Shipwrecks and madness   29/11/2003

OS from the West pricked my curiosity with his pitch for a movie about the dutch ship Zuytdorp that was wrecked off Geraldton in 1712. Although much research has been carried out on the wreck and nearby campsites, there’s still enough conjecture to weave an engrossing yarn around. There’s treasure, probably romance between wreck survivors and Aborigines, sickness, madness and no doubt an obsessed soul determine to lead a party north on a futile return to civilisation. OS has six hours to get to the Bush Inn in West Toorak to claim his pots of chilled lager.
Honorary mention to Tim Blair for his imaginative proposal for Pauline Hanson and Margo Kingston to share lead roles in She Cares, the inspiring story of two confused Queensland women who, after years of distrust, are brought together by the mysterious voices in their heads.

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Pantaloon purloiner   28/11/2003

Our favourite geezer in print, Frank Devine, has penned the funniest slice of bio you’ll read this side of Professor Bunyip. Actually funnier, it’s dak-cacking stuff. With immense courage, Frank reveals a shady side to his gormless youth.
A snowdropper’s life was full of adventure. When the CIB launched a purge, neighbourhoods would come alive with the thud of police boots and the sight of perverts hurdling wooden fences, creeks and gullies. My elusiveness earned me the title of the Subiaco Phantom.

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Dave for Dubya?   27/11/2003

Get the feeling David Letterman might be declaring his hand:
Have you been watching the Democratic Debates? You know what those are for? It’s to narrow the field down to one guy who will eventually lose to George W. Bush.
Presidential candidate Howard Dean is now being attacked for dodging the draft. I never knew this about the guy – but now I know this guy is presidential material.
Today President Bush pardoned the White House turkey. Of course the turkey had to donate $100,000 to his reelection campaign first.

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Truth in law   

That bloody red baron Robert Richter, QC, has again had his utterences questioned.
Reflecting at a recent legal function on Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hull’s commitment to reverse discrimination — aka affirmative action — in judicial appointments, Richter observed that it was obviously an advantage for candidates not to have testicles.
Can’t argue with that assertion, particularly in view of Hull’s appointment this week of a woman as Victorian Chief Justice.
Nevertheless, Richter felt it necessary to apologise to leading Melbourne barrister Felicity Hampel, SC, who walked out of the gathering.
No such umbrage from legal circles on behalf of the good folk of Warrnambool who Richter slandered earlier this week.
As outlined in an earlier post, Richter told a court that suspended ATSIC head Geoff Clark had last year been celebrating a historic trip to the Warrnambool races where for the first time Aborigines were allowed to mix freely with other racegoers and were not confined to a “blacks’ bar”.
This is utter crap as any regular Warrnambool racegoer can verify but no one from the legal fraternity or the Fairfax press seems prepared to query Richter.
To the politically correct, some truths are lies and some lies should be truths.

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Prizes galore!   25/11/2003

I’ve c and p’d this from one of my comments boxes, prompted by the realisation that I’m buggered if I know how many read this blog but I’m sure it’s more than those who read the comments.
With all the spear carriers and scribblers whinging about the threats to “our stories” under a free trade agreement — a fear not upheld by the facts, it seems — I got to pondering about Oz stories that could do with a telling on the silver screen.
Just a few that haven’t been touched by modern Australian cinema: For the Term of His Natural Life, Xavier Herbert’s sagas, the mysterious sinking of HMAS Sydney (mystery, licence to do whatever), Kokoda, Vietnam era on all fronts (epic potential), the ruination of pubs and pub rock (chance to whack dunny lane despots) and hopefully in the near future, communities reborn under practical reconciliation. For gore and gristle fans, the story of Tasmania’s serial cannibal escapee — the Pieman, I believe he was called — would be a must-see.
Haven’t seen the wildly acclaimed Japanese Story, but I suspect it’s a chick flick. Besides, the last one the same critics raved about was Lantana, the greatest load of shite to pollute a screen since The Piano.
Waddabout a comp for the 10 best of “Our Stories” to be pitched as movie productions? I’ll shout the winner pots at the Bush Inn, West Toorak on Satdee night.
For starters: Pig’s Head Revisited — The Jaidyn Leskie Story.
Gentlefolks, pitch me your yarn.
Bull goose Oz blogger Tim Blair has thrown his formidable support behind our “Pitch an Oz Yarn” campaign.
Inspired by an earlier post’s reference to Swing Shift Cinderella, Tim’s come up with a vehicle for Australia’s ugliest step-sisters. Who’s to play Cinders, but?

