On the Australian Freedom of SPEECH front (or, er, backside)
An interesting perspective on the issue, to say the least. Is the individual truly free to express his opinion in public? That seems to be the 'bottom' line here. Are the coppers being a bit too tight assed about the whole thing? Not known for their sense of humor, that lot. Hope the guy wins his case. Rednecks and plumbers will only be able to travel to Australia and bend over to pick up spare change at grave risk of their personal liberty, otherwise. Save the Moon over Melbourne! Bestow liberty of Butt-Crackery upon Brisbane! Asses up for Adelaide!
NEW MARK STEYN - TARGET IS HAROLD PINTER You just knew it would be, didn't you. Mark clearly isn't waiting, he's going after Godot with a flashlight, a set of rubber gloves, lubricant and a nasty-looking anal probe...

"Can you fix it?" he cried. "Better believe they've fixed it, chum. Everybody's talking about a poison gas attack on the Underground, but nobody mentions Scoop and Bob have been digging up the road in front of Mrs Potts's. If there is a gas attack, millions of you children will die agonising deaths. Ho-ho-bloody-ho. Needless to say, Bob the Builder does not travel on the Underground himself. Oh, no, he's up on top riding around with Wendy in Muck the Bulldozer, like Ariel Sharon about to level Jenin." At that point, Mr Pinter gave his traditional performance of Silent Night, in which he stands perfectly still with an enigmatic look for three minutes while from the wings come faraway shrieks of political prisoners being tortured. Afterwards, the vicar agreed he'd made a catastrophic error of judgment. "I didn't realise there were so many young children present," he said. "Otherwise I'd have launched a blistering attack on the Teletubbies. The one with the aerial is a Pentagon mole. And why are they wearing decontamination suits?"

If anyone has the secret formula for "Write Like Mark Steyn" pills, I'm prepared to hand over a substantial pile of money for it.
WORST PUN IN RECORDED HISTORY Sasha Castel has it. It's bad...real bad...you have ben warned.
IT'S CALLED A DETERRENT, PINHEAD... The Hamas english language website has it's robes in a wad over this report. Gosh, I wonder why? Link via StopOnlineTerror.

Zionist officer calls for destroying Makkah and Medina Tel Aviv - A senior Zionist officer has asked his government to declare beforehand that any nuclear attack on the Hebrew state would entail a retaliatory strike and the destruction of the Islamic holy cities of Makkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia. In an article recently published by the “Israeli” security ministry’s magazine, the officer said that any country or Islamic organization attacking “Israel” with nuclear bombs should know that Tel Aviv would retaliate by destroying the Islamic holy cities.

If this threat is true, and if it does in fact deter Muslim states from using weapons of mass destruction against Israel, then I have absolutely no problem with it. Atomic weapons can be used as a deterrent, which is why we're all still alive after the US and the Soviet Union signally failed to go to war for more than 40 years (1948 - 1990). The problem with the Middle East is that you have non-state actors who may have access to WMD, and some of them are crazier than a loon, so how you deter the devotees of death I really don't know. Which isn't to say that some of them might have second thoughts about popping off a suitcase nuke in Tel Aviv if they thought they'd be kissing goodbye to the Ka'aba and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina forever. Well, it's called deterrence, it's certainly worth trying, and if it works, then millions will live who otherwise might have died. As I say, I don't have a problem with it.
I ALWAYS WONDERED ABOUT THE MASK AND THE LEATHER PANTS... Looks like it's Modern Times all right - the Rawhide Kid has been outed! Andrew Dodge is less than whelmed at the news.

I don't understand what the big deal is about the new gay cowboy comic. I mean isn't gay cowboy a tautology? Kind of like naval stories starring someone called "Horatio Hornblower". Let's see they like spending time camping out under the stars. They wear tight leather chaps, bright colours, always worried about their appearance and like riding male horses. Has anyone seen one of the many dire Westerns made in the "good ole' days"? I think "outing" the Rawhide Kid (oh gee what a giveaway name) is a good thing. Maybe fans of the "genre" can now admit their repressed feelings. Wonder if Marvel might finally explain how close the Lone Ranger and Tonto really are. For the record: never really "got" Westerns, found them simplistic, boring and boorish. Oddly enough, when I told a fellow male that I didn't like Westerns or Rocky movies I told I was "unAmerican", "gay" and "unpatriotic." When I pointed out my feelings about Westerns he took a swing at me.

What are youy talking about? Horatio Hornblower as a gay icon? Pshaw! I grew up on C S Forester and Alexander Kent books mate, after graduating from Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons", and it's just fine old rolicking naval adenture. Next you'll be telling me that "Seaman Staines", "Master Bates" and "Roger the Cabin Boy" from Captain Pugwash was some sort of double entendre. [I know, I know, the Captain Pugwash story is completely untrue, it's an urban legend.]
WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY Many media figures in the paunchy, grey-pony-tailed commentariat are clearly pining for their lost youth, when dope was stronger, hippie chicks would actually sleep with them, and they could come up with catchy slogans that would rhyme with "LBJ". Hence the current nostalgia for Vietnam, and the so-called "lessons" of that conflict which the Left is firmly convinced it won. Actually North Vietnam won it, with the Left putting in a cameo appearance as useful idiots, and wasn't that a great cause? Hey, if we hadn't been "right on" and groovy and committed, we wouldn't be able to eat out at all those fantastic Vietnamese restaurants that have subsequently opened in Western countries due to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing communist opression, torture, re-education camps, starvation...er....what was the point again? Apparently Iraq is going to be just like Vietnam. For one thing, the United States is involved. Grrrrr! Clearly an Imperialist struggle against a struggling Third World people. Break out the placards, dust off my head-band, and..um...lets keep some extra viagra tablets handy in case we meet some teenage girls at the demo, you know? They dig older men, right? Anyway, Cinderellabloggerfeller is, as they say, all over this Vietnam thing. Enjoy.

Yes, Uncle Ho was part of an ancient Far Eastern civilization, so mysterious and profoundly spiritual that no Westerner is capable of understanding it. Some say he was a follower of the mystical "Marxist-Leninist" sect, whose origins are lost in the mists of time. Some say it led Uncle Ho to sacrifice tens of thousands of Vietnamese peasants to a great and mighty god called Kol-Ek-Tiv Far-Ming in the 1950s and to single out for ritual killing hundreds of those impure ones with the mark of the Mid-del Klass in the city of Hue in January/ February 1968. But who are we to judge these inscrutable Orientals? Nevertheless, what we did learn from the Vietnam War is that any conflict in which Americans are involved must automatically resemble it. This is an Iron Law of History. Kosovo was like Vietnam, Afghanistan was like Vietnam, the war of 1812 was like Vietnam, and Iraq is definitely going to be like Vietnam. After all, Iraq is an Eastern civilization and therefore ancient and mystical and it surpasseth our puny Western understanding.

