June 30, 2012

Breaking news on this day


Behaving like an especially petulant toddler, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues to camp in the Embassy of Ecuador,  refusing to comply with a police request to surrender himself to officers

Assange would be better served by ending this silliness, facing up to the accusations against him - he's not even charged with anything; the Swedish police merely want to question him.  Worst case, he would be charged, go through a trial ... and, possibly, be found innocent.  That, surely, is preferably to making himself the centre of attention over his grubby sexual etiquette.   Difficult to believe that this prolonged nonsense is how Assange wishes to be known and remembered.


Gina Rinehart has declared "war" on Fairfax, of which she is the largest (in all regards) shareholder. 

Given that Gina is at war with all humans, animals and vegitation, I'm guessing the folk on the Fairfax board will need to take a number.


Katie Holmes is finally free.  After a handful of years inexplicably married to Tom Cruise, Holmes has filed for divorce and has applied for sole custody of the unspeakably indulged child of the marriage, Suri.

Cruise has managed to be divorced from three women, all such women being the magic age of 33 when the big moment arrives.  What's with that, hey?


Potential refugee applicants, intending to travel by sea to our big island, are allegedly paying a new premium to get here in droves, extra fast, while the "good" Gillard Government is still looking after the joint. 


Not breaking on this day, but breaking out everyday:  some funny experts recently claimed that the obese pose a threat to food security, which is ludicrous. 

It's the same illogical argument of long ago times when children were exhorted to eat all food put in front of them, because there were starving children in Africa.  The eating didn't fatten up anyone in Africa, and the not eating didn't result in left over brussel sprouts being diverted from the rubbish bin to hungry kiddies in far off lands. 

I don't believe the KFC consumption of overweight people affects anyone else's waistline or access to nourishment.

June 27, 2012

First time for everything

Three drug possession charges.

Ben Cousins pleaded guilty on all counts.

One $800 fine.

Remarkably, Cuz has never faced a drug charge before.

Really.  Not once. 

Wednesday Wisdom

"Vain is the word of a philosopher, by which no mortal suffering is healed. Just as medicine confers no benefit if it does not drive away bodily, disease, so is philosophy useless if it does not drive away the suffering of the mind."


June 23, 2012

The Age: Twenty Four Years Ago

1988 - Fraser and Whitlam join hands in message of support for independence of The Age:  Robert Maxwell takeover bid
Remember when?  Amazing, hey.  History repeats, but these are different times, and Gina Rinehart is not Robert Maxwell. And Gillard and Abbott aren't likely to be holding hands for any reason any time soon.

A Charter for All Ages


Best ever lists are usually around 25 to 50 per cent right; the rest being up for big time debate.

This latest list - best songs from the last 60 years - is one of those 'big time debate' lists, especially with Joy Division's Love will tear us apart being voted into the top spot. 

Sixty years - that's the best? The one people remember most?  The one they appreciate more than any other song in six friggin' decades?! 
Number two isn't ringing my bells either, although the retro video is pretty cool

The first 20 tracks from the list:

1. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
2. Pulp - Common People
3. David Bowie - Heroes
4. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
5. New Order - Blue Monday
6. The Stone Roses - She Bangs The Drums
7. The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
8. The Specials - Ghost Town
9. Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up, Look Sharp
10. Oasis - Wonderwall
11. The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil
12. The Ronettes - Be My Baby
13. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
14. Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen
15. The Beatles - A Day In The Life
16. The Cure - Boys Don't Cry
17. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
18. The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
19. Madonna - Like A Prayer
20. The Stone Roses - I Am The Resurrection

June 21, 2012

Oh Gina, Gina, Gina

Clive Palmer must be a happy man.  Even Julie Gillard and the ever-ignorable Wayne Swan might come to appreciate billionaires.

