Monday, October 31, 2005

A Letter Of Support

Just e-mailed to the Singapore Government:

Supporting Death Sentence For Convicted Drug Smuggler

To Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, and Professor S Jayakumar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law, Republic of Singapore,

Dear Sirs,

With regard to the death sentence levied upon Australian citizen Van Nguyen as a result of his being found guilty of heroin smuggling by a Singapore court:

This matter has been the subject of much media coverage in Australia, particularly with regard to protests and the raising of petitions calling for clemency, including one to be lodged by the Australian Federal Government itself.

I am writing to express my personal support for the right of your government to execute the sentence against Mr Nguyen.

Such extreme action to discourage the trade in illegal drugs, regardless of the country of origin of the trafficker, provides a grave example to all of the seriousness of the offence.

Members of the Australian government, media and public who appeal for clemency for Mr Nguyen ignore the death sentence handed down daily to those caught in the lethal snare of drug addiction.

I believe that to appeal for the life of Mr Nguyen is to devalue the lives of those many individuals who die each year at the hands of drug dealers.

Additionally, this case may serve to discourage a seemingly growing number of Australians who, having been encouraged by our overly liberal domestic drug laws, go on to willfully, not to mention stupidly, disregard the laws of other countries despite very clear warnings of the dangers of doing so.

Yours sincerely,
Nick Charles
-- Nick

Singapore Government announces that it will hang Nguyen.

-- Nora

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Beam Me Up, Scotty...

Star Trek actor George Takei - Mr Sulu - has revealed in a Los Angeles magazine that he is a homosexual.

Takei is appearing in a play in Los Angeles which opened on the same day the magazine was published.

-- Nick

Chilling Words Indeed

"I am safe but unable to be contacted for the time being".

"I am not safe and will never be able to be contacted again".

-- Nick

The Prince of Fools

The Prince of Wales thinks the United States is too intolerant of Islam:

The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths...

Prince Charles has done more than any other member of the Royal Family in history to understand Islam. He said in 1994 that when he became Supreme Governor of the Church of England, he would rather be "defender of faiths" than "defender of the faith".

A year earlier Prince Charles made a speech, acclaimed throughout the Arab world, on relations between Islam and the West. He urged the West to overcome its "unthinkable prejudices" about Islam and its customs and laws.

He spoke warmly of the West's debt to the culture of Islam and distanced moderate Muslims from misguided militants.
Nick Charles, a long-time Royalist, thinks the Prince of Wales is a fool.

-- Nick

Class Act

Victoria schoolteachers apparently condone drug smuggling:

The Victorian Independent Education Union (VIEU), which represents staff in Australian Catholic and private schools, has backed the "Reach Out" campaign to save Van Tuong Nguyen.

Nguyen, 25, faces execution in Singapore after last week losing a clemency appeal against his drug smuggling conviction.
Perhaps they don't mind their students being on heroin.

-- Nick

A Simple Pattern To Copy

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a 15-year-old girl has become the victim of Sydney's 'latest gang rape outrage':

Sex crime detectives are hunting four males - one as young as 16 - who tormented the girl in parkland in the city's south-west.
Three of the four suspects are described as being of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance.

Anyone spot a pattern emerging here?

-- Nick

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Taking Liberties

One reason why we should be cautious about softening proposed anti-terrorism laws:

Keysar Trad, from the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, says... "This legislation has been referred to as draconian by the premiers themselves and it is a legislation that very strongly attacks and dismantles civil liberties and we can't have enough safeguards for such legislation, but at the moment there's hardly any safeguards," he said.

Civil liberties? Mr Trad knows all about civil liberties.

Another reason.

-- Nick

The Scale Of Things

Promos for Nine's 60 Minutes story Race of Their Lives, this Sunday ahead of Tuesday's Melbourne Cup horse race, shows the sense of proportion the media is famous for when it suggests jockeys have 'the most dangerous job on Earth'.

I would have thought that award might go to Iraqi police officers or Chinese coal miners.

-- Nick

Mule Headedness?

I whole heartedly endorce Nicky's comments in Shut Up And Swing.

Why should the Australian Government and by extension, the Australian people be culpible for saving idiots who commited an act that they knew would carry the death penalty if caught?

Ah, the stupidity of the criminal mind... which segues into our cocktail of the week - from drug mules to:

Moscow Mules

2 oz. Vodka
1 tbsp. Lime Juice
Ginger Beer

Add Vodka and lime juice to a chilled beer mug with ice. Fill with Ginger Beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

-- Nora

Truth In Reporting

I've always said that the most effective way to lie is to tell a partial truth.

