Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Truth Will Come Out. Eventually. 

British weapons expert David Kelly committed suicide after learning that the BBC had taped an interview that proved he had lied to a parliamentary commission, one of his closest friends, Tom Mangold, said.

On July 15 of last year, two days before his death, Dr Kelly was questioned by the committee and his statements were carried live on television.

He denied at the time being the source of a controversial report by BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan that the Government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the US-led invasion on March 20.

"On the morning of his death, he sent eight emails, six of which were terribly optimistic and forward looking ...but in the course of the morning David learned, either for benign or malign reasons, that Susan Watts had taped the interview with him, and that this tape would eventually be produced by the BBC."

Iraqis Want to Know. Who and Why and How Much? 

Iraqis are incensed at reports that some Western figures were bribed by Saddam, who gave them food-for-oil vouchers worth millions of dollars, so as to ensure opposition to the liberation of Iraq.

This week "al-Mada", a newspaper set up in Baghdad since the war, published a list of more than 260 officials, politicians, journalists and organisations from 50 countries in the West and the Arab world who, it said, had received oil from Saddam in return for supporting his regime. It reported that George Galloway, a British MP, was also on the list to receive 19 million barrels of oil, a $US90.5 million profit. A vocal critic of the Iraq war, he has previously denied any involvement.

This is in addition to the other money he was alleged to have received from Saddam Hussein. You'll remember that Galloway has been expelled from the UK Labour Party.

The charges faced by Mr Galloway were that:
· he incited Arabs to fight British troops
· he incited British troops to defy orders
· he incited Plymouth voters to reject Labour MPs,
· he threatened to stand against Labour
· he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston.

On the charge of urging voters in Plymouth not to vote Labour - Mr Galloway was acquitted.

This Is Our Policy Now (Nod, nod. Wink, wink.) 

Mark (the Taxi-dermist) Latham thinks he has it all figured out. Just convince your more rabid left wingers to go along with the publicly stated policy UNTIL the election and then after they get into power well, they can do anything they like. There is little doubt that Latham will be able to make a case to the members of his party that they should just shut up until after the election while Latham gets on with fitting policy to what he thinks will get him over the line. That will be how he mollified the Left at the National Conference. However, once elected there will be little he can do stop the ravening hordes on the Left from swamping his policy platform and pursuing the usual high spending lost causes and interfering, politically correct, Nanny State policies we all know from bitter past experience ("...a Banana Republic" & "...this is the recession we had to have").

BBC Staff On Strike. Whining and Misrepresentation Much Reduced. 

THE BBC plunged deeper into its worst crisis yesterday as thousands of staff around the country walked out in support of their deposed leaders and opinion polls showed many Britons thought the Hutton report into the death of weapons scientist David Kelly had been "a whitewash". Some 56 per cent of voters told a Daily Telegraph poll that law lord Brian Hutton was wrong to lay all the blame on the BBC, while 49 per cent agreed in another poll that the findings were "a whitewash".

The Gnu Hunter can reveal, from the results of the same opinion polls, that many Britons thought the Hutton report fair and reasonable. Around 44% of voters thought Lord Hutton was correct to lay all of the blame on the BBC, while the majority (51%) did not agree that his findings were a whitewash.

Lakemba Mosque Power Play 

Over the next few months there will be serious jockeying for control of the Lakemba Mosque as it braces for management committee elections scheduled for June. At stake is the title of "community leader" with full access to the ears of media and government. Also at stake is the degree of moderation within the mosque. Observers expect a power struggle between a coalition of young firebrand sheikhs, including Sheikh Shady el-Souleiman whose impassioned sermons can be heard at the United Muslim Association in Lakemba, and Sheikh Feiz Mohamad, who teaches at the nearby Global Islamic Youth Centre. They are expected to challenge the older generation who support Sheikh Hilaly, a leading moderate.

Meanwhile, there is concern over this book purchased from the nearby Islamic Bookshop that asserts: "Western law is null and void and that all Muslims are called to participate in violent jihad, or holy war, in "infidel lands". Infidel Christians and Jews who live on Muslim lands can be considered protected people, but those who are not in Muslim lands can have no protection and cannot be trusted; they are war infidels." The books author Abu Qatada is the suspected leader of al-Qa'ida in Europe and is under arrest in Britain. The Jordanian-born cleric says violent jihad should occur everywhere and all Muslims are obliged to participate to remove the infidels. "Muslims, there is no substitute for fire, no substitute for arms, no substitute for blood," he exhorts.

Let's pause and read that again: Islamic bookshops in Australia are selling a book that asserts Australian law is null and void and which entreats muslims to participate in violent jihad in Australia.

Tonnes of books and pamphlets are being shipped free of charge into Australia, from wahabists in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Hilaly is considered to be a "moderate". So seriously does he take the literature's ability to influence his people, he makes trips to the rubbish tip to dispose of it.

Gilligan Resigns 

Pretending to jump when in reality he has only just now been pushed Andrew Gilligan finally does the right thing and resigns. Issuing a martyred apology "I am so sorry, but....". He'll probably get snapped up by the Guardian, or some such.

We will forever be fond of recalling Andrew's report that the American tanks did not in fact reach Baghdad airport as claimed:
"I'm in the center of Baghdad," said a very dubious Gilligan, "and I don't see anything...But then the Americans have a history of making these premature announcements." Gilligan was referring to a military communiqué from Qatar the day before saying the Americans had taken control of most of Baghdad's airport. When that happened, Gilligan had told World Service listeners that he was there, at the airport — but the Americans weren't. Gilligan inferred that the Americans were lying. An hour or two later, a different BBC correspondent pointed out that Gilligan wasn't at the airport, actually. He was nearby — but apparently far enough away that the other correspondent felt it necessary to mention that he didn't really know if Gilligan was around, but that no matter what Gilligan had seen or not seen, the airport was firmly and obviously in American hands.

It was clearly important to the BBC that Gilligan not be wrong twice in two days. Whatever the truth was, the BBC, like Walter Duranty's New York Times, must never say, "I was wrong." So, despite the fact that the appearance of American troops in Baghdad was surely one of the war's big moments, and one the BBC had obviously missed, American veracity became the story of the day. Gilligan, joined by his colleagues in Baghdad, Paul Wood and Rageh Omaar, kept insisting that not only had the Americans not gone to the "center" — which they reckoned to be where they were — they hadn't really been in the capital at all. Both Omaar and Wood told listeners that they had been on hour-long Iraqi Ministry of Information bus rides — "and," said Wood, "we were free to go anywhere" -yet they had seen nothing of an American presence in the city. From Qatar, a BBC correspondent helpfully explained that US briefings, such as that announcing the Baghdad incursion, were meaningless exercises, "more PR than anything else." Maybe, implied the World Service, the Americans had made it all up: all day long, Wood repeatedly reported that there was no evidence to support the American claim.

Spider with Evil Eyes Attacks ! 

Patrick on the Observation Deck is afflicted by giant spiders with evil eyes. He is also afflicted by an awful guilt because he wonders (like I do) at the sensational media coverage given to Hooke's tragic death.

...we squared off, I stepped closer than before, it reared up at me, its arms covering the light plunging the room into an almost total blackness, I was guided only by its gleaming red evil eyes piercing the inky blackness. With mere milliseconds to spare before I felt the stinging of its fangs plunging deep into my eyeball, I cast the weapon in the general direction of the enemy, hoping the size 6 slipper would at least damage it enough that I could nuke it with my size 13 foot.

I heard the impact of the weapon against the wall. I stood there with eyes tightly shut waiting for its evil laugh and the feel of needle like fangs probing my flesh...
Go there to see a picture of the brute and find out what happened next.


CANADIANS may use force to discipline children in their care, the Supreme Court has ruled, in a decision that also set limits on corporal punishment. Sounds like common sense. Fancy having to legislate common sense.

The Frostiest Beer on Earth 

About 10 tonnes of beer has been rescued from beneath the ice of a Siberian river, the Moscow Times has reported. The front-page coverage said the rescue involved "a T-72 tank, Emergency Situations Ministry troops and six divers". The beer sank into the frozen Irtysh River, in the Omsk region [of Siberia], late last month when a truck delivering the load broke through the ice."The driver and a passenger managed to escape as the ice gave way, but the vehicle and the beer sank to cold storage, where it remained for the next 24 days." Authorities decided to recover the truck and its cargo because they feared it could become a hazard for shipping when the river thaws in spring.

It's Art Don't You Know... 

