Monday, December 22, 2008

Hope and Change

The Thin Man Returns usually eschews posts of a personal nature but before the year runs to a close, I'd like to dedicate one post to the memory of my mother Elizabeth Ann who died on October 8 this year at the age of 59.

Without her, Christmas and New Year this year are going to be very different indeed.

One could write hundreds of words to illustrate what a truly remarkable woman she was but everything that needed to be said was said at her funeral attended by family, work colleagues, friends as well as past and present students.

As friends of ours remarked, it's not often one attends a funeral where traffic controllers are required.

Her story of courage, grace and faith during her life is inspiring, particularly in the four years after being diagnosed with random form of muscular dystrophy that hit with the rapid debilitation of motor neurone disease.

The past few years have not been easy.

People talk about having a life changing experience, but what they really mean is suffering a shock and, once over that, they go back to the way they were before - no evidence of a life changed, at least not in any meaningful or positive way.

They think they're 'living' but they're only existing on the periphery, unaware that they're merely playing in the emotional, spiritual and intellectual shallows.

Anyone who doubts the existence of God ought to talk to us some time.

-- Nora

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taking Over The Asylum

The American Psychiatric Association is preparing to publish the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the inconvenient truth rears its ugly head:

“In psychiatry no one knows the causes of anything, so classification can be driven by all sorts of factors” — political, social and financial.
The New York Times article continues:

The debate over gender identity, characterized in the manual as “strong and persistent cross-gender identification,” is already burning hot among transgender people. Soon after the psychiatric association named the group of researchers working on sexual and gender identity, advocates circulated online petitions objecting to two members whose work they considered demeaning...

“The language needs to be reformed, at a minimum,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equity. “Right now, the manual implies that you cannot be a happy transgender person, that you have to be a social wreck.”

Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York psychoanalyst and member of the sexual disorders work group, said that, in some ways, the gender identity debate echoed efforts to remove homosexuality from the manual in the 1970s.

After protests by gay activists provoked a scientific review, the “homosexuality” diagnosis was dropped in 1973. It was replaced by “sexual orientation disturbance” and then “ego-dystonic homosexuality” before being dropped in 1987.

“You had, in my opinion, what was a social issue, not a medical one...”
Or, still in the opinion of many psychiatrists today, and made shockingly clear in Madsen and Kirk's homosexual activists' manual, After The Ball, a medical issue that the APA allowed itself to be bullied into making a social one in 1973's DSM-III.

Now, for DSM-V, the APA looks set to cave in to pressure from a group for whom self-mutilation is not only considered acceptable but which requires - and receives - support in achieving this from the surgical medical community.

The truth-baring irony of the issue of transgender disorders being omitted from DSM-V is exposed in that:

Transgender people are themselves divided about their place in the manual. Some transgender men and women want nothing to do with psychiatry and demand that the diagnosis be dropped. Others prefer that it remain, in some form, because a doctor’s written diagnosis is needed to obtain insurance coverage for treatment or surgery.
So, on the one hand, some of the people affected by this disorder would like the rest of society to pretend they aren't mentally ill while others don't mind being considered mentally ill if it means they can bilk their insurance companies into paying for expensive body-altering drugs and 'surgery' for 'gender reassignment'.

One suspects after this admission that the insurance companies might welcome the APA dropping 'transgender' as a disorder. A preferred option would be to stop pandering to the delusions of the mentally ill by offering mutilation as a treatment - a treatment which does not work - and to encourage psychiatrists to cure this disorder where it actually exists - between the patient's ears rather than between their legs.

-- Nick

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Was Only Following Orders...

Atheist fascists validate the Nuremburg Defence:

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, claimed: "This is the just outcome for this case. Employees should not be able to use their consciences as a carte blanche to exempt themselves from performing duties they are lawfully required to perform."
-- Nick

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desperate Dutch Finding Tolerance Intolerable

Can a society liberalise itself to the brink of destruction then recover? Perhaps:

The Dutch are rethinking their famously liberal polices on legalised brothels, prostitution and soft drugs, such as magic mushrooms and cannabis, amid fears of growing crime and social decline.

"The nation's ideals are being tested by the reality they brought," said sociologist Dick Houtman of Rotterdam's Erasmus University.

"The Netherlands went further in allowing all sorts of liberties than many other countries. The test is severe. There is a feeling that our tolerance is the principal cause of many of the problems we experience now. The debate is about where liberty and tolerance should end and where order should begin."

...The murder of the anti-Islam film-maker Theo Van Gogh and the rise of populist anti-Muslim politicians such as Geert Wilders have led to strong perceptions that liberal immigration policy has damaged secular and egalitarian values in one of Europe's most crowded countries.

"The change started out as a rightist phenomenon, but is now becoming more of a mainstream feeling. It is gaining legitimacy and credibility among the working classes," said Mr Houtman.
It's a hopeful suggestion that one of Europe's most troubled regions may yet regain its senses but the road ahead is rocky.

Potential risks are that the movement back towards conservative values may be strangled at birth by intractable leftist elites controlling government thinking or that it may lurch too far right in a reactionary manner and throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Another risk is that it may be too little, too late to save Europe from societal suicide.

-- Nick

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Psychosis Pride

A parade of the mentally disturbed, self-delusionally proud in their illness.

And they've got us so snowed, we think admiring them is something to be proud of too.

-- Nick

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What A Fool Says In His Heart

They need a curriculum to teach this?:

Humanists believe people are responsible for their own destiny and reject the notion of a supernatural force or God.
Rather succinct; says it all really.

If you have to develop a whole ethical framework to prop up the contention, well, that kind of sounds like a religion.

Those concerned deny it, of course:

The society does not consider itself to be a religious organisation and believes ethics have "no necessary connection with religion".
And the disconnection of ethics from religion has been such a success over the last century or so.

It's amusing really - one imagined it was the adult incest lobby that was going to make the most headway into the mainstream this decade but the atheists are moving ahead.

Good time in history to make your move, chaps.

-- Nick

Friday, December 12, 2008

Writing For Robots

Where's the news value in the headline on this story?

One has noticed News' online subeditors using names in headlines frequently. It's a puzzling trend in the cases of ordinary people who are experiencing 15 minutes of newsworthiness.

After all, as a headline, which is supposed to describe the story below, the sentence 'Mavis Smith gives birth in car park' causes one not to wonder at the circumstances surrounding the event as much as 'who the hell is Mavis Smith?'.

With celebrities, it would be a different matter, eg. 'Amy Winehouse gives birth in car park', which would cause one to simply think 'typical'.

One suspects a reason for the meaningless non-celebrity name headlines is to feed search engines and thus bring in site visitors as family, friends and associates of a person suddenly in the news 'google' them to see what's been said. This may increase visitor stats (and ad revenue) but writing for search engine optimisation rather than for sense only further diminishes journalism.

However, in the case of the trial story above, one has to ask what is the motivation in not only making the non-entity guilty party's name part of the headline but also his suburb and city?

The perp's lawyer at one point says of his client's former defacto:

"She is not a movie star or a public figure," he said.
Neither is the respondent.

The headline is either taking SEO to a nonsensical new height, typical News Limited prurience or a rather petty desire on the part of the sub to give the man a taste of his own medicine, something which is not the role of a news story.

At least it shouldn't be.

-- Nick

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bettie Page

1950s S&M pinup turned born again Christian Bettie Page is in intensive care after suffering a heart attack.

She's 85 so the prognosis can't be good but get well, Bettie.

-- Nick and Nora

Update: Vale Bettie.

A Strange "Misunderstanding'

On their 6 o'clock news last night, The Nine Network's Brisbane broadcast played down the affair of an Islamic school that banned the Australian national anthem with a sympathetically spun piece from reporter Phil Wilmington showing the 'misunderstood' school making good by having the kids sing the anthem at their end of year break-up assembly.

Just 20 minutes later, the network's A Current Affair showed the exact same footage of the young Islamists singing Advance Australia Fair while one of the school's outgoing teachers stated the performance of the national anthem was staged entirely for Channel 9's benefit and would not have happened if the cameras were not there.

The overall tone of the ACA item was less than sympathetic.

It was a strange act of editorial schizophrenia, with the ACA item completely at odds with the PC doctrinaire of the 6pm bulletin.

With the media in such mixed message mode, viewers might do best to 'go with your gut' and accept that if it walks and quacks like a duck then it's a duck.