The New York Times has got that one down pat. See here and here.

-- Nick

Shut Up And Swing

The Australian Government is, apparently, to blame for the fact that a drug smuggler has been sentenced to death.

No, it's not the so-called Bali Nine, but Van Nguyen, on death row in Singapore, convicted of smuggling heroin.

Professor Philip Alston, who is - not surprisingly - the chief adviser on the death penalty to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, reckons it's all our government's fault Nguyen is going to die because we don't lobby Asian death penalty countries hard enough.

Of course, it couldn't be Nguyen's fault he's going to die, could it?

As for the Bali Nine, where actions of the Australian Federal Police really did help get the gang of drug mules and their handler arrested in a death penalty country, one can only congratulate the AFP for a job genuinely well done.

One would rather see drug smugglers arrested in locations where the punishment for the misery they deal in is meaningful rather than arresting them in Australia where criminal sentencing is, frankly, a joke.

So is the fact that alleged smugglers Scott Rush and Renae Lawrence have 'taken legal action against the federal police, saying they acted illegally in exposing them to the death penalty'.


-- Nick

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shoot To Kill

The rather infantile doctoring of a photo of Condoleezza Rice by USA Today recalls a similar incident in Australia following the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996.

A photograph of the then alleged killer, Martin Bryant, was infamously doctored by a newspaper, the eyes being outlined and pin-pointed in such a way as to make the accused look deranged.

In much the same way as USA Today claims the 'demonised' Condoleezza Rice was the clumsy result of 'sharpening the photo for clarity', the Australian media outlet involved in the Bryant photo scandal claimed it had received the image via picturegram (a kind of high resolution fax) and had had to have an artist draw back in and highlight certain features because they had become almost completely washed out in transmission.

The photo of Bryant, staring and wild-eyed, did no harm whatsoever to the general public's perception of a massive clampdown on legal gun ownership a mere 12 days after the massacre.

Oh well, at least USA Today had obtained their original photo of Rice legally.

Australian journalists broke into the accused's house to steal photographs of him, a female journalist distracting the lone policeman guarding the front of the house while a photographer went around the back and forced entry.

All this is mentioned obliquely under the heading "Media coverage' here. My sources worked with the thieves, sorry, journalists...

-- Nick

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Another Pot And Kettle Moment

Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke, looking more and more like a shifty version of old Gough every day, says the Federal Liberal Government's planned industrial relations law changes are 'immoral'.

Wait a moment - isn't this the man whose own industrial relations changes closed down many unions under forced amalgamation, outlawed secondary boycotts and ended compulsory union membership?

Indeed it is. He enjoys boasting about his achievements:

"We did the hard policy work, unionists made the sacrifice, which have created a strong economy which can now afford these real wage increases," he said.

"Instead of being grateful, John Howard now launches the most vicious attack upon them."

Hang on, Hawkey - Howard's been PM for 10 years now. One imagines a lot of what the economy is doing is down to him. But thanks for the groundwork, only a Labor government could have got away with it.

Meanwhile, old Bob whinges:

... the workplace changes were an attempt to destroy the arbitration system and the trade union movement.

They were saying the same thing when his IR changes ended the closed shop union system. In fact, this quote could easily have been from back then:

"It is wrong. It is unfair. It is un-Australian. It is immoral," (Hawke) said.

He says the laws will allow employers to use individual workplace agreements to cut workers' pay and conditions, such as public holidays, penalties and meal breaks.

I always said Hawke was a pretty good Liberal PM. How much further would it all have gone if his economic rationalist offsider/deposer, Paul 'The Undertaker' Keating, had managed to hold onto office a little longer?

-- Nick

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Whine Over Scream

Some members of the art world are offended that the theft of the painting The Scream has been turned into a board game:

"Some people think it's horrible..." (Munch) museum spokeswoman Jorunn Christoffersen said.

"In principle I find it a bit in bad taste to make a game out of the theft of The Scream," Kaare Berntsen, the artistic director of the Kaare Berntsen Gallery in Oslo, said.

Bad taste, eh? But of course, it's one of their own.

One wonders where the offended Berntsen stood on the issue of Piss Christ.

-- Nick

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm Late, I'm Late For A Very Important Date

While browsing the news I came across this story: Abortion clinics forced to counsel.

Good, I thought. Women can be made aware of the choice they have and make an informed decision one way or another. Hopefully it will be to keep the child they have helped create, even if they elect to give the baby up for adoption.

Imagine my shock when I came across this paragraph:

The changes follow new figures which show the number of late-term abortions for psychological reasons in Victoria almost doubled last year.