It's been quite a while since we've heard from a marketeer of film noire hawking his latest shocking expose, that deliciously shocks some and titillates most of those who pay to see it. I don't know why the marketers don't just edit the film down to nine minutes. It would save electricity. The pretentious gits and voyeurs who go to see it wouldn't then have to sit through the interminable plot and could get home to bed that much earlier.

A Dark Rider, the Taxi-dermist... 

Mike Seccombe invokes the mystical powers of Tolkein and the "Lord of the Rings" to conjure an inflated image of Ringwraith, Mark (the Taxi-dermist) Latham. The headline reads "One King to Rule them All" and the cartoon is captioned "Lord of the Rungs". Let me quote the actual passage from the novel: "One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them." Auspices, omens and portents from the SMH!

Friday, January 30, 2004

Churchill and the BBC? The More Things Change... 

Sir Winston Churchill had this to say about the BBC, when asked about renewing the BBC's monopoly, back then: "For eleven years they kept me off the air. They prevented me from expressing views which have proved to be right. Their behavior has been tyrannical. They are honeycombed with Socialists - probably with Communists."

Opera House Anti-War Grafittists Given 9 Months Weekend Detention 

Given the cost to the taxpayer of repairs, police time and community outrage, etc. I think 9 months weekend detention is fair.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Australia Elected to Chair the UN Human Rights Commission 

OVER A WEEK AGO, Australia was elected as the Chair of the UN Human Rights Commission. This is despite all of the atrocious nonsense that gets printed about Australia. News sites did not make much of this story as far as I can recall. Googling, you can't find very much about this anywhere. The United Nations Association of Australia, which normally is very vocal in blasting Australia in the international arena, over any little thing, doesn't bother to put up a story or a link on their official website. Go there and you'll read horror stories about naughty Australia, illegal migrants and Hicks (the RPG marksman) but nothing about our election to the HRC.

Likewise at Amnesty International. Surely they'd be interested that Australia is now in such a position of influence to promote and share our respect for human rights and decency in the international arena. Not so, the only story of interest to them on their website reads: "Amnesty International Australia congratulates the New Zealand Government on its decision to accept 20 asylum seekers."

The True Left Must Support the USA 

In a half sensible essay, Paul Berman, Lefty author of Terror and Liberalism sinks the boots into his fellow Lefties for not supporting the US' efforts in Iraq. Your discerning commie is distancing him (or her) self from the Latte Left.

The left doesn't see because a lot of otherwise intelligent people have decided, a priori, that all the big problems around the world stem from America. Even the problems that don't. This is an attitude that, sixty years ago, would have prevented those same people from making sense of the fascists of Europe, too."

BBC Chairman Quits Over Gilligan and Hutton Report 

Gotcha! BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has resigned in the wake of Lord Hutton's criticisms of the corporation's reports. Lord Hutton said the suggestion in BBC reports that the government "sexed up" its dossier on Iraq's weapons with unreliable intelligence was "unfounded".

Gavyn Davies said that he would be writing to Prime Minister Tony Blair to offer his resignation. I think an accompanying letter of apology would also be in order.

BBC political editor Andrew Marr is certainly unrepentant. His reaction to the report was: "In the end what it comes down to is a judgement by Lord Hutton - who he believes, whose motives he trusts most and in that, again and again, he comes down on the side of politicians and officials." Naughty Lord Hutton. The judge's 328-report is based on evidence from 74 witnesses over the six weeks of the Hutton inquiry. The BBC's political editor thinks Hutton should have perverted his judment to favour the BBC and a demonstrable untruth.

BBC. Check. Now where's that ABC Inquiry?

Update: I honestly laughed out loud when I read the Stupid Sydney Moaning Herald's headlines. "Blair Ducks Bullets on Iraq Report"

In findings televised nationally in Britain early today, Sydney time, Lord Hutton's report into David Kelly's apparent suicide also cleared Mr Blair and his office of "sexing up" the dossier on Saddam Hussein's weapons. But on another front, Mr Blair was humiliated by a massive backbench revolt against plans to introduce HECS-style university fees which saw Labour's 161-seat majority cut to just five seats for the parliamentary vote. The rebellion was the biggest suffered by a governing party for more than 50 years and has weakened Mr Blair's grip on his party and the country. What's HECS got to do with Iraq and the Hutton Report !! The SMH is HECS-ing up their story.

Don't Worry, Be Happy 

Associate Editor of The Melbourne Age educates us all that We should strive for as good an environment as possible for all children; because what matters is whether children are happy now, not merely how they will "turn out" one day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Stunning Victory for Blair over the BBC ?? 

Britain's tabloid daily "The Sun" has scooped a sensational leak of the Hutton report which "... clears the [UK] Government of any wrongdoing in the Kelly affair. Tony Blair is cleared of “dishonourable or underhand” conduct leading to the suicide of tragic scientist David Kelly.

Lord Hutton’s long-awaited report into Dr Kelly’s death also exonerates ex-Downing Street media boss Alastair Campbell. And it makes only passing criticism of the Defence ministry headed by embattled Geoff Hoon. But the document — top secret until it is published officially at noon today — is a devastating indictment of the BBC and its defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan.... Gilligan is effectively accused of LYING in a bombshell broadcast blaming Number Ten for “sexing up” a dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Now that it's official (or will be tomorrow) that the BBC "sexed" up its reports, I wonder whose heads will roll? Gilligan or the BBC suits who engaged in a political bunfight with the government, defending the indefensible. What's the bet that no heads will roll? No matter which way you look at it though, the BBC's credibility is badly damaged.

Who is the Most Trivial Person of the Last 20 Years? 

Parker Bros. the makers of the board game "Trivial Pursuit" are seeking nominations for Australia's Most Trivial Person of the Last 20 Years. Nominations close in just a few days. The winner will be announced in the Australian newspaper on January 31st. Unfortunately, in their poll, one can only nominate oneself but while I reckon I've got a good shot at winning the $1000 prize I know there's a plethora of more deserving folks out there that I'd like to nominate. To give you the opportunity to vote for deserving people who are not yourself please vote in the Poll (at left of screen) and choose who you think should be the world's Most Trivial Person of the Last 20 years.

Land of the Long Dark Cloud 

New Zealand has long taken pride in showing Australia – and the rest of the world – how to treat indigenous people, but Maori relations have created a nasty and bitter political split and are likely to make 2004 the most difficult year yet for Prime Minister Helen Clark. Race has exploded as the hottest issue in New Zealand politics, with opposition leader Don Brash warning of a "dangerous drift towards racial separatism" between Maoris and other Kiwis. "We are one country with many peoples, not simply a society of Pakeha (non-Maori) and Maoris where the minority has a birthright to the upper hand, as the Labour Government seems to believe," Dr Brash said.

The row is linked to an almighty fight over the golden beaches of the Land of the Long White Cloud. A court last year ruled Maoris had the right to apply for ownership of the seabed and foreshore, but in this long, skinny series of islands, the beach is sacred and summer means sand between the toes and sea-spray on the face. Many average Kiwis are horrified by the very idea of anyone owning the beaches and restricting access to them, so the Government has declared the beaches are "in the public domain".

We're Stuck with our Alienated Intelligentsia 

Gerard Henderson asks: "Who cares whether Germaine Greer or Barry Humphries want to return to Australia"

"It appears that alienation is here to stay. So expect to hear more complaints from Germaine Greer, John Pilger, Peter Carey and Robert Hughes, along with their Australian-based fellow complainers. The alienation of much of the intelligentsia seems to be with us from the (academic) cradle to the grave - or to retirement, at least."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Germaine Greer Fisked by Paddy's Blarney 

Padraic P. McGuinness smothers Germaine Greer with kindness. The old boy sounds like he rather fancies her but that doesn't stop him from trashing her recent stupid remarks.

"...her criticisms are shared by many Australians, especially those members of our chattering classes who are always saying that this or that makes them ashamed to be an Australian, or heaping abuse on the Australian electorate for having the presumption not to agree with them."

PM Tells Germaine Greer, "Don't Come Back" ! 

I thought it was hopelessly out of touch - I mean what she basically says was that the average Australian is too stupid to think about anything that is the least bit philosophically important," Mr Howard said. "I thought that was just so condescending . . . and if she wants to stay in another country, good luck to her."

Dr Greer, who left Australia for Britain in 1964, published a column last week in which she described the Australian reality as "neither Uluru or the Sydney Opera House but endless, ever-expanding replications of Ramsay Street", except that "most Australians don't know their next-door neighbours or care what becomes of them".

The Voice of Reason 

"I think we should debate these issues and I think people should understand that when in impressive numbers people opt to go out of the public system, then it may well be that some of the reasons they advance are worth looking at and some of the concerns they express should be listened to," the Prime Minister said. The PM was discussing the exodus of kids from public to private schools.