30 Years
At 2254GMT, 14 Dec, exactly 30 years since man has been to the moon. The next 'giant step'? Littering the surface with business cards at US$2500 a pop. At least the callback rate won't put the 800 number bill into orbit.



Robert Fisk, The Independent's Middle East correspondent, was one of six journalists to win the Association of Journalists of Rome Silver Microphone award last night in Rome.The prize – awarded to foreign correspondents for the first time in the association's 125 years – is for "European journalists who defend freedom of the press".

As Newfoundland blogger Damien Penny says, with enormous self-restraint: "No Comment".
MAKING MOVIES, MAKING MUSIC AND FIGHTING ROUND THE WORLD You just KNOW there's going to be some sort of punch-up at the reception.

Oscar winner Russell Crowe is planning to settle down and wed his long-time girlfriend, Danielle Spencer, newspaper reports said yesterday. Crowe, 38, splashed out £67,000 ($A187,805) on a diamond engagement ring for the Australian actress, British newspaper The Sun reported. [ ... ] The engagement follows a rocky year for Crowe in which he won awards for his on-screen performances but was pilloried for his off-screen behaviour. He pushed a television producer against a wall in an angry row at an awards ceremony, got into several fights in bars in Mexico during filming of his latest movie, and scuffled in a London restaurant with New Zealand entrepreneur Eric Watson last month. Crowe was questioned by police following the restaurant fight, which happened the same night that he tried to lick a beauty spot off a stranger's face, mistaking it for chocolate.

Maybe we can arrange for Sean Penn to crash the occasion. I hear those two like to fight, we could take bets, make a bloody FORTUNE mate!
LISA MCUNE - HARBINGER OF EVIL? The Left can turn absolutely anything into a critique of the Howard government. case in point, the latest staging of "Cabaret" in Melbourne, starring Australia's favourite girl-next-door/cop/checkout chick, Lisa McCune. According to some idiot in The Age, this is somehow a signal of the Apocalypse. I don't think Lisa's acting THAT bad, surely...

This should ring a few cultural alarm bells. On one hand, although it was conceived in the 1920s and written in the 1960s, Kander and Ebbs' musical, set in Berlin as the Nazis rise in popularity, does have a lot of relevance to contemporary Australia. We have a conservative government that is beating the war drum, a worldwide conflict based on religious difference is breathing down our necks, and were not paying much attention to the human rights abuses on our own doorstep. Cabaret's chilling foreshadowing of the slaughter of Jews and homosexuals against a backdrop of razzle dazzle escapism is in many ways a finger right on the pulse of the Zeitgeist.

Quite right too. So why isn't the writer being rounded up by the Gestapo? And how come I haven't been gassed and turned into soap? Is John Howard sitting in Kirribili House pressing the "Crush Dissent" button and wondering if the batteries need replacing?
EUOPE'S FATE IS TO BECOME...INDIA? Suman Palit thinks he can see the future of Europe in what India has already become. It aint pretty.

Coalition governments prevail, and bureaucratic logjams they create are the stuff of gallows humor for the nations rags. Corruption in India is on the rise, and since the real rings of power are vested within the Indian civil service (shades of Brussels), the instinctive reaction of the state is plausible deniability. Since the demise of Indira Gandhi, and the effective end of the Nehru political dynasty, successive Indian governments have been all coalitions. And Indian politics is trending regional, as well as religous. It is increasingly likely that coalitions at the Centre will be made up of regional political powers, none of whom command much respect outside their ethnic enclaves. Sound familiar..? I thought so! A transnational European government is likely to land up in the same fractured state.

One of the features of modern politics is the inexplicable growth of multi-national trading blocs and regional/tribal allegiances at the expense of the state. The state seems to be caught in the middle, with people seeing themselves increasingly not as citizens, but as members of much smaller groups, often ethnic or religious. Membership in much bigger blocs is not seen as threatening these smaller identities, because they tend to be built to accomodate horse-trading and coalitions between competing groups rather than as sources of identity. I mean, does anyone actually think of themselves as a European? And is that ever likely to happen? Of course not, so the Flemish, Tyrol Swiss, Sudenten Germans and Karelian Finns can be part of the European Union quite comfortably, because it will never compete with them as a source of identity. Balkanisation at the bottom coupled with a corrupt crony confederation at the top is going to rip the state apart if the Europeans aren't careful. A situation more ripe for total internal political collapse or external military challenge, I cannot imagine. Look carefully at India - if it collapses, Europe may well follow. I'm SO glad my ancestors got out in time.
YOU KNOW IT'S TIME TO ATTACK WHEN... ...Sean Penn shows up in the enemy capital.

The actor and director Sean Penn arrived in Baghdad on Friday morning at the start of a three-day visit to Iraq. "By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict," Penn said in a statement released in Washington and Baghdad on Friday. "I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker, and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience."

General Franks, you may fire when ready. At last, sweet revenge for "I Am Sam". Emperor Misha has already dealt with this, so I don't have to.
I'M GUIDED BY THE BEAUTY OF OUR WEAPONS There's a great article in the Atlantic about modern air power, how it works, what it's like for the men and women who fly the planes. It provides a genuine insight into how a key part of the war against Iraq will be fought. It's also a little sobering when you realise just how much raw power the United States posesses. Thank god it's a democracy and its people genuinely don't want to run the world. Because if they did, there'd be absolutely nothing to stop them.

Two Fish and Baldie were midway through a sortie when an AWACS assigned them an important target, a convoy of trucks. Baldie estimated the speed of the vehicles to be 100 miles an hour. ("How fast would you be driving down the road if you knew that an F-15 was trying to kill you?" she asks.) She made a rough calculation of where the trucks would be when the bomb reached the road, and cleared Two Fish to pickle. Guiding the GBU with her laser, teasing it along with her hand controller, like a kite at the end of a string, she put it right through the lead truck's front grille. "You have just been killed by a girl," Two Fish said.

Actually, the way things are going, the day of the fighter jock may be drawing to a close. Modern technology is so far advanced that the most effective means of delivering ordanance by air will soon be unmanned craft. Human beings are clearly the weak link in the process, and we are now developing systems capable of replacing them, at least in the cockpit. It's sad to think that the fighting will now be done from air-conditioned bunkers under Chyenne Mountain. But on the other hand, we're not doing this to be chivalrous, but to win. As win we must.

Baldie recalls an interview with a Taliban official that aired on CNN. He was asked by a reporter how his regime could use an Olympic soccer stadium to hold public executions, in which men were hanged from goalposts and women were shot at the goal lines for offenses such as adultery. The mullah mistook the moral question for a practical one. He protested that if only international money were available to build a separate stadium for executions, then soccer matches might be able to resume in the current one. Baldie was so appalled that she later found those remarks comforting when she steered home her bombs.

You have just been killed by a girl. Right on.
PINTER GETS SUCH A ZETZ IN TUCHIS... ...from Lord Chalfont of all people! Apparently having been a foriegn minister under Harold Wilson doesn't rot your brain after all. Who knew?

