Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Gerry Anderson Is A Visionary

Yes, well we might laugh at the Supermarionation of the Thunderbirds and the equally wooden acting of UFO, but the truth now has to be revealed.

Gerry Anderson is a genuis, a visionary up there with Asimov and Verne.

How so you say? Well, read this from today's news:

A ROBOTIC penguin could be hopping around on the moon by 2009, maker Raytheon said today.

It unveiled the concept lander at an aerospace conference.
The unmanned lunar device, in development for two years, is 1m tall and weighs about 104kg and "hops" by reigniting small propulsion engines.

The Penguin, unveiled at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2005 Conference, can make a single jump of about 1km and could be adapted to make additional jumps, possibly over greater distances.


Sound familiar? For those thirtysomething sci-fi fans, the Penguin sounds rather a lot like the the Moon Mobile a moon hopping transportation device.

Mind you Anderson didn't get everything right. UFO was set in the future - 1980 - and the cars are a little silly, but I do have a soft spot for the moon fashions.

-- Nora

I still want my personal rocket pack!

-- Nick

L&O: SIU - The CMC Investigates

For those good readers who have been following the parochial saga of alleged local government corruption in our Law & Order series, there has been a breakthrough:

ALLEGATIONS that a bloc of Gold Coast councillors misled voters and flouted the law through their association with developers will be publicly probed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

CMC Chairman Robert Needham announced the inquiry following months of outrage over allegations of lies by candidates and a secret developer trust fund during last year's council election.

A similar scheme, probed earlier this year in NSW, led to the dismissal of the Tweed Shire Council.


Although not as wide ranging as a full enquiry, it is a jolly good start.

For those interested in the past episodes the prologue starts here, Act I and Act II.

Doink, Doink

-- Nora

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

End The Suffering - Turn Off Media Watch

After watching last night's risible effort on the publicly funded ABC's Media Watch program, it became apparent that the poor little show has finished its fight for life.

Now it is time to do the decent thing and turn off its life support.

Once the must-see show on the ABC (occasionally it was worth suffering through 4 Corners first), it has become a ventilated corpse, utterly brain dead, only being kept alive by the drip feed of public funding.

Undoubtedly there is a need for a outlet that covers media outrages and faux pas and for the first few years of its life Media Watch under the wry humour of Queens Counsel and one time journalist, Stuart Littlemore fill the role perfectly.

However Media Watch got run over by the runaway phenomenon known as the Internet and, more specifically bloggers. All of a sudden instead of the host-de-jour, the producers and a handful of administrative staff keeping an eye on the Fourth Estate at taxpayer's expense, thousands of bloggers are doing a more comprehensive job. For free!

As a result, in last night's feeble attempt to show signs of life, Liz Jackson and the producers put metaphoric defibrillator by having another go at Canadian columnist Mark Steyn.

Earlier this month the columnist wrote about the evils of multiculturalism.

Media Watch was outraged. Follow the story here, here and here.

Yesterday when Steyn wrote a column about the attempted mugging at the hands of Media Watch, the producers were determined to get the last word in.

Enough already.

Face it ABC, we don’t want or need Media Watch anymore, we can research and disseminate information all by ourselves now to a much larger audience and achieve some real results.

Anyone see Dan Rather lately?

-- Nora

Sunday, August 28, 2005

TV Or Not TV?

Over at Tim Blair's place, we've been dicussing the joy that was 1988 - ah Expo, synth dance music, meeting Nick.... then picked up this story from the Sunday Mail.

LOCALLY made television drama failed to feature in the Top 50 TV programs for the first half of the year...

...The latest figures point to an industry in dire straits, mirrored by the lacklustre debut of Channel 9's outback drama The Alice and the meagre offerings from the ABC.

ABC head of drama Scott Meek has warned that Federal Government funding cuts meant the network could be forced to axe all local drama.


And you have all the usual suspects wondering why. Here's the connection back to 1988:

Yes we had Neighbours and Home & Away, but there was also a very fine run of one-off TV dramas, miniseries, sketch comedies and documentaries.

So what happened?

The answer is simple. Australian-made television is 99.9% rubbish.

Let's take a look at all the ingreidents which go to make up a good TV show:

The Producers: Too long weaned at the breast of public funding, Australian producers are immune to the commerical realities that would force them to create a viable commerical product.

The Writers: Having lived for too long in the rarefied air of university leftism, most writers fall into one of two traps - labour every single social justice sermon or go completely juvenile.

Secondly the characters are more chariactures ("she's got to have an angle - I know let's make her a lawyer, a single mother who lives with her own mother")

Thirdly the plotting is cliched ("Oh no, our tough as nails lady cop is now being stalked" - yawn).

The Actors: Can we please ban Steve Bisley (sorry, mate), Peter Phelps, ex-Neighbours/H&A people and Georige Parker? Same old faces doing the same lame old plots - for crying out loud, we're bored.

If the entertainment industry was really interested in producing quality television that rated well it needs to do the following:

1. All actors, directors, writers, producers are subject to a three-strikes clause - after your third dud you are sent into the outer wilderness known as the real world where you will have to get a real job.

2. To satisfy the public's seemily interminable obsession with reality TV, a variation of Project Greenlight in which anyone who feels they have the talent can plot and stage a 15 minute excerpt from their proposed TV series which will be played on a basic set with unknown theatre veterans. The winner in various categories will have a pilot commissioned. The public will decide if it is worth supporting for 13 weeks.

3. All TV series will be 13 weeks long per season.

4. All TV series will be developed with an eye for overseas sales (it's the only way it's going to pay for itself).

Simple.

-- Nora

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What Is Truth?

What is truth? It should be obvious - particularly if your profession is supposed be dedicated to uncovering and reporting it.

Alas, not all reporters are Clark Kent and Lois Lane seeking truth and justice. Indeed like Ahab from Moby Dick, the majority of reporters are obsessed by that great beast known as a "good story".

Let's be sure of our definitions here. A "good story" is something that arouses strong emotion in the reader/viewer. It's resemblance to the truth is absolutely secondary.

It is also something which is easy to replicate as we move into a second and possibly third generation in which the concept of moral absolutes has eroded into moral relativism.

Moral absolutes (the immutable truth) calibrates the 'BS meter' which operates instinctively in all of us. If that compass is not set it makes it stunningly simple to fall for even the most obvious of hoaxes.

And so it is in journalism where truth has become so malleable that an outright lie can be told to justify an aim. In this case to negatively influence opinion against US president George W Bush and the Iraq war.

Through Tim Blair we learn of a massive two year hoax in which reporter Jaimie Reynolds wrote a series of letters to a student newspaper The Daily Egyptian posing as Kodee Kennings, a little girl whose father served in Iraq. The poignant letters begged her father not to be killed and then bagged the president when he was 'killed in action'.

To keep up the deception Reynolds 'hired' a little girl to pose as Kodee. The child and her parents were persuaded that she was taking part in a documentary filmed by hidden cameras.

While 'professional' journalists report this with a straight face, those who have a fragment of decency will realise that the mainstream media should not be casting the first stone.

When members of the Fourth Estate, Nicky and I were told a hilarious story from a former editor. In the 1950s while a young reporter, he was sent into a small country town to find anything that would make a front page story for the rural weekly.

Alas he came back empty handed. Not to worry, said the editor who immediately began pounding away at his typewriter. What emerged was a poignant tale of a disaffected sailor who, unable to cope with post-war life and the horrors he's seen at sea walks inland with his oar and vows to continue walking until no-one recognises what the paddle is for.

The piece ran on the front page and such a "good story" was picked up by the city papers as well. One sent a team to find this sailor, take some pictures and get the story for themselves.

They were bitterly disappointed, our newly retired editor laughed; the sailor did not exist, the story was made up. In fact it uncannily resembles a section from a war film. (Possibly Humphrey Bogart's 1943 Action In The North Atlantic in which a character expresses that wish while cast adrift after his ship is sunk. If anyone can identify the film, I'd be grateful.)

That's a relatively harmless deception unlike:
Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer winning effort downplaying the Soviet famines that killed millions.

Janet Cooke's 1981 award-winning effort in which she made up the story of an 8-year-old crack addict living in Washington DC.

