Monday, November 30, 2009


By @DarrylMason

Deputy PM, Julia Gillard, on Insiders :
"(A leader) can't govern the nation by tweet."
And yet, one day we will probably be voting by Twitter, using laptop thumbprint or iris scanners. Gillard :
People don't expect their politicians to just text out a message.

Imagine, you know, "What do you think the defence budget should be?" And apparently a whole lot of tweets come back and you accept that. That's not leadership."
It's not leadership. But it's an interesting way to get some instant unfiltered feedback, which is exactly what (pending) Liberal Party leader Joe Hockey did last week on Twitter :
Hey team re The ETS. Give me your views please on the policy and political debate. I really want your feedback.
Julia Gillard, of course, is not on Twitter. Yet.

If you're not on it, you don't get it. And even when you are on it, you still won't get it for a while. And then, one day, whap! you realise what Twitter is all about, what it can do, and, perhaps more importantly, what it can do for you.

David Speers, political editor of Sky News, has a great piece on political reporting through 140 character messages :

Now it's all about Twitter.

And here everyone can play along. If you "follow" the right people, anyone can have a front-row seat. The role of Twitter in providing information during the Mumbai terrorist attack and the Iranian election has been well documented.

But last week we saw Twitter seriously step up to the plate in Australian political reporting for the first time.

New developments, big and small, along with pithy comments were constantly "tweeted" by plugged in journalists around the clock. While still relying on party sources for major developments, I picked up a lot of good information from journalists I trust on Twitter.


Like anything to do with press-gallery journalism, there's a healthy dose of competition when it comes to Twitter.

Every journo wants to be the first to tweet something new and there's nothing more embarrassing than thinking you have, only to scroll down and see The Australian's Samantha Maiden posted the same thing 15 minutes ago.

But there's also an interesting spirit of information sharing among competing journalists.

I didn't have much time last week to see or the news during the day, but checking into Twitter once an hour (or a few times an hour when the action in Canberra was heating up), gave me what felt like a front row seat to the historically explosive flurry of activity in the halls and backrooms of Parliament House, as press gallery journalists not only competed with each other to be the first on radio or TV with breaking news, but the first on Twitter. Most of the time, they twooted their scoops minutes before they broke them on air, or hours before they appeared on their news sites.

There are probably more Australian journalists working the twootstream than politicians, but after this week, that will all change. The idea that any serious politician will head into a late March, 2010, federal election without being on Twitter, or at least having someone in their office twooting for them, and reading the @ feedback, will seem bizarre, so very 20th century, and pigeonhole them as being out of touch with their electorate.

If Twitter really takes off with the Australian public, and it certainly seems to be doing incredibly well so far, we will see up-and-coming politicians build their base through Twitter, and arrive in Canberra with thousands of followers, instantly communicating and sharing news with their electorate online.

I'm not seeing a lot of negatives to the above prediction. Eventually, it will be all but impossible for politicians to lie or deceive on Twitter. They'll get absolutely hammered, near instantly, not only by their own followers, but by their political enemies and the digital media always searching for that next Twitter scoop.

For that reason alone, Twitter is great for Australian democracy, and honesty in politics.

The brighter the sunlight, the quicker the dark clouds of spin fade away.
What's God Got To Do With It?

By Darryl Mason

Looks like a photo editor at the Sunday Herald Sun has a sense of humour. Could there be a more non-flattering pic of Tony Abbott (clothed, that is) kicking around to illuminate this story?


Another Glenn Milne 'exclusive' :
The only declared leadership challenger to Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, says he's a "pragmatic common-sense" politician and not a narrow-minded conservative.
Who writes Abbott's material? He should be doing stand-up comedy. Wait, he already is!
Well known for his staunch Catholicism, Mr Abbott said he had never let his religion interfere with his policy decisions....
No. Never. For Abbott, it's always what's best for Christian Australia. And God, obviously.

(Abbott) conceded that colleague Joe Hockey might be considered by some a better choice as Liberal leader if Mr Hockey chose to stand on Tuesday.

Malcolm Turnbull must be sick to fucking death by now of doing so much charity work for the Libs. How much more humiliation can he take?

Abbott :

".....I don't think I am necessarily God's gift to politics...."

