March 31, 2007

Impervious Perversions

Continuing a never ending series of environmental messages, sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print.

(I know, I know, this is old news, so what? You don’t expect me to keep you up to date with things happening in the world, do you? Do you?)

The MSM has been collectively slurping up Al Gore as if he’s a delicious ice cream, following yet another Oscar winning performance, this time in front of an American Congress committee.

The most disturbing thing about the reporting was that the slurping noises weren’t supported by anything that Gore actually said. Which is worse than that really convenient documentary, you know, the one without visible scientific support, strung together with multiple untested hypothesis and chewing gum?

“Mr Gore was clearly on top of his subject. When one Republican at the House committee hearing suggested that the science on global warming was "uneven and evolving" and that the measures for curbing carbon emissions advocated in Mr Gore's film "provide little benefit at huge cost"

"Mr Gore paused for a moment and looked puzzled, as if to suggest that he could not understand how anyone could still hold such views.”

Yes, yes, you read correctly.

In this sophisticated media age of ours, being “on top of his subject” means that someone pauses and looks puzzled with disbelief. That’s how you respond to entirely reasonable, legitimate, succinct, pertinent questions. Right on top of his game!

Gore finally offered this verbal response:

"The planet has a fever," he said. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says, 'You have to intervene here,' you don't say, 'Well, I read a science-fiction novel that says it isn't important.' "

You also read that correctly. Gore uses a fiction analogy, presumably without blushing.

Let me spell this out, in case you’re not thinking clearly: what Gore is saying – stating as fact, not merely implying – is, firstly that he alone is the font of truth, and that his truth doesn’t require scientific testing like any other hypothesis; secondly, anyone who does not agree with him, any material that challenges his untested view is an out-right fiction.

Gore essentially dismisses science, period, particularly anything that might provide data and information to contradict or disprove his agenda. If he does not agree with it, then it is to be ignored as nothing more than a fanciful, imaginative work of fiction. Simple cost / benefit economics is not even addressed, being, we are left to assume, of no consequence to Gore and his coiterie.

Taking this even further – if that were possible – he adds, with no irony intended, the “science” label, because the science fiction genre is even more fanciful, fabricated and ludicrous, than mere garden variety fiction. Evidently, Gore sees no paradox in his tossing the word “science” about, no matter the context: the science of his agenda, science fiction, heck, it’s all got “science” lurking in there somewhere.

Let this sink in.

Let that seep through every pore in your body, because this is more Orwellian than any warmongering euphemisms, or terrorist placating newspeak. This is worse than the death of language. This is the death of thought. The socialization of ideas and science; citizen debate has been scooped by Gore, dozens of dollops at a time.

“Mr Gore also said global warming was the biggest crisis America had ever faced, bigger than the wars the US has fought and greater than the threat posed by totalitarianism in the 20th century.”

"A day will come when our children and grandchildren will look back and they'll ask one of two questions," he said. "Either they will ask what in God's name were they doing? Didn't they see the evidence? Were they blinded and numbed by the business of political life and daily life to take a deep breath and look at the reality of what we're facing?

"Or they'll ask another question. They may look back and they'll say, 'How did they find the uncommon courage to rise above politics and redeem the promise of American democracy and do what some said was impossible?'"

This is a moral crusade, writ large, we already know that, but the scale of the emotional blackmail, the call to irrational thought, is unethical, or at least it would be if anyone else was trying this on with any other political issue. But this is “the environment”, unethical behavior is almost an obligation, lest one be caught, in 100 years time, napping on the wrong side of the moral divide. Ethics be damned.

Note the impossibility of grey in any of this. You are on his side or the wrong side.

“Didn’t they see the evidence?”

Even though there is, and may never be, evidence, given the extreme difficulties entailed in empirically testing weather patterns, or having a control-earth for human generated carbon comparison purposes. None of the current claims can ever be tested. Not even by waiting 50 years and retrospectively laying blame. The weather appears to be more unpredictable, sea levels are rising, and when the data comes, at the end of this century, the only certainty will be yes it happened, or no it didn’t. Causal links will never be known, they will remain forever hypothesized.

“How did they find the uncommon courage?”

Even though this could prove to be a normal earthly weather cycle, which, in 20,000 years might be followed by an 80,000 year ice age, an event over which no amount of “uncommon courage” could possibly be controlled by mere humans or mere politics.

Even though this might prove to be the most hideously irresponsible economically and socially catastrophic hoax ever perpetuated on the world.

Let’s not forget that back in the 1970s the Club of Rome, also a collection of scientists, forecast – with all the empiricism that they could muster – that by now, that is, by today, as we live and breathe, the world would have run out of most minerals and that India and many other countries would be facing mass starvation. Yes, the circumstance was different to the current wishful-catastrophe-braying, because the weather is something that humans can not control with nothing more potent than a bit of ingenuity and gutsy-heroics. It’s not the same circumstance as being able to produce 10 times as much food with 30% less land by application of chemicals and improved agricultural practices.

We can, perhaps, be grateful that no-one took up the challenge to perform any uncommon acts of courage to avert the crystal gazing catastrophe that was predicted by the Club of Rome.

“To rise above politics and redeem the promise of American democracy”.

