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Ian O'Doherty: Aha! So that's who did it

One of the more baffling elements of the fallout from 9/11 was that it allowed every looper, conspiracy theorist and whackjob to emerge from the rocks under which they'd been hiding and start throwing those very same rocks at America.

Now, the fact that the Bush administration proved itself to be barely capable of tying its own shoelaces, never mind orchestrating the greatest conspiracy of all time, doesn't seem to bother those people. Many of them are actually Americans who hate the country so much that they are willing to believe anything.

But now it appears we have found the true person behind 9/11 -- P Diddy.

Diddy is being sued by one Valerie Turks for the not inconsiderable sum of $1trillion after she filed a suit claiming that: "He knocked down the Towers."

She also says he stole a poker chip from her that's worth "a gazillion dollars".

She has been dismissed by most people but Jim Corr issued a statement saying: "I think we should hear the woman out. Don't let the mainstream media fool you. I think we all want to know where P Diddy was that day. Why won't he tell us? I am the walrus. Wibble."

Oh, pull the other one

This column would have a certain amount of time for Labour's Joan Burton.

She seems relatively sensible and, frankly, with the current state of politics in Ireland today, even an achievement as modest as that makes her out to be positively Herculean.

But she must surely be regretting last week's appearance on the Vincent Browne Show when she went, to put it politely, a little bit mental.

Now, this can happen to the best of us and anyone can see how irritating it would be to have that contemptible little man sneer at you when you're trying to make a point. But she really put her foot in it when she accused Browne of being a "sexist bully".

It wasn't fair on Browne (now there truly is a statement I never thought I'd write) because while he is indeed a little bully, there's no evidence that he is particularly sexist.

But you could see she was already looking at playing the gender card when she started squealing that Joe Higgins was being sexist, after Higgins said: "Oh, there she goes again."

What was he meant to say? "Oh, there it goes again"?

But everyone is missing the point here -- the Vincent Browne Show is not a political discussion programme, it's mere pantomime.

And Browne, obviously, is the Widow Twanky.

To watch one or the other?

So, dilemma, dilemma.

Tonight sees the launch of Sky Atlantic, and kicks off with an hour-long preview of the best of what is to come followed by the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire.

I would normally be tuning in but instead I'll be watching a tape of last Sunday's ironically titled The All Ireland Talent Show.

I'd never seen it before but, while flicking around on Sunday, it appeared on screen and I have honestly never watched anything like it.

It is almost hypnotically bad and even though I initially thought people were playing it for laughs and having a nasty pop at programmes of yore like Tops Of The Town, it finally dawned on me that these people were actually taking it seriously.

And then another thing dawned on me -- it was like watching a talent show in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

With the inmates acting as the judges.

Pack your bags, luv, we're off

Okay, so today sees the official start of spring and while it's nice to see the stretch in the evening, there isn't the same sense of optimism in the air that we'd normally have.

After all, there's the fear that this year is going to be even worse than the last one and a bit of extra brightness in the evenings isn't really going to change all that.

But I've figured out an escape plan and you're all welcome to join me.

As the leaders of the Arab world are currently quaking in their keffiyehs over the spreading unrest across the Muslim countries, they are coming up with increasingly interesting ways to try and keep the populace docile.

Most of these countries are doing what they normally do, which is to take potential protest leaders, lock them up and relieve them of their fingernails, but Kuwait is trying a different tack -- paying the people.

In fact, the Emir is giving every citizen a cash grant of $3,500 a month as well as free food for the next 14 months.

Okay, I'm not exactly a fan of Islam, but I'm also a shallow, petty, small little man. So for that kind of bread I'll become a Shite (are you sure that's how it's spelled -ed.) and stone Salman Rushdie myself.

Yup, he's a lovely, lovely man

It has been rather amusing to see those who hailed Julian Assange as a beacon of truth and transparency suddenly run for cover when they all began to realise that he was just a nutter with a lot of damaging computer files. And a new book out today is even more damning. According to Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War On Secrecy, it claims that when Assange was asked to remove the names of Afghan informants to the Americans from his files, he refused on the grounds that: "Well, they're informants so, if they get killed, they had it coming to them."

Hang on -- a whistle-blower calling for the murder of those who provide information?

Ah yes, the illogic of the Left.

DVD Time

Westerns are back in vogue with the remake of True Grit, so now is the perfect time to go back and check out one of the greatest of them all -- Shane (1953).

Alan Ladd is the burnout gun slinger who tries to retire, but while staying with a family of sharecroppers he becomes embroiled in a nasty land dispute.

Ladd is brilliant as the guy who gets dragged back into a fight he never wanted, but the movie is surely stolen by the great Jack Palance who chews every piece of carpet as the villainous Jack Wilson, one of the greatest baddies ever to make it to the screen.

Sample quote: "I'm saying that Stonewall Jackson was trash himself. Him and Lee and all the rest of them rebs. You, too."

Irish Independent