Meanwhile, it can be said with no doubt that reporter Wilmington will make a good dhimmi.

-- Nick

Update: Quote of the week:

"It's like a paramilitary camp that place."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Your ABC

Tolerance for the misdemeanors of their own at the ABC:

"Peter Lloyd has been sentenced to 10 months in prison in Singapore today on drug-related charges, and as such the ABC's employment relationship with Peter has come to an end," an ABC Corporate spokeswoman said in a statement.

"This is due to the fact that Peter is unavailable to work. (emphasis added)

"The ABC has valued and respected Peter as an employee and as an outstanding journalist who is widely admired by colleagues and industry peers."
Admirable indeed, is the ice and ketamine party druggie.

Meanwhile, Australia, here's your 8 cents a day at work:

The broadcaster spent more than $65,000 on initial legal support, counselling and related travel expenses since Lloyd's arrest earlier this year.

(Lloyd's) lawyer, Hamidul Haq, said earlier that Lloyd had expressed remorse.
Would it be too cynical to suggest his remorse was at getting caught doing illegal drugs where they actually punish you for it?

-- Nick

You WILL Be Tolerant

This man is a victim of discrimination by bigots and bullies who want to restrict his freedom and take away his job.

His 'offence'? Being Christian in 2008 Britain.

-- Nick

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flatfoot Flip-Flops

Once upon a time, if moral and social standards defined by common sense could not curb an individual's bad behaviour, the police were there as a back-up, to caution and to cause to move on, or, if the offence warranted, be the arresting frontline of legal sanction.

Now, however, they just make sure you don't hurt yourself when you're so drunk in public you can barely stand:

DRUNK women are to be issued with free thongs by British police to stop them falling over in high-heeled shoes. Officers will distribute the footwear outside nightclubs as part of a $70,000 publicly funded scheme to prevent "alcohol-related harm".

The move has been prompted by fears that women wearing stilettos or similar footwear could twist or sprain an ankle on the way home after a night out. Officials claim female revellers risk cutting the soles of their feet by walking home barefoot.

The thongs... will be given to anyone whose own footwear is "uncomfortable, inappropriate or soiled" and will be paid for using a Government grant.

A dim, slightly whiny voice of complaint just gets in:

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "People don't pay their taxes for drunk women to get free flip-flops."

In another once-upon-a-time, there would have been howls of outrage at public drunkenness being so common and the gutter level to which so large a section of society has fallen, particularly women, who have learned that 'girls can do anything' means drinking until you 'soil' your shoes by vomiting over your own feet.

Here's an alternative suggestion to the police handing out 'flip-flops' - immediate detention and conveyance to a drunk tank, with 3 arrests for public drunkenness resulting in commitment to a psychiatric facility for 72 hours drying out and observation, plus compulsory participation in an ongoing alcoholics treatment program for one year, to be paid for not with taxes but by the offender.

-- Nick

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rites and Wrongs

Schoolies is seen, rightly or wrongly, as a rite of passage for teenagers.

In other cultures, a rite of passage marks a ceremony or event that bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood. It reveals something about the character of the soon-to-be adult and provides them with valuable lessons that enable that young adult to be a productive and engaged member of that society.

If Schoolies is a rite of passage what does it teach children like Ms Fynes-Clinton's son?

My son and his mates have also had some serious talkings-to. I stepped up to the mark early, warning my son, trying to scare him a bit; I deeply and secretly hoped he would change his mind and decide not to go after all. But that was not to be.
That adulthood is a series of violent, binge-drinking encounters where mummy and daddy will pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong?

Or perhaps, as the Gold Coast Bulletin is promoting with its 'pash mat', that adulthood is a time for unrestrained passions and careless sexual encounters?

PUCKER up for the pash mat - the ultimate Schoolies ice breaker.

Set to appear in The Weekend Bulletin on Saturday, it's a handy tool for those hoping to strike up friendships with members of the opposite sex during the hedonistic end-of-school festival.

As the name suggests, the pash mat is all about kissing, with one side featuring his and her footprints to help schoolies score a smooch.

There's also a handy personal space zone to make sure it's the ladies who call the shots.

The other side features everything you need to know about playing tonsil hockey.
It would appear so, as the media celebrates Schoolies with the same drunken abandon as the kids.

No wonder we now see 'kidults' in their 20s who are effectively disfunctional.

-- Nora

UPDATE: No, seriously a Pash Mat?

What on earth was the management of the Gold Coast Bulletin thinking?

So how many sexual assaults will the police and counsellors have to deal with because a drunken, over-sexed teen boy sees it as a licence to grab any girl or, by the same token, how many drunken doxies-in-training will believe they're 'safe' because they're doing it on the mat?

How long will it be before the parent of an assaulted Schoolie takes a class action suit against the Gold Coast Bulletin for their salacious profiteering?.

-- Nora

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Common Sense

The best thing about this story comes in the comments:

We're not allowed to smack them or give them consequences; they're not allowed to hear the word 'fail' at school. They've been told since birth that they are the most important, special person in the world, and they've worked out that it doesn't matter what they do, the worst they'll get is a severe talking to. They can do what they want and take what they want without any real reprisal.

And when what they want is the girl/boy at the party, they don't stop to think twice, because they've never had to do that either.

The bleeding hearts in this society have forced it to raise a generation of selfish, egotistical kids who are incapable of seeing cause and effect or acknowledge that their actions might have serious ramifications (or to care about it).

These kids care only about what they want, not about the effect it has on others, so people get raped and assaulted. Where's your 'peace, love and mung-beans' now, care-bears??

Posted by: Platinum of Brisbane 8:15am November 14, 2008
Comment 5 of 12
Well said, indeed.

-- Nick

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crime and Punishment

Question: Will those calling for a moratorium on the death penalty also sponsor a moratorium on abortion?

-- Nora

Or at least consider asking the people who elect them what they think about the death penalty before coming out with elitist, 'we'll do your thinking for you' garbage like this:

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith... said there was a bipartisan opposition to capital punishment in Australia, at the state and federal levels.
-- Nick

Thursday, November 06, 2008

True To Type

No one gets bitter on the right side of politics quite like Ann Coulter, whose philosophy may well be 'why hit the bulls-eye when you can destroy the entire target?'

But she's surgical with an observation about centrist conservatives of the type of John McCain and how conservative voters see them:

...unelectable, ultraconservative Reagan won two landslide victories... Bush (Snr)... rode Reagan's ultraconservative coattails to victory, then snipped those coattails by raising taxes and was soundly defeated four years later... How many times do we have to run this experiment before Republican primary voters learn that "moderate," "independent," "maverick" Republicans never win, and right-wing Republicans never lose?
There are lessons here for Australian conservatives who are straying too far to the centre to offer a meaningful voice to their constituents for much longer.

-- Nick

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Such A Nice Group Of People

An Obama-boosting lesbian journalist working for a left-wing blog? Why, it's tolerance in action:

An election writer for popular US blog The Huffington Post stabbed and killed her former partner in their shared home before shooting herself, Florida police confirmed yesterday. Police said 57-year-old Carol Burger attacked Jessica Kalish, 57, in the garage of their house... inflicting 222 stab wounds with a screwdriver.
Two hundred and twenty-two? That's a hell of a lot of tolerance.

The Floridians married in Massachusetts in 2005 but - surprise - separated and Kalish had met another woman. They continued sharing their house 'for financial reasons'.

Burger stuffed kalish's body in the boot of her car, dumped it and reported her missing. She killed herself only after police found the corpse days later.

Meanwhile, not all Spaniards are surrender monkeys:

"If these people want to live together, dress as grooms and get married, they might have the right to do so or not, depending on the laws of their countries. But they shouldn't call it marriage, because it isn't," Queen Sofia (of Spain) was quoted as saying... "I can understand, accept and respect there are people of another sexual orientation, but that they feel proud to be gay? That they should get on a float?"
Well, not until they're cornered by the wolves:

The Royal Palace said the Greek-born queen had been misquoted. "The supposed comments which, anyway, were made in a private sphere, do not exactly match the opinions expressed by Her Majesty The Queen," it said in a statement.
-- Nick

Friday, October 31, 2008

In The Clear

Another day, another set of paedophiles who can get away with it:

A TEACHER who indecently dealt with a Northern Territory student will not serve any more time behind bars after winning an appeal for a fully-suspended sentence.
In slashing Paul Incani's sentence, Justice Dean Mildren accused the victim of being 'dramatic' in her impact statement, saying she was reacting as "one would normally expect" to a "romantic" break-up. Link.