While discussing the Little Orphan Kodee incident, Buzz Harsher quite rightly points out:

According to post-modern “theory,” there is no Truth; there is only Narrative. Journalism has embraced the post-modern paradigm.

The next time you hear “According to X, Y is so,” rather than “Y is so,” or “Y is not so,” you are hearing the victory of Narrative over Truth.


To put it more plainly yet, here is an example I use for primary school children when speaking on media:

What is the difference between these two sentences?
Teacher: Where is Johnny?
Billy: Johnny went to the library.

Teacher: Where is Johnny?
Billy: Johnny said he was going to the library.


That is the difference between absolute truth and relative truth. The second subtly places doubt on the veracity of Johnny's actions.

Even those sources that educate aspiring writers to be credible fact-checkers falls into the morass of moral relativism. I've highlighted the offending words in bold. Try reading the piece without them and see how much stronger and more truthful it is:

Print media have a long-established standard of quality of information. Granted, the safety net has many holes, as evidenced by the Jayson Blair debacle at The New York Times in 2003, in which a hard-charging young reporter basically lied, made up quotes and stole information from colleagues at other newspapers and put his byline on the concoctions.


Basically lied? No, he lied, full stop, period.

We as a society stop equivocating on 'what is truth' and start stating it honestly and earnestly.

-- Nora

Friday, August 26, 2005

Gossip And A Martini

There's many, many exciting things happening in our little circle this week.

The gossip starts here:

Tim Blair reveals that the bag lady of Sydney, otherwise known as Margo Kingston has been kicked out onto the street, the love affair with the Sydney Morning Herald is long over. And the word is out that Margo has a doppelganger.

Leigh shares a little more about Camp Cindy. Y'know that woman is going to get a nasty reputation if she doesn't choose her friends more wisely.

Michelle Malkin has the inside gossip on what's happening with that horrible leftie proganda radio station Air America. This could be the biggest scandal in radio since Orson Welles' War Of The Worlds

The competition to find our next James Bond is still running for another few days. And so, I think a genuine James Bond martini is in order:

Shaken, Not Stirred (James Bond Martini Recipe)

Ingredients
1.5 oz. Vodka
1 Vermouth
1.5 oz. Gin
Mixing Instruction
Pour the gin, vodka and vermouth into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve.


-- Nora

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Free Trade?

Amongst the fine print of Australia's Free Trade Agreement with the US is the issue of copyright law.

One issue under the microscope is the use of modchips on DVDs and console games, the primary use of which is to play overseas games and movies.

The main culprit in this restraint of trade is Sony who took Eddy Stevens to court for producing and selling modchips in 2002.

While not an issue for most new DVD players, which are now multizoned, it is still an problem for gamers who wish to legally purchase (either privately or through sites such as Amazon or eBay) particular titles not available in Australia

We have no issue with companies protecting their intellectual property and cracking down on piracy but we do take umbrage at these companies engaging in economic apartheid because of where they live.

-- Nora

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Shaken, Not Stirred

It's a travesty!

X-Man Hugh Jackman has knocked back the role of 007 offered to him when the incumbent Pierce Brosnan was, er shall we say 'retired', from the job.

The dishy Australian was my first pick. So in the words of the original Q, Desmond Llewllyn, always have an escape plan, so my updated wish list starts at:

1. Ewan McGregor - Versatile Scottish actor who can swap between the snappy one liners and gritty edge of Bond. At the age of 34, McGregor is exactly the right age according Ian Fleming's books.

2. Brendan Fraser - The heroic performance in The Mummy movies should give casting agents pause for thought. An American James Bond is a risk, but Fraser has the talent to do it. Just look at his star turn in The Quiet American.

3. John Hannah - Although not widely known outside the UK and not classically handsome, Hannah would bring a level of menace and weight not seen in the genre since Sean Connery. Born in 1962, he's the oldest of our contenders but by no means should be out of the running.

4. Eric Bana - Another Australian who should be in serious contention. He's received great notices (maybe with the exception of the Hulk) and hasn't yet got too high a public profile (which was Jackman's reason for knocking back the Martini, er I mean the job).

5. Christopher Eccleston - He's a bit of a wild card, but he was so wonderful as Dr Who. I saw enough light and shade in his performance, as well as the respect for the franchise to see some real potential.

Well ladies and gentlemen, it's over to you.

Who should be the next James Bond and why?

My pick will win a cocktail of their choice to be posted in our usual Friday wind-down blog.

-- Nora

UPDATE:
We have our first two entries for our Pick A Bond competition.

First entry is from RebeccaH who recommends Christian Bale a man who can certainly fill out a Batman costume. An excellent choice. Nicky suggests the new 007 should be played by an actor who can grow into the role.

The second, from Richard McEnroe engages in a bit of Bond-Age by naming Ian McKellan. Hmmm, at 66 years he might have few problems with action scenes but he's certainly perfect if Hollywood remade Casino Royale. Sir Ian could be Sir James Bond, a role originally played by David Niven.

-- Nora

UPDATE II
Welcome Leigh who suggests James Purefoy. I don't know a lot of the man's work, (it seems good solid English TV costume drama in the Timothy Dalton mold). I like his intense brooding look on the IMDB profile - reminds me of Nick's serious face.

My Brilliant Career

One of the most tiresome things about the ladies on the 'left' side of the table is their inability to grasp the simple notion that respect is earned and not endowed.

Sadly, a generation of young women are been taught to "Expect Respect" and when it is not automatically showered on them will go into fainting spell.

Spurred into action by that cad, Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who dared suggest that there may be fewer women scientists because maybe, possibly, biological differences play a role, a team of women 'scientists' this week have published a study that says, "noooo, it's all men's fault".

Yes, dear ladies, I'm glad you're seated because those brutes do not even notice "hostility from colleagues and a chilly campus climate."

While these femmes claim they found: "no convincing evidence that women's representation in science is limited by innate ability."', they do amply demonstrate their own innate ability to make women a laughing stock:

Even people who believe they are not biased often are, unconsciously, the report added.


In other words men are insensitive boorish oafs regardless and some women are so stupid they don't know they're even being discriminated against.

C'mon, that sounds suspiciously like the old trick they tried to pull on me during the early 1990s PC a-gender push:

"Don't you feel the sex discrimination in the air?"

"No."

"Oh you poor dear, you are so obviously traumatised that you don't even know you're oppressed."

I hereby proclaim myself Female By Accident; it’s just an “F” on my driver’s license and a mistaken chromosome set; otherwise I have nothing to do with the mewling, puling, totally lacking in anything like dignity or character half of humanity known as “women.”

I'm with Andrea Harris on that one.

-- Nora

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Stars In Our Eyes

What is it about celebrity news and gossip that draws us in?

Are they the equivalent of the modern day morality plays that allow us 'normal mortals' to experience glamour, notoriety, success and wealth in a vacarious fashion?

It would seem so. And, within that context, it is a harmless diversion that allows us to strike up a conversation with colleagues at work - "Poor Sadie Frost, isn't Jude Law a cad?"

But this is where the waters become deeper and murkier. These are not characters in a soap opera - "How could Brooke have had her daughter's husband's baby?" - they are real people with real children with real lives to screw up.

Like Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (if the name alone isn't enough), for instance.

The daughter of self-absorbed Michael Hutchence and the self-deluded Paula Yates, now orphaned, has handicaps against having a normal, happy fulfilled life:

1. She was the child of 'celebrity'
2. Drug-fuelled and sex obsessed parents no less

Doubt me? Look at the hellish childhood of sometime lesbian and recovering druggie Drew Barrymore.

Though guilty of reading the piece about Yates' vulture-like friends tearing another mouthful from the corpse of 'celebrity' in a new book on the tragic life and death of Yates, I will draw the line at buying the tome.

Oh poor Paula, doing so well almost three years after the accidental autoerotic-asphixated death of Hutchence, has one last bender on heroin and expires.

Or as Belina Brewin (Paula Yates' best friend) puts it in her book (Trouble Brewin - clever, ain't it):

The coroner concluded that had Paula been a habitual drug user, the amount of heroin found in her system would not have been fatal. She had been drug-free for two years; but that night she foolishly took what she thought to be a normal dose, and it killed her.