Break out the stars and stripes, place hand on heart, and photograph the collective tear-filled eyes, as the environment and democracy collide in a moist fusion of utter irrelevance. Emotive drivel is not a scientific or an economically astute argument. But they will win this thing! Even if totalitarian means are required!

“And do what some said was impossible.”

Announcing premature victory against unknowable and uncontrollable forces of nature should be an impossibly laughable statement, but not these days. The contemporary mandate is to announce the thrill of the Rapture long before its arrival, so that everyone can be dressed nicely, and wearing clean underwear.

Casting the world into heroes and villains on the frontline of the weather is a blatant and unsophisticated manipulative divide and conquer strategy, preying on the gullibility and goodwill of people everywhere. Hey, duh! Isn’t that what politicians of all ilk do all the time? Buyer beware folks, buyer beware.

With global warming / climate change, we have claims that are immune from empirical testing.

Achieving some mythical "impossible" goal will be equally immune from empirical testing.

No matter the outcome, victory can be claimed! Which is the achievement of collective dellusion, as opposed to achievement of the impossible.

We won't know for at least 50 years if the IPCC forecasts are right. Just as important, we won't know the global consequences, until at least then, even in the highly improbable circumstance that these long range forecasts proved to be correct. After all, the population "explosion" continues apace, without any of the dire consequences predicted as far back as 50 years ago.

“Democrats on both committees were clearly impressed with Mr Gore's performance.”

Why?

“Mr Gore was the clear winner.”

How?

Sensible, responsible, economically rational and mulitple approaches to adaptations to changing weather patterns are called for, rather than launching fatuously heroic crusades. But you can’t sell boring old good sense as a sexy campaign, can you? Not when humans are so darned in love with tales of hardship, heroic acts, valor and happy endings against the odds. Even if it is a fiction. This is the fairy tale come true. The monomyth bought to the lives of the common people. A wish fulfillment.

If the environment is suffering pathologies, they are being eclipsed by the pathological nature of the debate over the appropriate cure.

Understatement

“The end result is that David now has a stigma attached to him; people are saying he's a terrorist.” - Terry Hicks, father of convicted terrorist David Hicks.

Somewhere along the way Dad-Hicks seems to have started believing the PR.

We the dupes

Continuing a never ending series of environmental messages, sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print. Today they are cold, so they have donned beanies and sweaters to keep warm, rather than turning on their oil heaters.

Renewable energy is the new black. The latest must have. The de rigueur accessory of the climatically changing season.

You can buy green energy over the phone by telling your energy provider that you no longer want your electricity supplies to be sourced from nasty brown coal.

Your alternatives are primarily hydro or wind power, and you can choose one or the other in total, or a proportion of both. If’ you’re undecided about this whole thing, you can hold onto some of your dirty brown coal power, thereby keeping one foot int the denier deluxe mountain hut and one foot in the catastrophizing tent.

Sure, it might cost you a few extra dollars a week, which is a bargain rip-off, cheap for being sold a pup, almost a steal for being hoodwinked. Some options won't cost you any extra at all, but you'll sleep well under the warm illusion of having reduced your carbon emissions.

Lest you believe that power companies would shy away from taking gross advantage of legislation by twisting the truth or telling porkies, please do your research properly before switching to “greener” energy options.

At the heart of this confusion is the distinction between "new" and "old" sources of renewable energy. "Old" sources are typically hydro-electric schemes, such as the Snowy River scheme, which have been in existence for decades, so they don't make a difference to our greenhouse emissions balance sheet. They will continue to be part of our power generation system regardless of whether you direct your power company to source your electricity from them.

New schemes on the other hand are those that have been built since 1997. Buying new renewable energy creates a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Power from accredited operators, featuring the GreenPower logo, comes only from post-1997 renewable sources such as wind and solar.

However, many electricity generators market as "100 per cent renewable" products that have only the minimum accredited GreenPower component of 10 per cent, with the remainder from old renewable schemes. Typically these products are sold at no extra cost to the consumer.

"It's a bit of a con to make people think that they are doing something different," says sustainable energy consultant Jay Rutovitz. "It's the feel-good factor but it doesn't actually achieve anything - it's only the accredited GreenPower bit that is driving change. It's very confusing for consumers and it's very hard for them to understand."

Use this handy-dandy resource by Rutovitz Green Electricity Watch, which rates products according to their effectiveness in reducing damaging emissions.

Pauline Grows Up

Pauline Hanson, again giving it a burl to be one of our Federal parliamentary representatives, is older, wiser, more mature, and her knowledge of politics is a lot broader. Which is terrific, seeing as her knowledge of religion and convicted terrorist aider and abettors is, at best, the banging’s of an empty vessel.

“There are Christian Muslims - there is no problems about that," she told ABC radio yesterday.”

In another curious statement, Ms Hanson said Malaysia had been "taken over by Muslims, despite a long history of Islam in that country".

She also said she had no sympathy for confessed terrorist collaborator David Hicks, saying he was "prepared to blow himself up to kill other people".

We would never accuse Pauline of being perspicacious; no siree, not on this little blog.

We would accuse her –with the conviction of superglue – of being an ass, a monkey, harebrained, a dullard, a dolt, a clod, a fatuous nincompoop, a simpleton; and on her good days, a dunce and a fool brimming with poppycock.

