Tuesday, June 27, 2006

To Brook No Nonsense

Even as homosexuals and their accolytes argue in favour of 'gay' marriage in Australia, the fairytale is unravelling in Spain:

A YEAR after legalising gay marriage, Spain is now seeing its first gay divorce, complete with a custody fight over the couple's dogs.
Thank God they're not fighting for custody of children.

The unhappy couple have been 'wed' less than a year:

...the unnamed men were married in a Madrid suburb last October, three months after Spain became the fourth country to legalise same-sex marriages.
In the Australian state of Queensland - that's named for Queen Victoria - and more particularly in the pages of the Courier-Mail, the homosexual marriage cause has been championed by Sunshine Coast University lecturer Karen Brooks.

Sorry, that's 'Dr' Karen Brooks:

...it was sweet of you to correct the use of my title. Some people do drop the 'Dr' (hard-earned I might add) in an attempt to offend me. Good thing I'm not thin-skinned. SO thanks.
Doctor? Hard-earned?

From her staff page at Sunshine Coast Uni:

BA(Hons) La Trobe, CertEd W’gong., PhD W’gong.
It used to be we called a GP a Doctor and a PhD who insisted on being called 'Doctor' a wanker but that's another blog.

Brooks is simply away with the fairies:

Dr Karen Brooks was an actor and an army officer in the Royal Australian Army Survey Corp
She lasted a year in the Army...

...before becoming an academic and, subsequently, an author. She joined USC in its inaugural year, 1996, and developed courses in popular culture and, eventually, the successful degree in Popular Culture.

She is also a fantasy novelist (emphasis added) and her fifth novel is due out this year.
The images on her website say it all.

And this ditsy specialist in:

Research Areas
Youth culture
Popular culture
Visual literacy
Cultural theory
Myth and legends

Published extensively in Australia and overseas, Karen is also a columnist for the Courier Mail, and a social commentator on local, Brisbane and national radio as well as working with Channel 7 Sunrise and Today/Tonight.
where she is allowed to propagate and prostelytise the concept of mental illness as lifestyle choice.

More on this particular topic later.

-- Nick

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Line Forms On The Right, Babe

They used to say 'only in America' but now England is cutting edge:

In its latest and broadest attempt to get knives off the streets and especially out of the hands of young people, the British government announced a nationwide knife amnesty program, says USA Today. Police hope to collect 30,000 knives that will be turned in at police stations, churches, supermarkets and schools around the country.
A knife amnesty.


Coming soon, a stapler amnesty and a paper amnesty (that Reflex stuff can give a cut that stings like fury!).

I'm waiting for the harsh words amnesty. I'm looking forward to going to the collection centre and telling them where to go.

Seriously though:

Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, calls the amnesty program, "no more than a public relations exercise."
Well of course it's a PR exercise - hand in your Bowie at the local Tesco and buy a cleaver in the kitchenwares aisle.

The victims' rights advocacy group proposes tougher penalties, including a mandatory five-year prison sentence for anyone possessing a knife.
I can just see the Pommie coppers kicking in granny's door for possession of a paring knife (and half a dozen julienned carrots).

Bloody morons.

-- Nick

Before The Fall

Privates on parade:

GAYS and lesbians took to the streets of European cities overnight in a mass demonstration of pride.
Os Guinness on pride, as quoted by Doug Giles:

“Historically [has been] seen as the first, worst, and most prevalent of the seven deadly sins. It is either the source or the chief component of all other sin. Pride is also the first of the sins of the spirit, which are ‘cold’ but highly respectable. Its source is neither the world nor the flesh, but the devil. This first vice is unique in that it is the one vice of which its perpetrator is frequently unaware.”
-- Nick

Reap What You Sow

Brisbane couple Lee and Christine Rush, parents of 20-year-old convicted drug mule Scott Rush are paying the price for their son's extensive juvenile criminal history - $340 a month to feed and house him in Bali.

Lee and Christine Rush recently spent six months in Indonesia finding a trustworthy person to whom they could send the money to buy Scott, 20, food and clothing.

"Indonesians don't look after prisoners," father Lee Rush said.
Perhaps they should have put that level of effort into raising their son properly instead of blaming other people.

-- Nora

Beat up beat up

Lawyer claims his convicted terrorist client has been bashed in jail:

"JIHAD Jack" Thomas, convicted of taking cash from al-Qaida, has been bashed in jail.

Joseph Thomas was treated for cuts and bruises after he was attacked in Barwon Prison a week ago.

