Tue, Jul. 21st, 2009, 02:20 am
40 Years since humans first walked on the moon, but have we advanced?
The landing of human beings on the moon, with their safe return, is humanity's greatest triumph.
They last did so in my lifetime (the last mission was in December 1972).
It is the greatest disgrace of the United States that the nation which put men on the moon has not since been back there. If Barack Obama cannot twist NASA's arm to do so in LESS time than it took from Kennedy's commitment until Armstrong's first step, then he is utterly lacking in vision, drive, or ambition.
The US military should never have been locked out of the space race, as it was back in the 60s. If the military had been conducting spaceflights, it would have insisted on the ability to launch reliably at short notice, at any time of day, in most kinds of weather and to be able to turn a ship around (refuel, rearm where applicable, and perform essential maintenance) in a very short time (say, 24 hours). The most recent Space Shuttle launch was plagued by five launch cancellations, and I'm pretty sure that if they tried to launch again in 24 hours, all sorts of corners would have to be cut - probably too many.
The military needs to be allowed back into the Space Race - or at the very least, new ships with 21st century technology (as opposed to the "Apollo 11 on steroids" currently favoured) should meet military standards of reliability, toughness, durability and serviceability.
(It goes without saying that Moon Hoax believers who post here will be banned and their stupidity frozen in the comments for all to see. If you're going to say nothing good, say nothing.)
Tue, Jul. 7th, 2009, 10:50 am
We hope that Boeing or Airbus are not truly this stupid.
Ryanair on board with stool-seatingTuesday, July 07, 2009 » 09:50am
Irish carrier Ryanair said it was in talks with US planemaker Boeing about adapting its aircraft so that some passengers could be placed in 'vertical seating'.
The low-cost carrier, which in recent months has suggested heavy passengers pay a 'fat tax' and travellers pay to use its on-board toilets, said it wants to get more people onto its aircraft by ripping out traditional seating.
Ryanair is in discussions with Boeing 'in relation to adapt the aircraft to allow people to travel in vertical seating', Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said on Monday.
Passengers 'wouldn't be fully standing, they would have something like a stool to lean on or to sit on', he added.
McNamara said Ryanair was looking into removing four rows, or 12 seats, of traditional seating on its planes to accommodate the standing room.
Chinese carrier Spring Airlines was in discussions with European planemaker Airbus about a similar plan, he noted.
Like I said in the header, I hope that the airline companies aren't this stupid. Air-safety experts would argue that the current seating standards are not strong enough - in their perfect world, we'd be travelling backwards (as soldiers do on some long-distance military transports), and/or wearing four-point restraints, to protect us in event of a survivable crash. We fine
people for not wearing seat belts in cars
, for heaven's sake! Now these idiots are proposing that passengers be allowed to stand, or at least rest their backsides on a stool, for the duration of a flight when every airline I have ever been on
insists that passengers sit down with their belts on for even the slightest turbulence.
This is a nonsense idea. The bottom line is money, here; making the maximum amount of profit by squeezing the most passengers onto an existing airplane. It's a great way to wind up with horribly mutilated passengers. If these aircraft are built, and one crashes, the family of every standing passenger will be entitled to sue and it will be an open-and-shut case. The airline (at least Ryanair; I don't like the chances of success for a class action in the PRC) will go under for negligence in offering this seating, and the aircraft manufacturer will go under for being so negligent as to build the aircraft.
My fear is that the bean counters, the dollar symbols whizzing behind their eyes as they contemplate orders and profits, will insist on this and the engineers will be so cowardly as not to stand up to them.
If this happens, I would suggest the best course of action is for would-be passengers with these airlines to refuse to fly unless the airline can guarantee
that the seating plan is conventional (all-sitting), and to be willing to walk off the aircraft if one discovers otherwise.
If the executives of the airline companies are reading this, I would implore them to reject all talks with airlines for such seating at once
If any Boeing or Airbus engineers are reading this, I would implore them to have the courage to stand up to the executive if necessary and to refuse to design the "seating" plan these airlines demand.
Sat, Jun. 27th, 2009, 11:26 pm
Book Review: "Who Killed the Avro Arrow?", by Chris Gainor.
"I, said the Sparrow. With my bow and... oh wait."
This is one of those books that sends aviation enthusiasts into fits of razor blade-wielding depression, and details a scandal which, for Canadians, is the equivalent of the TSR-2 misery that afflicted the British aircaft industry a few years afterwards.
The Arrow was a supersonic (Mach 2+) fighter designed to a specific requirement of the Royal Canadian Air Force, that was successfully developed to prototype stage and flown in the last 1950s... and then abruptly cancelled. Vindictively so, too, depending on your viewpoint - all the prototypes and their construction jigs were destroyed, and only the front fuselage of Arrow Six remains.
The major justification at the time was that ICBMs had just become a technical probability (Sputnik I was launched on the day of the Arrow's rollout), and that with the obsolescence of the manned bomber, the manned fighter also seemed not-all-that-necessary. Gainor contends that regardless of how beautiful an aerodynamic achievement it was, the Arrow was a long way from being a complete weapon system (integrated airframe, radar, attack computers and missiles), and there was still a lot of money to be spent on the thing before it was a viable combat aircraft.
This may or may not have been true. Things can't have been helped by vacillation over the weapon system: Avro Canada were offered the Hughes Falcon missile and an associated radar/air combat computer as a package, but although Gainor mentions the RCAF's refusal of the missile, he doesn't go into the reasons why. The RCAF chose the much more advanced Astra combat computer (which was discontinued as its development costs soared) and Sparrow II active-homing missile (an even more difficult technological ask - the British had dumped their much larger Red Dean as an unreachable goal not long before, although it was briefly considered for the Arrow's armament), which added hugely to the projected cost of the aircraft. (So in one sense the Sparrow did kill the Arrow, by making the whole project unachievably expensive, but nobody can fault the RCAF for wanting the best possible weapons for their new baby - and the RCAF was not alone in wanting such a missile.)
Gainor may have a point here. It's easy to judge in hindsight, without standing in 1950s shoes and trying to look forward, and he certainly tries to do this and offer a balanced case for its cancellation. He also seeks to exculpate the United States for its alleged role in getting the aircraft cancelled so that it could sell its alternative to the RCAF. Unfortunately, I don't think his point holds completely. When you consider what the RCAF ended up with (American BOMARC surface-to-air missiles with a shorter range than the Arrow, but which could not intercept ICBMs, and American F-101 fighters armed with the Falcon missile and its associated Hughes attack computers), the charge that the Arrow and its armament were insufficient for future requirements rings rather hollow.
Gainor's claim that the Arrow was unsuitable for the task the RCAF was assigned in Europe (low-level strike with conventional and/or nuclear weapons) also seems hollow - it's amazing what a good airplane can be modified to do when the designers put their minds to it (witness the F-15E, a magnificent strike aircraft which has evolved out of a pure air-combat fighter which was never intended to lift so much as a single bomb, but which in its current form carries more than a dozen).
In exchange for almost entirely local spending (the missile and fire control were offered to Avro virtually for nothing) and an indigenously-developed interceptor, the Canadians got an almost entirely foreign purchase of less aerodynamic and strategic-tactical capability, and all of Avro Canada's aeronautical and systems expertise was dispersed to the US and the UK.