This woman, so profligate with her ignorance, should be expunged from our political landscape, erased from out collective conscious, damned to the hell of listing to her own voice for all eternity.

Please, someone make her go away.

Under-performing

Remember back in the heady days of January, when this blog attracted an enormous crowd, along with scant controversy, over local performance artist Danielle Freakley – aka the “Quote Generator”.

I know you’ve all been waiting for reports of her artist efforts to date.

Sadly, her web site remains registered, but unoccupied.

End of report, until next time, signing off, goodnight.

And you may quote me on that.

March 30, 2007

March 29, 2007

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Valley of the Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls are looking for a new dolly-bird. I don’t know why, since I didn’t know they’d lost one of their dolls in the first place.

In fact, I’ve never heard of the Pussycat Dolls, nor have I heard their mega hit from 2005 Don't Cha, as in: "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me. Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me."

No big surprise then that their new reality telly show is about to arrive on our screens - Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.

The producers of the show are touting the dolls and their show as an exemplar of “third wave feminism”, whatever that might be, but I’m more inclined to go for the biggie and suggest that it must be the fourth-fifth-and-sixth wave of feminism all rolled into one. You know, like the feminism we thought we’d never see in this or any other lifetime.

The shows creator and the producer recently entertained a group of middle aged male journalists with third-wave philosophical and feminist insights, such as:

“the band and the show [are] "aspirational"and a "snapshot of the contemporary woman being everything she can be".
“the program - … was "inspiring to women" with its message to "find your inner doll",… getting dressed up like a doll is "like, great for women".
"Not to go into Jean-Paul Sartre here for a second, but there's a lid for every pot. It's very simple. There's a lid for every pot."
These are women that have wanted to be a part of it because they feel that it is empowering to get up there and dress up like a doll . . . It's something that every girl in the world . . . wants to do."
Under no circumstances is this in the service of men.
And there's even a position to take (that) this is, frankly, third-wave feminism.

At least one journo was becoming apoplectic by this point and jumped in with the lethal question:

I'm just totally baffled at how you get from 'Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?' to celebrating women.
McG jumped back in: "Truth be told, it's just saying, 'Don't cha wish your girlfriend could be free and comfortable in her own skin and do her own thing like me?'"

Critics began to boo.

"It is!" Antin said, defensively.


March 27, 2007

Frog Watch


"A cane toad the size of a small dog has been nabbed in the middle of a "breeding frenzy" in a Darwin suburb."

"The toad will be kept alive and used for education and display purposes."

Maddox in therapy

Latest news, not sourced: four year old Maddox Jolie-Pitt is in therapy to help him adjust to life with an instant three year old brother.

Or maybe it was one too many Hello magazine photo shoots.

Surprised?!

The expression: no shit Sherlock, comes to mind.


Hicks Homing In

The plea bargaining is underway, with a US military judge setting a deadline of 6am (AEST) on Tuesday for a sentencing agreement to be reached for David Hicks.

Australian Foreign Minister Mr Downer was tickled pink that the "saga" was finally over, but "indicated that when Hicks is finally released from prison in Australia, security agencies are likely to keep a watchful eye on him."

"Given what our agencies believe they know about Hicks' background, they will obviously have an interest in him but that's all very hypothetical at this stage," he told Sky News.

Will the long haired beefed-up Hicks have a welcoming band of thousands of supporters when he steps back onto Australian soil?

Ray is betting on 5,000.

We'll see, we'll see!

Update: "The images we've waited five years for" - reads a sub-headline on the front page of commuter rag mX this afternoon. There's a sane and intelligent sub-editor somewhere out there in the streets of Melbourne who believes that we've been waiting with worms-on-tongue for five years for a few drawings of David Hicks? Really?

March 26, 2007

The Ice Budget

The ice is melting. That’s a fact. This only matters because the earth has a surfeit of people living on it. If we weren’t here, a big melt down, followed, most probably, by an 80,000 year resurgent ice age wouldn’t matter. But, here we sit, buggering up the natural or unnatural cycle of things, desperately and delusionally hoping that we can conquer the biggest most complex and least understood natural phenomena of them all – the weather.

Did you know that 100,000 years ago the sea levels were four to six metres higher than they are today? That was back in the long forgotten days when temperatures were at the balmy levels that we might expect to be experiencing by the end of this century – in around another 90 years, in other words, for those of you with not enough fingers to count. Quite frankly, that’s a lot of planning time. It also means those acting today will be long dead, but will need to anticipate the boundaries of living for those generations not even a twinkle in anyone’s eyes.

As many as 100 million people now living near various watery locations will be affected. Sounds catastrophic, doesn’t it? But that is based on today, not 50 or 90 years time. If any one of those 100 million people (well, they’ll actually be dead by then, but I’m quibbling) have really dumb governments, they’ll be in deep water, but hey, how often in life do you get six generations worth of warning to plan for something like this?

The rise will be incremental, relocating human habits to safe areas will, or should be, equally incremental. It’s not as though this is something that can’t be managed, with relatively little pain. (To keep this in perspectives, the numbers amount to moving about 1.1 million people each year for the next 90 years, which is quite a trivial number in the scheme of annual house moves.)