And he has had a mental breakdown, his lawyer, Rob Stary, says.
Oh. No he doesn't - it's a 'prison source':

A prison source said an inmate "jumped and belted" Thomas, even though the former taxi driver was held in protective custody.

"He might have a broken rib," the source said after Thomas was taken from the Lara jail for treatment.
Or he might not. The lawyer actually says he wasn't bashed at all:

But Mr Stary said Thomas was removed for psychiatric treatment. He said prison life had caused Thomas severe mental trauma - linked to a jail stint in Pakistan.
Very subtlely executed beat-up, with neat stitching of fabrication to facts and attribution of whole to the lawyer, brought to you by the Sunday Herald Sun and News Ltd.

-- Nick

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's winter, it's been a long time since cocktails, so here is a lovely one from the Australian Women's Weekly:

Espresso Martini
45ml vodka
15ml coffee liqueur, (such as Kahlua or Tia Maria)
shot of espresso coffee
10ml sugar syrup
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with coffee beans.
-- Nora

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wrong Victim Alleged

A SCHOOL teacher charged with terrorism offences declared his innocence during a Brisbane court appearance today.

John Howard Amundsen, 40, of Aspley in Brisbane's north, is charged with using false documents to obtain explosives, preparing to commit an act of terrorism and using telecommunications to make a threat and a hoax threat...

..."Ladies and gentlemen this was not an act of terrorism," the manual arts teacher and former journalist said.

"It was a media photo opportunity designed to highlight my girlfriend's (plight,) who is being terrorised by her parents for 11 years."

Oh, well that's all right then.

-- Nora

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Weighing Up The Risks

What may Iraqi insurgents and Al-Quada operatives risk if they are captured by American forces?

... the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners ... being forced to engage in simulated oral sex and other sex acts ... forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear...
What can American soldiers expect if they do this?

Specialist Charles Graner was found guilty on January 14, 2005 of all charges, including conspiracy to maltreat detainees, failing to protect detainees from abuse, cruelty, and maltreatment, as well as charges of assault, indecency, adultery, and obstruction of justice. On January 15, 2005, he was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.

Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick pled guilty on October 20, 2004 to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act in exchange for other charges being dropped. His abuses included making three prisoners masturbate. He also punched one prisoner so hard in the chest that he needed resuscitation. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, forfeiture of pay, a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank to private.

Jeremy Sivits was sentenced on May 19, 2004 by a special court-martial (less severe than "general"; confinement sentence limited to one year) to the maximum one-year sentence, in addition to being discharged for bad conduct and demoted, upon his plea of guilty.

Specialist Armin Cruz of the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion was sentenced on September 11, 2004 to eight months confinement, reduction in rank to private and a bad conduct discharge in exchange for his testimony against other soldiers.

Sabrina Harman was sentenced on May 17, 2005 to six months in prison and a bad conduct discharge after being convicted on six of the seven counts. She had faced a maximum sentence of 5 years.

Megan Ambuhl was convicted on October 30, 2004, of dereliction of duty and sentenced to reduction in rank to private and loss of a half-month’s pay.

Lynndie England was convicted on September 26, 2005, of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy count. England had faced a maximum sentence of ten years, but was sentenced on September 27, 2005, to 3 years. She received a dishonorable discharge.
What can American soldiers expect if they are captured by Iraqi insurgents and Al-Quada operatives?

THE bodies of two US soldiers kidnapped south of Baghdad before being tortured and killed were recovered, as an insurgent group led by al-Qaeda in Iraq said it had slit their throats.
What can the Iraqi insurgents and Al-Quada operatives expect if they do this?

"We announce good news to the Islamic nation from the battlefield ... The two crusaders taken hostage have been executed by having their throats cut," the (Mujahedeen Shura Council, an al-Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgent coalition) message on an Islamist site said.
-- Nick

Family Values?

Thicker than water, or simply thick?

WITH tears in his eyes, a man who paid a hitman to kill his son's rape victim yesterday told the court: "I didn't want her to be hurt."

Chaouki Bou-Antoun, 51, has pleaded guilty to soliciting the hitman - actually an undercover police officer - to kill the woman.

But the Lebanese-born father-of-five said he never intended to hand over the final $20,000 that would seal the deal...

...When asked if he intended to give the hitman the remainder, he said: "No, not one more cent."

On one occasion he nearly called the police to tell them of the plan but did not do so out of concern for his son, he said.

