YIKES! This cheesy Australian porn site has set up Nude For Peace, where naked freaky hippie chicks get to ... well, I'll let them explain:

We just thing that Bush is a fucking idiot for his 'kill 'em all' rehotric. We all are in favour of a UN ratified solution. If you feel stongly about peace, we urge you to write a message on your body, and send it in more info on the site.

Do you feel "stongly"? Then get with the anti-war "rehotric" and join the other idealists.

(*Warning: not suitable for work or any other known venue)

UPDATE. Show's over, folks. The Nude For Peace site has apparently been de-activated.

"WHAT ARE YOU, the bear police?" Russell Wardlow interviews Russell Wardlow. He also has a fine dog picture.

BILL CLINTON - master diplomat, international statesman, and high-steppin' Harlem homeboy - hasn't been paying attention:

On the issue of Iraq, Clinton said he supports booting dictator Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad and destroying his weapons, but he said Bush has made it more difficult to line up international cooperation for a possible war.

Right after winning UN Security Council support in November for weapons inspections, the White House "sent 150,000 troops to the gulf, which convinced everybody we weren't serious about UN inspections. That's how we got into this political mess."

Get it right, porchdog! As Australia's Prime Minister reminded everybody the other day:

Hans Blix and Kofi Annan have both attested to the fact that had it not been for the American military build-up, the inspectors would not be back in Iraq. The French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, has said likewise. And Gerhard Schroeder and Jacques Chirac have signed an EU declaration that makes the same point.

AIEEEE! Salon's Anne Lamott has been attacked by a squid.

ALL THOSE peace protests in the US sure are having an effect.

MORE NAKED FEMALE PROTESTERS - except these gals are on our side!

(Via Peter Kerr, who also has a great idea for a reality TV show.)

QUIZ TIME! Name the famous Australian journalist who last night sent this e-mail to a puzzled correspondent:

I've just puyblished a detaioled comments on his answers to the quesytions.Stadn d by my interpretation. etation.


Over recent weeks artists like Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg and John Mellencamp have used their Web sites as tools to distribute protest songs, unbureaucratically adopting the controversial MP3 format to get the word out quickly instead of waiting for official release through their record labels.

Immediate, decisive action, unhindered by bureacratic process. Sounds good to me.

YOU'D EXPECT someone trained in the visual arts to have a sense of perspective. You'd be wrong, though.

THE MELBOURNE AGE, home of the ranting leftist, comes out in support of the war.

IT SOMETIMES crosses my mind that maybe, just maybe, Hans Blix wasn't the right man to send in search of weapons of mass destruction:

To me the question of the environment is more ominous than that of peace and war. We will have regional conflicts and use of force, but world conflicts I do not believe will happen any longer. But the environment, that is a creeping danger. I'm more worried about global warming than I am of any major military conflict.

So go looking for SUVs, Blixy. Here's one lurking ominously outside a terrorist compound. Good luck finding it.

POSTING WILL be light today while I work through my addiction to this.

(Via Dave Barry)

"TRACKING DOWN terrorists is a job for intelligence services and police forces, not armies," writes Hugh Mackay. Fine. We'll let this guy take care of Iraq. Mackay also mounts the ingenious argument that Saddam Hussein should not be deposed because there are too many reasons to do so:

Long ago, I was taught that if someone gives you two reasons for declining an invitation, that probably means they're hiding the truth (which is, presumably, that they simply don't want to come). The anti-Iraq propaganda is a bit like that.

Hugh no doubt has more experience than I in the area of declined invitations, so I'll skip to his next point:

First we were told Saddam had to be disarmed by force before he had a chance to deploy his weapons of mass destruction. When it became less certain that he had such weapons, and even less clear why or where he might want to deploy them, the focus switched to the need for "regime change" in order to establish democracy in Iraq (though not, we assume, the Florida-style democracy that installed Bush in the White House).

How has the discovery of missiles and drones made their existence "less certain"? As well, how does Mackay square away the comments of former Australian senior intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, who on Thursday was telling peaceniks that "if war proceeds Saddam Hussein is likely to use weapons of mass destruction"? Seems like Wilkie knows something, Hugh.

Now we're being told an invasion can be justified on humanitarian grounds and we will be the heroic liberators of an oppressed people. Too many reasons, John.

The humanitarian argument was raised in response to claims that thousands of innocents would be killed by a US-led attack. It added to the existing arguments. Too many reasons? Indeed.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD'S Alan Ramsey thinks the Prime Minister should confront his enemies in hand-to-hand combat:

Our Prime Minister these days has a permanent armed bodyguard, around the clock, of 13 so-called "federal agents" - we cannot help copying the Americans - who work in relays. It used to be a unit of seven when Paul Keating was prime minister. It has all but doubled for his successor. And yet still John Howard will not take his argument for war out to the Australian people. Instead he does it by interview from the safety of his office over the phone with a clutch of favoured radio talkback hosts or from television studios.

Or in nationally broadcast speeches. Ramsey imagines that the logic of Howard's position would be enhanced by placing himself in the midst of hostile demonstrators; perhaps he should urge Saddam Hussein to try the same stunt. Come to think of it, I haven't noticed Ramsey taking his argument against war out to to the Australian people. Instead he does it by computer from the safety of his office.

Ramsey also writes:

Two weeks ago John Kiesling, an American diplomat, sent a letter to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that says everything about the George Bush White House that worries Australians. What follows is an edited version.

