And they’re off!   30/4/2006

Outta here for a few days. I’m off to help a mate with a job at the Warrnambool racing carnival.
Best way I reckon of ensuring you leave the track with some moolah.

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Perfectly Frank   28/4/2006

Quite possibly the cleverest piece of comment to appear in Australian media this year:

On you trudge: “Explain how dramatic

Techniques might be used to communicate

The following readings: Marxist, feminist, race.”

Marxist, madam? Hast read Das Kapital?

Head: It’s excellent in parts.

Will: Excellent, madam? Ne’er have I beheld pursuit

With such futility a muse of fire that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention. Yet where

His lame brain limps goes fire aplenty, and pestilence.

Head: Honest Karl may lack your stylish gift

But what of the puissance of his thought in

That great aphorism he bequeaths us: “From each

According to ability, to each according to his need?”

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Cutting edge treatment   26/4/2006

In batty Britain they really are in favour of the loonies running the asylum:
Nurses are pushing for a policy change that would allow patients who cut and burn themselves to keep their blades and other implements with them in hospital settings.

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Right word   

Improve your vocabulary by adding a few treasures from other languages.
Ex-BBC quiz-show researcher Adam Jacot de Boinod has published a book, “The Meaning of Tingo,” which draws on intriguing words and phrases culled from more than 154 languages.
Top 10 here:
My favourite? Well, 27 years of bliss is nourished with the odd serving of drachenfutter.

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Heroes   

On Anzac eve, I had the pleasure of joining my dad and his comrades-in-arms from the 2/14th Battalion AIF at their annual association luncheon.
It is always held at the Victoria Club on the Rialto’s 41st floor. The view over Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay is spectacular and the old Diggers are entitled to a sense of ownership. They could justifiably say “enjoy the view, we brought it to you”. Of course they don’t. They’re the Greatest Generation and windbaggery is not in their knapsacks.
Instead they joke about their ailments and go silent at mention of the mounting annual absences. They unbend, rather than snap, to attention for The Last Post and there’s more than a few welling eyes and quivering lips — not necessarily from the Diggers — for the sacrifices and honour.
For the first year they were able to fit all attending veterans into a group photo, all 21 of them. Five years ago, it would have been closer to 80.
The battalion association is now almost completely run by veterans’ offspring, which will ensure the heroes’ achievements pass into legend. Tentative plans are forming for a visit by sons, daughters and grandchildren to the Kokoda Track next year and I’m tempted to commit to this with my lad.
battalion

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Doctor of hysteria   25/4/2006

Some people are so stupid and useless that yes, academia is probably the safest place for them.
Clare Wright is a postdoctoral research fellow in history at La Trobe University. She writes in The Age today:
Anzac Day properly and profoundly reminds us of the wanton loss of human life. Why not use this key foundation story to reflect more openly and honestly about the loss of life and ensuing pain that has occurred on home turf: Aboriginal frontier conflict, SIEV-X, Port Arthur? But war plays to a tribal beat and military narratives necessarily invoke battle lines between the enemy and the ally, friend and foe, us and them.

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Dawson delivers   23/4/2006

Every now and then, John Dawson of McKinnon writes a witheringly incisive letter to The Age that must have those few remaining intelligent worshippers at the Church of the Left cringing with embarrassment.
When Terry Lane describes capitalists docking wages while mangled children are removed from the looms in the 19th century, and suggests today’s equivalents practise even more “miserable cruelty, greed, selfishness and inhumanity”, thanks to Howard’s labour laws; (16/4) his heart bleeds selectively.
He notes, for instance, how the mangled children could easily be replaced from the streets of London, but not how this reflects that their pre-capitalist alternatives were worse than the dark satanic mills. Actually, the capitalist industrialists were the greatest benefactors the workers ever had. With the mills came reduced infant mortality and prolonged life expectancy in the second half of the 18th century, and consequently a population explosion.
But for the first time in history increased population didn’t lead to starvation, instead real incomes doubled and meat became a regular part of the diet.
Free enterprise kept raising workers’ standards of living through the 19th and 20th centuries, and the freer it was the more spectacular the rise. Workers lived longer and more comfortably. In the meantime, Marx gave workers the USSR.
Lane’s heart-bleed for downtrodden workers leaves not a drop for the 19th-century orphan who had no chance of life without a job in the mills, the North Korean whose unattainable dream is to be exploited by a capitalist employer, the willing Australian worker rendered unemployable by wage regulations and unfair dismissal laws, or the Third-World workers denied jobs and rising standards of living if Australians stop importing the cheap products of globalisation.
Somehow the benefits capitalists must deliver to make their enterprises work, and the fortunes they might make if they succeed, are greater evils to people like Lane than the poverty and premature deaths they sweep away in the process.
JOHN DAWSON, McKinnon

UPDATE:
John has sent me this which suggests The Age is not really interested in quite possibly one of the most important debates in post-reformation history.