Sir - It is unlikely that many intelligent people in America will pay much attention to the intemperate ranting of one of the Angry Old Men of the London theatre, but many Americans do take The Daily Telegraph seriously, and they may mistakenly suppose that Harold Pinter's remarks at an Italian university represent anyone but himself. Mr Pinter's political leanings are well-known, but it may come as a surprise to his admirers to learn that he has now become an authority on international affairs.

Get the details from everyone's favourite Fun-Conservative-Young-Republican-Trans-Atlantic blogger, Andrew Ian Dodge, over at Sasha Castel's La Blogatrice, where it is filed, correctly, under "Idiocies".
IS THIS WHAT THE LEFT REALLY BELIEVES? You know, I often wonder if the Left has lost it's grip on objective reality altogether, in is inhabiting an imaginary alternate universe simply in order to stay sane. With all the cognitive dissonance around, all the objective facts which prove their assumptions about the world to be wrong, wrong WRONG...well, maybe a little time in a rubber room with a shirt that straps up the back looks attractive. Some of us have been cracked upside the head by reality and decided to reevaluate our view based on this experience. Others are clearly putting their fingers in their ears and singing "La la la, I can't hear you!" Case in point; the strap-ons who produced this transmission from Reality X. Watch it, shake your head sadly and don't sign the release papers. These people are going to need a LOT of rest before they start to get better. Emperor Misha has already made an Imperial Edict on this matter.
MORE ORWELL Something happens to you when the topic involves George Orwell. For some reason, you try to put some effort into the post, you take a bit more time over it, you polish your words, heck, sometimes I even spell-check it. Essentially, when in the presence of the Master, you try in some sense to rise to the occasion. Professor Bunyip does precisely this here.

The future, as he warned, might easily be a jackboot forever stomping a human face. It was of small concern to Orwell if the boot was on the left foot or the right. His urgency, the moral obligation that inspired him, was to stop the assault and render the tyrant incapable of perpetrating further crimes against humanity and what Orwell regarded in his quaint English way as the paramount virtue of them all: simple, common, consistent decency.

Sounds like something Kurt Vonnegut said about all those monsters who inflict unimaginable suffering on the world in the name of Love - he suggested that what the world needs is less Love, and more simple, common decency.
I suggest that rather than pounding on Michelle Cottle, people would pound on her husband. Not everyone is married to Glenn or James, you know.
HERE'S HOW TO BLOG! Take notes, this will count towards your final grade. Diane of "Letter From Gotham" displays a brilliant natural style which you would all do well to imitate.

Readers of this blog will note that I have been very quiet about the controversy over the Augusta National Golf Club admitting women. That's because I don't give a flying fuck.

Any questions?
MAKE THIS MAN PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA! I just ran across a blog I haven't seen before - Bleeding Brain. Splendid chap. I reccomend him to you without hesitation. Here's what he'd say if he were in charge of things in the Great Northern Land.

Let's cut the crap. Lowering taxes is the immediate course of action followed by the removal of the %$*~$@^ Kyoto Protocol. Apologies for the language but that ^&$&* document is a sure way to destroy my hopes of retiring as a popular Canadian leader. With a tanked economy, it's hard to look competent. I will also take the current Prime Minister by the waddle and flog him in payment for the selfish and myopic policies he has crammed down our throats. Also, I plan to remove those two or three nasty working days between Boxing day and New Years day. BTW, here is a link to every Prime Minister's must-read blog: Bleeding Brain

See what I mean?
GOT ONE! One Algerian terrorist, slightly used. Currently being held by New Zealand. Anyone want him?

But it is understood the man was travelling on South African documentation, some of which he shredded on the aircraft before landing in New Zealand. The man detained in Paremoremo has the same name as the man who fronted the Algerian Islamic Salvation front (FIS) and is labelled a "prominent person" on the British Home Office website of asylum seekers. He was sentenced to death in the mid-1990s by an Algeria court for supplying weapons from Europe to guerrillas in Algeria, and was exiled to Burkina Faso, a west-African country that borders Niger and Ghana. His group was largely blamed for massacres of civilians in Algeria. In 1997 he went to Switzerland requested asylum. Last year media reports out of Vancouver, British Columbia linked the man to Osama bin Laden's secret army in Southeast Asia. The Asian Post reported a previously unidentified group called FIDA or Sacrifice was currently being investigated in Malaysia, and that the frontman, with the same name as that of the man believed to be being held in New Zealand, worked closely with FIDA affiliates in Switzerland and the United States.

But...but...I don't understand? A terrorist? In New Zealand? But didn't Green Party foreign affairs spokesentity Keith Locke tell us such things just don't happen here? Please explain.
"CHERIEGATE" - IS ANYONE ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN THIS? Look, I carry no particular brief for the Blairs. I think Tony is damn good on the war, a bit of a wanker on most other things, pious and self-serving and posessed of the usual leftist smugness about being on the right side of history. But this whole thing about his wife has me puzzled. What has she actually done wrong? Is this perhaps the ultimate triumph of Seinfeld? A scandal about nothing? Nothing at all? Amid all the "New Revelations" and "Secret Tapes" and "Fresh Questions" and the usual palaver of the British scum press in full cry like a pack of hounds after a fox (just to be non-PC), no one has actually bothered to spell out what the actual problem is. It seems she had some bloke with a dodgy past help her buy a flat for her son, who is off at university in Bristol. Said dodgy bloke (his business card which read "Fred Dodgy, of the Dodgy Brothers, purveyors of stuff wot fell off the back of a truck, no rubbish guv, honest" perhaps might have set off a few alarm bells) is now facing deportation. Those seem to be the facts. Okay, so here's my question: SO FREAKING WHAT? Where's the crime? Where's the malfeasance? Where's the sleaze, the use of high-level contacts for personal gain, the midnight phone call to the High Court judge, the lies, the cover-ups, the missing MI5 file, the Russian Embassy connection, the Swedish au pair in a Mayfair love-nest? No, seriously, I'd be quite keen on a Swedish au pair in a Mayfair love nest, there's been no decent sex scandal in the UK since the Torys got kicked out. Anyone? Anyone at all? Help me out here. What is Cherie Blair accused of? Simple question. Hit me with an answer. Or your rhythm stick, it's all good.
WAKE ME UP WHEN WE'RE "DESTROYED INSTANTLY" Bashir the Duck has threatened Australia with annihalation. Yawn. He made this comment while in hospital, in between helping Police with their inquries into the Bali bombing, which seem to be going pretty well so far, so excuse me if I don't pee my pants in fear at this awful threat.

Abu Bakar Bashir, the cleric accused of heading recently banned South-East Asian group Jemaah Islamiah, said Australians would be dragged into a war with Muslims if they went along with the "crazy idea" of a pre-emptive strike floated recently by Prime Minister John Howard. "So, if John Howard's stance is followed by the people of Australia you must know that there will be war in the world and, God willing, Australia will be destroyed instantly due to the crazy idea of its Prime Minister.

