December 29, 2014

How much fast food can a nation eat?

A lot, a scary, scary lot. 
"Food trends come and go but our love for fast food remains. Australians make 51.5 million visits to fast food restaurants every month, according to an Enhanced Media Metrics Australia's report on our eating habits, released earlier this year. McDonald's took the cake as the nation's fast food restaurant of choice, according to the report which labelled Australia as "truly a fast food nation".
Yep, that would be 51.5 million trips to a fast food store EVERY MONTH.   That's a whopping 618 million trips in a year.  For a population of around 23 million, which includes babies, toddlers, the disabled, the elderly, the fast food intolerant, etc. etc.  So some of you are eating WAY too much fast food.

French insane approach to Islamist terror

Incidentally, a sentence in Le Monde’s account was very revealing about the social milieu from which the perpetrator emerged: “He was known for petty crimes — robberies, drug-dealing — but had never really drawn attention to himself in the quarter where he lived.” Robberies and drug-dealing are nothing unusual, and therefore unworthy of remark.

The second perpetrator was a man with a long psychiatric history who had been released from hospital only weeks before what I dare say will soon be called his “accident”. The police reported that after his arrest he spoke incoherently of the children of Palestine, Islamic State and so on, his incoherence — a symptom of madness — coming as a relief to those who want to hear or see no evil. It allowed them to dismiss him as an isolated lunatic, such as there have always been and always will be. It did not occur to them that madness and political or religious ­fanaticism are not contradictory or even incompatible.

For now, there is more mystery about the third perpetrator. The prosecutor of Nantes said his attack was an “isolated” event with no terrorist intent. Absurd though this sounds, she might be right. Clusters of unusual events do occur, coming and going without signifying any long-term trend or common origin. Moreover, bizarre or sensational crimes often evoke imitation by the weak-minded. But no one in France is likely to believe this, even if true.

The political class is so wedded to political correctness, which it expresses in language of almost Soviet woodenness, that people are now inclined to assume that it is lying even when it speaks the truth. And since 1200 young French Muslims gone to Syria to kill for Islamic theocracy, which is more fun than working for a living or long-term unemployment in a soulless and soul-destroying HLM (Habitation a Loyer Modere, rent-controlled housing), there are certainly enough Islamists in France to commit three acts of terrorism in quick succession.

More Green vandalism

Spoil has sometimes been dumped at the shoreline to reclaim areas for port development — the Brisbane and Townsville ports are prime examples. Given the value of the land created, this is an entirely sensible procedure when undertaken (as it has been) as an environmentally efficacious and cost-effective commercial venture.

It is simply fallacious for conservationists to trumpet that the GBR is threatened by near-shore dredging, and it is risible and disgraceful that an international agency (UNESCO) is involved in unscientific grandstanding on the matter as well.

Caving in to activists, the federal government has rejected the two best environmental options for the spoil — either seabed dispersal or land reclamation. Instead, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has opted for the worst and possibly the most expensive environmental option — that spoil dredged from near Abbot Point will be dumped on land.

A more perfect combination of scientific ignorance and environmental stupidity would be hard to find.

American host seriously contemplates the dangers of the metric system and flying

Oh jeez, really? And yes, she's blonde, but that's no excuse.
"Fox News host Anna Kooiman speculated on Sunday that an AirAsia flight could have gone missing because international pilots were trained using the metric system.
During breaking coverage of missing Flight QZ8501, Kooiman asked former FAA spokesperson Scott Brenner if the “real reason” the plane had disappeared was because of the “different way other countries train their pilots.”

“Even when we think about temperature, it’s Fahrenheit or Celsius,” she pointed out. “It’s kilometers or miles. You know, everything about their training could be similar, but different.”

Brenner, however, said that the major difference between international pilots and U.S. pilots was the reliance on automatic pilot.

“And a lot of that… is because a lot of crashes are due to pilot error,” he explained. “So, if you try and eliminate any potential risk, you try and eliminate the pilot’s ability to make incorrect inputs into the aircraft.”
“It’s not just a difference in the way that we measure things?” Kooiman replied. “Is it not as safe in that part of the world? Because our viewers may be thinking, ‘International travel, is it safe? Is it not safe?’”…/is-it-safe-is-it-not-safe-fox-ho…/

December 24, 2014

One more sleep

Happy holiday season, to all and sundry, most especially sundry. 

December 6, 2014

Abbott Government: Surprise, surprise

Instead, the coalition that promised “no surprises and no excuses” seems to offer a surprise or an excuse at every turn and a team that campaigned on restoring trust in politicians has disappointed voters. The budget was judged the worst in more than 20 years — a mess of the government’s own making because it limply allowed Labor to define the narrative as being cruel and unfair cuts from broken promises.

And so the political year ends.  One year of the Liberals, and they've not even run out of excuses yet.  Two years to go.

Tony Abbot needs Ricky Muir like candour to win back voters

December 2, 2014

Film endings for idiots

Film: Thelma and Louise
Ending: Going out in a blaze of glory after the long and dramatic police car chase the two friends triumphantly speed off the edge of a desert cliff, leaving the audience uncertain of the outcome.
Original ending: In a slightly more definitive ending the women’s convertible is seen blazing over the cliff and captured tumbling all the way down to the canyon floor most certainly being pulverised in the process. 

Film: Titanic
Ending: The romantic tear-jerker ends with old Rose tossing her diamond into the ocean before dying peacefully in her sleep to be reunited with her love Jack.
Original ending: In a far more dramatic turn of events, Rose is seen scaling the rails of the boat much to the horror of her daughter and the treasure hunter, Bill Paxton who rush to her only to be given a speech about the beauty of life before Rose hurls the diamond overboard upon which a crew member yells, “that really sucks lady!”

