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Saturday, June 30, 2007


Reported in May:

After months of build up, the wait is finally over. Environmental superstar Al Gore, a former U.S. senator and vice president, is finally visiting Chile – albeit for just a handful of hours.

And that’s all it took:

The months of May and June have been the coldest the country has seen for the past 20 years ...

Regional Chile was also affected by the cold, experiencing record low temperatures and heavy snowfall. Snow even fell in the port cities of Valparaíso and Puerto Montt.

UPDATE. An impassioned plea from Dave Wane:

Al Gore go away,
Find some other place to stay,

We like it hot and we don’t care,
We not want live like polar bear.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 03:28 PM
(35) CommentsPermalink


Kathy Shaidle:

Remind me again why they’re considered the intellectuals of the Right ... Libertarians are basically just liberals with slightly larger vocabularies and even larger (and frequently less excusable) chips on their shoulders.

(Via Mark Steyn)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 03:25 PM
(102) CommentsPermalink


Another failed terrorist attack in the UK:

Two men rammed a flaming Jeep Cherokee into the main terminal of Glasgow airport Saturday, crashing into the glass doors at the entrance in what appeared to be the third attempted terror attack on Britain in two days, witnesses said.

Police wrestled the two men to the ground - one of them engulfed in flames - arresting both and taking one to the hospital ...

Hundreds fled screaming from the terminal as one of the men poured gasoline over the Jeep and tried to force it further inside the terminal, one witness said.

Something may be up at England’s Blackpool Airport, too. Presbyterians are mighty frisky lately.

UPDATE. An AP timeline of these murder attempts.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 02:45 PM
(73) CommentsPermalink


Geoffrey Wheatcroft notes a suggested alternative to the knighting of Salman Rushdie:

When Lord Ahmed was made a member of the House of Lords by Blair, he was paraded as a moderate Muslim voice. He sounded only fairly moderate when he said on television that “Sir Salman” was an outrage against Islam and that the government should have knighted journalist Robert Fisk instead.

He’d have been the first to win a knighthood for services to himself. Here’s Sir Robert on the death of Kurt Waldheim, in which the Nazi-linked former UN Secretary-General receives only passing mention:

All I could say ... I heard yesterday ... I spent months, years, investigating ... I remember ... I was at Amman airport ... I thought ...

It was an Austrian journalist who alerted me ... when I told her ... I recall finding ... I remember how I visited Bosnia ... I visited his former headquarters ... I even visited his interrogation office ...

I asked him what it felt like ... I have his words in my own handwriting as I write this ... When I left Bosnia ... my Waldheim investigations ... I called my foreign news editor ... I saw so many parallels ...

I believed a civil war would break out ... The local Serbs even abused me ... I did report the Bosnian war ...

I well remember ... I came across a second-hand copy of Waldheim’s memoirs ... I should add ...

All history revolves around Bob. This piece also sees the return of Fisk’s roarers:

"We’ll report it if it happens,” Barnes roared down the phone at me.

(Note the redundant “at me”.) Previous roaring appearances:

Andrew Marr, when editor of The Independent, who first made me think about what was happening ... Andrew turned round and pointed across the city. “Something’s gone wrong with the bloody weather!” he roared.

“Fisky,” he roars, “that really is the story of Lebanon. Aren’t we are all now ‘on the mosque side of the church’?"

Fisk is quite the roarer himself, as Sean Gannon reminds us:

Corrections and clarifications have never been a feature of Fisk’s reporting on Israel. Most notoriously, he has never properly repudiated the false claims made in his April 2002 articles on the Battle of Jenin in which, despite being in California at the time, he described the “stench of death wafting out from the Palestinian city” and accused “Israel’s undisciplined soldiery” of “running amok,” massacring “hundreds” and concealing the evidence from the world.

West Bank, west coast; what’s the difference?

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 01:34 PM
(26) CommentsPermalink


Al Gore hands down his Seven Commandments. The only difference between these and the work of an earnest 13-year-old girl is the lack of pony drawings.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 12:45 PM
(48) CommentsPermalink


In a first for this site, you are urged to buy a book of poetry. It’s by Hal G.P. Colebatch, so it’s actually good.