Or, we could annihilate Islamocrazies like you. It's all good. Meanwhile, the Australian Labour Party is once again demonstrating the point that the only people capable of defeating us is...er, us. They've managed to block the government's attempts to beef up the powers of Australia's intelligence agency, ASIO. I mean, it's not as if there's any sort of threat or anything. Come on mate, this is Australia, that sort of stuff just doesn't happen here. Toss another burger on the barbie, put some zinc on your nose and get out the backyard cricket gear, it's summertime and the livin' is easy....

The original laws proposed by the government would allow ASIO to detain and question adults and children as young as 14 for up to 48 hours. But Labor, and the minor parties, refused to budge on other aspects of the government's proposals, including provisions that would also allow ASIO to question people not considered to be terrorist suspects. Prime Minister John Howard said the new terrorist threats facing Australia and the rest of the western world required new approaches in terms of intelligence. "The real national interest of Australia at the moment, it demands a strong stand against terrorism," he said. [ ...] Opposition Leader Simon Crean said the government was seeking to give powers to ASIO that no other security agency in the western world had. He said Mr Howard had deliberately played on the insecurities of Australians about a possible terrorist threat. "They don't want their fears played upon, they want a solution," he said.

And that solution, Mr Crean, would be........? [sound of crickets] If the opposition continue to block this legislation, Howard will be able to go for a double dissolution of Parliament and call a snap election early next years, and if I'm any judge of what the political environment early next year is going to look like, I wouldn't want to be Simon Crean, facing the electorate with a surrendrist left-wing faction, an immigration policy that no one supports, and a perception that I'm piss-weak when it comes to protecting the lives of Australian citizens. Howard would be able to win such an election in a walk! For goodness sake, is Labour even bothering to take any polls? Don't they realise they're slashing their wrists with their stance? When nerve gas starts flying and all you can see on CNN are tanks in Baghdad and psychotic mobs in the streets of Australia's Muslim neighbours, a pettifogging concern for the minutea of human rights will be the absolute last thing on people's minds! Now I agree about having a sunset clause for the laws, and that judges should monitor interrogations and the issuing of search and arrest warrants. I don't think there's any need to relax our grip on the rule of law entirely. But the government accepted those amendments, and Labour STILL refused to let the legislation pass! In the end, people will vote for whichever party looks better able to keep them above ground and breathing, and right now that's the Liberals. And Crean should realise it's only going to be worse for him after Christmas.
IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF THE J-E-W-S Yes folks, sinister conspiracy theories about the insidious, behind-the-scenes machinations of the oleginous Zionist power brokers who secretly manipulate the world for their own unfathomable ends can now be found all over the world. Not just in mosques, Peshawar marketplaces, Iraqi palaces and the editorial offices of the Guardian either. Try the Australian parliament.

A scathing attack on "the Jewish lobby" was launched by Federal Labor MP Julia Irwin this week. She charged "the Jewish lobby" with being responsible for a "code of silence" forbidding parliamentary debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and quoted an email from an unnamed "senior media commentator" warning her: "You have taken on the most implacable, arrogant, cruel and powerful lobby in the country", and advising that she would be "singled out for vilification and, if possible, political destruction". Asked why the commentator she quoted was anonymous, Irwin told the Australian Jewish News she had promised not to reveal the name because the commentator had "felt the full force of the Jewish lobby's fury a long time ago and had gone through hell".

What happened to the Death Squad? I gave strict instructions on how this matter was to be handled three weeks ago! Don't people read their memos any more? I guess Dissent Crushing isn't as easy as the Left pretends, especially when you can't get any decent help. In actual fact, the Australian Jewish community is about as well-organised and efficient as the Three Stooges on a bad day. Their inability to so much as run a cake stall without fist-fights breaking out is fairly well known, and for anyone to pretend that there's some sort of sinister, bald, Nehru-jacketed mastermind sitting in an underground lair, plotting the destinies of us all is beyond insanity. Not that I'm against this in principle. And if the part of Dr Evil is in fact up for grabs, I vote for Dr Daniel Mandel. He already has the right haircut, now all he needs is the right pussy to stroke.
DISTURBING NEWS Is anyone else as concerned as I am that the Chairman of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria appears to be a deranged Howler monkey? posted by Tom Paine at


Promised not to write any more about this
But if I did, I'd only hope it was halfas good as what Laurence posted at Amish Tech Support. All that, and a webcam with a cat licking its...nevermind. Too Cool.
Well, while the Yanks have been yanking around about a Lott of things
..seems there is a revolution breaking out in Iran. People are beside themselves because it took over 48 hours for the likes of algore and Jesse the man to warm up and start vocalizing over a stupid comment made by an airhead at a party for a retiring obnoxious cuss. But thousands out in the streets, and signs that a regime that bids us ill is losing their grasp on things...(insert sound of crickets chirping here). I share Michael Ledeen's question - why the silence? From the Administration, the media, and from so much of the blogsphere - on such significant developments in one of the countries named as part of the axis of evil, and probable agent provocatuer for a lot of the really nasty terrorism activities for the past ten or fifteen years? One would think that assisting the Iranians with a bit of self-help governmental remodeling, particularly since the likely final product will be of the Mullah/Ayatollah-lite variety, is in order. Shout it from the rooftops!
Revolution in Iran!
Cast out the Theocrats!
Overthrow the Oppressors!
Get off yer duffs and start SOME sort of movement...and FASTER please once you do!
DEAR GOD, NOT THE MICKS AS WELL! Like Lot's wife, fleeing Sodom as destruction rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah, I am ocasionally transfixed with horror at the insanity which appears to have grasped large chunks of my former religion (Christianity). Now I was a member of the dear old Church of England (God bless her and all who sail in her) before I jumped ship and became a Red Sea Pedestrian, and so I have no particular axe to grind when it comes to Catholicism. Or "the filthy Papist hordes" as my grandfather was reportedly in the habit of calling the Church of Rome. But I always thought the Big Micks would be the last to go under as the tide of psycho-babble, political posturing and knitting woolen hand grenade covers for the Khmer Rouge engulfed the other so-called mainline churches. Methodist ministers marching seven times around an asylum-seeker detention centre in the hope that the walls will fall down? Of course. Presbyterian ladies demanding unilateral Western nuclear disarmament? To be expected. Anglican Vicars breaking into US Strategic Air Comman bases to whack the noses of B52s with mallets? A trifle odd but not completely without precendent. But I regret to report that the people I had previously trusted to hold the line until doomsday, the Roman Catholics, have been infiltrated by the politically correct. If you can't rely on Father O'Connor to prise himself away from the whiskey bottle long enough to roar "Away with youse all, hellspawn" at the Ed Asner/Vanessa Redgrave clones, then surely all hope is lost. A sad case in point - St Mary's, Brisbane. At first I thought the web page was some incredibly subtle satire, like Landover Baptist, but regrettably I have to report these people are deadly serious in their lunacy.