Barack Obama: The Disappointer-in-chief

Unusually, from The Age, a fair summation.

Barack Obama: The Disappointer-in-chief

November 29, 2014

Do drunk people make worse laws?

 I'm fairly sure that this relates only to testing for alcohol consumption, rather than bad breath (although politicians with bad breath really should also be fined). 

ALP leader, Daniel Andrews - who is now premier elect - has indicated that one of the most important matters for the state of Victoria is to pass laws to force politicians to take random breath tests.

Are sober policies superior to policies devised while drunk?

Do we have so many drunk politicians on the job that this warrants urgent attention?

Are Victorian judges and magistrates getting on the piss prior to arriving at the bench?  Are they daring to sentence drunks, murderers, thieves and gypsies while themselves loaded to the gills? 

Mr Andrews notably didn't suggest that random tests for drink or drugs would be imposed for surgeons, teachers, jockeys, construction workers, window cleaners, taxi drivers, welfare workers, charity collectors, IT specialists, etc. etc.
Boozy Victorian MPs would face suspension or docked a week's pay if they fail random breath tests under a new Labor plan.

Magistrates and judges would also have to submit to the on the spot checks if the Australian first powers are awarded to chief justices, judges and magistrates, the Herald Sun reports.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews is expected to promise today to introduce random alcohol testing at the state's court and at Parliament sittings as part of his bid for premier.

"We make laws about Victorians being .05, and judges enforce them," he said.

"I'm not having someone making laws about .05 or enforcing laws about .05 while being over .05."

 Boozy Vic MPs to face suspension as part of Labor election promise.

November 23, 2014

Little town in the US is the first to seriously consider banning all tobacco

WESTMINSTER, Mass. — The fury — and make no mistake, it is white-hot fury — went way beyond the ordinary wrath of offended citizenry. A plan here to ban the sale of tobacco has ignited a call to arms.

The outrage is aimed at a proposal by the local Board of Health that could make Westminster the first town in the country where no one could buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

The uproar stems not from a desire by people here to smoke — only 17 percent do (a smidge higher than the statewide average). Many say they have never touched tobacco and find the habit disgusting. Rather, they perceive the ban as a frontal assault on their individual liberties. And they say it would cripple the eight retailers in town who sell tobacco products.

The ban is the major topic at Vincent’s Country Store, where a petition against it sits on the front counter and attracts more signatures every day; at last count, 1,200 people had signed, in a town of 7,400.

As shoppers come and go, they feed one another’s fury.

“They’re just taking away everyday freedoms, little by little,” said Nate Johnson, 32, an egg farmer who also works in an auto body shop, as he stood outside the store last week. “This isn’t about tobacco, it’s about control,” he said.

Nearly 500 people packed a hearing at a local elementary school on Wednesday night held by the three members of the Board of Health. Passions ran high, and the hearing became so unruly that the board chairwoman could not maintain order; she shut down the hearing 20 minutes after it began.

The crowd started singing “God Bless America” in protest as the board members left under police protection. Angry residents circulated petitions demanding a recall election for the board members.

 Disgusted by smoking, outraged by a plan to ban tobacco

November 22, 2014

Hooked on coke

Excluding fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, the top five grocery checkout items are coca-cola, with spots 1, 2, 4 and 5. Woolworths 3 litre milk takes out spot number 3.

The fastest growing grocery category in the last year: roll your own tobacco, with a 15.7 per cent increase. Potato chips are second, and ice cream third. Medicinal items come in at number four, at 5.4 per cent increase, marginally ahead of cigarettes, which increased by 5.5 per cent.

Number six is yogurt. Seven is confectionery. Then bread, coffee and soft drinks.

So, basically, the nation is eating a lot of chips and ice cream, smoking a lot, and cheering themselves up with a glass of coke or a cup of coffee.

(The findings exclude alcohol.)

November 5, 2014

Oh for the olden days, when decent political insults were a daily event

Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews copped a spray from the speaker in the Northern Territory.  This is how she commenced:

"Listen here you pooncy, pasty faced person from some pissant place that no one cares about."

It doesn't matter what else she had to say about Andrews, She covered the most important bits with 'poncy' and 'pasty faced'. 

Two thumbs up. 

Kevin Andrews branded pasty faced and pooncy 

November 2, 2014

Woolies goes batso

As we've all witnessed over the last decade, finding, preparing and eating food have become prestigious recreational skills, rather than a means of survival.

Along the way, Woolworths has demoted chefs, insisting, instead, that someone who spends years of their life being underpaid, overworked, and trained to cook for others to a standard that the rest of us won't ever master, are nothing more than foodies.

“We have put in a tasting station; we have a foodie here permanently who cooks up something different every day and anything that is seasonal, fresh or special. What is great about having a foodie here is that you are not really going to say, ‘Ooh, I will have wild boar tonight’, but you will if you taste it.”

The current foodie (a Parisian chef called Frederick) is also responsible for training staff and providing advice to customers on food matching. This recently extended to an event with the neighbouring Dan Murphy’s store, which opened a $30,000 bottle of whisky (in conjunction with a whisky appreciation society) and matched it with the best products from the cheese room. “That’s what the foodie does - bring a love of food into the store,” says Gill. “And we get incredible comments about it. And what I love about that is it’s not the layout of the store, it’s not the signage, not the groceries - it’s real, it’s the people, and I think that is a big change.”
Four times.  Four times she gushes about the in-house foodie.  That's no accident.  That person used to be a chef.  Now they work for Woolies.