UPDATE. In another historic first, Chris Sheil - notorious for his ability to destroy all who he supports - backs some winners. This could change everything.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 12:09 PM
(10) CommentsPermalink


Global warming is on a killing spree:

The World Health Organization said Thursday that an estimated 77,000 deaths are recorded annually in the Asia-Pacific region due to health problems arising from global warming.

Is that what it says on their death certificates? “Hands slipped off steering wheel due to sweat brought about by global warming”? “Eaten by desperate polar bear”? “Breathed in near an American car”? It doesn’t matter, in a way; we’re all doomed eventually. Well, half of us are.

(Via Rich Stadnik)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 09:35 AM
(58) CommentsPermalink


When Hamas kills off a television character, they really kill off a television character:

A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children’s television program was beaten to death in the show’s final episode Friday.

In the final skit, “Farfour” was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour’s land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a “terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land,” said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed “by the killers of children,” she added.

“So,” asks Room 101, “does he get 72 virgins?”

UPDATE. Achmed and Farouk discuss the tragedy.

UPDATE II. The sad face is deployed at Muslim Village.

UPDATE III. Dan Lewis emails: “In mouse heaven, all the virgins are made of cheese.”

UPDATE IV. Cuckoo asks: “Why didn’t Hamas rip-off Itchy and Scratchy? They wouldn’t have even needed to change the theme song: They fight, they fight, they fight and fight and fight - fightfightfight, fightfightfight ...

Posted by Tim B. on 06/30/2007 at 12:31 AM
(60) CommentsPermalink

Friday, June 29, 2007


Latest column. Alas, no noir art, but the print edition has a nice Pasha Bulker photograph.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 03:09 PM
(77) CommentsPermalink


The PM deals with an inquiry:

John Howard chews on the question for all of a millisecond, sets his jaw and declares, “I dismiss it with contempt."

At least he didn’t try for lofty disdain. Read the whole thing, by my former Bulletin colleague Tony Wright.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 03:08 PM
(56) CommentsPermalink


“Global warming shrinks Shivalingam,” according to the Hindustan Times:

The Shivalingam at Amarnath in Jammu, which stood 12 feet tall even till June 18, has now reportedly shrunk to 4 feet.

(Via Kent)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 01:38 PM
(46) CommentsPermalink


The mighty Pasha Bulker has resisted an initial attempt to free it:

Three weeks after it beached in savage storms, the stricken bulk carrier Pasha Bulker is just 5m closer to returning to sea.

And with industry sources estimating a cost of more than $200,000 for each day it stays stranded, those 5m have cost the Pasha Bulker’s Japanese owners Fukujin Kisen, or at least its insurance company, $4.2m – or $840,000 a metre.

But Newcastle is cashing in:

"The wave of tourism has been incredible, I’ve had to put on extra staff to cope with the crowds that come in,” Last Drop Cafe owner Monique Lee said.

"I’d be happy if they left it there as a permanent tourist attraction."

Newcastle City Council tourism manager Shawn Day said the economic benefits had been “huge”.

Which is why locals were possibly anxious, ahead of Thursday night’s rescue bid, that the Bulker stay a while longer:

Police blocked off parts of the city’s east yesterday as a safety precaution as residents crowded under any shelter they could find to watch.

Many residents had mixed feelings. One said, “That ship is like our new best friend."

The ABC’s Simone Thurtell is a fan:

The Pasha actually looks lovely, lit up beautifully and swaying side to side as the waves crash over the stern.

Everybody loves the Pasha Bulker, a coal-hauling, 40,000-tonne metal friend who just won’t quit. Also, there are burgers:

I gather that one fast food outlet is even selling a Pasha Bulker hamburger.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 12:24 PM
(43) CommentsPermalink


The Times reports:

Police have defused a “potentially viable explosive device” in a car in Central London overnight raising fears of an attempted terrorist attack at the heart of the capital.

The device was found in the car parked in the Haymarket after a member of the public contacted officers at 2am with concerns about the suspicious vehicle.