Kiesling sent the letter (by fax) on Monday, February 24, almost three weeks ago. Alan Ramsey is the world's only weekly columnist with monthly deadlines.

AN EXCELLENT decorating tip.

NEW BLOGS, GOOD BLOGS: Delayed Pundit and A Few Good Hawks. And one I'd not previously noticed: the sassy Simone Koo.


IS IT Jacques Hussein, or Saddam Chirac? Magic morphing fun from the London Sun.

FRENCH MEMBER of parliament Olivier Dassault asserts his nation's superiority:

One of our great "weaknesses" is that we do not, alas, have the kind of gutter mentality, rubbish-bin culture, which could enable us to reply in kind to the amiabilities which the Anglo-Saxon press pours on us at the slightest sign of a divergence of interests.

We cannot create a gutter press, Anglo-Saxon style. French people are (still) too well educated for there to be any readership for such a publication.

Yet a bucket of lies claiming that September 11 was engineered by the US government somehow became a best-seller. Tony Blair has had enough of all this French bullshit:

British prime minister Tony Blair has declared diplomatic war on France, accusing President Jacques Chirac of trying to destroy his efforts to win majority support in the United Nations for war on Iraq.

In an extraordinary move that risks inflicting long-term damage on Anglo-French relations, Downing Street accused the French of "poisoning'' the entire diplomatic process with its pledge to veto a second UN resolution.

Some risk. John Howard shares Blair's wrath:

Prime Minister John Howard today launched a blistering attack on France ... He said France has always regretted the rise of the United States as the pre-eminent world power and the fact that Europe was no longer as powerful in relation to the United States as it used to be.

Mr Howard said Australia had solid evidence of links between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network, blamed for the September 11 attacks.

But if Australia had to wait for criminal jury proof, it could result in another Pearl Harbour style attack, he said.

This mention of Pearl Harbour prompted Simon Crean to say something unusually imbecilic:

Opposition Leader Simon Crean said Mr Howard's evocation of Pearl Harbour suggested Australia was an outpost of the United States.

"Goodness gracious, what have we become? The 51st state of the United States?" he said on ABC radio in Melbourne today.

Impressed, ABC radio has been running this quote on every news broadcast since.

UPDATE. Steven Den Beste writes regarding Olivier Dassault's claim that "without France's intervention in 1776, the US would only be a New England, a sort of Australia (politically) and New Zealand (economically)." Says SDB:

Which France? It was imperial France which intervened in the American Revolution. And it didn't do it in 1776; it intervened in the Battle of Yorktown, in 1781. I'm not aware of anything the French did as early as 1776.

YESTERDAY'S CONFLICTS with management did little to perturb Margo, whose copy was up to her usual standard. That is to say, it was loaded with bias and ridiculous mistakes. Following is her account of John Howard's speech to the National Press Club, interspersed with extracts and follow-up questions from that speech:

Margo: When Herald correspondent Mark Riley asked whether it was now time for him to follow the lead of George Bush and Tony Blair and be candid with the Australian people about his intentions in the absence of a UN sanction, he said no. Refusing to comment was "the only responsible decision". That makes Bush and Blair irresponsible, one supposes.

Howard's reply was a little more detailed than "no comment":

Howard: Mark, I'll just repeat what I have said before, and the Australian people understand this – a final decision will be taken on that when all the processes at the Security Council are known. I've said before, and I'll repeat it today, we seek the 18th resolution of the Security Council – it's not the 2nd, it's the 18th resolution of the Security Council – not because we believe as a matter of international law that it is needed. We believe it would be better politically, strategically and in terms of the united voice of the international community, if you could get another resolution. I take you back to what I said in my speech. I really do believe that if everybody got behind the sort of resolution of which I have spoken, and I acknowledge that the prospects of that now are not great, you would perhaps have a real prospect because if you had 15 nations saying you disarm or we're coming after you, and you had the neighbouring Arab states saying look, the game is up, you might just get some change in Baghdad. Now if that doesn't occur, I think the prospects for a peaceful resolution don't appear very bright. We are positioned to participate in military action. That is self-evident. But as you will have observed from the remarks made by our men in the field, they clearly have not received any instruction as yet, and that will not be given until the Cabinet has considered the matter in the wake of the issue being resolved one way or the other, or no way, at the United Nations. That has been my position all along. I think it is the only responsible position. You never in the situation in which I am placed, you never pass up by taking a decision before you need to, the capacity to consider last-minute circumstances that may affect the type of decision you take. You never do that.

That's 327 words of "no comment", covering rather neatly the current impasse. Back to Margo, who evidently can't hear a word Howard says, but hears reporters say things they never said:

Margo: Asked by the Bulletin's Tony Wright whether Australia would still consider supporting a unilateral attack if Britain pulled out, he again refused to answer. What Britain did "is a matter for Britain".

Wright's actual question:

Wright: How comfortable would you have been for Australia to be the single deputy to the US in any strike on Iraq? And when you deployed Australian troops in the first place, did you imagine at that time that Australia could still be in the position of being the only other nation that troops in the Gulf, other than the US and Britain, at this time?

You'll note that at no point did Wright ask anything about Australia re-considering its involvement. And this is the nub of Howard's "refusal to answer":

Howard: We made our decision based on our own assessment. I mean, as to what the British do is a matter for Britain. What we do is a matter for us.