By the time the sea levels rise to what we humans perceive to be catastrophic levels no one should be residing in the areas affected, because, long before then, a number of generations now living there will have died off, and new generations, with the wise guidance of their national and local governments, will not be permitted to live in the predicted newly soggy regions.

But that’s not the whole story. No, the doomsayers, while stating clearly that doomsday has not arrived, nonetheless bamboozle with their flimflamery oracles:

The rising sea levels are already, so say “top world scientists”, “leaving some human population centers already unable to cope”. Who, where, how many, and how catastrophic, you may ask, and why isn’t it on the front page of your morning newspaper?

“This was already happening in the south of England, where local councils and governments could not afford to protect all areas from sea water erosion as land continued to sink.”

We rather gather that within this solitary example they are “coping” in the south of England, if rather unhappily.

I assume the same top scientists are the ones floating the idea of sea walls all over the world, which most of us would not automatically consider to be the best 100 year planning option, but, we’re not scientists. However, the concession is given:

"There's lots of places where you can't do that and where you'll have to put up with actual flooding," he said.

Ooooh, aaaaah! Actual flooding! Because of rising sea levels! Because you actually can’t hope to bung up a whole lot of walls to keep the sea out from just about everywhere! Can you! Now! And they will have to "put up with actual flooding" because they were too stupid to move 50 years ahead of time!

Okay, I’ll stop being sarcastic. I think the guy needs to get out of his lab a bit more often, that’s all, so that the idea of “actual flooding” isn’t quite so mind-blowing to him, nor the idea of urban planning, whereby people could, if they wanted to, move, thereby, not having to "put up" with any flooding at all.

Then we get to the number of people who might be affected by rising sea levels:

About 100 million people around the world live within a meter of the present-day sea level, CSIRO Marine Research senior principal research scientist Steve Rintoul said. "Those 100 million people will need to go somewhere," he said.

Yes, yes they would, if they were still alive in 90 years time. For the most part they will be in cemetaries.

These predictions are based around many metres of extra sea sloshing about, yet, the IPCC report has projected sea level gains of 18-59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century, which, for those of you with extra fingers and toes, is less than one metre, and, again, we are forced to point out that this is a 100 year projection.

Are you worried yet?

Are you scared yet?

Are you mind-numbingly confused yet?

This is what happens when even the scientists can’t keep a fact straight. When you deconstruct what they’re saying and when you superficially examine their data and predictions, it’s like so much effluent being flushed into the silence.

March 25, 2007

There’s Something About Kev

From The Australian, some time during the last week:

Rudd-Mania was sweeping the country, but did anyone really understand why, columnist Peter Ruehl asked. “If anybody has the slightest idea what’s going on in Australian politics these days, please step forward. The rest of us will shoot you. We hate a smart-ass.” Kevin Rudd had “barely cleared his throat since becoming Opposition Leader, yet he’s more popular than Barack Obama at a NAACP convention. I like Kevin, we all like Kevin. We haven’t figured out why we like him but we’re working on it. It helps that his predecessors had about as much rock-star appeal as Prince Charles, so all Kevin hat to do was show he had a pulse and wasn’t crazy. The rest is taking care of itself, at least for now.”

Bitter Fruit

When he was first diagnosed with cancer some years ago, Simon Pretty’s sister agreed to be a bone marrow donor. She is a perfect match for his rare tissue type.

Simon went into remission in 2004 without the need for bone marrow.

In February his cancer returned, but not his sister, who has changed her mind about donating to the 43 year, a man with two masters degrees and currently studying for his PhD, and father of three, all of his children under the age of 10 years.

The UK tissue registry can’t help and doctors are hoping an international search may hold some small chance for a match, if they can keep Simon alive for long enough, with aggressive chemotherapy.

The brother and sister aren’t “close”. I don’t comprehend why that is relevant to anything under the sun.

Simon’s wife has tried pleading with the sister, as you do in these circumstances:

She said 'Sorry, I am not doing it'. I asked her to give me a reason and she said 'I am putting my family first'.

"I explained that there were no risks involved. I was so upset and I said, 'Don’t you care if your brother dies?' She said 'It’s very sad', and smirked."

Many commenters are taking the view that this is a “moral dilemma”.

It isn’t.

Reap what you s0w Helen Pretty.

In the meantime, lets hope that somewhere out there in the world a thoughtful stranger, with a working moral compass, can be found to help save Simon Pretty’s life.

March 24, 2007

Deception

I do not oppose those who are campaigning to bring David Hicks home.

I do not believe he is a sterling cause, nor do I believe that in his future, free life, he will make any more useful contribution to our society than he has to date.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the human rights aspect. I only wish they had a worthier specimen to promote.

Tucked in today’s newspaper is a form letter, which I could send to the Prime Minister, as well as a donation section, all supplied by Amnesty International. That the Hicks family and their supporters now have Amnesty International supporting them is quite remarkable. I’d be mildly interested if they believe that everyone in Guantanamo Bay should be released, or only David Hicks? If the latter, does their support primarily stem from the knowledge that other Western governments long ago demanded and achieved the release of their nationals? In other words, would they be demanding Hicks’ release into the legal system of Iran, for example, or is this a campaign with a distinctly Western bias?