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Haters at work   

Murph’s picture of his mates with John Howard after the rugby was accompanied by an illuminating explanation that showed the PM in a pretty good light. He didn’t shy off sharing the lift with the lads, joked about a surreptitious beer or two and appeared to have maybe imbibed the odd sherbet. As Murph explained, it showed Howard to have the natural touch.
I referred the pic to Steve Mayne at Crikey, suggesting that he might like to present this side of Howard that the working media seems to avoid.
So what does Mayne do? For a start he ran the pic but didn’t even acknowledge its source. Then he uses the photo to run a smart-arse caption comp, attracting Howard-sledge from the usual suspects.
He could have at least run Murph’s comments to balance the ledger. Yes, balance, that’s what journalism used to be about.

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Complaining hams   24/11/2003

Mummers and scribblers have been whining like ancient Dodge diffs about how a Free Trade Agreement with the US will destroy the Australian performing arts. We won’t be able to tell our stories, they moan. We’ll be cultureless, they groan, revealing an undying Stalinism that believes only the state can determine culture. The lack of subsidies and local content rules didn’t seem to stop the likes of Lawson, Paterson, Herbert and even the lefties old darlin’ Paddy White from telling their stories.
Anyway “Adam Smith” writing in Crikey reveals that the stars griping at the Australian Film Industry awards were practising their craft, ie, reading lines written by someone else. And the lines were suitable more for a fictional drama than a documentary:
Sadly, the facts are these. Every free trade agreement that Australia and the US have signed over the last decade, along with the WTO’s Trade in Services agreement (the GATS) state plainly that their provisions “shall not apply to subsidies or grants provided by a Party or to any conditions attached to receipt or continued receipt of such subsidies or grants.”
In case you were wondering whether the US has changed tack on this question, consider what Ralph Ives, the US chief negotiator for the FTA, told Australian journalists on 23 May: “in terms of the content requirements and the subsidies, we’re certainly not seeking, as some in Australia have indicated, to abolish either the broadcast quota or the subsidies”. And Trade Minister Mark Vaile has been saying exactly the same thing for months to anyone who will listen. Rejoice, rejoice! Our massed ranks of sculptors-in-residence, NIDA students, indigenous dance troups, anarcho-postmodernist street circuses, and aspiring Careys, Nolans and Sculthorpes, will be able to put out their hands for another OzCouncil grant without fear of a Hugo Weaving-esque CIA or ASIO operative lying in wait to chop them off.

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Rubbery figures   22/11/2003

The Gaurdian supports leftwing education policies that lead to widespread dumbing down of the populace, so we’re not surprised by their rickety arithmetic in summarising crowd numbers at the London demo.
It reported:
Yesterday was by far the biggest turnout since the million-plus march in February; along with the crowds, the anger and conviction were back with a vengeance
Stop the War Coalition has become the fastest growing political movement in Britain.
Although some estimates put the crowd at 50,000 and the police at 70,000, the Graudian generously suggests 200,000.
Even if that were the case and February’s million-plus was rounded back to a million, James Taranto at the WSJ, points out “the fastest growing political movement in Britain” would be shrinking at a rate of 80% every nine months.

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Yee-haw, country and western suburbs outfit Dead Livers are celebrating 25 years of performance with a NU Country gig at the Bush Inn, West Toorak, from 8pm on Saturday November 29. I’ll buy a beer for any blogrollers who turn up.

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Loony libbers   21/11/2003

Prime Minister John Howard said today he hoped the book would be thrown at those responsible for allegedly feeding pig meat to sheep intended for the Middle East.
Australian laws introduced because of mad cow disease in Britain make it illegal to feed ruminant animals – such as sheep – anything that may contain meat, with penalties up to $24,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
Whacko organisation Animal Liberation has claimed responsibility for the crime.
Police have charged Animal Liberation activist Ralph Hahnheusser with trespass and with contamination of goods to cause economic loss in an out-of-sessions court in Portland, western Victoria late yesterday.
He was bailed to appear at Portland Magistrates Court
Whoever sabotaged the shipment of 70,000 sheep bound for the Middle East live sheep trade deserves to cop the full wrath of the law; it has put people’s livelihoods at stake. In many cases these are battling farmers coming off one of the worst droughts on record.
Wonder how Bubba in the Big Yard will react when informed the new prisoner is a vegan or vegetarian who doesn’t eat meat.