"We've had an increase in the number of women seeking late-term abortions, and an increase in the number of young women seeking late-term abortions," she said.

Late-term abortions for psychological reasons? Hello??

I'll start with my mandatory disclaimer that while I believe abortion should be available for women who have been raped or whose life is in mortal danger if they carry a child, abortion should never, ever be used as a form of contraception.

Counselling for late term abortion should be along the lines of:

"Too late dearie. This is something you should have considered before now - after all, gestation is nine months in the making. This is beyond the point of no return - you are commited to this roller coaster ride now and you only get off when you've given birth to this fellow human being.

"Worried about your figure? Worried that you're beginning show? Too bad. You should have thought about that months ago. Better still, thought about it before you got shit-faced while out clubbing and acted like a slut.

"It might be news to you but sexual intercourse is the only guaranteed way to get pregnant.

"You might remember that next time.

"Or not.

"What's your IQ again? You may actually be too stupid to be allowed to breed anyway."

Harsh? Probably - I've been taking ranting lessons from Jai Normosone.

But I assert we've evolved into such a convenience based society. If something is too much like hard work we try to get rid of it. That's fine when we're talking about technological innovation that saves time and lives.

That's not fine when we are talking about culling human beings because they are inconvenient.

-- Nora

Sunday, October 23, 2005

But When Will The Gentlemen Start Their Engines?

Today we will be enjoying the best seat in the house for the Lexmark Indy 300 Champ Car race in Surfers Paradise.

That's the best seat in our house - in front of the television.

One realises that the start times for these events can be fairly fluid (just like the Gold Coast skies whenever Indy's in town) but it would have been nice if the organisers could have published scheduled race times on their web site, especially as this year the main event is ahead of the V8s.

In fact, the failure to include this most basic of information strikes one as exceedingly dumb.

Wake up!!!

-- Nick

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

The sky is clear, the track is dry. Now let the race begin!

The 2005 Gold Coast Indy, the only reason why a genuine Gold Coaster goes into Surfers Paradise, will be raced and won this weekend and Nicky and I have been invited trackside for the afternoon.

So, in our time honoured tradition, we shall mix the smell of Methanol racing fuel with a little alcohol fuel of our own.

In our search to bring you the finest (and most relevant) cocktails, we have just come across this lovely site. So, if you're not able to join us at the circuit, just pull out that old Scalextric kit or throw a racing game into the PlayStation - put ESPN on in the background and enjoy In The Spirit's:

Traffic Light
0.5 Shot Disaronno Amaretto
0.5 Shot Midori
1 Shot De Kuyper Cranberry Liqueur
Layer the ingredients into a shot glass in the following order pouring them carefully over the back of a spoon and serve: Midori melon liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto, De Kuyper Cranberry.

It's the only type of drink driving we condone.

-- Nora

Pete's Logic

Desperate for cash, unable to gouge the power companies for more and needing $1.5 billion extra every year to fix the public health system they stuffed up, what is Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's answer?

More pokies.

Fix a health problem by feeding a gambling addiction? Good thinking - that'll really help the bottom line. Reminds me of the only time I ever agreed with something said under the name of Whitlam:

And I wish I wish I knew the right words
To blow up the pokies and drag them away
'Cause they're taking the food off your table
So they can say that the trains run on time

Rejecting suggestions that more gambling doesn't only mean more cash for the coffers but also more social problems, Premier Beattie mumbles: "I'm hopeful that people don't gamble..." then continues: "in terms of gambling unfortunately it's a choice and... we do have programs... to discourage people."

Unfortunately, his words ring as hollow as saying, for instance, one wishes drivers wouldn't speed when speed cameras raise millions in revenue each year.

And on that subject, here are a couple of little predictions: Within six months Beattie's boys will be plugging fixed speed cameras into that nice fibre cable they've got running down the 'motorway' from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and Queensland will follow Victoria's example and drop the margin for driver speed error from the traditional 10 per cent to a fixed 3kmh over the limit. They should be nice little earners too.

-- Nick

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Och, Noo

No wonder we're having problems with the idea of dealing with Islamic terrorists in our midst.

We can't even deport Scottish criminals...

-- Nick

Monday, October 17, 2005

Nora Gets Burned With Lara

This menage a trois is not working. Lara and I have tried to work it out by ourselves but we need outside help.

Nicky has been observing our burgeoning relationship and is quite happy to watch, however that still doesn't help me get through the Sanctuary of Flame level of Tomb Raider 6.

For the past three days Lara and I have grappled with trying to get to the other side of the molten lake but we're not fast enough.