I may not agree with Gainor's conclusion, but I think he does present a valid case for not automatically screaming OMFG DIEFENBAKER U HOR, U KILLED OUR GLORIOUS AIRPLANE. My call is that the decision to kill the Arrow project was clearly wrong, but this book does offer a very useful springboard for discussing the reasons why. It is available for sale from the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander, Newfoundland and probably also on the Web.
Enthusiasts have since built full-scale models of the Arrow, and an airworthy version is being spoken of. The Arrow may yet live on!
Fri, Jun. 19th, 2009, 10:41 pm
In which the United States of America finally grows a pair - or does it?
NASA launches probes to the moon
My commentary in bold
NASA blasted two probes into space on a landmark lunar exploration mission to scout water sources and landing sites in anticipation of sending mankind back to the moon in 2020.IIRC, Kennedy set the goal in 1961 of a manned return trip which was attained eight years later. That was forty-eight years ago; is NASA really saying that with today's technology and the wealth of previous experience, it can't be done in less than eleven years?
The launch marked 'America's first step in a lasting return to the moon,' a NASA official said moments after a rocket carrying the probes launched at 5:32 pm (2132 GMT), on Thursday, a day after the US space agency scrubbed the shuttle Endeavour launch for the second time in a week because of a nagging hydrogen fuel leak.The shuttle technology is thirty-plus years old. In all that time, and with two shuttles destroyed in accidents, it beggars the imagination that NASA hasn't expanded the spaceplane fleet - either with additional shuttles to the same design, or with a more advanced concept.
The liftoff of the dual LRO and LCROSS missions atop an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida occured one month shy of the 40th anniversary of NASA's historic first landings on Earth's natural satellite in 1969.Granted, the Shuttle is not the ideal launch platform for everything, but the Atlas itself is based on an ICBM first mooted in 1954. Have there been no advances in launch-platform technology in the interim? I hope this Atlas is a very different beast to its originator!
Americans have been the only people to walk on the moon -- with the last such outing in 1972 -- and the new mission is the first step on the long journey to launch manned missions further into our solar system, to the planet Mars and beyond, from lunar colonies.
US President Barack Obama has said the program, dubbed the Constellation project, needs to be reviewed, but so far has not cast doubt on its goals.One hopes that "needs to be reviewed" does not mean "can be sacrificed on the altar of economic expediency". This sentence alone is worrying.
'The robotic mission will give us information we need to make informed decisions about any future human presence on the moon,' program manager Todd May told reporters earlier this week.
The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) in particular looks set to be one of NASA's most spectacular bids at discovery for years.
To seek out water ice on the moon -- a critical component for any planning for manned lunar colonies -- the probe will analyse data from ejected lunar material after the separated portion of the rocket, named Centaur, crashes into a permanently shadowed crater, on the dark side of the moon that never sees sunshine.This is either bad phrasing or utter crap, the latter of which makes me despair at the standard of science reporting today. At best it posits that the impact point is so shielded by the lip of the crater that it never sees sunlight, which might be accurate. To state that the 'dark side of the moon' - i.e. the (very inaccurate name for the) one we cannot see from Earth - never sees sunlight is utter bullshit.
After examining the moon matter, the explorer will follow the rocket's lead by also hurling itself into the moon at approximately 2.5 kilometres per second -- some 9,000 km/h.Thus proving what? I assume the LRO mentioned below - or Earth-based probes - will examine the results of this second impact, but it's very badly put. And it seems a waste. I can see why impact probes are useful - they're cheap, because they don't have to be much more than a minimally guided bullet, and more sophisticated instruments in orbit can analyse the matter thrown up - but why not put a rover down on the surface which can drill or dig, and refresh your knowledge of soft-landing procedures?
In total, NASA said, the two impacts will excavate some 500 metric tons of lunar material and begin the search for a long-frozen water source. The project will also examine the moon's mineral makeup.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, hopes to learn more about the moon through a one-year stay at an orbit of about 50 kilometres -- the closest continual lunar orbit of any spacecraft.
LRO's $US500 million ($A630.91 million) mission is designed to provide NASA with maps of unprecedented accuracy, which will be crucial for scoping out possible landing sites.
Both missions, May said, will help NASA model the nuances of lunar lighting and temperature range, and provide future moon travelers with information on the cosmic radiation the moon is exposed to due to its lack of atmosphere.
The probes' four-day, 384,000-kilometre return to the moon 40 years after humans first set foot on its surface is expected to illuminate our closest extra-terrestrial neighbour like never before.
'Earth is subject to erosion processes from air and water,' noted May. 'The moon itself doesn't have this process.... LRO will send back pictures daily on things we have barely seen before.'These things together cost about a hundredth of what our government (Australia) has recently assigned on "stimulus packages". It annoys me that Australia - with its own long history of rocketry research (shared with the British at Woomera) - can't do something like this. It's good that NASA's doing it, but it should have been doing a lot more. And we should start doing it as well.
Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009, 09:30 pm
A Sri Lankan-born man who came to Britain 17 years ago is reportedly refusing to serve customers in his post office unless they speak English.
Deva Sumarasiri, 40, whose shop is in a racially mixed inner-city area, believes he has to stand up for the English language because otherwise the social fabric of the country will disintegrate.
Asians, eastern Europeans and others coming to his post office in Nottingham, central England, to claim state benefits or post letters must speak English or they will not be served, he said.
'If you don't want to be British, go home,' he told the Daily Mail newspaper. 'The fabric of the nation begins to unravel if we don't all speak the same language.'
What do people think?
Wed, Mar. 18th, 2009, 09:18 pm
Just a little question...
Here is a link
to an article in The Australian, the national daily, in which the author of the article quotes US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden allegedly said, of a woman struggling to keep her business afloat:it may very well be that she’s in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren’t able to get to her, there’s no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair, may very well be that she’s in a position where she is unable to access the - her energy costs are so high by providing smart meters, by being able to bring down the cost of her workforce
I don't know for sure whether it's Biden or not. All that I know is that he sounds completely incoherent.
Can anyone out there:
a) confirm that Biden said this, and
b) explain what the fucking hell he's actually saying
? Because if that really is the Vice-President of the United States talking, God help America if something happens to the President.
Hey, wait... haven't we heard that warning before?
Wed, Jan. 14th, 2009, 05:15 pm
The Seven Samurai?
Yet another episode in the list of people who wouldn't lie down and let bad shit happen to them. These two idiots
are akin to a previous idiot I let you know about, in that they decided it would be a really good idea
to pull an armed hold-up on a restaurant where the chefs are required by the nature of the cuisine to work extensively with long, sharp knives.
And now, on with our story...Waiters stab armed robber to death in Paris restaurantAn armed robber has been stabbed to death by a group of waiters in a busy Japanese restaurant in Paris.
Two men carrying a knife and an electronic stun gun stormed the Planet Sushi restaurant in the city's Latin Quarter on Sunday night, demanding money from the till.
But the team of Japanese staff turned on the men, stabbing one to death with a fish knife used for preparing sushi dishes, while the other was pinned to the ground outside the restaurant.
A witness said the restaurant was full when the men burst in.
"They pointed an stun gun at a waiter and demanded the cash from the till, but the staff grabbed kitchen knives and charged at the men," he said.
"They fled outside, chased by waiters, where one was stabbed and the other was held to the floor.
"It was like a moment from Tarantino's Kill Bill films."