Mildren said sending intimate text messages to a 15 year old wasn't a "planned and sustained seduction" as the original magistrate had found. He said she was as willing as he was.

And he excused Incani disguising the girl so he could 'dry hump' her on a lakeshore as being probably because he "must have known" their relationship was "foolish and improper".

Mildren thus recognises Incani's recognition of his commission of a crime but then sounds more like his defence lawyer:

"(He) was very much in love with the child and wanted to meet her in a semi-private fashion," Justice Mildren said.

A TEACHER who put on a strip show for a group of 15-year-olds has kept her job... “I was forced to give the German teacher a warning, but I will not dismiss her because she is a valuable teacher for our institution,” said (Hungarian school principal) Sandor Rozman.

The girl's mother today said she often saw them "cuddling'', and that she repeatedly had to ask them to keep the door open when they were in her daughter's bedroom.
So why didn't mum do anything about her 14 year old daughter being seduced by a lesbian paedophile?

...she did not tell police of her concerns as she had no evidence...
How much evidence do you need? Plenty, apparently, when ones child is being groomed, seduced, perverted and raped by a member of one of modern society's holy orders.

And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, just when is the Education Industry going to apologise for its appalling record of institutionalised sexual abuse of children?

-- Nick

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voluptua Sews

One initially felt sorry for Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs and his granddaughter Georgina Baillie when a pair of radio 'comedians' left messages on the actor's answering machine claiming one had had sex with her:

Ross and Brand left a series of obscene messages on the answering machine when they could not reach Mr Sachs, 78, for a pre-arranged phone interview. Each message, aired on October 18 after senior producers authorised the programme for broadcast, contained lewd jibes about how Brand he had slept with Ms Bailie.
It seemed like the kind of moronic prank afflicting FM radio in Australia.

However, one isn't sorry any more:

Ms Bailie, a burlesque performer known as Voluptua, confirmed she slept with him three times in late 2006 but said: "It was never going to be a serious relationship but I felt I could trust him as a friend. I feel utterly exposed and betrayed.

"What happened between us was supposed to be private but he is clearly no gentleman. What girl would ever want to have to tell their granddad who she slept with? He hasn't asked me about it because he is too much of a gentleman – unlike Russell Brand."

She added: "It was bad enough that they recorded these things on my grand-father's answer machine but astonishing the BBC saw fit to broadcast it when they could have stopped it."
If you don't want your grandfather to be upset by your behaviour, don't behave that way.

-- Nick

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Selective Forgiveness

A single Christian minister goes bad and all Christians are nutters.

A Muslim cleric wants to add to his 12 year old wife with a seven year old one and:

Nearly 90 per cent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim, most of whom practise a moderate strain of the religion.
-- Nick

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Imagine All Those People...

Texas has 10 murders lined up for execution this month and there's lots of talk about frustrated anti-death penalty activists here - not a lot of talk about the killers' victims.

Just executed Joseph Ries and a co-defendant broke into the residence of a 64-year old man who was asleep and shot him in the head, took his car and later pawned his property. Try imagining the victim was your grandfather.

Number Two on the list is Bobby Woods who sexually assaulted an 11 year old girl, then abducted her and her 9-year-old brother, severely beat the 9-year-old boy about the head, resulting in serious injury, and cut the throat of the girl, killing her. Imagine it was your daughter.

Eric Nenno is number 3. He lured a seven-year-old girl to his home, choked her to death when she began to cry then raped her repeatedly and hid her nude body in his attic. Imagine she was your granddaughter.

Gregory Wright (4) broke into a woman's home, stabbed her to death then stole her property, leaving in her car. Imagine she was your mother.

Crack addict Elkie Taylor (5) strangled 65-year-old mentally ill Otis Flake to death so he and an accomplice could rob his home. Flake was found with his hands tied behind his back with white plastic tubing, his feet tied together with a coat hanger, and a T-shirt and two coat hangers wrapped around his throat. Imagine he was your father. Taylor boasted of an earlier robbery-murder of an elderly man who was found with an apron and a coat hanger wrapped around his neck. Imagine he was your uncle.

Number 6 George Whitaker's girlfriend left him because of his abusive behaviour. He drove to her home, shot her mother, pistol whipped her five-year-old daughter and fatally shot his girlfriend's sister in the head. Imagine she was your daughter.

Denard Manns (7) entered a 26 year old woman's home, sexually assaulted her then shot her in the head and chest. He then stole her credit cards, cash and car. Imagine she was your sister.

Eric Cathey is number 8. He and several others abducted Christina Castillo and attempted to force her to tell them about her boyfriend's drug and money dealings. She refused to tell them anything so they shot her three times in the head. Imagine she was your daughter.

Rogelio Cannady (9) made history as the first Texas prison inmate to be prosecuted under a 1993 statute allowing the death penalty if an offender is serving 99 years or life as a result of previous murder convictions. His victim was another prisoner in a medium custody unit. Cannady beat him with a steel lock attached to a belt and kicked him repeatedly in the head with steel-toed boots. Imagine he was your father.

At number 10 is Robert Hudson who stabbed a woman 7 times and slashed her 9 year old son's throat when he tried to protect her. Imagine she was your mother.

These are heinous crimes committed by evil people. All have been in prison a decade or more exhausting an extensive appeals system.

The only frustrating thing about them is that they weren't executed a whole lot earlier.

-- Nick

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pally With Terrorists

No, not that guy. These guys - a group of Gold Coast whale watching tour companies and recent entry into the market, the giant Sea World tourist park.

Until now, Sea World has run a respectable marine research and animal rescue program on top of their behemoth tourist attraction. Their recent entry into the whale watching market must have sent tremors through the other operators who are now banding with them in a whale watching day that's giving aid and comfort to a terrorist organisation - Sea Shepherd.

The rag-tag band likes to call itself 'pirates of compassion' but they're simply pirates, led by a self-aggrandising criminal in 'Captain' Paul Watson. No matter how worthy their espoused cause - and one doubts their sincerity somewhat severely - they act illegally.

Gold Coast companies Australian Whale Watching, Spirit of the Gold Coast, Tall Ships, Whales in Paradise and Sea World Whale Watching need to remember that two wrongs don't make a right.

They also need to appreciate that locals who receive visitors often decide what attractions to show them - and Nora and I won't be showing them Tall Ships or Sea World again as we have before. If they ask for such attractions, we'll inform our visitors of their affiliations and, if they still want to go, they can go by themselves. We won't be boosting their numbers again.

Who said one person can't make a difference?

-- Nick

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Stitch In Time

Daily Telegraph writer Garry Linnell highlights the arguments made against capital punishment then delivers the inconvenient truth:

By the time they make their third point, the anti-capital punishment gang throw in a favourite red herring. The death penalty, they say, is no deterrent to further crime. Yet a recent studies suggest otherwise.

In Harris County, Texas, where executions are most aggressively carried out, there has been a 72 per cent decrease in the annual murder rate since 1982.

In the US, which suffered an explosion of crime and urban breakdown in the mid-1970s at the same time its Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty (later overturned), you are now less likely to be murdered than in 1960.

University of Colorado economics professor Naci Mocan conducted a study on more than 6000 death sentences in the US between 1977 and 1997. His findings suggest that every execution meant five or six extra murders were not committed. "Science does really draw a conclusion ... The results are robust," Mocan said.
Brave lad, Linnell, speaking in favour of a protection under the law that our political and social betters, including the vast majority of the mainstream media, would deny us.

However, Linnell makes the fundamental mistake of falling for a component of the very first anti-death penalty argument he highlights:

Their first port of call is always the claim that the taking of any life lowers and demeans us as a society.
An aspect of this is to portray executing a murderer as murder itself, and Linnell begins his otherwise good piece by doing this very thing, suggesting we 'have murder in our hearts' for wanting the likes of the Bali bombers and the killers of Anita Cobby dead.

The execution of a vicious killer is not murder in a legal, moral or even Biblical sense ('thou shalt not kill' is an oversimplified translation of 'thou stalt not unlawfully take a human life'), nor is it revenge. It is a method of saying to all citizens that a society so highly values human life that, if you unlawfully steal that life from another, your own existence will be forfeit.