Hello? Would Yates have been less foolish if she'd taken a smaller than normal hit?

Anyway...

We are all guilty to paying too much attention to these clowns, jesters, these fools and the minutae of their private lives.

We simply can't help it. It is gossip that comes without price.

We can shun Jude Law and Hugh Grant, whisper about Anjelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and not have to worry about having to face them at work the next day or bump into them at the next family gathering.

The danger comes when we give them status beyond that of individuals who entertain us and look to them as role models.

Very few of them can sustain normal relationships or lifelong marriages (Elizabeth Taylor and J'Lo), most raise screwed kids (Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda), can't stay off drugs or drinking (Robert Downie jr, Eminem) and can't stay out of trouble with the law.

Hell, you wouldn't want people like that as neighbours.

Yet we're supposed to take them seriously when they want to talk about foreign affairs, domestic politics, social policy and farming practices?

Puhhleeze.

The best advice came from an audience member at one of the Dixie Chicks' gigs - "Shut Up And Sing".

-- Nora


UPDATE: Exceptionally talented writer LaShawn Barber has little sympathy for Jude Law's fiancee and gives us another reason why Hollywood is not the best inspiration for marital bliss.

The See-Through Man

More on post-by-election comments:

"I think for the first time the people of Queensland have seen behind the (Beattie) personality smokescreen, have seen behind the slick political media conferences, have seen behind the stunts," he said.


Sorry Bob but the electoriate has seen through Premier Beattie's slick style and excrement-eating grin for a long time. Many know he's so full of it he should be flushed but it's just that they don't see the fractured Opposition as a viable alternative.

The Liberals particularly seem to be having a hard time coping with the fact that Queensland is different when it comes to conservative politics. The city-country/Liberal-National divide is almost insurmountable. But the Liberals would rather disappoint those on the right generally and remain in opposition than forge an effective partnership with the Queensland Nationals.

Meanwhile, Quinn's party is talking up the idea of running a ticket at the next Gold Coast City Council elections. Way to go - party politicise another tier of government at a time when the electorate locally is complaining that blocs fail to properly represent the interests of individual areas.

Prime Minister John Howard, while pulling Queensland National Senator Barnaby Joyce into line over the final sell-off of Telstra, recently commented that local concerns must be sacrificed for the party line.

Quinn's desire to have a Liberal local government may well be seen as just replacing one special interest group (the current Developers Bloc) with another (political parties).

Meanwhile, Labor commentator Tony Koch's assertions that:

There is little doubt that the next conservative premier in Queensland will be a Liberal...


is simply a snide attempt to keep the wedge driven between the Queensland Liberals and Nationals. If they could only forge a united front, Labor would almost certainly go down at the next State election.

-- Nick

Love, Labor's Lost

There's nothing like a losing little by-election or two to provide that thumping post revellry hangover borne of a three terms-in-power 'drunken' spree.

In the latest bout of intemperate behaviour, the Government must face up to the severe damage it has wrought to the state's health system.

The apparently unstopped Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and his team will have that sick to the stomach feeling that gets worse no matter how cautiously one moves. The furry mouth, that no matter how hard you brush and clean, lingers with you for days.

Political reality has bitten hard for the left leaning party in our fair state. The Premier, whose hangover must be worst of all, makes the familiar vow that he's very, very sorry and it won't happen again.

When the Dr [Jayant] Patel issues were drawn to my attention we had two choices: we either did the coward's way out and that is we tried to hide it, which is not the Labor way, or we decided to lift the lid on it and appoint a royal commission with a fiercely independent commissioner, which is what we've done," he said.

"Now that was the right thing to do, it was the moral thing to do but I knew that we would pay a terrible political price for doing it."


Of course, it would be far more convincing if Beattie stopped behaving like the alcoholic who is always sorry for his actions after the event.

Sadly, there are always those who will mother the intemperate, who shake their heads, cluck sympathetically and offer only
the mildest reproof.

Mr Beattie has not filled Queenslanders with any confidence that he runs a team – a government. When a problem arises, he is the one who takes over. His style is to not to trust others to demonstrate whether or not they are worth their pay, and nobody can carry the workload he has taken on for very long.


And then hand over a damp wash cloth and go there, there it could have been worse:

But the fact that an excellent candidate like Caltabiano just managed to scrape in illuminates a couple of political truisms: The health crisis has bitten the Government but not as deeply as many – most of them in the Labor Party – feared.


And that is despite the fact that swings of 11 and 14 percent respectively is a bold rebuff by the electorate in what are supposed to be 'safe, Labor heartland' seats.

-- Nora

Our friend Special Sauce has other things to say about the election.

Hot Air

"The theory is taken for granted by nearly every scientist working in the field... The theory is the all-but-unanimous scientific consensus that human beings are changing the climate by emitting gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere... There is in fact no serious disagreement among scientists ..."


Thus spake writer Andy Crouch in a piece entitled Environmental Wager on the web site Christianity Today. Mr Crouch goes on to argue that evangelical Christians who refuse to believe in global warming may do so because of distrust of science borne out of the evolution versus creationism debate.

Or perhaps they simply recognise a massive global hoax when they see one.

-- Nick

Friday, August 19, 2005

Bread And Circuses

The delightful Mr Tim Blair pointed us to Mr Mark Steyn esquire who observed the obscenity of the media and those of the left of politics who are enabling - indeed celebrating - the poor, pathetic Cindy Sheehan's slide into madness.

The media circus surrounding 'Mother' Sheehan, the grief-deranged American anti-war protestor camped outside US President Bush's ranch, reminded Nicky and I of the classic 1951 film Ace In The Hole (AKA for British and Australian viewers The Big Carnival).

In it, Kirk Douglas played a cynical and ambitious reporter who turned the tragic event of a man trapped in a mine collapse into a profit making media circus.

In other news, with thanks to the ever-thoughtful Special Sauce for stepping in as the Public Defender in our latest installment of Law & Order Special Investigations Unit, Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission is desperately pleading lack of jurisdiction regarding its relative impotence with regard to scandalous allegations of corruption surrounding the Gold Coast City Council.

International readers may possibly recognise the name of Ron Clarke, who is the mayor of the Gold Coast. Cr Clarke is indeed the same Ron Clarke (just a bit older) who staggered into an Olympic stadium and into sports history at the end of a gruelling marathon in the 1960s. However, Clarke's race may now be run with allegations that real estate developers donated to election campaigns in return for favourable planning approvals surrounding the Queensland local government body he heads, elected less than two years ago.

With more than another two years left to run on his Mayorality, Cr Clarke has already given his blessing to Deputy Mayor David Power as his heir and successor to the Local Top Job. However, he too may face an uphill run to win the public's trust in 2008, being repeatedly named in media reports alongside increasingly embattled accolyte Cr Grant Pforr.

Cocktail of the Weak
Public Open Space

1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of Midori

Only kidding!


Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely - Lord Acton (19th century British philosopher)

Absolut Power
Ingredients:
3.0 cubes Ice
1.0 part Lemonade
2.0 parts Peach Schnapps
1.0 part Raspberry Liqueur (strawberry liqueur for a sweeter taste)
2.0 parts Absolut Vodka
Mixing instructions:
Stir in a high ball glass and have fun (just as we have been having ::grin::)

Note: Nicky says that Absolut Vodka should not be adulterated, so other vodka should be used instead. Nicky is very much hoping this cocktail has a corrupting influence...

-- Nora

I believe it already has...

-- Nick

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I Told You Not To Get Me Started...

It's sad to see Australia's media catching up with the rest of the Western world in one respect - reporting global warming theories as fact and swallowing advocates' swill whole.

One also finds it rather ironic that the author of this News piece on environmental hysteric Tim Flannery is one Verity Edwards.

Her intro:

AUSTRALIA faces the prospect of a dry and dusty Murray river, the disappearance of world heritage areas, the death of coral reefs and rising seas - and all by the end of this century.

She goes on to explain how Flannery believes this will occur - because we're all burning evil coal.

At least further on she gives the game away for those with brains to see it:

Dr Flannery, who is due to release a book on climate change next month...