Police, who arrived at the scene in rue Monge minutes later, said the stabbed robber, aged 22, died while being taken to hospital.
His accomplice, also 22, and seven Japanese staff have all being taken into custody for questionning, police said.
The bold is mine. The only question I would ask is, why bother to take the staff into custody? Give them all a medal for bravery and let them return to work.OTT and being pedantic, note the errors in the last line of the article - this has been copy-pasted as is, and is evidence of serious decline in the editing standards of newspapers, in print and online.
Wed, Dec. 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm
News of the World
1. When the Federal Opposition wants the Government to do something, it should consider radical tactics. Coalition frontbencher Joe Hockey knows how to play the game:"I tell you what, I will make this promise - and it's not a pretty promise - [I] will walk naked through Martin Place in Sydney the day this government builds a second airport outside the Sydney basin."
The primary site within
the Syndey basin is at a place called Badgerys Creek, and has been the subject of furious protests by local residents. This is the site that has been considered for the last ten years, as Kingsford-Smith airport gradually approaches overcapacity. The alternative involves a dedicated rail or road link with significant travel times involved, which many believe is unwise (Badgerys isn't exactly close to the Sydney business district to begin with). Mr Hockey is gambling here; the Government's eagerness to transform him into a horseless Lady Godiva may be tempered by the horror of what lies beneath the clothes. Watch this space. Or not, as you prefer.
2. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly denied his country was involved in the Mumbai attacks, saying the gunmen were "stateless actors" seeking to hold the world hostage.
The Indian Government begs to differ.
3. Colossal squid stops traffic in Wellington
OMFG THE STARS ARE RIGHT. IA IA CTHULHU F'TAGN...
4. So, which race or nation really has the biggest dicks? Someone did a study, and if he doesn't win an IgNobel for this, the world is an unfair place. The results show Frenchmen on average claim to need 15.48cm-long condoms, about 3cm longer than Greeks, whose condom-size requirement was the most modest. The institute's director Jan Vinzenz Krause says the data was collected over a period of eight months.
He did not want to comment on how honest he thought the Frenchmen had been in reporting the data.
5. Speaking of genitals, Britons are fighting recession blues with theirs. As Britons tighten their belts to cope with the credit crunch, a new poll showed their favourite leisure activity is whipping off their pants for a quick roll in the hay. According to the YouGov survey conducted over the Internet, 37 per cent of Britons rank having sex at the top of their list of freetime activities.
So, they may be tightening their belts against recession, but they're loosening them against boredom.
6. Good on you, guys: Mumbai's top Muslim clerics have vowed to block the burial of nine Islamist militants who killed 183 people in a three-day rampage last week, saying their acts were an affront to Islam.
"Such demons - they will not find an inch of land in any Muslim cemetery," said Maulana Sayed Moinuddin Ahsraf, secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiat-ulema.
Say it loud and say it strong. Ahsraf has characterized these creatures well.
Mon, Nov. 10th, 2008, 05:19 pm
News of the World
1. Man falls through ceiling, onto dance floor
. I wonder if "It's raining men" was playing. I used to live in Gippsland; this doesn't surprise me in the least.
2. Amrozi looked "pale and afraid" as he faced a firing squad.
Martyrdom: not so hot when push comes to shove.
3. A 1960s tape recorder the size of a household fridge could be the key to unlocking valuable information from NASA's Apollo missions to the moon.
The obsolescence of data recording media should be of grave concern to scientists. Modern computers are good at correlating and crunching said data, but it must get fed into them first. I wonder what else is lying around fallow.
4. Greek Orthodox and Armenian worshippers have traded blows in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christian denominations jealously protect their hold over areas of the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion.
Somehow I'm not quite
sure that this is what Christ meant when He said "I bring not peace, but a sword."
5. And in May the bodies of about 400 Australian and British servicemen were found in a mass grave on the outskirts of the French town Fromelles. Governor-General Quentin Bryce was in Fromelles yesterday, where she laid flowers in honour of those fallen soldiers who were killed in battle in 1916. The bodies will be buried in a new cemetery in the town next year.
Just another fucking ghoul, wallowing in failure. Why not commemorate the dead on the battlefield at Hamel, or Amiens, or any of the other completely successful operations that filled the hundred days of continuous victories between 8 August 1918 and the end of the war? The sooner we as a nation stop mentally masturbating over failures like Fromelles or Gallipoli, the sooner we'll get the imperialist chip off our shoulder; and then we can put this stupid talk about an Australian republic in the ground to rot.
Fri, Sep. 19th, 2008, 08:52 pm
News of the Day
1. The former New South Wales premier Morris Iemma has formally resigned as the member for Lakemba, ending his 17 year career in politics.
A worthless piece of fail out the door, and the way clear for someone more competent - God willing - to stand in his place. We seriously need a meritocracy in this country, and if it means encouraging economists, soldiers, doctors, engineers etc. to join political parties so they can be nominated to their most suitable portfolios, SO BE IT.
2. Seems the "beauty-challenged"
shouldn't be the only ones heading out to the country. The "employment-challenged" might also want to give it a go:A jobs board advertising more than 1,000 vacant positions in rural and regional Queensland has been unveiled as part of Country Week celebrations. The three-day expo opens in Brisbane today to highlight opportunities in country areas.
Faced with the choice between a ten-to-twenty minute walk to work, and horrendous battles for spots in traffic or seats on trains, I know which I preferred.
3. Texting is dangerous for your health, and not only your own... The conductor of a train involved in a Californian rail crash that left 25 people dead was sending text messages on his mobile phone during working hours, authorities said. Local television CBS2 earlier reported two 14-year-old boys had exchanged messages with the conductor in the moments leading up to the accident, an allegation officials said they would probe.
What a train conductor was doing exchanging text messages with fourteen year old boys, unless they were his sons or perhaps nephews, I have no idea, though my fevered imagination is running overtime:
(Boys in plain and bold
, driver in italics
HAI U R HEDING FOR PSSNGR TRAIN STOP STOP STOPWHO R U?
TED SMITH, 9TH GRADE, I CN C U FRM CLASSRM WNDW STOP FR CHRISSAKEHOW DID U GET MY CELL NUMBER
YR HEAD OFFICE GAVE IT 2 ME STOP NOW SOS.GET BACK TO YR SCHOOLWORK, KID.YO ITS BILL JONES TEDS BUDDY HERE HES RIGHT SLAM ON BRAKES NOW DUDEAH SHUDDUP YR JUST A COUPLE OF KIDS WHO OMGWTF...
4. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced a new body which will act as a global centre to drive clean coal technologies in Australia and worldwide. The Government will spend $100 million on establishing the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, which Mr Rudd says will coordinate funding and research for new projects. Mr Rudd will take the proposal to the UN General Assembly next week, where he hopes to get more governments and industry on board as investors.
Well, action at last, of a sort, I suppose... and only fitting for a country with large coal reserves to get on with burning it as cleanly as possible. BUT why, Mr Rudd, are you toddling off to the UN over this? Blowing our trumpet is all very well, but you've got a very large budget surplus on your hands which would be worth skimming to pay for this investment, not to mention the emission-trading scheme you're planning to foist upon us, which would make it much less dependent upon what other nations chose to do (or not do). Does that mean you can drop it in the too-hard basket when other nations don't come to the table, and whine and cry about how persecuted you are?