Necessarily? He's leaving himself some wiggle room to drop the "I don't think" and "necessarily" should Biblical Armageddon arrive.

"This is not all about me. It's about a change to policy and putting the Liberal Party in the best united state to win the next election."

If the Liberals keep fucking around like they have these past couple of weeks, The Greens and Labor are going to rip away Libseats across the country. Without even trying.

Bob Brown must be laughing himself to sleep.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Science Used To Be Fun

He was mates with Albert Einstein :

This quote pretty well sums up how I feel about the double-hysteria of "Look! Warmy World Government Conspiracy!" surrounding hacked/leaked global warming researchers' occasionally dodgy e-mails, and a fresh ramping up of pants-staining predictions of apocalyptic climate
doom :
"Both sides want to maintain this idea that science is this pure thing, this source of clarity, exactness, and truth. Of course, it isn't. It's a human endeavor, a social endeavor. The people who do it are people full of imperfections."

"Don't Leave The Building. One Of The Trade Towers Just Fell....Please Be Careful"

My first (and hopefully not last) story for ninemsn, on the leaking of Secret Service, US military and emergency services pager TXT messages sent on 9/11, beginning minutes after the first attack on the World Trade Centre. Excerpt :

The whistleblower website Wikileaks last night began to publish some 500,000 pager messages sent on 9/11: many of the messages contain the names and phone numbers of senders and receivers along with intimate details of their relationships.

Wikileaks claimed its release of the pager messages was justified by the historical weight of the information, claiming the half a million texts make up "a significant and completely objective record of the defining moment of our time".

Read The Full Story Here

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Chaser's
new book is now available. With a very timely cover indeed.

You can order an autographed copy here.

I do still have a story on The Chaser coming, focusing on producer/writer/performer Julian Morrow's quest to come up with a new TV show format that will go beyond anything they've done so far, but will not go down the predictable route of easy outrage. As he put it in a recent speech, how easy is it to offend conservatives? Too easy. He doesn't sound interested at all in heading back into that territory.

The story I've been writing is long, getting onto 8000 words, and I think I'll break it up into three parts.

Part One will focus on the shooting of one of their last big public gags (the "One More Picture" bit that aired in the final show).

Part Two will focus on the interview I did with Morrow, the recording of the final show, and what happened at the after party.

Part Three will focus on the speeches Morrow has given since The Chaser's War On Everything ended, and his feelings about what the the War On Everything achieved, where they failed, and what they might be getting up to next.

So thanks for being patient, and I'm sorry it's taken so long.

I hope to get Part One up late next week.

Feel free to post abuse in comments if I miss this hazy deadline.
God : "I Got Nothing To Do With These Racist Fucking Arseholes"

By Darryl Mason

When I wrote this piece the other day, about a leaflet being letterboxed in Sydney by Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party, I was hoping it would turn out to be fake. It had to be fake. This is Sydney, Australia, 2009. Surely nobody could be that fucking stupid?

Well, yes, they can be, and were. The nasty little leaflet is real. And many of the people who received the leaflet in their letterboxes - asking if the electorate was supportive of giving the federal government the power to deport "any Muslim" and stop the building of more mosques and Muslim schools, while introducing an immigration policy to "give preference to persecuted Christians" - are not happy about it. At all.

From the North Shore Times :

A survey of North Shore voters has been condemned as “racist hate politics” by residents, politicians and Christians.

West Pymble friends Bronwen Hanna, a Christian, and Surur Arain, a Muslim, said they were horrified to receive the survey in the mail on Tuesday.

“I felt disbelief that something like this could be written,” Ms Hanna said. “I actually thought, ‘this is a joke’.

“The views and the stereotyping was so extreme.”

Mrs Arain said: “It was really distressing to see those words in print. Implicit in those statements is stereotyping people that they are so bad they could be deported at any time.”

Greens candidate Susie Gemmel.....described it as “an ugly style of hate politics”.

“Fred Nile ... is distributing material that shows a racist, even fascist, ideology behind the Christian Democrats,” she said.

The Full Story Is Here

Incredibly, the Christian Democratic Party claims they don't support any of the ideas expressed in the leaflet, they are simply "asking questions."