Woolies goes gourmet

November 1, 2014

Coke-head Camel Kills Wildlife Park Owner Over Missing Coca-Cola

The American owner of a wildlife park in Mexico was killed by one of his animals this Monday. Richard Mileski of Chicago died after being kicked, bitten and sat on by a camel at the wildlife park he owned in the Mexican resort town of Tulum.
“The camel kicked and bit him practically to death, and when he was almost dead, he sat on him,” Tulum Civil Defense official Alberto Canto told the AP. “Between the blows and the weight of the camel on top of him, he was asphyxiated.”

He said it was still unclear why the animal, which was in a kind of enclosure, attacked Mileski, and authorities were sorting through a number of versions, including one that the camel was angry not to get a soft drink.

“One version is that he would always give him a Coca-Cola to drink, and apparently that day he didn’t give him the Coca-Cola,” Canto said. But, he added, “there are a lot of versions.”
Rescuers used a rope tied to a pickup truck to pull the angry dromedary off of Mileski’s body.

Angry Camel Kills Wildlife Park Owner Over Missing Coca-Cola

October 18, 2014

15-year warming pause

THE existence of a more than 15-year “pause” in average global surface temperatures has been “settled” but scientists remain split on what it means for the future.

While the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to rise, global surface temperatures have not increased at the same pace, causing speculation over what has happened to the “missing heat”.

Some leading climate scientists claim the missing heat has been absorbed by the world’s oceans and will return with rapid future warming. But new research has found the Earth’s climate is much less sensitive to carbon dioxide than previously thought.

Michael Asten from Monash University’s School of Earth ­Atmosphere and Environment said that, while opinions on causes differed, the existence of the pause was settled.

“Only activists dare claim the pause in global temperature does not exist,” Professor Asten said.
So let's hear it from the activists, shall we: 
Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said her organisation, which includes Will Steffen and Tim Flannery, did not accept there had been a pause.

“No, 2013 marked the 37th year in a row that the yearly global temperature was hotter than the average,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Vested interests have been using the so-called pause to spread doubt and misinformation.”

Vested interests.  "So-called pause".  Misinformation. 
Ah, activists, you've got to hand them regular awards for being so darned cute with their misinformation and continual failure to address the issue by venturing to explain, scientifically, creditably, what the proven pause in so-called global warming means, and explain why their current activist pay packet is not a vested interest.

The pause is settled, kiddies, you know, the way that global warming is settled.  It's beginning to look like picking and choosing your settled science findings.  Oh, that's right, because that's exactly what it is!

15-year warming pause is 'settled'

Meanwhile, more sensible and honest people might say, even did say:
“In light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seri­ously overstating the climate problem in its effort to promote the cause.

“It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour.”
A pause for this message climate change numbers aren't adding up

October 17, 2014

Even giant squids hate Greenpeace

 13 October 2014

A giant squid has been filmed in a frantic attack on a Greenpeace submarine, spinning wildly as it squirts a plume of black ink.

Greenpeace posted a Vine video of the ten-legged creature flailing its limbs and whips the hull as the frightened crew point a spotlight at it to scare it away.

The encounter was filmed in the Bering Sea – the body of water between Russia and Alaska – and uploaded to Greenpeace's account on Friday.

Giant squid attacks Greenpeace submarine

Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.

In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.

“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

Additionally, he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”

Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

Mullets: Are They So Bad, They’re Good?

No, no they're not.

There is nothing good about the mullet.

On anyone.


Mullets: Are They So Bad, They’re Good?

ABC unhinged

Unbiased, sure - it's been proven (ha!) - but unhinged, definitely.

Our ABC, still hard at work:
Looking forward to reading the book and congratulations to Richard Flanagan. It is a pity the ABC News with Juanita, massively overpaid talking head, Phillips devalued the author's win by saying in the headlines at the start of the news that the author was "ashamed to be an Australian...... because of Tony Abbot's environment policy". The actual news footage at the awards ceremony in London did not have the author making any such comment. However, the ABC found film footage from a different interview (date not supplied) where the author very briefly mentioned Australias environmental policy. It is tragic that the ABC would use such a rare and prestigious win by an Australian author to score points against Tony Abbot. Shame on you ABC and especially your head of news Kate Torney for doing so.
 Richard Flanagan war novel provides answer to book of the year question

The never ending penis chronicles

A man has had sex with 700 cars - or 'slept' with them, as the news likes to call it - one helicopter and one woman, not all at the same time.

The faithless fun of being a mechaphile

Duck Friday

Self marinating duck c/o the self marinated Kath

October 3, 2014

Unsolved stuff

The world's biggest mysteries

Did you notice?

Did anyone notice this?


At all?

Budget deficit soars to $48.5B 

Should be a crime

Not appropriate to take a toddler to an evening fashion show, but hey, maybe they couldn't afford a baby sitter, or maybe little North clearly articulated her deep interest in attending this particular fashion event.

But that's not the only crime going on here:  world's worst example of baby as celebutard accessory.

When you dress your baby in sheer clothing, because mummy is wearing a see through ... something, is it a dress? ... there should be a law somewhere that slaps the parents with a long prison stay. 

All a bit sickening. 