There's no one like Gina Rinehart to divert attention.  A most excellent decoy for her fellow self-righteous billionaires. An even more excellent decoy for the disdain, disgust and loathing nowadays usually reserved in large dollops for our federal politicians.  Gina's an all 'round rabbit's foot for powerful personages in need of a lucky charm.

Gen-Y's believe democrocy isn't much chop (good thing we don't need them to die for a cause), but it's a relief to see and hear that complacent Australians are inclined to ark up like a bunch of harpies when the fifth estate appears to be about to crumble, with no chance of resurrection.  Well, some Aussies, not all, by any stretch.  Gen'Y's seem inclined to shrug and assert that we must all move with the times.  No fucking idea what they're losing, no fucking idea about democracy.

It's not the paywalls, not even the job losses.  Not the loss of one of only two quality broadsheet papers left in the country - it'll morph into a nice little tabliod.  No, it's Gina.  Gina, who has no idea how to win hearts or minds.  Gina, who will abandon and publickly blackmail her own children and threaten her grandchildren. (Cancelling their kidnapping insurance, and telling the world?  Nice one.) 

Who would have thought that one of our most private, and paradoxically, viciously litigious billionaires would become the epicentre of a spontaneous urge to protect democracy, free speech, independent reporting, journalistic ethics, not to mention protecting our politicians, unworthy though they may be?  Well, life is full of wild and whacky turns.  Gina Rinehart is one of them.

Maybe she's only buying her own newspapers so as to keep her many court cases secret.  Sure, that could be it.

Fairfax to shed staff and put up paywalls 

Rinehart ally backs move to ditch Fairfax charter

Fairfax journalists call on Rinehart to uphold values (they're dreamin')

It's a changing media landscape and it's your fault 

Rinehart the saviour?

Swan turns up heat on Rinehart over Fairfax

News Ltd to combine divisions in cost cutting sweep

June 20, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

The truth is boring. You go to the market, you have coffee together, you have dinner together, you tell a joke, you go to bed. Are you ready for this? You live like normal people. Believe it or not, that’s what it takes.

Antonio Banderas (the secret to a successful marriage)

June 17, 2012

Hellish nightmare

A "hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation".  No, not Australia 2012 under the hellish Gillard Government, and (here in Victoria) the sub-optimal Big Ted Government.  Rather, the world of 3991 is likely to be a less than fun place, and over a thousand years, it remains routinely, stubbornly unfun.  Much like today, with war a constant presence, but with only three regions fighting it out.  This is the prediction from a ten year video game, played by an exceptionally committed user named Lycerius.  The prediction doesn't change, no matter what he did to resolve things.

Lycerius said the ice caps had melted 20 times because of nuclear fallout. The only three remaining countries - the Celts, the Vikings and the Americans - were locked in an endless war over dwindling resources.

Lycerius said he tried destroying or allying with the two remaining countries, but it had not helped.

Apparently, most of the world's population has died due to lack of usable land, and the engineers and military forces cannot make any improvements because they are working on supporting the war efforts.
 Note that global warming doesn't figure highly in this unhappy future.

Hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation: 10 year long game predicts grim future for humanity

June 16, 2012

Rebekah Brooks: red and curly

Prim, proper, pathologically bad memory
Queen Rebekah Books, read all about her, in this recent and glorious piece by Zoe Williams.  It's a delightful record of an important occasion; even better than any written coverage of the life and lost memory of Alan Bond.  Can't wait for the court case.
We had hours of not being able to remember anything. So, she can't remember whether or not David Cameron was at her 40th birthday. (''It was a surprise party,'' she gives, by way of explanation. It's always hard to remember anything when you've had a surprise. It's a bit like a concussion.)

She can't remember the identities of the politicians who have sent her messages of support, nor really the substance of any of the messages.

How did Mr Cameron come to be in Santorini at the same time as Rupert Murdoch and Brooks in 2008? She can't remember. ''I think it was born out of the fact that Mr Murdoch was in Europe that summer and Mr Cameron was travelling to Europe.'' (It really couldn't get any less specific, could it? Dear Mr Murdoch. This summer I plan to be on Earth. Would you care to meet me, given that we are both on Earth?)