Interestingly, comments are invited on the Linnell piece at but none have been published.

-- Nick

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Palin - The Right Woman

Nick and I have been watching the coverage of the US Presidential election season with interest this week following the introduction of Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as the Republican's Vice Presidential nominee.

Here are a number of observations:

1. The media were caught flat footed
It has often been observed that 'it's news if its news to the media'. On other words, it doesn't matter that other people were long aware that Palin had always been on the radar for nomination.

In early 2008, the American Scene thought Palin "seem[ed] very appealing" as a "non-obvious" veep pick and Stop the ACLU said that Palin "would be a great choice." The American Spectator ran a column in February urging that McCain pick Palin. The same month, Ace of Spades pronounced Palin "the perfect nominee for vice president" and Rush Limbaugh said that Palin was "high up on the list, now, of potential vice presidents for Senator McCain." At the end of February, the idea started to seep into the MSM when The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza interviewed Palin and floated the idea of her being the veep.
The truth of the matter is, the media has been too enthralled by Democrat Obama's campaign to pay too much attention to what the Republicans were doing and it came back to bite them.

2. You can be 'the wrong kind of woman'
Who knew? It seems that the cheer leading by institutionalised feminists for successful women is one-eyed to the extreme. The left eye, that is.

One would have thought that the story of a woman who went from joining the school P&C committee and to become a corruption busting, extremely popular state leader, all while raising five children (including one with special needs) with the support of her husband would be a pin-up girl for feminists - 'see, girls can do anything'.

Except, there's a problem as the Daily Mail's Peter Hitchins warned:

Watch as the ultra-feminist sisterhood back away in horror from Sarah Palin, John McCain's new running mate.

Mrs Palin is technically female, but she's enthusiastically married, hates abortion and thinks criminals should not be the only people allowed to own guns. She's everything Hillary Clinton isn't. In short, she's the wrong kind of woman.
Indeed. In fact the National Organisation of Women who purport to speak for women had this to say:

NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy said, "Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton voters and get them to vote, ultimately, against their own self-interest."

Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women's rights, just like John McCain.
What are those rights? Ah yes, abortion. Apparently if you're a woman and don't support abortion, then one is a self-loathing female misogynist.

3. Oh, yes, let's not forget that Sarah Palin is a political conservative
That always flummoxes the media and those on the left side of politics who hate seeing 'their' people (i.e. ethnic minorities, women, gays) hold a view other than their officially sanctioned left-of-centre stereotype.

They dismiss her in a bigoted short hand - Christian, Creationist, pro-life, pro-guns, anti-abortion, anti-gay - when the truth is far more complex.

And as Janet Daly of the Telegraph noted:

Like Margaret Thatcher before her, Mrs Palin is coming in for both barrels of Left-wing contempt: misogyny and snobbery. Where Lady Thatcher was dismissed as a "grocer's daughter" by people who called themselves egalitarian, Mrs Palin is regarded as a small-town nobody by those who claim to represent "ordinary people".

What the metropolitan sophisticates failed to understand in the 1980s when Thatcher won election after election is even more the case in the US: most (and I do mean most) ordinary people actually believe in the basic decencies, the "small-town values", of family, marital fidelity, and personal responsibility. They believe in and honour them - even if they do not manage to uphold them.
Whether Palin is up to the job as Veep is something that will be proven one way or another during this campaign and should be Republicans win the US presidency in November.

But so far, so good.

Nick and I have said that a dream ticket for the US presidential elections in 2012 would be Sarah Palin and Condeleeza Rice.

These two dynamic, accomplished, experienced women who will have earned their place on the ticket and not simply because they ticked the boxes for hollow, knee-jerk leftist, political quota filling.

-- Nora

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Freedom From The Press

We must be allowed to report freely, says the editorial in today's Gold Coast Bulletin, after a trial was aborted and the judge agreed to have the case heard in Gladstone because of biased and sensational coverage in the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Funnily enough, the story deemed worthy enough for a page 4 in its print edition, is not to be found in its online edition.

And indeed that is true. The cornerstone of any true democracy is freedom of the press and this is something that this blog supports whole heartedly.

But there is a proviso - that expectation of, if not right to, that freedom comes with the responsibility to use that liberty wisely.

Sadly over the past 10 years the Gold Coast Bulletin has not used that liberty well.

It has turned from a fair to middling regional newspaper to a second-rate sensationalist tabloid where lines between straight reportage and 'outrage' sensationalism have blurred to the point non-existence.

The faux outrage on its front pages with respect to real and perceived slights against the city have earned the paper the nickname of The Gold Coast Hysterical and is an embarassment to the locals.

Its pages cheapens its young female reporters by making them reveal the minutae of their lives as the Go Girls or, more recently the Play Girls.

How can you take, for instance, a court reporter seriously when she's spent the past five years of her life bemoaning everything from poorly fitting bras, humungous hangovers and leering after hot guys.

The Gold Coast Bulletin gleefully reports on the binge-drinking antics of Schoolies and wonders why Surfers Paradise has a poor reputation.

It attempts to titillate with bikini pictures more suitable for lads mags and wonders why families appear unwelcome in the city.

It plays partisan politics and then wonders why the same lame duck council gets returned.

It slags off at other cities and then wonders why the Gold Coast has a poor reputation interstate.

By all means report freely, Gold Coast Bulletin, but know that you do so only under the condition that you report soberly, seriously and sensibily - attributes sadly lacking in its news pages for a very long time.

-- Nora

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Goodness Gracious

What is good?

It's somewhat of an existential question, but one raises it here in light of today's news:

A man is shot and killed in an aborted armed robbery attempt.

The dead man was one of the hold up gang attempting to ambush guards delivering a cash roll to a bank in Sydney.

"He was good man. He was the best guy in the world," said one relative, who did not wish to be named.
Comments following this story are, not surprisingly, askance that the would-be robber could be described as 'good'.

It brings us back to the topic at hand.

It can be contended that most people would consider 'good' to be merely an adjective - satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree according to the dictionary.

But is that enough? I would suggest not. The fact that a person is not a murderer, not a bank robber, not a thief, is not nearly enough to suggest that they are good.

There is nothing outstanding in not being any of those things. It is reasonable to expect that the vast majority of us are none of those things.

But does that make us good? I would suggest not.

Good is not so much a state of being but instead a state of action.

That friends would remark that their dead compatriot 'was a good man; the best', but it doesn't make him so.

There is no opportunity for moral equivalence - a good man would not commit an armed robbery no matter what his circumstances, a good man would not (implicitly) threaten the life of another by brandishing a deadly weapon.

It's an extreme example and one might be heartened by reading the number of commenters who recognise the fact the one isn't 'good' because one labels him so.

So, back to the question, what is good and how is such goodness measured?

Like everything that can be measured there needs to be an objective standard by which goodness is benchmarked.

It's at the heart of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Were the two people who passed the beaten and seriously injured bloke good?

By a subjective standard, yes. They didn't beat up the victim, they were just minding their own business, they didn't do anything wrong.

Did they do good?

No. Not by the objective standard that Christ uses in the above story.

The man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho was a Jew - an ideological enemy of the Samaritans - no one would have blamed the Samaritan for walking on by - he had even less obligation than the two guys who went by earlier. But he didn't.

He did good by stopping, he did good by obligating himself to the care and welfare of this total stranger, a man who in another time and place might very well wielded a knife against our Samaritan.

No, our armed robber today was not a 'good man' not by any religious or secular definition.

But it does raise a question or two:

Are we good? By what standard? Is it enough? What can we do that is good? What good can we do? And when do we start?

-- Nora

Friday, August 08, 2008

Class Act

Later that day:

Click to view the full size image

Moved out of 'Breaking News' and into 'Entertainment'(?), had nonetheless cleaned up its act in coverage of a murder at a party for rapper and convicted criminal Lil' Kim.

Eight hours earlier:

Click to view the full size image

...and The Daily Telegraph is more interested in 'party girl' Lil' Kim's 'booty' and 'sexy legs' than either a young woman murdered and stuffed in a cupboard or the victim's heartbroken mother.


-- Nick

Sunday, August 03, 2008

And While We're On The Subject Of Unlearned Lessons...

The Gold Coast Sun reports in its July 30 edition that gangs of vandals as young as 13 are spraying graffiti and smashing up a Gold Coast shopping centre at Helensvale, making it a no-go zone after dark.