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Terrorism’s supporters   

Well, it wasn’t quite the 100,000 demonstrators that organisers hoped would throng inner London.
But 50,000 came out to protest against terrorism, which was a pretty good turnout after at least 27 innocents were murdered and 450 injured by blood-crazed barbarians.
Wazzat? They weren’t protesting against terrorism that kills indiscriminately, especially muslims?
No, I checked my sources and it seems they approve of that form of terrorism. It’s the terrorism of Bush, Blair and Howard that twists their tiny minds.
Silly me, why did I think it would be any other way?

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Unqualified for the hating classes   20/11/2003

Call me old-fashioned, but Mark Steyne has convinced me I’m not equipped to tango with the po-mo Euro political chic. Damned old-hat fixations I’ve got on rationale, logic and decency.
The fanatical Muslims despise America because it’s all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it’s controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it’s too imperialist. And even its imperialism is too vulgar and arriviste to appeal to real imperialists: let’s face it, the ghastly Yanks never stick it to the fuzzy-wuzzy with the dash and élan of the Bengal Lancers, which appears to be the principal complaint of Sir Max Hastings and his ilk. To the mullahs, America is the Great Satan, a wily seducer; to the Gaullists, America is the Great Cretin, a culture so self-evidently moronic that only stump-toothed inbred Appalachian lardbutts could possibly fall for it. American popular culture is utterly worthless, except when one of its proponents – Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon – attacks Bush, in which case he or she is showered with European awards and sees the foreign-language rights for his latest tract sell for six figures at Frankfurt. The fact that the best-selling anti-Americans are themselves American – Moore, Chomsky – is perhaps the cruellest manifestation of the suffocating grip of the hyperpower.

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He was just kidding   

Clinton’s saying: “The girls around here just keep getting prettier.”

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Is there nothing you can’t get delivered these days? Bloke over the road is expanding the manor and a truck pulled up this morning loaded to the gunnels with gables and beams.
The sign on the truck door said: Dial A Shed.
I asked the neighbour if he wanted anchovies with that.

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pissheads   19/11/2003

Lani, who makes an appearance with his new mate over at Murph’s swears the PM had “had a few”. Good on him — “I luvessshhhh yoo, Johhnnny, brrppp!”


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If Kell and I agree, well . . .   

Australia’s best journalist, Paul Kelly, shares my opinion that Mark Latham is the torch-holder on the economic reform trail that must be blazed by the Australian Labor Party if it is to survive.
Ned’s descendent opines in The Oz today:
The flashpoints concern the ALP national conference, the ongoing Crean-Beazley leadership question and the agenda Labor finally embraces to fight John Howard. As shadow treasurer, Latham is re-positioning Labor to a pro-market, pro-economic reform, pro-enterprise culture line. “Globalisation makes economic reform an assignment without a completion date,” he said last week. “The cost of abandoning reform is lower living standards over time.”

And the Latherer himself had this to say about my enthusiastic support yesterday for his political and economic nous:
good stuff, sort of.

I think that’s known in the trade as damned by faint praise.

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man for the job   18/11/2003

When Peter Costello assumes the prime ministership, probably sometime in 2005, he could do a lot worse than offer the Treasurer’s gig to Mark Latham.
Although Latham shows a finer grasp of national economics than anyone in memory within the Labor party, he’ll be looking for a job by then.
With the loopy left — under the presidency of Crazy Carmen Lawrence — about to drag the party off to quite possibly a terminal spell in the wilderness, Latham must know his tour of duty as Labor’s fiscal commodore is heading for treacherous reefs.
It’s a tragedy because he knows more than the out of touch wankers who dominate his once-great party that to get the Australian vote — or anyone’s for that matter — you have to appeal to the hip pocket. All the wailing and gnashing of teeth about reffos, stolen children, stolen republics and the plight of endangered gay rainforests mean diddly squat in the burbs where elections are won, pay rises are rarely certain and mortages are a bloody big worry.
Latham on tax relief:

The harder people work, the more likely they are to fall into the top marginal tax rate of 48.5 per cent (for incomes over $62,500 – that is, just 1.3 times average weekly earnings). Australia has a vast army of wage and salary-earners – people who have studied hard through TAFE and university and got themselves into decent jobs – who are paying up to 48.5 per cent in income tax. Yet for the owners of companies and capital, paying more than 30 per cent is optional.
This is the great imbalance in the taxation system. Honest, hardworking pay-as-you-earn taxpayers are cross-subsidising the corporate sector – in some cases, cross-subsidising high-wealth individuals who are avoiding tax altogether. The incentive system is all wrong. The hard workers are being punished while the rorters are being rewarded. This is a barrier to economic growth in Australia, a barrier to productivity. For the people who do the right thing in our society, the system is crook.
If parents are raising children and they have a mortgage, especially if they are living in expensive cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, then nobody should pretend that $65,000 is a huge amount of affluence.

