Brain graze



What do you reckon they do at the Center for Hate and Extremism in San Bernardino, California?
Hold workshops in vilification? Study the works of Stalin, Hitler, Philip Adams and Bin Laden? Deconstruct the language of Collingwood supporters towards umpires?
I suspect they won't be taking too much notice of the centre's director, criminologist Brian Levin, whose expertise is open to drastic challenge. Johan Goldberg in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reveals that Levin became the goose in a noose of the week when he opined thus on the Washington sniper:
"This person is kind of a wallpaper white male, a disenfranchised, disrespected man who's getting back at society."
We are not bothering to ask Mr Levin for his Melbourne Cup tip.


FOX NEWS reports that Russian special forces have the Moscow hostage situation under control, after storming the theater where Chechen rebels held hundreds of hostages. Officials report that the Russians killed the Chechen rebel leader.
Dozens of bodies were seen being removed from the theater. Survivors were loaded onto buses, many in shock or unconscious. It was not clear exactly how many of the dead were hostages or rebels.
Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Vasilyev said that about three dozen of the estimated 50 hostage-takers had been killed, but that some apparently had managed to escape.


Richard Glover in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD has a lash at the dickheads in education policy who have brought postmodernism to HSC English. Depressingly, Glover predicts that the postmod fad will soon deservedly pass on, leaving the molested holding the worthless baby. And finding out too late that excellence does matter; that some have higher intellects than others, just as some play footy better than others; and that you have to study great art deeply to fully understand it.


For the keen punter, today -- Cox Plate day -- is like Christmas Day to a kid: simply the best afternoon on the turf for the year.
The Plate itself is the premier race on the calendar. It's an event that draws the equine elite. Tub-chested, powerfully-haunched seemingly unbeatables like Northerly and Sunline race at equal terms -- weight for age -- to determine who is the best in the dominions.
Earlier in the afternoon, the three-year-olds -- bubble-eyed, lolly-legged adolescents -- rocket across the turf in an hysterical, terrified rush to identify who will be next season's stayer to watch.
Then there's that great indicator of class under handicap terms, the Moonee Valley Cup. The chance for the journeymen of galloping to demonstrate their worthiness for a crack at the biggest show in racing -- the Melbourne Cup in 10 days time. This year the names are redolent of the type of honest horseflesh that boards this train to glory: Mr Prudent, Big Pat, Rain Gauge -- you just know that win, place or stone cold motherless last, you are going to get your wager's worth. Of course, there has to be a Homewrecker bringing up the rear.
No doubt Magic Mick Manley has been caught up in the Cup Carnival fever, social animal that he is, and has not had the time to furnish us with his considerations.
Not to worry, the Slatts' intuitive appreciation of horse speed, born generations ago above the bogs of Tipperary, will have us bothering the bookie's bag at the termination of proceedings.
In the Plate, class stands out. Although it would take a Solomon to put them in order. That's why they invented box trifectas. Bunch Northerly (1), Grandera (3), Fields of Omagh (5) and Sunline (8) for an outlay of $12 and you won't be far off collecting.
They've made my old mate Rain Gauge (6) favourite in the Cup. By race time I think you'll get better than 3/1, so have a bit each way on him. In the last, the Crown Trophy, you'll get your bus fare home with a consideration on Don't Tell Tom.



JUST what goes through the criminal mind?
Jason Fensling was due in court this week after getting nabbed for stealing T-shirts.
No appearance, though Your Worship.
Fensling, 28, of Norlane, high-tailed it out of Geelong Magistrates Court with a video recorder he stole from a courthouse office.
Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday heard that Fensling stole a Panasonic VCR, remote control, power board and several leads from court room number eight on Thursday afternoon.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Anne McKeon said Fensling was due to appear at the law courts that day on a charge of stealing six T-shirts from Ed Harris.
The T-shirts, worth $90, were allegedly stolen from a rack at the front of the shop in the Corio Village Shopping Centre on August 29, she said.
But Sen-Constable McKeon said Fensling never attended his hearing.
Instead, police found a drug-affected Fensling sitting on a garden bed in Shannon Avenue with the stolen VCR.
Sen-Constable McKeon said Fensling, also found with a plastic bag of clonazepam tablets in his pocket, initially denied stealing the VCR, claiming he had just picked it up from being repaired.
He later claimed it belonged to his brother and also that he found it in the bushes behind the law courts, she said.
Magistrate Frank Moloney said Fensling needed to address his drug addiction.
He convicted and sentenced Fensling to six months jail, suspended for a year.
He was also ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid community work during the next 12 months.