The following reply to the replies to my letter did not make it into todays age.

Geoffrey Heard’s picture of pre-capitalist workers enjoying all the fruits of the commons and farms (30/5) is mythical. During the 17th century one quarter to one half of the British population earned less than would buy sustainable supplies of bread. Babies who survived their first year were the exception. Few workers could seek alternative employment. The land, including commons set aside for grazing and firewood, was owned by the feudal lords.
Heard’s claim that 19th century capitalists forced workers off farms and into factories is also a myth. The industrial revolution gave workers options. They flocked to cities, much to the chagrin of the lords of the manor who complained about “the servant problem” because they had to start competing for labor. Parliament appropriated their commons for common use. After the drain of the Napoleonic wars was over, improved farm yields and imports reduced the cost of food and factories reduced the cost of other goods. Capitalism-haters complain that such factors disrupted an angelic lifestyle, but the reality was unprecedented improvements in most aspect of life. Despite the war and adjustment problems, both the population and the real wages more than doubled between 1781 and 1851, and bigger improvements were on the way. The last British famine was in feudal Ireland in the 1840s. Capitalist and semi capitalist societies didn’t have to face famine again. Pre-industrial and communist societies did.
How easy it is to criticize capitalists for not paying their 19th century or third world employees more. What do such critics ever do for such workers? Charity is of insignificance compared with jobs. In a free economy capitalists must find a way to attract workers from any alternative they may have, usually by paying them a little more. As soon as someone else can pay more, the capitalist must find a way to increase wages or loose his staff. The ceaseless striving for a profitable place in the market pushes wages ever higher and prices ever lower. Hence our expectation of ever improving living standards. Prior to capitalism there was no such expectation.
The spectacular wealth creation of the last two centuries was no dialectically determined inevitability, it was the product of reason and freedom. When all are free to judge and act accordingly within their economic spheres, the marketplace sooner or later rewards rational effort, discards mistakes, penalizes irrationality, and moves economic power to where it can be most productively utilized. Central planners cannot match the creative power of an entire population freed to think, work, trade, and keep the results. And all that is requires of the government is the protection of every individual’s inalienable right to do so.

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No hanging out with those boys   21/4/2006

They said, young man, get the hell out of here…
JERUSALEM — The leadership of a West Bank Palestinian city now controlled by Hamas has warned a local Young Men’s Christian Association to close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence, WorldNetDaily has learned.

“Cripes,” said the stockman. “I’m looking for a mob of cattle.”
I’ll leave further comment on this to Habib:
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — A Salvadoran woman is in some trouble after she allegedly tried to smuggle into the country’s main prison a military grenade and marijuana hidden in her vagina.

The Telegraph is trying to beat this up into a minority-offended issue.
An American ice cream maker has launched a brand that evokes the British militia that terrorised the Irish during the 1920s. Ben and Jerry’s began promoting its Black and Tan flavour – cream stout with a whirl of chocolate – this month, but said it was unaware of the connotations that the name has in Ireland.
A blend of beer and stout has been called that for decades and as I recall was enjoyed immensely by my old Irish-as-Paddy’s-pigs granny.

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Howard hits again   

Howard’s again struck a ringing chord with the public, as any educated adult with kids would appreciate.
JOHN Howard believes the postmodern approach to literature being taught in schools is “rubbish” and is considering tying education funding to ending the “gobbledegook” taught in some states.
The Prime Minister made the threat after accusing the state education authorities of “dumbing down” the English syllabus and succumbing to political correctness.