Baby North barely dressed to match barely dressed Kim Kardashian 

September 29, 2014

Stuff the public know

Scene: Islamic State instructs Muslims to kill Westerners; a known terrorist suspect and Muslim youth in Victoria meets two policemen while carrying two knives; attempts to kill them; one policeman kills youth.
Response: Tony Abbott says it's a ''nasty incident'', that some in the community are capable of ''very extreme acts'', but ''police will protect''; Denis Napthine says it's ''not about faith [or] ethnicity, it's about alleged behaviour of an individual''; Police Commissioner Ken Lay says ''diversity and multiculturalism is critical'' and warns of a need to ''exercise extreme caution''; Muslim leader Ghaith Krayem refuses to condemn youth, says underlying issues are social rather than religious.

Who do our leaders think they are fooling? Most of us are aware that some interpreters of the Muslim religion claim it justifies violent behaviour. We look to our leaders to acknowledge this openly and state we will not tolerate either the advocacy of violent behaviour or its actuality from whatever religion it may come.

Des Moore, South Yarra

From The Age, Letters, Sept 22 2014

September 24, 2014

Weazle words reach new lows

Soooo, in the Herald Sun, quotes from a local Muslim leader:

'Incident highlights the alienation and disaffection felt by the community'.

Calls for an inquiry. Into the shooting, not the stabbings, we assume.

Urges the public not to be too quick to apportion blame.

He says the police have been took quick to put the blame on the teenager.

He's disappointed.  He thinks that's a bit 'pre-emptive'.

'The police have come out very clearly and almost said 'it's all the young man's fault', he says.

An official statement reads:

'There needs to be a full and objective investigation into this incident to ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated.  This tragedy highlights the real cost of a failure to deal with these serious issues and why we have made numerous calls on the Australian government to deal with the root causes of alienation and disaffection of people such as this.'

You'd never know two police officers had been stabbed. 

September 17, 2014

Clive Palmer goes missing

Proving that it's possible to be paid to represent an electorate and have a lower parliamentary voting record than Bob Brown:

Palmer votes 19 times out of possible 202

That would be a fail, then.

September 14, 2014

Apple goes somewhere with time

If the battery of the Apple Watch lasts 10 hours, which is the claimed rate for some iPhones, it will be a quarter of the running time of the first watches ever made.

Apple Watch can be clasped and unclasped.  That means you can put it on and take it off - at will.

Apple is amazing.

September 6, 2014

Aussie butter knife designers solve a problem that doesn't exist

A group of Aussies who invented a butter knife that grates butter to make it instantly spreadable have won 10 times the amount of money they sought on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. 
They've raised nearly $400K, in fact, for a butter knife that no one needs, so the funds raised are an amazing achievement.

A knife that grates butter to make it instantly spreadable?

That's why spreadable butter was put on the shelves of every supermarket decades ago, and by golly, it works too, without grating. 

New butter knife 

Or maybe the last official sign that she's about to give birth?

 The headline:

Chelsea Clinton quits TV news job as 'Hillary 2016' gains momentum

 The report:

Chelsea Clinton has quit her high-paying TV news job in what could be the first official sign Hillary Clinton is set to run for president in 201.


It's always been possible that Hillary Clinton would run in 2016, after all, she's run once before.  It wouldn't be a matter of astonishment if she gives it another whirl.

But Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first baby to arrive quite soon, and with no financial need to work, it would seem obvious to the average idiot that this is the reason for her giving up some of her numerous work  commitments.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has trouble identifying good and evil

Apparently unable to distinguish between light and dark, good and evil, he blundered into the sort of faux deliberation favoured by ill-prepared undergraduates.

“I think we need to find better words than ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ because, to me, this implies a very one-sided view of the world,” Whish-Wilson said. “Often our forces could be seen by Iraqi civilians as being terrorists. ‘Terrorist’ is a word that is very commonly used against us by those same people in Iraq who have been radicalised — anything that creates terror is, by definition, terrorism. We use that word because it is a very simple word to use and it demonises people.”

Correct. We use the word ‘‘terrorist’’ because it best describes those people who practise ‘‘terrorism’’, that is, participate in violent acts intended to create terror.

Whish-Wilson seems puzzled that it implies a “one-sided view of the world”. Further, and by clear implication, he is drawing a parallel between the actions of terrorists and our armed forces in Iraq — though he later attempted to row back when questioned by Coalition senators.

“I said any soldier in any country can be seen as a terrorist by their enemy, and that the word ‘‘terrorism’’ is a word we should consider not using — that we should come up with a better explanation,” he laboured.
  Peter Whish-Wilson

August 24, 2014

What if it's all lies and hot air?

Remember decades ago, when the demise of humans was imminent, due to overpopulation and not enough food?  Everyone believed it.  Well regarded scientists believed it.  The science itself had no complexity, requiring only primary school maths (do some simple sums, simple extrapolation and simple prediction).

At least the last end-times prediction was based on real data, not computer modelling with only partial grounding in real world data and real world dynamics.

Does it matter if humans whip themselves daily for causing the warming of the planet, even if it turns out to be a wasted mass self-flagellation?  Well yes, of course it.  Decades of wasted debate, trillions of dollars, wasted economic, political and social capital.  That's why it matters:  the opportunity cost is devastating to current and future generations.
It goes to heart of the climate change debate — in particular, whether computer models are better than real data and whether temperature records are being manipulated in a bid to make each year hotter than the last.

“In (George Orwell’s) Nineteen Eighty-Four Winston Smith knows that, ‘He who controls the present controls the past’. Certainly the bureau appears intent on improving the historical temperature record by changing it,” Marohasy says.

“Repetition is a propaganda technique,’’ she wrote back to Birmingham. “The deletion of information from records, and the use of exaggeration and half-truths, are ­others.