St Mary's Community is part of an Australian-wide network committed to providing sanctuary for East Timorese facing deportation.

Well of COURSE they do. St Mary's also doesn't have priests, they have something called "Mass Presiders" (whatever THAT might be when it's at home), and a "liturgy worker", which from memory is not an established Church office, and certainly not in the line of Apostolic succession. They also offer the following services to members:

Bush camping retreats, art and spirituality workshops Enneagram, meditation weekends Spiritual direction/consultancy (life journeys) Self-knowledge and PRH seminars Spiritual dance/meditation Seminars on spirituality, theology and scripture Reiki

What I find truly strange is their survey of members, in which 93% of respoendents identify themselves as Catholic. So 7% of a Catholic parish's members belong to non-Catholic denominations? Has anyone told to Pope? Correct me if I'm wrong. but isn't there supposed to be some sort of badge check? I found out about this place thanks to Professor Bunyip, who was passing on a message from one of the parishoners, who describes what happened last week.

Last Sunday, a woman wearing a headscarf to demonstrate sympathy for Muslims had the whole congregation (excluding my good self and a few others who also may have been totally appalled) up and singing an Arab song and doing an Arab dance before the service started.

The good Professor responded by saying, yea verily....

But surely, in the name of Heaven, even spotty teenagers strumming Kumbaya on cheap guitars beat White's versifying -- except, perhaps, if his words were to be uttered by nubile Children of Mary performing the Dance of the Bee in filmy harem pants as the priest (sorry, mass presider) declaimed the Consecration in Arabic while bowing toward Mecca. Give it time, J.P., it will come to pass. Until then, don't put anything in the plate.

All I can say is where's the goddman Spanish Inquisition when you really need them eh?


Gitchya "I Survied Bruces Big Ass Gun tour" merchandise here! Get your once in a life time comerative stuff in time for Christmas. Be in quick while hes at work and doesn't know I'm hawking his travels.

I was going to go with "My brother went to Tredegar and all I got was this losy T shirt, but there was the book and the cool cap. So maybe I'll just shut up.

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The 'kick in the leg' collects his paycheck
Jimmy went to Stockholm, to get his check. He said all the nice things the Prize committee was counting on hearing for their $1M investment. Nice to see good old American customer service hasn't fallen by the wayside. Part of the package deal -
Carter also called for renewed efforts to solve "the festering problem" of Israel and its neighbors
Sadly, Jimmy has demonstrated on numerous occasions that his definition of 'the festering problem' is Israel, versus the 'and its neighbors' part.
THIS is more like it
Hunting big game, don't shoot to annoy with spitwads. Pull out the .50 Hawkin, and aim for where the eyebrows meet. Like this, from today's NRO. This contains the research. This contains the references. Anything less sounds a lot like just so much more bleating from Jesse or Al (either one).
THE STUPIDFADA - DESPERATION MOVE OR WHAT? Lots of folks have been wondering lately if this whole Islamonazi uprising thing might in fact be a sign that in their heart of hearts, the sons of the Prophet are in fact not hardy and bold at all, but are actually dimly aware that the game is over and it's time to make a glorious but doomed Last Stand against the kufar hordes. It's got some merits as a theory, and would go a long way towards explaining the psychology of Muslim fundamentalist violence against the West. It's obvious, even to them, that they can'r possibly hope to win militarily, which is why the apparently cling to the delusion that we kufar are immoral, depraved, spiritually bankrupt and crying out for the Message of the Holy Koran. The scheme is, as far as I can work it out, for us to defeat ourselves, either through a sudden mass conversion to Islam, or a cowardly refusal to resist the Jihadi warriors. It's nuts, and I think they know it, but they have to try. Because the alternative is to see their version of Islam vanish in the globalised 21st century like an ice cube in a hot bath. In effect they are commiting the sin of testing God. Over at Chris Textor's Whacking Day, one of his readers, Sage McLaughlin, has had some similar thoughts.

Right now Muslims in the Middle East face a crisis of credibility within their faith. There is a widespread suspicion that Allah might not actually give a shit about them, that the Koran might be a pack of lies, and so on. This is because they currently occupy the bottom rung of the civilizational ladder, except for Sudanese slave traders, who after all have the Religion of Submission to thank for their depravity as well. When you combine this with the fact that the Jews have managed to hand them their own steaming entrails on a hot plate five different times in fifty years, the notion of worldwide submission to Allah looks like a dim prospect. This latest jihad is, at bottom, a last desperate attempt to prove that Allah really is on their side, the gods really do smile on their religion, and that they are the harbingers of the Ultimate Holy Truth.

This phenomenon is not dissimilar to the last twitches of Native American resistance to the white man. The Ghost Dance movement in the 1890s had a similar supernatural desperation about it. And was about as effective as this Stupidfada will turn out to be in the end.

The despair and nostalgia associated with the Ghost Dance reflects that period from which the movement evolved. Plains tribes faced losing their freedom and being overtaken of their homes, their beliefs and their existence. The Ghost Dance was a resurrection of the dead, a bringing back of the customs and way of life that the Indians were trying to hold onto. The prophet who began the movement of the Ghost Dance was Wovoka, a member of the Paiute Tribe. He had a vision which inspired the development of the movement known as the Ghost Dance. The vision embodied the beliefs that inspired the followers of the movement including that the white man would disappear from the Earth after a natural catastrophe and that the Indian dead would return bringing with them the old way of life that would then last forever.

You know, we have seen this very same thing before. Only it was my own folks, the Jews, who decided to put God in an untenable position by defying the world's only superpower - Rome. Phase One of the plan worked perfectly - we rebelled against Rome and waited for God to rescue us. Now those of you who have studied ancient history may have already spotted that that's where the whole thing came unravelled. We were smashed to bits, exiled for what turned out to be almost two thousand years, and had our holiest shrine, the Temple of Jerusalem, torched. And you know what? It made us what we are today. It liberated us from tribalism and turned us into a world religion, humbled us, taught us not to think too highly of our own abilities, and gave us a new way of thinking about faith. Perhaps if the same thing happens to Islam, it might not turn out to be a death-blow at all, but rather a new birth. Well right now I can't bring myself to care one way of the other quite frankly. Whatever allows me to stay alive and free, that's my policy. Being nice to the enemy and wishing them every success with their Reform program comes a long way second


EVANGELICALS NOT THE BEST LOVED RELIGIOUS GROUP? CAN'T IMAGINE WHY Marty Dodge writes: It seems evangelical Christians are some of the least liked people in America according to a recent poll. They "are rated below lawyers and just above prostitutes." I can understand why. I mean why wouldn't you like people who get in your face; telling you are going to hell if you aren't like them, totally uninvited. They knock on your door on Saturday afternoon unwanted. The yell and scream at all insundry when you are out on the high street minding your own business. Oh yes and some of them spend their time bilking weak-minded people out of their hard-earned cash via televangelists. Some of them are still keen to persecute anyone who is not a Christian as if we were in the time of the Inquisition. (Ok, so most have given jews a bye, for now.) To top it off, two of their leading lights; Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell make idiotic comments blaming everyone but their fellow evangelicals for 9/11. Nope, can't think of any reason why they are so despised.
The Boy's From Te Awamutu celebrate 30 years since the first performance of iconic Kiwi band Split Enz. Yes we have moved on from Trent Lott and I'm dead serious when I say yawn! Anyway Tim Finn and Phil Judd kicked off New Zealands most significant contribution to the pop music world thirty years ago today. They are currently playing live at an Auckland yacht club where the America's Cup is in the very expensive process of being defended... sometimes by resorting to actually sailing races for it.