Flannery, who is a palaeontologist, has already made lots of money out of hysterical junk science scaremongering. He has a best-selling book and is a darling of the ABC.

Fortunately, many of his colleagues in academia see Flannery for what he is. Blogger Anti-Green reported quotes from said colleagues on 7 June, 2004:

"Just because a guy is well known does not mean he knows what he is talking about," Dr Stephen Wroe, a palaeontologist at the University of Sydney, says. "I've got a fairly cynical view of Tim. He's an opportunist. He knows climate change is a buzzword, but a few months' work does not make him an expert."

Dr Judith Field, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney, doesn't hold back, either: "Tim doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good story. He does a lot of broadbrush stuff, with broad consequences, and some of it is just plain wrong."

Field, who has been contesting Flannery's theories for years, adds another whack: "Most of our hypotheses are tested with facts, and that underlies the work we do. But most of what Tim does is conceptually driven, and not based on data. And he has been selective in his use of data."


Flannery, of course, struts the same part of town as Robb Willer, a murky red light district in which advocacy masquerades as research, motivated by what the researcher can gain from getting the 'right' results. In Flannery's case, a promo for his new book.

Then again, perhaps I'm being unfair with the red light district analogy. Unfair to prostitutes, a mostly 'what you see is what you get' group of professionals.

The same cannot be said for tarts like Tim.

Ok, ok. Withdrawn, your worship...

-- Nick

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One Rule For Them... (Part Two)

Quite aside from the dismaying aspects of trying to run two legal systems side by side to appease the great god of 'Traditional Law', the language in Karen Michelmore's report Traditional Law Role Queried is worthy of mention.

Her introduction:

THE decision of a judge to jail a 55-year-old Aboriginal man for just one month for forcing his 14-year-old promised bride to have sex has reignited debate about the role of traditional law in the wider Australian legal system.


Michelmore pushes the News Ltd predictable outrage button with 'just one month' but then describes the rape of a minor promised to an adult 'when she was just four' as 'forcing his 14-year-old promised bride to have sex'.

Shortly thereafter, we learn that the rapist became 'angry when he heard (his promised 'bride') had struck up a friendship with a young boy' so he:

...beat her with a boomerang then took her to his remote outstation – where he lived with his first wife – and forced her to have anal sex.


So we have a situation in which a man is promised a four year old child as his future wife (an offense against her civil rights and oppressive of the child's gender) but when she is still a minor he becomes jealous of her friendship with a boy of her own age so he kidnaps her and rapes her anally virtually in the presence of the wife he intended to supercede with the child.

One could slap oneself across the forehead and note that if such an act had been carried out by a Caucasian religious sect member or Rockhampton caravan park dweller, the legal outcome would have been a lot more than 'just one month'.

But one is equally askance at journalist Michelmore's language, not only completely lacking any indication of typical journalistic moral outrage but also playing down the seriousness of the offence at a time when the media generally seems especially determined to stir up baying mobs wherever the merest hint of paedophelia is found.

The picture of an Australian journalist trying to cope with the mental conflict of respect for 'traditional law' in the face of paedophile anal rape recalls images of America's leftie MSM doing mental gymnastics till their brains almost exploded when a young woman's boss used his power over her to coerce her into fellating him in the workplace - and the boss turned out to be Democrat darling Bill Clinton.

-- Nick

UPDATE: ABC News:

'Northern Territory Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Rex Wild plans to appeal the sentence given to an Aboriginal elder who had sex with a 14-year-old girl.' (Emphasis added)


The story evolves but the PC language remains the same.

One Rule For Them... (Part One)

Brent Bozell does a neat comparison between how America's left-wing MSM reports the stuff it supports and the stuff it finds embarrassing.

-- Nick

Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit

Previously on Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit:

Part 1
Nora: My case is somewhat closer to home. Nick and I are looking at allegations regarding developer donations and conflicts of interest at City Hall.

Part 2
Nora: The state is beginning to take an interest in the case. Local Government Minister Desley Boyle has written to the CMC asking for public hearings.

And now, onto our story:

Nora: Thanks for seeing me on such short notice.

Nick: We're married Nora, you can see me any time.

Nora: This is important Nick. It involves the CMC investigation into the Gold Coast City Council.

Nick: Yes, I've been following the story in The Courier Mail. According to the paper it seems that Paul Brinsmead, the solicitor administering The Common Sense Fund for the Gold Coast was also a principal strategist in the neighbouring Tweed election campaign. He's a property developer in his own right.

Nora: That's right - Resort Corp - but that's not all. It seems this is not Mr Brinsmead's first involvement in Local Government.

I've been doing some research and discovered that Paul Brinsmead is the son of Tweed Councillor Bob Brinsmead. There have been some questions asked in March this year about conflicts of interest regarding the sale of public land in the region. It seems that public land in Pandanus Parade at Cabarita was sold to Resort Corp and Cr Brinsmead did not declare a conflict of interest.

Also, back in 2003 Sydney Morning Herald named both Cr Brinsmead and Paul Brinsmead in what it called 'the biggest fraud in local government history' about a '$2.5billion project that never was'.

Nick: There are so many players in common between the Tweed Shire game and what's happening on the Gold Coast that jury won't take much convincing if the Coast scandal gets to an inquiry.

Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit - brought to you by the Cuban Crime Of Passion cocktail

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The First Law of Newton

Life isn't as complicated as we like to believe. Regardless of our age, cultural background or our education, motivations for our actions are surprisingly simple.

Take terrorism for example. Islamic terrorists are nothing more than big school yard bullies - pathetic, sad creatures who are quite simply motivated by their misplaced and overinflated egos.

They are not poor misunderstood, disaffected miscreants who need our understanding. They need to be dealt with in the strongest possible terms.

The best lessons are the ones we learn second hand. I propose we adopt the model of great scientist Sir Isaac Newton.

When he [Newton] was last in the lowermost class but one, the boy next above him, as they were going to school, gave him a kick in the belly, which put him in a great deal of pain. When school was over, Newton challenged him to a fight, and they went into the churchyard. While they were fighting, the Master's son came out and encouraged them by clapping one on the back and winking at the other. Isaac Newton had the more spirit and resolution and beat him [the bully] till he would fight no more. Young Stokes [the Master's son] told Newton to treat him like a coward and rub his nose against the wall, and accordingly Newton pulled him along by the ears and thrust his face against the side of the church. Determined to beat him also at his books, by hard work he finally succeeded and then gradually rose to be first in the school.


History - it may be about dead white males but what a lesson it teaches. More please.

-- Nora

Bank On It

Newsflash: Veteran TV reporter commits professional suicide.

-- Nick

Monday, August 15, 2005

Newsflash: A Liberal Admits Intolerance

From Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle admits he is a sanctimonious git:

You, hate-mailers from the sanctimonious Right and even some of you morally paralyzed middle-grounders from the Left, are correct. I am, in fact, deeply intolerant. It is true. I can hide my deep biases and predispositions no longer.


Good, I'm glad that's sorted.

-- Nora

Straight Laced

From the 'not that there is anything wrong with that' file comes this gem from the wilds of Canada:

TWO longtime friends, neither gay, who recently announced plans to get married to take advantage of Canada's tax rules that give couples preferrential treatment have called off their nuptials, they said.

Bryan Pinn, 65, and Bill Dalrymple, 56, have been best friends for 22 years. Both are divorced. Pinn has two adult children.

When Prime Minister Paul Martin's government enacted a controversial same-sex marriage law last month, the duo decided to take advantage of a loophole in the legislation and get hitched. The bill did not specificy that the couple had to be gay.


-- Nora

Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit Act 1

Special Guest Star: Greg Stolz, fearless Courier Mail Reporter

Last time on Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit...

Nora: We've had our local officials under surveillance for some time and one of them, Councillor Greg Betts, said something interesting this week:

Cr Betts said he had believed he could make unbiased decisions despite knowing the identities of the fund's donors.

"A conflict of interest can only be decided by the person involved," he said. "If you're comfortable that you can make an unbiased decision, then you don't have a conflict of interest."


