Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Crowd behaviour is often difficult to understand:
An Iraq minister has blamed insurgents for triggering a stampede in which nearly 650 Iraqi Shiites were killed after being panicked by rumours a suicide bomber was about to blow himself up.
Such crowd related deaths are something of a Muslim tradition:
In 1990, 1426 people were killed in a crowd crush during the annual pilgrimage of 2 million at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The crush occurred in a 500 m long tunnel joining Mecca and the Tent City of Mina. Temperatures at the time were 44 deg. C outside the air-conditioned tunnel. It is speculated that someone fell in the tunnel blocking movement.
Maybe it's a cultural thing.


Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev blames Russia's security services for the Beslan school Fiasco:
Basayev said that top security officials in North Ossetia, the region where the attack occurred, had opened a safe route beginning Aug. 31, 2004 — the day before the Beslan siege began — for rebels to reach the regional capital, Vladikavkaz. The alleged double agent was supposed to have gained Basayev's confidence and then lead his men into a trap as they were en route to seize regional government buildings in Vladikavkaz on Sept. 6.

Instead, as they were supposed to be performing reconnaissance, the militants seized the school, Basayev said. Their demands were for Russian troops to withdraw from Chechnya or for President Vladimir Putin to resign, Basayev said.
If true this makes America's security apparatus look like a Swiss watch in comparison.


The situtaion in New Orleans keeps getting worse:
The governor of Louisiana says everyone needs to leave New Orleans due to flooding from Hurricane Katrina. "We've sent buses in. We will be either loading them by boat, helicopter, anything that is necessary," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. Army engineers struggled without success to plug New Orleans' breached levees with sandbags, and Blanco said Wednesday the situation was worsening, leaving no choice but to evacuate.

A full day after the city thought it had escaped Katrina's full fury, two levees broke and spilled water into the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday, swamping an estimated 80 percent of the bowl-shaped, below-sea-level city, inundating miles and miles of homes and rendering much of New Orleans uninhabitable for weeks or months.

"We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in," New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said on ABC's "Good Morning America, "and the other issue that's concerning me is have dead bodies in the water. At some point in time the dead bodies are going to start to create a serious disease issue."
Wonder how many evacuees will choose not to return, ever?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


During a debate with Salman Rushdie, George Galloway commented on Muslims' delicate sensibilities and followed-up with a threat:
Mr Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said TV executives had to be "very sensitive about people's religion" and if broadcasters did not show sufficient sensitivity they "had to deal with the consequences".

He said: "You have to be aware if you do [offend people's beliefs] you will get blowback. You should do it very carefully, especially if you are a public service broadcaster."
Rushdie was decidedly unimpressed:
Describing Mr Galloway's argument as "craven", the author said: "The simple fact is that any system of ideas that decides you have to ringfence it, that you cannot discuss it in fundamental terms, that you can't say that this bit of it is junk, or that bit is oppressive ... we are supposed to respect that?"
It's also impossible to respect any ideas coming from an opportunist like Galloway.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Associated Press writer Angela K. Brown reports sinister Republican activity during Al Sharpton's interfaith service at Camp Casey:
During the service, several cars with pro-Bush signs drove slowly down the road by the protest campsite.
It's obvious that Republicans planned to machine-gun the protesters and would have hadn't the press been watching. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.


Some animals on reduced calorie diets live up to 50% longer than the well fed. This has led the extremely health conscious to severely restrict their calorie intake:
Researchers at various universities and the National Institutes of Health are testing the theories but there are groups already cutting calories by up to a third in the hope they can live to be 120 or 125, while staying healthy.

"Our message is that suffering years of misery to remain super-skinny is not going to have a big payoff in terms of a longer life," Mr Phelan, an evolutionary biologist, said in a statement.
Perpetual hunger isn't the only drawback:
[I]n mice, starvation reduces fertility, which in turn lengthens life span as the animal is not stressed by repeated matings and pregnancies and the associated production of hormones.
Hungry and horny, what a way to go.


Web Diary columnist Polly Bush on the lingering impact of 9/11:
Yes, indeed our lives changed when two passenger planes were hijacked and driven into the World Trade Center towers in 2001.

But did any of us envisage that this new interest in “border security” would lead to an explosion in so-called “reality” television shows?
Apparently, the Australian produced TV show Border Security constitutes this explosion.

A reality show based on a Predator terminating with extreme prejudice would be a sure-fire hit, with my fellow RWDBs anyway.


The UK committed to metrification in 1972 when it decided to join the EU. EU bureaucrats are unhappy that the UK has yet to comply:
The European Commission has reminded Britain of its legal requirement to set a date for abolishing the imperial system, or the use of pints, miles and acres.

Following lobbying from unnamed groups, Brussels officials over the past few weeks have made a fresh attempt to get the Brits in line with the rest of Europe in using the metric system, UK media report.

"We are in touch with the UK about how they want to do it", a spokesman for industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen was quoted as saying.

"In legal terms it is clear they have committed themselves to the metric we have to see how to deal with it", he said to the Sunday Times.
One Brit even gave his life for the cause:
In 2001, a market trader named Steven Thoburn lost a widely-reported court battle to continue labelling his bananas in pounds and ounces.

He was nicknamed the Metric Martyr, but died earlier this year of a heart attack, aged just 39.
If the UK doesn't eventually scrap its confusing system of measure it faces legal action in the EU Court of Justice.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Keith Richards and Mick Jagger aren't the best of mates at the moment:
Jagger is said to be infuriated by reports that in an interview to publicise the album, Richards said: 'His cock's on the end of his nose. And a very small one at that. Big balls. Small cock.' A newspaper report claimed he 'practically ran over to Keith's suite' at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston just hours before the band's second show to remonstrate.

The relationship between the two, friends since 1961, is said to be 'frostier than the Arctic circle' - although cynics might say it was ever thus. Two years ago, Richards complained when Jagger was knighted. 'I don't want to step out on stage with someone wearing a fucking coronet ,' the junior Glimmer Twin said. 'It's not what the Stones is about, is it?'
No Keith, it's not.


Bali's drug squad chief, Bambang Sugiarto, has had enough of naughty Australians:
Australian tourists have been warned that police in Bali are about to step up their campaign against illegal drug taking.

Partygoers on the holiday island will be subjected to random drug tests as part of a nationwide crackdown on gambling, drugs and prostitution.
With no gambling, drugs or prostitution that leaves cheap-arsed counterfeits as the only reason for the average Bali-bound tourist to visit. Hey, stay at home and illegally download what you want; if you're caught you'll probably only be fined. And, there's no chance of anybody planting stuff in your luggage.

If you do go to Bali, bear in mind this advice from Foreign Minister Downer:
"In the end whether you like their laws or whether you don't they are the laws of those countries.

"It is up to us when we visit those countries to adhere to the laws of those countries."
Better to adhere than to have a big cry about how you've been hard done by. Stupidity is no excuse.


Martin Bright, home affairs editor at The Observer, makes much of a 2004 letter from Michael Jay, the Foreign Office's permanent under-secretary, to the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull. According to Bright:
The Foreign Office's top official warned Downing Street that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism in Britain a year before the 7 July bombings, The Observer can reveal.

The letter, dated 18 May 2004, says British foreign policy was a 'recurring theme' in the Muslim community, 'especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq'.

'Colleagues have flagged up some of the potential underlying causes of extremism that can affect the Muslim community, such as discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion,' the letter says. 'But another recurring theme is the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq.

'Experience of both ministers and officials ... suggests that ... British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims.'
The abbreviated paragraph above reads in full:
Experience of both Ministers and officials working in this area suggests that the issue of British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence amongst especially the younger generation of British Muslims. The concept of the "Ummah", i.e. that the Believers are one "nation", has led to HMG's policies towards the Muslim world having a very personal resonance for young British Muslims, many of whom are taking on the burden both of the perceived injustices and of the responsibility of putting them right, but without the legitimate tools to do so.
In other words, to wrong one Muslim is to wrong them all. And, rather than using the legitimate tools available to all who live in a Democracy – protest, voting, action campaigning, etc. – some idealistic young Muslims adopt violence in order to wield influence not warranted by their small numbers - listen to us or risk death.

Such people will never willingly participate in Democratic processes beyond their control. Ongoing attempts to accommodate these people in order to entice them to partcipate in the Democratic process will prove both futile and dangerous.

