Preaching to the perverted   31/5/2006

Inspired by Al Gore’s blockbuster eco-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” Iowahawk has posted advice for fashionable types on appeasing Mother Earth and saving the world.
3. Crush a Third World economic development movement. One of the most pressing threats facing our environment is rising incomes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Only a generation ago, these proud dark people were happily frolicking in the rain forest, foraging for organic foods amid the wonders of nature. Now, corrupted by wealth, they are demanding environmentally hazardous consumer goods like cars and air conditioning and malaria medicine. You can do your part to stop this dangerous consumer trend by supporting environmentally aware leaders like Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro to foster an economy of sustainable low-impact ecolabor camps.
4. Don’t Have Babies. Many people are shocked when they learn that fewer than 25% of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild have been spayed or neutered. Sure, babies make great fashion accessories and it’s fun to give them awesome names, like Kumquat Wildebeest Paltrow and Toploader Enchilada Cage. But these miniature humans will eventually grow and begin ravenously consuming the Earth’s depleted reserves of aux pairs and psychotherapists.

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Blame game   

There’s been plenty of outrage in the blogisphere about an Islamic school’s policy on sex education that teaches homosexuality and premarital sex are anti-Islamic and must be prohibited. A few commenters have pointed out that lefty media would be off their trolley had the demands been made by a Christian institution.
But rationalists could hardly have expected that another typical response from dumb lefties would apply in this instance.
Yep, the sexual education policies of Islam schools are the fault of John Howard!!! I kid you not.
In The Age’s letters column today:
When, more than ever, our society needs a greater sense of shared civic values and the ability to communicate across differences, John Howard’s encouragement of private schools — including many fundamentalist Christian and Islamic ones — threatens to entrench social division.

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Comment wars   

Landers has launched an extraordinary attack on Crikey’s owner.
Game well and truly on!!

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Dogged determination   

Matt Price gets amusingly grudging about Mark Vaile:

Like a flea-bitten, three-legged mongrel farmdog who bounces off tractors but still manages to chase sheep from dawn to twilight, Vaile seems to thrive on this endless industry. You suspect he’s almost enjoying the current maelstrom, which sees the workaday Deputy PM trying, if not obviously succeeding, to juggle domestic and international duties while presiding over Cirque du Nationals.

We had one of them when I was a kid. His name was Rusty and Dad got him as a pup from a family of hillbilly alkies who’d knocked off one of our sheep.
The old man reckoned Rusty could count sheep. After drafting a mob, Dad would yell “44” or whatever number he thought had gone through the race and Rusty would bark once if he agreed and twice if not. Two barks and Dad would run them through again. He swore that every time he discovered he’d been wrong on his first count.
One day, the old man travelled 15 miles south of our place to inspect some cows he was thinking of buying. As always, he took Rusty in the truck.
They arrive at the farm and Dad gets to yacking with the cocky and forgets about Rusty who’d gone to inspect this unexplored territory.
The old man was almost home when he realised he had left Rusty behind. So he U-turned back to the farm to learn that Rusty took off after the truck.
Well, the old man scoured the laneways and road reserves all the way back home, but no sign of Rusty. He waited at the back door for a couple of hours until he was convinced something tragic had happened to his beloved workmate and headed into town, as he usually did at that time of day, to down a few sherbets. This time, he sadly reflected, he would be toasting the memory of definitely a man’s best friend.
He pulled up at the pub and who should be stretched out on the doorstep, but a thoroughly exhausted Rusty. Seems he had returned to our place, but seeing the truck was absent, continued on to the one place to which he knew the old man would eventually return.
That line in The Pub With No Beer always sparks a fond memory: “The dog on the veranda, for his master he waits…”

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Job opportunity   

Looks like someone is looking for a new job.

EAST Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri was last night stripped of all power to deal with the crisis afflicting his country.
President Xanana Gusmao declared a state of siege, assuming sole responsibility for defence and national security from Dr Alkatiri.

Thanks to background material from the doyen of Australian political commentators, Paul Kelly, Alkatiri appears to be well qualified for an opinionista’s job with the ABC or Fairfax:

Alkatiri has been an inept and disastrous Prime Minister. . . He dislikes Australia intensely . . . By contrast, the Howard Government sees Alkatiri as a 1970s-style pro-Marxist anti-capitalist suspicious of democratic practice . . . But the political poison within East Timor’s politics would only intensify with Alkatiri sure to take an even greater set against Australia.