I digress, some of you may recognise the descendant of Split Enz, the trans Tasman group, Crowded House who scored well in the US and had "Don't Dream its Over" featured in Steven King's The Stand. Anyway go get a taste of kiwi music, it cures warts too.

"Best-known for their early '80s new wave pop hits, particularly "I Got You," Split Enz -- after surviving a dizzying array of image and personnel changes and a full decade without any recognition outside of their homeland -- became the first New Zealand band to achieve worldwide success. Although they never reached superstar status outside of Australia and New Zealand, the band developed a strong international cult following which continued to thrive over a decade after their break-up. Split Enz's output always seemed slightly outside of the times and often frustratingly obscure, but in the end, they left behind a body of work that was always interesting and often reached pure pop brilliance."

When I was a rower at school my cox was cousin of the bands percussionist, Noel Crombie. Little bugger never got us tickets though, on the grounds that Noel thought he was a dick. We observed at the time that Noel was clearly a switched on cookie. And Dave if you're out there, as cox's go, you were one of them. The Air Cav may have Flight of the Valkyre but you havent lived till you've made a mech inf assault with I See Red being blasted out of every radio.
One final point
Then I'm done with this whole idiotic Trent Lott thing. Its beginning to appear that the ugliest thing about Trent's public brain fart isn't that he made it, but the lock step, PC risk aversion over-reaction to the whole thing by some folks with apparent axes already well ground (as far as they know) just looking for a neck. Someone mentioned to me today in passing, "hey, what if what he really meant was that if Strom had been elected in '48, he would have been done in four years and put out to pasture, instead of lingering around for 50 or so...." Hmmmm. How come nobody used THAT one to fill in the blank? And after getting the brush off on this one from just about everybody and their brother (no, Murray hasn't mentioned anything, yet), finding out that the Emperor pretty much has the same take on this one is kinda nice. Hail Misha.
That darned cat
I can't believe Laurence hasn't said something about this one, considering his last several cat references have been about all the cats piling on the bed. Don't let this happen to you Laurence!
Welcome InstaPundit readers
The diatribe on the Trent Lott lynch mob is down below. Speaking of down below, seems the hysteria has also reeled in one of my favorite Kiwis and blog partner Bruce, who has jumped onto the bandwagon with such force as to seriously give the suspension a workout, although apparently partially with tongue in cheek - so take care Bruce, that's gotten at least one of our local American politicos in some hot water as of late! Meanwhile, as the group collectively jumps up and down and stomps their feet yelling about Lott's assumed naked racism, after (repeating myself for the third time here) filling in the blanks to concoct a guilt by association campaign, still have to choose to stand over in the skeptics corner on this one. As far as cyber takedowns go, this one is pretty flimsy - as also mentioned before, if you want to take Lott apart faster than your favorite sibling's latest Lego creation, have at it, but c'mon guys, can't anybody come up with something better than this? Where's the moistened cigar? Where are the stains on the dress? Where is the missing 17 minutes of tape? Where is the secretary with unshredded documents stuffed in her pantyhose? Where is the documented, but not too well publicized supporting material that reveals Lott's carefully disguised hidden white-power agenda? Citation of Robert Byrd using the N word doesn't fill the bill here. Crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war over a pronoun is a bit much, even when you have inserted an extremely incendiary hypothetical subject which a lot of people would think fits, without too much critical thought. This leads to a side note, Bruce, you usually don't have to have the sense to pour the piss out of your boots, if you have the good sense not to piss in them in the first place, regardless of where the instructions are printed. Lott's entire 'praise' of Thurmond was laced with ridiculous 'fish tales'. And the statement of outrage du juor followed immediately two such patently ridiculous statements. If any connect the dots is in order here, then the logic chain looks more like this: Ridiculous spurring Outrage leads to Absurd.
STROM AND TRENT - A DOWNUNDER VIEW Things have reached a pretty pass when a single blog starts disagreeing with itself. But I'm going to have to take a slightly contrarian view on this whole "What Trent said and what in tarnation he meant by it" thing. Sorry - thang. Now I don't know this Trent Lott character from a hole in the ground, beyond noting that he has excellent hair, so I don't really have a dog in this race. But it doesn't take much more than the sense to pour piss out of your boots if the instructions are written on the heel to work out that Trent was referring quite specifically to Strom Thurmond's run for the Presidency of these here United States on a Dixiecrat platform. Now what was it exactly old Strom was standing for? Let's check the facts, starting with something this "Grand Old Man of the Senate" actually said in 1948:

"I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Niggger race into our homes, into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our schools, into our churches and into our theatres."

Unacceptable sentiments now, and frankly should have been then as well. Just because he's buried all his opponents and reached a venerable age doesn't make ol' Strom any less of a shithead than he's ever been. His election material even specifically states that he's opposed to Truman's civil rights legislation because it is, and I can hardly believe it despite seeing it in front of my eyes; "anti-lynching" and an attack on "our Southern way of life". Remember how he tried to filibuster in Philadelphia to prevent that dangerous peice of legislation, the Constitution, being ratified by the Continental Congress? There's a reason Strom Thurmond's name isn't there next to John Hancock - he refused to sign it, labelling it "communisticly inspired anarchism". And wasn't that ol' Strom hisself sneaking back into parliament after the Restoration, after having voted to chop Chrles I's head off and spending the Cromwellian interregnum sentencing Catholics to death? And why won't he come clean with the American people about his involvement with Brutus and Cassius in the assasination of Roman power-broker, Big Julie? Does anyone else remember how he tried to supress that dangerously radical invention, fire, at a tribal council, labelling it "a direct threat to the Blue Wolf clan's sacred way of life"? Nor do I, but that's hardly the point. Strom Thurmond is, and in fact always has been, a Bad Guy. Just because he's 167 years old today doesn't change that fact. Remember what he was standing for in 1948, what vision of America he had?

On July 17, 1948, delegates from 13 Southern states gathered in Birmingham to nominate Thurmond, the governor of South Carolina, and adopt a platform that said in part, "We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race."