Asking the reasons why; addressing parent's concerns; and encouraging debate on the issue; are likely to spark additional outrage, from the usual suspects.

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Holy Spider Hole of Tikrit 

According to a journalist for the Daily Telegraph, spider hole pilgrims are angry at evil US plans to explode the hole of holiness. The Sydney Morning Herald is beside itself. "Anger at US plan to fill in Saddam's spider hole", screams the headline.

Gates' Microsoft's Junk Mail Solution is No Solution 

Bill Gates has volunteered to eliminate junk email within 2 years because at the moment, about 40% of all mail traffic on the internet is spam. Read the full story at Yahoo's website.

This is Gate's favored scheme: People would set a level of monetary risk — low or high, depending on their choice — for receiving e-mail from strangers. If the e-mail turns out to be from a long-lost relative, for example, the recipient would charge nothing. But if it is unwanted spam, the sender would have to fork over the cash.

I see his solution (i.e. making sender's pay) as having some very serious problems:

1) Many ordinary people want to send email using "anonymous", mail accounts (eg. yahoo, hotmail, etc..). This is incompatible with linking a credit card or an ISP account to an email account.

2) Microsoft products are highly virus prone. Email worms and viruses are configured to send email to whatever email addresses can be found in a user's mailbox (junk folder, etc..). An infected user often broadcasts thousands of unwanted emails without that user knowing it. Offended recipients will bill the unfortunate, infected sender.

3) There will now be money made by receiving mail, so new spammers may emerge who are receivers as well as broadcasters. Users of the internet will be induced, tricked or virused into sending emails to the former spammers (now named "syphoners", perhaps) who will reject the innocent's email and thereby earn money from them.

Gates is proposing to make sender's of email pay and that by doing so, this will of itself, be enough to stop junk mail. I can't see how. It may reduce the volume but I'd doubt that it would stop junk mailers from wanting to send the stuff in order to sell products and services. I can only guess that because they would be paying a fee (to Gates' Microsoft?) that this would make them legitimate businessmen and junk mail will be renamed as customer information. Current problems would be renamed from "junk mail" to "information overload" and thus the problem would be solved?

Blogger Attends Coalition Campaign Launch 

Todd McKenzie blogs about the Queensland Coalition campaign launch, which he attended yesterday.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Europa Nervosa 

Tim Blair blogs the following:

Former London Times correspondent Robin Shepherd on the Robert Kilroy-Silk affair:

The swiftness of Kilroy's demise points to something more than a simple scrap over political correctness. It's a symptom of a new European reality: surging growth among Muslim populations and establishment nervousness over how to deal with them -- a nervousness that threatens to stifle much-needed debate over events in the Middle East and Muslim integration at home ...

Small but significant sections of that growing Muslim community are either outright hostile to or at least ambivalent toward Western values. Skeptical? Consider the following: A survey conducted by the ICM polling agency and published in December 2002 showed that more than 10 percent of Britain's 1.5 million Muslims believed that further attacks by al Qaeda on the United States would be legitimate, and 8 percent supported such attacks against Britain. More than half of those polled refused to accept al Qaeda's guilt in the 9/11 attacks and more than two-thirds believed the war on terror to be a war on Islam.

Say I, within one generation, millions of people, of one medieval culture, so dissimilar to the host nation, settle into insular enclaves and there is puzzlement over why there are tensions with the indigenous people?

They've moved onto new land, which is now their land and they set about recreating there, the land that they left behind.

Mars Rover #2 (Opportunity) on Mars ! 

Radar locked.
Airbags deployed.
Retros fired.
Bounce Signal received! the craft is still in one piece and is now bouncing.
Second bounce signal received!
More bounces. It's still alive!
Will take another five minutes before it stops rolling and bouncing.

There's another rover landed on Mars.

Second Mars Rover Lands Today 

If you want to participate in this historical event, you can view coverage on NASA TV over the internet. To give you an idea of how popular this is with people especially young kids, NASA has taken 4 BILLION hits on its website [29 million separate visitors] this January.

The lander will bounce down at 5:05 a.m. UTC (i.e. the old GMT). If you're on the East Coast (of Australia) that will be 4:05 PM and on the West Coast it's 1:05 PM. It's more fun if you have a broadband connection but if you've just got dial-up then that could work too (depends on how many visitors NASA are getting at the time). Anyhow, if you've never watched a "Mars bounce-down" coverage on NASA TV before, it's a treat and I can recommend it as being at least "interesting" even to the jaded.

Go visit the Mars TV site at least an hour before so you can check see if you get a picture so you know that you've got the right software (RealOne Player) otherwise you might have to download it beforehand. Also, start watching NASA TV an half hour before the bounce-down so you get the coverage of the preparations and the entry through the atmosphere.

The Mars Rover website is here and the NASA TV is here.

The Greens Blockade 

Bob Brown's Australian Greens Party has never voted on the floor of the House of Representatives for ANY legislation that the government has put before the House. In the Senate, it is almost never: 97.5%. Legislation mostly deals with mundane issues like the "Postal Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2003", etc., so this is a severely negative mindset on the part of the Greens. They oppose everything on principle - but what sort of principle is that? Not surprising, really. The Greens are way out in left field, being heavily influenced by socialist and Marxist groups.

via Patrick on the Observation Deck

Saturday, January 24, 2004

GnuHunter Comments Are Enabled.  

Jungle drums are no longer necessary. Please avail yourself of the comments feature, if you please.

Update: Not sure if I'll keep this comments feature going. I'm using HaloScan for the Comments and it makes the pages load ve-e-r-y slow. Not sure I like it. Let me know your opinion. Feedback or suggestions for alternatives most welcome.

Tasmanian Governor, Richard Butler Should Resign 

Controversy seeking ex-UN weapons inspector, Richard Butler could contain himself no longer and lashing out at John Howard, the incontinent Butler has vented on "refugees, aboriginees, education, healthcare and social welfare." Exercising his citizen's right to freedom of speech, Butler will not be silenced.

He should now resign immediately. The Labor party Premier Mr Bacon sought Butler out and "head-hunted" him specifically for the job of Governor. Many critics argued at the time that this was to be a political appointment and so it has proven. Bacon had reassured State Parliament as recently as August 19 that Butler would remain apolitical.

There have been serious doubts about Mr Butler's ability to respect the Constitutional convention that the Governor's role is to be apolitical and the sceptics unfortunately have been proven correct. Butler should resign or be sacked. He has launched into the middle of the current political debate on the three issues that Federal Labor just recently announced as their issues for fighting the upcoming election.

In August, Bacon said of Butler: "His days of making comment on political day-to-day affairs, or indeed the policy of government -- not only the Tasmanian Government but also the Federal Australian Government -- are at an end," Mr Bacon said. Let's hope that is true henceforth.

An Australian Genocide is Nigh, Says Phil. 

Phil Adams writes: "Genocidal onslaughts are not limited to Rwanda. And given our country’s long history of racial paranoia – expressed for much of the 20th century in our version of apartheid, the White Australia policy – we should be particularly concerned."

Phil Adams departs from his normal style to produce what some would see as a thoughtful article in today's Australian. Phil strays from self absorbed descriptions of the pastoral idyll and he declines to promote either his, or his "partner's", business interests. Instead, he writes what on the surface could be seen as a reasoned discussion on why we should not give into the fear of the terrorists. Perhaps, the Editor has had stern words with Phil. Alas, the veneer of Reason fails to cover a contempt for his fellow Australians.

Also, to support his argument, Phil plays around with maths (not his strong suite) and in relation to 9/11 scale attacks he seems content with a figure of 0.01% scathed. Let's see: that would be about 2000 Australian scathings and the USA population is 291,639,900 so that comes out to 29,163 U.S. scathings. 31,163 casualties all up. 2004 is going to be a bad year for scathings.

Blogs are Impacting the Race for the US Presidency 

A powerful new networking tool for the politically plugged-in and hangers-on [heh, now steady on!] , the constant online chatter broadens campaign discourse and accelerates the news cycle. Such journals, known as blogs, may not be doing much to sway undecided voters, but analysts say they strongly impact the media, campaign consultants and activists. Full Story

NZ Maoris Claim All Beaches 

NZ Prime Minister, what's her name? You know, the one with the teeth. Anyhow, her party wants to do the righty by the Maoris and hand over ownership of all the nation's beaches to them but there's the small matter of NZ's majority non-Maori population who think it might not be a good idea. Helen Clark! that's her name! Her government has been accused by Dr Mutu of the Ngati Kahu tribe of: "declaring war on Maoris with its policy of vesting ownership of the beaches in the hands of all New Zealanders."