Why did Bright omit the Ummah reference?

Saturday, August 27, 2005


The ABC's report is sketchy but it seems the Tasmanian government wants external contractors with prisoner contact to pass relevant information to authorities. Naturally, this has caused outrage:
Aboriginal groups have condemned Tasmanian Government attempts to have welfare workers and volunteers act as spies in the state's prisons.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre spokeswoman Trudy Maluga is outraged.

"Risdon prison seem to be mirroring [US detention facility] Guantanamo Bay," she said.
Is Trudy Maluga an idiot or what?


George Galloway is soon to embark on a speaking tour of America, with the help of a new friend:
In a statement, Mr Galloway, the Respect MP, said: "I'm really pleased and excited to be going back to America to campaign against this illegal war and occupation. And to have Jane Fonda join me is fantastic. I'll be able to get that autograph at last."
Galloway's tour, meant more than anything else to promote his upcoming book, sees an unusual sponsorship grouping:
In addition to the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), all events are sponsored by: The New Press, The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and the International Socialist Review.
Galloway's last engagement will be in Washington D.C. on 24 September, when Cindy Sheehan's in town. Hey, here's an idea, Galloway and Sheehan should arrange some joint speaking engagements. They could call it the Two Mothers Tour - a silly mother and a lying mother-fucker sharing a stage.


On one side are the poorly funded grassroots protesters. Opposing them is the well funded, highly organized Republican machine:
The police tape fluttering gently marks the front line. On one side sits a rag-tag collection of tents, home-made placards calling for the troops to come home and a long line of white crosses representing the soldiers killed in Iraq.

On the other side of the small country lane there is a smart collection of garden-style awnings filled with fold-out canvas chairs, lined with glossy placards proclaiming "Bush Country", "IM4W" and "Support Our Troops".
It's so unfair that Republicans have jobs.

Friday, August 26, 2005


In today's competitive world it's performance that counts:
Shamil Basayev, the man behind Russia's Beslan school siege last year, has been appointed deputy leader of Chechnya's separatists, the outlawed movement said on Friday in a sign of its growing radicalism.
Basayev, Russia's most wanted man, describes himself as "a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist". If the Russians capture him he'll be a mangled, dead, buried slathered in lard and wrapped in pig skin, piece of shit.


You can tell a lot about a person from the company she attracts:
Peace mom Cindy Sheehan has reinforcements on the way - the Rev. Al Sharpton said he'll join her Sunday for a multidenominational prayer vigil near President Bush's Texas ranch.

"She and the other families there have taken a great moral stand that has nothing to do with partisan politics," Sharpton said. "It has everything to do with the good of the country."
Al Sharpton, one of the most self-interested people on the planet, couldn't care less about the good of the country. This is nothing more than a self-promotion opportunity for Al.


Theodore Dalrymple on save-the-rainforest porn site Fuck for Forest:
We are but a hair’s breadth away from Necrophiliacs Against Infant Mortality and Sadistic Murderers Against Famine.
Funny how liberals think, ain't it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005


John Simpson (Kirkpatrick) is a revered figure from Australia's past. Simpson – with the help of a donkey – evacuated a number of wounded Diggers from the Gallipoli battlefield before himself being machine-gunned to death while transporting casualties. Federal Education Minister Brendon Nelson recently cited Simpson as having values worth teaching:
Dr Nelson said if the country lost sight of what Simpson and his donkey represented, "then we will lose the direction of the country. He represents everything at the heart of what it means to be Australian."
The ABC's Edmond Roy – with a bit of academic help – aims to debunk what he obviously sees as the Simpson myth:
EDMOND ROY: The Australian Dictionary of Biography records John Simpson Kirkpatrick as "a typical digger, independent, witty, warm-hearted, happy to be indolent at times and careless of dress".

His friend Andy Davidson described him as "a big man... He was too human to be a parade ground solider and strongly disliked discipline... Though not lazy, he shirked the drudgery of forming fours and other irksome military tasks."

This is the man that the Federal Education Minister wants students in Islamic schools to embrace for his Australian values.

It gets better. Les Carlyon is a historian, journalist and author.

LES CARLYON: Now it gets very messy. It gets very messy, and the complications are twofold.

One is, Simpson wasn't an Australian. He was born at South Shields up on the Tyne near Newcastle in England, and by today's standards he would be an illegal immigrant, because he jumped ship in Sydney.

I mean, what worries me is the phrase "what it means to be an Australian." He wasn't an Australian, he was from the Tyne and he enlisted as John Simpson. His real name was John Simpson – middle name. Kirkpatrick, was his surname. So he was enlisted as Simpson and, you know, the myth grew out of it and it got quite out of hand, and there was references right through the war and well into the 20s of this man as a six-foot Australian. Of course he wasn't an Australian and actually he was five-foot-nine.
The "illegal immigrant" according to "today's standards" comment seems inappropriate from a historian – it's been a while since I was in university but I seem to remember the whole point of history is to view situations within their historical context; not according to the standards of today.

The observations about Simspon's height and real name are downright petty and mean-spirited. He was afterall, a volunteer soldier. Anyway, it's not as if any of what Carylon has to say is a revelation:
Twenty-two years old, English-born and a trade union activist, John Simpson Kirkpatrick was an unlikely figure to become a national hero. Having deserted from the merchant navy in 1910, he tramped around Australia and worked in a variety of jobs. He enlisted in the AIF, expecting this would give him the chance to get back to England; instead, Private Simpson found himself at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and was killed less than four weeks later.

Simpson would not have made a good peacetime soldier, and he was recklessly independent in war. Instructed to recover and help the wounded he undertook this work enthusiastically. Famously, he used a small donkey to carry men down from the front line, often exposing himself to fire. The bravery of this "man with the donkey" soon became the most prominent symbol of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli.

Although Simpson carried no arms and remains an enigmatic figure, the nature of his sacrifice made a vital contribution to the story of ANZAC.
For me, Simpson is the quintessential Australian: a larrikin how didn't do any more work than he absolutely had to, he rose to the occasion to help his fellows and did so expecting nothing in return. He may not have been everything claimed but what the man now represents is to be admired.
Oh yeah, Edmond Roy and Les Carlyon are fuckwits for trying to score cheap political points by attacking Simpson's memory, myth or not.

Update: Mark Bahnisch complete misses the Simpson symbolism:
You know, the funny thing is that I don’t recall being taught about Simpson and his donkey at school, and somehow I still support things like democracy and the rule of law. Puzzling.
Yep, Bahnisch and his lefty commenters are completely stumped. I'll bet they'd get the symbolism if the donkey was of the exploding kind.


Timothy Garton Ash has good news and bad news for the America haters:
But whether the "American century" that began in 1945 will last until 2045, 2035 or only 2025, its end can already be glimpsed on the horizon.

If you are, by any chance, of that persuasion that would instinctively find this a cause for rejoicing, pause for a moment to consider two things: first, that major shifts of power between rising and falling great powers have usually been accompanied by major wars; and second, that the next top dog could be a lot worse.
Better the devil you know...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Another Australian has been arrested on drugs charges in Indonesia:
An Australian teacher is to face heroin possession charges in Indonesia, police said on Wednesday, with a possible 10 year jail term.

The two recent arrests mean that 12 young Australians now face execution or long prison sentences in Indonesia for drug offences.
Some people are just so fucking stupid.


Gary Hart wants the next Democratic presidential nominee to tell the truth about Iraq and the war on terror:
In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."

To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me."

Further, this leader should say: "I am now going to give a series of speeches across the country documenting how the administration did not tell the American people the truth, why this war is making our country more vulnerable and less secure, how we can drive a wedge between Iraqi insurgents and outside jihadists and leave Iraq for the Iraqis to govern, how we can repair the damage done to our military, what we and our allies can do to dry up the jihadists' swamp, and what dramatic steps we must take to become energy-secure and prevent Gulf Wars III, IV and so on."
Uh Gary, there are a couple of hows and whats there that'll have to be fleshed out just a bit, don't you think? There are no easy answers.

Just imagine if Hart had been a political commentator in 1945 during this 82 day stoush with fanatics:
Thirty-four allied ships and craft of all types had been sunk, mostly by kamikazes, and 368 ships and craft damaged. The fleet had lost 763 aircraft. Total American casualties in the operation numbered over 12,000 killed [including nearly 5,000 Navy dead and almost 8,000 Marine and Army dead] and 36,000 wounded. Navy casualties were tremendous, with a ratio of one killed for one wounded as compared to a one to five ratio for the Marine Corps. Combat stress also caused large numbers of psychiatric casualties, a terrible hemorrhage of front-line strength. There were more than 26,000 non-battle casualties.
Thank God there were democrats back then who were willing to stay the course.