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This quote from Episode 35 suggests the right man for the job:
There is nothing more useless then an unloaded gun.

HOLLYWOOD – The Sopranos star James Gandolfini has volunteered to help President George W. Bush end the war in Iraq by traveling to the Middle East and fighting himself.
The star concedes he isn’t in the best shape to go into battle, but will doanything he can to help.
Urging Bush to “reinstate the draft, send 500,000 troops and finish it,” Gandolfini, 44, adds, “I’d go, I’m too old and fat, but I’d drive a truck.
“The American people haven’t had to sacrifice anything.”

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Host roped in   

Smarty pants Andrew Denton met his match in his interview aired last night with the redoubtable Matthew Bogdanos.
Repeatedly Denton tried to get Bogdanos to denounce the US over Iraq and the looting of its museum.
Bogdanos was not going to offer glib explanations for such a complex situation:

ANDREW DENTON: Donald Rumsfeld when asked about the looting responded, “Goodness, is it possible that there can be so many vases in one country?” In some ways, does that speak to the misguided nature of the Iraq campaign that here was a society that America was coming to liberate but America had very little understanding of what that society was, is?
COLONEL MATTHEW BOGDANOS: I think you’re being a little harsh in that assessment, but not completely off the mark. It is fair to say that many – the Coalition planners did not have a sense of urgency about the antiquities but, hold on, neither does the world. To this date United Nations and UNESCO has not established a commission to either continue the investigation into the looting of the Iraq Museum or determine precisely how to stop a global criminal enterprise that is represented by the trafficking in antiquities, and not just Iraqi but Egyptian and Jordanian and Greek and Roman and Cambodian and Peruvian, so this short-sightedness, if you will, is not limited to the US. I think much of the international community can belly up to the bar on this one.

ANDREW DENTON: Not limited to the US, but if I may take your pitbull style, Donald Rumsfeld underpins the thinking that went into Iraq, I think you would agree. And if his thinking was at that level of unconcern or ignorance, doesn’t that, as I said, underscore the campaign?
COLONEL MATTHEW BOGDANOS: No, actually Mr Rumsfeld’s not a planner and Mr Rumsfeld doesn’t speak for me. I’ve never met him. I don’t speak for him, he doesn’t speak for me, so no, I don’t think it’s fair to say that a statement by Mr Rumsfeld can somehow be generalised and superimposed on to all the other individuals who were in Iraq or planning to go into Iraq, and the reason I say this is because I have, over the course of the last several years, witnessed far too much courage and far too much sacrifice on behalf of military members from many different countries risking their lives to protect the shared cultural heritage that is represented by the Iraqi antiquities. So no, I have to say on this one I disagree with you. You can’t take a statement that a single individual made and then somehow superimpose that onto another 275 million. I don’t think that’s fair.

ANDREW DENTON: When you received the humanities medal last year for your work in Iraq from the President, you said to him, “Thank you very much, but the work’s not done”, and there is still several thousand treasures from the museum stolen from the vaults in their basement which would fit into a back pack, they’re tiny, and there is a huge international trade, black market, in these sort of antiquities. How do you ever hope to track them down?
COLONEL MATTHEW BOGDANOS: This is easy. This can be done, and it can be done today, not a decade from now. We can start now but it requires a multi-layered comprehensive approach. First we have to establish – we have to increase the level of awareness of the average individuals. We need to craft a message that resonates with everyone that this stuff matters. This is all we have left of our shared cultural heritage, that these items pre-date Christianity and Islam and Judaism. They predate the split between Sunni and Shiite. They represent the similarities each and ever one of us who sits on this earth has in common, and that message needs to resonate throughout the entire world.
Second, we need to have international leadership. The global criminal enterprise that is represented by the trade in illegal antiquities is international in scope. It must be attacked and defeated. I use those verbs intentionally, internationally. And there’s only one organisation that has the infrastructure and the ability to do that, and that is the United Nations. I believe UNESCO must step into the breach. UNESCO, the “C” stands for cultural property. That’s what they’re responsible for. The coordination of the international efforts to protect and preserve cultural property along with Interpol the international criminal police organisation with its 184 member nations already linked across a secure network. If we can get the international community to completely buy in and cooperate on an international investigation, we can have simultaneously investigations in Iraq and Iman and Dubai and Geneva and Zurich and Paris and Tokyo and London and New York and even Melbourne, and we can stop these individuals from trafficking in antiquities. We can do this. It just requires the will to act.