You've established an advisory body (something you seem to be developing a reputation for), but exactly how long are we going to wait for it to start producing reports, and how much longer before you start acting on them? More to the point, this Institute of yours only exists to "coordinate funding and research", and yet it's still
going to cost us a hundred million dollars. How much money are you putting up to actually do
the research, and how much are you putting aside for construction work? Also... no mention of potential Carbon Tax windfalls to pay for this. Why not?
Greens Senator Milne, you are also partly in error. Your call for research into renewable energies is correct; however, your "Coal is sinful and the cause of our worries" diatribe shows that you are an ideologically motivated axe-grinder, and probably should not be lecturing about energy policy. Until PM Rudd gets off his arse and actually starts building
non-fossil powerplants, we will be reliant on coal for some time to come - we may as well find ways to minimize the damage.ETA:
Here is another news article, from a short while back, detailing Australian intentions to research clean-coal technology in concert with other nations:AUSTRALIA and China will establish a clean-coal technology working group in an effort to balance China's need for energy resources with growing concern about the impact of coal burning on the global environment.
The move comes as Japan announced a $US2 billion ($2.5 billion) package at the East Asia Summit in Cebu to help its neighbours develop energy-saving technology and find ways to ease the region's dependence on oil.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, discussed the new clean-coal plan after a meeting with the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, in Cebu yesterday.
Oh, and look... the report is dated January 2007
, and you can plainly see who the Prime Minister in question was. I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what this implies about Kevin Rudd.
5. An international conference at the Australian National University in Canberra is looking for ways to increase the supply of food and bio-energy for a growing world population. Scientists from across the world are assessing strategies to increase plant productivity and water efficiency.
Um... I might suggest genetically modified plants here. More cruelly, animal species that explosively overpopulate a certain region and consume all its resources tend to die back when those resources are exhausted or insufficient. If people like Peter Singer are right, and we really do have no more rights than animals, perhaps a little bit of die-back wouldn't go astray.
I remember reading somewhere that "no true democracy has ever had a famine", so maybe exporting democracy and responsible government isn't such a bad idea as some make it out to be. God only knows, some of the worst-hit nations seem to have the worst, most irresponsible, most disgustingly kleptocratic governments on Earth (I'm looking at you
, Zimbabwe), and the assurance of good administration might be worth the accusations of "cultural imperialism" that some people like to trot out.
We have too damn many people on this planet, and nowhere near enough resources for them, nor any morally acceptable way to reduce the population (at least by half, and preferably by two thirds) quickly enough. On the other hand the Oort cloud, the Kuiper Belt and the asteroids offer almost unlimited resources of all kinds... if we have the nerve to try.ETA
6. A feisty nine-year-old girl broke free from a would-be abductor - a balding man with "one eye larger than the other" who grabbed her in a bear hug - by biting him on the arm and running, police say.
Another successful defence by the target of a worthless filthbag. She's not a victim; she's a winner. Give the girl a medal.
Mon, Sep. 15th, 2008, 01:42 pm
Battle of Britain Day
Today (September 15) is Battle of Britain Day.
This winner-take-all contest was won by a bunch of very brave men whose government realized in the nick of time why having both the best weapons and the most advanced technology (and in adequate quantities) is essential for survival, and whose people were determined never, ever, ever
to knuckle under to dictators, demagogues and murderers.( Rantage )
Sat, Aug. 30th, 2008, 09:17 am
On Breaths of Fresh Air
Sun, Aug. 17th, 2008, 09:31 pm
He sold WHAT to WHOM????
I know there is such a thing as the spirit of good sportsmanship, and that it should override national and cultural barriers, but this
is taking things just too fucking far.
JESSICAH Schipper's coach has admitted selling the training program used by his protege to the Chinese swimmer who denied the Aussie's dream of gold.( The rest of the text. )
Coach Ken Wood says he sold his training methods - which transformed Schipper into the world's best 200m butterflyer - to the Chinese coach of Liu Zige.
Disgusting little turncoat. I hope Cthulhu eats him.
Sat, Aug. 16th, 2008, 08:09 pm
Courtesy of the Melbourne Herald Sun...
Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 08:05am
Only 59 per cent to go to make Kevin Rudd’s scorched-earth target:
The State Government will pursue a naming and shaming policy for big energy users it deems to be wasting power, backed up by court action if they do not make the required cuts. But the targets so far are modest. The first round, beginning in January, aim to peel back less than 1 per cent of the state’s emissions...
And that’s the easy bit. Meanwhile, while we’re cutting…
On the same day Ms Firth was promoting the benefits of reducing the state’s reliance on coal-fired power, her counterpart in the Energy Resources portfolio, Ian Macdonald, announced that another coal exploration licence had been awarded.
China’s biggest coal-mining company, the state-owned Shenhua Group, will pay the state $300 million for the right to search for coal on 190 square kilometres of the Liverpool Plains, near Gunnedah.
Source and comments here
So there you have it; a plan to penalize and reduce our own coal-based power generation capability in the name of reducing greenhouse gases (or whatever you want to call them these days), while selling coal to a polluting noncomplier with an apparently clear conscience.
Wed, Aug. 13th, 2008, 08:11 pm
Proof that the United States of America is in decline...
NASA abandons plan to fly new spaceships by 2013
August 12, 2008 - 10:41AM
NASA has abandoned plans to get its replacement for the retiring US space shuttles into service by 2013 because of a lack of additional funds and technical issues, officials said.
( The rest of the text )
In 1961, JFK announced the goal of a manned landing on the moon. It took eight years, with 1960s technology. The Space Shuttle has been flying since the early 1980s, with no real indication of what will replace it (especially since two have been destroyed in accidents and one - Enterprise
- never flew in space). Now, in 2008, NASA says it will take seven more years to develop a ship to merely reach Earth orbit. George Bush had announced the programme in 2004 with a 2008 completion goal; now we must wait at least another seven years. And the ship in question, Orion
, is simply a much-modernized and enlarged Apollo capsule - new wine in old wineskins. Meanwhile, in the very same year as that programme was announced, a private company won a prize
for demonstrating the ability to put a reusable manned ship into space (100km+) twice within a fortnight without Government funding.
And now the United States will be dependent upon Russia
for its launch vehicles until Orion
is complete. Even twenty years ago, that would have been utterly unacceptable, and forty years ago it would have got the NASA director handed their own head on a plate. What the fuck is going on here?
Mon, Aug. 4th, 2008, 02:20 pm
Cultural Sensitivity in the Media
Calls for apology from 'insensitive' Fairfax papers
August 1, 2008 - 3:51PM
The Central and Northern Land Councils say the way Fairfax newspapers reported the death of an Arnhem Land man horrified the family of the deceased with its cultural insensitivity.
The chief executive of the Northern Land Council, Kim Hill, says reports in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday both identified and printed front page photos of a dead Aboriginal man.*
Mr Hill is calling for Fairfax to apologise to the family of the deceased.
"It's an assault on the Aboriginal culture, particularly in that part of the world and right across Australia. I mean, reporting the incident is one thing, but showing graphics of the individual is totally wrong."
The councils are calling for a written apology.
* My understanding is that that the picture was of him while he was still alive.
Something seems awry with the whole business, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It raises general questions in my mind. ETA and to clarify: To which I am seeking a range of opinions, rather than trying to put one across.( Discussion )
WHO DECIDES WHAT GETS PRINTED?