Has anyone played the game and offer any constructive help or cheats?

-- Nora

UPDATE: Lara and I did it! We made it through the level after Nicky gave me some very sage advice: "They don't make these games to frustrate you, you know."

In deed he is right. If I had excerised a little more patience instead of Lara and I heaping into danger, then we would have all the time in the world in make it through the molten pit.

Lara and I are still friends and Nick still likes to watch - but when he and James Bond team up on the PS2...Mmmmm testosterone...

Thank you Nilknarf and Caz (maybe fudge too, I'm still not sure...)

-- Nora

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Who's Responsible?

A NSW jury has found three young men not guilty of aggravated sexual assault.
Journalist Brad Clifton's report tells how:

The alleged rape victim, who began crying as the first of the not guilty verdicts was read out, was inconsolable.

The sobbing woman had to be comforted by a police officer as a jubilant group of supporters embraced the accused just metres away.

"I know the truth and they know the truth and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives," she said.

The truth is that the 18 year old agreed to have group sex with three men she'd only just met in a club and trailed around Cronulla looking for a hotel to do it in before finally sneaking into the home of one of the young men's parents to do it there.

In her evidence, the teenager said she had consensual sex with each of the men but asked them to stop when the party started getting rougher. Journalist Clifton's confusing rendering of the timeline of alleged events suggests the men did ultimately stop but not quick enough for the girl-gone-wild's liking.

In the absence of physical injury, the jury came to the right decision, one based not only on the behaviour of the accused men but also on the alleged victim's personal responsibility in the matter. The three young men have been publicly shamed (as have their families) and one would like to think the young woman will think twice in future before behaving like a stupid whore.

-- Nick

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Northern Exposure

The ABC and News Ltd both report the same story - Prime Minister John Howard razzing on ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope for publishing the Federal Government's draft anti-terrorism laws on the Internet.

News' The Courier-Mail intros "PM slams ACT over terror laws leak" with:

PRIME Minister John Howard has condemned the ACT Government for publishing copies of the Commonwealth's controversial new anti-terror laws on the internet.

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope released a draft copy of the new laws on his website yesterday.

The ABC headlines the story "Stanhope under fire over bill leak" and begins:

The Prime Minister has described the ACT Chief Minister's decision to place the draft anti-terrorism laws on the Internet as irresponsible.

Jon Stanhope is refusing a Federal Government request to remove the confidential draft of the bill from his website.

But only one of the two gleefully adds a hyperlink from the word 'website' so you can dash straight there and get outraged at the government's proposed efforts to make sure no one blows your legs off.

No prizes for guessing which.

Meanwhile, in a press release on his site, Stanhope demonstrates he just doesn't get it:

“I believe too much emphasis has been put on the duty of Muslims to prove that they are not a danger to the community, and not enough on the broader community’s duty to understand and address the causes of the alienation that creates the environment where terrorism can flourish,” Mr Stanhope said.

and in the ABC report, Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman suggests:

"...the laws would have a chilling effect on free speech..."

The emphasis is mine, to point out the words that, if one was playing a leftie cliche drinking game, would prompt a chug.

Or two.

-- Nick

Blond, James Blond

After months of speculation including by readers here, a new Bond-age begins with the announcement that relative unknown Daniel Craig has taken up the mantle of the world's most recognised secret agent.

While Pierce Brosnan will be sadly missed, the 37-year-old is, we have to admit a smart money choice by producer Barbara Broccoli since the next film is Casino Royale, the very first Bond adventure.

If the name sounds familiar, it is indeed a 're-make', albeit a serious version of the one that was lampooned in the 1960s with a stellar cast including David Niven (as Sir James Bond), Woody Allen, Ursula Andress (the original Bond girl), Orson Welles and Peter Sellers.

So join us in celebrating Daniel's new designation of licenced to kill with a drink:

Brass (knuckle) Blond

2 oz lemon Vodka
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz Cointreau

Shaken, not stirred, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

-- Nora

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Stench Of Hypocrisy

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' TV ad campaign against the Howard Government's Industrial Relations reforms follows the usual left-wing pattern of treating the population like a pack of stupid, scared children.

Like the majority of Labor ads during an election campaign, they contain sad-faced actors playing whinging Wendies and cowering Kevins.

What is it with the left that they seek to infantilise the 'ignorant' masses?

The 'Kevin - Govt employee' ad currently screening - complete with the superimposition 'An actor has been used to protect government employees' - whines that if one doesn't sign a workplace agreement then 'no job'.

Funny that - one seems to remember that when one was a government employee, one was 'encouraged' to become a member of the union.

