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Preview: The Weekly James

The Weekly James

"The Daily James"--Mick O'Donnell, "7:30 Report"

Updated: 2012-04-15T20:56:54.763-04:00



OLD, GIFTED AND BLACK: Just saw on Drudge that Nina Simone has died at age 70, which is a real shame. We're big fans of hers around the house; I've left instructions with Claire that when I die, I am to be wheeled out of Surly Jack's Discount Funeral Caravan and Bait Shop to the strains of Simone singing, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" - a trifecta of irony that should put the "fun" back in "funeral."


IF YOU'VE BEEN WONDERING WHERE I'VE BEEN LATELY, I've been working on a new essay-blog site, DuckSeason. Pithy posts will resume here shortly, while longer rants will live over there.


SO CLAIRE JUST GOT BACK FROM SYDNEY'S SECOND-GREATEST WINE STORE where she was buying a bottle of champers for our first wedding anniversary, which is Saturday. (The first anniversary, as it happens, is the "paper" anniversary; anyone wishing to give the folding kind can via the Make a Donation button to the right). Not sure what to buy, she asked for some guidance in selecting a bottle of bubbly. When a helpful clerk said, "well, all our French champagne is over here," she cut him off and said, "no, I'm looking for something Australian; we're boycotting the French in our house."

His response was simply priceless: "That's great. You know, I've never forgiven them for what they did to the Rainbow Warrior."

But it gets better.

"Oh, it's not because of that," Claire replied. "It's because of the war."

"You mean you'" the clerk said, stunned.

"No, we're simply anti-Saddam Hussein," answered Claire, who then was wise enough to cut off the debate by telling the clerk, "but you know, even though we probably disagree on just about everything in the world, we can still be united by a love of wine and a hatred of the French!"

And really, when it comes down to it, is there anything more to life?


STEPHEN DEN BESTE suggests that Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has a lot to offer potential employers, now that regime change has forced him to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Amongst Mohammed's qualifications are
— Total and unquestioning dedication to the cult of his employer
— Able to deliver even the most blatant lie with a totally straight face
— Completely impervious to criticism and ridicule
— No apparent shame defending absurd claims during press conferences
— A facility for particularly clever epithets and curses against his opponents
Of course being a computer geek, Den Beste thinks an ideal new job would be to shill for Apple. Instead, I reckon Mohammed could find work as Monty Burns' new assistant, should Waylon Smithers ever decide to retire to a private retreat with his, um, life partner.

That Smithers better watch his ass. So to speak.


I WAS GOING TO POST today about the relentless whininess coming out of Tim Dunlop's site lately - and who can blame him, forced as he is to cry into already weak American beer as the war comes to a quick conclusion without massive, protestable casualties on either side - but Gareth Parker beat me to it.

Christ, I feel sorry for Mrs. Dunlop. Can you imagine domestic life around Casa del Dunlop?

"Tim, honey, did you mow the lawn?"

"How can I mow the lawn when truth is the first casualty of war, and there won't be another Leunig cartoon for four days?"

"Um, OK, can you watch the kids while I run to the store?"

"Well, I guess, but it will only make me wonder how many baby milk factories have been blown up by the CIA that we haven't heard about..."
But don't feel too bad, Tim. Ever since Bubba left the White House, the patch of grass off the Rock Creek Parkway where that nut always stood with the "IMPEACH CLINTON" sign is now free for you to take over with Bush-hating placards of your own.


JUST ASKING: If so many American soldiers live in poverty, and Saddam Hussein's palaces are gaudy pleasure-domes, how come the Left won't support the war as an exercise in economic revolution?

No war but class war, indeed.


SARS IS ON THE MARCH. It's a good thing the Europeans have found a cure.


BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 8 — A U.S. Air Force warplane dropped four enormous bombs Monday on a residential neighborhood where “extremely reliable” intelligence information indicated that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his two sons were staying, senior administration officials told NBC News. The sources would not rule out the possibility that Saddam could have moved before the planes struck, but they said it was highly likely that he and his sons were dead if they were still there when the bombs hit.


High drama developed today when two Greenpeace protesters managed to climb from speeding rubber dinghies and clamp themselves to the bow and stern of HMAS Sydney, stopping it leaving the harbour after being farewelled by Prime Minister John Howard.

A high-speed rubber dinghy managed to act as a decoy to police boats while another dinghy pulled alongside the bows of the frigate as it cruised towards the heads.

One of the protesters, dressed in climbing gear, managed to attach some form of clamp to the side of the warship and rappel himself up.
You know, I've called anti-war protesters idiots before, but this is ridiculous.

Especially since the war is, for all intents and purposes, over. So much so that the barista at my local cappucino joint has taken off his "No War!" button.