If Jesus did return, and saw the shit that some people were doing in his name, he'd purgatory them all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Will Architect Jan Utzon Be Hounded Into Silence For Questioning The Collapse Of World Trade Centre 7 On 9/11?

By Darryl Mason

Sydney Opera House architect Jan Utzon expresses a healthy professional curiosity, and asks reasonable questions, about the collapse of World Trade Centre 7 in New York City on September 11, 2001 :

Utzon, like hundreds of other architects, engineers, scientists, former military officers and intelligence officials from around the world, stated simply and truthfully that the 'official story' of 9/11 doesn't always make sense, and that three steel framed skyscrapers collapsing from fire damage is an event that has never happened before. He concludes that new investigations are warranted.

The Sydney Morning Herald decides to do some gate-keeping and claims Utzon has "signed up for September 11 conspiracy theories", comparing respected architects who have questions about how three skyscrapers can collapse from fire damage to those who believe The Moon landings were faked.

Herald journalist Sean Nichols tries to dob Utzon in to his employer :
An Opera House spokeswoman said Mr Utzon was ''entitled to his personal views outside of his professional work as architectural adviser to Sydney Opera House''.
The Herald's Rick Feneley uses a report by the US National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST) in an attempt to dismiss all of Utzon's questions about the rapid, total collapse of World Trade Centre 7 :

The National Institute of Standards and Technology spent three years investigating Building 7. It names fire as the culprit. Fire - fuelled by office furnishings, aided and abetted by the thermal expansion of structural elements.

"Heating of floor beams and girders caused a critical support column to fail, initiating a fire-induced progressive collapse that brought the building down," said the lead investigator, Shyam Sunder.

Explosives? The institute concludes that the smallest blast capable of crippling the third tower's critical column would have produced a "sound level of 130 to 140 decibels at a distance of half a mile''. No witness reported it.

TV news reports from 9/11 of explosions coming from the vicinity of World Trade Centre 7 before it collapsed. "Keep your eye on that building, it's coming down", "the whole thing's about to blow up" :

Here's a video of an investigator from the National Institute of Science & Technology claiming there was no evidence of molten steel in the ruins of the World Trade Centre buildings. His claim is utterly contradicted by firemen and rescue workers who spent months digging through the wreckage :

The NIST used computer modelling for its theory explaining the collapse of World Trade Centre 7, as all material evidence was removed from the site before the NIST investigations began.

Murdoch Journo Calls Reading Newspapers For Free Online "Piracy"

In yet another article by a Murdoch-employed journalist pumping the coming new reality of "You Will Pay!" access restrictions on Digital Rupert 'news' stories, Terry McCrann does exactly as the headline claims :

The obvious problem is of course getting people to pay for online media and especially newspaper content. Like this one, part of Murdoch's News Corp.

A series of problems actually. The technical one -- how do you actually do it?

The, for want of a better word, piracy one -- how do you stop the content being accessed anyway, by the way that links on the internet work.

Or by the way bloggers will adapt to deal with pay walls around online news they want to "klepto".
You Give God A Bad Name

This is a photo of a leaflet being letterboxed in Sydney, claiming to be from Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party :

(click to enlarge)

Excerpts :
* We should do what the Greenies want and let any foreigners in

* Australia needs no more Muslim schools and no more mosques

* The Federal Government should have the power to deport any Muslim

* We should back brave Israel even to the point of blockading Iran

* Immigration policy should give preference to persecuted Christians
I think I can hear God facepalming from here.

Nearly all the points listed in the leaflet are included in this online survey from the CDP.

I look forward to updating this story with a mainstream media news story link proving the leaflet is a fake, despite the claimed authorisation by the Christian Democratic Party's campaign organiser, Michael Darby.

Michael Darby, you may recall, is the father of Douglas Darby, whose psycho-hate anti-Muslim e-mails were featured in this story from the Sydney Morning Herald.

There's no way this leaflet can be real.


H/T : Journalist Julie Posetti broke this story on Twitter last night.

Monday, November 23, 2009

If Tony Blair Is A War Criminal, Then So Is John Howard

By Darryl Mason

I've been saying it here for years, but has any Australian journalist ever asked John Howard, "While you were in Washington DC, between Sept 11 and Sept 15, did you make a commitment to President George W. Bush that Australian troops would fight the War On Iraq?"