Of course, the bourgeois bolsheviks are howling like mangled cats, with ABC commentator Jon Faine leading the chorus this morning, demanding to know what’s wrong with “deconstructing” texts from a marxist perspective.
He was soon told why by a swag of callers who cited glaring illiteracy in their work places and in kids’ schoolwork.
Managers said they wouldn’t dare let clerical correspondence leave the office until it was checked for blunders. A young woman called in to say her ignorance of grammar was overcome with the patient assistance of subeditors when she became a cadet journalist. Subeditors patient with illiteracy? I’d like to see that.
Of course, a boffin called to defend the parlous state of English teaching, unable to see the damning irony in a self-confessed illiterate winning a journalism position.
Thank God po-mo hasn’t hit the TAFEs. We’d have mechanics who couldn’t change oil. How would a postmodern-saturated educationalist deal with that outcome?
Taking the issue further, Giles Auty begins a backgrounder with a nice jape:
NOT long after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe, I was lunching in London with a fellow journalist when a third colleague approached us. “Have you heard they have just tracked down the last communist cells to exist anywhere in the world?” he asked. “You would never guess where they were located: in Beverly Hills, the BBC building and the staff rooms of our universities.”

UPDATE:
Yep, the PM’s on the money. The Age website has a poll which asks “Is English teaching full of post-modern rubbish?” Given that it is difficult to answer rationally in the affirmative (It’s not actually full of it, just 95 per cent) and that The Age website would be the first lesson-break call of many lefty teachers, the response thus far is illuminating: 49% Yes, 51% No.
UPDATE 2:
Scrolling further down The Age website poll results page I found a response that suggests anything near a 50 per cent agreement with the PM’s position is indeed unexpected.
The high school staff rooms must have given the site a pounding the day this poll was put up:
Schooling : Where will your kids receive the best all-round education?
Public school – 100%
Private school – 0%

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Don’t even think about it!   20/4/2006

Here’s an idea that ran out of legs quick smart:
PETER Costello has bluntly warned Jeff Kennett against returning to politics as the state Liberal leadership struck further turbulence yesterday.

Further proof that since the abolition of phenyle and linoleum floors, hospitals are the unhealthiest places around:
MELBOURNE’S busiest trauma hospital is rebuilding its intensive care unit to eradicate a potentially dangerous fungus that has troubled it for four years.

Feel the power:
Bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a “disproportionately large influence” on society, a report by technology researchers says.

Why do some riders want the race rules changed to accept their hobby horse, rather than get some backers to stage a race that suits their mount?
Why can’t we honour one of our most successful and acclaimed authors? Because March isn’t about Australia. It’s set in America during the Civil War. And according to the rules that Miles Franklin left in her will for the prize, which was set up in 1954, the winning book “must present Australian life in any of its phases”.

This is so tame (but on the money) coming from the second most offensive opinionista in bloggerdom.
TAX AND WELFARE
GOING by the latest pronouncements from the Prime Minister and the Australian Taxation office, once again single/childless taxpayers will continue to be a bottomless pit, subsiding the lifestyle choices of others (“PM signals big tax cuts for parents”, 19/4).
Having children is a matter of personal choice, and the associated costs should be considered before procreating. Why should other people have to pick up the tab?
As to family payments not being a form of “churning”, I’d like an explanation of the benefit of taking money from people, running it through several expensive layers of bureaucracy, then returning the residue, rather than not taking it in the first place?
I note a lack of outrage from the civil liberty collective over the planned use by the tax office of private motor vehicle registration details to hound those with a better quality car; obviously the Privacy Act doesn’t apply to the upwardly mobile.
Paul Bickford
Wilston, Qld


UPDATE: Go to comments to read what Paul really thinks.

Progressives like Michael Kirby are all for truth and social justice until such factors go against the interest of their camp followers. In this case they are rad fems who consider every male is a carcass with a wallet. In Kirby’s world cheats may indeed prosper.
However, Justice Kirby said the court would have to take care in deciding the case.
“This is the Pandora’s box we open … every case where the male, hurt and having to pay child support, is unhappy about it, they are going to sue and claim minutiae of time they spent with the child who turns out not to be their genetic child,” he said.
“We all know that in the family law situation, it is not just an ordinary case about money, it is often a case that involves a lot of emotion.”

If you’re gonna be a crook, the People’s Republic of Brackistan under the force of the Fat Slag in Blue is the place to be:
MISSING underworld figure Antonios Mokbel secretly transferred $20 million overseas in the lead-up to his drugs trial and was hiding in Australia for two weeks after he disappeared while on bail.

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Sand castle builders   19/4/2006

Displaying the customary envy and short-sightedness of socialist dictators, the Bracks Government has just handed down a new policy — Coastal Spaces — aimed at curbing urban expansion along the Victorian coast.
Henceforth, councils must not allow any residential subdivisions outside determined town boundaries.
All that means is that development will become more intense and expensive and coastal town battlers — remember them, they used to be Labor constituents — will be forced out. It’s already happening to the pensioners and poor working class in places like Port Fairy, Queenscliff and Lorne.
Of course, those who have already stitched up their seachange investments will laugh all the way to the bank. And who would they be?
VICTORIAN Premier Steve Bracks and several of his ministers are among the seaside property owners likely to benefit from a surge in real estate prices sparked by new rules constraining coastal developments.
The utter gall!