Or is it better simply to print and be damned, then publish the protest letters and let the readers vote with their small change at the news-stand?
Mon, Aug. 4th, 2008, 12:43 pm
Article from an Australian Journalist
Friday, August 01, 2008 at 09:16am
Christopher Monckton warns Climate Change Minister Penny Wong that the Rudd Government’s mad plans to cut “carbon pollution” is a disaster built on a fallacy: ( Full text )
If you introduce an emissions-trading scheme, when it transpires that the scheme and its associated economic damage had never been necessary - and it will, and sooner than you think - you and your party will be flung from office, perhaps forever.
This is Labor’s New Age Khemlani moment, in fact. The full email from Lord Monckton to Wong:
I concur absolutely. It isn't going to make a lick of difference, even if all the scaremongering were true, and our example will not encourage China, India or the US to follow the same; not one whit. What is left of our manufacturing industry will flee to places where its activities are not restricted or taxed in the name of "saving the world" (which it will not do), and we will be a nation of paupers that is simply fucked in the arse until all its raw materials are gone and there is nothing left to be taken. And then we will be Zimbabwe.
I have heard nothing yet about a scheme to prevent exports of 'carbon-producing' materials to places or nations which 'endanger the Earth', as uranium is restricted to allegedly prevent its incorporation into weapons (as far as I can see, we're still going to sell coal to China, which will still burn it in classical polluting fashion). When I have seen such a proposal written up, I may take this pack of jokers that calls itself our Federal Government more seriously. Until then they are hypocrites and fools, and this - as Monckton points out - could well be their destruction, a la the Australian Democrats. Roll on 2010, and I hope the Australian electorate have long
Wed, Jul. 30th, 2008, 09:14 pm
News of the World (humour).
Eating or drinking a lot of products containing soy and isoflavones can result in reduced sperm count among men, a Harvard School of Public Health study has shown.
It seems there's something in the 'Real men don't drink soy milk' stereotype after all. If you're always standing in line for a 'Venti decaf soy latte please', methinks you're missing the point of what coffee is about! Mind you, that may not matter for much longer because...The major retail union says it is shocked at coffee chain Starbucks' decision to close 61 stores around Australia.
I might have told them so, too. There are almost enough Starbucks in the Melbourne CBD, for example, that you're nearly never out of sight of one, including two very
big stores on Swanston Street alone. One city just doesn't need
that many Starbucks outlets, though I have to admit that as I studied for my finals at two or three in particular, I'll be sad if they are among those axed.
Latte-sipping PC Speshul Snowflakes have yet more to weep over, though, with news coming through recently that echidnas may be habitual rapists: Associate Professor Nichol says the research team has discovered the males do not always wait for the females to emerge from hibernation before making their move. "We thought it was very ungentlemanly really," he said.
A masterly understatement. I await PETA's response.
What a world! Soy latte makes you sterile, outlets are disappearing fast, and cute little beasties turn out to be thoroughly... well, beastly! It's enough to drive a Speshul Snowflake to drink; and of course once they're there, they will find the next morning an extremely unpleasant experience. Perhaps they should reconsider their stance on genetic modification, because Malaysian tree shrews binge on amounts of fermented nectar which would inebriate a human, but seem to have no such ill-effects themselves, researchers say.
I can think of a lot of teenagers who would volunteer for a shot of those genes, even if it did mean they had to spend the rest of their lives crawling up tree branches and living on fruit.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thu, Jul. 17th, 2008, 07:31 am
Carbon Trading Schemes
Emphasis here is on 'schemes'.
So yeah, we are going to have "carbon trading schemes", "Emissions trading" and all sorts of other fancy words for what basically adds up to a 'pollution tax' - the more you pollute, the more you pay.
Our federal treasurer was on the radio this morning being interviewed, and I was most keen to know the answer to the inevitable question which was - to paraphrase - "What reductions in pollution do you anticipate as a result of the introduction of this scheme"?
He couldn't give one.
He was saying something about the economic gains, and about what this new tax is designed to do, when I turned off the radio in disgust.
He couldn't give an answer because he doesn't have one. We haven't been given a scale yet for how much pollution = how much taxation. It hasn't been quantified. No science or reason has been applied to determine how much Joe Average should pay for his Earth-raping activities.
Fossil-fuelled power is in a horrific position, because the penalties for it are going to be huge - well into the seven, if not the nine, figures - and now that the power companies are private utilities and not state-run resources (which cannot be taxed as a Government cannot tax itself), those costs are going to be passsed on. I fear the hidden implication of that is that unless some sort of rebate scheme is implemented, the very poor (e.g. pensioners, low-income families with several children or a special-needs child) might have to stop taking electricity for granted (so pensioners will freeze in winter and get heatstroke in summer more than they do now - heating and air conditioning are expensive to run constantly), and heaven knows what's going to happen to households that have gas as well.
What else hasn't been discussed yet is what's going to happen with all the money that's raised. What guarantees do we have that it will be used productively? If I had my druthers they'd already have started to look into expanding the pilot scheme for tidal power, or at least be plotting experimental/prototype solar or ocean-thermal stations, so that the 'dirty power' taxation was paying for the introduction of 'clean power'. Even nuclear, for God's sake, just to tide us over for a few decades until we get high-volume clean-energy stuff built and divert the petrochemicals we don't burn into plastics and other industrial uses. But no - deathly silence.
On top of that, in a drought-stricken country whose floods wash into the sea, whose catchments are too small or in the wrong places, and whose left-wing State governments refuse to build dams on "environmental grounds" ("OMFG you're raping the Earth!") and refuse to countenance the use of 'scrubbed' stormwater (even for irrigation); in a nation where we are told our resources are stretched to the limit, and where people aren't even allowed to water their gardens any more in some places; we are anticipating a planned migrant intake of 300,000 people (well up from last year), some at least of whom can be counted on to breed well past basic replacement level. Do the math, people - no extra infrastructure + extra population = Not Good News. Our dams and catchments were constructed to serve a much lower population than they are serving now, and than our immigrant-hungry government plans for them to serve in the future.
Meanwhile, the land is drying up and the farmers - the ones who provide us with our next meal - are going to the wall.
What are you going to do about it, Mr Rudd?
Wed, Jul. 2nd, 2008, 07:20 pm
Protest? What protest?
In further news on the State Government's response to His Unholiness Pope Maledict:Youth Day laws 'won't deter The Chaser'
July 2, 2008 - 9:24AM
Source: ABCA member of The Chaser says new regulations put in place for World Youth Day in New South Wales will not deter the comedy team.
Under the new regulations, people who refuse to stop engaging in conduct that causes annoyance or inconvenience to pilgrims can be arrested and fined up to $5,500.
The Chaser's Julian Morrow says the new laws should be repealed and are not necessary. ( The rest of the article )
I think these Chaser guys are idiots - anyone turning up dressed like Osama Bin-Laden to a meeting at which George Bush was present was asking for a bullet through the head - their practical jokes sometimes overwhelm the message and they take their irreverence too far into the realms of outright disrespect and offensiveness. Nevertheless, this time they're right. So long as they don't do anything too
stupid, it ought to be fun to watch.