Leaked docs reveal then British PM Tony Blair committed troops to the War On Iraq as early as February 2002.

Did President Bush use Howard's Sept 2001 commitment to fighting the War On Iraq to push Tony Blair to sign on, too?

The documents - transcripts of interviews from an internal defence ministry review of the conflict - disclose that some planning for the Iraq war had begun in February 2002. Major General Graeme Lamb, then head of Britain's special forces, was quoted as saying he had been "working the war up since early 2002", according to the newspaper.

In July 2002, Blair told lawmakers at a House of Commons committee session there were no preparations to invade Iraq.

Critics of the war have long insisted Blair offered President George W Bush an assurance as early as mid-2002 - before British MPs voted in 2003 to approve UK involvement - that Britain would join the war.

The leaked documents are likely to be supplied to a public inquiry established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to scrutinise prewar intelligence and postwar planning, and which will hold its first evidence sessions later this week.

Brown appointed ex-civil servant John Chilcot to lead the panel, which will call Blair and the current and former heads of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency - John Sawers and John Scarlett - to give testimony in person.

When will John Howard finally face the kind of interrogation Tony Blair is about to undergo?

This question is being asked in the UK media : "Is Tony Blair A War Criminal?"

Now Australian troops have been withdrawn from Iraq, it's time to ask the same question of John Howard.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

That's Not The Stapler, Baby

Australia has been rocked by revelations that a male politician had sex with a woman. On his desk. And he wasn't married to her!

Yeah, I know. Mind-blowing, isn't it?

Do you think the journo here is trying to push for something to happen as a result of these 'revelations'?

From :
Allegations could threaten Mike Rann's career...

....a confession that threatens to end his political career.

The former barmaid, Michelle Chantelois, says she had an affair with the Premier in explosive allegations that could end Mr Rann's seven-year rule of the state.

The AAP journalist who wrote this story wasn't willing to put his/her name to it.

Would you?
Rude Words Cause Boring MoralOutrage! Alert

900,000 Australian TV viewers had no problem with the most recent episode of Good News Week. Some viewers, however, who need to keep themselves in the headlines, didn't :
Crude language, sex and violence on the box has a family group claiming TV is becoming nothing more than a septic tank of dirt and garbage.

In Monday's Good News Week, bad language was rife -with the f-word dropped once every 10 minutes. The popular satire program also featured jokes about masturbation, child molesting, erections and sex with dogs.

The usual suspects are involved in these fresh yelps of MoralOutrage!

Family Council of Victoria spokesman Bill Muehlenberg said GNW was just one of a proliferation of "cheap, bottom of the barrel" shows.

"It used to be about coming up with good ideas and talent to entertain people; now, it's all about scraping the bottom of the barrel to be more shocking than the last guy," he said. "It's like diving into a septic tank. There's just too much gratuitous sex and violence on television. The networks should be held accountable.

"Not everyone can afford cable television, so poor people like us are stuck with whatever the networks dish up to us."

Must not have any good books worth reading. Or any thick books based on myths written in the 4th century, and rewritten in the 15th century worthy, of another flick through. Are there no Christian video games yet?

Some viewers"It's not acceptable, particularly on the ABC and SBS because our tax dollars subsidise them."

900,000 other Australians didn't have a problem with that Good News Week. But who cares what they think?

Minority opinions are far more important.
This Is Australia, We Burn

ABC News, 5am :
Firefighters will be given no reprieve with weather conditions expected to deteriorate today with winds and high temperatures forecast.

Overnight 70 fires were burning across the State, mostly in remote and inaccessible terrain in the Blue Mountains the Hawkesbury region and northern areas.

Much of New South Wales is expected to get above 40 degrees, with winds gusting at up to 60 kilometres an hour forecast.

The RFS says under these conditions, firefighting will be extremely difficult and there may be significant threats to property.

It says people on rural properties to the west of Kandos and Rylstone should follow the advice of firefighters.

"If you do not have a Bush Fire Survival Plan, or you have doubts about your ability to protect your property, leave early," a spokesman said.

"Under these conditions fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving.