And one recalls distinctly that when one became a journalist in the 1970s, one was told the industry was a 'closed shop', which is to say one had to be a member of the Australian Journalists' Association (AJA) or one couldn't be employed.

Hmm - 1975: No union membership, no job = solidary. 2005: no workplace agreement, no job = 'A Threat To Australian Way Of Life'.

Ah, the rendolent stench of hypocrisy...

The greatest irony of all is that the 'closed shop' system was dismantled under a Labor government, that of Hawke and Keating. And that when the unions of Australia faced forced amalgamation under the same government (in which unions of (one recalls, but is willing to be corrected) 8000 members or less were obliged to amalgamate with other groups or be deregistered), the AJA was still virtually a closed shop - yet couldn't muster 8000 working bodies to survive in its own right (at a time when universities were oversupplying the market to the tune of 1000 journalism graduates each year).

The AJA ended up as the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance, which means in Australia, journalists are members of the same union as circus clowns, cinema ticket sellers and actors. How appropriate.

And how ironic considering they had their chance to forge a meaningful alliance in the 1980s with the much bigger Printers and Kindred Industries Union but, seeing the printers as beneath them, refused to support the PKIU in several disputes, thus missing the opportunity to create a vertical integration which today would have allowed them to by-pass the illegality of 'sympathy' strikes and to literally 'stop the presses' during labour disputes.

Thus today, even if sympathy strikes were not illegal under workplace laws, Australia's journalists could only really call on on the cast of Neighbours and the bloke who pulls the lever on the ghost train to support them in the event of a dispute with their employers.

-- Nick

Sunday, October 09, 2005


CryoSat was the European Space Agency's first in a series of six 'Earth Explorer' satellites designed to explore key environmental problems.

Unfortunately, it crashed during launch - polluting the Lincoln Sea near the North Pole.

There's an irony there, somewhere...

-- Nick

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Do You Want Chips With That?

Sydney man Eddy Stevens is crowing justifiably about his victory over Sony in the case of 'mod-chips' for Playstation games machines.

But the irony is that the our Free Trade Agreement with the US will likely spoil it all again shortly, as reported in The Age:

The free trade agreement which Australia signed with the US last year and which came into effect this year stipulates that copyright laws here have to be aligned with those in the US by 2007.

According to the FTA, consumers cannot circumvent "effective technological measures" that control access to a tech device.

Presumably, this may also end Australia's openness with regard to multi-zone DVD players that allow us to play movies purchased overseas.

-- Nick

Go Ban Yourself

Not allowing logic to get in the way of their biases, 'experts' on both side of the world indulge in fashionable 4WD bashing here and here.

In the report on a 3 year old's death, it's noted:

There is no suggestion the driver of the 4WD did anything wrong, police have laid no charges, and the boy ran in front of the traffic.

But road safety experts yesterday seized on the size and visibility of such an elevated 4WD, asking why these vehicles are allowed on the road.

It continues:

Road safety experts have labelled the monster vehicles "death machines" and called on them to be banned from suburban areas.

President of the Australasian College of Road Safety, Associate Professor Raphael Grzebieta, said driving a raised 4WD was akin to driving a small truck or piece of machinery.

"You can't see anyone underneath you when they are close to the vehicle and they have their blindspots like small trucks and machinery," the Monash University civil engineering lecturer said.

Similarly, Irish scientists whine that:

"There is clearly a higher risk for pedestrians when they are struck by a light truck or ...[4WD] compared to a passenger car," Dr Ciaran Simms, an expert in mechanical engineering at Trinity College in Dublin said.

In an editorial in The Lancet medical journal, Dr Simms and Desmond O'Neill, a professor of medical gerontology at Trinity College, called for warnings on 4WDs to inform buyers of the increased risk the vehicles pose to pedestrians.

They also recommended a higher road tax and called for all 4WDs involved in accidents to be documented.


They say elderly pedestrians are more vulnerable to the dangers of 4WDs because they are weaker, less agile and may have poorer reactions, which may make them less likely to avoid being struck and more at risk of suffering serious injuries and dying.

The increased height may also make it more difficult for drivers to see young children in front of or around the vehicle, according to the researchers.

In both cases, the 'experts' involved ignore the logical conclusion that not only 4WDs but trucks and all large vehicles would need banning in their miserable little ideal worlds, and just go for the bete noir du jour that's most likely to score a funding grant.

Further, the two dorks from Dublin seem to think that banning a class of vehicle would make up for the poor reaction times and fragility of old folk. Sheesh!