More from Margo:

Margo: His performance got even hairier when Catherine McGrath of the ABC asked about the dangers of Pakistan and its WMD. Howard called Pakistan "a very, very good international citizen", forgetting, perhaps, that Pakistan had helped fund the Taliban in Afghanistan, which housed Osama bin Laden, the architect of the September 11 attack.

Again, she has substantially misrepresented Howard's reply:

Howard: I do have some warm regard for the courage and the stance of General Musharraf in the war against terror. I have great admiration for the risks that he's taken and the strength he's displayed ... although Pakistan has not had the same familiarity with parliamentary democracy as India, it is nonetheless in many other ways a very very good international citizen.

She just goes on and on ...

Margo: Mr Howard offered nothing but his "belief" to support his view that Australian and world security would be enhanced by an invasion. He did not mention the blowback of instability in Muslim countries, the possibility that moderate Muslim states could swing to Islamic fundamentalism in response to an invasion and occupation, or the possibility of an explosion in the Middle East.

Why would he? These are the same arguments advanced by the crazy Left before the attack on the Taliban. The reason Howard didn't mention them is because he is not a crank. Speaking of "blowback" and "the possibility that moderate Muslim states could swing to Islamic fundamentalism in response to an invasion and occupation", Margo doesn't mention this section of Howard's speech:

Howard: Australia is a western nation. Nothing can, will or should alter that fact. As such, in this new world, we are a terrorist target. Those who assert that through some calibration of our foreign policy we can buy immunity from terrorist attacks advance a proposition which is both morally flawed and factually wrong.

It is morally flawed because this nation should never fashion its foreign policy under threat. The foreign policy of Australia should always reflect the values of Australia. Bin Laden identified Australia as a terrorist target because of the intervention in East Timor. Let me pose the question, if that threat had been issued prior to the invention in 1999 should the Australian government have pulled back? I think not. Would the Australian public have wanted the government then in the face of that threat to have pulled back? I think not. The proposition about your foreign policy being adjusted is also factually flawed because the victims of terrorists over the past decade have come from many nations sharing a full variety of foreign policy and strategic views.

JOHN PILGER launches a pre-emptive attack:

Watch how the propaganda unfolds once the bombing is over and the Americans are running Baghdad and their spin machine. There will be the "discovery of Saddam's secret arsenal," probably in the basement of one his palaces. This will be accompanied by the "discovery" of gruesome evidence of Saddam's oppression.

John Pilger is a "journalist" with a "newspaper" called the Daily Mirror. He is always "accurate" and "not insane".

MARGOGATE, DAY TWO: A NATION SITS AROUND AND WAITS. The latest on Ms. Kingston's fight against the crushing of dissent:

Accusations of bias were flying in Sydney yesterday as Fairfax journalist Margo Kingston launched an incendiary Anti-Discrimination Board report accusing certain sections of the media (that Kingston does not work for) of slanted coverage of race issues. The report, which had already been leaked to Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald, prompted Sydney's Daily Telegraph editor Campbell Reid to take to the airwaves, declaring Kingston one of the most biased, agenda-driven journalists in the country. The man who commissioned the report, ex-Liberal Chris Puplick, was also in the firing line. Despite the reservations of her employers – she was called in by editor Robert Whitehead to explain – Kingston went ahead with the launch. She tells Strewth there is no truth to the rumours that she has been sacked or was asked to cancel. However, Kingston says she was appearing "in a personal capacity".

Get some supplies in, folks. This one's going to run for weeks.

THE PROTECTORS of journalistic decency at The Age last night began a 24-hour strike:

Around three hundred staff at The Age newspaper in Melbourne have walked off the job for 24 hours over editorial concerns.

The Union representing the workers claims it is to preserve the credibility of the paper.

"Preserve"? Apparently the problem is an advertisement - which scandalously was to be placed in front of a whole section of advertisements:

Journalists at Melbourne's The Age newspaper staged a wildcat strike this evening over a management decision to place an advertisement on the front cover of Saturday's property guide.

The horror.


MARGO vs. THE MAN. A few hours ago Margo Kingston was invited into Sydney Morning Herald boss Robert Whitehead's office and fired. Well, so early rumours had it; the latest word from SMH sources is that la Margola has been given a "final warning".

Reason for the trouble: Margo is scheduled to speak at a launch this evening of a report compiled by NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president Chris Puplick. The report slams rival Sydney paper The Daily Telegraph for its coverage of a gang rape case last year in which teenage girls were attacked on the basis of their race and religion.

The attackers were Muslim.

Puplick claimed on ABC radio this morning that the Telegraph's coverage had excited anti-Islamic prejudice (I'm paraphrasing). He also praised the wonderfully progressive and enlightened Margo, his choice to speak at tonight's launch. (One assumes Puplick isn't aware of Margo's belief that "all migrants need to subscribe" to "core Australian values".)

Daily Telegraph editor Campbell Reid told the ABC that the choice of Kingston as speaker "said it all", and dismissed her as an "agenda-based journalist".

Presumably weary of his Webdiarist's perpetual politicking, Whitehead called her in this afternoon. The upshot is, from what I hear, that Margo will still attend the launch - but won't mention her employer.

What might happen next? Stay tuned for more thrilling Margo news.

YOKO ONO, unilateralist!

THIS MEANS WAR! The "US has changed the world order," according to The Age. Check the story and you'll notice that The Age has retaliated by changing Paul Wolfowitz into a four-eyed, plate-faced Frenchman called Francois Heisbourg.

