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Questions, please.

Next Friday Ariontheweb will be interviewing controversial former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter for publication on Vibewire. Ritter has recently published a book, Iraq Confidential, which covers his seven years up to 1998 as a weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter is a much talked about figure in the US, particularly with his strong stance opposing US involvement in Iraq. There's some interesting material on Ritter here, here, here and here. And some other stuff that I won't be mentioning, here.

Any suggestions for questions to ask?

UPDATE, 5/12, 5:10pm: The interview and has and gone, and went extremely well. In preparing for it, it became clear there were two approaches I could take: I could either try my best to nail Ritter for his possible duplicity and inconsistency, an approach which would make me feel like Bill O'Reilly on speed but lead to Ritter closing up; or I could take a less confrontational approach, drawing out the personal as well as the political and g…

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 2000

Though they were immortalised in print as enemies, Mark Latham had something positive to say about Tony Abbott:

Thursday, 6 January
Maybe it's his (Abbott's) background in the Catholic Church, but he seems strongly committed to the principles of social self-help - not rampant individualism but a revival of old-style mutualism in society.
- Page 127

Latham was close mates with the late Greg Wilton, the Labor Right MP who committed suicide after his marriage fell apart in 2000. Understandably, Latham was sensitive about the issue, and was savage toward those who sought to take advantage of it:

Monday, 29 May
Met with Beazley to discuss the situation. I know politics is a tough game but I am still unnerved by the conversation. Kim was more worried about the possibility of a by-election than Greg's wellbeing - he doesn't know him that well and seemed distant from the problems Pills (Latham's rather macarbe nickname for Wilton) has to deal with.

Read the
Herald-Sun coverag…

Thawing the republic

There are few issues that manage to bring together members from both sides (indeed all sides, really) of politics like the republic. Tuesday night was a demonstration of this as a gathering of young republicans from the left and right took the opportunity to imbibe a little too much alcohol and argue the toss with Liberal senator Mitch Fifield and Nicola Roxon, Labor shadow A-G, who constitute two-thirds of the new Parliamentarians for a Republic.

As seems common in the early stages of debate, the discussion doesn't move far beyong vague generalities. Yep, we all support a republic, and yep, we want to involve people in the process. Just what republic and how we wish to involve them is a discussion for another time. There are conflicting ideas on just when the time is right. The most optimistic plan, suggested by Roxon, would see a referendum occuring the election after next (most likely in 2010). Other suggestions saw the referendum as a goal to be achieved within ten and fi…

Rabin, Sharon, Peretz, Peres and Bibi?

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This month marks the tenth anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Yitzchak Rabin. The trend of late has been to trash the legacy of Rabin, arguing that he was naive to deal with Yasser Arafat and that the fledgling peace achieved in the wake of the Oslo Accords had come crashing down by 2000. All this is true, and much of the good work of Rabin was based on the false premise that at that time Israel had a viable partner for peace.

I heard an interesting counter-theory today at a memorial service for Rabin. The theory goes that the template established by Rabin was the one that Sharon has ultimately followed through on. It was Rabin that articulated the need for physical separation (later adopted by Sharon in the form of The Fence) and it was Rabin who identified some Jewish West Bank communities beyond the green line which would need to be included in Israel proper (controversially but rightly adopted by Sharon). Even the land-for…

"...then your children will be next."

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At first I thought this was satire. I'm still desperately hoping it is:

Twin girls start Nazi pop group
From: From correspondents in Los Angeles

AMERICA'S white supremacists are eagerly awaiting the release of the latest pop album by a group called Prussian Blue, whose members are a pair of blonde 13-year-old twins.

Lamb and Lynx Gaede have already released an album and a music video.
Their biggest hits include Sacrifice, a tribute to Rudolf Hess. The lyrics describe Hitler's deputy as "a man of peace who wouldn't give up".

In press photographs, the pale sisters appear in crisp white T-shirts that are decorated with yellow smiley faces sporting Hitler moustaches.

The Gaede twins are from the farming town of Bakersfield, California. They have been performing songs about white supremacy since they were nine and their band's name is a nod to their German heritage and piercing blue eyes.

"We're proud of being white, we want to keep being white," L…

"This summer I went swimming..."

Birds are chirping, flowers are blossoming, sandy beaches are doing their best to hide their syringes... it is indeed a wonderful world. As of 4:17 on Thursday afternoon, I finished my exams, and hence my studies, for yet another year. This has left me with a chasmically long gap over summer which I have been eagerly awaiting. Amongst my many projects of summer fun are:

- Getting this blog happening regularly again. Perhaps I need an electronic dose of Metamucil to get back in the habit. One of my first blogging projects will be the continuation of my brief, copyright-breaching synopsis of The Latham Diaries, which I hilariously titled "The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries". Eager readers would be aware that I got kind of bored with the project and stopped in 1999, but never fear, since the next six years of synopsising is about to commence.

- Reading. For pleasure. Another habit I wish to restart, and I have a backlog of interesting books on my shelf to keep me am…

Exams etc

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Apologies for the lack of posts of late. Exams have been keeping me busy, and this will continue until they finish on 17 November.

In the meantime, check out the ridiculous looking model who was staring out at me from the cover of Vogue Australia in the check-out queue at Coles this afternoon (so that's why they call it a check out):



This odd looking thing bears a striking resemblence to a space alien, whatever they happen to look like. Perhaps this is Neptune's entrant in the Miss Universe contest.