Acting Prime Minister John Anderson has promised that authorities will move quickly against Australian members of the Jemaah Islamiah, which is expected to be listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation tomorrow.
``I expect JI to be listed as early as tomorrow,'' Mr Anderson told reporters in Sydney today.
``I don't expect arrests as early as tomorrow, but the authorities and police would move as quickly as possible,'' he told AAP.
Proposed legislation before Federal Parliament, to be backdated to coincide with the UN listing, will make it an offence to belong to any terrorist or ganisation listed by the UN.
Mr Anderson said intelligence information about terrorist threats against Australia would not deter the Government from punishing those responsible for the October 12 Bali blasts.
``We can't give way to threats and intimidation from the sort of people that indiscriminately take Australian lives,'' he said.


We've heard of the hair of the dog, but the fang of the snake?
Nury Vittachi's splendid Travellers' Tales column in the Far Eastern Economic Review reports on a very potent nip.
A man in Suzhou, China, opened a bottle of rice wine containing a preserved serpent--a common drink in that locality. Before he could take a swig, the snake jumped out and bit him. How could a dead, pickled snake come back to life? The local Xin Bao newspaper offered the theory that the bottle stopper, made from wood or cork, must have let in just enough air to keep the snake alive for a year. The hospitalized victim was expected to recover. Whether he regains his taste for snake wine is a different matter.


SCOTT WICKSTEIN has a pretty accurate wrap-up of the state of play in Australian politics.


Red faces glowing among the US commentariat with the arrest of a black Jamaican Muslim and his teenage stepson for the sniper killings.
The know-all talking heads and their guest profilers spent the past week insinuating that the offenders were crazy, meat-eating, misogynist, devil-worshipping white single men.
Stupid Phil Donohue even blabbed nationally "You're not going to like to hear this, but this is a white guy."
"D'oh!!'' said the networks.
Anyway, to fill in the gaps while the news broke last night here in Australia, they got more experts in to rake over the rapidly cooling coals.
I like the snooty NY pyschiatrist Today guested to explain the "duck in a noose'' line in the snipers' note. She pyscho-babbled in a manner incoherent to everyone except Katy Curic when it was plain to anyone with half a grasp of Yardie irony what the fugitives were playing at. The line:
Duck in a noose
was sent to Chief Moose
by snipers on the loose.

If that Jamaican and his boy weren't composing a Reggae rap I'm a white supremist sniper.



The New York Times repetitive airhead lovechild of Philip Adams, Maureen Dowd, has thrown another intellectual pygmy's spear at Dubya, again likening him to a spoilt little boy:

"The Boy Emperor picked up the morning paper and, stunned, dropped his Juicy Juice box with the little straw attached. 'Oh, man,' he wailed," Dowd wrote. "'North Korea's got nukes... 'Get me Condi!' the boy yelled. 'And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.'"

Seems Dowd's dotty diatribe stuck in the considerable craw of the Sherman Tank of talk wireless, Rush Limbaugh, who blunderbussed thus:

"You know, I've been struggling with whether or not to even mention this. I cannot believe that the people get all over Richard Mellon Scaife and his newspaper as being a bunch of crackpot kooks when her column that ran on Sunday, yesterday, is the most embarrassing thing I have read in a major American newspaper. This thing doesn't deserve to be in the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. It doesn't belong in NATIONAL LAMPOON as a parody piece. It's just mean, despicable, childish, and immature."

Then he sinks the slipper:

"It's obvious Maureen Dowd hasn't gotten over her breakup with Michael Douglas who she thinks is a real American president but he didn't do anything but utter the words written for him by Aaron Sorkin and stand where someone director told him to stand and have his hair coifed by somebody who knew what to do, and then he blew it by running off with Catherine Zeta-Jones, leaving Maureen Dowd in the lurch. All she's got now is bourbon for mouthwash, and it's showing on her columns."

Bourbon mouthwash! Ouch!!