Cute. Here are some interesting facts about Strom Thurmond:

He has been alive for almost half of the entire history of the United States He was 14 when Lenin took power in Russia and John F. Kennedy was born He was 17 when women were granted the right to vote He is one of few living politicians to have received votes from Civil War veterans He was elected state senator in 1933, the same year that Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany In 1954 he was a successful write-in candidate as U.S. Senator, after an extensive government and press sponsored campaign to teach the semi-literate South Carolina populace how to write his name. He holds the record for the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history at 24 hours and 18 minutes, in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act. He began his filibuster by reading the texts of the election laws of all 48 states In 1897, Strom's father Will shot and killed a political foe who called him a "low, dirty, scoundrel". He was acquitted after pleading self-defense He was rumored to have been sexually involved with the only woman to ever receive the death penalty in South Carolina Mark Twain was still writing when Strom was born

None of which has any bearing on Trent Lott's culpability or otherwise in apparently endorsing segregation, I just think they're cool. No, I'm afraid Trent can't wriggle out of this one. He may be as slippery as a treed rattler and sharp as a Philadelphia lawyer, but Strom was standing foresquare in the door of history trying to keep black folks out and the only way you can read Trent Lott's statement is as an implicit endoirsement of segregation.


We wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either
Other American 'problems' since 1948, also specifically not addressed by Sen. Trent Lott (R - Miss), in no particular chronologic or relevant order, but not being used as the vehicle for strident calls for his dismissal and public flogging -
  • The Clinton Presidency
  • The War in Vietnam
  • Assasination of JFK
  • Hostage Crisis in Iran
  • The Carter Presidency
  • The Iran Contra Scandal
  • Watergate
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Giving up the Panama Canal
  • Johnson's 'Great Society' Welfare package
  • The flop of the Edsel
  • The gas crisis of the 70's
  • The breakup of the Beatles
  • Taiwan losing the UN seat (threw that in, still trying to get banned in the PRC)
  • Difficulty learning to hoola-hoop correctly
  • The 'Dewey Defeats Truman' Chicago Trib headline
  • Creation and cancellation of Gilligan's Island
  • The 'D-' I got on my first Chemistry pop-quiz in 1974
  • and finally, the Clinton Presidency (worth mentioning twice)
Lets make an issue out of something, shall we?
Reynolds is on a freekin roll, folks. Eleven, yes, eleven entries as of 9:30PM EST, all fanning the flames over Trent Lott's ill considered ambiguous statements at Strom Thrumond's birthday celebration. He appears to be trying to out spittle the most vehement spittle flingers amongst they who are appassioned to do so. Yes, just used appassioned. Can't find it in the dictionary? Deal with it. Know what I meant? Alright then. Let's review. Trent Lott said something stupid at Strom's birthday bash. Everybody pretty much agrees on that point. This is where it gets fun, and where Glenn seems to have his undies in a bunch - what the hell exactly did Trent say? Lets see, it went something along the lines of this -
‘I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.’
Which leaves me still with the question - what the hell exactly did Trent say? Having actually seen the video of the event, it seemed more reminiscent of somebody's loudmouthed used car salesman uncle getting up and saying 'a few choice words' - and the 'sprit of the event', the context was jovial, joking, and meant to be a light hearted celebration of a remarkable achievement. The majority of the 'speechifying' was along those lines. Nevertheless. Glenn, Daniel Drezner, Virginia Postrel, Geitner Simmons, Christopher Johnson, Tim Maguire, Jacob T. Levy, among others, seem to have developed quite the Karnakian talent of cutting through the ambiguity of "all these problems". At the risk of descending into a discussion of what the meaning of "is" is, according to Webster, "these" is defined as -
Main Entry: 1this Pronunciation: '[th]is, [th]&s Function: pronoun Inflected Form(s): plural these /'[th]Ez/ Etymology: Middle English, pronoun & adjective, from Old English thes (masculine), this (neuter); akin to Old High German dese this, Old English thæt that Date: before 12th century 1 a (1) : the person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place, time, or thought or that has just been mentioned (2) : what is stated in the following phrase, clause, or discourse < I can only say this: it wasn't here yesterday> b : this time or place 2 a : the one nearer or more immediately under observation or discussion b : the one more recently referred to
Well, that just about renders it clear as mud. Since Trent didn't specify a subject for his use of the pronoun 'these', we have the makings of a wide open door for folks to trot out all sorts of variations that their political labelmakers can spit out. While being discounted as a non-answer, the statement issued by Lott's office actually nails it -
“Senator Lott's remarks were intended to pay tribute to a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. To read anything more into these comments is wrong.”
No muss. No fuss. Just the statement. Lets see that again, in bold and italics To read anything more into these comments is wrong.And the source of the tempest being constructed is just exactly that - folks reading, as fast and as much as they can, with as many tangential and nasty tie-ins as possible, into his very, very vacuous statement. Glenn does get some credit for pointing out that maybe, just maybe, everyone is jumping the gun on this thing, and blowing it out of proportion, as Megan Macardle has the sense to point out (although she'd just as soon 86 Mr. Lott as anybody), but then he gets over it and goes right back to screeching like a French Revolutionary eager to be splattered by the gore of the guillotine's next victim. Well, ok, maybe not eager to be splattered. This would be an appropriate place to point out the possibility of people channeling inner angst or guilt or fear of being accused or whatever into their vehement denunciations. Or to launch off on a rant about overestimation of influence, analogous to Bluto running out of the Frat house following his Germans bombed Pearl Harbor rant, expecting everyone to be in a wild mob right behind him. But screw that. There is an absence around here of the shingle certifying to all present the ability for fancy prognosticating about the inner workings of folks' head parts. But to the uneducated eye, that does appear to be the case, this time around. Hey, if you hate Trent's guts, then, hey, you hate Trent's guts. Thats ok. But come out and say you hate Trent's guts, instead of pouncing on the first opportunity that presents itself, no matter how flimsy, or how long you have to stand there with the air hose attached praying it reaches 32psi, and rolls off under its own steam. Several of the folks mentioned by Glenn as sources of outrage over this noted, along with Glenn himself, at the 'lack of reaction' by the folks standing to make the most political hay out of this thing - the Dems. Could this be the first semi-bright thing they've done lately? Is it possible the Daschle's half-cocked vehement tirade on the floor of the Senate is serving as a lesson to them? Is it a lesson that some other folks could learn something from? Maybe. May be. Slow news week, I guess.
Viagra not required
Did anyone else notice that during the ceremony at the capitol for Strom Thurmond's 100th Birthday, that one of the few direct reactions from Strom was the point where Trent Lott mentioned that his 89 year old mother had a crush on Strom - at which point Strom looked over at Trent with a nice little 'knowing' smile on his face? Definately funnier than Lott's comment that Bob Dole might now be able to beat Slick Willy in an election for President - of the Senate spouse's club. Update
As for Lott's comments about Strom not winning his 1948 presidential his as a Dixiecrat, I don't seem to recall the 'audible gasp and silence' reported here, although it was immediately obvious that Lott had opened wide, and inserted both feet all the way up to his hip joints. Now while I won't defend Lott, in that he did commit a definite gaff, I do take issue with those that paste their own interpretation of "all these problems" on it, and take off running with it. Its reasonable to point out that Lott's buffoonery was in giving those already primed and ready to take whatever shots opportunity gives them at him just because he's the new top dog in the Senate, or a Republican, or a Southerner, or even because he's right (or left) handed, or wears glasses, or any number of other 'reasons'. Basically, he committed the crime of ambiguity, and convened the fill in the blanks because we've got an ax to grind club for another boisterous rally. The calls for his head on a platter with an apple in his mouth are pretty much expected from the left, simply because he gets up in the morning. The 'conservative' cries to take him to the top of the volcano and toss him in, or convince him to leap of his own accord, smack just a bit of appeasement to the crowd that spew spittle flecked diatribes just because its a day of the week. A position analagous in a way to having the popcorn vendor concession on the square where the guillotine is located - angling to make a quick buck or two, and feeding the spectacle by denouncing one of the other vendors simply to keep the crowd interested. Several items, from 'conservative' sources rely on the 'he's done stuff like this before' as support and justification for their wails for blood. Whats lacking is the usual excruciating detail and meticulous linking to supporting material that backs up the position. Everyone is working from the same basic material - 1 ) Lott blurbs boneheaded, ambiguous sentence on camera. 2) Left erupts indignantly, using fill in the blanks with most horrific interpretation available method. 3) Response from Lott's office doesn't decisively stop item #2 (as if any response, of any sort, would have any effect on this whatsoever other than to adjust the incoming direction of the pummeling guaranteed by item #1) Off with their heads! Off with their heads! Why? Because we're all yelling for it, thats why! Almost an example of a herd type mentality taking over, or lemmings towards a cliff. Cyber-mob rule. Quite Parisienne, continental, and tres-chic. Want some Pernod to go with that? Or some Brie? If folks out there have genuine heartburn with Lott's performance on the issues, or the way he parts his hair, or conducts the business of the Senate, by all means, let's hear those criticisms with the reasons for them, other than 'well...because, damn it!'. Anything less indicates a level not much beyond the "Everything I need to know I learned about life in Kindergarten" stage. On the bright side, this could get most Canadians thinking that Trent Lott is an idiot and or moron also. That perception has worked wonders for President Bush.
THE LEFT VS PROFESSOR TOLKIEN Well of course this was bound to happen. Some slope-browed troglodyte with a Masters in post-colonialist queer studies or some such vocationally-oriented subject has managed to get his cargo pants in a giant wad over "Lord of the Rings". This time it's racism. And where is this exciting revelation that an elderly Oxford academic specialising in Scandanavian philology in the early and middle decades of the 20th century was not into post-modernist flapdoodle published? Only in the Al-Guardian, that's where! Heigh ho...