What did they talk about? She can't really remember. ''I was witness to one [conversation] between them. It was about Europe. Because we were in Europe.'' She remembers the month that The Sun decided to withdraw its support for the Labour Party - June 2009. She agrees that Mr Cameron was told of this on September 9, 2009.

And yet, pressed on why The Sun announced its change of heart directly after Gordon Brown's speech at the Labour conference in October 2009, she delves into her tumbleweed memory to produce this: ''For all we know, they could have come up with a fantastic policy for Sun readers.'' I wonder what line Mr Brown would have had to take to undo a done deal that had been in place since June? It would have had to be something large and unexpected - a paedophile's head on a stick for every Sun reader?
Rebekah Brooks looks a perfect picture of the  ridiculously compromised

Angry Brooks baffled by charges

Queen of the Empire

Greens and governments can't pick winners

 Governments, via policies, funding schemes, and entrusting public servants to administer such, have an extraordinary long history of being incapable of picking winners.  This is why innovation and commercialization of worthy ideas is best left to pure research (public or privately funded) and to private sector investment and development.

Doesn't stop them though.  They plough on, our pollies, especially those of a greener shade, insisting they can pick future technologies, insisting they - and no one else - have the scientific, technical and economic knowledge to make a call on what should and should not be developed to benefit society.
But the Greens say carbon capture and storage does not deserve funding because it does not work. They say renewable energy has ''won the race''.
Which is bunkum. 

Carbon storage is a ludicrous idea (think of the permafrost:  all over red rover if those carbons escape!).  More important is the disingenuous assertion that "renewable energy has "won the race".  Good fucking grief.  If winning the race means limping along, supplying a couple of per cent of total power needs, being expensive, unreliable, wasteful of resources, and not at all energy dense, therefore incapable of replacing the energy dense sources that humans quite sensibly have become accustomed to exploiting, then sure, we could claim renewables are a dead set winner.  But only if you want to be totally stupid about the whole thing. Being stupid is a badge of honor for many Greens.  They also get to tell our current federal government what to do.  Pity that. 

Climate Strategy up in Smoke


What dreams are made of  - Niagara Falls crossing

June 14, 2012

Justice delayed

Justice delayed is justice denied, isn't it? 

I'm no cycling fan.  Definitely not a fan of men in Lycra.  Have no particular regard for Lance Armstrong, despite his claims to fame being well known to me, and almost everyone on the planet.

All the same, the leading headline in The Age strikes me as unsubtle and inappropriate.  Has the cycling fraternity really been sitting round for nearly a couple of decades, waiting to catch or clear Armstrong?  To potentially strip him of his wins, thereby (with logic that escapes me), giving the sport a clean tick in the eyes of the public (and thereby destroying the heroic record of the man who made the sport popular)? 

The Armstrong blood samples in question are from 2009 and 2010. The samples do not indicate drug use; possibly blood transfusions.  None of hundreds of tests have come up positive over a period of 16 years.  He is not even cycling anymore (he's gone into the triathlon business).  An earlier two year investigation came up empty.  The people who peddled gossip about Armstrong during that investigation have provided the basis for the action to suspend Armstrong from participating in triathlons, and the basis for a new investigation.  What's new, one wonders.

Yet, the threat is to strip Armstrong of of his seven Tour De France titles.  Based on this and that, not based on the science from 500 or so drug tests.

Got me beat, but it seems walks, quacks and looks like a kangaroo court.

Armstrong and cycling finally confront elephant in the room 

June 13, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

God knows there's a few narcissists here tonight. 

Paul Keating
May 2012, ACTU Congress, Sydney

June 12, 2012

Dingo guilty

The dingo did it.

Only took 32 years for the correct verdict.

Justice delayed ...