What a fascinating, passionate character!

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ABC ad-ons   

Lefty luvvies continually rail against any suggestion the ABC pay its way with advertising.
Their position would be valid if the network didn’t already fill program gaps with ads for books, records and DVDs that commerically benefit individuals and corporations as well as Auntie’s retail arm.
Last night Channel 2 ran a hefty promo for the upcoming Countdown Spectacular tour, which stands to fill the pockets of impresario Michael Gundinski, who I recall sold his Mushroom empire for squillions to Rupert Murdoch a couple of years back.
The ABC should cease this pretence of partial virginity.

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Nailed it   29/5/2006

Letter of the day in The Age:
Urban do-gooders
THE rantings of the urban do-gooders about the plight of the Aborigines are totally predictable. In their world, the noble Aborigines live in balance on their land where there is no work and nothing to do except sniff themselves to death and fight.
The Australian Government, the oppressor of these people, must endlessly fund such settlements, which has the added benefit that the urban whites will never have to actually see them around their cafes.
The policy of funding artificial communities in the middle of nowhere with no jobs and nothing for people to do is killing Aborigines. If the urban do-
gooders want this policy to continue, why don’t they move out there themselves and try it?
David Beattie, Mont Albert

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Timor briefing   

Be sceptical about Mark Aarons’ conclusions, after all he’s a life-long communist. But this piece on East Timor’s leadership provides some interesting background.

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Academic idiots   

Should we just sneer at the imbecilic left as they stagger google-eyed and frothy-mouthed through the academies on their way to professional and philosophical oblivion? Or should we rise up against them on behalf of the young minds they’ve damaged with their mindless fanaticism?
MEDICAL schools are giving students coveted university training places based on “personality assessments” that include asking for their views on the Iraq war and gay marriage.
Less academically gifted students are leapfrogging those with better marks by signing up for coaching programs that school them in handling the interview questions — fuelling critics’ claims that the personality tests are skewing the selection process for the nation’s future doctors away from the best and brightest.
Some interviewees have been asked to debate the rights and wrongs of providing in-vitro fertilisation services to gay people. Other questions include what applicants’ parents do for a living and whether they went to a private school.
Some senior doctors are now accusing universities of attempting to “socially engineer” medical school intakes by giving preference to candidates who reflect the interviewers’ views, allegedly often left-wing.

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Chance meeting   

My scariest encounter was almost bumping into one of these on a rainforest path at Mission Beach, north Queensland.
Fortunately it was in the late 1970s and my post-hippy ratbag appearance had the big bird as spooked as me. So we bolted in opposite directions. He headed towards Innisfail, I recall.

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Purrsuasive   27/5/2006

A quinella is howling to be taken at Moonee Valley in race 5 today: Kill the Cat (3) with Snappy Tom (4).
Well, that got up. But we won’t be dining at The Ritz with a dividend of only $2.90.
The other fancy for the day is Paris Zero in the last.

It was tempting, but I resisted the urge to quinella Alehaus and Intoxication in the sixth. Both ran like crippled cockroaches.

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Hard to please   

Make Mick Malthouse happy? You couldn’t do it with a first division win in Tattslotto, a case of Chavez Regal and the pick of the litter from the Playboy mansion.
COLLINGWOOD coach Mick Malthouse last night described the Magpies’ 34-point win over the injury-hit Bulldogs at the MCG as flat, saying the team had carried passengers for the first time in several weeks.
For the record, I reckon it’s the best Magpie side since 1990.

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News world order   25/5/2006

Absorbing piece in The Australian’s Media section today describes the state of multi-media play in overseas and Australian newsrooms.

Scandinavian media groups such as western Denmark’s Nordjyske, which operates a seven-day weekly newspaper, a 24-hour cable news channel, a number of weekly community newspapers, radio news services, glossy magazines and telephone directories, have been at the forefront of those developments.
At Nordjyske, about 250 editorial staff work in a single, unified newsroom, with 80 per cent of them producing news and content for more than one medium.
“There’s a huge newsroom like an aircraft hangar with a multimedia desk, which controls everything: the photography department, the video department and the … newsroom,” Quinn says.
In Finland, Turun Sanomat Group produces a daily newspaper, runs a news service for a commercial TV network and radio stations, and prints books, community newspapers and a TV guide.