Oh yeah, Hart should probably lay off the morals bit.


Bill Maher tries to wring some laughs from Bush's recent intelligent design comments:
Now, President Bush recently suggested that public schools should teach intelligent design, alongside the theory of evolution. Because, after all, evolution is quote, "just a theory." Then the President renewed his vow to drive the terrorists straight over the edge of the earth.

Now, here is what I don't get. President Bush is a brilliant scientist. He's the man who proved you can mix two parts booze with one part cocaine, and still fly a jet fighter. And yet... yet he just can't seem to accept that we descended from apes.
See, there's a reason it's called the theory of evolution. Anyway, Maher is quite the scientist himself, giving this explanation for thunder:
No, stupidity isn't a form of knowing things. Thunder is high pressure air meeting low pressure air.
Lightning does play a minor role in thunder. Maher could easily prove this for himself by standing under an isolated tree during a thunderstorm. Afterward he could tell us what he heard and saw... and smelled.


Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson wants Islamic schools to teach Australian values or else:
The Minister says it is important for all groups to be integrated into the Australian community, whatever their religion.

"If you want to be an Australian, if you want to raise your children in Australia, we fully expect those children to be taught and to accept Australian values and beliefs," he said.

"We want them to understand our history and our culture, the extent to which we believe in mateship and giving another person a fair go, and basically if people don't want to support and accept and adopt and teach Australian values then, they should clear off."
The vast majority of Australians will support Nelson's position but there's bound to be an outcry from those who don't.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Mamdouh Habib claims he was recently attacked:
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib says he was stabbed by a group of men on the weekend.
Habib never claimes to have been stabbed, however:
"I see someone come from the front with knife in his hand I don't how the knife exactly looks like but it shines in his hands and I understand it's a knife or something metal in his hand," Mr Habib said.

"And I can see his skin and I believe he wearing glove and he come through to me and try to stab me.

"I push him away and he keep trying, he keep trying, but he's not really try to kill me or try to harm me badly.

"I feel he just try to scare me or try to send me some message."
He apparently received several superficical cuts. Okay, so Habib's a flake; that doesn't mean it should be open season for morons with knives. Then again, morons with knives who do no real damage don't give the ABC license to exaggerate.


Margo Kingston pulled Webdiary from the Sydney Morning Herald for a number of reasons, not least of which, mateship:
When I stepped up the pressure on Fairfax to help me meet rising reader demand on Webdiary, FF asserted for the first time that it had the right to veto Webdiary columnists, and ordered the deletion of longstanding columnist Antony Loewenstein from Webdiary's archive. Several reasons were given, none of which stood up to scrutiny.
Maybe SMH management doesn't want to be associated with someone who writes stuff like this:
The San Francisco Chronicle has finally started publishing Sean Penn's reflections on Iran. He attended the country during the June elections. His short film is also worth a look and this great Reservoir Dogs style photo.
Hey, I can't write, but Loewenstein, who claims to be a writer, cranks out some real crap. (Is it just me or does it appear that Penn found his street walk – see linked photo, above – arousing?)

Update: Here's another of today's Loewenstein gems:
Latin America is generally ignored in our media unless the Bush administration threatens one of its overly independent nations.

Take this story about Argentinean medical staff. The government threats, use of the word "terrorist" to describe workers fighting for better pay and conditions and rapid privatisation all show that Australia could one day experience a massive backlash against the status quo.

They have been warned.


Lefty Australian academic blogger Tim Lambert is unhappy with a pestering commenter:
“Dave Curry” seems to enjoy creating sockpuppets to interact with me...
The only thing is, "Dave Curry", aka poster1, wasn't seeking to interact with Lambert, he left his comment here.

With his thin skin it's probably not a good idea for Lambert to look for negative comments at other blogs. I mean, it's not like he can ban the perpetrators, although I'm sure he would if he could.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Antony Loewenstein is pleased by Margo Kingston's move to a new home. Commenter Glenn Condell adds:
Any paper that can regularly publish Michael Gawenda's dogshit, not to mention Henderson's, Sheehans and Devine's, is no place for someone of Margo's calibre, or yours for that matter.
To which Loewenstein replies:
Glenn, you're too kind. Thanks. I left last Xmas and Margo has finally left too. Her and I have different views of the world BUT we agree on the inherent nightmare that is Fairfax.
Independence lives on...
Sort of makes 'em both look like idiots, doesn't it?


Adelaide's Michelle Leslie is facing up to 10 years in a Bali jail for possession of what are thought to be two amphetamine tablets. Foreign Minister Downer has issued a warning to tourists:
"People should understand that if you're going anywhere in Asia you should never have drugs with you - the consequences can be quite dire."
How true. Tourists might also want to think twice before booking a holiday to anywhere in Indonesia. Better safe than sorry.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Bill Maher wants to know who you'd rather have over for dinner, Karl Rove or Cindy Sheehan. Right now it's 80% for Sheehan. Take a minute to vote.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Al Franken talks about Air America:
Q: Did you have a difficult time attracting talent in the beginning?

Franken: Well, we didn’t really have a problem attracting talent, because there is no talent to some degree.

Q: Who are your dream Air America contributors? What funny people on the left do you covet?

Franken: Well, you know, if Michael Moore did a show. . . . But why would he?
Yeah well, Moore is pretty busy at the moment.


In amongst attempts to convince readers Iraq is Vietnam and Henry Kissinger should be listened to, Maureen Dowd perpetuates the soldiers-are-kids myth:
As we approach the 2,000 mark of coffins coming home that we're not allowed to see, it doesn't even look like a war. It looks like a lot of kids being blown to smithereens by an invisible enemy.
This soldiers-are-kids nonsense isn't really about the soldiers – go here for a casualty age breakdown – it's about scoring political points. Dumb bitch.


A lot of effort was put into controlling polio but it's making a comeback:
Indonesia has 220 cases of transmitted polio virus, according to an update on Friday from the WHO’s regional office for south-east Asia. The disease had been eradicated in Indonesia in 1995, but reappeared in April 2005. The strain has been traced to West Africa.

The deadly virus has re-infected several countries since the polio immunisation campaign was suspended by Muslim elders in three regions in northern Nigeria in October 2003 - local rumours suggested the vaccine was laced with reproductive hormones and HIV in a plot to depopulate Africa.
Africans don't need any outside help in their efforts to depopulate Africa.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Straight from the 7th century to your lounge room:
An Islamic preacher who advocates the execution of homosexuals, adulterers and armed robbers plans to start broadcasting his message in Australia on radio, TV and through the internet.

Sheik Khalid Yasin, who was born in the US, gained notoriety when his views on homosexuals - and that the Koran endorsed beatings of spouses - were aired last month, bringing condemnation from the then premier, Bob Carr.

In an interview with the Herald this week Sheik Khalid said he was preparing to use the airwaves to proselytise and offer a "moral alternative" to the mainstream media.
Jeez, what a waste of electricity.


Andrew Bolt ridicules John Quiggin's "modest proposal" that Britain and France might convince Iran to terminate its nuclear weapons program by themselves disarming:
Would such a regime, having ignored reason, really be so moved by seeing Britain and France disarm that it gives up building its own bombs? Next Quiggin will say disarming the police would make mobsters give up their guns, too.
According to Quiggin, Bolt completely missed the point of his post. Bolt's mistake is to respond to what Quiggin wrote instead of to what he claims he meant:
Judging by his response to this post, Andrew Bolt hasn’t read Swift lately. [1]

Actually, Bolt’s article reads as if he didn’t look at the post at all, but reprinted something he found at Tim Blair’s or some similarly irony-challenged site, without going to the original source to check his quotes. Since that would be a violation of journalistic ethics, let’s charitably assume that the phrase “a modest proposal” didn’t ring any bells with him.

The point of the post was not to seriously advance a policy option that (as is patently obvious from the post itself as well as the title) has no chance of being put into practice, but to get people to think about why countries like Britain and France feel the need to have nuclear weapons, and what impact that has on proliferation in general.