The Gold Coast City Councillor responsible for the area was reported to be:

...concerned with the behaviour of local youth and wants the culprits caught and stopped.
And how might that be achieved? By telling them not to be naughty and building them yet another skateboard bowl or graffiti wall?

One of the affected business owners blames the young criminals' parents - but isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place:

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke, You gotta understand,
It's just our bringin' up-ke That gets us out of hand.
Our mothers all are junkies, Our fathers all are drunks.
Golly Moses, natcherly we're punks!

Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset;
We never had the love that ev'ry child oughta get.
We ain't no delinquents, We're misunderstood.
Deep down inside us there is good!
-- West Side Story, 1956.

-- Nick

Death Sentence

It's often argued that capital punishment is no deterrent to murder. But it does prevent it.

How can this be so? Here's how:

Eric Thomas Turner... was the last inmate in NSW to be sentenced to death - it was later changed to life imprisonment - over the 1948 strangling murder of his 15-year-old girlfriend. On the same day, Turner also took an axe and murdered the girl's father.

Turner was released in 1970 but three years later he would stab to death his mother-in-law, and then also kill his 11-year-old stepson who went to the woman's aid.
Two people died because a convicted murderer was not put to death and was later released, only to kill again.

The failure of a 12 year prison sentence to teach this particular killer a lesson was itself a lesson that went unlearned by the authorities because when he was again sentenced to life imprisonment in 1973, it was later redetermined to a 20 year non-parole period.

Fortunately, when Turner became eligible for parole in 1993, he didn't seek release and when he finally did so in 2007, something must have sunk into the minds of the parole board by then because he was refused. He died in Long Bay prison hospital last month of lung cancer.

It would have been an unnecssary consideration - and two innocent lives would have been saved - if he had simply been executed back in 1948.

Of course, anti-death penalty proponents might argue that the error lay in not keeping a killer permanently incarcerated.

Indeed, even the most resolved of those on the pro-capital punishment side would have to concede at least a little if this were the case but sadly it's not.

Our 'civilised' response to the 'barbaric' practise of executing murderers in Australia is to imprison them for 10 to 12 years and call it a 'life sentence' to make law-abiding lambs fondly imagine the wolves are being kept from their doors.

In the United States, they execute murderers, don't they? Not really - 0.06% of convicted murders have been executed since 1967 and the average time served by the rest is also 10 to 12 years.

In Britain, eight years is the average time served for murder.

And here are a few more instances of the risk of not executing killers but rather releasing them:

In 1985, 13-year-old Karen Patterson was shot to death.... Her killer was a neighbor who had already served 10 years of a life sentence for murdering his half-brother Charles in 1970... Joe then murdered his adopted father who had worked to persuade parole authorities to release Joe from the life sentence.

Katy Davis... was attacked and forced to open the door by Charles Rector, on parole for a previous murder. (Rector and two accomplices) ransacked her apartment, abducted her and took her to a lake where she was beaten, gang-raped, shot in the head and repeatedly forced underwater until she drowned.

In 1965, Robert Massie murdered mother of two Mildred Weiss in San Gabriel, California. Hours before execution, a stay was issued so Massie could testify against his accomplice. Massie's sentence was commuted to life when the Supreme Court halted executions in 1972. Massie was paroled (and) eight months later robbed and murdered businessman Boris Naumoff in San Francisco.

From Britain:

A 22-year-old man killed a traveller and went on to murder another man while on police bail...
-- Nick

Monday, July 21, 2008

And David Bowie Was The First Man In Space

If one ever had any doubt that the media are morons, consider that Reuters thinks Bruce Springsteen brought down the Berlin Wall:

When Bruce Springsteen spoke out against the Berlin Wall at the biggest concert in East German history in 1988, no one in the crowd of 160,000 had the faintest idea that the symbol of the Cold War would soon be history. But now — 20 years after the American rock star went behind the Iron Curtain — organizers, historians and people who witnessed it say his message came at a critical juncture in German history in the run-up to the Wall’s collapse.
The piece is an idiotic exercise in over-earnest juvenile logic that insults the East Germans who for years struggled to end communist rule of their 'country', often dying in attempts to escape.

While puffing up the meagre contribution of a mere pop star, the writer also attempts to discount the efforts of those in the West who actually did the job of ending the Cold War, most notably US President Ronald Reagan, who worked with British PM Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II to cajole, chide and twist the arms of the Soviets.

The author even tries to paint Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev as the hero of the piece, citing Gorbachev's 'perestroika' as the prime mover towards the fall of the Soviet empire.

Nonsense - it was Reagan who put the pressure on Gorbachev but allowed the Soviet president enough diplomatic room to back down and still save face.

The Reuters piece is historical revisionism of which the Soviet Socialists would have been proud, airbrushing people out of history to present a dangerous distortion of the truth.

Skewering analysis at Newsbusters

-- Nick

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pyjama Party

It's been a long time between sharing cocktails recipes at the Charles' household.

Believe it or not, there are other pleasures than just sipping cocktails:

Between The Sheets
1 oz Bacardi rum
1/2 oz Cognac
3 oz passionfruit juice
1/2 oz lime juice
Combine in shaker with ice. Serve in rocks glass with lime and cherry
-- Nora

A Case Of Deja Vu

Back in the late '90s, one was acquainted with an envirofascist employed by a state body who advocated this:

HOME owners could be forced to turn their houses green before they are allowed to sell them...
This particular person also advocated attending the Nimbin feral festival each year and rolling around in mud. But her wishes are coming to pass in Victoria, with the unsurprising support of a professional body that sees a quid in the offing.

Victorian State Planning Minister Justin Madden is refusing to comment on the proposal and is instead allowing Brian Welch, executive director of the
Master Builders Association, to fire the bullets:

The Master Builders Association wants laws to make it compulsory for owners of all existing homes to meet minimal environmental standards before they are allowed to sell them. The changes will cost each homeowner hundreds of dollars but the MBA says buyers of newly built homes are already being forced to meet five-star standards and they shouldn't be the only ones bearing the burden of helping the environment.

The MBA's proposal includes making it mandatory for homeowners to:

REPLACE single-flush toilets with dual flush-toilets when selling their home.

INSTALL ceiling insulation.

INSTALL low-consumption shower heads.
As in all such cases, there's money to be made by MBA members in this - all three of the nominated tasks are beyond the capability of the average householder.

The MBA would also like inefficient electrical and whitegood products to be phased out.
Of course they would - there's a higher profit margin in the supply of more expensive stoves, cooktops and dishwashers.

Lesson: When someone starts preaching for the environment, ask yourself what's the profit motive.

-- Nick

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If God Did Not Exist, We Would Have To Invent Him

How cute,'s contrarian blogger Jack Marx wants to ban Jesus.

Okay, lets say society had expunged everything to do with Christendom.

What might that society look like? In some respects not a lot different to secular society today. The pagans are gaining the lions share of publicity (like AGW believers) along with Islam which has spread aggressively to the four corners of the world.

There's widespread slavery across all of the world because there was no William Wilberforce.

There would be no hospitals because they were developed by the Hospitaliers of the Crusades. There are no orphanages, no social welfare.

Many of the finest works of art by the likes of Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Mozart, Handel, Tolkein, Dostoevsky do not exist. Lamentably there is no champagne because there is no Dom Perignon.

The world of science is all the poorer for the non-existence of Christians: the research of Bede the Venerable, Roger Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Charles Babbage, Gregor Mendel, Sir Robert Boyd and Michal Heller.

In Australia, because there are no 'God botherers', you can say goodbye to the Salvation Army, Lifeline, The RFDS, Blue Nurses, World Vision.

How's the world looking now?

-- Nora

UPDATE: One might have left the subject above alone, however Jack Marx writes an extracurricular column on Friday to rather ham-fistedly explain that he likes Christians - just not Christ and one of Jack's acolytes writes in comments on this post.

Ya see, Jack likes all the good stuff that Christians do - like the charity and stuff - but he doesn't like the reason why they do it.

He'd rather religious people and Christians in particular keep their trap shut and not disturb his self-indulgent and self-righteous cocoon, so you can see why the joyous public celebration World Youth Day offends him no end.

Jack, having to grudgingly acknowledge the benefit Christians have brought to society, tries a different tack and fares no better.