“The Bureau of Meteorology uses all these techniques, while wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda.’’

Marohasy has analysed the physical temperature records from more than 30 stations included in the BoM set that determines the official national temperature record.

And she remains disturbed by a pattern whereby homogenisation exaggerates, or even produces, a record of steady warming against a steady or cooling trend in the raw data.

Marohasy says the “corruption” of the data was of no practical consequence to climate scientists at BoM because they do not use historical data for forecasting either rainfall or temperature — they use simulation models that attempt to recreate the climate based on assumed physical ­processes.

But she says the remodelling is “of considerable political value to them, because the remodelled data better accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming’’.

Marohasy says the unhomogenised/raw mean annual minimum temperature trend for Rutherglen for the 100-­year period from January 1913 through to December last year shows a slight cooling trend of 0.35C per 100 years.

After homogenisation there is a warming trend of 1.73C per 100 years. Marohasy says this warming trend essentially was achieved by progressively dropping down the temperatures from 1973 back through to 1913. For the year of 1913 the difference between the raw temperature and the ACORN-Sat temperature is 1.8C.

BoM is adamant the purpose of homogenisation is to remove non-­climatic disconuities. But Marohasy says because there have been no site changes or equipment changes at Rutherglen, but very large adjustments made to the data, it is perhaps reasonable to assume that the bureau has changed the record for Rutherglen because it is very different to the record for the neighbouring stations.
So many sheep, so few skeptics. 

Bureau of meteorology altering climate figures

Heat is  on over weather bureau homogenising temperature records 

August 10, 2014

It's been a while ...

Seems like an age since there's been a story worthy of penis chronicles.

This series of events brings up more questions than it answers. Did the lack of the lighter affect his decision to have relations with the driveway? Was he thinking "I'll either have a smoke, or fuck some sexy driveway. Whatever works out."

Texas man arrested for humping sexy driveway

July 23, 2014

Wow, just wow

Pure hatred of one's fellow human looks at lot like this:

Speaking at this year’s Christians United for Israel gala, Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer claimed that, contrary to what human rights groups and the United Nations have claimed, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has conducted its assault on Hamas in Gaza with such caution and care for civilian lives that it deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for “unimaginable restraint.”

“Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said during a speech that was repeatedly interrupted by protestors. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize … for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

Dermer went on to compare Israel’s warfare with that of the United Kingdom during World War II, arguing that while he had no interest in criticizing Winston Churchill for his decision to repeatedly bomb civilians in Germany, the nearly 70-year-old historical example was a reminder that, when it comes to protecting civilian life, Israel could be doing much worse.

“[N]o one should accept criticism of Israel for acting with restraint that has not been shown and would not be shown by any nation on Earth,” Dermer continued. “I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.”
 Israeli ambassador to US says IDF deserves nobel peace prize for unimaginable restraint 

The ambassador expanded, as if he could possibly improve on his first comments:

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer on Tuesday defended the country’s military action against Hamas in Gaza, but acknowledged the growing number of civilian deaths and said Israel is “not perfect.”

“I don’t think Israel should be judged by a standard of perfection,” Dermer told reporters at breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “We’re not perfect, we make mistakes.”

Dermer said repeatedly that Israel was not targeting Palestinian civilians and insisted Hamas was using human shields “in an unprecedented way,” which he argued was leading to the large number of civilian deaths.

Dermer also said people should asked themselves how other countries would react if in a similar situation.
“We are in a situation where we have to defend our people, and we’re doing it in ways that other countries have not done and would not done,” Dermer said. “If 200 million Americans were sitting in bomb shelters day after day, the U.S. military, the U.S. government, would not take action that is less forceful than Israel.”
Dermer noted a recent incident in which Hamas fighters and civilians were killed by Israeli forces.

“In this case, none of those people [civilians] should have been there,” he said. “Forty-eight hours before, we told everybody to get out of those areas and to go. We told them exactly where they should go to get out of the way of the fighting. A lot of them chose to stay. Some of them, I think, were forced to stay.”

Dermer also rephrased reported comments he made Monday that the Israeli Defense Forces should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint.” On Tuesday, he instead said Israel should earn global admiration.

“A missile can hit the wrong place, you can have intelligence failure, but we don’t target civilians. And I think, given the fact that we’ve got our people in bomb shelters, I think Israel should earn the admiration of the international community for the restraint that it has shown in the face of these threats,” Dermer said.
Israeli official: 'We're not perfect'

July 13, 2014

Knock me down with a feather: Thorpie comes out of retirement again

Ian Thorpe is gay, you say? He’s reportedly “Come out” in his interview with Sir Michael Parkinson on Channel Ten on Sunday night? Gay, you say?

Well, who would have thought it?

Apart from just about everyone that’s met and talked to our greatest Olympian, I mean.
Let's hope he is now happy as well

It might have been a whole lot braver not to write this in his autobiography only two years ago:
 "For the record, I am not gay ....”
Or said this on the ABC:
“The thing that I find hurtful about it is that people are questioning my integrity and what I say. That’s the only part I find hurtful, that this is something I would be embarrassed about and that I would hide”
Brave Australian Olympic Games champion Ian Thorpe tells I'm gay

June 15, 2014

Where do socks and bacon grow and other life mysteries

A recent national survey, commissioned by Woolworths, found that a third of Australian children struggled to identify fruit and vegetables, and were confused about where produce came from.

The study, which surveyed 1601 Australian children aged between six and 17 years, revealed 92 per cent did not know bananas grew on plants.