I know, I’m being nit-picky, but it seems an obvious aspect of interest.

I don’t mind that households across Australia are receiving these brochures from Amnesty International, and I don’t mind that at least a few thousand people, if not tens of thousands, will sign the form letter and sent it to the Prime Ministers’ office. Howard has been misreading the vibe in this country for a number of years now, and anything that helps Mr-Finger-on-the-Pulse to understand how detached he has become isn’t a bad thing.

What I do mind is the deception of the brochure content. The wording is exceptionally clever. I am in awe of the way a few simple words have been used to paint a false impression. Really I am.

Time is Running Out – says the large print. This in itself is not a deception, but it is silly. Why is time running out? It’s not as though David Hicks is going anywhere, nor is he so old and doddery that he may die before being released. Oh, that’s right, time is running out before he finally faces a trial conducted by the US Military Commission, and their goal is that he never faces any trial any where in the world, no matter what he has done. You wouldn’t know that from the brochure though.

This is where it gets tricky:

Join our campaign to bring David Hicks home to face a fair trial here in Australia or be released.

David Hicks should be returned to Australia to face a fair trial, or if no grounds or evidence can be found on which to prosecute him, to be released.

In the form letter the words are used again:

Bring David Hicks home. Try him in Australia and if the Australia justice system can find no ground or evidence to prosecute him, then David Hicks must be released. It is that simple.

What's wrong with this very clever language?

Fact: regardless of grounds there is no law under which David Hicks could be tried in Australia.

Fact: regardless of evidence there is no law under which David Hicks could be tried in Australia.

Fact: It wouldn’t matter what David Hicks had done to advance his burgeoning career as a terrorist on foreign soil, even up to and including murdering dozens of people (if that had been the case - which it wasn't) there is no law in this country that would then, or does now, allow any legal charges to be bought against him in Australia.

The Hicks family knows this. Their supporters know this. Amnesty International most definitely knows this.

I resent the deceptive presentation of their campaign, when they are 100% aware that what they are requesting is David Hicks’ immediate freedom back in Australia, without ever facing trial, as in, never ever, and not for any reason.

They are not asking that “grounds” be evaluated, because they know our laws don’t cover any.

They are not asking that “evidence” be assessed back on home soil, because they know our laws don’t cover the crimes, no matter what evidence exists.

They are not asking that he be tried here, because they know he can’t and won’t ever be.

They are not asking that he be permitted to serve time in a local jail.

They are plain and simply asking for his immediate and unfettered freedom, no matter that he was determined to become a successful terrorist.

I resent the manipulative and deceitful message in their brochure.

March 23, 2007

Ripple, Ripple, who wants a tipple

Continuing a never ending series of environmental messages, sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print.

It’s enough to drive a gel to drink.

Melting ice may affect the ocean waters in such a way as to cause the temperatures in Europe to plunge. As in: it might get really, really, really cold in Europe.

Please also especially note the throw-away comment at the end of this piece:

“Dr Rintoul said that global warming was also changing wind patterns in the Antarctic region, drawing them south away from the Australian mainland and causing declining rainfall in western and possibly eastern coastal areas.

This was contributing to drought in Australia, one of the world's top agricultural producers, he said.”

No, the drought we are having is a normal, predictable, cyclical drought, no different to many such droughts, of the same painful duration, which have occurred at entirely regular and expected times during the last few hundred years in Australia. Perhaps they should have spoken to someone in Oz who actually knows what they are talking about.

If Antarcitc changes caused this drought, starting - eight years ago? - then what caused all of the other, identical droughts? If the drought breaks this year, as predicted, will it mean that the Antarctic changes have miraculously reversed, or will it mean that the causal statements made above are more of what we are going awfully accustomed to and accepting of - jejune, gewgaw and agley science?

He’s a crazy, crazy guy!

Working extra hard to maintain his zany good-time image, Charlie Sheen will narrate a new version of the YouTube documentary Loose Change. That’s the one where the 9/11 version of events has American public servants flying all the planes by remote control and pushing over the twin towers, or something like that, all sanctioned by some little group in the Federal government. No terrorists were involved.

Sheen has also called for a new independent probe of the attack, telling Alex Jones' radio show: "It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."

Not the least of which being how the happy-hooker guy’s brain is wired.

[All these years later, and still not a single leak or link to government involvement. Unbelievable, 'ey? Unbelievable.]

Duck Friday

March 22, 2007

Faux Sorry

Example of a non-intrusive photograph.

Remember way back when, like, four whole days ago, when we were empathizing with Angelina Jolie over how bad she feels about exposing her freshly purchased son to the intrusive lens of the world?

It went something like this:

“Photographs and press coverage will make (Pax) upset. I'm very worried about that. I would like to say I'm sorry for bringing this into Pax's life."

However, not so worried that she wouldn’t whisk him from an orphanage in Vietnam straight into a multi-picture photo shoot with Hello magazine, for a cool couple of $$million.

'Scuse me while I go and puke in disgust.

March 21, 2007

Kill the cub – demand animal rights groups


Animal rights groups are demanding that a Berlin zoo allow a polar bear cub to die after it was abandoned by its mother.