"He's still my son, doesn't matter what he did," Bou-Antoun said.
-- Nora

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Sky Blue

There can be no doubt P&O Cruises has a lot of explaining to do about its reaction to the death of one of its passengers, apparently at the hands of rapists, in 2002.

The events following the discovery of deceased passenger Dianne Brimble aboard the Pacific Sky are currently being further outed in a second stage of coronial hearings under NSW Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge.

More so than the hearings earlier this year, witness statements have now exposed gaping holes in the company's procedures for dealing with a suspicious death.

It's clear P&O has serious questions to answer about why a potential crime scene was allowed to be interfered with by those who were implicated in the death and why these people were allowed to continue roaming the ship allegedly harassing female passengers, some of them under the age of 16.

And it is beyond belief that a company of P&O's size and age did not have adequate procedures in place for responding to such a scenario. Perhaps they were lured into apathy by years of encountering only natural death among passengers, as one imagines that they must frequently experience among the elderly and ill.

But there is a major difference between heart failure and manslaughter and it may be that the cruise line has compounded its lack of preparedness and bungled follow-up by attempting to cover or, at least, downplay the event enough not to attract media attention.

Ironically, the Sky itself proved more than able to do just that in the following years as the media pounced gleefully on each tale of mechanical breakdowns afflicting the ageing vessel and causing cruises to be cut short.

The media were never short of a quote or two from a passenger complaining that their holiday had been ruined although it would appear the majority of passengers were quite happy to lose a few days off their cruise in return for often generous compensation by the line including refunds, discounts on future voyages and cash credits of hundreds of dollars to their on-board spending accounts.

P&O generally and the Pacific Sky specifically had become a favourite whipping boy of the Australian media.

But the start of the inquest into the exceptionally ill-fated 2002 cruise that allegedly led to death in Cabin D184 gave the media a poster child in the form of the tragically unfortunate Mrs Brimble.

The facts in the case so far appear to be these:

  • That the divorced Mrs Brimble saved for some time to afford her 'holiday of a lifetime' aboard the ship with her 12 year old daughter and some friends.

  • That on the very first night she had the ultimate misfortune to meet in a nightclub with an unsavory number of male passengers who either knew each other previously or had been assigned a group cabin together.

  • That Mrs Brimble at some stage received a dose of the date-rape drug GHB and was photographed in various sex acts with one or more of the men in their cabin.

  • That she was later discovered by these men to be dead and that dumping her body overboard was discussed.

  • That P&O failed to secure the cabin, allowing the men to go inside to retrieve their belongings and potentially remove evidence, and that the men subsequently harassed others on board the ship.
The coroner's inquest is revealing that the group of men involved were clearly animals - a tape recording of a police interview with one of their number confirms this in a nauseating manner:

Glebe Coroner's Court has heard this week how one of the men, Letterio "Leo" Silvestri, showed no remorse in his interview with police after Brimble's tragic death.

In a taped interview held in the days after Brimble's death, Silvestri, with sickening detachment, described how Brimble had ruined his holiday by dying on the floor of his cabin.

The transcripts of the taped conversation were heard at the coronial inquest into the death of Brimble this week. In the interview, Silvestri is heard saying: "Didn't want to know about her. She smelt, she was black and she was ugly ...

"Anything that's over 60 kilos I don't talk to. I just brushed her off, I didn't want to speak to her ... yuck, ugly dog, just go talk to someone else. Ring the RSPCA."
Mrs Brimble's death was, most likely, manslaughter preceeded by rape and various forms of sexual degradation by her tormenters. Yet it will likely be a very difficult case to prosecute should charges even be laid. It's quite possible that Magistrate Milledge is, in fact, doing her utmost to punish the men in the court of public opinion now because she realises that criminal convictions will be impossible to achieve in the future.

Unfortunately, she and various lawyers are also helping, sometimes rather overtly, to lay the groundwork for civil action to be taken by the Brimble family against the cruise line. Speaking of a promotional postcard that has recently emerged, she said:

...(it) was sexist and could promote "certain attitudes" among male passengers.
More of the postcard shortly. But it will be exceedingly disappointing if efforts to help the Brimbles exact some recompense from P&O for their sins should also provide the real killers of Mrs Brimble any form of defence.

However, much as P&O has a case to answer and one would like Mrs Brimble's killers to do so too, the Australian media, led by the Sydney Telegraph and News Limited, also has to answer for its reporting which has distastefully wallowed in the salacious detail and grim tragedy of the case with barely hidden glee.

'Credibility lost at sea' is the headline on a Telegraph round-up of the case to date but the story calls to question the credibility of journalists as much as the cruise line.