Looks as if at least one Australian journalist was getting too close to the real story.
Crikey has just published news that a Brisbane journalist last night became a shooter's target:

By Stephen Mayne

Investigative journalists across Australia should take a deep breath this morning.

Four shots from a high powered weapon were fired at the home of the Courier Mail's excellent investigative reporter Hedley Thomas in western Brisbane at 11pm last night.

Crikey understands that one bullet missed Hedley's wife Ruth by less than a foot.

And Hedley is not even a crime reporter. He specialises in pieces looking at issues like dodgy lawyers, finance brokers and property developers.

Hedley and his family have been taken to a safe house in Brisbane and are said to be extremely shaken by the experience.

It is a very sad day if you can't sleep peacefully at night with your wife and two children and be a hard-hitting journalist in Australia.

Crikey has received only one anonymous threat via the ABC and one half-hearted throwaway threat from a journalist over the phone in three years of hard-hitting publishing.

But this morning's incident makes us and many others just a bit more nervous.

Crikey can't recall another incident in recent times where the life of an Australian journalist has been threatened in such circumstances.

Let's hope the cops get to the bottom of it very quickly. It will certainly add some spice to the current guns debate.



All right boys and girls, time for a little drollery amid all this mortality and mayhem.

This gender-corrected piece of Old Testament courtesy of Marie Blackman:

It all makes sense now.

One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God... "Lord, I have a
problem." "What's the problem, Eve?"

"I know that you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all of
these wonderful animals, as well as that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm
just not happy."

"And why is that Eve?"

"Lord, I am lonely, and I'm sick to death of apples."

"Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."

"Man? What is that Lord?"

"A flawed creature, with many bad traits. He'll lie, cheat and be vain; all
in all, he'll give you a hard time. But he'll be bigger, faster and will
like to hunt and kill things. He will look silly when he is aroused, but
since you've been complaining, I'll create him in such away that he will
satisfy your physical needs. He will be witless and will revel in childish
things like fighting and kicking a ball about. He won't be too smart, so he
will also need your advice to think properly."

"Sounds great," says Eve, with ironically raised eyebrows, "but what's the
catch Lord?"

" can have him on one condition."

"And what's that Lord?"

"As I said, he'll be proud, arrogant and you'll have
to let him believe that I made him first. And it will have to be our little
secret. You know..... woman to woman."

And these tributes to the marvellous achievements of womankind have been sent by our man at The Times, Glen Quartermain.
The Guinness Book Of Female Records

Celebrating womankind ' s amazing feats

Car Parking

The smallest kerb side space successfully reversed into by a woman was one of 19.36m (63ft 2ins, equivalent to three standard parking spaces) by Mrs Elizabeth Simpkins, driving an unmodified Vauxhall Nova Swing on 12th October 1993. She started the manoeuvre at 11.15am in Ropergate, Pontefract and successfully parked within three feet of the pavement 8 hours 14 minutes later. There was slight damage to the bumpers and wings of her own and two adjoining cars, as well as a shop frontage and two lampposts.

Incorrect Driving

The longest journey completed with the handbrake on was one of 504 km, (313 miles) from Stranraer to Holyhead by Dr.Julie Thorn (GB) at the wheel of a Saab 900 on the 2nd April 1987. Dr Thorn smelled burning two miles into her journey at Ayre but pressed on to Holyhead with smoke billowing from the rear wheels. This journey also holds the records for the longest completed journey with the choke fully out and the right indicator flashing.

Shop Dithering

The longest time spent dithering in a shop was 12 days between 21st August and 2nd September 1995 by Mrs Sandra Wilks (GB) in the Birmingham branch of Dorothy Perkins. Entering the shop on a Saturday morning, Mrs Wilks could not choose between two near identical dresses, which were both in the sale. After one hour, her husband, sitting on a chair by the changing room with his head in his hands, told her to buy both. Mrs Wilks eventually bought one for 12.99, only to return the next day and exchange it for the other one. To date, she has yet to wear it. Mrs Wilks also holds the record for window shopping longevity, when, starting September 12th 1995, she stood motionless gazing at a pair of shoes in Clinkardís window in Kidderminster for 3 weeks two days before eventually going home.