"Three-quarters of Australian children in their final year of primary school believe cotton socks come from animals and 27 per cent are convinced yoghurt grows on trees," reported Fairfax.

In fact, 75 per cent believed cotton was an animal product.

British primary school kids are just as clueless as Australian children.

In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country's primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.

The poll, conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation, surveyed about 27,500 children aged between five and 16 years, and found there was also some confusion about where pasta and bread came from.

"A third of five-to-eight-year-olds believe that they [pasta and bread] are made from meat," reported the BBC.

According to another survey, young adults in Britain are none the wiser.

The online poll, led by the charity LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.

Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.

Kids still don't know where their food comes from

May 15, 2014

Dead simple: so says Joe

Mr Hockey, when asked how a jobless 27-year-old would pay the co-payment under his plan to strip under-30s of unemployment benefits, said: “Well, I would expect to be in a job. That’d be the starting point; you’d be in a job. And we need you to work.”

May 6, 2014

Rich boys in trackies a global hit

It's the quintessential Sydney story that is going global.

There's Bondi, there's tracksuit pants and bare feet, there's a fight between two men - who happen to be billionaire and Crown chairman James Packer and Nine Entertainment Co chief executive David Gyngell.

"If you were looking at it overseas you'd say, this fellow is a chief executive of a publicly listed company that has just refloated, and this guy is on the Forbes billionaire list.

"I don't think there's been a situation like this."
 High price for James Packer v David Gyngell street brawl photos

May 5, 2014

Good old fashioned billionaire biffo

Gyngell and Packer later released a joint statement on the fight: "We have been friends for 35 years and still are. In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further."
James Packer and David Gyngell punch and wrestle each other in Bondi 

Abbott and Hockey push the envelope of weasel words

How to raise $10B or more in four years:

Don't introduce an extravagant maternity leave payment - $5B

Lift marginal personal income tax rates for those earning more than $100K - $10B

Tax the big four banks a tiny little levy of 0.2% on assets above $100B - $11B

Tax super earnings equally - $12B

End income splitting for 750,000 (yes, that's how many there are) discretionary trusts - $12B

End capital gains tax discount - $20B

End negative gearing - $16B

Could it become known as the "Abbott moment", when a prime minister cursed his political fate and consigned his government to one term?

"Crazy", "electoral suicide", a "Gillard moment" were some of the comments from Coalition MPs, the latter remark a reference to Julia Gillard's commitment to a carbon tax, which haunted her to Labor's eventual defeat.

"Everyone is shell-shocked. They don't understand it," one Coalition MP said on Tuesday, after the Prime Minister confirmed a "temporary debt levy" for as long as four years was a live option for the Coalition.
"They are asking ‘why is he doing this?'."

The answer says much about the undeliverable platform the Coalition brought to the election and the true nature of the "budget emergency" the current government inherited from its predecessor.

But the "debt levy" raising $10 billion over four years is a different proposition entirely. It is not the work of the commission. It was cooked up in cabinet and commission chairman Tony Shepherd has let it be known he thinks it a foolish idea.

He also promised repeatedly not to increase taxes. "You can’t tax your way to prosperity" was a mantra. So was "Tax cuts, without new taxes".

Speaking to 3AW's Neil Mitchell on Tuesday, Abbott redefined that commitment. A tax is only a tax if it is introduced in perpetuity.

"If there was a permanent increase in taxation, that would certainly be inconsistent with the sort of things that were said before the election," he said.

Hockey intimated the government should be given a break because it was all Labor's fault for ruining the budget, a new riff on "non-core policies".

"Please, this idea, somehow, that everything we had ever said is going to be held against ... us because the previous government basically misled the Australian people about the state of the budget, is kind of ridiculous," he said.

In the campaign, the Coalition promised no new tax rises, while quarantining health and education spending from cuts, pensions from changes and increasing defence spending.

But the main reason for the decline in government's finances has been on the revenue side of the ledger. Revenue is down from 26 per cent to 23 per cent of gross domestic product in the past decade, while spending has remained at a relatively stable 25 per cent.

"If you are going to break a promise on taxation, you may as well do it properly."

Daley says removing the capital gains tax discount, abolishing negative gearing and cracking down on superannuation taxation benefits were some measures that would have raised the same revenue or more at the expense of the wealthy.

The superannuation system is an expensive mess and failing in its objective of stopping people relying on the aged pension, which 80 per cent of retirees still access.

Perversely, the superannuation tax concessions – worth as much as $35 billion a year – will cost the government more than it outlays on the aged pension in a few years.

There was plenty of criticism that the commission of audit's recommendations hit the poor while leaving the well-off largely insulated from change.

Its major reforms – on welfare, unemployment, health policies and foreign aid – all disproportionately affected those on below-average incomes, at home and abroad.

The commission – dominated by members of the Business Council of Australia and former Coalition staffers and politicians – also oddly called for a lower minimum wage, which has nothing to do with budget policy.
But concerns about the inequity in the commission's 86 recommendations highlights another fact that is often lost in the debate about the budget.

Australia's social welfare programs are already tightly means-tested, meaning there is little scope to penalise the rich by slashing government spending programs.

The commission's terms of reference were to look at government expenditure, not revenue or tax. Separate reviews on taxation and superannuation are coming and will be delivered before the next election.

Government sources also point out that the debt levy will only hit 14 per cent of taxpayers, so may not have the negative political impact some are predicting.

As Abbott learnt to his advantage as opposition leader, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose – and even harder to regain.
And 14 per cent of the 'wealthy' can't possibly turn an election result, can they. 

And apparently the poor, the sick and the pensioners don't vote.