"Embers will be blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires in many different directions.

"Spot fires will start up to six kilometres ahead of the main fire and they will move quickly.

"These spot fires may threaten your home earlier than the predicted main fire front."

From The Orstrahyun, February 23 :
In the outskirts of Sydney, up into the Blue Mountains, there are some 1.5 million people living in what could be described as "bushland settings." If conditions in the future were ever to mimic Victoria's on February 7, where would all those people go? And who would do all the evacuating?

In Australia, it's impossible to evacuate 500,000 to 1.5 million people from an area under threat. China evacuates millions, some years more than 20 million, from flood zones every time the super-rains come and rivers rise dangerously so. But it takes days to do it safely, and it's a fantasy to think that we have anywhere near the resources to stage such mass evacuations. In Victoria or New South Wales, unlike China, most of those evacuated would have nowhere to go, and state governments would have nowhere to even tent all those people while a bushfire threat passes.

If climate change has in reality given us an horrific preview this year of what's to come, perhaps the now impossible problems of massive evacuation in Australia will be overcome, eventually. Maybe.

This is Australia. We Burn.

UPDATE from ABC News :

The Rural Fire Service says about 1,000 firefighters are battling more than 100 blazes across the state as temperatures head towards the 40-degree mark.

But the Rylstone and Kandos blazes remain the biggest concern, after a fire threatening rural properties at Gunnedah in the state's north was brought under control.

The Twitter feed of updates from the NSW Fire Service is here :

Up to the minute 'Watch & Act' and 'Emergency Warnings' are also available from here :

The New South Wales Royal Fire Service

ABC News has a dedicated 'Bushfire Emergency' page here, the most comprehensive of all media in Australia.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Terrorist Google Earth Porn

Does the apparent lacklustre concern from the Department of Defence about the below story exist because the DoD regards terrorist attacks on Australian military bases as highly unlikely?

The Northern Territory News :

Terrorists can get a detailed birds-eye view of every Defence facility in the Northern Territory from the comfort of home.

...high-quality satellite images of all the NT bases - including Robertson Barracks which is home to about 3000 soldiers - have been published on Google Earth.

And Defence is not concerned.

"The ADF does not comment on details of security but is aware of the capabilities of imaging devices and takes appropriate measures to manage the threat," it said.

The Northern Territory News then helpfully lists major Defence bases that are on display, online, so terrorists don't have to spend time Google-Earthing.

The NTN also points out that :

...even the joint Australia-US Pine Gap military base near Alice Springs is on show.

They're right. It is :

That's surprising.

Unless the American military and spy agencies, like the Australians, regard the chances of terrorists even attempting to mount air or ground attacks on Pine Gap as very unlikely indeed.
"Australian TV Sitcom Writers Are Not Very Funny"

By Darryl Mason

Interesting comments from Bevan Lee, head of creative drama at Channel Seven, on why Australians are not interested in watching Australians in science fiction, fantasy or non-middle class sitcoms and TV dramas.

From NineNews :

....Lee said that the Australian television industry was suffering from a "cultural cringe" factor, with viewers unable to believe high concept stories could happen here.

True Blood, set in a fictional southern US town, has been embraced by Australians, but if it was set or made here local viewers wouldn't accept it, Lee said.

"Vampires in a country town in Australia is equally valid but ... (the audience) would say what a lot of nonsense - vampires in Australia.

"It would be laughed off screen."

So why not a sitcom, then, about vampires in an Australian country town? If Australian audiences would be laughing anyway....

Likewise fantasy or science fiction doesn't work locally, Lee said.

"They go if you're going to come all the way across the universe to invade, are you really going to bother with Australia," he said.

Lee cites the interminable Hey Dad as, rightly, an example of a very successful Australian sitcom, but rails against TV comedy writers who sneer at the show.

"The problem with sitcom writers in the country is they're just not very funny," he said.

That should stir them up a bit.

But I think it's also the case that generations of Australians have been so utterly soaked in American sitcoms and TV dramas, from channels like Seven, that it still sometimes seems odd to hear local accents coming from the mouths of the actors on screen, especially when they're trying to be sitcom funny. We're just not used to it.