A zoo keepers has moved in with the cub to rear it by hand, but that, say the animal rights campaigners is “against nature” and the cub should be left to die.

I trust this means that none of those campaigners ever goes to a doctor or accepts any medical intervention or procedure for themselves or family members, because that would be against nature.

The Age

March 19, 2007

The ugliest handbag in the world

The world's ugliest ever handbag, at $45,000 (that's each, not a container load) has already sold out. Thankfully only a couple of dozen were made. To state what should be obvious, the bags were made from left over scraps. That the scraps were left over from the most popular past Louis Vuitton bags, hence the name "Tribute Patchwork Bag", does not make this bag any more attractive. Can anyone - anyone out there - identify bits of past Louis Vuitton bags in this pile of garbage? To be fair to Vuitton, with all the hideous women's handbags in the world, creating the single fugliest bag is an achievement, of sorts. They've set the bar high. And they did make use of left overs, even if they didnt' feed any starving children.

Ten year window?

If the sun spot readings prove correct, the Australian drought will break this year, with plentiful rainfalls into 2008, and normal rainfall patterns for the following decade.

However, our fuzzy-headed politicians will then only have ten brief years to get their act together to build real infrastructure, and to put in place real, equitable and appropriate water management plans, before an even worse drought hits by around 2020.

They can’t claim ignorance, or not having a crystal ball or chicken entrails to predict the future of water in this country. Read the sun spots stupid. They’ve been told. Mark the date.

Blame game not useful

Not confirmed, but the Federal Government have possibly decided that childhood obesity, which, as we know, most often carries over into adulthood, along with a laundry list of chronic and life threatening and life shortening health problems, should be blamed on bad parenting, not the mechanisms of capitalism which freely allows every variety of unnecessary – and certainly not life sustaining – crap to be foisted on the public every minute of the day.

The $100 M program was aimed at pre-school children and was, therefore, primarily a preventative, or at least a “get in before it’s too late” idea.

While I agree that all parents ultimately need to be responsible for providing their children with behavioral boundaries that will establish good habits, in all regards, for whatever reasons, we have a generation of parents who appear to know nothing of nutrition and / or nothing of their role in raising in raising their own children. Why and how this could possibly have evolved is a question beyond my ken, but there it is, and there’s no hiding from it, because it’s out there for all of us to see.

A $100 million government plan to tackle childhood obesity may have been dumped because of a "blame the parents" mentality, a leading children's health expert says.

The Australian newspaper on Monday reported claims the budget Expenditure Review Committee, which is chaired by Treasurer Peter Costello, had adopted a "get tough approach" with Mr Abbott because they thought parents should take greater responsibility for their children's health.

"I'm concerned it's getting ditched for reasons that probably aren't based on good, sound health promotion policy,"

"That (comment) suggests the decision is based on ignorance and a very moralistic view of obesity treatment, rather than on practicalities and helping parents.

"It's blaming the victim, blaming the family rather than actually supporting them to make changes."

"It's getting in before some habits are so established you can't undo them,"

There were no government-funded treatment programs specifically for overweight or obese children.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government is doing the right thing by spending a small amount, $3.6 M on expanding their Be Active, Eat Well program.


Are you feeling good yet?

Continuing a never ending series of environmental messages, sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print. Today they also took a shorter bath, and didn’t splash, so no water was wasted.

Turn off lights and appliances to save on your electricity bills.

Don’t keep the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth, and don’t hose down your driveway, because both will only cost you in higher water bills, having used up the water for no useful purpose. If you’re going to use water, and pay for it, one way or another, then at least make sure the cost is worthwhile, or economically rational, if you like.

Take your reusable bags to the supermarket too, if you really believe Australia, or the entire world, is going to run out of landfill at any tick of the clock, ‘cause, gee, there’s so little land, ‘ey?

Do these things because you resent giving big business your hard earned cash, particularly when you have so little choice over the matter, but please, please, please don’t try to tell me that you are saving the world, or that you are extending the life of the pitiful and pitifully neglected water infrastructure and management regime that our governments have laughably provided.

Yeah, yeah, one person can make a difference, right? Imagine the difference that 3 or 4 million little Melbournians can make! Yes, that’s right, those water restrictions, zealously taken to heart, and even more zealously taken to the water-waster-dobber lines, have made ... NO DIFFERENCE.

Let’s say you weigh 425 pounds - you're big boned, okay. The water “savings” made by Melbournians is the equivalent of losing 6 ounces from your 425 pound frame, a weight loss achieved over many months of dedicated dieting and near death-defying gym work outs.

Here's what Dr Byron has to say:

"The little water-saving gestures, like putting a bucket in the shower or turning the tap off while you brush your teeth — while they are good measures, and I do them myself — are exactly that, gestures.

"They are going to contribute almost nothing to solving Australia's water crisis and we are deluding ourselves if we think it's going to be enough,"

He said two or three large irrigators, such as dairy or cotton farms, would use "in a couple of days" the water the entire city of Melbourne could save in a year.

But by comparison Australia's largest irrigator, Queensland cotton farm Cubbie Station, has a water allocation in excess of 400,000 megalitres a year.