Bomb disposal officers attended the scene to make the device safe, but the street remains closed along with the nearby Piccadilly Circus Tube station. The vehicle is expected to be taken away to the Forensic Explosives Laboratory in Kent for further tests.

It’s those pesky Presbyterians again, most likely. The usual strategy is for multiple blasts; other areas of London may be shut down for searches.

UPDATE. An Irish link not ruled out:

Intelligence sources in London said they were keeping an open mind on who was responsible for a car bomb found this morning in London’s Haymarket district. The device has since been made safe.

“All options, including the Irish, are open at this stage,” said the source.

UPDATE II. The search is on:

Police are now frantically searching landmark sites across the capital to check for further explosive devices. They are not sure whether the bomb was a lone device or more had been deployed across London.

Picture of the scene here.

UPDATE III. The bomb was “made of a lethal mix of gasoline, propane gas, and nails.” Something similar was planned three years ago:

British police ... said the incident echoed the “Gas Limos Project”, a major al Qaeda plot foiled in 2004.

Convicted Islamist militant Dhiren Barot, who was jailed last year, admitted he had been planning to explode gas and explosives packed into limousines or other large vehicles in underground car parks in co-ordinated attacks across Britain.

UPDATE IV. Possible evidence of the usual multiple pattern, via Dylan Kissane:

Sky UK has just announced that Fleet Street has now been closed down after another ‘suspect vehicle’ was located. This makes the third ...

UPDATE V. Second bomb found.

UPDATE VI. Search begins for the Birmingham Three:

British authorities were seeking three men Friday after police defused two car bombs that they said could have caused “significant injury or loss of life” in London.

The three men are believed to be from the Birmingham area, a center of radical Islamic unrest in Britain, U.S. officials who had been briefed on the developments told NBC News.

UPDATE VII. SMH headline: “London streets closed in panic over bombs”. A German visiting London tells the NYT: “There are millions of people here, people are walking around, nobody looks too frightened, I don’t think anybody is staying at home, or tourists are staying in their hotels. They always say that Londoners just take it as it comes, they don’t get nervous. English people are like that anyway, they just sort of mind their own business, they don’t get in a panic.” (Via Alan R.M. Jones)

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 03:30 AM
(205) CommentsPermalink


“Fearless Bob Brown comes to the rescue of another victim of racist land rights abuse.”

Posted by Tim B. on 06/29/2007 at 12:15 AM
(47) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, June 28, 2007


A statement of indisputable accuracy from the NSW Treasurer:

The NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, has called Tim Flannery an “idiot” ...

Mr Costa, a renowned climate change sceptic, made his comments in question time in the Legislative Council, saying the environmental campaigner Mr Flannery was wrong to say that dams were going to dry up because of climate change.

Mr Costa referred to “idiots like Tim Flannery saying it’ll never rain” as he launched into a tirade against the theory of greenhouse gases.

He said Mr Flannery and others continually came up with “ridiculous propositions” and told Coalition MPs he would not have appointed Mr Flannery Australian of the Year.

Flannery’s response:

"My reaction is just lofty disdain,” Mr Flannery said.

UPDATE. Thanks to Ian Deans, here’s further from Costa:

These people do not understand climate cycles. When it comes to the climate they are alarmists and cannot see beyond the end of their noses. They create division, panic and fear so that they can rustle up a few naïve people to vote for them at election time. Climates change. If there is one constant about climates, it is that they change. I do not mean that they are changing now; but they have changed over history. We will continue to see climates change, and rain cycles will vary from drought, to normality, to heavy rainfall incidents. That is the reality of the world ...

UPDATE II. Flannery has used the lofty disdain defence previously:

"So I intend to single mindedly get on with the job of dealing with climate change, which means treating articles like this with the lofty disdain they deserve,” says Flannery.

He’s a climate change disdainalist!

UPDATE III. Melissa Sweet reports:

Another critical difference between global warming and obesity is that the latter lacks an Al Gore or Tim Flannery.

Oh, I wouldn’t say that.

Posted by Tim B. on 06/28/2007 at 09:25 PM
(139) CommentsPermalink
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