1 Unlike readers here, who’ve already made this point in comments.
Oddly, none of Quiggin's commenters mentions Swift or eating Iranian children; obviously Bolt isn't the only one to miss the ultra-subtle point. The fact that Quiggin has felt it necessary to post a clarifying follow-up tells me the problem is the writing, not the reading. Ironic, no?

Update: Mr Lefty at BOLTWATCH sides with Quiggan:
Strangely enough, even the US having nuclear weapons doesn't make me feel particularly safe. I can't think of a way it could use them that would make the world better. Particularly not against the terrorists. (Well, if I were a hard-core RWDB, I guess I might consider wishing that the US would just nuke any country with terrorists in it except the one I'm living in - a bit like a terrestrial Death Star, to keep the "systems" in line - but I'm not, and I doubt that RWDB view would be shared by too many.)
I can think of a way to use nuclear weapons to make the world a better place.


The ABC's Norman Hermant promotes Mother Sheehan's motherly image by terming her "soft spoken, subdued." But Mom gives the game away a few paragraphs later:
Why did George Bush kill my son?
ABCers just can't help themselves.


The definition that follows – provided by the UN in 1982 – perfectly describes the heinous acts of al Qaeda and other similar organisations: "illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends." But, the elegantly simple definition isn't for terrorism: what crime does it describe?

For the answer, go here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


If there's money to be made, someone's going to find a way:
A man has been arrested in Japan on suspicion carrying out a virtual mugging spree by using software "bots" to beat up and rob characters in the online computer game Lineage II. The stolen virtual possessions were then exchanged for real cash.

Several players had their characters beaten and robbed of valuable virtual objects, which could have included the Earring of Wisdom or the Shield of Nightmare. The items were then fenced through a Japanese auction website, according to NCsoft, which makes Lineage II. The assailant was a character controlled by a software bot, rather than a human player, making it unbeatable.
All players already had the fat arse of computer-game-nerd fuck-wittedness.


Mark Steyn takes exception to the leftist MSM's manipulation of US soldiers:
There are, sadly, hundreds of Linda Ryans across American: parents who buried children killed in Iraq and who honour their service to the nation. They don’t make the news. There’s one Cindy Sheehan and she’s on TV round the clock. She may not be emblematic of bereaved military families, but she’s certainly symbolic of media-Left desperation.

Still, she’s a mother. And, if you’re as heavily invested as Ms Dowd in the notion that those ‘killed in Iraq’ are ‘children’, then Mrs Sheehan’s status as grieving matriarch is a bonanza. I agree with Mrs Ryan: they’re not children in Iraq; they’re thinking adults who ‘made a decision to join the Armed Forces and defend our country’. Whenever I’m on a radio show these days, someone calls in and demands to know whether my children are in Iraq. Well, not right now. They range in age from five to nine, and though that’s plenty old enough to sign up for the jihad and toddle into an Israeli pizza parlour wearing a suicide-bomb, in most advanced societies’ armed forces they prefer to use grown-ups.

That seems to be difficult for the Left to grasp. Ever since America’s all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterise them as ‘children’. If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that’s her decision and her parents shouldn’t get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the Oval Office shagpile and chow down on Bill Clinton, she’s a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year old is serving his country overseas, he’s a wee ‘child’ who isn’t really old enough to know what he’s doing.
It's going to be tough to get that unwanted Bubba-for-brunch image out of my head.


Wordsmith – a Web Diary veteran (click the link for archive and bio) – Antony Loewenstein has issues with dictionary and thesaurus makers:
What is worse is that Webster is not a special case. While searching for the word 'Arab' in another American dictionary, the 'Rogers New Millennium', which is available on line at the internet, and is being constantly updated, it includes a number of synonyms that show how much Webster is dragging behind in its racism.

I mean that it is in the number of synonyms and not in the negative stereotyped meanings. There is no problem in the change of meanings of the word for any researcher.

Here are some of the synonyms that Webster gives and 'Rogers' elaborates on in defining the word 'Arab':

'Loiterer, vagabond, beggar, corrupt, vagrant, parasite, pauper, outcast, wonderer, perverted, clumsy, indolent, mendicant, lazy, negligent, the bad boy, erratic, fugitive, roamer, squanderer, gambler, spendthrift, peddler, merchant, trafficker, bidder, speculator, cheater'

If you were an Arab in an American dictionary, chose what ever you want among these words in describing what you are, you will not go wrong. Don't be sad, for if you try to go out of the dictionary nowadays you will stumble with other synonyms, and in no time you will come across with new additions, but what is strange in the stereotype dealing with Arabs is that the word 'terrorist' was not added yet as a synonym for 'Arab' in racist dictionaries. What type of siege is this?
It's not clear if Loewenstein wrote the pathetic trash above – I assume he wrote it as the post switches to the first person midway – or whether it's part of a newspaper article he links to indirectly. Perhaps he should clear this up for his readers: you know, so we know whether he's simply a fool for linking to it, or a complete idiot for writing it.

Regardless, as we all know, a thesaurus is not the same thing as a dictionary:
Although including synonyms and antonyms, entries in a thesaurus should not be taken as a list of them. The entries are also designed for drawing distinctions between similar words and assisting in choosing exactly the right word. Nor does a thesaurus entry define words. That work is left to the dictionary.
The inexperienced should be wary of the thesaurus, which can lead them astray.

It is also worth noting that American dictionaries tend to follow the descriptivist tradition:
While descriptivists would charge that prescriptivism is an unnatural attempt to dictate usage or curtail change, prescriptivists would argue that to document, without judgment, usages which they consider improper or inferior sanctions those usages by default, causing the language to deteriorate in practice. Although much is made of these differing views, they usually apply to a very small number of controversial words, while not affecting the vast majority for which there is common agreement. But the softening of usage notations, from the previous edition, for two words, ain't and irregardless, out of over 450,000 in Webster's Third in 1961, was enough to provoke outrage among many with prescriptivist leanings, who branded the dictionary as, "permissive."
Loewenstein, being a leftard, naturally subscribes to the prescriptivist tradition.


That's according to Katharina Fabricius of the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences:
"Those most damaged reefs ... which have been pulverised and turned in to rubber fields, probably will take 15 to 20 years to come back."
The perpetrator of the damage? Category four cyclone Ingrid in March. Mother Nature can be such a bitch.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005



Islamist bombers in Bangladesh have been busy:
More than 100 small bombs have exploded almost simultaneously in towns and cities across Bangladesh, police said, including 15 in the capital Dhaka and 20 in the south-eastern port of Chittagong.

Police in some affected cities said leaflets - apparently from a recently banned Islamic extremist group calling for the implementation of Islamic law - were found near the scene of the blasts.

Mazeedul Haq, Chittagong's police Commissioner, said the leaflets bore the name of the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen and read: "It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh. There is no future with man-made law."
As if living in the 7th century is a future. Anyway, just to make sure every angle was covered, the bombers left further justification:
"Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries. Your days of ruling Muslim countries are over."
See, it is all about Iraq.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Unable to find his niche, Bubba's one big steaming pile of ... hurt:
Clinton is still a man of huge public-service aspirations. He’s still adored abroad. And he’s still considered president by the nation’s estranged, bluer half. Yet he’s also still deeply wounded, burdened by a sense of both underappreciation and unrealized promise. Much more than his successor, Clinton understood exactly which direction the world was headed when he twice took the oath of office, yet he didn’t, for reasons both circumstantial and of his own unlovely making, deliver some of the things he valued most: universal health care, a shored-up system of social security, energy independence, security at home and in the Middle East. He can’t rest on his laurels. So what does a man do with all this feral hunger—to do more, to set the record straight—and all this hurt, God, so much hurt, which steams off him with such intensity it practically blurs the air?

Five years after his presidency, Clinton still thinks like a world leader. In some ways, it’s more complicated: He thinks like the leader of the world. While there’s no official means to be president of the planet, other than as U.N. secretary-general—a prospect constantly floated by Clinton supporters, though it’s practically impossible—he certainly seems to be trying hard to invent one. On September 15, the former president will be hosting the grandly titled Clinton Global Initiative, a conference timed to coincide with the World Summit at the U.N. The guest list features an impressive and eccentric mix of moguls, heads of state, and problem-solvers—from Sonia Gandhi to George Soros to Rupert Murdoch—who, after three days of panel-going and furious rubber-chicken consumption, are expected to sign pledges to do something about bettering the world.