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Dictatorship of dickheads   

Common sense is always in short supply where socialists reign. It’s certainly missing in the People’s Republic of Bracksistan.
A POLICEMAN who shot dead a magpie appeared in court yesterday to fight charges of endangering the public.
The bird was swooping kids and, as this writer can attest, swooping magpies can cause nasty injuries. Well attuned to urban domesticity, the feathered bludgers are in plague proportions in Victoria and no one should have to go about their outdoor activities in fear of losing an eye or their hearing.
It’s not as if the sensible solution is prohibited. It’s just that before taking that sadly uncommon step, taxpayer-funded shiny arses must first meet, gab and try to avoid responsible action.
The court heard Department of Sustainability and Environment wildlife controllers could kill aggressive or swooping magpies but only did so as a last resort. Firearms expert and wildlife controller Det Sen-Sgt Alexander Kristic said a proper risk assessment must be done before a bird was shot.

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The Loewie-down   18/4/2006

Fate has dealt anti-Israelite Antony Loewenstein a dud hand today.
One of those lefties that sees Zionist conspiracies at every turn, Loewenstein won a space in The Australian today to defend a couple of US academics who have been roundly condemned for a paper that claims Israel dictates much of US foreign policy. Here’s an example of Loewenstein’s thinking on the matter:

Public debate on the subject is routinely curtailed by intimidation and slander initiated by the Zionist lobby. In a healthy democracy, Israel’s policies should not be immune to criticism. However, this seems to be the status quo: Israel remains a blind spot of the US administration.

Hmmm, Loewenstein seems to respect and desire “healthy democracy”. So does the US administration. And Isreal is the only one of those in its region, last time I looked at the map. So Loewie wants a healthy democracy, but not an Israeli one, Tell him he’s dreamin.
Loewenstein can’t be taken too seriously with language like “brutal occupation and desire for war against Iraq and Iran”. But whatever mileage he hoped to achieve with his appeasement of terrorist states was starkly reduced by events overnight.
The United States warned the new Hamas government on Monday that any sponsorship of terrorism by Palestinian officials would further isolate them, after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least nine people in Tel Aviv.

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Beaten, but unbowed   15/4/2006

Golly, the office cat must have been cringing under desks in The Australian’s newsroom yesterday.
Howard’s straight bat in the kickbacks commission, and his spirited press conference afterwards, has hit for six the paper’s overblown obsession that this was the scandal of the century.
The Oz’s chief Howard hunters have today reacted in print with the infantile fury of a child told on Good Friday the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist.
First, a couple of hacks claim the AWB revelations will undo Australia’s reputation as an honest champion of free trade. Given that the UN and companies from many other nations that traded with Iraq were involved in bribery, it will be interesting to who casts the first stone. As to our reputation as established free marketers, a most likely upshot of the whole affair is the dismemberment of the single desk grain-selling agency. Surely that would improve Australia’s image as a free trader.
Supremo pundit Paul Kelly says the whole matter was stage-managed from the get-go by the wily Howard Government and they were never going to be brought to rights. So why did The Australian waste so much newsprint pursuing that outcome?
But proving hysteria is the next stop after obsession, Caroline Overington insists the commission became a branch of the Adelaide Hills amateur dramatic society.
ALEXANDER Downer went into the witness box at the Cole inquiry last Tuesday with a single aim in mind. He needed to make himself look a bit of a goose. Not like a complete fool, as the former managing director of AWB, Andrew Lindberg, was so memorably described in the early days of the Cole inquiry into the Iraq wheat and bribes scandal more than 14 weeks ago.
As Mac Davis yodeled, Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble . . ., but you’d think The Oz’s scribes would go a little easy on the hyperbole after getting so spectacularly bollocksed.