Nora: That doesn't jibe with the guidelines for councillors set out by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission:

Why should I worry about public perception if my conscience is clear?
The effectiveness of the council depends on public confidence in the integrity of its personnel — councillors and staff. If the public suspect the worst, your reputation and that of the council will be damaged, however sure you may be of your ground. So, even if you are certain your motives and actions are beyond reproach, you should avoid involvement in anything that could be construed as being influenced by personal interests.


Nora: The state is beginning to take an interest in the case. Local Government Minister Desley Boyle has written to the CMC asking for public hearings.

Nick: Good. Plenty more evidence is beginning to come to light such as this story alleging Council deals to create 'bogus green space'. More names are beginning to emerge.

Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit - brought to you by the Cuban Crime Of Passion cocktail

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Little Respect Please

What in the world is it coming to when the media has to be warned to be sensitive to the feeling of children who have lost their parents under awful circumstances?

The Australian media, it seems need to learn some manners as they hound Laura De Gois and Damien Korp, the children of Maria and Joe Korp.

For those not familiar with the story, in February, Joe Korp and his mistress conspired to murder Maria Korp. Maria's life support system was turned off a couple of weeks back

-- Nora

UPDATE:
Having been warned off bothering the family the media has decided not to bid for a video shot by Joe Korp days before his suicide.

Out of a sense of decency? Not likely.

-- Nora

And Don't Get Me Started On All Those Global Warming 'Studies'...

I make no apology for the fact that some people are going to find the following post offensive. Suck it in, wimps.

Reported, rather predictably on the ABC, is yet another outrageous example of social engineering advocacy masquerading as serious academic research.

Study author Robb Willer, billed as ‘a PhD student in sociology at Cornell University’, asked:

Some 111 male and female undergraduate students at Cornell completed gender identity surveys, in which they rated themselves on a number of traditionally male and female traits such as assertiveness, forcefulness and yielding.

Mr Willer then gave the students random feedback, although the students believed the feedback was genuinely based on their survey responses.

Some men were told that their survey responses were indicative of a female identity and others were told the opposite.

The same was true for women, who were used as the comparison group.

Afterwards, Mr Willer asked the students to complete a survey that examined their attitudes about certain masculine concepts.

Men who were told that their initial survey responses were more feminine than masculine, tended to overcompensate for it in the second survey.

These men also reported more feelings of shame, guilt, upset and hostility than those whose masculinity was not threatened.

And what exactly is wrong with this response? Why shouldn’t a man be insulted to have his masculinity called into question? And why is any attempt to compensate somehow wrong?

Worse than simply being a shameless attempt to further the anti-heterosexual agenda rampant throughout PC adademia, it goes further:

The study shows men whose masculinity is challenged are more likely to support the Iraq war, exhibit homophobia or think about buying a four-wheel-drive car.

Thus, if you support the war in Iraq or drive a big car, you are homophobic. And don’t anyone think for one second of accusing me of making quite a leap there – that particular jump is all Mr Willer’s and is already currency among homosexual activists:

Gay Bashing Link with SUVs
A new study of Cornell undergraduates found that when men’s masculinity is challenged, they are more likely to engage in compensating behaviors such as acting more anti-gay, supporting the Iraq War, and showing more willingness to buy an SUV.


A Google search finds student Willer is a ‘doctoral candidate in sociology’. His page on the Cornell site reveals he has a track record of undertaking ‘research’ projects guaranteed to win headlines from the MSM and kudos from PC audiences

Forgive me for being cynical, but it seems a pretty good way to guarantee you get your doctorate and perhaps propel yourself on the way to a cushy professorial tenure is to grab a few headlines pushing the party line.

And the party line in most western universities today is decidedly left and includes all the usual suspects.

Thus the audience Mr Willer has to please to get his doctorate includes the university's LGBT alphabet soupers whose mission statement includes a desire ‘to eliminate heterosexism’, the recently constructed doctrine of gay prosletysation which argues against the concept of heterosexuality being the norm.

News flash: It bloody well is the norm.

We're here. We're straight. Get used to it.

-- Nick

Do Not Be Fooled

This in from the wires:

THE two waves of London bomb attacks were not linked, a British newspaper has reported, citing a counter-terrorist source.

The Independent said initial findings from the investigation into the July 7 suicide bombings that killed 52 people, and the failed second wave of attacks on July 21, showed the cells were not connected.


The statement is misleading. The bombings are linked by the rabid version of Islam that wants to subject us all to that special brand of perversion called Sharia law

-- Nora

Outrage Media

My first reaction to reading Mike Carlton’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald was the temptation to fire an angry e-mail regarding his misrepresentation of the Cindy Sheehan story, the politico-mom who blames GWB for the death of her solider son in Iraq.

"I want to ask the President, why did he kill my son?" Sheehan told the horde of hacks who gathered around her near the ranch. "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."

So far, Dubya is staying away. Last weekend he sent two White House aides to talk to her. She said they had been respectful, but had given her "the party line".

The neocon media in America, led by the loathsome Fox News, have rounded on Sheehan, selectively misquoting her out of context and portraying her as a liar.

To me, she sounds just fine and apple pie.


As ‘fine as apple pie’? The neocon media in America? How can he possibly buy into the lie that the war on terror and the freedom of Iraq are not just causes?

Perhaps Mr Carlton should read the articulate and impassioned Mohammed in his blog Iraq The Model or perhaps the letter of quiet determination from the young navy corpsman to his mother or review the tapes of firefighters calling out their final words of the World Trade Centre Towers collapse?

Nicky, being a wise and wily DA and aware of the tricks provocateurs use to make their case, pointed out that my indignant reaction was what Mr Carlton wanted in the first place.

The radio entertainer who occasionally writes for the Sydney Morning Herald banks, literally, on the visceral reaction of readers and listeners.

After all, if no one feels strong emotion, no one phones in, ratings slip, advertisers drop off and Mr Carlton loses his job.

In fact his piece in the SMH is less about revealing news or providing a different perspective. It is about stoking the flames of outrage that will result in calls to his radio program on Monday.

I’m ashamed to have almost fallen for it.

-- Nora

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Pass The Zero

Media commentator Brent Bozell and Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Fumento draw attention to some of the latest 'ground-breaking' shows on US television and point out that the Hollywood emperors have no clothes.

Fumento's article talks of Over There, a hatchet job on US involvement in Iraq passing itself off as credible drama.

And of the show Weeds, the central character of which is a sympathically portrayed widow who sells marijuana to make ends meet, Bozell writes:

Corrupting society and championing illegal acts as harmless is all in a day's work at Viacom. It's always fun to squeeze a few laughs out of selling sandwich bags of dope. Pot is "so in the zeitgeist," claimed series creator Jenji Kohan, and "I thought of a female sort of anti-hero who did something risky, but not too offensive. She couldn't be a coke dealer." In other words, trafficking in one illegal substance is beyond the pale; in another, it's "edgy" and "exactly the right thing for us."

Moral relativism is alive and well at Viacom.

Bozell also observes:

Deep at the heart of "Weeds" (and the shows that it apes, from "Desperate Housewives" to "The Sopranos") is a very cynical notion that no one actually lives a conventionally moral life, especially in the suburbs. Star Mary-Louise Parker explained the show was about "the myth of suburbia ... and how it seems like normalcy and perfection and what is actually behind that, how that actually doesn't exist."

This truly is at the heart of much of Hollywood and TV Land's output these days - convincing people that normal is abnormal. And in the next paragraph, Bozell highlights the motivation:

You can almost feel the hate coming out of Kohan against suburban neighborhoods: "They all look pretty, but they're built like crap. It's the same house over and over, all style, no substance. Everything in their world is mass-marketed. There, homes are full of condo furniture, which looks perfect at first, but it's just trash." Left unspoken: unlike my home.

The film and television industry, to which gravitates a whole realm of damaged and immature psyches, holds us in contempt for being happy with our suburban lots and basically tries to convince us that we're the ones who are freaks.

-- Nick

PS. Zero

Friday, August 12, 2005

Law And Order: Special Investigations Unit

Tonight on Special Investigations, the team investigates whether there is any Criminal Intent. Are they a part of a Special Victims Unit? Where will end up? Perhaps in a Trial By Jury?

Law And Order: Special Investigations Unit

Keeping the blogosphere safe for intelligent, right-thinking people is the elite squad known as the Special Investigations Unit.