MOVING RIGHT ALONG: Just woke up, turned on the TV, and heard that the noose is tightening around Baghdad - apparently, the airport has just fallen.


MEANWHILE, AUSSIE TIM MATE is still having serious blogger problems. But never fear! Fresh installments of the wit and wisdom of Mr. Blair are being served up at Blogs of War.


OUR MATE, SADDAM! So yesterday's "Books Not Bombs" march for Saddam in Sydney was a lot more peaceful than last week's, which degenerated into an orgy of screaming and chair-flinging that had to be busted up by the cops. (Sounds a lot like the last family reunion I went to...) However, all was not quiet; the Stars-and-Stripes got torched, and even the Herald, which is normally highly circumspect about reporting the misdeeds of those who, shall we say, need a compass to say their bedtime prayers, notes:
Police made 10 arrests by late afternoon, although none related to crowd behaviour at the gathering. One naked woman who was not a protester was charged with obscene exposure, and a 15-year-old youth who was identified from police video footage faces charges related to burning papers at last week's march.

A further eight youths were charged after a breakaway group of about 50, chanting in Arabic, ran amok in Darling Harbour and then doubled back to the city.

This is being generous. The TV footage I saw on Channel Ten showed large numbers of Arab-looking high school kids in the crowd, mostly young toughs, and reportedly, they got into a scuffle with at least one media crew. (The ironies of a naked woman protesting against modernizing a culture with a hatred of naked women, and of protesters beating up the people who would help get their message, are too delicious and/or invigorating to contemplate). Even more, when confronted with a camera. one group of these kids started yelling sentiments along the lines of "We're all Arab mates!" and "Saddam's our mate, and we Arabs stick together!"

Stupidity like this just underlines the destructive nature of ethnic separatism in free socities. And the blowback from this explicit endorsement of the enemy is going to be tremendous, especially after last year's epidemic of gang rapes in western Sydney by Lebanese teens. For all the worries that Muslim "leaders" here have about anti-Islamic and anti-Arab prejudice, they sure don't seem to be doing a lot to stop their fellow hyphenated Australians (hyphenated by choice, it should be noted) from giving the so-called "majority culture" reason to be suspicious, to say the least.


RIDICULOUS BLOGGER PROBLEMS: It only very occasionally lets me post a damn thing anymore. Anyone else having this trouble? In the meantime, check out DuckSeason, a brand-new group essay-blog with which I'm involved and which will play home to some of my lengthier ramblings...


LIKE HE NEEDS THE TRAFFIC: When you plug the ABC's version of this site's name, "the Daily James", into Google, what's the third result you get? Lilek's Bleat!


WELCOME TO THE DAILY JAMES! ABC's 7:30 Report segment on Australian bloggers, including myself, Gareth Parker, John Quiggin and Gianna ("just Gianna") ran a little while ago; apparently they have a shortage of fact-checkers over there because they referred to this site as the "Daily James". (Perhaps Labor will propose a special "clue levy" on income tax to help rectify this). Other than that, thought it came out pretty well, despite little politically correct ABC-isms like the off-hand - and inaccurate - complaint that blogs are mostly a bloke thing (tell that to Michelle, Angie, Andrea, or Diane, to name a few. And the segment in which Claire asks to use the computer while Nicholas toddles around reminded me a bit of Homer Simpson proudly reporting, "It isn't easy to juggle a troubled child and a pregnant wife, but somehow I managed to squeeze in eight hours of TV a day."

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts lately; been having BlogSpot problems the last couple of days, but it seems to be working again. And watch this space for news of another exciting Weekly (er, Daily?) James Web project, and a report on the predictable hilarity that ensued when I wound up at a first-birthday party this weekend held by a virulently anti-American dad who was also a home-brewer.

I was going to say how the show was so old media, what with the two camera guys that spent three hours in my house to get three minutes of footage and the transcript that keeps referring to the "bloggersphere", but I realized the huge Blogger outage I've been caught up in lately kinda shows "new" media ain't always what it's cracked up to be.




Fox News had its own response to the demonstrators. The news ticker rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them.

"War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned. "Protesters or soldiers?"

Said a third: "How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them."

Still another read: "Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street" - a reference to the film maker who denounced the war while accepting an Oscar on Sunday night for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine."
Yes, it was a silly thing to do. Yes, they'll take some flack for this. But, damn, it's a funny idea. (Via Sgt. Stryker)


REMEMBER KARNAK? For those who don't, he was an old Johnny Carson character who would predict the the answer to a question in an envelope, usually three names that would be the set-up for some joke. (Johnny: "The Skipper, Gilligan, Chief Wiggum...Name three castaways!" Ed: "Hi-OH!")