Dingo to blame for Azaria's death

June 11, 2012

Let's talk about race

Frightening statistic:  90 per cent of Mitt Romney's supporters are white. 

The stark difference between the mix, or non-mix, of Republican and Democrat supporters goes a long way to explaining the rise in the level of simmering anger and resentment between the two sides in American politics.  It also shows the regression in first world countries - for different reasons, depending on the political and cultural context -the widening gap in the lives and beliefs of the ruling elites and the rest.

I say "explaining", not "understanding".  It's difficult to understand why, America of all countries -  that massive melting pot, with hundreds of years of assimilating those from other lands, and of other colours -  is so at odds with it's own foundations, descending into old fashioned race, class and economic war, to no one's benefit.

I've thought these last four or five years that American politics (unlike our own grey version), was a black and white business; turns out that was more true than I knew.

Not afraid to talk about race

Feeling safe now

The introduction of the scanners is a response to the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bombing attack on a US airline involving a passenger trying to detonate chemicals hidden in his underwear and in a syringe.
Soooo, three years later, we're going to start foiling the potential underwear bombers.

Yep, hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent something that happened once, hasn't happened in the intervening years, and was (is), apparently, a matter of urgency - to protect our country.

Good to know they're onto it.  Good to know our money is spent so rationally.

Scanners at airports to reveal all 

June 9, 2012

Inexplicable and inexcusable

Read it and weep:  What's democracy done for me lately, asks Generation Y 

Update below, c/o Jacob - the broader perspective is far more compelling than the famous photograph.

Just 39 per cent of Australians aged 18 to 29 say democracy is better than other forms of government. 

Almost a quarter, 23 per cent, believe that "for someone like me, it doesn't matter what kind of government we have", while 37 per cent say non-democratic rule can be best.

Lowy Institute executive director Michael Wesley said yesterday he was surprised by "how lightly we take our democracy".

He said he thought it could be because Australia did not have to struggle for its freedom - or because of "the execrable behaviour of our parliamentarians".

Melbourne University music major Belinda Dalton, 22, said it was extreme to suggest democracy was the only form of government that worked, but she conceded it did have some positives.

"We don't live in a utopian society where everyone has the best intentions. People are still fairly power hungry," Ms Dalton said. "But I suppose democracy is the best way to ensure that people's interests are heard . . . it's not perfect, but nothing ever will be."

Fellow student Pierre Trioli took a harder line, saying non-democratic government might work for some cultures.

"China is a society and a state that functions without democracy, so is it bad?" Mr Trioli said. "You can't just judge it (because it's not democratic). It's whatever works for that culture."

Overall, Australians are less supportive of democracy than Indonesians, with only 60 per cent viewing it as preferable, compared with 62 per cent of Indonesians.

More Australians - 23 per cent - than Indonesians also say that "in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable". Only 16 per cent of Indonesians surveyed last year agreed.

The President of Melbourne University's first Indonesian student association, Briano Kawenang, 21, said some Australians undervalued democracy because they didn't understand how good they had it.

"This is the kind of thing you have to live in; you can't just understand by reading books or seeing it in the news," Mr Kawenang said.
I truly wouldn't have thought any person needs to live through all experiences to understand them, really understand them.  It doesn't take a huge amount of imagination or intelligence to appreciate that human life on this planet is not equal, nor equally dignified, for all, or even for the majority. 

June 6, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Avoid those who say they have the answer. Seek out those trying to understand the question.

Billy Connolly

June 2, 2012

American cups runneth over

How do they hold the big cups?
The Mayor of New York is going to ban cups of full strength sugar soft drinks larger than 16oz, in the hope that having to carry two 16oz cups will prove too challenging for the large number of obese New Yorkers. 

Meanwhile, over the last 150 years, American heads have gotten bigger, by about the size of a tennis ball (with the extra mass evenly distributed, we assume), and longer, and narrower.

It's consistent:  Americans like to do everything big.

New York plans to ban sale of large sugary drinks

American heads are getting bigger