Green Science. Banning DDT was a Terrible Mistake. 

"Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the 20th-century history of America". "DDT was banned after [a researcher and author] Rachel Carson, in "Silent Spring" (1962), accused it of a range of dangers to human health (notably cancer), to the ecosystem and to thinning the eggshells of bald eagles." [It appears that sixties fashion consciousness did away with DDT] If today, it was proved beyond any shadow of any possibility of any doubt, that DDT was harmless. Do you think you could get it re-introduced past the Greens? Not likely. It would only be used as a weapon in a storm of controversy to assist with other Green causes [i.e. social (not environmental) policy].

"Our intake of coffee is about 50 times more carcinogenic than an intake of DDT. The (cancer) risk for DDT is about 0.00008 per cent." " "The scientific and moral crux is that the relative harmlessness of DDT has long been established. One late-1950s study involved researchers feeding a man 35mg of DDT a day for two years with no ill effects. Lapkin quotes Donald Roberts, an eminent professor of tropical medicine, as saying: "You could eat a spoonful of it and it wouldn't hurt you".

Why then did the US Environmental Protection Agency ban DDT in 1972? The simple answer is that the environmental movement spawned by Rachel Carson's catastrophic predictions prevailed over empirical research." "We knew better and we did it anyway, and we let [many millions of] people around the world die and didn't give a damn.

It's not as though there weren't instructive examples which should have caused reasonably well-informed activists to recognise that, in the Maoist formula, "error has been committed". Lapkin cites two. When Sri Lanka banned DDT in the mid '60s, malaria cases rose from 29 in 1964 to more than half a million five years later.

"Hubris, folly and ethnocentrism ... spawned this unnecessary tragedy. To that list must surely be added the Left's habitual response of taking forever to recognise - and never admitting - when it gets things massively wrong. How massively? Crichton puts the price of environmentalist action at "somewhere between 10 and 30 million people dead since the 1970s".

Stand by for Crichton to get a media attack from the Left [Racist? Sexist? Child abuser?].

European Satellite Confirms There's Water on Mars 

The European satellite (Mars Express) that carried the failed British lander (named Beagle) onto Mars is now right in the middle of its main mission and is sending back good data. Packed with high-tech remote sensing devices the satellite has confirmed that Mars poles are covered in water ice. The instruments onboard, detect Hydrogen (the H in H20 [water]) and the images it is capturing show that the south Martian pole is covered in water ice and not frozen carbon dioxide (CO2). Mars is looking more and more like a place where we can do business.

Click this image to see about as alien-looking a landscape as you're ever likely to see.

US Weapons Inspector Resigns. No WMD in Iraq 

Dr David Kay has stepped down as leader of the US hunt for banned weapons in Iraq and says he does not believe the country had any large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.

Cold War Shenanigan 

"The Soviet Union had the world's best radar - until a Cold War plane crash gave Britain the chance to pinch it." This recently discovered story is a very interesting example of the shenanigans that used to go on at the height of the Cold War.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Mars Robot Rover Finds Mud !! ? 

When pictures came back a few days ago of the Mars rover's wheel tracks left behind in the soil on Mars, scientists have been puzzled over the consistency of the soil and how it folded under the rover's wheels rather than crushing and crumbling. The answer may be that the ground is muddy! but how can that be because water cannot exist in liquid form for long without "boiling" off because of Mars extremely low atmospheric pressure. The answer to this is that the surface could be extremely salty. The water in small amounts will be bound tightly into the salt but be present in sufficient quantity to create a muddy texture to the soil. This theory will need a lot of work to confirm or disprove and I'm sure it will get a real good testing over the next week or so, but isn't it exciting. If there's water, there's life somewhere on that ball of rock, for sure - somewhere. Check out this picture and look closely at the tracks left by the wheels. The soil may be "moist". If this is true, then the story will be that we went looking for water on Mars and without knowing it straight away, landed in mud.

Update: Contact was lost with the Rover for a day or two after a serious anomaly which appears now to be on the mend.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The High Court is Clogged 

The High Court of Australia, whose primary purpose is to decide cases of special federal significance including challenges to the constitutional validity of the laws of the land, is being bogged down in a quagmire of immigration cases.

SOARING immigration appeals are clogging up the High Court's workload, with a 217 per cent increase in the number of matters filed last year, the court's annual report shows.

Maybe if Mr Ruddock or Verandah Vanstone are able to stomp on the activities of just one migration agent things will improve. Adelaide solicitor, Mr Mark Clisby all on his own, has over 600 cases before the courts on behalf of his clients... Each client has to pay $2200 each.

Now as far as the government is concerned, collecting fees is a little more difficult"... Only 413 litigants paid any fees during the year, with fees totalling $3,544,014 waived in 2,512 cases."

Guess who paid? Yes, you did !

Steve Irwin's Workplace is Safe for Babies. 

Steve Irwin is innocent of child abuse. Well, not actually declared innocent. In relation to matters reported, by persons who will always remain anonymous, to the Police and to Family Services and to WorkPlace Health and Safety Officers, those officers and the media have opted for the increasingly popular Scottish verdict of "Not Proven" which is finding favour here in Australia. "There will be no investigation ... due to a lack of evidence," The accusation that Steve was a child abuser was made when, following in the traditions of his ancestors, he introduced his son at close quarters to the Irwin rituals of crocodile feeding. Irwin was charged in the media with child abuse. I believe this was uncalled for.

Here's a question for you. What difference is there between a charge that is brought by the media and a charge that is brought by the courts? Few that I can see. The effect of a vigorously pursued media charge is in many cases far more devastating to one's life than many charges that are brought before the courts. In both cases, the accused is shamed but at least with the courts you get a fair go. Media charges on the other hand, tend never to go away. One-paragraph retractions or explanations printed on page 9 aren't as well read as banner headlines and volumes of opinion pieces. I still hear people talking about the ex Governor General being a child abuser. Isn't a charge like this, made in public, a punishment in it's own right - like the stocks and pillars of old, where anyone who's bored can come along and toss a bucket over you.

The reporter in the story says that Irwin "...was reprimanded by the Queensland's Department of Family Services and spoken to by police." Does that mean that representatives from Family Services and the Police interviewed him? or does that mean that Family Services can dish out reprimands like the Police can hand out tickets ? Is the reprimand a punishment. Like the nightwatch of old ordering someone into the stocks. Is the punishment recorded anywhere? Did he have a chance to defend himself in a court of law before the punishment was administered? Were his accusers just folks who were miffed about Steve's approving comments of John Howard? Will we find out who they are, his accusers?

Why the Left Hate Howard and Dubya 

During the Hawke-Keating years the Left had a very free hand in advancing its social re-engineering policies. "Progressive" governments and progressive views were in favor. In fact, progressive views were expected. Anyone who did not hold them was constrained when speaking in public with their peers. The results of this period were the implementation of SeperateCulturalism and the erosion of belief in the net worth of Western ideals and culture. The Stolen Generations myth was given official endorsement and the black armband view of history prevailed. Whole industries flourished, based around the concepts of victimhood. ATSIC, rights agendas groups, special interest groups sprang up everywhere. In the USA, the Clintonistas continued to advance their social re-engineering policies in the universities, schools and in the bureaucracy.

The Left thought that they were in power to stay; that most of the electorate would be forever grateful to them for these advancements.

There was in fact a backlash and conservative governments were elected. They see John Howard as a throw-back to the former age, before the Hawke-Keating years. Certainly, John has been around since (before?) the Fraser government. The Left see their past reforms being moderated and see hope slipping away for further advancing their ideologies.

This is why they hate Big John and Dubya.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Why I think George Bush Will Win a Second Term 

On 11th September 2001, the World Trade Centre was demolished and 3000 US citizens killed. Fear touched many Americans, and for that matter, many in the West. We saw our way of life threatened by extremists. Extremists, who would not mind killing us all, themselves and their families, if it meant they would go to heaven. The response from George Bush has been measured and calculated. First Afghanistan, then Iraq. Libya has just rolled over. The others in the axis of evil are now ducking for cover and are pretending they are not so evil.

Since it stirred into action, the USA, and as a result the West, has not seen another attack like the one in downtown New York. Bush has established credibility when it comes to the War on Terror.

Instead of competing and establishing their own credentials on homeland defence and the War on Terror, the Democrats have focused on downplaying the threat from terror, and wherever possible, highly exaggerated the threats arising from the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. They are obsessed with the issue of WMD in Iraq and key Democratic figures have even implied, and then very quickly denied the implication, that George Bush and other Republicans had prior knowledge of the Trade Centre attacks.