At least, that’s the theory. It’s possible the conference won’t look very different from Davos, Aspen, the Renaissance Weekend, and other high-end policy huddles. “They’re still trying to figure out how not to make this another yak-yak,” says Mike McCurry, the former Clinton press secretary. The cost of attending the CGI, $15,000, has also raised more than a few eyebrows, considering so much of it dwells on eradicating poverty (Clinton’s people say the fee will be waived for those invitees who can’t afford it). And because this is Clinton we’re talking about, it’s likely the program will be in chaos until the curtain comes up. Organization isn’t exactly his strong suit. “He’s . . . flexible,” says Bob Dole, the former Senate Republican leader and Clinton’s presidential challenger in 1996. “He’s almost loose.”
Life is tough for the rich, famous and useless.


There's a simple reason why AIDS is rampant in South Africa; typical condoms are too small for the well endowed locals. Durex to the rescue with its new jumbo sheath:
Mr Xolo, from the National Association of People Living With HIV/Aids (Napwa), said both men and women fear being labelled as promiscuous if they are seen with condoms.

"This could help condoms become cool," he said. "Men will buy them to boost their ego."

Even more importantly, it will remove the excuse made by some men for not using condoms - that they are too small.

However, Mr Xolo said he was not sure how many of the millions of condoms sold each year in South Africa were being properly used.
Jeez, how dumb would a person have to be to not use a condom properly?

Durex refused to confirm plans for an Australian OS jumbo condom that doubles as a portable car cover.


The whackos are coming from far and wide to support Mother:
Mike Rogers from Tokyo showed up today and a dear woman from Australia who was a human shield in Iraq and knows that the Iraqi people are not jumping for joy that the policies of Bush destroyed their country.
That sounds like activist Donna Mulhearn, recently spotlighted in Green Left Weekly:
Mulhearn said she witnessed “the deliberate targeting of civilians by US snipers. I saw dozens of bodies of women and children that had been shot and killed by US forces. I also witnessed US forces refusing the delivery of medical aid and food to people who were wounded and starving.

“The US forces closed Fallujah city hospital so that it was only used to treat American soldiers. As a result, hundreds died due to lack of medical facilities. There were so many deaths that the people had to dig up the local football ground and convert it to a cemetery.

“The second siege on Fallujah [last November] was much worse. It flattened the entire city and it has never recovered.”
Mulhearn a dear woman? Possibly to those silly enough to have anything to do with her. To the rest of us, just another lying lefty. Interesting that she's not mentioned by name.

Update: You can read about Donna Mulhearn's pilgrimage to Mother here, including this bit about a local's warm reception:
21-year-old Kyle in blue singlet and denim jeans has just come in, he’s a local Crawford resident, he’s come in to ask if he can join the peace camp.

He gets lots of hugs and responds with a grin from ear to ear.
Kyle's just hoping to get in on some of that free sex hippie chick action. Smart boy!


Contrary to what you'd think, military exercise areas are havens for endangered animals:
Military exercises are boosting biodiversity, according to a study of land used for US training manoeuvres in Germany. Such land has more endangered species than nearby national parks.

The land is uncultivated, but also churned up by tank tracks and explosions. This creates habitat both for species that prefer pristine lands and those that require disturbed ground, explains ecologist Steven Warren of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Military land can host more species than agricultural land, Warren told a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Montreal. What's more, its biodiversity can also exceed that of natural parks, where species that need disturbance cannot get a foothold.
The same must hold true for battlefields. The Germans can claim to be enhancing France's biodiversity the next time they invade.

Monday, August 15, 2005


As the following sayings show, the military has a unique mindset:
*Force to fit, file to hide, paint to cover.
*Measure with a micrometer; cut with an ax.
*It must be right, its in the book.
*If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed fixing anyway.
*The earliest Christian gets eaten by the hungriest lion.
*Live every day like it will be your last - eventually you'll be right.
*You can get away with anything -- once.
*Someone who knows what he's doing is the enemy of all those who don't.
*No amount of planning can replace dumb luck.
*A double standard is better than no standard at all.
*If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
*Failure to decide is itself a decision.
*If you can't stand the answer, don't ask the question!
*For every action there is a greater and opposite overreaction.
*Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
*When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
There's no point in taking youself, or your situation, too seriously. Suck it up and get on with it.


John Quiggin makes a modest proposal:
Britain, France and Germany are busy trying to persuade Iran to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons, so far with little success. Cajolery and bribery having tried and failed, how about a bit of leadership by example? Two of the three parties in this effort have nuclear weapons of their own, even though they don’t face any conceivable threat of invasion. Perhaps if they agreed to disarm themselves, the Iranians would be impressed enough to follow suit.
Tired of staring eye to eye, Quiggin thinks it's time to blink.


Over 50 MB of hard-core Stalinist propaganda.

Or, if you prefer, go straight to the insults.


The latest on the al Qaeda threat:
Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) in an effort to cause mass casualties in the US (and London), prior to 19 September. Attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. It is unclear whether the attacks will occur simultaneously or be spread over a period of time. The stated goal is the collapse of the US economy.
Those killed will be gravy.


Doug Copp claims to have rescued survivors from disaster sites around the globe. He claims to have invented a near-miraculous device for locating bodies trapped in rubble – The Copp Casualty Locator – that helped him locate and remove 40 bodies from the WTC site. He claims to have developed severe health problems after several days in the bowels of the collapsed buildings. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund awarded him $649,000 in compensation for his assorted health problems, including a fractured spine. Is Doug Copp for real or is he a conman?

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Leisa Fudge's son Paul Bublis suffered terrible injuries (link requires registration) and lost some of his friends to an IED attack in Iraq:
Bublis' injuries included two skull fractures - at one point requiring that doctors cut into his skull to relieve pressure - and third-degree burns to 26 percent of his body. That included burns to his nose, back, arms, legs and lungs.

He would later learn of casualties.

"He lost three of his guys in that bombing," Fudge said.

Now recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Bublis has undergone several skin grafts and came close to losing his right leg. Still, his recovery has gone more quickly than expected, Fudge said. That really shows in a recent procedure to place a ceramic plate in his head to close up the skull wounds.
Despite what her son has gone through, Fudge still supports the war in Iraq and doesn't think much of "Mother" Sheehan's attention seeking grandstanding:"
I sympathize with her because no one should have to lose a child," Fudge said.

The protest shows a lack of respect, Fudge said.

"I think she's doing such a disgrace to her son's memory," Fudge said.
The loons at Democratic Underground think Fudge should just shut the fuck up:
This woman is clearly a clueless bot. She is the one dishonoring her own son - for continuing to support a war that disfigured and nearly killed him.
So much for the left's support of free speech and sacrifice for others.


Any fatal crash is a tragedy, but especially so if the passengers and crew died as a result of a hijacking:
A Cypriot Boeing 737 airliner with at least 121 people on board has crashed, with the pilots apparently slumped at the controls, near the Greek capital Athens.

A spokesman for the Greek army chief-of-staff said hijacking "could not be ruled out".

"An act of piracy is likely," said the spokesman, Gerassimos Kalpoyannakis.

Just before the crash, air force crew observed the airline's pilots doubled up in the cabin, an air traffic controller said.

The pilots of the two F-16 fighters jets that were sent up to escort the airliner before the crash "saw a situation that was not normal in the pilots' cabin", Mr Kalpoyannakis said.
Update: According to CNN, 80 of the passengers were children on a school trip. Current speculation is that the plane experienced some sort of technical problem. This line of thinking is based on the observation of the F-16 pilots, who say that the co-pilot was wearing an oxygen mask.

Update II: CNN reports that an SMS sent by a passenger indicated that the pilots were unconscious. Odd that the pilots were unconscious but the passengers were not.

Update III: Speculation – and it's all speculation at this point – now leans very much to a loss of cabin pressure as the cause of the accident. The reports of passengers communicating by mobile are being questioned.

CNN has just shown an excerpt from Cypriot TV stating that the 737 had only recently returned to service after being grounded for problems with the air-conditioning system. Apparently the pilot reported problems with the air-conditioning during the flight.