Leading on the issue of a P&O publicity campaign 12 months after Mrs Brimble's death (being the postcard mentioned above), it first gets its facts wrong,

It was late 2003 when the creative types in P&O's marketing department embarked on a daring new advertising campaign to get revellers back on board its ships. The formula was simple: promise young men endless booze and casual sex and they won't be able to refuse."Seamen wanted" read one postcard, accompanied by a picture of sunbathing, bikini-clad glamours. "More sun. More girls. More guys. There's nothing else a guy needs to know," the ad declared.
It would be a poor campaign selling the availability of 'more girls' that informed its audience that there were also 'more guys'. The card in fact promoted:

"More girls, more sun, more fun."
and were, though tasteless and ill-considered, less provocative than many postcards sold today in tourist shops on the Gold Coast.

Then The Telegraph's report falls into a time warp in which promotional postcards from 2003 were somehow responsible for influencing rapists in 2002:

From the moment they stepped on board the Pacific Sky, the eight persons of interest... appeared to have sex, drugs and booze on their mind. The brochures had promised girls galore (emphasis added) and they did not expect to be disappointed.
Magistrate Milledge has previously hinted at an 'attitudinal problem' aboard the ship. The Telegraph laments:

Cruises used to be for families. The kids could entertain themselves by day in the games room or by the pool, leaving the parents to share a meal or a quiet afternoon drink on deck.
Used to be for families? Really? In the 1980s, P&O's Fairstar was known widely among sex-seeking singles for what were dubbed anecdotally 'Clap Cruises'.

The Fairstar might well have played host to many families at the time but it also took on board thousands like the single mum neighbour of an acquaintance of mine who saved her welfare and parked the kid with relatives while she did a Fairstar cruise in search of 'more guys, more sun, more fun' and came back with a dose, the emergence of which some days after her return was not a cause for concern but simply amusement and a course of antibiotics.

Even today, the price of promiscuity about that particularly ship is still cause for amusement. As recently as October last year, this was a post to the Sydney Morning Morning Herald Newsblog on suggested names for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' child:

Fairstar Cruise - Because many an unexpected pregnancy has resulted from one of these.
However, to be the centre of such notoriety fell from favour and P&O worked hard to reinvent the image of cruising as a holiday option for all ages and especially for families. They have not been unsuccessful - many thousands of family groups travel on P&O ships each year.

Regular readers of The Thin Man Returns will be aware that Nora and I have taken two P&O cruises in the past two years, aboard the Pacific Sun as a couple travelling alone and aboard the Pacific Star accompanied by three generations of a family with whom we are good friends.

We have found the ship passengers to be segmented into three groups - families and couples, the elderly, and singles (of all ages). While these segments may come together for some group activities, they generally enjoy their time at sea separately, not only in the areas of the ship that they frequent, but also in time.

Only an idiot or someone looking to be offended who is not among the singles group would go wandering around, for instance, the back of vessel pool areas at 4 in the morning.

Of course, that didn't stop a Channel 7 stooge from doing just that aboard the Star earlier this year but the intention there was to be offended.

The Telegraph reports:

The company's spin doctors have understandably tried to portray Brimble's death as a one-off tragedy. But the truth is the debauched behaviour onboard the Pacific Sky was by no means isolated.
Actually, Mrs Brimble's death is a one-off. What The Telegraph's anonymous reporters are about to salivate over falls far, far short of rape and murder.

Michelle Donaldson, 36, left Sydney on New Year's Eve in 2000 on the Pacific Sky for what she hoped would be the trip of a lifetime.

Travelling with a girlfriend, she planned two weeks of sunbathing, swimming and reading. But the reality was very different. The pair wanted to avoid the raucous behaviour on the lower decks, so they paid $4000 each for a luxury suite.

This week, Donaldson told The Saturday Daily Telegraph "there were people having sex in the walkways, the place was just disgusting. The ship was full of packs of men just roaming around.

"They would literally wait outside the lifts and wait for some poor drunk woman so that they could pounce on her."
But our Star companions have twice also travelled aboard the Sky with their two children and report none of the types of behaviour alleged by Ms Donaldson. In fact, it would be fair to assume that if this were a common problem, P&O would not be attracting many families at all and perhaps Ms Donaldson was 'doing a Channel 7' - expecting trouble and going out of her way to find it.