Furthermore: Protests need our blessing, say police
Joel Gibson, Jano Gibson and Linda MorrisJuly 2, 2008POLICE have told organisations planning to campaign during World Youth Day events they need to have placards, banners and T-shirts pre-approved or risk losing their protest "rights" - even those groups representing victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
The State Government faced a public backlash yesterday after the Herald revealed laws had been quietly introduced to prevent people "causing annoyance" to participants in the huge Catholic event which will climax with the Pope's arrival in Sydney in two weeks.
During a meeting with two leading victims groups yesterday, senior police said protesters would also have to include details of their planned messages.
Protesting without police clearance could result in demonstrators being charged under extraordinary new powers which came into effect yesterday.( Full text )
The fact that the Church was consulted at all over this makes me smell a huge, fat, necrotic, foetid rat. I do not like violent protests - I think they should be dealt with by baton charges and tear gas at the best of times - but peaceful protests should be able to show whatever message they want on their placards and clothing (that is relevant to their cause) without interference and without having to 'clear' it with police first.
This sort of rubbish is something I never expected a State or Federal government in this nation to do. I hope the police have the moral decency to make no arrests on the day.
Tue, Jul. 1st, 2008, 12:39 pm
I thought we were through with bootlicking the Church
But it appears not.Thou shalt not annoy on Youth Day
Jano Gibson, Linda Morris and Joel Gibson
July 1, 2008EXTRAORDINARY new powers will allow police to arrest and fine people for "causing annoyance" to World Youth Day participants and permit partial strip searches at hundreds of Sydney sites, beginning today.
The laws, which operate until the end of July, have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, undertaking a Chaser-style stunt, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music, critics say.
Police and volunteers from the State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service will be able to direct people to cease engaging in conduct that "causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event".
People who fail to comply will be subject to a $5500 fine.( The rest of the story )
Despite the Catholic Church's denials, it's hard for me to see this as anything but
ensuring that the Pope's feel-good pow-wow doesn't get spoiled by inconvenient people speaking or displaying inconvenient truths. I don't normally side with the Civil Libertarians - normally I see them as putting criminals' rights ahead of victims' or those of society in general - and I think the Greens are usually whacked-out nutjobs, but I think they've got something here.
I would be the first to argue that anyone who displays violence against the Pope-slaves should be dragged off to prison for a very long time, but there are already common assault laws to deal with that sort of thing. I get the funny idea that that's not what these powers are driving at.
And remember, folks, this is not Evil John Howard's federal Coalition Government that's introducing these 'speshul new powers'; he's long gone now - this is the state counterpart of the new Labor government.
I am more than a little disturbed.
Wed, Jun. 25th, 2008, 11:38 pm
"He has mutated into something that is quite unbelievable."
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.( The Text )
I don't know what I relish the thought of most - seeing Robert Mugabe and his army annihilated by the British and Americans he most despises... or forcing him to watch helplessly as a well-defended free and fair election - monitored and protected by his black African neighbours - reduces him to the paranoid irrelevancy he is and hustles him from power (and with any luck, straight to the court-room and thence to the gallows).
The only caveat I'd put on the second option is that whoever goes in to monitor that election must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the result is honoured, up to and including the complete destruction of the
Zimbabwean Armed Forces
Mugabe Mafia. Otherwise the whole exercise is a waste.
Sun, Jun. 15th, 2008, 08:14 am
True colours shining through
'MDC will never govern,' says Mugabe
June 14, 2008 - 10:23PM
( The rest. )
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will never govern in his lifetime and he is ready to fight on less than two weeks ahead of a tense run-off election.
"Should this country be taken by traitors... it is impossible," he said, referring to the MDC, in a speech at the burial of a former independence fighter.
"It shall never happen... as long as I am alive and those who fought for the country are alive.
"We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
He also raised the spectre of war on Friday (local time) if Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who fell just short of an outright majority in a March first round, wins the run-off poll.
Is there anyone here who does not
believe that Mugabe is a paranoid lunatic?
Is there anyone here who seriously believes that the constant detentions and interferences with Opposition politicians are not
part of a pattern, and that given long enough, peace and democracy will eventually triumph? In which dream-world will this happen?
Of course he knows that once he's out, he's on his way to the Hague in handcuffs. Or ought to be. Now it looks as though the only way they'll get him out is by his death of old age. Although the thought of Robert Mugabe in Hell bespeaks interesting possibilities (provided he doesn't take over)...
Mon, May. 19th, 2008, 06:38 pm
O Brave New World, Which Hath Such Failness In It
(Synopses only to save time - may incorporate fulltext later, if I get to it before the links drop. Format shamelessly copied from carlanime
Fail #1 - complete: New South Wales Transport Minister John Watkins has defended appointing a former minister found corrupt for rorting plane expenses to head up the Sydney Ferries Corporation.
A State government already plagued by health-related scandals and a massive protest over infrastructure policy, and it goes and does this? How much more failsome can you get?
Fail #2 - festering fit to burst: South Africa has been shocked by a series of attacks on foreigners living in townships that have left at least 12 people dead and many more injured. The violence intensified over the weeked, with foreigners living in Johannesburg's townships being burned and beaten to death. Locals blame the foreigners, most of them from Zimbabwe, for criminal behaviour and for taking jobs.
Dear Mr Mbeki, what are
you and your fellow African government heads going to do about that festering sore called Zimbabwe? If you don't want another few million Zimbabweans across your borders, I suggest you act quickly and effectively.
Fail #3 - brewing:Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has denied leaking an email which reportedly said Brendan Nelson's plan to cut the fuel excise was a bad idea.
Six months out from the election, and it seems the Libs have an ineffectual leader and a shadow cabinet which is at odds with him. No wonder Howard lost, trying to fight an election while holding this pack of jokers together. Accountable democracy is dependent upon a coherent and talented Opposition
: get your act together, guys!
Fail #4 - incipient:The owner of the freight arm of the Darwin-Adelaide railway, Freightlink, is up for sale.
I've ranted before about the need to keep infrastructure control ownership local - will the Government please stand up and nationalize this before it's too late? National infrastructure and logistics should not be regarded as a profit-making enterprise!
This is what we pay taxes for.
Fail #5 - potential:When companies go bust - and there have been plenty of them recently - shareholders and creditors often question why the directors were not aware of what was going on. The liability of company directors can differ from state to state. But now the Federal Government is keen to relax and standardise the personal liability faced by company directors, because it believes the current rules are stifling innovation.
These people know what they're getting into when they take up the position. I'm all in favour of standardizing the rules across states... but I'd like to see responsibility for a failed company determined by mandatory audit - essentially a company autopsy and subsequent financial court-martial, with questioning of all involved and the facts presented, and all the technicalities stripped away to deny slippery lawyers the chance to get equally slippery clients off.
Sun, May. 18th, 2008, 12:14 pm
Safeuarding the Health of Australia's Youth - Ur Doin' it Wrong
Swan has 'no doubt about' alcopops tax
May 18, 2008 - 9:26AM
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says he is absolutely sure that the sharp increase in tax on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks will cut rates of teenage binge drinking.I'm not, but what do I know? I'm just a doctor...
The Federal Opposition says the 70 per cent tax increase will just force teenagers on to drinks with a higher alcohol contentOr larger volumes of drinks with a lower alcohol content? Cask-wine makers must be licking their lips in anticipation.