Maybe it was the way that all the baddies were dressed in black, or maybe it was the way that the fighting uruk-hai had dreadlocks, but I began to suspect that there was something rotten in the state of Middle Earth. Perhaps Dubya's war on terror is making me a bit uneasy, or maybe it's just good old-fashioned Guardian-reading imperial guilt, but there was something about watching a bunch of pale faces setting off into the east to hack some guys with dark faces into little bits that made me feel a little queasy.

Do thay have some sort of computer programe at the editorial offices of the Al-Guardian churning this boilerplate gimcrackery out by the metric tonne or what? I have detected a pattern at work here: 1) Take example of popular culture 2) Find something in it that from a distance and in poor lighting conditions might be mistaken for something else 3) Use this "insight" as a means to denounce anything good 4) Wash, rinse, repeat as needed until all originality, creativity and spirit has been leached out of western culture and Ingsoc rules Airtstrip One!

We also get a sneak preview of the army that's going to be representing the forces of darkness in part three. Guess what: "Dark faces... black eyes and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears... very cruel wicked men they look". They come from the east and the south. They wield scimitars and ride elephants. Perhaps I'd better come right out and say it. The Lord of the Rings is racist. It is soaked in the logic that race determines behaviour.

As Professor Tolkien said himself when actually addressing this question, LOTR is meant to be a sort of modern-day myth, and as such reaches back into the past. As a man of north-western Europe, it was into the common mythological heritage of that part of the world that he delved. The danger to North-western Europe has always come from the South and East, from dark-skinned people, so that's what happened in LOTR.

Scratch the surface of Tolkien's world and you'll find a curiously 20th-century myth. Begun in the 1930s, published in the 1950s, it's shot through with the preoccupations and prejudices of its time. This is no clash of noble adversaries like the Iliad, no story of our common humanity like the Epic of Gilgamesh. It's a fake, a forgery, a dodgy copy. Strip away the archaic turns of phrase and you find a set of basic assumptions that are frankly unacceptable in 21st-century Britain.

Unacceptable to the sort of people who scratch a living at the editorial offices of the Al-Guardian, a newspaper whose chief policy is that Western culture and values are worthless, and that our policy must be to surrender to those who want to destroy us. Spare me their vision of "21st Century Britain", it sounds altogether too much like Airstrip One for my liking. Lord of the Rings is a classic myth, and will be read and enjoyed by millions of readers for centuries to come, when Mr John Yatt and the staff of the Al-Guardian are long forgotten. And perhaps that's why they hate it. Like Smeagol, they hate the light, and hide in their cave of leftist twaddle, while the upper world continues on without them, they suppurate in their envy of things they cannot understand, but know to be better than they will ever be. Slowly but surely, leftist theoreticians are turning into life-hating Gollums. The question of race is not, of course, completely out of bounds. The tensions between Men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits are very much part of the book. But how does Tolkien treat race? As something that pre-determines destiny and attitudes? Not at all. One of the key sub-plots in the book is the growing freindship between Legolas the Elf and Gimli the Dwarf, two races which are philosophically far apart. The two characters are able to transcend this tension. Hardly the work of a racist writer. And nor is LOTR entirely immune from real-world comparisons, despite Tolkien's stated abhorrence of allegory. He himself made the link between his portrayal of Dwarves and the image of Jews in the popular culture of his time. "The dwarves of course are quite obviously — wouldn’t you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic, obviously, constructed to be Semitic. The Hobbits are just rustic English people." The Dwarves, of course, lust after gold and jewels - a weakness, and very reflective of popular attitudes of Jewish behaviour. But Tolkein also makes them extremely fierce and warlike - valuable allies in the War against Sauron. It's not at all a one-sided portrayal. And as to the charge (made by some weak-minded fools who no dobt take the Al-Guardian) that Professor Tolkein was an anti-semite - bullcrap. When he was not doing terribly well financially in the 1930s, a German publisher wanted to put the book out. The Nazi government approached his publisher to disover if he was "of pure Aryan blood", and Tokein replied that if that's what they wanted he was inclined to let a German edition of the book "go hang".

"Thank you for your letter.... I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend," he wrote. "I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are inquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people...."

On balance, perhaps this article on Tolkien and racism should not be fisked too heavily. Rather it should be towed out past the 12-mile limit and sunk by naval gunfire lest it become a hazard to navigation.