That's not to say that it would be impossible to accidentally stumble across a couple doing in a corridor or in a quiet corner of a deck area what they should be doing in their cabin. But one would contend it's most likely to happen, if at all, in the small hours of the night and would be no more than one might encounter if one deliberately wandered late at night around the corridors of any large hotel.

We are living in an age of sexual exhibitionism and diminished inhibition.

Furthermore, many of the single sexual 'predators' aboard cruises are women of Ms Donaldson's age and older. Ashore at Port Vila this year awaiting transport to an organised activity in town, Nora and I overheard a group of six middle aged women bemoaning a lack of single men on ship, one of the women bitterly complaining that a 19 year old male she had attempted to chat up had boasted that the gender imbalance was working very much in his favour. The women were hoping for better luck that night and were filling in the daylight hours until then with a jet boat ride and duty-free shopping.

Back in 2002 aboard the Sky, passengers recall, the men involved in the death of Mrs Brimble were on the hunt no matter what time of day they were encountered:

Tiffany McDonald, one of the terrified girls bailed up by the men in her cabin on the first day, described an encounter with Silvestri on the day of Brimble's death. She was queuing for lunch in the ship's restaurant - just hours after Brimble had been found unconscious on the floor of Silvestri's cabin - when he came up and kissed her on the cheek. She said: "I asked him what was going on in his room and he said something about, 'They have still got it as a crime scene' and he started laughing. "I felt everywhere we went, one of them was there. I didn't feel safe."
The fact is, this group was extraordinary - a gang of genuinely vicious predators shooting fish in a barrel. And the later the hour, the more dangerous they became.

The Telegraph reports:

Jessica Kornacki was just 15 at the time, but Silvestri apparently saw her as fair game. She had her first encounter with the "tall, scary guy" at the ship's Starlight Disco a few days into the cruise.

It was after midnight and Kornacki was partying with her (also 15 year old) friend.
yet does not question why the parents of 15 year old girls have allowed them to go adult nightclubbing after midnight.

While it could be argued that P&O security staff should have refused entry to the youngsters, it's quite likely that they could pass for 18, as can many girls of that age, especially when they want to.

Besides, parents can hardly complain that someone isn't looking out for their kids when they allow them to roam out anywhere after midnight.

Nor can they complain if they also provide them with the means to purchase alcohol. In recent times, P&O has issued children's cruise cards, the credit card-like devices used by all passengers to, among other things, pay for drinks and provide ID, with the corners clipped off for instant recognition. But some parents actually loan their children their cruise cards so they can purchase alcohol after mum and dad have gone to bed.

Magistrate Milledge may bemoan 'attitudinal problems' aboard ship but they are simply a reflection of broader attitudinal problems in our society at large.

The McDonald and Muller families were travelling together. The Telegraph reports that shortly after boarding:

The couples' four daughters, all under 18, insisted on sleeping in the same room and their parents eventually relented, unaware the girls would be in the cabin next door to four of the men now of interest in the Brimble case.

The inquest was told their bags were still packed when Dragan Losic, Silvestri, Petar Pantic and Mark Wilhelm stormed into their room, closing the door behind them.

One of the girls chided Wilhelm... about a black eye he was sporting. He punched the wall above her head. The men eventually walked out, leaving the girls badly shaken.
Mum Leann McDonald also:

spotted them as troublemakers at the traditional "sail away" party on the top deck. "Have a go at them, those guys, they look like they're going to be trouble," she remembered telling her husband.

Joanne Muller, on the cruise with her husband, three children and friends, said she recalled seeing Mrs Brimble in the ship's Starlight Disco earlier that night. She had been talking to the group of "burly" men now implicated in her death and appeared to be "drunk or under the influence of something. It seemed like she was letting loose more than other guests," Mrs Muller said.
Later still:

Having left the disco at about 2am, Mrs Muller said she awoke some time later to banging, talking and a commotion next door. When asked by counsel assisting the inquest, Ron Hoenig, what she had heard, Mrs Muller broke down. "I heard the woman say: "I'm not like that and I don't do that sort of thing'," she said tearfully.
but she and her husband appear to have done nothing, no calling security, no intervening, despite all they had witnessed earlier, the high level of noise required to be heard between cabins and what was obviously a distressed protest against unwanted sexual advances.

Yet Mrs Muller complains that following the revelation of Mrs Brimble's death:

A request to P&O staff that her family be moved fell on deaf ears, she said. "Not one single person came to us to say 'are you okay?'," Mrs Muller said.
How different it might have been for Mrs Brimble if Mr and Mrs Muller had knocked on the door of the neighbouring cabin and asked 'are you okay?'