As reader Andy Murphy writes: "For all the smug sense of intellectual superiority possessed of the suckholes at Fairfax, you'd think they'd be able to identify their sworn enemy when they see him."

I cannot believe that "Nreb, nreb, kovla fti nreb" is winning this poll. What is with you people? Can't you see the intelligent choice ("Trengip? Snad fni trengip") right there in front of you?

THIS SCENE would never make it into a Michael Moore documentary.

HEY, HUMAN SHIELDS! Why not try to block China's mobile execution vans?

MIRANDA DEVINE explores the psychosis of the Bush-haters:

"I am against so many things about him it is hard to explain," 24-year-old student Kiffa Alverfors told The New York Times. "The capitalist system is a way of living that I don't agree with."

Australia's version of Kiffa is Radio National's millionaire announcer Phillip Adams, who last week wrote a column in The Australian laughingly entitled "Why I'm not anti-American". Adams revealed it was "regime change" in America that so alarmed "us, the chattering classes".

Then there was ABC's Four Corners on Monday, which built up a picture of a sinister Jewish cabal of "neo-cons" who have stolen Bush's brain, for what it's worth. There was even ominous music to introduce these scary conservatives who are "almost all Jews whose parents had emigrated from Eastern Europe", reporter Jonathan Holmes told us.

Strange how the left's contempt for WASP-y George so often mutates into suspicion of the wicked Jews, who really run the planet.

UNCONFIRMED REPORTS are floating around Pakistan of Osama bin Laden's capture. More soon on this, hopefully.


ROBERT FISK: the columnist who both sucks and blows.

A CLUTCH OF HOLLYWOOD STARS? No, no, no, that won't do at all. Here are your suggestions for a more apt, less clutchy collective celebrity noun, beginning with two from Gareth Parker:

What about a "delusion"?  A "vacuum"?

And from Rebecca Harris:

Since we are speaking of Hollywood celebrities, I propose "befuddle"
instead of "clutch", as in: a befuddle of movie stars.

From deep within California's befuddlement capital, a secret pro-war identity writes:

I'm a young actor in Hollywood. My few friends who agree with me that we
should be going to war, and I, call Jessica Lange, and her ilk, the
"syndicate." Of course, we do so in hushed tones, and in fear of reprisals.

The menace of the blacklist is never far away. Paul Bickford - a former crazy punk rock type himself - suggests:

How about a "clutter"? Clutter implies a pile of useless objects with no purpose, that get in the road.

If only they spent more time cluttering unemployment lines. Here's Carey Gage:

Lange was among a doofus of Hollywood stars ...

Matthew Johnson offers several choices:

a whine of Hollywood stars

a vanity of Hollywood stars

an apology of Hollywood stars


His favourite is among my favourites, too:

a collaboration of Hollywood stars

P.J. Currie admits to stealing from James Lileks:

Clusterfarg of stars

Kev Metcalfe supplies a noun that the Hollywoodistas would probably embrace:

A 'Chirac' = cowardly, self serving, not dealing with reality and not very

"You could just create a new collective noun," writes Rob Lain,
LtCol USMCR, "but that's almost too easy." Instead, LtCol Lain has plundered the collective-noun dictionary:

1. Cowardice, as in "a cowardice of curs."

2. Piteousness, as in "a piteousness of doves."

3. Rabble, as in "a rabble of rats."

4. Smack, as in "a smack of jellyfish."

5. Plague, as in "a plague of locusts."

6. Thicket, as in "a thicket of idiots." (OK, that one's listed as "spurious.")

Out of Deerfield, Illinois, Fred Butzen e-mails:

Howzabout "gaggle". Or "herd". Or "flock".

Dave Schipani answers Fred, pre-emptively:

"Herd"? Nah. While it defines their bovine intellects, they could turn
it around and say, "Yes! We're being led to slaughter by a cowboy, and
so are you!" Given their fetish for homicidal thugocrats, I propose "murder." They're
all (Sheryl) Crows anyway, right?

Robbin Smith agrees:

How about "murder"? These nutjobs have all the grace, wit, intelligence and
vocal range of a "murder" of crows. Note also the double meaning, as we
would not want to forget about Mr. Hussein's designs on any hapless subject
who opposes him after we breathlessly heed the advice of these twits.

A reader named "Mathgirl" chooses murder, then adds to it:

I agree that clutch is not an appropriate plural designation for the word
"celebrity", so I went in search of a new one.

I thought perhaps it could be "a murder of celebrities", as in "a murder of
crows." The crow angle suits Ms. Lange well, and the need of the artistic to
flutter about pointlessly or sit idle while making a great din just clinches
the deal.

Then I figured that if we had a name for a group of celebrities, we might
need a name for their natural habitat, as well. If a place where cats are
bred and raised is called a cattery, then would Hollywood be a battery?

From Kim Crawford:

You could have a smug of stars, a backpat of stars, a hug of Hollywood
stars, or even a groupthink of celebrities.

Here's Gary Schamburg’s list of "words more appropriate than 'clutch'":

faction, sect, splinter group, offshoot, cult . . .

Joshua Fielek isn't short of options, either:

An ooze of Hollywood stars

A dork of Hollywood stars

A slime of Hollywood stars

A sleaze of Hollywood stars

Duncan Baxter asks:

Would it not be a whine, a pomposity or an ignorance of Hollywood stars?