I'm no fan myself of custom over-raised 4WDs such as the one that hit the child. These particular vehicles are rock climbers, not road-goers, and if they should be more strictly regulated for any reason it's because they are inherantly unstable at speed.

But this whole call to ban 4WDs is nothing more than the pathetic sound of bleating sheep.

The fact in the case of the 3 year old is mum took her eyes off the kid and he ran into the road.

And when the scientists note "The main problem was the height and shape of the front of the vehicle. The hood, or bonnet, is higher than on cars...", what they're actually leading to is a call for uniform design of all motor vehicles such as one of some years ago which wanted the bumper bars of all cars to be at the same height.

It'll be such a perfect world, won't it, when we're all driving around in our little safety pods?

-- Nick

Friday, October 07, 2005

Praiseworthy Values

Could it be that we conservatives have the wrong end of the stick when it comes to muslims? That Islam is really a peace loving religion and there is something lacking in our own character that should cause us to ask 'why?' whenever they blow people to smithereens.

It appears Hugh MacKay of the Melbourne Age newspaper thinks so.
No doubt the core values of many terrorists would seem familiar and even praiseworthy if differently expressed, but they have been perverted and distorted by hatred. We have become the enemy.

Our greatest challenge is to understand why.

Aptly, Tim Blair has called Hugh and his ilk 'why-ners':

Let's take a look at the praiseworthy aims of these people. Through journalist Scott Atran's interview with Abu Bakir Bashir, the jailed spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, we learn:

Atran: What can the West, especially the US, do to make the world more peaceful?

Abu Bakar Bashir: They have to stop fighting Islam. That's impossible because it is sunnatullah [destiny, a law of nature], as Allah has said in the Koran. If they want to have peace, they have to accept to be governed by Islam ... We'll keep fighting them and they'll lose. The batil [falsehood] will lose sooner or later. I sent a letter to Bush. I said that you'll lose and there is no point for you [to fight us]. This [concept] is found in the Koran.

Atran: How can the American regime and its policies change?

Bashir: We'll see. As long as there is no intention to fight us and Islam continues to grow there can be peace. This is the doctrine of Islam. Islam can't be ruled by others. Allah's law must stand above human law. There is no [example] of Islam and infidels, the right and the wrong, living together in peace.

So, it's simple you see. Islam has a marketing problem, that's all.

Well Nicky and I are in advertising so we'll help these poor fellows out. I imagine the meeting would go something like this:

Mr Islamofacist: "Well Nick, (I'll ignore Nora, she's a mere woman), our problem is this, we can't make anyone see the benefits of living in a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law."

Nick: "Yes, you do have a communication problem. You are not selling your benefits well enough. Here try these suggestions:

Sick and tired of telling the truth and being honest? Stress no more, thanks to the time honoured principles of kitman and taqiyya you finally get to do whatever you want and say whatever you want to those damn infidels.

The wife spending too much money on clothes and shoes? Try our one-size burqa fits all. Start saving today!

Looking for the ultimate fitness program? Our pork-free diet combined with Stoning, our exclusive cardiovascular workout, will have you looking buff in no time.

Infidelity a problem? If it's your wife, get a good workout while you stone her. If it is you, don't forget our four wives for the price of one special.

Not being able to program the VCR getting you down? Fear not, join the worldwide Caliphate today and get rid of that annoying technology and relax knowing that there will never be another technological advance again."

Well, I think that calls for a drink. Yes, it's alcoholic - I did say we were in advertising...

Nymphomaniac (Nick liked the name)
1 oz. Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
1/4 oz. Peach schnapps
1/4 oz. Malibu Rum

Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail, pony or shot glass

-- Nora

Non-Event Makes News leads at this second with the story of how John Howard promised $4 million over four years for training and skills development to a union-controlled company just before the 2004 election.

But the story itself admits:

In 2002, the Bracks Labor Government in Victoria gave $3.9 million over three years to FAFPESC to provide worker support and training services.

The tale is a non-event with journalists who aren't even smart enough to not mention Mark Latham simply looking to bash little Johnnie.


-- Nick

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Sun Has Set On The Empire

The proud British tradition as we know it appears to be over.

The land that many once believe would be the New Jerusalem - Christ's earthly domain on his second coming - has been turned into a politically correct playground for lunatics such as the rather unArab-sounding prat by the name of Chris Doyle.

This self-loathing racist idiot is the director of the noble sounding Council for Arab-British Understanding whose aims are:

We believe that the need for mutual understanding and sympathy between the people of Britain and the people of the Arab world was never more vital than at the present time.

Britain and the Arabs have a long tradition of mutual respect and friendship; they have much to admire in each other's way of life and the principles to which both peoples adhere.