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Mr Average   13/4/2006

Bolta won’t mind me pinching this from his readers’ forum. Seems to sum up the prevailing majority position in Australia:

From: Brad
Comment: In the immortal words of Derrin Hinch……SHAME SHAME SHAME. What is wrong with me? Im a white, young, hetrosexual male, married with 1 child and another on the way, and have a pet dog. I work around 45 hours per week, and my wife works three days a week. I believe in immigration only if it specifically requires assimilation. If an immigrant does not like things here, they can either get over it or leave. I have mates from all over the world including Greece, Turkey, Vietnam, the UK, Austria, Germany and Iran. I dont think Howard should say “Sorry”, or that the Black GST deserves to stay in the Botanical Gardens, and given the opportunity, I would climb Ayres Rock. I sold my 500 sqm suburban block/house to move to a half acre in the semi rural suburb of Eltham. I drive a 4WD, and a hatch back. I think a new dam should be built, so that I can water my lawn, wash my 4WD after a weekend camping in the High Country with the family, and maybe allow the kids to play under a sprinkler when its hot. I love red meat, beer and football, and my mates from around the world do too. I love going out for lunch or dinner in Lygon st, Victoria st, or Cambelfield. I dont believe that the US govt planned 911, or faked the moon landing. I think its unreasonable to make me feel guilty not for taking my shopping home in “green” bags (then buying plastic garbage bin liner bags instead of using supermarket bags) I don’t believe in Global Warming aka Climate Change, or think that wind farms/solar power are the answer to our power demands. I don’t have a problem with Nuclear Power. Regardless of the WMD debate, I think the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, and our soldiers should continue to great job they are doing. I like the lastest “Bloody Hell” TV add, and am proud when I see an Aussie flag. I even know the words to Advance Australia Fair, but I didn’t understand the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. I like John So because he is a typically underdog trier, I clapped and cheered for him. I could go on and on, but im just so ashamed of myself, please wise readers, help me become a better person.

Andrew replies: It’s appalling how you’ve let yourself go. I shall send you to the Jill Singer School of Self-Pleasuring Improvement. Lesson one involves learning to chant “racist, racist, racist” whenever you’re confronted with a fact you don’t like.

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Happy place   

Welcome to Mars. And have a nice day!

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Pot, kettle problems   11/4/2006

Work prevented a viewing of last night’s Four Corners. But is it just me or does a United Nation’s official’s accusations of another body’s corruption in the Oil for Food program suggest a teensy weensy credibility problem? Just asking.

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Vanity – fair dinkum   9/4/2006

Watta GOTCHA!!!
Miranda Devine has caught an Australian publisher plagiarising an American editor’s . . . body.
Kid you not.

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Snookered   7/4/2006

Have the greens slipped some sort of herbal micky into federal environment minister Ian Campbell’s tea? Or is Campbell helping to set up the sneakiest snooker in history?
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell blocked the $220million Bald Hills project in Victoria’s southeast, saying it had the potential to kill one orange-bellied parrot a year.

Whatever, Campbell’s certainly busy. And making himself look ridiculous along the way.
A TINY moth that lives above ground for just four days after being buried beneath the earth for two years is threatening a $400 million residential development in Victoria.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell is considering whether the future of the golden sun moth is jeopardised by Villa World’s Eynesbury development, News Limited reported today.

Campbell’s activism surfaces as a mob of big corporate players suddenly pull on green sweaters:
SIX chief executives yesterday broke ranks with Australia’s business community, calling on the Howard Government to take faster action to force companies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The six executives calling for faster action on greenhouse gases were Westpac chief David Morgan, Michael Hawker, the head of Australia’s largest insurance company group IAG, Grant King, managing director of Origin Energy, BP Australasia chief Gerry Hueston, Harry Debney, head of Visy Industries, and Keith Scott, Australian chief of reinsurance company Swiss Re.

Well, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
As Andrew Bolt pointed out on radio this morning, nothing increases insurance sign-ups like a good disaster scare, so you can understand IAG’s motives.
And it’s about time paper recyclers like Visy did something about carbon emissions, given the frequency of fires, often on the Saturday night of a long weekend, at paper recycling depots.
But Origin’s concerns reveal the snooker set-up. Get everyone worried about global warming, er cooling, er dimming, aw what the hell, climate change, and suddenly nuclear power generation seems the logical replacement for all those nasty greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuel-burning powerhouses. And what can the greens say or do? Bugger all, because corporations like Origin are facing up to their responsibilities and saving the planet. It’ll take a few decades, of course, so in the meantime, tote that barge, shovel that brown coal.

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Tell him, girl   6/4/2006

Yes, justice does occur in this country. Occasionally.
Minutes earlier in the NSW Supreme Court the 18-year-old woman had given one of the men “the finger” as he was led away after being sentenced to jail for multiple rapes, which means he could spend a maximum of 28 years behind bars.
When he turned to her and said “I’m sorry”, she replied: “F… you, go to hell, mate.”

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