J.D. Zeigler sets him (and us) straight:

The proper collective noun for actors/celebs is "ego", as in - "An ego of
actors staged an anit-war protest in the bar at Spago today."

Obviously, a gathering of ten or more actors/celebs should be referred to as
an "overweening ego". Example: “An overweening ego of actors will be wearing
No War for Oil buttons at the Oscar ceremonies.”

"I propose 'Gaggle'", writes Kevin Bloom, and Alene is with him: "'Gaggle' is good." Gaggle is good. From the always-good NZ pundit:

A surrender of stars

The fourth of Carl Williams's selections especially rocks:

a "preen" of Hollywood stars

a "blither" of Hollywood stars

a "vacuity" of Hollywood stars

a "sump" of Hollywood stars

And the winner, from Steve Yuoconis:

Oscar winner Jessica Lange was among a coprolite of Hollywood stars today who helped deliver an anti-war petition - signed by more than 1 million people - to the US mission to the United Nations.


A LIST of US employers who support reservists has been compiled by the fine folks at Cold Fury:

The focus is providing a list of employers who are providing above and beyond the legal required support for reservists called up for this deployment. We also have some links to articles about issues reservists face when leaving their jobs behind, and to organizations which provide services and assistance to soldiers and their families. We are also welcoming any additional names of companies to add to the list. The instructions are at the site, but anyone can write us at thegoodguys2003-at-hotmail.com.

MAUREEN DOWD is wearing her schoolgirl outfit again. It just isn't cute any more:

The Bush bullies, having driven off all the other kids in the international schoolyard, are now resorting to imaginary friends.

Always with the school metaphors. What happened to Maureen back then that fixated her so?

A curious line from The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg, reporting from Baghdad:

Now some speak as though the war is all but lost, and worry aloud about the possibility of bloody chaos if the government is overthrown.

As opposed to the continuation of bloody tyranny if it isn't.

WHY START a blog? Mapchic, of the newly-minted Geographica, has as good a reason as any:

The reason that I am now finally starting a blog of my own is that I realized that I got so very much out of reading all the blogs out there that it was time for me to give back.

I'VE BEEN slyly outed by Crikey (in a bulletin to subscribers) as their one-time media beast Dr Stupid. Now the hunt is on to discover my many other
fake bylines.

IT'S PLEDGE WEEK at James Morrow's place, so swing on over and throw some cash his way. Remember, poverty is the root cause of terrorism.

MENTIONED in this week's column for The Bulletin (now with audio*): Ken Livingstone, anti-war schoolchildren, Brigid Glanville, Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy, Crikey, Christian Kerr, Hillary Bray, Stephen Mayne, Phillip Adams, the Lord Dudley Hotel, raucous, temperamental, gesticulating Catholics, Adele Horin, Rowan Pelling, Fred Durst, Britney Spears, Lleyton Hewitt, Albert Costa, Pat Rafter, Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Carlos Moya, and Billie Jean King.

*Click here for hilarious anti-war student opinions, including the boy who can't say "Muslim". Fast forward to about the 40-minute point.

MUGABE'S GOONS are on the run:

Hundreds of Zimbabwe's "green bombers", militiamen trained to murder and harass President Robert Mugabe's political opponents, have fled to South Africa claiming they have been beaten and starved.

PHILLIP ADAMS includes me in his latest disturbed imaginings:

A triumphant George W. Bush has just appeared at the press conference in Washington. "My fellow Americans, we have won another major battle in the war against terror. A few hours ago, as Commander-in-Chief, I ordered a bombardment of the UN building by the US Navy, missile strikes by the US Air Force and a mop-up operation by US Marines. As a result, one of this nation's most dangerous enemies has been absolutely and entirely destroyed.

"With the enthusiastic endorsement of Tim Blair and Jim Howard, our most loyal allies, and using modern weapons of such incredible accuracy that they can be targeted at people of different blood groupings or astrological signs, we were able to eliminate all those who've opposed us, all those who've refused to endorse the war on Iraq which, as you know, begins Friday."

A question for Phil: which political leader (not Bush!) called the UN an "instrument of crime" against Muslims, denounced the UN for the creation of Israel, and said that "those who refer matters to international legitimacy have become unbelievers in the legitimacy of the Koran"? (Hint: it was the same guy who organised that earlier attack on New York.)

WOMEN of Enron. Women of Starbucks. Women of Wall Street. Big deal! How long before Playboy hits us with Women of the Blogs?

UPDATE. Alex Bensky writes:

I haven't bought Playboy for many years. But if they can offer photo spreads (as it were) of Diane, Meryl, Virginia, Natalie, and the others, I'd rush right down to my neighborhood 7-11 and pull the issue off the shelves, trembling as I hold out my money to the clerk.

As would we all, Alex. As would we all.

DEEP THOUGHTS from a noted scholar: "It's people like you that don't allow us to move foward and add to the oppression in society ..."

A 73-YEAR-OLD disarmament campaigner is calling for a sex strike to stop the disarmament of Saddam Hussein:

Michael Denborough, who's leading an anti-war vigil outside Parliament House, said today the sex strike was a way to highlight the horrors that Iraqi women and children would face when war came.

Not having sex highlights fiery death for all the children? Makes sense to me, Mr. Logic Man.

Sex is one of a number of strikes being urged by Dr Denborough. He wants a driving strike - "abandon your car at an intersection and throw away the keys" - and a shopping strike - "war is about corporate greed" - as well as a conventional strike.