We have sympathy for the aspirations, achievements and rights of the Arab peoples, especially the Arabs of Palestine, for whose administration Britain was responsible until 1948, and whose case must not be permitted to go by default.

In a changing world, British opinion can contribute much to relieving the tensions and causes of distress in the Middle East by demonstrating understanding and a concern for justice, and by urging appropriate action.

So how does Mr Doyle demonstrate his organisation's commitment to 'mutual respect and friendship'?

By demanding that the British flag and national symbols are changed.

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, said Tuesday the red (St George's - Nora) cross was an insensitive reminder of the Crusades...

...Doyle added that it was now time for England to find a new flag and a patron saint who is "not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with."

All because some prison offers wore a St George Cross badge bought as a fundraiser for cancer research.

Chris Doyle (perhaps he should change his name since it is a reference to Christ) is evil and so displeasure at his vile, racist suggestion can be expressed to the association through this e-mail address

We've helpfully added in the subject line for you. It reads "Chris Doyle Is A Racist".

Before you roll your eyes and think, 'well isn't that typical', Nicky and I encourage you to make your voice heard on this and other issues.

Ten years ago, 'political perverts' like Doyle would be ignored by the media as a fool. Now he is getting column inches and being taken seriously.

It has to stop.

-- Nora

(Hit Tip: Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE: I'm jealous! Nilknarf has got a response from Chris Doyle. We're still waiting for ours. I'm not sure we'll get one since we sent him the above post.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Well, Bugger Me...

Barry Marshall is a star. In the conservative world of medicine, Marshall has achieved international celebrity status for helping to revolutionise understanding and treatment of ulcers, not traditionally a subject high on sex appeal. Just consider his publication record: he has been splashed by the New Yorker, Time magazine, Reader's Digest, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and now Michelle Malkin.

So what did the Australian scientist and his mate J Robbin Warren do achieve such note, acclaim and a Nobel Prize?

Well, we'll Michelle tell the story:

The two Australians won the prize for their discovery that Helicobacter pylori--not stress and spicy foods--are responsible for many ulcers...few believed the duo until Marshall swallowed broth containing the microbe to prove it causes disease.

It also proves one more thing - those Western Australians are tough (or mad), (or both).

-- Nora

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Too Horrific Not To See

Islamic terrorists have again bombed Bali tourist spots with the intent (and indeed success) of killing and maiming Westerners, including Aussies.

Here is a link to Getty Images photographs of the immediate aftermath. WARNING: There are some graphic images, particularly Image 55835075, but I mention it specifically because I believe it is necessary to look at evil if we are to recognise it for what it is.

Until we wake up to the fact that Islamic terrorism is not banning toy pigs but leaving the headless blasted-naked corpse of your mother, your sister, your best friend and your neighbour sprawled across a table in what was seconds ago a restaurant, we will continue to lack the necessary fortitude needed to tackle the issue.

Or you could just ignore it until it's the Surfers Paradise Beer Garden during Schoolies Week.

-- Nick

(Images Hat-tip: Kilgore Trout posting at Little Green Footballs)

UPDATE: From Tim Blair's site and Percypup in comments comes the link to Melbourne's Sunday Age column by Terry Lane.

The upshot of Lane's piece is that our politicians are getting a tad too hysterical about a mythical terrorist threat to Australia in order to get more power and to cower the Australian people into submission:

What are the chances of Adelaide or Perth being the sites of the next al-Qaeda attack? Zero? You would rate it as highly as that?

Can you picture Osama in his cave, poring over his school atlas and landing a bony finger on Adelaide and saying: "There! And after Adelaide, Wagga Wagga!"

Although, he says magnanimously:

We must assume - just to be fair - that no one, not even the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, wants a terror attack.

This is the voice of Australian mainstream media that we must assume sympathises with terrorism and terrorists as well as being actively complicit in a deadly game of telling the Australian people that there is no terrorism, but if there is it is the fault of John Howard and George W Bush.

Note the derision in Lane's comment about Adelaide and Wagga Wagga. His choice of the most unlikely targets is a deliberate effort to ridicule those who recognise that there are very likely targets on the Australian mainland. However, these targets are more likely to be Sydney and Melbourne or high profile tourist centres such as Cairns and the Gold Coast.

How must Lane be feeling today? Sheepish and embarassed by his column in the light of this most recent horror? Or will he find some contortion of logic that will make him right all along? Just to be fair, I think we should all tell Lane what we think of his ignorant and ill-conceived piece. You can reach him through letters to the editor or if you would like to try the more direct approach, his work e-mail address should be

-- Nora

Also getting it fatally wrong is Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister under Labor's Hawke-Keating Government.