It’s a media cliche that John Howard is Bob Menzies writ little.
Rubbish, Latham with his learned acknowledgement of the aspirers from battlerdom is virtually a Ming clone.
He knows the vast majority in the outer burbs and regional cities are decent, hard-working people with a modest determination to successfully raise families, aquire a property and a few material benefits and retire contended and optimistic.
They rightly don’t feel responsible for wrongs done by others in other times and different places and would sooner a benign symbol of power than some noisy stirrer tramping around the campfire and stirring up the stock horses.
When Lawrence and the left ratbaggery do Latham in, as they will, especially with the support of car wreck watchers like Phatty Adams et al, he should dust himself off, explain himself clearly to Costello and other compassionate neo-cons and bargain himself the counting house gig. To paraphrase Carly Simon, no one could do it better.

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Barbarians threaten   17/11/2003

Friendly little cheerio this morning from the murderous sand fleas at al qaeda:
“We say to the criminal Bush and his valets among the Arabs and foreigners, in particular Britain, Italy, Australia and Japan: you will see the cars of death with your own eyes in the centre of the capital of tyranny,” al-Qaeda said in an Arabic-language statement emailed to the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.”

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State-endorsed religious discrimination   16/11/2003

This blogster doesn’t hyper-ventilate over God matters. We’re content to believe the basic credos of most religions are decent platforms on which to build law-abiding societies and that Judean-Christian guidance has led civilisation to enlightenment.
And dammit, I don’t know any seriously religious people who are not fine specimens of humanity. A bloke I work beside goes to the Praise The Lord Hall several times a week and I couldn’t ask for a friendlier, more helpful, interested and interesting colleague.
Anyway, despite all the huff and puff, separation of church and state is an ideal that will not be realised until churches suffer the same treatment at the tax office as secular organisations. And hear ye, brothers and sisters, dat ain’t about to happen, praise the Lord.
In the meantime, such trivials as religious symbols in state schools are best sorted at the local level, with a vote of parents if necessary.
To let the politicised bureaucracy decide such matters ends only in hypocrisy and deceit as exemplified in action by the loony left-controlled New York schools system:
Pursuant to New York’s policy, City schools display the Jewish Menorah and the Islamic star and crescent during Hanukkah and Ramadan, but not the Nativity scene during Christmas. One public school principal issued a memo encouraging teachers to bring to school “religious symbols” that represent the Islamic and Jewish religions. No mention of Christianity was made in this memo. At times, teachers would have students make the Jewish Menorahs that would often adorn the halls of the schools as part of the “authorized” displays. However, the students were not allowed to make and similarly display Nativity scenes. When a parent wrote to her son’s teacher to complain about this, the teacher responded by sending the parent a copy of the school’s “Holiday Displays” policy.

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Convincing facts   

US haters are prone to gloat over what they claim is a paucity of links between Bin Laden and Saddam.
The Weekly Standard has just atomised such certainty.
Several reports indicate that the relationship between Saddam and bin Laden continued, even after the September 11 attacks:
31. An Oct. 2002 . . . report said al Qaeda and Iraq reached a secret agreement whereby Iraq would provide safe haven to al Qaeda members and provide them with money and weapons. The agreement reportedly prompted a large number of al Qaeda members to head to Iraq. The report also said that al Qaeda members involved in a fraudulent passport network for al Qaeda had been directed to procure 90 Iraqi and Syrian passports for al Qaeda personnel.

37. Sensitive reporting indicates senior terrorist planner and close al Qaeda associate al Zarqawi has had an operational alliance with Iraqi officials. As of Oct. 2002, al Zarqawi maintained contacts with the IIS to procure weapons and explosives, including surface-to-air missiles from an IIS officer in Baghdad. According to sensitive reporting, al Zarqawi was setting up sleeper cells in Baghdad to be activated in case of a U.S. occupation of the city, suggesting his operational cooperation with the Iraqis may have deepened in recent months. Such cooperation could include IIS provision of a secure operating bases [sic] and steady access to arms and explosives in preparation for a possible U.S. invasion. Al Zarqawi’s procurements from the Iraqis also could support al Qaeda operations against the U.S. or its allies elsewhere.

It’s a lengthy read and extremely convincing.

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