Think twice before buying that SUV, you gay-hating, war-mongering fool.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Slavoj Zizek thinks there's no reason the Cold War's balance of terror, aka Mutually Assured Destruction, shouldn't apply to Iran if it manages to go nuclear:
As to Iran and nukes, the surprising fact is that the MAD logic still operates today: Why hasn’t the tension between India and Pakistan exploded into an all-out war? Because both sides are nuclear powers. Why have the Arab states not risked another attack on Israel? Because Israel is a nuclear power. So why should this MAD logic not work in the case of Iran? The standard counter-argument is that in Iran, Muslim fundamentalists are in power who may be tempted to nuke Israel. (Iran is the only large Arab state which not only does not diplomatically recognize Israel, but resolutely denies its right to exist as a state). Is, however, the Iranian regime really so “irrational”? Isn’t Pakistan, with its nuclear arms and its secret services’ ties to al-Qaeda, a much greater threat? Furthermore, two decades ago, Iran was brutally attacked by Iraq (with active U.S. support), so it has every right to feel threatened.
The real question is, do we want to trust the Iranian regime to act rationally? You know, what with an infinite supply of virgins waiting for martyrs.

Update: Commenter dirtbikeoption enquires, "Why do you feel that the Iranians will be incapable of understanding the concept of mutually assured destruction?"

It's not that the Iranians don't understand the logic of MAD, it's that their government is willing to martyr the whole population to the glory of Allah. Or so says their president:
"Is there art that is more beautiful, more divine and more eternal than the art of martyrdom? A nation with martyrdom knows no captivity.
Think he's bluffing?


Scientists reckon they've worked out how to grow meat in laboratory conditions on an industrial scale:
"With a single cell, you could theoretically produce the world's annual meat supply," said Jason Matheny, an agricultural scientist at the University of Maryland.

According to researchers, meat grown in laboratories would be more environmentally friendly and could be tailored to be healthier than farm-reared meat by controlling its nutrient content and screening it for food-borne diseases.

Vegetarians might also be tempted because the cells needed to grow chunks of meat can be taken without harming the donor animal.

Experiments for Nasa, the US space agency, have already shown that morsels of edible fish can be grown in petri dishes, though no one has yet eaten the food.

Mr Matheny and his colleagues have taken the prospect of "cultured meat" a step further by working out how to produce it on an industrial scale. They envisage muscle cells growing on huge sheets that would be regularly stretched to exercise the cells as they grow. Once enough cells had grown, they would be scraped off and shaped into processed meat products such as chicken nuggets.

"If you didn't stretch them, you would be eating mush," said Mr Matheny.
Hey, why not grow some human muscle mush, you know, for the German cannibal market? Nah, it wouldn't be the same without the thrill of the kill.


Or so says the SBS headline for an article with the following thrust:
US President George W Bush has refused to rule out the use of force against Iran over the Islamic republic's resumption of nuclear activities.
The article clearly indicates who's being defiant and it isn't Bush:
Mr Bush expressed doubts that the EU initiative to defuse the crisis through diplomatic means would succeed.

"The Iranians refused to comply with the demands of the free world, which is: do not, in any way shape or form, have a program that could lead to a nuclear weapon," he said.
Anti-Americanism as usual from our comrades at SBS.


Naomi Klein says we are in the Islamist's crosshairs because we are seen as racists who do not value Muslims' lives:
Hussain Osman, one of the men alleged to have participated in London's failed bombings on July 21, recently told Italian investigators that they prepared for the attacks by watching "films on the war in Iraq," La Repubblica reported. "Especially those where women and children were being killed and exterminated by British and American soldiers...of widows, mothers and daughters that cry."

It has become an article of faith that Britain was vulnerable to terror because of its politically correct antiracism. Yet Osman's comments suggest that what propelled at least some of the bombers was rage at what they saw as extreme racism. And what else can we call the belief--so prevalent we barely notice it--that American and European lives are worth more than the lives of Arabs and Muslims, so much more that their deaths in Iraq are not even counted?
No doubt there are many hundreds of hours of videos of American and British forces exterminating women and children.

According to Klein, this perception is nothing new, with racism encountered by Sayyid Qutb in 1940s America contributed to his radicalization:
The puritanical scholar was shocked by Colorado's licentious women, it's true, but more significant was Qutb's encounter with what he later described as America's "evil and fanatic racial discrimination." By coincidence, Qutb arrived in the United States in 1948, the year of the creation of the State of Israel. He witnessed an America blind to the thousands of Palestinians being made permanent refugees by the Zionist project. For Qutb, it wasn't politics, it was an assault on his identity: Clearly Americans believed that Arab lives were worth far less than those of European Jews. According to Yvonne Haddad, a professor of history at Georgetown University, this experience "left Qutb with a bitterness he was never able to shake."
Ah yes, Colorado, home of licentious women and fanatical racial discrimination. Poor old Qutb must have found it difficult to concentrate on his university studies, what with being surrounded by all those wrongs needing righting.

Qutb eventually returned to his native Egypt where he joined the notorious Muslim Brotherhood. He was captured and tortured by authorities, causing further radicalization:
Qutb's political theory was profoundly shaped by torture. Not only did he regard his torturers as sub-human, he stretched that categorization to include the entire state that ordered this brutality, including the practicing Muslims who passively lent their support to Nasser's regime.

Qutb's vast category of subhumans allowed his disciples to justify the killing of "infidels"--now practically everyone--in the name of Islam. A movement for an Islamic state was transformed into a violent ideology that would lay the intellectual groundwork for Al Qaeda. In other words, so-called Islamist terrorism was "home grown" in the West long before the July 7 attacks--from its inception it was the quintessentially modern progeny of Colorado's casual racism and Cairo's concentration camps.
So, the scholarly Godfather of Islamic terror, first radicalized by racial discrimination in the US, came to view everyone not sharing his warped worldview as less than human. Qutb had become, in effect, a super-racist.

Obviously Klein can't see that she has described the sick and twisted Islamist belief in their Allah-given superiority. It's not that they want to kill us; it's more a matter of them acting as tools of Allah in carrying out his will: if we aren't to be converted, they're going to get us out of the way.

Having set the scene, Klein moves on to Iraq:
Into this explosive environment has stepped Tony Blair, determined to sell two of the main causes of terror as its cure. He intends to deport more Muslims to countries where they will likely face torture. And he will keep fighting wars in which soldiers don't know the names of the towns they are leveling. (According to an August 5 Knight Ridder report, a Marine sergeant in Iraq recently pumped up his squad by telling them that "these will be the good old days, when you brought...death and destruction to--what the fuck is this place called?" Someone piped in helpfully, "Haqlaniyah.")
The sergeant Klein quotes is the quintessentially named American Marine, Sgt. Marcio Vargas Estrada. Here's what he said in context:
"If somebody shoots at you, you waste the m-----------," said Estrada, 32, of Kearny, N.J. "When you go back to Camp Lejeune (in North Carolina), these will be the good old days, when you brought ... death and destruction to - what the f--- is this place called?"

A Marine answered in the darkness: "Haqlaniyah."

Estrada continued: "Haqlaniyah, yeah, that. And then we will take death and destruction to Haditha. Hopefully, we'll stay until December so we can bring death and destruction to half of f------ Iraq."

The flatbed truck erupted in a storm of "Hoo-ahs."

Lima Company rumbled toward town at 5:30 a.m.

At 6:04 a.m., Sgt. Maj. Arthur Mennig, riding in the open air of the truck and listening to the radio, turned to the side and muttered, "We've already had a vehicle hit a mine."
Nasty stuff indeed, this talk of shooting motherfuckers after they've shot at you, and destroying half of fucking Iraq. But their actions don't match the pre-engagement peptalk:
At one of the first houses they raided, Mennig pushed a man against the wall, yelling, "Don't you f------ look at me."

Insurgent mortars crashed outside. Mennig continued patting the man down. The hiss and boom of a nearby rocket-propelled grenade rang out.

Mennig ran to the front yard, where Staff Sgt. James McCarver crouched, scanning the horizon over nearby homes.

"How much do you want to bet that fire is coming from the mosque?" Mennig said.

AK-47 fire rattled in the distance.

"I guarantee you that's where the sniper round that went over my vehicle came from," said McCarver, 30, of Houston.

Two more mortars fell. The limbs of the date trees in the yard shook.

"That's getting f------ close," said Mennig, a stocky Marine who keeps his head shaved bald.

An American Mark-19 gun, an automatic grenade launcher, went boom-boom-boom a few blocks away, and then an American .50-caliber machine gun followed with its angry staccato.

Mennig grinned.