The 19,000 megalitres of water saved by Melbournians over the three months of summer would be used by Cubbie Station alone in about 2½ weeks.

Australia uses about 24 million megalitres of water a year. About 75 per cent is used in irrigation, 20 per cent goes to urban and industrial uses and 5 per cent to other rural uses including for stock and domestic needs.

"One of the good things about these small gestures is they indicate public interest and buy-in, that is the public care about this issue, they're concerned about it, and they want to help.

"That's terrific for when it gets to the really serious stage, and we really need to do something that involves a little bit of pain, the public is already onside,"

"But these little gestures will not even get us close to where we want go. If every man, woman and child in Australia was to do it, the difference in water use would be negligible.

"The problem is the big actions carry with them a pretty big tag, but rather than bite the bullet and adopt some of the big changes needed, we're told to be satisfied with making these symbolic gestures."

Unless large-scale water-saving methods were adopted by governments, state and federal, Australia's water crisis would only worsen, Dr Byron said.

The Age, March 19, 2007, Home savings virtually negligible: expert


Consensus is not science

The first in a never ending series of environmental messages sponsored by Duck Friday ™, because ducks are part of the environment and have avowed to offset their farts by 100% by doubling their flying time, thereby reducing their web print.

Man's most judicious trait, is a good sense of what not to believe. Euripides

Science by its very nature is an argument.

You don't appeal to consensus if you have a scientific argument.

We still can't predict the weather beyond the next few days.

Our understanding of the physics of climate is still so limited, we cannot explain natural variability or predict when droughts will break, or the when and why clouds form.

Massive variations in the sun's heat radiation are far more influential in warming than accumulating greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere account for only about 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the overall warming effect, meaning even major increases in gases lead to only slight shifts in temperature: between 0.5C and 1C.

The paper by a team of geophysicists reported an unexplained decline in cloud cover until 1998, which caused the Earth to absorb more heat from the atmosphere. This resulted in increases in incoming solar radiation more than 10 times bigger than the same effect attributed to greenhouse gases.

We don't still understand the very complex climate system. None of the models have proved to be accurate at all. So using the outputs of models is fallacious because they're not evidence of anything, they're just hypotheses.

Very few of the models are independent and they all share certain profound difficulties. They all get clouds hugely wrong and a small change in clouds has a much bigger effect than doubling CO2.

I think it is probably without precedent in any Western democratic process, the idea that you would publish an executive summary before the report and then openly say that 'we need a few more weeks to work on the report to make sure it is consistent with the executive summary'.

Sceptics point to a paper published in Nature and Science magazines showing the historical relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature has the gas lagging, not leading.

That is, greenhouse gas rises occurred about 800 years later than allegedly matching temperature change, as the warming seas released more gas into the atmosphere and trapped it when cooling.

The debate in Australia has effectively decoupled the science from the policy response. We have agreed the issue is too important to wait for more conclusive answers, that we are prepared to act comprehensively on climate change, possibly at considerable cost, on the trust that most respected, credible scientists are deeply concerned about the seriousness of this threat.

The Australian, March 17, 2007 - Rebels of the sun, Matthew Warren

The public can’t be sure about how sensible it is to plan an outdoor wedding in seven days time, but they have embraced 100 year temperature and ocean level forecasts with religious zeal. If the Rapture is a goal, a personal longing, then the possibility (the wish?) of the end of life as we know it, caused by our own hand, is, for many it would seem, the penultimate Rapture.

March 18, 2007

Sorry for opulence

As the world already knows, Angelina Jolie has recently pretended to be 'single' so as to be able to legally adopt another little kiddie from a foreign country, in her quest to buy at least one needy child every time she goes to the supermarket. (And thank goodness for modern day marketing is all I can say; in the olden days she would have run out of colors to choose from after working her way through red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).

However, I digress, unusually so for me.

What would Tyler Durden Do? has this delicious take on the latest addition to the Jolie child collection -

Jolie has been quoted as saying:

"I will stay at home to help Pax adjust to his new life. I have four children and caring for them is the most important thing for me at the moment. I am very proud and happy to be their mother … Photographs and press coverage will make (Pax) upset. I'm very worried about that. I would like to say I'm sorry for bringing this into Pax's life."

Tyler Durden says:

"Sorry? She just delivered this kid from a Vietnamese orphanage to a lifetime of opulence and splendor. Based on my awesome level of jingoism, I'm pretty sure Vietnam sucks. Last night he slept on a bed stuffed with bones and hay and ate a stew made from rocks and hair, but today he’ll fly to his new house on an 80 million dollar private jet and “mom“ is the hottest piece of ass on the planet. The only thing she needs to apologize for is the kid may pass out from squealing with delight."

March 17, 2007

Small Penis, Big Imagination?

I have no hesitation in admitting my perplexity in relation to the confessions of the world’s busiest and most productive terrorist.

Notably, he claims “responsibility” for everything under the sun in his endless confessional, but within this context, what does “responsible” mean? That he told someone over coffee “hey, yeah, do some bombing in Bali, good, good”?

It does seem that his connections to plotting 9/11 may be real enough, and for many a terrorists that would be more than sufficient claim to infamy.

Is he really the brains and banker behind more actual and failed attacks and assassinations than would satisfy the greediest and most prolific serial killer?