Meanwhile, continuing to whip up as much outrage as possible, The Telegraph suggests that the men in whose cabin Mrs Brimble died were somehow treated better than the McDonalds:

On the morning of Brimble's death, (Mrs) McDonald... said she saw some crew members ushering two of the men into the cabin so that they could collect their bags. She said: "They were telling them to get their stuff and come straight out of the room."

But when it came to helping other passengers, staff were not so accommodating.
and recounts how:

McDonald's 16-year-old daughter, Tiffany, insisted on sleeping with her mother after Brimble's death - terrified that the men who had entered her cabin on that first day would return.

When McDonald asked for her family to be moved to a different area of the ship, the staff refused. She said: "P&O did not care. No one came and asked if we were OK. We were sort of fobbed off. We asked them to move us because our children were frightened. We were more or less ignored."
Pretty much like Mrs Brimble's pleas were ignored by the McDonalds' travelling companions.

The Telegraph pontificates:

As each day brings more sordid evidence to the public's attention, it is difficult to believe that many holidaymakers would be rushing out to book a cruise.
Then demonstrates the hypocrisy of the media in general, its utter detachment from reality and yet another aspect of its inability to grasp and examine the wider issues of any matter by shaking its head in morally surprised disbelief:

Then again, the promise of round-the-clock partying will always appeal to some.
The last time I looked, it appealed to many journalists and their ageing Murdoch managers. The Gold Coast Bulletin's Go Girls column is a weekly celebration of drunkenness and loose behaviour by three airheaded female journalists who at various times have detailed consuming vast amounts of alcohol as part of a normal night out and advocated prowling hotel corridors at night in the hope of bumping into celebrity sportsmen.

Journalists have always been of doubtful integrity but now, in an industry that has become less about information than titilation, they can claim no moral superiority whatsoever.

Amy Mudge... one of the girls harassed by Silvestri, made an interesting remark as she left the witness box. When Coroner Jacqueline Milledge asked her if she would go on another cruise, Mudge replied: "I want to go on another one. I had such a good time."
Journalists would have it that ordinary people should heed their warnings and run scared of everything. But most people have a way of seeing through the hysteria and also know what it takes - at least a little bit - to stay out of trouble.

Amy Mudge was the 15 year old nightclubbing cohort of Jessica Kornacki. It's ironic that Kornacki, described by The Telegraph as 'bright and articulate', perhaps escaped with her life -
Silvestri asked Kornacki to come back to his room. "He asked me back to his room and offered to pay me to dance to music videos. After that he offered to buy me a drink. I said 'no' and we walked away," she told the inquest.
- because the 15 year old was more street savvy than Mrs Brimble, who family members have admitted was perhaps somewhat naive.

Perhaps Mrs Brimble spent her shortened life not reading the Murdoch media and not getting blind drunk at nightclubs like young female Murdoch journalists.

-- Nick

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Batting For The Other Team

Liberal MP Warren Entsch says he's opposed to Prime Minister John Howard over the PM's opposition to homosexual marriage because he used to know a male who became a woman.

Entsch clearly doesn't know his own backside from his elbow.

Transsexuals are not homosexuals - unless you count the fully 'transgendered' male to female transsexuals who become pseudo-lesbians because in the end they find they really still like women and vice versa with the female to male types.

The Brisbane Sunday Mail reports:

MACHO Liberal MP Warren Entsch has explained why he is taking on John Howard over gay rights: one of his knockabout mates in the far north of Queensland became a woman.
The intro is somewhat misleading. The person who Entsch recalls was not a 'knockabout mate', which translates from the vernacular as a rough and tumble buddy, but, says Entsch later in the article: "He'd always knock about with us" which means he'd hang around.

It led to Entsch feeling somewhat protective of a person "who was clearly very very feminine and very very gay" so "I used to watch over him in pubs and the like in case anybody picked on him." It probably didn't do Entsch's pursuit of the man's female cousin any harm.

But once again, Entsch confuses homosexuality with transsexuality.

Not that they don't have anything in common - transsexuals have aligned themselves with homosexuals under the 'Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual/Transgender' GLBT banner and are reaping the benefits of association with a powerful lobby group with a proven track record in changing social policy.

But many transsexuals rail at suggestions they are homosexual. They prefer to see themselves as one gender 'trapped' in a body of the other gender.

Entsch shows he has a vague grasp on this concept after recalling that his girlfriend's cousin 'went to Sydney and had a sex change operation' one Christmas.