By noon, at least two 500-pound bombs had been called in on the borders of the town.
Swearing at civilians while taking fire from attackers probably hidden in a mosque and then dropping not one but two 500 lb bombs on the outskirts of town ... these guys must not have been paying attention during town-leveling training.

Anyway, back to Klein, who concludes her piece:
The real problem is not too much multiculturalism but too little. If the diversity now ghettoized on the margins of Western societies--geographically and psychologically--were truly allowed to migrate to the centers, it might infuse public life in the West with a powerful new humanism. If we had deeply multi-ethnic societies, rather than shallow multicultural ones, it would be much more difficult for politicians to sign deportation orders sending Algerian asylum-seekers to torture, or to wage wars in which only the invaders' dead are counted. A society that truly lived its values of equality and human rights, at home and abroad, would have another benefit too. It would rob terrorists of what has always been their greatest recruitment tool: our racism.
Sorry, Naomi, you're wrong: if we just sit back and allow the Islamist tumour to remain in place it will grow and metastasize, just as National Socialism did, nurtured in the breasts of those who convinced themselves any means could be employed to justify the end they sought. Then there are the Commies ...

Friday, August 12, 2005


Lefty "historian" Howard Zinn manages to squeeze every anti-Bush talking-point ever, including this oddity, into one Guardian article :
The Bush administration, unable to capture the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks, invaded Afghanistan, killing thousands of people and driving hundreds of thousands from their homes. Yet it still does not know where the criminals are.

Is it a crime to pass yourself off as a historian?


SBS is currently running a poll with unsurprising results:
Is the UK right to deport suspected foreign extremists?

Yes, to protect national security-----36%

No, it's an overreaction---------------58%

Maybe, but not in all cases ------------7%
The poll can be found on the SBS home page, if you'd care to vote.

Update: The poll, which was in the World News Australia section at the top of the page, is gone. The final results are not posted.


In a recent column on multiculturalism in The Australian Mark Steyn recounted Johnelle Bryant's early 2000 encounter with Mohammed Atta. Relying on the 9/11 Commission report as a factual source, Media Watch concluded that Bryant's story was groundless and that Steyn's column was therefore factually incorrect. As it turns out, Bryant could well have been telling the truth:
So, despite the 9/11 Commission's touching faith in US immigration's "record" of June 3rd 2000 as Mohammed Atta's first entry to the US, military intelligence puts him on American soil in 1999.

So much for the Aussie TV guys' only factual dispute with my column. Better luck next time, fellers. The only mugs here are the "Media Watch" team: I don't know what makes a good media watchdog, but surely an unquestioning acceptance of an "official" report ought to be an instant disqualification. Some of us are on record at the time as querying both the Commission's shameless politicking and the bureaucratic mindset of their conclusions. It turns out there's quite a few people who "do not appear" in their final report - not just Ms Bryant but also US Army intelligence. The scandal here is that for political reasons the Commission wedded itself to some predetermined conclusions - of which the Atta timeline was one critical factor - and then excluded any evidence that contradicted it. A real "Media Watch" would be investigating why media outlets like "Media Watch" fell for it.

In our correspondence with ABC, I offered to do a live interview with the show, but they wimped out. My offer of a live interview on Johnell Bryant, Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 Commission and anything else still stands - anytime they feel they're up to it.
Click the link above to read Steyn's full response to Media Watch – it contains all the appropriate links.

Tim "Fact-Check-Boy" Lambert might want to reconsider any future reliance on Media Watch as a factual source after this little effort:
Media Watch points out a couple more problems with Bryant’s story. The 9/11 Commission Report has a detailed description of Al Qaeda’s planning of the attack and clearly did not find Bryant to be credible. Furthermore, Bryant claimed the encounter occured in early May, but Atta did not enter the US until June 3.

Instead of making a correction, Steyn compounded the error by insisting that Bryant was right and the 9/11 Commission was wrong. Steyn claims that Atta could have entered the US before June 3 in a visit that US immigration failed to record. Unfortunately for Steyn’s theory, Atta did not get a US visa till May 18, so he could not have entered before then.
Hey, here's an idea for the Media Watch crew, why not get Lambert and Steyn on the same live show and let them hash it out? That's one episode of Media Watch I'd watch for sure, you know, for the same reason I gawk at road accidents.

Update: If Fact-Check-Boy's link doesn't work for you, copy and paste the following:

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Obviously all pained and emotional as a result of the situation in Iraq, Thai Muslims have been intimidating local infidels:
Muslim militants, having scared many people in three southern Thai provinces into not working on Fridays, the Islamic holy day, have distributed a leaflet ordering a work-free Thursday as well.

One senior official, admitting that the initial order distributed in July had been effective, dismissed the new leaflet issued by unnamed "Fighters" as inconsequential, but some in the rubber-producing area said on Wednesday that they would heed it.
At this rate the convert-or-die order should be out by the end of the year.

Via: Clarity & Resolve


There's only one thing the left does better than whining, killing:
The Nepalese army has accused Maoist rebels of executing 40 soldiers in the deadliest incident since the king seized power in February.

The army said its soldiers had been lined up and shot in the head after a battle which raged in the northwestern town of Kalikot throughout Sunday night.
Rebels were going to behead the soldiers but Islamists have a Trademark pending.


If true this isn't surprising:
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says a video aired on Arab television, showing a masked militant with an apparent Australian accent, appears to be authentic.

The footage shows the man holding a rifle and criticising the British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the war in Iraq.
It was the G'day at the start of his spiel that gave him away.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Irshad Manji writes in The New York Times:
As Westerners bow down before multiculturalism, we anesthetize ourselves into believing that anything goes. We see our readiness to accommodate as a strength - even a form of cultural superiority (though few will admit that). Radical Muslims, on the other hand, see our inclusive instincts as a form of corruption that makes us soft and rudderless. They believe the weak deserve to be vanquished.

Paradoxically, then, the more we accommodate to placate, the more their contempt for our "weakness" grows. And ultimate paradox may be that in order to defend our diversity, we'll need to be less tolerant. Or, at the very least, more vigilant. And this vigilance demands more than new antiterror laws. It requires asking: What guiding values can most of us live with? Given the panoply of ideologies and faiths out there, what filter will distill almost everybody's right to free expression?

Neither the watery word "tolerance" nor the slippery phrase "mutual respect" will cut it as a guiding value. Why tolerate violent bigotry? Where's the "mutual" in that version of mutual respect? Amin Maalouf, a French-Arab novelist, nailed this point when he wrote that "traditions deserve respect only insofar as they are respectable - that is, exactly insofar as they themselves respect the fundamental rights of men and women."
The Japanese once saw the US as soft and rudderless and look where it got them.


Here's one guy who's lucky not to live in Australia:
A poor South African farmer has spoken of his delight after uranium was found on his family's land, turning them into instant millionaires.

"We were overwhelmed. It is going to change our lives," Solomon Ngondo, 67, told the BBC.
If he lived here, envirofascists would probably have him tied up in the courts for years.


Australian London bombing victim, Media Studies Professor John Tulloch, is convinced the attacks were motivated by events in Iraq:
"When I got the force of that explosion and lay in hospital in pain for many days, I was getting just a touch of that sense and emotion and feeling and pain that these people have to face every day."

What I'm saying is that Iraq is not simply something that happened that generates terrorists, it's a whole rhetorical set of meanings that won't go away - the Prime Minister may want us to move on, it's too symbolic - it's deep in our consciousness.
Tulloch was badly injured in the blast and has yet to return to work. Yet he has experienced but a "touch" of the pain and emotion that motivated his attackers. The best I can work out, the pain and emotion experienced by his attackers was all in their heads. What makes people like Tulloch so keen to rationalize the acts of thugs?

Monday, August 08, 2005


A patron at a French halal fast food joint has high hopes for the image improving prospects of the restaurant:
"Maybe this kind of place will help to correct the bad image of Muslims and tell the world to stop talking nonsense about us."
Maybe altering their murderous ways would do more to improve Muslims' deservedly bad image. It's just a theory.


Only now, it's self-torture:
Books about boy wizard Harry Potter have become favourite reading material among Islamic terror suspects at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Quoting a librarian working at the centre, The Washington Times newspaper says JK Rowling's tales about the boy and the school of wizardry are on top of the request list for the camp's 520 Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, followed by Agatha Christie novels.