The man in the street may agree with some or many of the criticisms made by Bush's opponents especially in relation to domestic issues. They may disagree with the detail of Bush's plans. However, if they are faced with the choice of electing someone who wants to stop the War on Terrorism or electing someone who wants to continue it I think they will go with the latter and elect George Bush. No matter if invading Iraq was the wrong thing to do, if Bush's choice was wrong and there is no Terror to wage war upon, then America is still safe. If he is right, then the consequences of electing a Democrat to the White House could be catastrophic for more citizens in downtown high-rise. I think voters will see this.

CSIRO Heatwave Predictions Exaggerated, Researcher Says 

An environmental consultant has questioned CSIRO claims that heatwaves are going to become more common and frosts less likely in Australia. Researcher for Australian Management Consolidated Aron Gingis says it is impossible to determine whether or not as many as half the summer days will be over 35 degrees by 2030. CSIRO senior research scientist Kevin Hennessey says by 2030 most of Australia would become 0.4 to 2.0 Celsius warmer on average, with 20 to 80 per cent fewer frosts. But Mr Gingis says the CSIRO has a tendency to exaggerate figures in regards to global warming and greenhouse gases. "It is impossible to predict these figures that far ahead in the future," he said. "To our understanding no one has the capability to predict these things so many years in advance."

Churchill's Parrot Lives ! 

Winston Churchill's parrot, named Charlie, was always famous for the fabulous way in which he swore about Hitler and the Nazis. Now, it turns out, that Charlie has turned 104 years of age and is still alive and going strong. Apparently, one can still hear the Churchillian inflection in Charlie's voice.

Backlash Over PMs Comment About Schools 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there's a backlash over the Prime Minister's comment that: "...parents are removing their children from public schools because they were too politically correct and too values-neutral. If the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting a backlash (from teachers unions) then you can guarantee Big John has hit a raw and ragged nerve.

The acting Minister for Education, Peter McGauran got into the act as well"...the failings of the public system were hastening the exodus to private education. There is a growing trend that is discernible to parents that too many government schools are either value-free, or are hostile or apathetic to Australian heritage and values," Mr McGauran said."

Thirty percent of children are now being educated in private schools. I don't know for sure but I seem to recall reading that an even higher percentage of the children of Labor politicians are in private schools.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Burqa Stripped Bare 

Karen Green writes: "Most importantly, it is simply not true that Islam fails to treat women as sex objects. In fact, women are so sexualised within Islamic society that it is assumed that any private encounter between a woman and a man will be sexual. Women are thus assumed to have two functions, and these are sex and child-bearing."

So strong is this belief in the perversity of women that as Paul Sheehan wrote recently: "In 2002, during a fire at a girls' school in Mecca, members of the muttawa'a (the religious police [equivalent to Saudi Taliban]) blocked fire trucks and ambulances from entering the school grounds because the young women were unattended by male relatives. Dozens of girls died or were burned as a result."

Other reports indicate that the girls were beaten back into the school by the muttawa'a. The Muttawa'a were trying to protect the girls virtue. It would have been hard for them to decide what was worse: the risk of shame, or the risk of injury. The assumption was that sex could have occurred while the girls were escaping the fire, unescorted by male relatives.

In Iran a woman who refuses to wear the veil is an apostate and can be sentenced to death: "According to a "religious" decree, virgin women prisoners must as a rule be raped before their execution, "lest they go to Paradise." Therefore, the night before execution, a Guard rapes the condemned woman. In a written confession in January 1990, Sarmast Akhlaq Tabandeh, a senior Guards Corps interrogator, recounted one such case in Shiraz prison: "Flora Owrangi, an acquaintance of one of my friends was one such victim. The night before her execution, the resident mullah in the prison conducted a lottery among the members of the firing squads and prison officials to determine who would rape her. She was then forcibly injected with anesthesia ampoules, after which she was raped. The next day, after she was executed, the mullah in charge wrote a marriage certificate and the Guard who raped her took that along with a box of sweets to her parents."

Deportation. It Works 

Australia is well shot of this villain who was deported from Australia after serving 16 years for rapes he comitted here. Unfortunately, the British authorities could not and would not do anything to prevent him attacking people in Britain until it was too late. We won't have to pay for his trial and the cost of his keep in prison but sadly and ironically, the victim was an Australian tourist visiting London.

My Car Crashed (and needed a reboot) 

Cars are being made with more and more sophisticated electronics. What happens when your car needs a reboot?

Affirmative Action 

Catholic schools are actively discriminating in favour of male teachers. Thanks to recent social engineering, let's face it, teaching is no longer an attractive career option for young males but is "affirmative action" the right answer?

Exporting Nuke Know-How 

Pakistani scientists have been selling their nuclear know-how to anyone who's interested. Most of the evidence for this has emerged from Libya, who recently rolled over under US pressure on arms inspections. You'll recall that Pakistan recently tested its first nuclear device.


Getting punched in the head is always a serious thing. If the hit is with sufficient force, the jolt to the brain can cause momentary unconciousness. This is bad enough, but in falling onto cement or brickwork, unconscious, there is the additional perhaps more serious risk of banging one's head. Therefore, it is amazing that there are so many folks who punch, or even kick others in the head with full force without thinking of what the consequences may be. From a moment of anger comes a manslaughter charge. The risk is worse when either or both folks have been drinking. Hookes was a very popular cricketer but let's not get carried away with baying for the blood of the guy who did this, until the full story emerges. The chap who did this will deserve everything he gets if its found he punched Hookes without cause. First hand accounts in the news do seem to indicate this.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

How the USA Searched and Found Saddam Hussein 

Click here for amusing picture
A Day in the Life of an Iraqi Doctor and a Dentist
If you ever wondered what it would be like if you personally had to live in a troubled Islamic country, read this blog from an Iraqi Dentist:

"Another troubling incident happened last night. While we had just finished dinner at the doctors residence and were getting ready for tea, two armed murderous looking guys entered the residence without any notice and handed one of the doctors an envelope. They were from maktab al-sayed al-shahid (Muqtada Al-Sadr followers). It turned out that the doctor had ignored a lightly injured sheikh at the hospital earlier that day while treating another emergency case of a car accident. The sheikh left the emergency hall seething and shouting that the doctor would pay for this 'disrespect'. The letter inside the envelope was signed by the office of Al-Sadr and it was some sort of a subpoena for the doctor to come immediately to the office to explain his behaviour or otherwise 'face grave consequences'.

Needless to say, we were freaked out by this whole exchange, and the doctor looked like he was hit on the head with something. Every now and then there was a knock on the door on which we would jump up to attention and stare at each other. The doctor locked the residence and started to phone his relatives and tribe elders while the rest of the doctors tried to reassure as that this was nothing to worry about. This was on our first night at the village. One of the doctors told us that they were trying to get the hospital manager to appoint armed guards for the residence but with no luck. He tried to convince the rest of the doctors to threaten the hospital with a strike if their demands were not looked into but they were afraid to do so.

However the relatively good part is that many people from the village were outraged at this thuggish behaviour from the Hawza. I heard things like "They want to turn Iraq into another Iran", "Aren't they doing the same as the Ba'athists did?", and "I would rather have Sharon rule us than any of those tyrants". "Why don't you inform the British?". I struggled with myself to remain silent about the whole thing without expressing any views.

My fellow dentist woke me up at night and asked me if we should just abandon the whole internship and get back to Baghdad. "Ha! An atheist Sunni and a Christian. What do you think they'll do if they find out?". We discussed the thing for about two hours and in the end decided to stay and take as much care as possible not to offend the locals, to stick together, and to keep a low profile in the area. I'm already lying to everyone about my Sunni background, and my neighbourhood in Baghdad. I'm even contemplating faking prayers and acting even more pious than the rest of them. heh. Let's just see how this turns out."

This Story and the Funny "Google" pic are from "Healing Iraq" - a blog by an Iraqi dentist

The Pastor is Losing It 

Dear brethren, our friend Pastor Terry Lane, despite our prayers, is not improving. You'll recall that during the Iraq War, Terry disgraced himself by so publicly wishing for the defeat of his country, in that now notorious article in The Age. Today, he attempts to lambast George Bush but only makes an ass of himself. Please continue to pray for Terry.

"At what point should we start to become concerned that the President of the United States is a dangerous moron? A joke's a joke, but the revelations by sacked US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill that George the Smaller is a dill, manipulated by the sinister Vice-President Dick Cheney, are chilling."