, or drugs.Or encourage them to learn how to mix it themselves, if they don't already - how hard is it to pour vodka into a glass of orange juice? As far as the drugs go, most of the kids this will affect are probably doing drugs already anyway, and most of the ones who aren't, probably aren't tempted to try.
The move will earn the Government an extra $3 billion in revenue perhaps suggesting a motivation for doing this in the first place?
and the Opposition is planning to block it in the Senate while it still has the numbers.And so it should, because this piece of legislation is built on either ignorance or mendacity.
But Mr Swan has told Channel Ten that the tax increase will work to curb the rates of teenage binge drinking.No, it won't - for reasons stated above.
"I have no doubt in my mind that this will target consumption by a group of people, who are engaging in drinking practices that are undesirable for them, and for the country," he said.NO!
What you have done is to put a supertax on the recreational-drug-of-choice of a subset of society that generally cannot vote, and which you know can be counted on to vote for you - or at least not for the Opposition - when it does. What's more, you know
underage kids are drinking this stuff - else you'd have called it "binge drinking among young adults" - and yet you're setting out to make at least some of your precious three thousand million dollars off something the law says is illegal.
That having been said, seeing some not-quite-eighteen year old girl crying and dazed outside a nightclub with vomit all over her shoes, or an aggressive young male threatening bar staff or laying into some other young male or sleazing up to some girl because they've had too much alcohol on top of their already-potent testosterone dose, on the one hand does not fill me with any optimism for the human condition in this country, and on the other hand convinces me that taxing it just won't work. The people you're trying to save with your new tax don't want
to be saved - they're idiots with no sense of self-preservation, and they'd rather give up other things first.
Yes, you can tax the alco-pops, but what's next? Supertax all liquor so high that a bunch of young girls can't buy a bottle of potent stuff and mix their own? Price beer out of the market to keep the boys sober? (Although having tasted some brands which give the impression they were prefiltered through a possum's kidneys, I might be tempted to support this one.) Destroy the wine industry by making it unaffordable at home while you sell it abroad for a pittance?
A good place to start might
be by doing to alcohol what your predecessors did to tobacco a while back - ban advertising of it. No billboards, no newspaper ads, no radio or TV ads, no nothing. If that's too big a lump to swallow all at once, you can start with those ads which draw links between alcohol and sport (especially motor sport), 'manliness', and social acceptance.
"It's when your liver's wrecked you'll understand; son, you don't have to
drink to be a man." :-p
Sun, May. 18th, 2008, 10:23 am
Darwin Award nominee?
Man's body found on train at Flinders St
10:08 AEST Sun May 18 2008
The body of a 20-year-old man has been found on top of a train carriage at Melbourne's Flinders Street station.
Police say the man, from Werribee in Melbourne's south-west, was train surfing.
They say they don't know when he died but his body was seen by passengers at 8.30am (AEST) on Sunday.
"He was electrocuted and we believe he was train surfing," a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
His body was recovered by members of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade after power to the train line was switched off.
Given that the trains in Melbourne don't start all that early, my guess is either the last train of the previous evening (leaves the city about 1am-ish), or the first train of the day.
A very morbid part of me is in favour of leaving the corpse exactly where it lay, as a warning to other idiots. Perhaps then they might take some notice, including of the reason the authorities tell people not to do this in the first place. My bet is that the media will eulogize him and he'll get a front page in the Herald Sun tomorrow morning; with all his mates lining up to say what a great, fun guy he was, and some girlfriend weeping over him. Face it, people - he was an idiot, and his idiocy resulted in his own death. The last thing the world needs is public validation of people like him.
Wed, May. 14th, 2008, 08:51 pm
Okay, so the government's going to indict this anti-Semitic bloke...
There's just one little problem...( He's the President of Iran. )
So, Mr Rudd, do tell... once you've got all the legal niceties taken care of, how are you going to make him front up for his day in court?
Sun, May. 11th, 2008, 12:43 am
Burmese Flood F_wittery.
First there came the flood, and 100,000 plus look like being dead and > 1million homeless.
Then there came the Burmese Generals telling aid workers to fuck off.
Then they started expelling some of the aid workers who were already there, and meanwhile impressive quantities of the high-calorie Disaster Biscuits were impounded by the military.
The latest I hear is that the long awaited aid boxes are being handed out with the Generals' names printed on them, to look like said General is responsible for the delivery of such aid.( Cut for more moral outrage than I have felt in a long time. )
Mon, Apr. 14th, 2008, 08:26 pm
This could well wipe the post-Howard smirks off a few faces.
(Post title edited 8pm 14 Apr 08 and small changes made to post.)Email spy plan about national security: Gillard
April 14, 2008 - 7:16AM
Employers would be able to read their staff's emails under proposed new national security laws being considered by the Federal Government.
The new laws would give companies extra powers to monitor their computer networks to prevent cyber-attacks.
They would be allowed to check their staff's emails and internet communications without their consent.( And you were worried about John Howard, yes? )
ETA: In fact, this only makes legitimate at a Federal level what large numbers of workplaces seem to be doing anyway. I don't believe for one minute that unscrupulous people will not use their power to put an ear to the ground in their workplace for reasons completely unconnected with "national security". What I hope will happen, if this abortus of a Bill ever finds birth, is that the right of the accused to face their accuser is upheld, and that disciplinary action on the basis of unspecified charges is not hidden behind the "national security" veil by private individuals (or, more worryingly, corporate hacks) in the workplace. IOW, if my boss calls me onto the carpet over e-mails, he'd better have a member of the Australian Federal Police or a Military Intelligence officer there to lay charges, and to show me exactly which e-mails of mine I'm being charged over. Otherwise I expect to see him rot in jail.
In other news
, we have our first female Governor-General (her appointment begins when the current incumbent retires in September). You wouldn't know it at first, except from pictures, because her first name is Quentin. This particular first female Governor-General comes straight from the position of Queensland State Governor, so she's well qualified for the job, and it doesn't seem at all like a politically correct appointment made just to satisfy lobbyists or a segment of the general public.
ETA 8pm 14/4: The real win here IMO is not that a woman was chosen for the position, but that the most meritorious person was chosen and the fact that she is a woman did not bar her from selection
. That, to me, is what the abolition of sexism is about. If in future a woman is the most meritorious person to be Prime Minister of this country, I will cast my vote for her / her party; if she isn't, I won't.( The Text of the Report )
The comment I have italicized seems to me to be a cheap shot across John Howard's bows. Shame on you, Senator Coonan; this is called "kicking a man when he's down", and it is completely inappropriate coming from a former member of his government, let alone from a current serving senator (whether in Opposition or otherwise). I suppose it typifies the state into which the Liberal Party has sunk following the loss of government and its leader.
Whatever I may think of our new government's eager grab at office workers' electronic privacy in the name of "national security", the rot I've seen in the Liberal Party since the November election does much to make me almost glad of the result. No wonder Howard lost, if he had to fight the election and try to govern the nation while holding a pack of idiots together. I thought he was a great Prime Minister, but I have to admit to having lost confidence in his subordinates, and it seems like it'll be quite a while before they will be able to earn it back again.On a somewhat more tongue in cheek note...
The other thing I think I'd like to see is for Kevin Rudd to be sacked from the Prime Ministerial job and given the post of Australian Ambassador to Everywhere - it seems he's spent more time offshore since becoming PM than he has here, and (despite the above rant) Julia Gillard seems a safe pair of hands, from what I've seen. :p
Sat, Apr. 12th, 2008, 06:48 am
Well, does the leopard ever change his spots?