These are their stories.

Doink Doink

Starring
Tim Blair as the Captain, affectionately known as the 'Blogfather'
Mike Jericho as now retired investigator Anubis
Nick Charles as the DA
Nora Charles as a socialite detective and Nick's current love interest

Special Guest Stars:
Gold Coast City Councillor Greg Betts
Prosecutor and former T-man Paul Volcker
Benon Sevan former UN Oil For Food boss
ASIO agents as ASIO agents

Tonight's episode: Conflicts of interest

Tim: Okay team what do you have this week?

Mike: I just got off the phone to ASIO they've spoken to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and they'll place pressure on Google to censor maps would tell any half-witted terrorist the layout of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor.

Tim: Good work, now get on the surveillance of Islamic terrorists.

Nora: My case is somewhat closer to home. Nick and I are looking at allegations regarding developer donations and conflicts of interest at City Hall.

Tim: I've been following similar allegations in the investigation of Benon Sevan from the United Nations and his conflict of interest while administering the Oil For Food Program (as well as fielding nuisance calls from William Hardiker).

Nora: We've had our local officials under surveillance for some time and one of them, Councillor Greg Betts, said something interesting this week:

Cr Betts said he had believed he could make unbiased decisions despite knowing the identities of the fund's donors.

"A conflict of interest can only be decided by the person involved," he said. "If you're comfortable that you can make an unbiased decision, then you don't have a conflict of interest."


Nora: That doesn't jibe with the guidelines for councillors set out by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission:

Why should I worry about public perception if my conscience is clear?
The effectiveness of the council depends on public confidence in the integrity of its personnel — councillors and staff. If the public suspect the worst, your reputation and that of the council will be damaged, however sure you may be of your ground. So, even if you are certain your motives and actions are beyond reproach, you should avoid involvement in anything that could be construed as being influenced by personal interests.


Tim: Nick, stop snogging your wife and tell us about what we should be looking for in these conflict of interest cases.

Nick: You'll have my written response in a couple of days.

Cut to commercial break.

Feeling thirsty? Looking for that special drink to enjoy tonight's episode of Law And Order: Special Investigations Unit? (cue the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club)

Try The Cuban Crime Of Passion

1 part Captain Morgan Original spiced rum
1 part Bacardi light rum
1 part Malibu coconut rum
1 part triple sec
1 part pineapple juice

Pour all the ingredients into a mixer glass, shake violently, and then pour the mixture into a tall glass with ice.

Special Investigations, brought to you by The Cocktail Of The Week

Fakir Friendships

It's nice.

Our head tilty, leftie feel-good friends in Labor wants Muslim schools to teach the great Australian value of mateship along with respect for democratic values and a buddy program with other schools.

Labor say the nation's 29 Islamic schools must enshrine Australian values such as respect, tolerance, diversity and mateship in their teachings.


Perhaps someone should tell that nice Mr Beazley and his policy advisors that Muslims are told that they are not allow to be friends with, or place nicely with us.

SHEIKH KHALID YASIN: There's no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend, so a non-Muslim could be your associate but they can't be a friend. They're not your friend because they don't understand your religious principles and they cannot because they don't understand your faith.


But I suppose Labor is trying its best.

-- Nora

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What A Terrible Thing To Lose...

What is the definition of irony?

When a doctor is charged with manslaughter of a child born alive after the failure of a second trimester abortion. If the abortion tablets had the effect that they were supposed to - voila! No baby, no charges, no trial, no worries.

Does anyone else see a problem with this?

-- Nora

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Who's Afraid Of Anita Woolf?

We are, apparently, pimply-faced geeks. I resent this immensely. Nora has a flawless complexion and I personally have not sported a visage of blemished appearance since the age of 15.

We are also, apparently, in our pyjamas. This is not so. Nora is, in fact, in a dĂ©colletage-revealing negligee and I am naked. Except for one’s smoking jacket.

Additionally, we are narcissists. How can this be? We love each other!

Today, when bloggers chastise an inaccurate or simply idiotic journalist en masse, journalists complain that they are unfairly under ‘toxic attack’ by geeks in pyjamas.

But their complaints merely indicate how much further than yesterday journalists are behind the news.

In the 20th century, readers sat at home, on the train and at café tables reading the paper and thinking journalists were prats. In the 21st century, the reader can express that opinion instantly through the power of blogging.

Further, ink on pulped wood whinges such as that by Anita Quigley, reinforce the uncomfortable truth – for traditional journalists, that is – that their day in the sun is over.

The 20th century journalist enjoyed unrivalled privilege in controlling the dissemination of information accompanied by the small degree of celebrity endowed by power. In this, they enjoyed an advantage over previous eras of journalism in which the opinions they expressed were more stringently controlled by the publishers who paid their wages.

But today, thanks to the relatively new phenomenon (dah-dah-da-dada!) of the internet, we are all journalists and all publishers.

As a result, journalists are no longer a special pseudo-celebrity class. That’s gotta hurt.

Bloggers enjoy the freedom to discuss subjects ranging from the cerebral to the banal without the input of editors and other journalists to judge what is ‘worthwhile’.

Indeed, journalists are among the most self-censoring of the publishing classes. As American author Janet Malcolm, herself a journalist on the staff of The New Yorker magazine, observed ‘the novelist fearlessly plunges into the water of self-exposure, (while) the journalist stands trembling on the shore in his beach robe.’

This is because they not only fear the approbation of the peers whose respect they so slavishly desire but they also fear that to challenge their own preconceptions and biases about the world will bring their existence crashing around their ears.
To challenge the status quo is to make oneself an outcast in the newsroom. Woe betide the journalist who questions erronious opinion, faulty logic or leftist group-think. Imagine not having anyone with whom to go to the pub at lunchtime or share a latte on the sidewalk.

Yet, the one group they least fear is their readership, a group at such a convenient distance that the journalist can safely imagine they are speaking of and for them. Journalists in fact through their amusingly appellated code of ethics speak of ‘describing society to itself’.

However a survey published by Pew Research Center in 2004 and another published in Australia by the Bulletin magazine several years ago found that journalists leaned significantly left of those whose taste, morals and values they purported to mirror.

However, their convenient distance isolated as they are in the ivory towers of newspaper complexes and security guarded television stations did not previously permit consumers of their ‘wisdom’ to question and correct.

The blog not only allows the instant objection but also exposes the relative courage of the blogger in laying oneself open to instant feedback from our ‘readers’ who have at their disposal the same powerful tools of research and fact checking as the bloggers themselves.

Indeed, bloggers fact check more thoroughly than most ‘professional’ journalists who seems to imagine that there is some form of voodoo at work or obsessive vindictiveness that compels people of the blogosphere into ‘digging up’ the appropriately qualified contradictory response.

This may of course be because the majority of journalists are sadly unschooled in research, particularly with regard to research on the Internet. Working in environments in which their employers are, quite rightly, fearful of their employees propensity for ‘goofing off’, they are frequently afforded little open access to the Internet.

And since ones own personal time is for drinking or sitting around with cronies commiserating on the currently impoverished standing of left wing governments, journalists appear to have little time to hone these skills after hours when the Internet is simply a venue for getting the latest sports results or ‘hooking up’ via ICQ.

Note to journalists: even if you cannot cope with the well-established principles of Boolean searching, you can just go to Google advanced search.

One cannot, of course, blame the 20th Century journalist for their petulance and even anger at being stripped of their priestly mantle as gatekeepers to information. They have indeed, enjoyed this ‘Power of The Press’ for the better part of a century while the Internet effectively, in its mainstream form, has been around for less than a decade.

One may, however, object to their characterisation of the blogger as some guy in his pyjamas. Not only is this sexist as many bloggers are female, but it is also wilfully ignoring the fact journalists are one of the scruffily dressed professions on the face of the planet.

A garbage collector has practical reasons for his attire, yet the journalist, who must be ready at a moments notice to interview either the Prime Minister or the latest Big Brother evictee, is generally incapable of mustering a single necktie across the entire newsroom.

Regarding the distaff side, one is personally aware of a ‘journaliste’ 25 years ago who had to be sent home to change because her attire was more suited to the bordello than the job of work at hand. One shudders to imagine how much worse the situation must be today.