There's no one so pious as a reformed sinner but it would seem that there's no one so mocking and irreverent as a fallen saint. Saith the reverend, The FBI has been freed by the hymn-singing, born-again Attorney-General...

This nonsense about George W. Bush being uneducated and a dill keeps getting replayed by the Leftists, again and again.

In reality let's use the truth to deflate a bent story: "He [G.W.] received a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1968, then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. After graduating, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, he assembled the group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers until he was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998, with 68.6 percent of the vote..." and the rest you already know.

I think the Left believes it can get away with this because G.W. has a Texas accent. You can only make fun of Western accents these days.

To delve into the Pastor's yicky past, have a read of this beauty.

Hospital Crises
I'm not sure what the answer is except for throwing more and more money at the health system but this sort of thing is not good for anybody.
Giving Aussies Multiculturalism - Leb Style
TWO gunmen wanted for murder are believed to be on the run in Melbourne armed with machineguns Assyrian Community group president Eden Eishoei encouraged anyone with information about the men to contact authorities. "We are a very peaceful community," he said. "When you live in a country, you have to accept the rule of that country." Police are investigating whether there is a link between the gangs and last week's shooting up of a Lebanese reception centre in Brunswick.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The BBC is Anti-Martian
The BBC is against going to Mars. This is because George Bush announced plans for the USA to go there. The BBC may be piqued concerning a certain Beagle UK Mars lander that crashed into Mars a week or so ago. At any rate, the Beeb obviously went to great lengths searching the world's media for negative comments and collated them together in this anti-Bush, anti-US piece. Of course they went first to the Palestinian daily for their opinion and also to the French le Monde, etc.. collecting quips and negativity along the way to demonstrate that the world press is against the Mars plan.

I haven't the time to check what was actually said in all of the quoted sources but I did find the time to check their reference to Tim Ferguson's humorous piece in the The Melbourne Age. In his article, Tim is 100% IN FAVOR of going to Mars. 100 %. Read it for yourself. I guess they just had to include the one negative paragraph about George W.
Global Warming Theory - So, Now it's Political...
The good science, observations and sensible arguments, proffered by experts of their time, to warn against possible runaway Global Warming, were very quickly seized upon over 40 years ago, as a political weapon to beat conservative governments over the head. Global warming and the Environment in general, was a good cudgel, that could be used, with mass appeal, in a broad way to characterise the Right of politics (long seen as being too close to industry) as irresponsible when it comes to protecting the future. When atmospheric nuclear testing stopped (in the West in 1974) Global Warming and Species Protection remained to the fore.

There was (and still is) good scientific data to indicate that Global Warming is a very real long term threat. As a result, much money and worthwhile effort has been spent researching it. The problem of it all being so political though, is that it is hard for contrary observations and opinions to get a hearing. A case in point has been Danish Professor Lombard who was recently exonerated from any scientific fraud. Activists who wanted to discredit his contrarian views brought the charge against him and it stuck because the Review Board automatically issued their verdict without reviewing his evidence. The charge stuck immediately because they just couldn't countenance that Lombard may be right in his assertions. The activists used their successful prosecution to try and have him removed from his university post and to have his scientific papers discredited.

If, again only through good science, the theory of runaway Global Warming has to be modified to one of cyclic (natural) Global Warming then the Left of politics loses a very powerful weapon against the Right. The Age newspaper's website today, describes the emerging theme. Stephen Cauchi, laments the weakened state and possible loss of this treasured weapon. He complains that recent reversals to the fortunes of the runaway Global Warming theory are now being used by the Right of Politics as a weapon to cudgel the Left.

Fair is fair.
The brouhaha and media beatup surrounding peterbeattie.com continues. Also, it emerges that in November, Attorney-General Rod Welford said he would ask the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) whether there should be a law to make it illegal for the public to operate Internet websites that carry an MP's name. Doh! Classic know nothing interference. I can just see Harvey Norman, or even you with your website, being forced to close it down (after investing so much in it) if a politician with the same name is elected. Knee-jerk, dumb-ass, know-nothing, interfering, third-rate, dopey, dithering bureaucrats.

World Socialist Social Forum
The World Social Forum is underway in India. The WSF (splitters) are "...opposed to neo- liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centred on the human person". Dropouts and misfits have flooded in at great expense (usually taxpayer expense) from Western countries all over the world to mix with locals in the exotic locale. They don't mention George W by name but at the opening Arandhti Roy told Reuters pointing to the smelly crowd "No country can singly oppose the march of the imperialist empire [United States] - there has to be a concerted effort," And you thought the cold war was over.

Armed Rover Attacks the Martian Surface
NASA's robotic rover vehicle deployed its mechanical arm to survey the martian soil today. In the animated graphic below, you can see the arm at work. The arm is equipped with all sorts of high tech gizmos to poke, prod and analyse anything it's human drivers, over 80 million km away, find interesting. Meanwhile, hurtling toward the same planet at 5 kilometres per second is the second Mars rover, which will bounce down next week, many thousands of kilometres away to the Martian Northwest. No matter what happens to it, the success of the first vehicle will make up for any failure in the second.

Police Make a Little Progress
It's a shame it took very public shootouts, in the mean streets of Gotham City, and a mountain of publicity and political embarassment before anything was done about the scum that are terrorising the city. Four brothers have been arrested for possesion of $3 million of amphetamines. Taskforce Gain, investigating gang wars, with 40 drive-by shootings (six dead and 13 wounded in two years) has not yet apprehended anyone for the shootings. It's generally only the sensational breakthroughs or the daylight, main street shootouts that grab the headlines. The persistent criminal culture of the networks of competing crime families is only mentioned in passing, as though incidental to the story.

Marty's Blog. Good One, Marty.
Marty rips into Bigpond, the SMH Letter writers and others. Check it out.
Aussie Babe Blogger Takes No Prisoners
Young babe Conservative, Vikkie McNaughton has a blog site. No nonsense taken. Says she: "I'm a top shiela, and not a bit stuck up."

Friday, January 16, 2004

Please Don't Adjust Your TV. Adjust Your Life.
Commonwealth Games chair Ron Walker wants West Australians to move clocks forward by 3 HOURS so all of Australia will be in the one time zone, for the sake of the Melbourne games. The sun in Perth will rise just on 9 a.m. and it won't get dark until about 9:30 p.m. Says Mr Chairman: "Western Australia is the biggest problem. As it stands, an event starting at 8pm here translates to 5pm in Perth -- people are still at work! [sirrah!]" Mr Walker conceded Games broadcaster Channel 9, with a keen eye on prime-time ratings, strongly backed the push.

So we don't exclude Britain from the Commonwealth Games broadcast, I propose the entire world adjusts to Melbourne Universal Telly Time (MUTT), for the duration of the Chanel #9 Games. Britons would be off to work just after nightfall but would get home again well before sunrise, just in time to watch the baton twirling.

Perth mother of sixty-three kids, Ms Ima Notreal said, "I'm not sure how me and the young ones will cope with this, but I'm sure it's all for a good cause.
Professor Sharon Bedder attests that: Huge amounts of air-conditioning are required so that men can be comfortable in offices, conference rooms and restaurants. The professor is sure that women can be comfortable with far less air-conditioning. The suit and tie are too hot in summer and require huge amounts of air-conditioning to ensure that men [not women] can be comfortable in offices, conference rooms and restaurants... One theory is that the tie was a fertility symbol pointing towards the male genitals... Air-conditioning requires CFCs [the professor is probably in error as these were phased out before 1995], which deplete the ozone layer and add to the greenhouse effect, [disputed] and it also uses large amounts of energy. One gets the feeling that it was uncomfortably frosty around the WoollyNut university hallways on that sunny day when the professor wrote her article.

Your taxes at work. Please refer to my blog I wrote on Sunday, January 11, 2004 University? Might as well go. Got nuttin' better to do.

Pauline Hanson Crushed
"People come up and say, 'Pauline, please stand again'. I look a them and I think: 'Why me? Why don't you do it? Why can't you stand up and be counted? [and be crushed] "I was wrongfully prosecuted, jailed and persecuted," Ms Hanson said. "I got three years and I'm so angry about it still. "I was traumatised, I didn't know what was happening.

Game, set and match to the Machine Men. Any ordinary bloke want to run for political office? Next!

Trust Honest John. Geoff Kitney in Hyperdrive
Geoff Kitney bends the truth in another low brow libel for the Sydney Morning Herald. Quoth Geoff: To his critics [Geoff would be one of those?], John Howard is the ultimate political hypocrite, the political leader who promised honesty and prospered by lies and deceit. To those who hate him [ Geoff? ] and despise his success it's the dishonest way they believe he has achieved it, more than anything, that incites their fury.