On Wednesday he said:

"Jemaah Islamiah itself has been significantly decimated in terms of its effective operation in Indonesia."


Mr Evans also warned yesterday that people in government should be sceptical of the quality of the information produced by intelligence and security agencies.

Perhaps he should use some of his intelligence and speak to someone who ought to know like Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono:

Western and Indonesian intelligence agencies have warned repeatedly that Jemaah Islamiyah was plotting more attacks. Last month, Yudhoyono said he was especially worried the extremist network was about to strike.

"I received information at the time that terrorists were planning an action in Jakarta and that explosives were ready," he said Saturday.

-- Nick and Nora

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Free The Vote

One of Nora's upmarket chums, Leigh, has an interesting piece on possible Australian electoral reforms.

While he is ambivalent about the opportunity to reinstitute voluntary voting, I have a somewhat different opinion.

A linked item in Leigh's blog notes that 'Australia introduced compulsory voting in 1924 after voter turnout languished at 59.38 per cent in the 1922 federal election.' However, this does not explain the real reason for the introduction of compulsory voting.

Vern Hughes covers part of the actuality here (scroll down the discussion thread to read his post in full).

The gist of Vern's comment is:

"Compulsory voting was introduced in 1924 after both majors got a shock in the 1923 federal election when a number of independent candidates polled very well. These were loosely co-ordinated in a group called the Australian Guild of Political Freelances... (that) was concerned about the rise of the party system and its implications for parliament and political participation. Cynicism about the democratic process was strong in this period, similar in many respects to the current period.

When both majors got a shock in the 1923 federal election, they colluded to introduce compulsory voting, which "dealt with" the cynicism issue, and made electoral outcomes much more predictable, particularly in so-called "safe" Liberal and Labor seats. Thereafter, the majors had no fear of losing to an independent in these safe seats - for the next three generations."

The fact is the collusion was a backroom deal done outside of the parliament by the two major parties and was also influenced by the large amount of money they could save by not having to campaign against independents.

The sheer shonky big party manipulation of the electorate for power and money represented by this gives compulsory voting a morally indefensible foundation which taints its legitimacy even 80 years later.

Leigh raises one point I can embrace as a valid point in argument for compulsory voting - the 'responsibility' factor - but I still can't bring myself to support the concept of the population being forced to vote.

I believe the stunningly low standard of political candidates in Australia is due almost entirely to compulsory voting. If the parties really had to fight to get voters out, they would be more interested in being truly responsive to the electorate and fielding quality candidates.

As it stands, with many voters leaning left or right 'bacause me dad did' (or 'because me dad voted for the others') or simply because they like or don't like the look of a candidate, the advantage of non-compulsory voting is, quite frankly, that it allows morons who'd vote according to the above or any other daft reason to voluntarily disengage from the process and leaves the selection of government to those who actually care and think criticially about how they cast their vote.

I suspect this would result, over a period of time, in higher standards of political discourse generally.

I might add the above concept isn't original - I saw it advanced many years ago with reference, I think, to voting in the Netherlands. The comment was to the effect that one could trace the level to which government was engaging effectively with the people by the level of voter turnout. Parties and governments used turnout as a kind of barometer which showed that if turnout was falling, they needed to lift their game.

Here in Australia, however, why try to lift your game? You can keep fielding the same old tired candidates and young cannon fodder with no worries because turnout is guaranteed to be high - on penalty of a fine.

-- Nick

Note: I originally posted this item in part as a comment on Leigh's site but decided to also post here after experiencing some techo problems with my rather overlong comment.

We'll Drink To That

A Swedish couple has won the right after a court battle to name their daughter Edradour, after a Scottish whisky brand.

Initially the tax office, which in Sweden registers the names for newborns, refused the name, saying it was too closely linked to an alcoholic drink.

The Ekloefs argued that Edradour is also a beautiful town in Scotland, and said they had been charmed by the place as well as the local tipple.

Coming soon from Mr and Mrs Ekloef - Wagga Wagga Ekloef, Scunthorpe Ekloef and 100 Pipers Ekloef.

Please no comments on 100 Pipers being only a whiskey brand and not the name of a town - Mr and Mrs Ekloef are lovers of things Scottish after all, perhaps even bagpipes...

We're reminded of the Beckhams who named one offspring Brooklyn and the ill-fated union of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffiths that produced a child by the name of Dakota.

Anyone out there like to suggest a town, city or state name for a poor unfortunate child to suffer under the indignity of?

-- Nick