At times like this you envy those just entering the industry.

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No comment   

Wise mums know that the most effective way to treat brats is ignore them.
Canada’s new Prime Minister is pursuing that ploy with punks from the press gallery.
Should be fun watching it play out.

OTTAWA (CP) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the national media are biased against him so he will avoid them from now on.
The prime minister says the Ottawa press gallery seems to have decided to become the opposition to his Conservative government.
He told a London, Ont., TV station Wednesday that he is having problems with the media that a Liberal prime minister would never have to face.
So Harper says he will take his message out on the road and deal with the less hostile local media.

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Sensible solution   

Common sense from an academic? Wonders will never cease.

It is time to question why Aborigines must form a community organisation before they can get public housing and other public services. Even a healthy community might become dysfunctional under the burdens we placed on Aborigines. One of the disadvantages of being an Aborigine is that in many places you can only get a house or have it repaired through the housing co-operative. Housing is politics, and small-scale, personal, bitchy politics.
The commissioners would take charge of housing. They would be responsible for building houses, allocating houses, collecting rents, inspecting houses, organising repairs and disciplining poor tenants. This is a large power, you might say. But housing elsewhere is treated in a fairly hard-headed way by bank managers, landlords and land agents, and tenancy tribunals. Their clients have the advantage of dealing with these bodies without having to form a committee of other householders in the neighbourhood.
The present style of administration means that Aborigines are excluded from the management of their own affairs, even though policy is meant to promote self-management. This is because administration is committed to programs for which there are guidelines and reporting obligations. When programs don’t work, the standard administrative procedures are applied: there must be a mission statement and reporting on key performance indicators. Aborigines cannot manage this business. The running of Aboriginal affairs falls necessarily to whites.

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Gormless Google   23/5/2006

Damn it! Can anyone recommend a reliable search engine? Seems Google has lined up with the censorious left. So much for free speech.

Search engine giant Google has cut off its news relationship with a number of online news publications that include frank discussions of radical Islam – the New Media Journal becoming the latest termination. as its owner just discovered.
Frank Salvato, who began the agreement with Google News last September, said he received a reply from the company’s help desk Friday indicating there had been complaints of “hate speech” on his site, as first reported by media watchdog

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Boring old tart   

Predictable middle-aged slag Madonna revives her career by doing something highly unoriginal — upsetting Christians.

Madonna has launched her first world tour in two years, delighting an enthusiastic Los Angeles crowd by hanging herself from a cross, insulting President George Bush, and dusting off some of the sexy moves that have sustained her career for more than 20 years.

I mean, it’s really confrontational to insult the beliefs of those whose working motto is turn the other cheek.
I’d like to see some of these brave “Piss Christ” pseudo iconoclasts do something really daring. Like putting shit on the Koran!!
Hmmm, Porcine Airlines cleared for landing.

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Not all gloom   

William Shawcross is an acclaimed, learned, succinct commentator. The Times is among the world’s great newspapers.
So you’d think that if not in the interests of balance, but in the quest for quality news presentation, western media would occasionally run observations like this:
The reality is that there are two processes side by side in Iraq. The first is the political process in which Iraqis have voted in their millions in municipal and general elections and in a referendum to approve a new constitution. There is a free press for the first time, competing television stations and it seems that every house has a satellite dish — they were banned under Saddam.
Parallel to this is the bloodiness on the streets, where terrorists — Sunni, Shi’ite and Al-Qaeda — are determined to stop the Iraqis being given a better chance. Every time the political process advances, the terrorists step up their attacks to try to derail it. General Sir Rob Fry, the senior British soldier in Baghdad, points out that the longer the formal process is blocked, the more power leaches onto the streets.

And this:

Even those who were opposed to the invasion of Iraq should recognise that this is a whole new battle — between the values of a liberal civil society and nihilism, sometimes Islamic but always nihilism.
The coalition training of the Iraqi armed forces is proceeding well. The Iraqi army already has the lead in about 60% of the country. We can soon begin to draw down our troops and turn over more power to provincial authorities.

Maybe I gave someone a nudge. The Australian published the piece today.

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