the downside, current or not, it's still mere Maureen. Hire Lileks!

THE ELECTORAL seats of Melbourne and Richmond are the two most developed, highly urbanised areas of Victoria. Judging by Saturday's state election results, these areas also contain the most Greens.

How are Greens able to tolerate these places? How can they stand living amidst concrete, cars, and capitalism? And when will they realise that the raw nature they profess to love lies only a few hours inland, awaiting their arrival? We people who like big cities want them to remain as they are. You guys can go live in trees.

JOHN HOWARD – the idealist pacifist actor, not the evil Australian Prime Minister – was seen in distinctly non-peaceful company during Saturday's Rally for Capitulation in Sydney. Former commie Alastair Spate was on the scene, and files this report:

We arrived at 11.30am and got among the assembled for about 45 minutes before they tramped off to the Domain to get Pilgered.

My son and his two mates, dressed nicely in punk gear and jungle greens, handed out our leaflet "Why war on Iraq makes the world a better place" while I, with my 10.000 rupiah Kuta Beach T-shirt (the chattering classes hate the Bali victims; after all, those footballers were getting drunk and insulting Muslim sensibilities) walked through the crowd sloganeering and giving the placards a work-out. We had: "Freedom fighters want war on terror"; "Pilger, pacifists: moral cowards" and "Afghanistan, East Timor: Troops proved right!"

I was getting high on cruising through the peacenik crowd intoning "Support the war on terror! Down with feudalism! Down with barbarism; for liberal democracy all over the world!" -- sounds clumsy, but I liked it at the time. Also got into "War in Kosovo was right! War in Afghanistan was right! Intervention in East Timor was right! War on Iraq IS right!"

One personal pleasure was in putting these propositions directly to hefty lefty icon Bob Gould. I'm an ex-Trot from the 70s and 80s myself, and even liked old Bobby back then, so it was entertaining to burn this bridge and listen to his hostility crackle. It was one of the reasons I did this: so there is no going back to that ghastly post-war leftism, most of which was underwritten by the Soviet Union. There were also clusters of semi-familiar old lefties and friends through the crowd, even a peacenik sibling! Lines have been drawn.

There was a sprinkling of what us old commies call "lumpens" among the crowd – not middle class, not working class, but declasse welfare statists with bad teeth, BO and "no mandatory detention" T-shirts. One of whom got really un-peacenik and put the nelson on me ---"stay here and you're under arrest!", "this is our protest -- you take yours over the road!" I held my ground until an AMWU type came along and dragged the lumpen off. Those union blokes love a regulator role.

The level of discussion was pretty low. I couldn't get any better response than "Bush is the real terrorist", "It's the US with the weapons of mass destruction", especially from the younger ones. But that's pacifism for you -- a kind of chloroform. I did have one decent discussion, with a young man who seemed interested in the global economy.

Anyway, the lads were wanting to move on, having reported plenty of "fascists" and "Howard's boys" taunts, so we all felt honour had been done, and left after another dumb harangue from a lumpen. (At least they had a go, unlike the middle classes).

From little things big things grow. Here's to the birth of Australia's anti-peace movement movement!

JUAN GATO is dreaming of a bra Christmas.

JUST WHAT kind of inspections does the UN have in mind?