He picks up on the Michael Newton/Christopher Hitchens/Richard Dawkins meme - the Bible is horrible because it's full of violence. Well, yes, unredeemed human history has been ever thus.

As Sam Shamoun, the Christian apologist points out: "First, the wars and violence found within the OT are descriptive, not prescriptive. They are describing events as they occurred, commandments God had given a specific people for a specific purpose."

In other words, they're historical not instructive.

Jack fires up his Google and goes hunting, picking the oft cited command to kill the Amalekites decribed in the book of Joshua.

The mindless slaughter continues verse after verse, chapter after chapter, book after revolting book, with God’s blessing when not his help.

For me, the only historical text that comes close to it for sheer murderous outrage is William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a book we read today as something of a warning, a parable on how humanity must always be on guard against organised fanaticism.
Well, I'm glad Jack brought up the Third Reich because there is a parallel, but one he is obviously unaware.

The problem with cherrypicking is you tend to miss some of the facts.

The Amalekites were savage, violent and opportunistic. Like others during that time, they engaged in child sacrifice. They also attacked Israel first.

It is the equivalent to hating the Allies for bombing Dresden and marching through Germany without acknowledging that Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland or loathing the United States for dropping the bomb on Nagasake and Hiroshima without acknowledging that the Imperial forces bombed Pearl Harbour.

To describe the act of the Israelites (and by extension the command by God) as immoral, hateful, irrational and genocidal is as emotive as it is inaccurate.

Jack, having done this intellectually dishonest exercise about the Old Testament, turns his attention to Jesus:

Of course, Jesus Christ was a “new improved” God, the Christian New Testament considerably more mellow than its prequel. Christ was no warlord – he spoke of love and turning the other cheek. Nevertheless, he walked in the name of his father, the occasional fit of punchy conceit loitering in his blood

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:34-37).
Subtlety is not Jack's strong suit, so it's no surprise that he fails to understand the meaning of this passage. But ask anyone who has left Islam for Christianity, whether Jesus' words hold truth.

Indeed, what if one of Jack's children turned around one day to say they had become a Christian? What would venom-filled invective would dear ole dad spew?

Whether I believe in God or not I won’t say, but I will say that I despise him. I call him “Super***t”
Ah yes, that would be right.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Burn The Monster! Burn The Monster!

It's official - Dennis Ferguson is a 'monster' and the mob whipped up by the media and others is getting nasty:

The news came as protesters yesterday stepped up their attacks on the child sex monster and those trying to help him. Volunteers for the church-based Prison Fellowship Australia were harassed as they left the property where Ferguson is being housed. In one case, a volunteer was almost driven off the road.

Chaplains working for the group also have been advised against visiting prisoners in jail because of the level of anger among other convicts surrounding the release of Ferguson and his relocation to the government-owned rural property. In other disturbing displays of anger, two molotov cocktails were thrown at Ferguson's hide-out, one of which ignited, causing minor damage to the house. No one was hurt.
Child protection campaigner Hetty Johnston is one of the others but she seems increasingly like the child who, playing with matches, has set fire to the bed and is desperately trying to beat down the flames before mum and dad find out:

Ms Johnston said that after alleged sightings of Ferguson in public she was fearful people who vaguely resembled Ferguson could be "beaten up".
Monsters exist only in children's imaginations. To dub Ferguson a monster is to give him a status he doesn't deserve.

Ferguson is simply a man suffering a mental sickness our society chooses to deal with as criminal behaviour. If the mob wants him and others like him treated differently, they should lobby their MPs, not harrass and commit violence.

As for the media, it's amusing that they (and Johnston) are calling for a Megan's Law but their hysterical rabble-rousing may have nixed such a move by exposing themselves and the population as too immature to handle such responsibility.

For the record, I believe Ferguson should be locked up permanently but in a mental institution as an incurable recidivist exhibiting a mental disorder rather than in a prison as a criminal.

-- Nick

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Too Fat, Too Thin, Not Ethnic Enough

Cognitive dissonance:

...Doukas is credited with creating some of the key "looks" of the past two decades - the glamorous supermodels of the 1980s and early nineties - and the superwaif, led by Kate Moss, that followed...
The story goes on to talk of Doukas' disappointment that ethnic models are not enough in vogue. Then further on in the same story, unnoted for its irony:

Diminishing waistlines is another worry for Doukas, who is thankful that 90 per cent of her girls stick to editorial work instead of the catwalk, where the pressures of shrinking down to a size zero are most intense. But she admits that the stringent demands of the catwalk make her heart sink, and the poster for Beat, the eating disorder charity, which is discreetly tacked to the back of Storm’s bathroom door, hints at this darker side of the industry.
A dark side of the industry superwaif inventor Doukas created, yet nowhere in the report are the dots connected.

Perhaps reporter Roya Nikkhah is concerned she might stop receiving invites to Doukas' events.

-- Nick

Update: More of the same:

Queensland Hotels Association chief executive officer Justin O'Connor said licensed venues were merely responding to the deteriorating behaviour of patrons. "Twenty years ago, a group of people would police itself to limit anti-social activity which impacts on other people," Mr O'Connor said. "Today, there is a reduced tendency to do this (and) in some cases, particularly amongst young men, there is a tendency to show off and act the fool, sometimes resulting in or triggering confrontation."
The QHA is partly to blame for 'the deteriorating behaviour of patrons', its members wanting nearly 24 hour boozing:

The Queensland Hotels Association (QHA) says it has been caught out by some of the details of the State Government's review of the Liquor Act. The overhaul signals the end of early-morning drinking and gambling, with a return to 10am opening... QHA president Tom McGuire says he is disappointed with the decision not to allow pubs to continue to open at 7am.
Here's a suggestion with regard to controlling poor behaviour by grogged-up patrons - a return to 10pm closing as well.

Media Refuses To Prescribe The Truth

A 1662.5 per cent rise in adverse reactions to vaccinations with 1013 reports concerning a particular drug yet the Sydney Sunday Telegraph mentions nowhere in its story that at least eight deaths are associated with the vaccine in the US, along with thousands more serious adverse reactions including paraplegia and blindness.

Why not? Because the vaccine is Australian and its inventor, Professor Ian Frazer, was made Australian of the Year and lauded by an ignorant media that is now reluctant to reveal the truth. Journalists across the country sang the praises of Frazer and joined his call for the vaccination against sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus to be made compulsory for children.

NSW Health's director of communicable diseases, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, says:

"(We) want to check what happens in the real world. All vaccines have some usually very minor side-effects but we are keen to see if some major ones emerge."
Are these major enough?:

"Information has been received … concerning a 17 year old female who in June 2007 … was vaccinated with a first dose of Gardasil … During the evening of the same day, the patient was found unconscious (lifeless) by the mother. Resuscitation was performed by the emergency physician but was unsuccessful. The patient subsequently died."

"Information has been received … concerning a 12 year old female with a history of aortic and mitral valve insufficiency … who on 01-MAR-2007 was vaccinated IM into the left arm with a first does of Gardasil … On 01-MAR-2007 the patient presented to the ED with ventricular tachycardia and died."

"Initial and follow-up information has been received from a physician concerning an 'otherwise healthy' 13 year old female who was vaccinated with her first and second doses of Gardasil. Subsequently, the patient experienced … paralysis from the chest down, lesions of the optic nerve…At the time of the report, the patient had not recovered."
Apparently not serious enough:

Dr McAnulty stressed the benefits of the vaccine in preventing human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer, were overwhelming.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government planned to continue the cervical cancer immunisation program.
Meanwhile, in Australia:

Dr Rachel David, director of public affairs at pharmaceutical company CSL, insisted its vaccination was safe but said the company was also monitoring any adverse reactions.
... while in the US:

(drug company) Merck was lobbying state lawmakers to require the vaccination, but gave that up after its activities were unveiled.
Also in the US:

"Of the 77 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 33 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal abnormities.
Fetal abnormities?

Thalidomide, anyone?

-- Nick

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hearts Broken

Cruel irony:

VANDALS have smashed local skateboarders' hearts by destroying a large section of the new Pines Lane Skate Park at Elanora. Elanora Police Beat Senior Constable Kurt Foessel said the coping around the edge of the skate bowl may have been smashed with a sledgehammer on Thursday night, causing significant damage...

(It) would cost between $10,000 to $15,000 to repair. "They haven't ruined just one section, they've gone along and smashed it at least every metre and a half, enough so that you can't skate it..."
Skateboarders cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to public and private property around Australia ever year with a practice known as grinding (Wikipedia | About).