New tax on rich could seal Tony Abbott's fate

May 3, 2014

PMs err on wrong side of umm

I cannot believe Tony Abbott. Is it not possible for our Prime Minister to say something that’s not delivered in a slow, robotic and repetitive — I say again, repetitive — cadence? Or that isn’t prefaced with the stuttering ­utterances of “err” and “well”? 
For goodness sake, man, you are a Rhodes Scholar. Act like one, or at least speak like one. Show us the ­lucidity of your thinking through the fluency and the eloquence of your language. Surely there’s a sharp mind in there, somewhere. Hello?

Not that his predecessor was any better. Tell me that Kevin Rudd did not utter to President Barack Obama in front of the world’s media the term “programmatic specificity”? Please tell me this is an urban myth.

Kevin, what were you thinking? You are at best the head of a colony from the farthest edges of the known world. Your place in Obama’s presence is to look smart, pose for pictures, be grateful for an audience and use language that is pre-eminently forgettable. I know this is a hard concept to get your head around, Kevin, but “blend in”.

Do not get me started on Julia Gillard. I understand that, like Rudd and Abbott, she too could well be a delightful conversationalist, but as prime minister her plodding through the paragraphs of a prepared statement was painful. Palpably painful. For everyone and anyone within earshot!

I’m not sure whether Julia improved her elocution throughout her term or whether it was that my ear plasticised to the Gillard auditory form, but towards the end I quite liked her twang. It was oddly reassuring. It was distinctively Australian. I did not care for the substance or indeed for the context of her now famous, or infamous, misogyny speech but as a piece of spontaneous oratory it was powerful, fluid, gladiatorial and magnificent. And that is why it is memorable.

John Howard’s oratory did not offend me. Regardless of what you might have thought of his politics, Howard found a way to deliver his message without the delivery getting in the way.

Paul Keating was an orator on a grand colonial scale. He delivered daily what Gillard managed once. His language was direct. His imagery was as colourful as it was grandiloquently biblical.

It strikes me that the oratory skills of the Australian PM genus have diminished within a single digital generation. And I suspect that this outcome derives in turn from the effects of the ruthless process of natural selection. Either the verbally skilled are being naturally ­diverted to other occupations — such as advocacy, perhaps — or they are having their language curated and mightily managed during the apprenticeship years. The net effect is a muted, perhaps even a neutered, newspeak political form.

No PM can now truly speak their mind. Every utterance is examined. Every verbal misstep is captured, dissected and displayed to the hawing masses as evidence of wider incompetence. Far better to play it safe and stick to the script even if it deprives our public discourse of the passion that would naturally flow from the frisson of people of verbal skill and conviction. And this is why Tony Abbott and his successors will forever be advised to always choose their words carefully.
Bernard Salt

Abbott’s war on the rest of us – And why there’s no need

Everyone without money and without advantages, socially or economically, will be hit by the Abbott Government, to fund a deficit that is a mere drop in the ocean, and still hasn't reduced Australia's fortunate comparative economic position in the world.  A sound, safe economy.  Other treasurers would give their right arm.

If the Abbott Government wants to destroy the economy, including consumption, investment, and reducing tax revenues even further, then yes, they seem to have an excellent approach - in fact, they're nailed it:  triple A for economic and social destruction! 

What's so attractive about a surplus, when all it illustrates is that the government has taken more money out of the economy than they needed?

Pensioners, health, family payments face cuts

Much like the ALP review of education funding, which omitted funding for private schools, the Liberal Party Commission of Audit omitted a myriad of things - including taxation - and the commissioners failed, in their recommendations, to take account of real life. 

Try finding money to move when you've been unemployed for a year, and see how moving - as a young person - to where you don't know anyone, have no support ... oh, and yes, lets just hasten the death of rural areas and therefore rural economies, good-o. 

Not to mention all those people, not yet even close to 70 years old, who already face age-discrimination in trying to keep or find employment.

Can the government distribute a list of all the 'unnecessary' GP visits people are making.  Do they mean for flu, or getting a sick leave certificate for their workplace, or a grizzly baby, heart disease, arthritis, cancer?

What's really sickening is how much personal enjoyment Joe Hockey is publicly displaying as he gloats about making the lives of the poor, the old, the sick impossible, and the lives of average and low income families dire.  Current and future generations will suffer because of Hockey's ruinous economic actions, his economic stupidity.  

Abbott and Hockey - one term head kickers.  They've managed, in six months, to make Rudd and Gillard look almost grown up and responsible.

Their term in office has barely begun.  May the deities help us.

Tax the flaw at the heart of the national commission of audit

April 23, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom

Who speaks of victory?  Endurance is everything.   


April 21, 2014

No bias ABC

Watching the ABC for a few minutes, a report about a Sydney based anti-Islamic group (the ADL). 

The provocative leafleting and internet posts by some members of the group engendered counter threats from local Muslims, including exhorting the members of the ADL to embrace Islam, otherwise they were done for.

Multiple gun shots were fired into the lounge room of one ADL member - and yes, he was in the room, and had been looking out the window, so had to take a dive to the floor to miss being shot.  Evidence of the shots were evident in the blinds and walls.

The ABC wrapped up the story with the triumphant outcome being that that ADL member has been charged by police over trespass and various other offences relating to his anti-Islamic activities.

The ABC said nothing further about the shooting, not even whether the police were bothering to investigate.

No, the only crimes committed, if you believe this report, were by ADL members, at least one of whom will be duly punished according to the laws of our land.  Death threats and running around with guns is ok, especially if provoked by some dickhead with leaflets. 