But just how committed are Channel Seven to making new Australian sitcoms work? Would they keep a new show on air long enough for it to find its groove, despite crap ratings, like they do in the US?

For example. Have you ever watched the pilot and the very first episodes of Seinfeld? It's like a completely different show. Jerry is Woody Allen-gauge insecure, George is the font of all wisdom when it comes to women (and sells real estate, with confidence), Elaine doesn't exist and Kramer is an apparently alcoholic, morose, shut-in who hasn't left the building in a decade.

Seinfeld, in season two and onwards, however, most definitely found its groove. But the whole show had to be completely overhauled and restructured.

Would Channel Seven ever make such a heavy commitment to a (potentially) funny and successful new sitcom?

Read The Full Story Here


Muslim activist Mal Mac Rae on Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party :

'....the vilification of the Islamic community in the party continues behind closed doors.''

And the vilification continues in abusive emails to Rae from a CDP campaign manager's son :

''stupid moslem c---''

''muslim scum are too busy stacking ALP branches and raping Aussie chicks''.

'(Muslims) 'who habitually engage in child molestation, incest, pack rape … obey the laws of this country or f--- off to Afghanistan where Australians are allowed to shoot you people''.

He sounds like an Andrew Bolt disciple.

Fred Nile and the notorious NSW Liberal MP David Clarke are teaming up for a conference. The theme?

''Australia's Future and Global Jihad''

That should be a laugh.

Read The Full Story Here


Friday, November 20, 2009

NSW Police have released raw video of $1.5 million they found stashed in a car in Cabramatta, and the raid that followed.

Weird, and sort of disorientating, there's no yabbering journalist over the top of this raw footage from the NSW Police. But the images alone spell out what's going on :

There's also this vid, also from the NSW Police media unit, of their Virtual Firearm Training System. Unless the system is far more high tech than it appears, it would seem police are trained by the videos to respond to a scenario - with a taser, chemical weapon or bullet - within a pre-determined time period, to sync up with the reaction of the offender on screen.


Note the scream at the end after the cop opens fire.

Murdoch Media Busted Stealing Blog Content

By Darryl Mason

You may recall Rupert Murdoch, and his minions, recent spectacular fury at "plagiarist" bloggers, search engines and aggregators "stealing" Murdoch news empire's content and then republishing it on their own websites without Murdoch's permission, and without payment.

Here's a reminder of Murdoch's words :
"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. will be the content creators who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs who triumph..."
And here's an excerpt from one of the dozens of recent 'Rupert Says You Will Pay' stories printed in The London Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch :

Rupert Murdoch opened a new front in his battle to obtain “fair compensation” for content produced by his media companies...

The move follows Mr Murdoch’s repeated calls over the past few months for content providers to charge online distributors and his insistence that media companies cannot continue to produce quality content for free. He has accused Google and other search engines of being “content kleptomaniacs” for taking other people’s content....

Imagine cutting and pasting someone else's work into your own blog or news site, passing it off as your own property, failing to acknowledge where the content was sourced from, and not paying the original author or creator for its use?

What sort of low-life content kleptomaniac wannabe-journalist cuntbags would do such a thing?

Well, the London Times would, and just did.

Movie director Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, HotFuzz, the brilliant TV series Spaced) wrote a beautiful, thoughtful ode to actor Edward Woodward on his blog earlier this week, and then today discovered his Woodward piece had been brutally re-edited and then published on the London Times website, and also in the print edition. Without his permission. Without linking to his blog. Without payment.

Edgar Wright on Twitter
Is it appropriate for a national newspaper to reprint my personal tribute to Edward Woodward as if it were an article written for them?

They just lifted it from my blog without asking. And cut off the entire end section about my last meeting with him.

That is the part that bothers me the most. That they edited out the last time I saw him. My last remembrance of him.

They did not credit the source, link back to the original content or edit it down well. Their version makes me look unfeeling

I took great care in writing my tribute. I didn't ask some writer with a deadline to copy it and gut it of all feeling.

Perhaps they would like to send the fee they would pay the commissioned writer of such an article to Edward's memorial
Let's hope so.

Edgar Wright (Uncut) On Edward Woodward

UPDATE : So what did The Times do once Edgar Wright contacted them and asked what the hell they thought they were doing?