The damage caused by skateboarders to kerbs, bench edges, steps, railings, copings and shopfront window sills has spawned an entire industry in preventative add-ons.

Some of these devices might be said to be attractive or at least inoffensive to the eye but they are made necessary only because of attitudes of skateboarders ranging from inconsiderate to simply malicious.

Other anti-grinding devices are plain ugly or detract from the appearance of older property when used as a retrofit to attempt to stop their slow destruction, while anti-grinding devices can make public benches uncomfortable.

It all constitutes the kind of 'pre-vandalisation' with which we've responded to damage caused by inconsiderate and anti-social minorities over the past couple of generations. Instead of punishing this behaviour, we've simply vandalised the built environment before they could, making ugly or less useable or practical the design of everything from phone boxes and bus shelters to, well, park benches.

Lest one thinks one is being hyper-critical of 'kids just being kids', (a) cutting kids some slack shouldn't include allowing repeated damage of property, however unintentionally, and (b), a skateboarder who helped design the $160,000 Gold Coast City Council-built skate park notes:

"It's packed every afternoon with kids from 10 years to 40 years old."
'Kids from 10 years to 40 years old' - it says a lot in so few words.

The same person is now asking the council to install lights and cameras to protect the park from vandals and the police have supported CCTV as an option.

All this might be reasonable if skate parks achieved one of their most frequently stated aims, being to keep skaters off the streets and give them a place to go. However, skate bowls are most often like legal graffiti venues - they are taken over by groups of hard-core practitioners who drive out more law-abiding users and simply employ the legal venue as a place to refine skills openly and with impunity that they will later deploy covertly at other, illegal sites.

So what is the answer?

It's not to stop building stake parks - but it is perhaps to stop giving children and 'kidults' what they want, especially from the public purse, until they learn to reciprocate with what other members of society want. And it is most certainly to come down hard and meaningfully on those skateboarders and their wheeled cousins, in-line skaters and BMX bikers, who do the wrong thing.

In the meantime, all the Elanora skateboarder 'kids from 10 years to 40 years old' who have ever done a grind on a public kerb, step, rail or bench or anywhere else that wasn't specifically built to do it have just got a taste of their own medicine.

It might be worth the repair bill if one or two of them learn respect for other people's property as a result but these days one doubts it.

In the meantime, one is left wondering what motivated a systematic sledgehammer attack on the skate park, an act of much more premeditated deliberate damage than grinding, to be sure.

-- Nick

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Femme's Fatal Flaw in Logic

As observed before, Nicky and I enjoy reading Saturday's opinion pieces, they're good for a laugh.

Like this piece from androgynously named Chris Wallace entitled Women will tire of taking the back seat.

Will they, I wondered? One finds it fascinating to read pieces that purport to speak for all of us with a double-X chromosome.

DO KEVIN Rudd's staff hate women or are they just nasty to everyone?

Rudd press secretary Lachlan Harris is rude to female journalists, according to reports last week, which supplied several examples.

As well, on an overseas prime ministerial trip recently male reporters sat together in a bloc on the VIP jet with all the female reporters seated in a bloc behind them.

Rudd and the boys had a long chat over drinks at one stop on the trip, with the female reporters apparently excluded off to the side, Prime Minister-less.
Whinge, whinge, bleat and whinge.

C'mon Chrissie, sweetheart, you've obviously grown up in the feminist era, what's stopping you from going over and joining in? I do, it's my job.

Kevin Rudd, prima facie, has some powerful positives working for him with women.

Therese Rein, Rudd's wife, is a powerful professional in her own right and lends the PM good credentials on his underlying attitude to women.
Right, so Rudd's fem-friendly credentials have to earned by his wife?

That's, y'know, a bit sexist isn't it?

And besides, Therese Rein has earned her money on the back of expansive government contracts so it couldn't have hurt to have had extensive party influence in the form of her husband.

It's just like lauding as independent achievements, the sales of a real estate agent whose husband is the property developer.

Rudd appointed the talented Tanya Plibersek Minister for the Status of Women, another plus. Down a dark alley at night confronted by a pack of marauding men - or in Cabinet confronted by a pack of marauding men - Plibersek is the kind of person you'd be thrilled to have fighting shoulder to shoulder with you.
Often confronted by a pack of marauding men are you Chrissie, or is that just your victim fantasy emerging again?

Rudd appointed four women to really meaty Cabinet jobs, including Julia Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister.

All good. So why did the story get any traction? Because it happened in this context.

Just four of Rudd's 18 Cabinet ministers are women - hardly benchmark-busting, and Plibersek isn't one of them.

The 2020 Summit got the symbolism on women wrong.
Oooh, do tell.

Julianne Schultz and Jackie Huggins' prominent roles alongside Cate Blanchett visibly saved the day in the end, but only just.
Right, just so long as women were visible it really didn't matter about their achievements.

There have been no "early wins" for women from Rudd's election. Yes, the Work Choices rollback helps, but that's not particular to women.

Contrast the treatment of the car industry and, say, parental leave since Rudd's election.
Let's, shall we?

Both got sent off for review - parental leave to the tough Productivity Commission, cars to the dinky Bracks Review.

The car industry gets prominent handouts even before Bracks has reported, but there'll be no parental leave initiative at least until the PC reports next year.

The definitive work on parental leave has already been done, UNSW academic Sarah Maddison points out - by the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission a few years ago.
It may not have occurred to Chrissie that if (predominantly male) car workers lose their jobs, then the women and children those men support will be disadvantaged as well.

And another thing, women have been successfully raising children without the need for paid maternity leave for millennia, so tell me what the priority should be - ensuring there are jobs today or feel good tokenism?

While delighted about the Howard government's demise...
Yeah, what a surprise there.

...Maddison also points out that much backsliding on policies affecting women in the last decade happened under wall-to-wall state Labor governments.
Gee and one of those Labor Governments is headed by a woman too. Whatever happened to the sisterhood, sister?

I'm inclined to believe Lachlan Harris' defence - that he's rude to everyone, not just female journalists.
Well, that's magnanimous.

But the press gallery women's grief is part of a bigger pattern on women that Rudd ought to join the dots on. We had half the votes in 2007 and we've got half the votes in 2010 as well.
And how dare you assume that my opinions will fall lock-step into yours on gender lines, dearie?

We may be women, but we do have brains of our own.

-- Nora

Mobile Billboards

This week's bru-ha-ha over an obscene T-shirt made the local Gold Coast Hysterical postively orgasmic over the amount of traffic their web site generated:

RELIGION and politics may be taboo subjects at the dinner table but yesterday they yielded its most read story of the year.
Yes, that was the intro.

Not that the issue is new. Similar arrest was made on the Gold Coast about 20 years ago in which a young man was arrested wearing another band T-shirt - this one was The Angels and the lyric at the front: "Am I ever gonna see your face again?" and carried the crowd sung drunken refrain on the back.

But no one at the Gold Coast Hysterical would know that because no one has worked there for that long. Seriously.

Our views on censorship have been articulated before. The bottomline is the kids was walking around as a profane mobile billboard, the content of which reveals the core of his immaturity and stupidity.

Yet typically the media and it seems many of the commenters miss the point - the issue has less to do with religious sensitivities and everything to do with screaming obscenities in public.

Fortunately there appear to be two at least who have got it right:

I agree with Ruth, as a Christian myself, everyone has the freedom to express their like and dislike but do it in a reasonable manner. I think it really was the last word on the shirt that was offensive, you could put jack, bill or john on it, it would still be offensive.

Posted by: Dean of brissy 10:53am Thursday
I am an atheist and still found the T shirt offensive. Not because of the reference to Jesus but because of the obscene word. Can you imagine a parent faced with a child learning to read asking "Mummy, what's a C***?" With rights comes responsiblilty and the need respect the rights of the public.

Posted by: Ruth Lievesley of Nerang 9:35am Thursday
Would that everyone else be so sensible.

-- Nora

A Clockwork Pumpkin

A bunch of spoiled 21st century western kids get bored and decide to act out scenes from a violent video game:

In the real-life re-enactment of the game, the crazed youths' rampage involved mugging, several break-ins and an attempted car-jacking in Garden City. "They decided they were going to go out to commit robberies and emulate the character Nico Belic in the particularly violent video game Grand Theft Auto," said Nassau County Police detective-lieutenant Raymond Cote.
Anyone suprised by this has their head in the sand and anyone who says 'only in America' is fooling themselves.