I want an air strike.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT for today: propose a more appropriate collective noun than clutch.

Oscar winner Jessica Lange was among a clutch of Hollywood stars today who helped deliver an anti-war petition - signed by more than 1 million people - to the US mission to the United Nations.

ANDREW WILKIE, a (now former) senior analyst in the Office of National Assessments, has sacrificed his career over opposition to war in Iraq. The Bulletin has the story:

What is the basis of his conviction that Iraq does not pose a serious enough threat to justify a war? "Their military is very weak. It's a fraction of the size it was when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Most of what remains is poorly trained, poorly equipped and of questionable loyalty to the regime. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program is, I believe, genuinely contained. There is no doubt they have chemical and biological weapons, but their program now is disjointed and limited. It's not a national WMD program like they used to have. Also, I am not convinced that Iraq is actively co-operating with al Qaeda. The bottom line is that this war against Iraq is totally unrelated to the war on terror."

Wilkie's other arguments include that Saddam is too evil to be messed with - meaning that he would utterly destroy Iraq and its people if provoked. But who would do the destroying? Iraq's "weak military"? Still, hear the man out. As the article says, he's no bleeding heart leftie.

UPDATE. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Wilkie was right to quit.

LOTS AND LOTS of entertainment at anti-anti-Semitic Babylonian Musings, including Michael Rivero's startling resemblance to cousin Shmuel and the frightening poetry of Kurt Nimmo. Hit copy if your monitor can't read white text. Or sacrifice a chicken to Zog. Either way works.

MARGO is soaring, diving, abounding, slipping ...

On each side of the war against war, hopes soar, hopes dive, hour by hour now. Resignations abound, timetables slip, and the world waits, mesmerised.

I'm off to Melbourne to record an arts chat show on a book about violent sex and a movie about punk rock - seems crazy stuff to think about now, but the demands of my diary are a comfort of sorts. Life goes on, for now.

The "demands" of Margo's diary? Life goes on "for now"? The pressure of Webdiary is killing her.


Jean Paul Gaultier must have been tipped off that the anti-fur protesters were going to target his fashion show because he was certainly ready for them.

When the first one jumped onto the runway in Paris on Saturday he got a surprise. Two security guards immediately leapt aboard and wrapped him in a big fur coat, before dragging him off.


PORTUGAL IS siding with the US ... for entirely understandable reasons:

Foreign Minister Antonio Martins da Cruz told state radio that if Portugal were attacked, "it would be unlikely France and Germany would come to our rescue."

SOUND FINANCIAL ADVICE: never invest with someone whose job title includes the word "jester":

Taimi - or the Times of Tonga - has been a strong critic of the royal-controlled government and the behaviour of the king's youngest son, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, who the king has appointed as life-term prime minister.

Diplomatic sources say the kingdom of 100,000 people is nearing economic ruin in the wake of a series of disastrous royal decisions including investing $US26.5 million ($43.15 million) with the king's court jester, who then lost it.

MARGO KINGSTON has added to the deep embarrassment and sense of invasion suffered by Newsday science writer Laurie Garrett. Quoth the Margen:

A mainstream American journo at the Davos meeting of world heavyweights in January wrote this background note on the mood, the fear, and the angst at the top of world political, economic and military power.

But Garrett's background note was in fact a private e-mail, as she explains:

Let me as clear as possible about this: The letter you are all clamoring over, parsing, deriding and fantasizing about was a personal note. It is a private letter that someone among my friends thoughtlessly, yet I am sure without any malice, forwarded to a couple of people who are strangers to me. And they, in turn, passed it on to more strangers, and so on. Now, to my deep embarrassment, and acute sense of invaded privacy, all of you— thousands of strangers—are dissecting my personal letter. I would never have written for public consumption in such a sloppy, candid, opinionated flip tone. This was never intended for your eyes.

Looks like some kind of ethical violation to me. Speaking of Margo, her various personalities seem to be once again at war. "Don't you wish you were John Howard?" she writes. "He's never had doubts that he was doing the right thing. Me, I've always feared people without self-doubt."

Presumably, then, Margo fears herself:

People power works, no doubt about it.

If Saddam does not back down, there will be war. No doubt about that.

Labor has moved, no doubt about it, under pressure from the Left faction and a huge effort from community groups and lawyers.

THE SMH accuses John Howard of toeing the US line for expelling an Iraqi diplomat. Guess that makes Simon Crean a craven US line-toer, too:

The Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, was given a departmental briefing yesterday on the information gathered against Mr Aaref and said later he was satisfied that the expulsion was justified.

FORMER WORLD motorcycle champion Barry Sheene has died. Somewhere I have tape of Sheene at a British Grand Prix in the late '70s, arguing profanely with officials over the legality of his bike; Sheene had little tolerance for time-wasters. He'll be missed.

ZAK MALLAH is a man of peace - until he gets the call from head office:

The devout Muslim said he only wanted the passport to fly to Lebanon to find a bride. He later said he told ASIO officers he would not participate in violence, but "on the other hand, if jihad is declared, then I will have to take part, because the Koran tells me to".

ANDREW BOLT searches for the source of the current nude protest craze, and finds it in a Nigerian swamp.

ERIC LINDHOLM is attempting to comply with the NYT subscription department, but they insist on escalating the conflict. Will he pay by March 17, or face the terrible consequences? A must read.

KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED isn't mentioned in The Age of Sacred Terror, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon's apparently authorative al Qaeda investigation, leading some to doubt that the the capture of old Captain Backhair was such a big deal.

Via doubting Tim Dunlop, Benjamin sets the record straight.

STOCK TIP of the day: canary futures.


THE BLUNDERING Sydney Morning Herald today gives the impression that a Sydney priest is a plagiarist. Here's a paragraph from a recent Nicholas Kristof piece, republished in the SMH on March 6:

But liberal critiques sometimes seem not just filled with outrage at evangelical-backed policies, which is fair, but also to have a sneering tone about conservative Christianity itself. Such mockery of religious faith is inexcusable. And liberals sometimes show more intellectual curiosity about the religion of Afghanistan than that of Alabama, and more interest in reading the Upanishad than the Book of Revelation.

And here's the SMH today, covering a weekend sermon by Anglican priest Phillip Jensen:

He condemned the liberal press for turning its attention to Islam and Hinduism and ignoring the evangelical Christian message.

"Liberals sometimes show more intellectual curiosity about the religion of Afghanistan than that of Alabama, and more interest in reading the Upanishad than the Book of Revelation."

Looks like Jensen has simply lifted the Kristof quote without attribution, doesn't it? Not so. Read the text of Jensen's sermon, and you'll discover that he mentioned his source, and that he isn't going to hell after all:

In the SMH there was an article from the NY Times about 'Liberal America's contempt for evangelicals…'

On the liberal press's critique of evangelicals, the author speaks of "a sneering tone about conservative Christianity itself. Such mockery of religious faith is inexcusable. And liberals sometimes show more intellectual curiosity about the religion of Afghanistan than that of Alabama, and more interest in reading the Upanishad than the Book of Revelation."

Apologise to the man of God, SMH! Apologise or burn!

WA-HEY! This stripping for peace trend is beginning to pay off big time.

HOW COME, once he was captured, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed suddenly became the "mastermind" behind the 9/11 attacks? Because he was all along, as Bill Herbert explains.


READY ... SET ... SURRENDER! Iraq's dedicated military jumps the gun:

Terrified Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces - because they thought the war had already started.

The motley band of a dozen troops waved the white flag as British paratroopers tested their weapons during a routine exercise.

The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender.

This will come as news to Bob Ellis, who in the Brisbane Courier-Mail last week apparently predicted a massive defeat for US forces: "[Bush] is wrong. And the Mother of all Armageddons [the upcoming war in Iraq] is waiting to tell him how wrong he is. You wait and see."

Thanks to reader Richard Gillies for the quote, as Ellis's piece (published in last Monday's C-Mail) is unavailable online. Anybody with access to News Ltd files, please e-mail it my way. It promises to be as accurate as this earlier Ellis article, in which Slob Bob announced that bin Laden was "almost certainly not" behind 9/11:

The hijackers put on scarlet headscarves, as Shi'ites do when about to die in a jihad. Bin Laden is a Sunni. Shi'ites and Sunnis are mortal enemies and fought in the 1980s a war much like World War I against each other, when bin Laden was in his twenties. He is most unlikely to have involved a sworn foe in his plans.

TRUST THE UN to look after us? The UN can't even look after itself:

Gunmen robbed a UN food agency vehicle at gunpoint on a road west of Afghanistan's capital, but no injuries were reported, a UN spokesman said.

Three men armed with AK-47 assault rifles stopped the UN World Food Program vehicle on Friday and blindfolded its three Afghan occupants in a small village in Wardak province, UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told reporters in Kabul.

The robbers stole radio equipment, a satellite telephone and money before fleeing into the mountains on foot, Almeida e Silva said.

HERE'S HOW Time magazine covers the latest nuclear debacle evolving in Iran:

With war in Iraq looming and North Korea defiantly pursuing its own nuclear program, the last thing President Bush needs is another nuclear crisis. But that is what he may soon face in Iran.

And here's how the same story should have been written:

With war in Iraq looming and North Korea defiantly pursuing its own nuclear program, the last thing the world needs is another nuclear crisis. But that is what we may soon face in Iran.

Unless, of course, Iran's nuclear plans target Bush exclusively. They may be working on one of those personal, single-target nukes you read about all the time.

SGT STRYKER has been decoding enemy signals.

THE ALL BAGHDAD CORPORATION interviews its man on the scene in Iraq:

ANNIE WHITE: Is there any pressure from the people in Baghdad on their own leader, on Saddam Hussein? Can he have any role? Or do they see that he can have any role in preventing this war?

MARK WILLACY: No, I think the people here think that Saddam Hussein has done all that he can. The people here don't seem to think that there are any weapons of mass destruction being hidden by the regime here. They think that they've opened up the book, so to speak, they've opened up their military installations, their factories, they've done all that they can to let the weapons inspectors do their job.

Mark might want to ask what sources the people are relying upon for their information.


Heavy rain one hour from the start had every team planning to begin on full wet tyres, but unexpectedly rapid drainage by 2.00pm meant several drivers (JP Montoya among them) opted for dries. Coulthard pitted after just two laps for dry tyres. It proved to be a race-winning move.

Crashes by Barrichello and Firman brought out the safety car, removing Montoya's early advantage. "I was screwed," the Columbian later complained.