Says Geoff: Much more seriously, media also tend to be tolerant of political trickiness, applauding the outcome even when it is achieved by dubious means.

Hear, hear! say I, sirrah!

What a newspaper this is. Years from now, I'm sure it and Radio National will feature prominently in University Media Studies as Case Studies in bias.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Mars Rover Goes a Roving !
Mars Exploration Rover has driven off it's lander and is now parked on Martian soil.

This picture is taken from the rear hazard (navigation) camera and looks back onto the lander platform from which it drove off. You can see the wheel tracks in the Martian soil. That soil has never had a wheel on it. Never had a footprint on it. Never before seen by anyone's eyes. Ever. We think.

Hacker Beat Up Story
This report uses the word 'hacker' to conjure up all sorts of images in the reader's mind and to sex up the story. You know, months spent in trial and error, applying all sorts of devious tricks to penetrate impenetrable fortresses, etc. etc.. What the guy actually did was pay his $50 for a domain name, like anyone else can, and instead of hosting a website with his new domain name, just redirected it to the National Party website. Hardly what you would call hacking. After much publicity like in the linked story, the National Party have done what they see as the right and ethical thing and have complained to the police. The question is, what crime is it to link to somebody else's website? If you have a page which somehow shows up as the top entry in the web search engines or if you buy a domain name and when someone visits your site it automatically redirects to someone else domain, what crime have you comitted? There are links on other people's websites that point to this website. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? The fact that some dope has been a tiny bit crafty and got maximum publicity for himself and his cause shouldn't require the intervention of the UN.
Nation Building Projects - thankyou Mr Howard.
Construction of the new 1,420km line from Alice Springs to Darwin, the final piece in Australia's transport jigsaw, finally links the tropical northern city to the rest of Australia by rail. The 3000 km rail link between Adelaide and Darwin was first proposed by a Melbourne businessman in 1858 but has only now come into being.

I think this would be a world class holiday (5 days) journey, if they have air-conditioned and comfortable sleeper coaches (complete with bar and grill) on the train...
Weird Science
According to the latest (and some of the oldest) research, extremely small doses of radiation may actually be good for you !!! Do not try this at home, kiddies!

Deficiency symptoms are caused by radiation deficit (dose less than D). Small doses (between D and T) are vital for good health. Doses higher than T cause toxic or other harmful effects.

The effect is called Radiation Hormesis. You would be unwise to discuss this phenomena at the dining table with your Greenpeace friends.
The Spanish Imam's How-To Guide on Assaulting Your Wives
Mohamed Kamal Mustafa was given 15 months in jail (automatically suspended sentence) and fined $2,735 for writing a book on how to discretely beat your wife. Said the holy man: "The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body." He said he was "opposed to violence against women and had been simply interpreting the Koran." This apparently incensed 90 culturally insensitive feminist groups (racists) who filed a lawsuit in a Barcelona court to have the book withdrawn.
US Cultural Imperialism
For the next two weeks in Los Angeles, Mr Olsen, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, business leaders, representatives from 83 of Australia's top food and wine companies, sports stars Greg Norman and Kieran Perkins, singer Vanessa Amorosi and actors Cate Blanchett, Anthony LaPaglia and director Baz Luhrmann will work to raise the profile of Australia in the US.

"It's a matter of trying to get Australia on the radar screen for tourism, for business and investment and that was really the catalyst for developing Australia Week," Mr Olsen said.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Queensland Minister Stood Down
The Labor party's re-election campaign in Queensland just took one in the eye.

Queensland's Tourism Minister, Merri Rose, has announced her resignation from the frontbench on only the second day of the Beattie Government's campaign for re-election. The state's workers' compensation regulator, Q-Comp, has upheld a bullying complaint against Ms Rose by one of her former staff members. The minister has also previously been accused of bullying by a former driver.

Latham Dissected
Paddy gives Mark Latham a whack at the Observation Deck.
Uncle ABC is Back ! He has not Gone.
Fully recovered from New Year festivities, uncle has returned and ABCWatch is back to business.
Bundaberg Bear: an Endangered Species.
Some say the Bundaberg Bear is too fluffy to sell alcohol and is a danger to kids.

Bundaberg Rum marketing manager John Green defended the Bundy Bear character. "Bundy is an adult bear acting only as an adult in only adult situations and is certainly not fluffy," he said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Good Old Days...

From - an anonymous mailer
Oh, how true this is! ... and for all you young ones, look what you missed
out on!

By rights, people over 30 should be dead. According to today's regulators
and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or
even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint.
- We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets,
...and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (not to mention the
risks we took hitchhiking.)
- As children, we would ride in cars with no seatbelts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a Ute on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
- Horrors! We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soft drink with
sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always
outside playing.
- We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no
one actually died from this.
- We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then
rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After
running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
- We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we
were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us
all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable!
- We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at
all, no 99 channels on cable, videotape movies, surround sound,
personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We
had friends! We went outside and found them.
- We played tag ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We
fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were
no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to
blame but us.
- Remember accidents?
- We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and
learnt to get over it.
- We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and
although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many
eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.
- We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door,
or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.
- The Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those
who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.
- Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and
were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors! Tests were not
adjusted for any reason.
- Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a
parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually
sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem
solvers and inventors, ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to
deal with it all.

And you're one of them!


Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids,
before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors?

People under 30 are WIMPS!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Ethnic Crime Reported and Commented Upon !
Goodness me! Usually we have to read between the lines of the self censored newspapers but here's someone who spells it out in hard copy. This is a positive development, much to be encouraged. The best antiseptic is daylight, and we need that puss-filled boil, that is Sydney's south-west suburbs, to be lanced and disinfected. Crikey! Tim even tells us the address where the crims live. Standby for bleats of racism! in Letters to the Editor. There's no way Tim would hold down a job at the BBC.

The most influential of the Middle Eastern crime groups are the Muslim males of Telopea Street, Bankstown, in southwest Sydney. The Telopea Street Boys and their associates have been involved in numerous murders over the past five years – many of them unprovoked attacks on young Australian men for no other reason than the ethnicity of the victims. They have been involved in all manner of crime on a scale we have never before seen or even contemplated.

The "Australian" newspaper is much to be commended for publishing the truth without sanitising it with self-censoring euphemisms. Crime is crime and if we can identify where it is centred then that will help us all in evaluating the government's response to it.

Update: and who is this fearless reporter? Tim Priest was a Sydney detective sergeant until 2002 when he was driven out of the force after trying to alert the public to the gangs out of control on Sydney's streets.
McEnroe New Anti-drugs Offensive
Sweet gentleman of the court and anti-drugs campaigner, John McEnroe has come out swinging demanding that Tennis cleans up its act and gets tough on drugs.

In 2002, McEnroe's ex-wife had this to say about John McEnroe: NEW YORK -- Tatum O'Neal says ex-husband John McEnroe took steroids while he was on the pro tennis tour, and used cocaine and marijuana -- but only off the court.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

University? Might as well go. Got nuttin' better to do.
These days there is tremendous pressure for kids leaving high school to go onto University.

Bright kids, or those who study hard, get into Engineering, Science, Law, Medicine or other difficult and worthwhile disciplines. For the remainder, in order join the social elite they still need to get into university so they can wear the sought-after tie and collar and collect that little bit extra in the pay packet. What do you do with those folks who just can't make the grade when it comes to answering questions requiring a correct answer? The correct answer is that there are still opportunities aplenty to go onto university and fill many thousands of places in Women's studies, Arts, Multicultural studies, Social Work, Postmodernism, Semiotics, etc, etc. Now I know you won't mind that unis are offering Diplomas in Beauty Therapy. At least beauticians will graduate and fulfill useful and productive lives but you will I'm sure draw the line somewhere.

To give you an idea of what happens when the Humanities faculties at universities are used to vacuum up the ambitious but not so bright, take a gander at this garbage that admiringly describes the works of a notorious French feminist, Luce Irigaray. One of Luce's many claims to fame is her assertion that Science is fundamentally flawed because it was essentially founded by men.

Don't be too worried if you don't understand the linked article. You're not meant to. The writer is just trying hard to be accepted by her peers. Read it and marvel at the mind that created such drivel. Only the author of it can interpret its wisdom to us.

French feminist Luce Irigaray asked: "Is E = m c squared a sexed equation?... It is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us."