"We've got a few who are kind of hooked on it. A couple have asked if they can see the movie," the librarian identified only as Lori is quoted by The Times as saying.

Lori said she is compiling a list to provide to various law-makers in Washington, who recently visited the prison at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay as part of a congressional delegation investigating accusations of torture, according to the report.
In no position to commit suicide for the cause, the detainees opt instead to turn their already mushy brains mushier.


It's often said the former Iraqi regime had no links to terrorists. But, then again:
A Yemeni criminal court yesterday opened the trial of four Iraqis accused of attempted attacks against the US and British Embassies in Sanaa in 2003 on the orders of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime.


There's action at the UN the day before Paul Volcker issues an interim report on the oil-for-food program:
Benon Sevan, the former executive director of the scandal-plagued operation, resigned from the UN in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, claiming he was sacrificed for political reasons.

Mr Sevan, 67, blamed Mr Annan and his staff for making him a scapegoat.

"I fully understand the pressure that you are under, and that there are those who are trying to destroy your reputation as well as my own, but sacrificing me for political expediency will never appease our critics or help you or the organisation," he wrote.

"As I predicted, a high-profile legislative body invested with absolute power would feel compelled to target someone, and that someone has turned out to be me," he continued.

"The charges are false and you, who have known me all these years, should know they are false."

When swimming with sharks it's always a good idea to carry a knife and not swim alone. When menaced you can always cut your companion and swim for it. Right now Annan is free-styling for shore.

Correction: As noted in the excerpt, the man's name is Benon Sevan, not Bevan Sevan. My apologies for posting on the fly and then not taking the time to reread what I'd posted. Such basic errors are inexcusable.


V. S. Naipaul responds to the initial London bombings:
"We must stop fooling ourselves about what we are witnessing," he said in a telephone conversation a week after the July 7 attacks. The debate in Britain about British detainees held at Guantanamo Bay was evidence of the foolishness. "People here talk about those people who were picked up by the Americans as 'lads,' 'our lads,' as though they were people playing cricket or marbles," Naipaul said. "It's glib, nonsensical talk from people who don't understand that holy war for Muslims is a religious war, and a religious war is something you never stop fighting."
Never one to pull his punches, Naipaul has this to say about Europe:
The bigger issue, he said, is that Western Europe, while built on tolerance, today lacks "a strong cultural life," making it vulnerable to Islamicization. He even went so far as to say that Muslim women shouldn't wear headscarves in the West. "If you decide to move to another country and to live within its laws you don't express your disregard for the essence of the culture," he said. "It's a form of aggression."
Europeans might one day realise it's not a good idea to accommodate the intolerant.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


A reporter for The Times infiltrated The Saviour Sect, successor to the disbanded Al-Muhajiroun. It's business as usual for Islamic fundamentalists in the UK:
The reporter became a member of the sect three weeks before the July 7 bombings. From the start he was taught that it was his duty to destroy the kuffar. Moderate Muslims who did not believe in the overthrow of the British government and its replacement by an Islamic state were held in equal disdain.

Within days of joining, he witnessed seven Saviour Sect members beating up a member of the moderate Young Muslim Organisation in an East End street because they believed he had insulted their version of Islam.

Last week Omar Brooks stirred controversy with televised comments, but they were carefully chosen to avoid appearing to incite violence. On Saturday, July 2 he had been more forthright.

Speaking to a group of teenagers and families, he declared it was imperative for Muslims to “instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar” and added: “I am a terrorist. As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist.”
Very scary stuff but Mary Riddell at The Observer thinks it's the policies of George Bush we should fear:
The fear-driven politics forged when George W Bush invented the axis of evil have backfired horribly. The Iraq war has been disastrous on many fronts. Hatred is on the rise in Britain. And now free speech and rights, the buttresses of democracy, are at risk.
Maybe Riddell should give a bit of thought to those who would remove her right to keep breathing.


Recently noted by Tim Blair:
Daniel Ortega and his little Sandinista buddies face revived claims of crimes against humanity. Remember when lefties adored these goons? Possibly they still do.
Well yes, the Sandinistas are still much loved:
I was 'in love' with a man I had met once eight months ago for two hours. We had held hands but never kissed. I could hardly recall what he looked like.

In fact, he was every teenage girl's fantasy: a dark, tousled, motorbike-riding Latino doctor who had earned himself the title of freedom fighter by joining the Sandinista army against the US-backed Contras during the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s. Che Guevara was a tousled motorbike-riding Latino doctor turned freedom fighter! I was living the posters and the T-shirts! No, I was living with the poster boy!
My daughter just stared at me blankly when asked if she fantasizes about dark, tousled, motorbike-riding, Sandinista thug, Latino doctors. But, I suppose the daughter of a RWDB is hardly typical.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Professor Richard Aldrich of Nottingham University examined lots of World War II soldiers' diaries and arrived at the conclusion that allied soldiers didn't exactly abide by the Geneva Conventions when dealing with Japanese prisoners of war. Allied forces had reason not to take Japanese prisoners:
The book also features the memoir of a New Zealand soldier working with a Fijian regiment who came across the bodies of two native women, pegged out on an earthen mound.

They had been "raped to death" by Japanese soldiers. Then they found a dead American soldier who had stakes driven through each shoulder and his hands cut off. "As we moved away again, one of my corporals said to me: "No more prisoners, turaga[sir]." I agreed with him.
Jeez, it's almost as if the World War II Japanese soldiers and today's Islamic fundamentalists use the same play-book. Great minds ...


The BBC takes a look at the lingering health effects of nuclear weapons and comes to the following conclusion regarding the Big C:
The number of cancer cases among the survivors will continue to rise in the next few years, perhaps peaking in the 2020s.
The BBC report mentions the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, which coordinates research on the health effects of the bombings, but does not mention the RERF cancer numbers:
As of the end of 1990, a total of 4687 nonleukemia cancer deaths had occurred among the 50,113 ABCC-RERF Life Span Study (LSS) survivors with significant exposures. If this population had not been exposed to radiation, we estimate that 4306 cancer deaths would have occurred during this time.
So, while a significant number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims have developed cancer, the health threat is pehaps not nearly as great as we are led to believe. Why would anyone want to exaggerate the threat?


What with the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, we are frequently reminded of the the horrific potential of nuclear weapons:
The Hiroshima bombing killed more than 140,000 people either immediately or in the months that followed from horrific burns or radiation.

The United States dropped a second nuclear bomb on August 9 on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000 people.
The Japanese death toll must be balanced against the need to end the war quickly:
Several American historians led by Robert Newman have insisted vigorously that any assessment of the end of the Pacific war must include the horrifying consequences of each continued day of the war for the Asian populations trapped within Japan's conquests. Newman calculates that between a quarter million and 400,000 Asians, overwhelmingly noncombatants, were dying each month the war continued. Newman et al. challenge whether an assessment of Truman's decision can highlight only the deaths of noncombatant civilians in the aggressor nation while ignoring much larger death tolls among noncombatant civilians in the victim nations.
No matter how you look at it, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings saved far more lives than they ended. Try explaining that to the Greens, who think Hiroshima is reason enough to renounce nuclear power and end uranium mining:
Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania Christine Milne today called on Australians to reject nuclear power as an option for addressing climate change and instead to maintain a passion for peace and disarmament.

"Today the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of the United States bombing Hiroshima, instantly killing more than 70,000 people and condemning tens of thousands more to death from cancer in the months and years that followed," Senator Milne said in Hobart.

"In Australia the Coalition government is expanding uranium mining which feeds the international nuclear energy industry and risks being diverted for weapons use.

"John Howard's grab for the Northern Territory's uranium can only mean exports for China. It is code for short-term gain and long-term pain," Senator Milne said.

"The Australian Greens reject a nuclear-fuelled future. It is not a choice between coal and uranium. The world must move beyond both.

"Hiroshima Day reminds us that nuclear power is never the answer. We should be preparing for peace, not war."
I'm all for "preparing for peace", after we've prepared for war, you know, just in case.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Jason Burke writes in the Guardian:
Al-Zawahiri portrayed himself as a warrior and a statesman in the video broadcast yesterday. He did not need any props to demonstrate his extraordinary gift for media manipulation.
What the Hell is Burke on about? A hectoring, old, finger waggling fart with an assault rifle propped in the background against a backdrop of draped table-cloths, delivering the same old message isn't going to maipulate anyone other than true believers, both leftist and Islamist.