The report ended with footage of a local mullah urging a mosque full of young Muslim men not to resort to violence; not because it was wrong to shoot people, but because it would draw sympathy to those who were their targets.  Thus the story ended with the upbeat message that Islam is a peaceful belief system, not at all inclined to killing non-believers.

Yep. that's the modern version of neutral reporting at our ABC.

April 18, 2014

Kimmy and the Kardashian clan really can make you sick

Even for those of us who've not seen more than a couple of minutes of the sex tape, the sight of Kim.K (and her more recently acquired Kanye) or her immediate family members is enough to induce a dry wretch.
“Just hearing the sound of the Kardashians’ nasal voices or catching a glimpse of them on screen makes me feel nauseous and shaky,” Mr Amess said.

“My hands get clammy, my breathing gets heavier and I start sweating. Sometimes, I get teary and want to retch. I dislike everything about them, especially their physical appearance. I don’t understand how anyone could find them attractive. I can’t stand their voices either. They’re so whiny and shrill — it really gets under my skin.
Poor boy.  Although, at least the sight and sound of Kimmy having sex confirmed and helped him to be happy being gay.  A public service, of sorts, to gay men.

Mike Amess has Kardashian phobia - and so do we

April 8, 2014

Happy 50th!

Yes the mainframe is officially middle aged:  50 years old. 

That's all, you ask?

Yep.  Only a short 50 years ago the first IBM mainframes were launched into the world.  

Half century anniversary for IBM mainframes

Work experience MP: Palmer the part-time politician

At least 105 smart people

How many are they inviting? 

No idea, but at least 105 invitees to the Kanye and Kimmy wedding have declined to attend. 

I'm sure they all have open heart surgery or urgent root canal therapy appointments clashing with the K&K big day.

Either that or they're really, really, really smart.

The wedding almost everyone wants to miss

March 26, 2014


I have a reasonably good grasp of Australian nights and days.

Royally anointed Australian knights and dames, on the other hand, not so much.

Someone really should have given Tone a stern talking to.

Such nonsense has no place in this country. 

Tone has lost the plot.

March 23, 2014

The irrationally angry: when grown ups act like spoilt children

You really have to take your hat off to the government. It took John Howard a lot longer to wind up the lefties. Remember the fuss about a “Ditch the Witch” sign at an anti-carbon tax protest when Julia Gillard was prime minister? Not a peep from the Destroy the Jointers now.

No alarm about the widespread violence theme either. In Canberra a man with a white-painted face and black hoodie carried a backpack with a fake Molotov cocktail poking out.

And in Sydney a young tattooed woman wearing what looked like a blonde wig carried a sign saying “#KillABBOTT” and the words “Campaign?” and “Pozible”, which is a fundraising website for random causes. Presumably she was drumming up support for a crowd-sourced assassination of the Prime Minister, an incitement to violence worth police investigation.

In Newcastle, union leader Gary Kennedy took to the stage with a Scottish accent to tell protesters Gina Rinehart was a “filthy animal” and “”despicable human being”.

Then the Newcastle Trades Hall secretary went well beyond the realms of acceptable protest. Qantas boss Alan Joyce, he said, “should be shot somewhere in the back of the head.” He apologised yesterday, but it’s too late. An already discredited union movement has flicked the switch to “crazy”.

This is the sort of scene that Greens MP Adam Bandt, who met protesters outside Parliament House, described as “the compassionate, humane and generous heart of this country”.
Angry lefties mad as March marcher

Let's just be afraid of everything

Sure, we don't know what we don't know, but a large chunk of hysterics nowadays willfully ignores history and science and is all for show; all noise and blithering.

Imagine if the arguments and ideologies of today were dominant throughout the last 100 years:  we'd never have had proper sewage, vaccinations, antibiotics, pesticides, hardy crops (of all varieties), excess food stocks for an ever-growing global populace, safe surgery, organ transplants, etc. etc. Hell, we wouldn't even have toothpaste or sliced bread.
“Many times people ask me: ‘What do you think is the main danger of GM?’ ” Pusztai told Gene­Watch magazine. “And the danger is that we do not know what the main danger is.”

“I think this is an extremely dangerous experiment with our globe, with our Gaia, with our people,” says Pusztai, “and if you ask me what are the consequences, I can only say that I haven’t the faintest idea … I’m not saying that there is going to be a cataclysmic consequence of this. What I’m saying is that the cataclysmic thing about it is that we don’t know what is going to happen.”
Pity food fundamentalists starved of common sense

March 15, 2014

How does a plane vanish?

So far, there no good theories on where the Malaysian plane, and all in it, has gone.

The firming theory that it flew for many hours, at different altitudes, with numerous turns, and that it was a pilot suicide makes no sense.

It would have needed to be collective pilot suicide, a pact.  Or one pilot would have needed to render his team members senseless, so as to fly on their own, which would have been noticed by other flight staff, surely?

And no one on the plane had a mobile phone?  Really

It doesn't make sense that not a single person knew what was going on, not even the flight attendants - if the flight did go for hours, and did take a radically different path - and no one picked up a mobile phone to make a call or send a single message.

I'm not convinced that every person on board could have been oblivious to a hijacking or suicide flight, and thus remained calmly and unknowing in their seats and with their hands off their phones.  Or that all the while, flight attendants carried out their duties with not an inkling that anything was wrong in the cockpit.

We're all deeply familiar with the calls and messages made from flights on 9/11.

The scenario now being proposed for the Malaysian plane isn't plausible.  

Jet piracy theory gains more credence