They published a reluctant, vague clarification, which doesn't say anything about the fact The Times stole content off Edgar Wright's blog and reproduced it at their website, and in print, without Wright's permission and without payment :
We have been asked to make clear that Edgar Wright's appreciation of Edward Woodward, which appeared in the paper on Tuesday, November 17, was abridged and the full version can be read here or at
For the moment, the link back to Edgar Wright's blog leads to a fail page.


UPDATE : The final word on this fiasco from Edgar Wright :
At my request, The Times are making a donation to a charity of Edward Woodward's family's choosing. So that's something.
No apology, though. Or acknowledgement of the theft.

Murdoch Attacks Bloggers Again, As His Empire Falls

The Orstrahyun Hails Murdoch's 'Death To Free Information' Movement

How The Angels Helped Create Grunge

By Darryl Mason

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, in an interview with Kathy McCabe, praises The Angels :
I grew up on (The Angels albums) No Exit and Night Attack...That is the Australian music that meant so much to me, maybe because me and my friends were the only ones who knew them."

Here's the (now pretty hilarious) album cover, and name change, the American label EPIC came up with for the US release of Night Attack in 1982.

When I was interviewing about a dozen young American and UK bands a month for the music press in the early 90s, I had a standard question which went like this :

"Did you hear much Australian rock when you were growing up? Are there Australian bands you count as an influence or inspiration?"

Obviously, AC/DC was an obvious, often answer to that question, and bands like The Scientists, The Birthday Party, The Go-Betweens, The Saints and Radio Birdman were also occasionally cited, but I was always surprised at how many bands listed The Angels for both influence and inspiration. And not just flat-out hard rock bands like Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue.

I'd have to dig through a bunch of boxes to find the article, but I'm pretty sure it was a member of The Melvins who told me that The Angels' 1983 schizophrenic, heavily jammed Watch The Red album and No Exit were something like foundation stones of American grunge. That might sound a little mind-blowing, but you only have to listen to the first albums of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Green River to hear the obvious influence The Angels had on these bands, and the grunge sound in general, which, listening back now, really does basically sound like loud cranking 1970s Australian pub rock.

Classic Angels :

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Digital Rupert Predicts Death Of All Newspapers

Ex-Australian alleged newspaper industry visionary Rupert Murdoch now believes that only a
Kindle-like digital reader can save the newspaper business :

“If it doesn’t, newspapers will go out of business. All newspapers. There’s just not enough advertising to go around.”

All newspapers, Rupert? Or just most of yours?

The day that Australians are expected to start paying to gain access to Digital Rupert News Media seems to keep slipping deeper and deeper into 2010.

Meanwhile, NineMSN, Yahoo7, the ABC and SBS will not be charging readers to access their online news, and now Fairfax has announced it will Wait N See how disastrous the paywalls turn out to be for Digital Rupert before they make a decision.

The other huge problem that Digital Rupert doesn't mention, at least in the US, is that even while established newspapers are still online for free, eyeballs are already going elsewhere online. America's most famous newspapers, including Murdoch's New York Post, are hemorrhaging readers.
More than two out of three among the top 30 newspaper Web sites reported year-over-year declines in unique users in October according to new data from Nielsen Online.
It's not just a case of, as Murdoch claims, "there's not enough advertising to go around." There's also not enough readers, for the massive abundance of digital news, to go around. There's simply too much else to do online, or on an iPhone, than to read through the same headlines you've already seen on half a dozen other news sites, or on Twitter.

Physical newspapers are no longer essential for most people in their day to day lives. And online newspapers are becoming, likewise, less than essential for those who can access a world of free information and news already.

These are revolutionary, and revelatory, times for the established corporate news media that can now no longer control, or even majorly influence, the flow of news and information. At least, not like they could and did, only a few short years ago.

Tim Burrows (Mumbrella) : Murdoch Not Bluffing On Threat To Block Google
Melbourne. Winter 1990 :

"This is for filthy, scumbag, degenerate, thieving, throwing up smackies everywhere. Rot in peace."