"It just drove home to me the struggle he had trying to be a male."
It's happy ending time:

"Just seeing the difficulty he had and having the courage to go through with it and I saw he finally released himself. I found it amazing."
One wonders if Entsch has any idea how much trouble the man had trying to be a woman:

"...in the final bit of irony, after surgery my new genitals were non-orgasmic (like 80% of my TG sisters)." - Danielle Berry

"Surgical outcome was disappointing, and only one-third of the patients where a vaginal construction was carried out had a functioning vagina... only one-third were judged as having a fair or good sexual adjustment after sex reassignment." - Long-term follow-up of sex change in 13 male-to-female transsexuals.

In 1960, Johns Hopkins was the first U.S. medical facility involved in sex reassignment procedures. The program was discontinued in 1979 after Dr. Jon Meyer published his long-term follow-up report of adult transsexuals treated at Johns Hopkins. None of the post-operatives showed measurable improvement in their lives.

"Sex re-assignment surgery confers no objective advantage…" Meyer concluded.

Dr. Paul McHugh, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry, criticized the procedures as "the most radical therapy ever encouraged by 20th-century psychiatrists," comparing it to the discredited frontal lobotomy.
Entsch continues his ill-informed fantasy about homosexuals and transsexuals:

"The rest of us should be saying, 'Thank Christ we got the gene balance right'. But for those who didn't get it right, that doesn't make them any less of a person."
Gene balance? Oh, yes - that lie:

In the April 27, 1998, edition of Time magazine, gay scientist Dr. Dean Hamer, whose 1993 chromosomal study was widely mispublicized as the discovery of a 'gay gene', admitted that he was unable to find one. Scientists have not produced a single study showing the existence of a 'gay gene'. The few studies that indicate even a possible correlation have not been replicated, which is crucial for establishing scientific validity.
The push to make homsexuality and transsexuality 'genetic' is simply a weapon in the GLBT campaign. It adds an aura of medico-scientific respectability.

This follows the way in which the psychiatric profession has been brought on board:

Elliott says that “anyone with a rudimentary familiarity with the history of psychiatry cannot help but be struck by the way that mental disorders come and go... conditions like social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, gender identity disorder, multiple personality disorder, anorexia, and chronic fatigue syndrome were once seen as rare or nonexistent, then suddenly they ballooned in popularity. This is not simply because people decided to “come out” rather than suffer alone. It is because all mental disorders… have a social component.”

Once the ‘condition’ is well launched, soon it is being “discussed in journals and at conferences.” Then clinicians start to “diagnose the disorder more and more commonly,” the condition is talked about in support groups, therapy sessions, Internet venues, etc. Then, thanks to the status and authority of mental healthism, “patients begin to reinterpret their own psychological histories in light of what they hear, and their behavior changes to match what is expected of people with the condition they believe they have.”

So it is with the conditions of ‘homosexuality,’ ‘gender identity disorder,’ and ‘body integrity identity disorder.’ Patients often “diagnose themselves and decide on the proper treatment.” That is, the professionals follow the lead of the mad and vice-versa — the ultimate in self-fulfilling prophecies.
Thankfully, some shrinks realise they have been going wrong:

"But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia." - Paul McHugh
The likes of Warren Entsch need to catch up quickly.

-- Nick

NSW Police: 'Better To Live On Your Knees Than Die On Your Feet'

Stoyche Petresky died a hero:

THE father of a newborn baby was stabbed to death after he and fellow patrons chased a gang of armed robbers from a hotel in Sydney's inner west yesterday.
The police were not amused:

Supt Cotter said the death should serve as a warning: "If you are the subject of a robbery, or witness to a robbery, comply with the assailants."
Pesky 'have a go' types, turning a simple armed robbery into a murder investigation. Don't they know resources are limited and NSW police have better things to do?

-- Nick

Friday, June 09, 2006

Meet Hell's Latest Resident

It's Abu Musab Zarqawi.


Mass murderer.


He was no martyr, nor a freedom fighter. Zarqawi was an evil man who hated his fellow Muslim as well as the free West.

The bad news for Zarqawi is he will discover that there are virgins waiting for him in hell.

The good news is he can discuss this at length with Mohammed.

-- Nora

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Howard's Wedgie

Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope hopes to prevent the Federal Government from vetoing the ACT's 'backdoor' effort to legalise homosexual marriage.

The ACT Parliament voted three weeks ago to allow homosexuals to enter into civil unions with almost the same status as marriage.

Prime Minister John Howard said it's 'plainly an attempt to mimic marriage under the misleading title of civil unions'.