Mark Webber's times were the second fastest (behind Schumacher) when he was forced out with suspension failure. A completely dry race is needed to provide an accurate guide to the Jaguar's speed, however.

Perhaps Kimi Raikkonen isn't so immune to pressure after all. His first Grand Prix win was thrown away due to a error with his pit-lane speed control, leading to a penalty.

The jury is still out on F1's new rules. We need a race without weather variables, and greater reliability from some of the leading competitors, before we know how much has changed. Bring on Malaysia!

UPDATE. Damian Penny reconsiders an earlier consideration. He isn't alone. I was telling people weeks ago that this would be Coulthard's final season.


SURE, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a funny-looking guy, what with his chronic depilatory problems and all. But right now I don't much feel like laughing at him. I feel like doing ... something else. Read this, and you might feel the same way:

It was KSM who personally decapitated the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl. In the widely circulated video of Pearl's murder, the journalist confesses to being a Jew and a hand slides from behind him to cut his throat. The hand supposedly belongs to Mr Mohammed.

IT'S ALL ABOUT OIL. The deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war falls on Gottlieb Daimler's birthday. Daimler was a pioneer of the internal combustion engine. Do you see the pattern? See how it all fits together? See? See?

WOLLONGONG, an Australian coastal city formerly known for its production of steel and pedophiles, wants to surrender to the French:

Wollongong will appeal to the Consul General of France to allow its municipality to 'defect' in protest to the Howard Government's stance on Iraq.

A delegation from Wollongong, including Lord Mayor Alex Darling, will approach the Consul General of France in Sydney next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue - who took part in London anti-war marches - is now dating a Frenchman. Our nation is in the shadow of shame.


Pole man Michael Schumacher described his quick tour of Albert Park as "a lap spot-on", and analysis of the split times backs him up: the German was fastest in all three sectors.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen should have qualified in the top five, but errors in the third sector hurt both - Alonso dropped to 10th, and Raikkonen to 15th. It will be interesting to see the telemetry traces from Raikkonen's McLaren; audio suggests that he didn't get out of the throttle at all, even when sideways with four wheels off the course.

As a measure of the Finn's speed, despite his prolonged off-track episode he still finished only 0.103 seconds shy of the time posted by Mark Webber, whose Jaguar works beautifully in the flowing third sector but is bus-like and ponderous in the sharper curves. As is David Coulthard's McLaren; '72 Lincolns don't understeer as much. Sub-temperature Michelins may be partly to blame.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis hinted late in the day that some teams (possibly Sauber, Toyota, and BAR) ran low fuel loads to achieve their surprisingly quick qualifying times. We'll find out today, when, according to Dennis Theory, they will presumably pit on lap two.

Schumacher, by the way, killed his engine on the last turn of his run-down lap and coasted 400 metres into the pits, thereby saving precious race fuel (under revised rules, cars may not be refuelled between qualifying and the race). Clever.

Rain remains a raceday possibility, which would confound teams set up for dry weather qualifying and only allowed limited time to adjust their vehicles. Differences between wet and dry suspension set-ups can be massive. Austrian Jochen Rindt, the only world champion to be awarded the title posthumously, once won a wet race here during the old Tasman series by removing his Lotus's anti-sway bars.

(Timing details from subscriber site Atlas F1. Sign up, race fans.)

UPDATE. Damian Penny has more on qualifying (including brutal judgments against Minardi and Jaguar) and Kim du Toit writes regarding a brilliant Belgian:

Rindt was a fabulous driver in the wet. But my favorite wet-weather driver was Jackie Ickx -- I once saw him go into a spin at Kyalami (pissing down with rain, by the way), three spins down the middle of the track, CHANGING GEARS in the middle of the last spin, and accelerating out of the spin down the straight without missing a beat.

And that was with a SPORTS car ... memory fails, but I think it was a Ferrari.

IT'S ALL ABOUT SOIL. In a blatant attempt to end Robert Mugabe's liberation of his nation's farms, George W. Satan imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe:

In a rare action against a head of state, President Bush invoked economic sanctions yesterday against President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and dozens of officials of his government on grounds they undermined the country's democratic institutions.

March against the oppressor! Stop the imperialist!

CODENAME: FISK. Introducing the Iraqi drone.

KEN LAYNE'S coverage of the Sparks Police Blotter - a "bible of How Not To Live" - is fine, crazy reading. Some mornings the only reason I went to work at The Daily Telegraph was so I could check the reports written up by junior staffers who monitored police radio overnight. They were haunting mini-fables, of this calibre:

11.08pm, Surry Hills: Two stabbed in housecat dispute. One arrest, one hospitalised.

12.45am, Bankstown: Woman claims purse eaten by teenagers.

2.21am, Sydney CBD: Rampage. Many dead.

4.16am, Hornsby: Naked man with basketball yelling obscenities in street. Attending officers cannot locate suspect.

Beats me why the Telegraph never ran a blotter of its own.


A diplomatic row has broken out between the Australian and Iraqi governments after the shock expulsion yesterday of an Iraqi diplomat for spying.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced that Iraqi diplomat Helal Ibrahim Aaref had until Wednesday to leave, after he received advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation that Mr Aaref was working as an intelligence officer.

Hmmm. Could it be that Aaref was behind the plot to destroy Our Nicole™?

WELL, it was never going to be a long-term job anyway ...

The chief of security for the militant Islamic group, Hamas, has been assassinated by Israel just hours after a deadly attack on two West Bank settlements.