This morning, readers of the Sydney Morning Herald are playing Karnak on the letters page, holding an envelope to their brow, and reciting the names John Howard, Tony Blair, George W. Bush. Then, after ceremonially opening the envelope, they reveal the question: Who is responsible for the violent student protests around Australia a few days ago?

Not surprisingly, the page is full of the opinions of people who think that, somehow, ridding the world of a man who represents a real threat to both global security and the citizens of his prison of a country, is just as sleazy as tearing through downtown and flinging cafe chairs at cops, so why get in a lather about either? Here's Rose Bay's Fred Jansohn:
The deliberate and all-too transparent political machinations behind the pro-war lobby are of themselves steeped in violence. The events unfolding in Iraq at present are the ultimate and unacceptably violent outcome of this policy.

Is there any real difference in kind underlying the motivations behind the violence that erupted in Sydney yesterday and that which is playing itself out in Iraq, other than that yesterday's would have us understand that what is happening in Iraq is of an order and extent that must, at all costs, be avoided?
The last time Jansohn was published in the Herald, just seven weeks ago, he was putting his faith in a Franco-German solution, saying in a fairly offensive turn of phrase that it would be an alternative to "all-out blitzkrieg". And, then as now, the Herald saw fit to put his missive at the top of the page.

Meanwhile, diversity-industry mooch Cristina Pebaque of Sans Souci jams so many false moral equivalencies into one paragraph that the page is threatening to tear under the weight of it all:
While such behaviour is unacceptable, it has many similarities with the behaviour of Messrs Howard, Bush and Blair. This war is the embodiment of aggression, violence and illegal behaviour, and this is what young people are witnessing from our political leaders. The hypocrisy involved in condemning the powerless for exhibiting the same behaviour of the powerful astounds me.
Mercifully, the Herald actually printed a few letters from people who think rioting tykes should be condemned (and I would add "have their skulls meet the business-end of a police baton"). But it's clear on whose side the Herald stands: after all, the letters page today is headlined, "Students copy their elders in aggression".



TAX DOLLARS AT WORK, PART DEUX: Apparently the 7:30 Report segment on blogs is, possibly, going to air tonight. Apologies to all who tuned in last night and were subjected to an in-depth special report, "Why Iraq Is Exactly Like Vietnam" instead.


YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: It's not confirmed, but I think the 7:30 Report segment on OzBloggers (including yours truly) will air tonight on the ABC.

Again, check listings for time and station.


VIOLENT PEACE PROTESTERS? Believe it. Here in Sydney, a so-called "Books Not Bombs" protest - an organized children's crusade in which schoolkids ditch class to run amok in protest of George Bush, John Howard, and historical facts and world realities that are apparently no longer taught in Australian classrooms - turned into a mini-riot, as this raw video shows.

According to Reuters, one of the placards of the protesters - who flung chairs and plastic bottles and threw punches at cops - read, "We are ready to fight, world peace is our right."

Meanwhile, here's an interesting tidbit that is sure to be spun wildly in the morning papers:
It was unclear why the Sydney rally turned into a riot. Some students said police refused to allow them to march. Others said it was the arrest of a young girl that sparked the violence.

Police blamed a small group of Middle Eastern youths.
UPDATE: It wasn't just Sydney that fell victim to these irony-free peace-loving bottle-chuckers. Perth saw similar action yesterday. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph has more info on the Syndey riot, including more photos and the revelation that knives were found on some of the protesters.


WELL, IT LOOKS LIKE THE U.N. is still trying to queer the liberation of Iraq, even if it's through cheesy public relations campaigns. I just saw an ad for UNICEF asking for donations to help bring food and water to Iraq. The ad's slogan, which was voiced over footage of happy kids playing while their well-veiled moms look on?

"Kids don't start wars. But wars kill kids".

You see, in the moral calculus of U.N. fans, America "started" the war, thus America is killing kids, thus the U.N. needs to ride in and save the day. Because, as Helen Lovejoy says, "won't somebody please think of the children?"

Of course, it aired at 2:30 AM Sydney time, in the middle of an episode of "Freaks and Geeks" I flipped over to because I was sick of watching the BBC feed on Aunty, so it probably only reached a few other semi-employed misfits like myself and won't make any dent in the opinion polls one way or the other.


IF YOU'RE NOT OSCARED-OUT, check out my latest effort in The Australian, where I take on Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, Frida Kahlo, the Dixie Chicks, and Irish Setters.


SPENT THE AFTERNOON with a crew from ABC's 7:30 Report talking about blogging and the war and stuff. Managed to plug an awful lot of other quality Web sites, including yours.

Should be airing in a day or two; check local listings for time and station.