And it is not surprising that they react with the adolescent resentment of the aforementioned Ms Quigley when journalists are more and more regularly kicked up the backside for incompetence, ineptitude or general silliness by seemingly ‘unqualified’ non-members of their cohort. In pyjamas no less.

Ironically, while journalists have always celebrated their own intellectual prowess and a sense of smug superiority over mere mortals, they have indeed always been held as amongst the lowest of the low.

One feels it necessary to recall in closing that, in pre-Internet days, annual surveys indicated year after year that journalists were regarded on a scale on 1 to 100 as only marginally more trustworthy than used car salesmen. Prostitutes, while sharing many similar attributes, but undoubtedly being more honest on their income tax returns, usually ranked more trustworthy. Much more.

-- Nick and Nora

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Reasons Why We Are Right - #1

This is the first in what I expect to be a regular and ongoing series of quick posts which will point out why we - the 'Christian' West - are ethically, intellectually and morally better than them - the repressed, oppressed, depressed and obsessed Islamicists.

Coalition partners use 'red cards' to protect civilian populations in Iraq:

"Colonel Mike Kelly, writing in the Australian Army Journal, says the junior partners in the coalition forces succeeded in reducing civilian casualties and reinforcing the legitimacy of the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein...

..."During Operation Iraqi Freedom legal differences in assessing legitimate targets, tended to be resolved by the use of the 'red card'," Colonel Kelly writes.
"This card involved the coalition partners being able to indicate their disapproval in their targeting or tactics in any mission that ran contrary to their legal obligations."

He added: "The United States generally accepted these decisions ... (it was) prepared to modify its approach in the interest of harmony with its military partners.

"The red card system assisted in the management of both international and domestic perceptions of the legitimacy of operations in Iraq - perceptions that were important given the brisk debate over the decision to use force in the first place."


-- Nora

Monday, August 08, 2005

What Indeed?

I guess this falls into the ‘too little too late’ category of journalism.

Giles Hattersley of the Sunday Times has started listening to contemporary music and is shocked, shocked I tells ya about some of the lyrics teens and their younger siblings are listening too.

In the record shop, Charlie's friend Anna says, "The rudest thing I've bought was Khia." It takes some persuading to get her to tell me how it goes. Finally the 13-year-old rappily sings, starting, "Right now, lick it good.." followed by a lyric that's too shocking to repeat.


And asks:

How did this stuff get into the mainstream? "When we compare music today to the past, we can see there is now a total lack of self-censorship," says Turin University professor Franco Fabbri, a world authority on popular music in history. "Although vulgar language has been a basic foundation of culture since ancient Greece, the problem is that because the media allow us to hear many more songs than our ancestors did, musicians have to be as vulgar as possible to be heard."



Well, kinda. This crud got into the mainstream because we as a society let it brought about by a total lack of self-censorship. We bought into the wowserism argument – ‘it’s only a word, it’s only nudity, everyone does it, it’s totally natural.’

And indeed, if I want to walk naked around my house I do, but I make sure the curtains are closed because dear readers, it is all about context (and courtesy) not about being a prude.

There is nothing wrong with sex, in its proper context, like Bill Clinton can have sex with whomever he likes, but it shouldn’t be with an intern in the Oval Office.

The bleat that ‘it’s my right to say/do whatever I like’ needs to be rejoined with ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’.

Other people have to live on this planet too and the rights of the individual do or say something does not impinge on the rights of others to not see or listen to it.

The lack of self censorship leads to the antisocial game play in newly banned (in Australia) Grand Theft Auto and Atari’s new graffiti game, Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure incidentally one which MTV enthusiastically reviews.

And yet we wonder at what the world is coming to.

We shouldn’t though - it’s as plain as the Oral Sex School pointer on the cover of August’s Cleo.

I am bitterly bemused when the media writes hysterically about paedophiles yet does not appreciate the sexual abuse of children that occurs daily as they are exposed to the hypersexualised and violent content of certain songs, TV shows like Big Brother Uncut, and even on the supermarket shelves.

Surely a child should be able to go to the shops without being sworn at in adult song lyrics and having to ponder the question Hooking Up: Is It The New Causal Sex?

-- Nora

One Lump Or Two

We've had a delightful brunch with the charming Nilknarf and Anubis who offered kind words on our essay Multi Culty.

We encourage everyone to head over the Nilknarf's to read this poignant article by Maryam Namazie about Political Islam in the heart of secular Europe.

While I disagree with the notion put forward that to preserve human rights there must be a complete dereligionsation of society (my views I think are for a blog another day), the article articulates the human rights abuses suffered by women under Islam.

Also, check out Nilknarf's crafty way of making sure the 'right' message gets across to our politicians.

Deb, Nick and Nora Charles are right behind you.

Anubis shares he not-so-secret intelligence (Google maps) and finds the Iranian nuclear site. He may wish to let the United Nations know - I understand they're not that good at finding things...

-- Nora

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bon Voyage Arthur

Pioneering Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff is hanging up his hat because of new work commitments.

He will be missed.

We'll keep you up to date on where and when he is writing again. Perhaps it will be in a mainstream newspaper near you.

-- Nora

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Doomed To Repeat

It's the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima again - and again with the apologies for meeting aggression with force.

Once again the West's media reports on the victims of the bomb and ignores that many more lives would have been lost on each side had the Americans not sent the B-29 bomber Enola Gay to demonstrate the wisdom in capitulating ASAP.

There is no doubt the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945, achieved exactly what they were intended to - end the war. The Japanese surrendered a week later.

Had the war been allowed to be fought to a conventional conclusion, it would have taken an extra year and cost an estimated million lives on each side. For anyone whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were fighting on either side at that time or were imprisoned by the Japanese, stop and think what might have happened to you - or rather not happened - had the war been allowed to go on for that extra 12 months.

But reports on today's 60th anniversary are weighted not to the victims of Japanese aggression but to victims of American 'aggression' and feature fatuous quotes from that famous fascist Kofi Annan and, towards the end of a piece in which Americans are asked to justify themselves for ending a war someone else started, from teenage children.

But, of course, the children are so wise... /sarcasm>

However, while Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba plays the victim card by accusing the US and other nuclear states of 'threatening humanity by their "selfish" attachment to nuclear weapons', there was one bright spot of honesty from Japanese lower house speaker Yohei Kono, admitting the anniversary should remind Japan not to return to militarism:

"We made a mistake in choosing our path in Asia and followed a road to war," Kono said.

"We took away the independence of Korea and we intervened in China using the military ... one of the results of fighting against the international community was the dropping of the atomic bomb."


Coming from a representative of a people who have frequently denied responsibility for their aggression and barbarism during World War 2, they're strong words.

He also called on the world to not use nuclear weapons again.

Indeed, the shocking results of their use in 1945 have served as a restraint on nuclear states for the last 60 years.

The relative simplicity of nuclear technology today, however, means that 'the bomb' may at any time be available mere groups of terrorists. Indeed, the risk that Islamofascists might use small, 'dirty' nuclear bombs in Western cities is very real.

Yet here we are, recalling the bombing of Hiroshima and sympathising with aggressors as 'victims', exactly as the looney left asks us to sympathise with those who have declared war on us today.

-- Nick

UPDATE:

One was heartened yesterday evening to see The History Channel screen Lou Reda's hard-hitting documentary Japanese War Crimes: Murder Under The Sun as part of it's Hiroshima commemorations. However, it was followed up by a look at Kamikaze pilots, disturbing not only because it echoed the fanaticism of today's suicide bombers but also because the entire program failed to mention any Japanese culpability for the advancing Allied assault. Also screening later today on The History Channel is Days That Shook The World - Hiroshima which also pans out as an America-blaming apologia to the Japanese. The final frames cutting between photos of the bomb survivors and American flag waving and dancing in the streets after the Japanese capitulation are plainly calculated to have an anti-American effect.

Multi Culty

An apology in advance for this very long post. It reads more like an essay than a blog but it does make a strong argument for Multiculturalism as a dangerous cult.

-- Nora


The slang abbreviation ‘multi-culti’ (for a supporter of multiculturalism) has gained widespread use in anti-multiculturalism debates following bombings in London carried out by English-born Islamic terrorists.