Gross immaturity and violent behaviour are hallmarks of young people throughout the West, including Australia:

A REMARK about a man having a 'pumpkin shaped head' might have been the catalyst in a violent brawl in which three teenagers were allegedly stabbed, the Southport Magistrates Court was told. "We walked in and had a couple of drinks. I was walking around and I walked past one guy and rubbed his head. I said he had a pumpkin shaped head," he said. "He then grabbed me by the throat and the scruff of my shirt ... I ended up walking away and sat down to think. I stood back up and yelled at this guy."
This is not because the West has lesser values than other cultures but because we have mostly abandoned the values that previously gave young people resilience and real strength, not the mock strength of bravado, bluster and violence.

Young people want for nothing so they are bored with everything, seeking more and greater stimulation to allieviate the tedium of a world where nothing is denied them.

Middle class kids exhibit the extreme nihilist behaviour popularly associated in times past with the spoiled brats of the upper classes while kids raised in more impoverished circumstances soon learn that our world's lack of meaningful consequences for ones actions mean that what you don't have can be taken with relative impunity.

The American video game fans were 15, 14, 16 and 17, were bored so they mugged a man, beat him and knocked out some teeth before committing break-ins and enlisting two more friends to stage car-jackings.

Nassau County's Detective Cote continued:

"These teens have difficulty separating fact from fiction, fantasy from reality. It was quite alarming."
But hardly surprising.

-- Nick

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kids Behaving Badly

A history lesson stretching from just after the defeat of Napoleon to the present day:

There was a time when the most powerful curb on bad behaviour was the shame that attached to being upbraided by a police officer or an adult. That stigma has gone, along with any deference young people once felt to the older generation or people in authority...
It's worth reading the whole piece, just as this is:

What we are living through is nothing other than the death throes of 20th-century ideology: the idea that the state is the only repository of civic virtue and moral authority.
-- Nick

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Above Rubies

A wife - for a woman whose full time role is managing a household, what might her 'job description' include:

Running the household? Making sure there's enough food in the cupboard and ensuring the house is clean? Perhaps involvement with her husband's career - entertaining clients, acting as a personal assistant?

That doesn't sound so bad does it?

In one's own professional career, it is extremely common to encounter the husband and wife business owners where the wife's role in the business is bookkeeper, office manager and personal assistant in addition to managing a household.

That doesn't sound oppressive does it?

Well, it does in the bizarro world inhabited by feminists who have castigated a man who has give the label 'virtual wife' to a job advertisement as described above.

Domestic violence worker Chantal Eastwell, who is helping co-ordinate Brisbane's Feminist Conference, was shocked.

"What angers me is that some men do think they have the right to control women in this way," she said.

"It's terrible to have the attitude that women are subservient, and I hope no one wants to take this job."
Ms Eastwell obviously believes that a woman working in partnership with a man is the equivalent of servitude.

What would she rather women do? Just sit on their arses all day waiting for hubby to come home and shower them with jewels? Or live the Sex And The City self-indulgent and empty-headed neurosis first hand?

Stay angry Ms Eastwell, stew in your silly impotent rage - the rest of us women have work to do.

-- Nora

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Bet Each Way

It seems unlikely that Hillary Clinton will get the Democrats nomination in the upcoming US election.

The reason why is made plain by that fabulous observer of leftist feminism, Camille Paglia:

If they are to be truly equal, women must fight their own fights and not rely on a borrowed spotlight. Hillary has tried to have it both ways: to batten on her husband's nostalgic popularity while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of sexism. Well, which is it? Are men convenient sugar daddies or condescending oppressors?

As her presidential hopes have begun to evaporate, Hillary has upped the ante in the crusading feminist department. Her surrogates are beating the grievance drums, trying to scare every angry female out of the bush. From that rag-tag crew, she will build her army. Let the red flags fly! Hillary is positioning herself as the Crucified One, betrayed, mocked, flogged, and shunted aside for the cause of Ultimate Womanhood.

But doesn't this saccharine melodrama undermine the central goals of feminism?
Do read the rest.

-- Nora

Throwing Out The Baby With The Bath Water

It's rare that one finds oneself in agreement with members of the 'arts' community but when Oz magazine's Richard Walsh describes the furore over photographer Bill Henson's pictures of naked boys and girls as 'an overreaction to whipped-up moral panic', one has to shrug and wonder if he's right.

NSW Police have raided an art gallery and seized pictures and Henson will probably face state charges. The art gallery may face federal charges over its web site, presumably for previewing the photos online.

I haven't seen the pictures in question to make a judgement for myself over their content and probably no one will be able to now. They have been stripped from the web and to go in search of them might now attract suspicion of being that most heinous of modern monsters, the paedophile.

Make no mistake - I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children. Let me repeat that: I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children.

Why the repetition? Because when it comes to paedophilia, it appears there is no other word in the language more likely to instantly turn an otherwise intelligent adult into a spitting ball of anger whose outrage renders them deaf, dumb and blind to all appeals to reasonable thought and judgement.

One wouldn't like to be in photographer Henson's shoes right now - we celebrate gangsters who execute their rivals and give their exes TV gigs but even if Henson is found innocent of the charges against him, he will likely have to move lest his house be firebombed. And why shouldn't the baying mob feel entitled to burn the monster when at this moment hysterical Hetty Johnston of Bravehearts, Prime Minister Rudd and the Leader of the Opposition are all queueing up to call Henson and his work revolting?

Is it revolting? Like I said, I haven't seen the pictures but one's better half did on a newspaper web site before they were expunged, presumably for fear of also being swept up in the net that snared the Sydney art gallery. Nora is of a slightly more sensitive disposition that oneself but she noted that although the photos were definitely 'provocative', only one could have been thought 'possibly pornographic at a stretch' and none raised a definitive, immediate red flag.

Nonetheless, the New South Wales public prosecutor and Australian Federal Police are probably about to charge all concerned.

I'll say it again: I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children.

However, the 'paedo paranoia' that is gripping our society is also dangerous.

Witness today this news story:

A parliamentary inquiry is examining whether it is appropriate to have unclothed babies in commercials after it was revealed they are the subject of regular complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). ASB chief executive officer Alison Abernethy said images of babies in advertisements for nappies, Pull-Ups, baby wipes and bath products has raised the ire of sections of the community. "The nappy advertisements top the complaints in the category about sexualisation of children," she said. "Members of the community are concerned that those images will encourage pedophiles."
Just last week, I was happy to vehemently criticise school dance and drama teachers who train nine year old girls to bump and grind like rap gangsta hos just to win rock eisteddfod competitions.

But look, I don't know - it feels like overkill to send in the cops to raid art galleries. And it damn well is overkill to see a nappy ad on TV and be mortally fearful lest the image excite some sicko somewhere.

In fact, it's not simply overkill - it's a sickness in itself. We have reached a point where, whipped relentlessly into a frenzy by the media over this issue, we are seeing paedophiles lurking behind every tree and shrub so we don't let kids play outside or walk to school and we've banned parents from videotaping school pantos because we're afraid the tapes could fall into the hands of 'paedos'.

Even hysterical Hetty called the possibility of bans on nappy ads 'just ridiculous' during a radio interview but we've only reached that point of ridiculousness thanks in a large part to her in her role as Media Go-To Gal for a meaty quote on all matters paedophiliac.

And having reached this level of hyper-hysteria, one can only suggest a certain course of action.

Get up right now and go look through your family photo albums. If you have any pictures of your children in the bath, burn them immediately. They may not fall into the hands of paedophiles but may nonetheless be seen by friends who may report you on suspicion.

The same goes for any videos you may have of your children in any state of undress, particularly if, as many apparently do, you keep your tapes in the bag with your camera. People routinely place forelorn ads telling break-in merchants to keep the camera they stole but begging for the return of sentimental recordings of weddings, parties, etc. But beware - those same scroats who think nothing of breaking into your home, stealing your property and crapping on the carpet may suddenly become deeply moral if, while quickly scanning your tapes in prurient hope of discovering a bathing babe, they spot a bathing baby and they may dob you in.

Further, to all U2 fans - dispose of this album cover immediately:

You sick, sick bastards. They should castrate people like you then hang you.

-- Nick