The eminent scientist John Dawkins critiques Irigaray and others. Dawkins writes:

In a passage reminiscent of a notorious feminist description of Newton's Principia (a "Rape manual") Irigaray argues that E=mc2 is a "sexed equation". Why? Because "it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us" (my emphasis of what I am rapidly coming to learn is an in-word). Just as typical of the school of thought under examination is Irigaray's thesis on fluid mechanics. Fluids, you see, have been unfairly neglected. "Masculine physics" privileges rigid, solid things. Her American expositor Katherine Hayles made the mistake of re-expressing Irigaray's thoughts in (comparatively) clear language. For once, we get a reasonably unobstructed look at the emperor and, yes, he has no clothes:

The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids. . . From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.

You don’t have to be a physicist to smell out the daffy absurdity of this kind of argument (the tone of it has become all too familiar), but it helps to have Sokal and Bricmont on hand to tell us the real reason why turbulent flow is a hard problem (the Navier-Stokes equations are difficult to solve).

Thousands of these braniacs are being churned out each year. All of them going into posts in government, NGOs, universities (wow! a feedback-loop) and journalism and many other influential positions where their daffiness inevitably affects our daily lives.

Crises: Koala Population Boom! Reports of Extinction
The ABC, in crisis mode last June, was reporting the imminent extinction of the Koala from Australia unless we do something.

Victoria, in crisis mode this week, is considering widespread culling or the use of koala contraceptives, in a desperate attempt to keep soaring koala numbers down.

One of these two reports is overstating its case.

Chemical Weapons Found In Iraq
Two days from now we will know if this discovery is genuine. Before then, expect the media to be full of cheap shots like: "the USA or Britain planted these...", "they're old munitions", etc.. If the find is genuine, you can bet on there being more of the stuff waiting to be found.

I think you could class Mustard Gas in mortar shells as WMD.
Some Changes Are For the Good
Many years ago, girls attacked by these scum would not have come forward. Now, thankfully, we are more sophisticated in our approach and we can see justice being done. Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen specialises in prominent cases like this and she is much to be admired.
We are Go for Walkies...
The Mars Rover Vehicle has stretched up to its full height and should be ready to start exploring on Wednesday.
Balls! Obesity Concerns
In Victoria they are about to implement a policy of no ball games around school buildings. Seriously! This is because of concern in the Bracks Politburo over "the number of balls being stuck on roofs" and the OH&S issues for someone retrieving them. Seriously! Meanwhile, in an attempt to tackle the problem of childhood obesity, the Federal governement is trying hard to provide exercise for kids, in the form of supervised fun activites for kids who stay behind after school because mum & dad are still at work.

The Herald Sun revealed this week that Labor backbenchers had warned the Government against meddling in the day-to-day lives of ordinary Victorians.

MPs said they wanted a greater say because they feared the Government was losing touch with the public.

Proposals to toughen restrictions on smoking, child employment, owner-builders, duck shooting and advertising on taxis are among those to be shelved or softened following caucus pleas for common sense to prevail.

Mr Perton said children at inner-city schools on small blocks would be unable to play any ball sports under the new guidelines.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Pretentious Gits and Wankers
I just nipped down to the local supermarket to get a bottle of my favourite Chateau le Plonk and they didn't have any. Which doesn't happen all that often because it's a $6.95 variety, popular with the unwashed masses. The criterion for me when deciding to buy the same wine twice consists in choosing the brand that tastes less like turps, and they all do, just some more than others. Anyhow, looking on the shelves I see one for about three times the price and I bring that home. It has a gold medal from the Cowra wine show on the label as well as the following inscription: "this wine shows intense varietal character on the nose - ripe plums, cloves and spices interwoven with fragrant chocolate and truffle notes. The generous palate shows sweet berry, cherry and spice characters." Now any kid reading this would start slavering at the jowls and be clamouring for the cork to be popped. Gimme, gimme the sweet berry, cherry and spice characters!! If said same kid were to taste the contents of this bottle as I have they would spew it out in horror. It just goes to show that your wine connoisseur operates on a higher existential plane than ordinary humans.

What pretentious nonsense to say that you can smell anything like chocolate, berries or cherries in this bile.
The Adams' Position of Power
Bloggers, in theory get to tell the world about what we reckon. In practice we only influence those few folks who pass by our little backwater of the internet. Consider then someone fortunate, like Phil Adams who has a "front page" spot on the Australian's website and a prominent column in its printed newspaper. Phil is in a mighty privileged position to influence many people, voters and politicans. In his latest article, Phil uses this privileged position to 1) Promote his partner's new book and 2) Protect his farming interest, located on the Page River, from a competing commercial interest. This obvious self interest lies coiled within a feel-good story about the threat to an alleged riparian utopia.

Says Phil: The Pages, officially categorised as an "unregulated stream", has lately been designated "stressed". Stressed and distressed, as the townships, the farms, the horse studs and, here and there, the developers slake their thirsts.

Sounds to me that the current problems of the river owe more to the farms slaking their unregulated thirsts than to the remote possibility of a problem caused in the future by a strictly controlled mining test.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Research on Neighbourhood Crime
$18 million on research has revealed this. Don't just blame the government or the police. The presence of crime and criminals around where you live is determined to a large extent by the collective actions of you and your neighbours. Don't put up with it.

Will a group of local teenagers hanging out on the corner be allowed to intimidate passers-by, or will they be dispersed and their parents called? Will a vacant lot become a breeding ground for rats and drug dealers, or will it be transformed into a community garden? Such decisions, Dr. Earls has shown, exert a power over a neighborhood's crime rate strong enough to overcome the far better known influences of race, income, family and individual temperament.

This theory sounds like good sense but probably needs the assistance of tough policing and sentences. This also confirms what most people believe; that should a dodgey group of folks plonk down en masse in one neighbourhood, well there goes the neighbourhood.
Martians Are Us
Next week the USA will announce programs to land a person on Mars and to establish a permanent base on the Moon. Here's a conundrum for you. What if there is life on Mars already? Was Carl Sagan right when he said: "If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if they are only microbes.” Alternatively do we mine the guts out of the place.

Right now, I'm of the opinion that if there is life and it is limited to just microbes then let's full steam ahead and colonise the place. Study them, yes. The bugs will adapt and will probably thrive with human activity. I couldn't see our outward march to the stars being held up because a few procaryota were found clinging to life under one or two rocks.
Professor Bunyip Blogs Up a Storm
The Professor is much refreshed after his trip in the bunyip mobile and is blogging up a maelstrom at the billabong.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

An Artist Being Truly Controversial
A painting by controversial artist Scott LoBaido, part of a new exhibit at the National Arts Club, depicts President Bush holding al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's severed head in one hand and an American flag in the other. The painting, in which Bush is shown as a cavalry soldier, is titled "Have Faith."

Scott has a reputation for not being politically correct. He was arrested for flinging horse shit at a blasphemous painting and again for hanging a US flag on the French consulate during the gulf war
Environmental Sceptic Professor Lomborg Exhonerated - but who cares?
"The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has repudiated the findings by one of its own committees that Bjorn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice"... " Once hailed as a brilliant iconoclast who challenged environmentalists' gloom-and-doom prognoses of global warming, overpopulation and worldwide hunger, Danish author [Bjorn Lomborg] was denounced by a panel of his country's top scientists for engaging in "scientific dishonesty." His accusers then used this success to try and have him removed from his university post.

In The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg challenges widely held beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues and documents that the global environment has actually improved. He supports his argument with over 2900 footnotes, allowing discerning readers to check his sources.

The treatment of Professor Lomborg, the author of The Sceptical Environmentalist, demonstrated that facts aren't welcome to many in the Green movement. While there was widespread reporting of the smear against him there is very little reporting about his exhoneration.
Unleaded Petrol Killing Sparrows?
I'm not sure how much there is to be alarmed about in this story but it's an interesting read. If it's not the MBTE that's making sparrows sparse then something is.

Rolling Hunger Strike Announced!
With Verandah Vanstone and the Australian public not likely to budge an inch, the asylum seeker hunger-strikers have decided to postpone their attempts to blackmail Australians into giving them visas. It seems that all it took for the strike to be over was for the Nauruan government's invitation to allow Australian medical team to travel to the Pacific nation to provide medical assistance to the 33 men refusing food and water. I wonder who's in the medical team and who's paying for it. I see that Hassan Ghulam has come out as the declared Australian-based appointed representative of the hunger strikers. Hassan has often been quoted as being able to speak confidently on behalf of the asylum seekers. The asylum seekers seem very adept at accessing the media and are somehow able to coordinate their protests across several detention centres.
 More posts by the Gnu Hunter:
 September 2003
 October 2003
 November 2003
 December 2003
 January 2004
 February 2004
 March 2004
 April 2004
 May 2004
 June 2004
 July 2004
 August 2004
 September 2004
 October 2004

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