Brain graze



Jane's is a pretty expert organisation. They serve the world's governments by evaluating military muscle, advising on security strategies and generally carrying a stocktake of all the world's firepower and its carriers.
So when Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst, AL VENTER, declares that Saddam has the world's deadliest nerve gas and could well have nuclear capacity, I'm inclined to pay very careful attention.


As Fairfax circulations continue to stagnate at bog-bottom levels and anyone who can think beyond slogans despairs at the biased incompetence of Aunty's communards, those at board level must be at least looking for solutions.
This piece, by DOUG SCHMITZ explains that for Fox News, solving the problem of turned-off audiences was easy: Realise they're not mugs out there, just play it down the middle.

Although Fox News occupies fewer markets than CNN and MSNBC, they draw a much larger audience. That speaks volumes about the hunger for objective news coverage.
But while the Big Media often place politics over principle, the independent news organizations have suffered attacks by liberals who don't like what Fox News and other independent news organizations, such as the Washington Times,, and, report.
When Democratic scandals do get coverage from independent news sources, the liberals likely perceive them as politically motivated attacks.
By the same token, if the mainstream media had exposed Bill Clinton, it's quite possible that he would have been held accountable for his crimes and respectfully left office, like Richard Nixon.
Despite Mr. Clinton lying under oath to a federal grand jury, suborning witnesses and tampering with evidence, he went through his presidency virtually unscathed. Nixon, however, wasn't so fortunate. When two investigative reporters from the Washington Post exposed him in the Watergate scandal, his political career was over.
So why didn't the press go after Clinton like they went after Nixon? The fact that Clinton was a Democrat probably made all the difference.


PHATTY'S got the phlick from the culture rag. He's been moved to the gloss and gush section. His replacement is a stout fellow by the name of Slattery. True to form, most of Phatty's last column in the Review has been written by someone else. Not that it says anything new.


Last week's track winnings have been squandered on air fares for a five day sojourn in Sydney next week. Now we need some healthy dividends to pay the hotel bill. Let's hope Magic Mick's selections will have us berthed at the Ritz.
His good things today at Flemington look to be GUSSY GODIVA (Race 2, No.3) and INNOVATION GIRL (Race 6, No.8). Best value bet each-way ZERO DRAMA (Race 5, No.7).



It was the speech of a practical idealist, practical in that it dealt directly with crucial and immediate challenges and addressed them within a context of what is possible, and idealistic in that it applied the great American abstractions--freedom, justice, independence--to those challenges. The speech was held together by a theme of protectiveness. We must now more than ever, and for all the current crisis, continue as a uniquely protective people. We must protect the vulnerable and troubled--the young with parents in prison, the old with high prescription costs, workers battered by taxes, victims of late-term abortions, a continent dying of AIDS. In foreign policy we must protect ourselves and the world from those who would harm us with massive, evil weapons.

She's an unapologetic Dubya groupie, but no-one gets to the nub of big presidential occasions better than The Wall Street Journal's PEGGY NOONAN.


"But there's no smoking gun,'' the appeasers are whining, suggesting that Saddam hasn't got any weapons of mass destruction and that Bush, Blair and Howard will end up with omelettes on their countenances. As Stephen F. Hayes explains in THE WEEKLY STANDARD, to believe this requires a curious set of propositions:
(1) Yes, Saddam Hussein retained and developed weapons from 1991-1998, while inspectors were in Iraq. (2) Once the inspectors left Iraq, between 1999-2002, he disarmed unilaterally. And (3) for whatever reason, Saddam chose not to notify the United Nations of this disarmament so that the sanctions crippling Iraq's economy would be kept in place.

Hayes points out that despite the sheer improbability of this scenario, it is the preferred version of events for Democrats Senate leader Tom Daschle.



Who doesn't crave some variety in cricket? Even the uber-patriots must be sick of the boring sight of Australia winning Tests in under three days and one-dayers with 10 overs to play.
Well I've come across a cricket team with a different approach. This doesn't mean they don't win. But they certainly go about the caper in an unconventional manner and deserve the support of Blogworld. Oh, and my turf risk consultant, Magic Michael Manley, dons the creams for them.
The team is called Barnawatha North and they play in D Grade Mercantile in Melbourne.
Why is it different ?
Well firstly there is no training (there has never been a training session) and practice before batting is also frowned upon,
Each game sees the bbq and a few slabs and also other stuff brought along which, strangely, sometimes annoys opposition teams.
It is has been going for 15 years and can boast a semi-final and a grand final appearance. This year it looks on track for a finals appearance again.
Last year it hosted an international against the touring South Africa Indoor cricket team, The Madelas, in an outdoor cricket game at the club's headquarters at Edmund Herring Oval, across road from Melbourne Grammar
Its president, Jock Fountain, lives in Wanaka, New Zealand and part of the BNCC's constitution is that the president is to do nothing
A court jester's hat in club colours gets handed around to whoever mucks up whilst fielding. It is usually on heavy rotation
Until a run is scored by the opposition the entire team fields in slips
Oh and why Barnawatha North? They picked a town as far away as possible. They have played the township in the early years.
Go Barnanas!!? Whop 'em Wathas!!? Who's enlisting in the Barny Army?


Compassion? Hollywood ham George Clooney would have you know he brims with it. Tolerance? As a card-carrying Left Coaster, George embraces all types. Sensitive? He gets a rash when the wind changes. Attacks on the sick and disabled? George finds them abhorrent.
But George is of that special class that's allowed to have different truths. So, sometimes he permits himself to drop the fluffy, politically correct persona.
According to the New York Post's Liz Smith, while accepting an award from the National Board of Review, Clooney wisecracked, "Charlton Heston announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's."
When asked about the statement, Clooney told Smith, "I don't care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association. He deserves whatever anyone says about him."
Heston wasn't about to let the lousy jibe go unchallenged. According to the World Entertainment News Network, Heston walloped Clooney by contrasting the actor's demeanor with that of his late aunt, Rosemary Clooney.
"It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation," Heston shot back.



How many people has Hussein killed? asks John F. Burns in the NEW YORK TIMES registration necessary.
For a start, he estimates at least 200,000 at the hands of the secret police. Then there’s the thousands of gassed Kurds, the victims of prison “cleansing’’ and the beheading of prostitutes, the last practice favoured by Hussein’s brutal spawn Uday. Gripping reading and a jolt of reality for the “it’s all about oil’’ crowd.



The Sunday Age has gone all patriotic with a four-page Australia Day wrap-around. Inside, if you're so inclined, you can read what Oz Day means to such boring usual suspects as Peter Garrett, Peter Doherty, Kerry Armstrong and Pru Goward.
Then you get to the real paper and turn to page 2 to find . . . the wrap-around's second page repeated!
Two servings of Garrett in four pages! Er, that cacophany? That's the sound of thousands of Victorians retching their brekkie.