Inspired by the term, I came to realise that multiculturalism is literally a dangerous brain-washing cult, owing much to the practices of widely condemned cult activity in other spheres.

It doesn’t mean that the West can’t welcome migrants or enjoy souvlaki, tandoori, baseball or Chinese New Year because of our differing ethnic origins.

But I contend that these examples are generally the public’s understanding of multiculturalism, while true Multiculturalism’s Machiavellian intent is more damaging to the interest of peace and rule of law in Western civilisation.

Multiculturalism – its definition and practice
Let’s start by arriving at a definition of multiculturalism. The most simple and succinct comes from dictionary.com

Of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture.


Let’s examine this further:

encourages interest in many cultures within a society


Many cultures, one (a) society. Okay what do we mean by society? Again dictionary.com offers us a very interesting result:

A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.


The astute will already recognise the problem here.

Multiculturalism taken to its natural conclusion is incompatible with the operation of a society because multiculturalism as practiced for the past 30 years refuses to recognise the necessity of being part of one society.

It is a problem recognised and articulated last year by Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality in the UK.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, said that multiculturalism was out of date and no longer useful, not least because it encouraged “separateness” between communities. As British-born Muslims burnt the Union Jack on the streets of London yesterday, he said that there was an urgent need to “assert a core of Britishness” across society.


That is correct, although to point out that permitting non-English speaking enclaves in English-speaking countries is detrimental to those actually living in those enclaves as well as society as a whole would have you vilified as a xenophobic, redneck racist as was Australia’s Pauline Hanson.

The problems of multicultural ghettoisation are:
-- The creation of fortress zones in which members of the dominant, original culture are not welcome
-- Multiple generations of families who do not speak the official language well enough to participate fully in wider society, and
-- A belief that the new migrant’s social customs trump those of the host country to the point where the government feel it necessary to establish multiculturally unique services such as Multicultural Mental Health Australia

The importance of integrating into the society that you choose to live in is quickly enumerated here:
-- Increased societal, educational and employment involvement provides the best tools to avoid poverty
-- Increased mainstream society contact helps create safer communities by eliminating the natural distrust of the unfamiliar and to share the burden of policing across the community as a whole
-- Increased opportunity to learn from and be enriched by others from diverse cultural backgrounds

So we need to examine why such a commonsense conclusion is so roundly denounced by multiculturalism’s advocates.

Multiculturalism, the cult of theoretical utopianism

Unlike religious cults as we know them, Multiculturalism (now used here as a proper noun) does not rely on a single charismatic leader; however it does demand blind adherence to a charismatic ideology.

The facilitators of this dogma are university academics/lecturers in the humanities and social science faculties who use their power to reward or punish students through grading to proselytise their beliefs.

That influence permeates into the wider community via inculcated graduates and members of the media who, believing these academics have a greater wisdom or access to some larger truth simply because of their position, unquestioningly broadcast their commandments.

Using the model of cult identification so neatly framed by the web site Leadership U, the similarities between Multiculturalism and deadly cults such as Heaven’s Gate and the Branch Davidians becomes apparent.

The definition follows a rather obvious mnemonic:

C is for - Cut off from the world. Cult leaders and followers are isolated and cut off from normal interaction with people outside the group. They do not have the corrective influence of other perspectives.


The proponents of Multiculturalism in adademia and the media are cut off by the ivory tower mindset and are rarely open to other perspectives. Their work is peer reviewed but their peers hold similar beliefs, so their contentions are never challenged. They shut down any attempt to reason or rationally debate their beliefs by levelling accusations of racism.

U is for - Undernourished--poor nutritional intake and sleep deprivation often characterizes cult members. They are near exhaustion and their resistance is low, so they can be easily manipulated, deceived, and exploited.


Of course one would be hard pressed to argue that Multiculturalists are physically undernourished but it is true that they are spiritually and academically starved.

Followers do not have a strong conventional religious belief system and tend to hold particular contempt for the Judeo-Christian beliefs on which Western civilisation is founded.

Recognising the need for all human beings to have a belief system, Voltaire stated: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

Multiculturalist leaders cling to Humanism as a belief system, one which has, at its core, moral relativism – that is, there is no universal truth, only a series of individual human perspectives, any and all of which are true and correct.

As should be plain to see, this thinking presents a problem for a cohesive society. If all perspectives are correct, then any action is permissible providing you can offer a personal justification for it.

In other words, breaking the speed limit is not wrong if you have an excuse – ‘it may be generally wrong, but it is not wrong now because I have a reason for it’. Or, as a driver shown on the New Zealand television program Motorway Patrol put it after being ticketed for travelling at 140kmh: “I’m from South Africa – we always drive around 130 there.”

Secondly, Multiculturalists are weaned off learning history. It is dismissed as ‘dead white male’ stuff.

Sadly these people are being starved of the historical perspective that proves time and again that people will behave in predictable ways to the same sets of conditions.

Multiculturalists believe their form of enlightenment will prevent such mistakes. It’s the ‘snobbery of chronology’ as author CS Lewis so beautifully put it.

L is for - Leadership is authoritarian and coercive. The leader claims divinity or special knowledge and authority from God, and often uses deception and has hidden objectives. Unquestioning obedience is expected. This leads the cult follower into total dependence upon the cult for belief, behavior and practice. He or she loses personal freedom and the ability to make choices.


As pointed out earlier, the cult leaders of Multiculturalism are often academics in universities and schools, the media and also in the policymaking wings of government bureaucracy.

At the educational level, they hold a position of power over young, impressionable students. They teach, correct and punish students who do not demonstrate an adequate assimilation of this information.

The pressures of university life and on into the workplace and a society inculcated with Multiculturalism makes expressing dissent, or questioning the assumptions given, difficult in the extreme.

T is for - Theology or beliefs of a cult always involve some unique or new perspectives, and they claim that truth is only found in what the cult says. Cults often promote the "we/they" syndrome, which also keeps members dependent and loyal to the cult.


Again, as pointed out earlier, those who query multiculturalism are denounced as racists, a charge which is designed to shut down any debate.

Proponents of Multiculturalism also claim their educational credentials give them access to this knowledge

In other words, those who embrace multiculturalism are good; those who question it are ignorant or, worse, racists.

Conclusion
Multiculturalism is completely incompatible with a society that seeks stability and progress since this requires one society and one set of beliefs on which all agree to enable it to move forward. The competing demands of a Multicultural society will always spiral down to anarchy.

To argue in favour of Multiculturalism requires brain twisting turns of logic as to be incomprehensible or to be left unable to offer an explanation when:

Girls are forced into marriage against their will.

Young men in feel it’s their right to rape their fellow Australians.

Religious leaders believe that it is alright to wage war against those who do not share their beliefs.

Artists believe they have a right to drink drive because Australia is ‘their land’.

Finally, an answer to Liz Jackson, host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Media Watch program who demanded that columnist Mark Steyn produce evidence of such egregious errors of multiculturalism (not that he really needs any defence from us).

She asks:

And Mark, we'd also like to know what evidence you have for your claim that multiculturalists have:

'...taken a relaxed view of the more, ah, robust forms of cultural diversity — Sydney gang rapes…

— The Australian, 25 July 2005'

If it were true, we'd agree it's outrageous, but show us some 'where and when'.

We're all in favour of shining the light of public attention on egregious statements made by any group or individual in our community.

We think it's far better than burning their books.


The answer and the evidence is to be found on the pages of our daily newspapers and electronic news.

When the Sydney gang rapes took place, attention was focussed on the criminal act of rape. The culpability of Multiculturalism in its facilitation was not raised.

This has happened only since loss of life in London, a city with which many Australians have a particular kinship (noted effectively by Prime Minister John Howard), and we discover that the perpetrators were English-born.

It may be heartening to hear Ms Jackson state: We're all in favour of shining the light of public attention on egregious statements made by any group or individual in our community, particularly when there has been so much of it in the news this past week.

But it is impossible to expect the media, which is to Multiculturalism what propagandist Joseph Goebbels was to Nazism, to stop spreading its gospel of ignorance and despair.

-- Nora