Jumble Sale Massacre

The greatest number of old ladies to perish whilst fighting at a jumble sale is 98, at a Methodist Church Hall in Castleford, West Yorkshire on February 12th 1991. When the doors opened at 10.00am, the initial scramble to get in cost 16 lives, a further 25 being killed in a crush at the first table. A seven-way skirmish then broke out over a pinafore dress costing 10p which escalated into a full scale melee resulting in another 18 lives being lost. A pitched battle over a headscarf then ensued and quickly spread throughout the hall, claiming 39 old women. The jumble sale raised £5.28 for local boy scouts.

Talking about Nothing

Mrs Mary Caterham (GB) and Mrs. Marjorie Steele (GB) sat in a kitchen in Blackburn, Lancs and talked about nothing whatsoever for four and a half months from 1st May to 7th August 1978,pausing only for coffee, cakes and toilet visits. Throughout the whole time, no information was exchanged and neither woman gained any new knowledge whatsoever. The outdoor record for talking about nothing is held by Mrs Vera Etherington (GB) and her neighbour Mrs Dolly Booth(GB) of Ipswich, who between 11th November 1983 and 12th January 1984 chuntered on over their fence in an unenlightening dialogue lasting almost 62 days until Mrs.Booth remembered she'd left the bath running.


On February 18th 1992, Joyce Blatherwick, a close friend of Agnes Banbury popped round for a cup of tea and a chat, during the course of which she told Mrs Banbury, in the strictest confidence, that she was having an affair with the butcher. After Mrs. Blatherwick left at 2.10pm, Mrs. Banbury immediately began to tell everyone, swearing them all to secrecy. By 2.30pm, she had told 128 people of the news. By 2.50pm it had risen to 372 and by 4.00pm that afternoon, 2774 knew of the affair, including the local Amateur dramatic Society, several knitting circles, a coach load of American tourists whom she flagged down and the butcher's wife. When a tired Mrs. Banbury went to bed at 11.55pm that night, Mrs.Blatherwick's affair was common knowledge to a staggering 75,338 people, enough to fill Wembley Stadium.

Group Toilet Visit

The record for the largest group of women to visit a toilet simultaneously is held by 147 workers at the Department of Social Security, Longbenton. At their annual Christmas celebration at a nightclub in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on October 12th 1994, Mrs. Beryl Crabtree got up to go to the toilet and was immediately followed by 146 other members of the party. Moving as a mass, the group entered the toilet at 9.52pm and, after waiting for everyone to finish, emerged 2 hrs 37 mins later.

Film Confusion

The greatest length of time a woman has watched a film with her husband without asking a stupid plot-related question was achieved on the 28th October 1990, when Mrs. Ethel Brunswick sat down with her husband to watch The Ipcress File. She watched in silence for a breath-taking 2 mins 40 secs before asking 'Is he a goodie or a baddie, then, him in the glasses?' revealing a staggering level of ignorance.This broke her own record set in 1962 when she sat through 2 mins 38 secs of 633 Squadron before asking 'Is this a war film, is it?'.

Single Breath Sentence

An Oxfordshire woman today became the first ever to break the thirty-minute barrier for talking without drawing breath. Mrs Mavis Sommers, 48, of Cowley, smashed the previous record of 23 minutes when she excitedly reported an argument she'd had in the butchers to her neighbour. She ranted on for a staggering 32 minutes and 12 seconds without pausing for air, before going blue and collapsing in a heap on the ground. She was taken to Radcliffe Infirmary in a wheelbarrow but was released later after check-ups. At the peak of her mammoth motor mouth marathon, she achieved an unbelievable 680 words per minute, repeating the main points of the story an amazing 114 times whilst her neighbour, Mrs Dolly Knowles, nodded and tutted. The last third of the sentence was delivered in a barely audible croak, the last two minutes being mouthed only, accompanied by vigorous gesticulations and indignant spasms.


Within hours of the tragedy at Monash University, the lunatics' wails could be heard behind the asylum walls:

THE National Union of Students (NUS) has blamed the Federal Government for the fatal shooting at Monash University.

NUS said the government's "disgusting policies" were destroying the lives of university students.

"NUS Victoria, though waiting further information about the shooting, is concerned that the increase in violence on university campuses could be very seriously attributed to the policies of the Howard government," the union said.