NO, of course he bloody doesn't!!!Mugabe pulls out of crisis summit, bans rallies
April 12, 2008 - 5:02AM
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has pulled out of a regional summit on Zimbabwe's post-election crisis and tightened his grip on power, banning all political rallies and deploying riot police in the capital.( If you didn't predict this would happen, you've failed the Santayana test. )
The only way to safeguard democracy and the rule of law is to oust Robert Mugabe
. It is clear that the Zimbabwean people do not have the means to do this without grievous losses at the hands of his goons and thugs. I'm sick of watching the same bloody thing happening over and over again; it's Redcoats and Gunboats time.
Tue, Apr. 1st, 2008, 07:49 am
Snarky tongue-in-cheek thoughts on the US Election
In the one corner we have the Republicans. All the Republican candidates were white men, and if you were that rare beast - a politically correct Republican - at least you had no moral angst about who to nominate. It was all about the politics.
In the other, we have the Democrats. If stereotypes are to be believed, all the politically correct, the non-racists, the non-sexists, etc. are over in the Democrat corner. The two remaining Democrat candidates - the only serious ones from the start IMO - are a black man and a woman. Neither category has ever been President. Whichever of them is nominated, if they should lose against McCain, their supporters will condemn the US electorate (or such proportion as actually voted) as either racist or sexist.
Herein lies the Democrats' problem - to put up one candidate and one only (which they must) for the Presidency, they must either reject a woman (and be sexist) or reject a black man (and be racist).
Face it, folks - whatever you do, you are going to have to be evil. Make your decision based on merit and stop fucking around. For all that you claim the other side are a bunch of brainless nitwits, they confirmed their candidate weeks ago, and are now tapping their feet in the opposite corner while they watch you tear yourselves apart. Obama's team must wake up to the fact that Hillary Clinton is not John McCain, and Clinton's team must face up to the same truth about Obama; the campaigns they are running against each other are wasted effort that is best targeted against the Republicans.
Personally, if it were any other woman who had the Democratic nomination, I'd finger Obama as the best candidate, because on ruthlessly practical grounds, I think the American electorate is still more likely to support a male candidate (and you want the Republicans out, right?). But the fact that she's a former First Lady changes things. Moreover, of all the First Ladies there have been since I was old enough to pay attention to US politics, Hillary is the only one who I've felt was anywhere near the political and intellectual equal of her husband while he was in the position. I can't believe Bill didn't ask for at least her viewpoint and probably her advice on some of the major decisions he had to make, whether he took it in the end or not.
To this extent, she's a safe pair of hands with eight years of White House experience - a bit like being the second seat on a Tandem bike, true, but still with experience of what the road is like. That in my mind makes her the superior candidate. Obama should be her VP running mate, get that experience for himself, and be ready to step up to the Presidential plate in four to eight more years.
Thu, Mar. 13th, 2008, 10:14 pm
My Blood Is Up
Text:'Thousands' of British girls forced into child marriages
By Stephanie Kennedy in London
March 13, 2008 - 9:20AM
A parliamentary inquiry in the United Kingdom has been investigating the fate of thousands of young girls from south Asian backgrounds who have stopped attending school.
The investigation has found that children as young as 12 have been taken out of school by their parents and sent to countries like Pakistan to be married against their will.( The Rest of the Dismal Picture )
And meanwhile the politically correct (you know who you are) flutter and twitter and call for "education". If you emigrate to a Western nation to enjoy its benefits, you agree also to accept its laws and its mores: that includes educating your daughters to the same degree as your sons; and not dragging them overseas when they're not even in their teens, to be married to complete strangers. Otherwise get the fuck out
and go back where you came from. You cannot have it both ways.
Thu, Mar. 13th, 2008, 12:31 am
Utter madness (Crossposted from my eljay)
When society has sunk to this sort of political correctness
, I wonder where we all are headed.
Not fun to read some of the troll comments, but a lot of the rest is insightful and amusing in its own gobsmacking and utterly fucking horrifying way, and I provide two examples for your enjoyment (or headdesking):A janitor and part-time student at IUPUI, a college in Indianapolis, was told by the school's affirmative action office that he was guilty of racial harassment for reading a book about the KKK - a book about how Notre Dame defeated the KKK in 1924 - "in the presence of black employees."
and (this one takes the cake for utter absurdity):I re-read both of XXXXXX's letters and this is what I'm struck by: the "reasonable person standard" just ain't reasonable any more.
Intended to help investigators look through the prism of another group's experience rather than their own (notably for male investigators who had trouble seeing how a woman could be offended by, say, having her ass grabbed or being leered at), it has morphed into an "unreasonable person standard" whereby complainants are never asked to consider a more measured take on events. They just mutter "j'accuse" and the metal stud-filled snowball starts rolling.
In one case, I was called in to talk with a Black employee. Her complaint? Her white supervisor offered her a carton of chocolate milk. I waited while she marshalled her emotions, dabbing her eyes and choking back another onslaught for her to fill me in with the details I needed to be able to see what else happened that could cause her to feel so abused.
There was nothing else. A white chick in authority offered a Black chick a carton of chocolate milk. Did she offer choco milk to anyone else? Yeah, a couple, "but she made sure that she offered me the chocolate milk." Like a good AA/EEO wonk, I went out on the shop floor to talk with the supervisor-a woman with a sterling work history in a company that was none-too-friendly to women in non-traditional roles (printing). She was mystified that her employee got upset and walked off the job, leaving my office and heading home. The supervisor's intention? To make sure that this woman got a chance at what she believed was a premium milk beverage. Thinking back on how my brothers and I could "throw down" over the last bottle of Choc-ola, I could see her point.
Now, I said before that I used to be in AA/EEO. Wonder why I left? It just stopped making sense...sleveen
will recognize the particular variety of Speshul Snowflake being ranted about here (because she's ranted about it herself), but I will add the words of the abovementioned AA/EEO officer in her support because I completely agree with the sentiment the words express:I used to be an AA officer (I was a Black woman in a large HR department--where else were they going to put me) and some of my most often-used words were: "Grow up and get over yourself."
What I find personally disgusting is how like delicate, night-blooming flowers we've all become...and how lawyers have become the over-protective gardners, tending our delicate feelings. They don't much care about due process or crying "Cutitdafugout" when people have no basis to complain. What they are concerned with is making certain that they keep companys out of court--mostly for the little things. Trouble is, organizations like this where, just a few years ago, Black law students (I believe) were sent written threats directly to their mailboxes, miss the big picture which is: Focus on process issues and mitigate real wrong-doing. Stop being chicken shit about nothing.
Now, repeat after me: "Grow up and get over yourself."
See, that wasn't so hard.
How little it takes to be an oppressor these days...
Fri, Mar. 7th, 2008, 07:35 am
Facebook never ceases to amaze me.
There is apparently a Facebook group called "2 million people against female circumcision (FGM)".
When all of those people are heavily armed British, Australian or American soldiers, they might just be of use. Until then we're all sitting around happily intellectualizing; failing to accept that when something truly barbaric is happening in the world, the appropriate response is to get out there and obliterate the perpetrators.
Fri, Feb. 29th, 2008, 11:58 pm
...with this post