Stanhope said he was angry and disappointed by the blocking move and:

...accused the Government of conjuring a "wedge issue". "The Prime Minister, I believe, is simply using another marginalised, disempowered group for his, I think, quite odious political purposes," he said.
Marginalised and disempowered? Give me a break.

The homosexual lobby has been pushing everyone else around for years and forcing their pathology on everyone from the American Psychiatric Association to toddlers at child care centres.

And if John Howard sees political mileage in coming down on the side of heterosexuals, it's because heterosexuals represent 99 per cent of the population and he recognises the majority of them believe marriage should be between a man and woman.

What's wrong with appealing to the majority? That's what democracy is supposed to be about.

-- Nick

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Worse Than Useless

THE United Nations has ordered staff in East Timor not to co-operate with Australian Federal Police investigating the massacre of 12 unarmed Timorese officers by renegade soldiers, prompting allegations of a cover-up.

The sooner we replace the UN with a Commonwealth of Democratic Nations, the better.

-- Nora

But At Least The Trains Ran On Time

What a vile stew is The Times of London.

Their anti-American hate spewing Sunday edition carries a story this weekend pitying the once privileged Sunni Muslim women of the Amariya district of Baghdad because they can no longer go out and buy CDs or wear short skirts.

The reason? Now that 'liberal' Sunni Saddam Hussein has been deposed, full fundamentalist Sunni lunatic Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has launched a crackdown with roving gangs of thugs 'waging terror against the urban middle class'.

Naturally, it's all the Americans' fault.

“I used to wear jeans or short skirts. We didn’t have to worry,” she recalled, for a moment gushing like any of her fashion-conscious contemporaries in the West.

“My favourites were in the Qasar al Nisaa shop. Before, they sold all kinds of clothes, but now it’s so conservative. They’re not even allowed to display underwear in shops: you have to ask from under the counter and then only a woman can serve you.”

The atmosphere is becoming ever more oppressive. Men came to Noor’s house and told her she could not drive any more. Her father has to drive her to her lectures at the same university where she drove to class as an undergraduate.

She dare not step outside without a hijab, or headscarf. Last month two teenage girls were dragged off the al-Amal al-Shahbi street in the Amariya district. When they emerged several hours later their heads had been shaved.

The militants issued a warning that in future women walking down the street without a hijab faced death.
There's a subtle irony in the situation that the Sunnis are copping it harder under attempts by one of their own to seize power.

The irony might escape Sunday Times readers but perhaps not the Shia Muslims of Baghdad, who Amnesty International notes were frequently victims of torture under Saddam:

Other methods of physical torture described by former victims include... beating on the soles of the feet, extinguishing of cigarettes on various parts of the body, extraction of finger nails and toenails and piercing of the hands with an electric drill... sexually abused... objects, including broken bottles, forced into their anus... threatened with rape and subjected to mock execution... placed in cells where they could hear the screams of others being tortured... deprived of sleep.
And this is what a Shia woman had to fear:

Detainees have also been threatened with bringing in a female relative, especially the wife or the mother, and raping her in front of the detainee. Some of these threats have been carried out... on 7 June 2000 Najib al-Salihi, a former army general who fled Iraq in 1995 and joined the Iraqi opposition, was sent a videotape showing the rape of a female relative. Shortly afterwards he reportedly received a telephone call from the Iraqi intelligence service, asking him whether he had received the 'gift' and informing him that his relative was in their custody...
or this:

A woman known as Um Haydar was beheaded reportedly without charge or trial at the end of December 2000. She was 25 years' old and married with three children. Her husband was sought by the security authorities reportedly because of his involvement in Islamist armed activities against the state... Men belonging to Feda'iyye Saddam came to the house in al-Karrada district and found his wife, children and his mother. Um Haydar was taken to the street and two men held her by the arms and a third pulled her head from behind and beheaded her in front of the residents... The fate of the children and the mother-in-law remains unknown.
Around the time Um Haydar was being murdered, affluent Sunni Noor was enjoying:

...going window shopping at night in the city’s once-glitzy Mansour district, dressed in the latest fashions.
Now she's getting a taste of oppression"> herself.

The Sunday Times briefly hints it might be a bad thing that:

Such restrictions are taken for granted in fundamentalist Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
then quickly returns to its vile yearning for the days of a homicidal dictator:

But under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi women were among the most liberated in the Arab world. “My friends at university, my neighbours — they’re all in the same situation as me,” Noor mourned.

-- Nick