Or is he just a man with a small penis in search of what he believes will be a unique and unchallenged place in history?

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I think the best approach, no matter the validity or otherwise of his boasting, is to render him nameless, faceless, forgettable.

The Australian

Jacob – Rap Sheet or Laundry List

Self Control

March 16, 2007

Duck Friday


UPDATE!

A devoted reader has penned this beoodifooool and rhyming poem for Duck Friday ™ duckies.

ODE TO DUCK FRIDAY

BY GEOFF

I was just here the other day
And another duck has flown by.
One duck was a dude with hair like a punk,
This one is a squealer and a drunk.

Oh, ducks come and ducks go,
At a rate you don't want to know.
Was that a blink, or was that a week?
Who remembers what's gone down the sink.

So the question is raised in sincere prayer,
Are there many more ducks out there?
Is this the last one that has come on this Friday?
Or is it just us who have come here to die?

March 14, 2007

Into the Void

I know the opinion polls have been a little hostile to the ruling Liberals of late, but I would have thought they would aspire to putting in a strong and dignified effort during the next eight months or so, on the off chance that the electorate at large, the hoi polloi of our great land, might find it within their black embittered hearts to despise them less than they do today, at least sufficiently so to allow them to hold onto enough seats to form a footy team, if not an opposition party.

That was my naive imaging, as a member of the great unwashed, and, therefore, not nearly as clever as the average politician.

Instead of slugging it out for a full 12 rounds the Liberals have cut the rope. Just like that. No forewarning. No desperate or agonising decision. No conscious to wrestle. No howling or death inducing cold or wind.

They simply took a knife and cut the rope with a swift and irrevocable movement.

Appropriately enough, it was the Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, who did the deed, having obviously borrowed a frighteningly sharp scalpel, determining, contrary to all of his political and religious convictions, that euthanasing the entire party was humane and necessary.

This is how he did it:

“In a column in The Sydney Morning Herald today, Mr Abbott said Mr Rudd's story of losing his father when he was 11 and his family's subsequent eviction from their farm "sounds too self-serving.

"There have now been a number of suggestions that, with Rudd, all is not quite as it seems," Mr Abbott wrote.

Mr Abbott referred to recent media reports which raised doubt over Mr Rudd's claims that his father died as a result of medical neglect following a car accident in Queensland and his claims he and his family were then immediately evicted from their farm.”

When wise and wily journalists record “the incident” that killed the Howard / Costello Federal reign, this will be in the top 100 list of the top 156 political journalists in the country.

In my list: this is the moment that Tony Abbott destroyed all personal political and priministerial ambitions.

March 13, 2007

Don’t salute yet

THIS is the Westgate Bridge

This is the Bolte Bridge - oops

We have to wait another 18 months before we get WHOPPING BIG flags hanging on top of the Westgate Bridge. You'll have to hold your patriotism in your beating little hearts until then folks. In the meantime, a rousing chorus or two of Waltzing Matilda would not go amiss, or, one of my personal favorites, the Telstra theme song: I am Australian (you know, just in case anyone was askin').

“We are one, but we are many

And from all the lands on earth we come

We share a dream and sing with one voice

I am, you are, we are Australian.”

Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you were out there

This is how an eclipse of the sun would look if you were standing 1.6 million miles from Earth.

March 11, 2007

Clowning around at the edges

Much hoo-ha and much ado in our part of the universe in the last couple of weeks, with both sides of Federal politics shoving each other over in the playground in increasingly desperate maneuvers to climb the mythical heights of an imagined moral high ground.

First we had Cabinet Minister Ian Campbell diving overboard for sharing oxygen in the same room as Brian Burke.

Then we had three of Howard’s Queensland members raided by police and now under investigation for improper use of parliamentary allowances.

And a short few days ago Rudd’s would-be if he could-be Attorney-General in-waiting was forced to resign when it came to light that seven years ago he had provided the light-footed and whereabouts-in-some-foreign-country-unknown Tony Mokble – husband, devoted father, womanizer, convicted cocaine importer, accused murderer, now on the lam with his mistress – with a sterling personal reference to support his application for a liquor licence.

Many a forest and much bandwidth has been chewed up and spat out over these matters, most particularly how marvelous and commendable it is that politicians are resigning when they do wrong (pretty much unheard of in this galaxy) – well, two pollies, anyway, and that’s almost the equivalent of an entire phone booth full of pollies, so, in the scheme of things, that's a rather impressive number as far as numbers go.

The strange thing is: following their grand gestures of resignation, neither of the two men is suddenly naked and unencumbered of politician status. They are both still politicians, no by-elections will be held, and in today’s papers the wanna be Attorney General, Kelvin Thomson, is being bravely defended by his party, which insists that he absolutely will not be losing his pre-selection spot.

All that either man “resigned” from was a ministerial position; one actual, one shadow. Neither man is unemployed, neither man has left parliament house never to be seen again, other than on a street corner begging for a consultancy job in the private sector. Both men have a likely return to the front bench in their respective political futures.

Try "resigning" like that at your place of work and see what happens when you walk back into the office the very next day, as if nothing is amiss.

All this carry on and moral-high-ground-tousling is a side-show mockery of us all.