"It is not just their disgusting policies which are destroying lives of university students, lumping them with massive debt and forcing students to work two, sometimes three, part-time jobs but also its current position on foreign policy," the statement said.

"John Howard promised us a relaxed and comfortable country, yet is highly unlikely that anyone in this country is relaxed and comfortable.

"Howard has played the politics of divide which has left Australians feeling isolated and scared, contributing to this morning's tragic events.

"It is indicative of an American style of federal leadership that American values and actions are seen in Australian culture."

Yes, this wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the racist policies of Howard. The poor gunman couldn't speak English, so he didn't know about our gun laws.

When that racist Howard brought in his gun laws, did he think to have them printed in Chinese (both sorts) so that when Chinese students came here they would know how to legally arm themselves against the hordes of racist Howard supporters?

By the way, how is Howard going to keep the Greens at bay? By implementing a racist policy of turning the country brown, that's how. So you know who you can blame the drought on? The racist Howard Government, that's who.

And don't tell me a racist like Howard could tolerate a huge segment of the population celebrating success for the black and the white together. The symbolism would undermine all his racist objectives. Make no mistake, that racist John Howard was behind Collingwood's Grand Final defeat.


Actor Anthony Hopkins -- in Melbourne on the media beat promoting the latest Hannibal movie, Red Dragon -- this morning cancelled all interviews.
According to 3AW news, his management cancelled after reports arrived that a message left by the Washington sniper closely resembled a note the Hannibal character left in an earlier movie.
Something about him going after the children.



Identification of Bali bomb victims is proceeding at a painfully slow pace, AAP reports.
Only six of the more than 180 people believed to have died in the Bali terrorist bombing have been formally identified, reports say.
They include only two of the 93 Australians feared dead.
They are 19-year-old Angela Golotta, whose remains were taken back to Adelaide over the weekend, and Perth woman Tracy Thomas,
41, who died in Royal Perth Hospital last night from her wounds.
Ms Golotta was identified from dental records, said Superintendent Andrew Telfer, head of the disaster victims identification unit.
He said the other victims formally identified included two from England, one from Japan and one from Sweden.
Three bodies had been repatriated following a matching of dental records.
About 16 bodies had been released by visual identification before Indonesia imposed a requirement to identify them through international protocols.
International protocols required formal identification from either dental records, fingerprints or DNA samples.
Dental matching is a quicker means of identification than DNA but it was not clear how many of the remaining bodies could be identified that way.
Experience at air crash sites showed that as many as 60 per cent of victims could be identified with dental records, Supt Telfer said.
About 25 Australian friends and relatives remain in Bali, trying to speed the process of identification of their loved ones.
An international team of nearly 70 forensic experts working in Denpasar's Sanglah Hospital will be rotated after one week.
They were examining more than 180 bodies in the ``basic'' conditions of Sanglah's mortuary.


FOX NEWS has lifted disturbing news from The Times Online that links Usama bin Laden to the Bali bombing using the testimony of one of his senior lieutenants.
The man has told CIA interrogators that thousands of dollars from an account controlled by bin Laden was used to buy explosives by the Islamist group suspected of the attack. A confidential American intelligence document, seen by The Sunday Times, reveals that $74,000 was transferred from an account in the name of Sheikh Abu Abdullah Emirati, one of bin Laden's pseudonyms, to pay for three tons of explosives bought from the Indonesian military.


Got to hand it to ALAN ANDERSON. The bloke's in world title class when it comes to chutzpah. He goes to a mourning ceremony at St Paul's and spends the time perving on a skimpily clad luscious babe. Then he pretty effectively justifies his ogling by contrasting it to the Islamofascist way of religious observation. Nice moves, Al.


Much excitement in the Slatts household today with the son and heir bringing home musical honours. His band RANDOM I AM last night won the state Kool Schools award for "Best Indie Song'' for their delightful little punk ditty "Haze''. Kool Schools is a national competition which encourages secondary students to pursue their rock 'n roll dreams while providing performance, recording and learning opportunities. The awards took place at Melbourne's Colonial Stadium.
Tim, who wrote the song with singer-bassist Daniel Stokes, is like a dog with two tails. The win should ensure he realises a dream and gains a place in the RMIT sound engineering course when he completes Year 12 next year.