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Catastrophic" Fire Conditions Expected In South Australia Today

The still-fresh horror of February's Victorian bushfire holocaust puts an extremely grim perspective on all such warnings now from the Bureau Of Meteorology :

Wednesday, 18 November 2009 is forecast to be very hot and dry for most of South Australia. Fresh northwesterly winds over the pastorals and parts of the northern agricultural districts will shift fresh southwesterly during the day.

Catastrophic Fire Danger [100+] is forecast for the Northwest Pastoral and Flinders

Extreme Fire Danger [75-99] is forecast for the Northeast Pastoral, Eastern Eyre Peninsula and Mid North

Severe Fire Danger [50-74] is forecast for the Riverland Total Fire Ban district.

The Country Fire Service advises that fires burning under these conditions are likely to be fast moving, unpredictable and uncontrollable
The BoM alert was issued at 4.25pm Tuesday afternoon.

ABC News reported last night that residents in Catastrophic Fire Danger regions of South Australia had only until this morning to get out :

CFS strategic services manager Mick Ayre says residents of the North West Pastoral and Flinders districts must decide whether they will stay or go as soon as possible.

"The best advice we can give you is to think very carefully about whether you can withstand or fight a fire on a day of catastrophic fire ratings," he said.

Mr Ayre says if people decide to leave, they must be gone by early tomorrow morning at the latest.

"In a catastrophic fire danger situation, no houses are definitely guaranteed to survive," he said.

"If you decide to stay you could die in the attempt to save your property... "

A volunteer fire fighter told the ABC two-thirds of the people who lived in areas under 'Catastrophic Fire Danger" were still not aware, by yesterday evening, that they might have to make a potentially live saving decision by this morning.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Imprisonment, Coerced Abortions, Embezzlement, Physical Violence, Blackmail"

Australian Senator Rips Into Church Of Scientology

Xenophon Vs Xenu

By Darryl Mason

The story breaks on Twitter, via journalist Latika Bourke :
(Senator Nick) Xenophon says claims of covered up murders, blackmail, torture, imprisonment and forced abortions within Church of Scientology.
Senator Nick Xenophon today, under parliamentary privilege :
Scientology is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.

What you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave.

The letters received by me which were written by former followers in Australia contains extensive allegations of crimes and abuses that are truly shocking. Crimes against them and crimes they say they were coerced into committing.

There are allegations of false imprisonment, coerced abortions and embezzlement of church funds; of physical violence and intimidation, blackmail and the widespread and deliberate abuse of information obtained by the organisation.

What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality. On the body of evidence, this is not happening by accident, it is happening by design.

These victims of Scientology claim it is an abusive, manipulative, violent and criminal organisation, and that criminality is condoned at the highest levels.
Senator Xenophon said he received eight letters from former members of the Church of Scientology after he first raised questions about the legitimacy of the church's tax exempt status. He has passed the letters alleging criminal activity onto the police and has called for more former members to come forward if they were witness to criminality inside the organisation.

Xenophon wants both police and parliamentary investigations into the Church of Scientology and a full review of its tax exempt status.

The Church Of Scientology quickly released a two page statement accusing Nick Xenophon of "Xenophobia".

Note the precise use of emotional trigger words throughout the statement :
"Senator Xenophon is obviously being pressured by former members who use hate speech..."

"Senator Xenophon's attempts to marginalise fascistic and violates freedom of speech..."

"former members are notoriously unreliable as witnesses"

"this is a propaganda campaign that would suit a totalitarian regime, not Australia"
In a further attempt to cast immediate suspicion on the claims made by the whistleblowers and Senator Xenophon, the statement from the Church of Scientology also includes this lengthy quote from a British sociologist :
"The disaffected and the apostate are in particular informants whose evidence has to be used with circumspection. The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates. Not uncommonly the apostate learns to rehearse an ‘atrocity story’ to explain how, by manipulation, trickery, coercion, or deceit, he was induced to join or to remain within an organization that he now forswears and condemns. Apostates, sensationalized by the press, have sometimes sought to make a profit from accounts of their experiences in stories sold to newspapers..."
Presumably, Senator Xenophon is aware how far the Church of Scientology has gone in the past to foul the names of its critics, and those who accuse it of criminality, and illegitimacy.

The Church of Scientology should have taken up the suggestion of The Chaser's @DomKnight that Senator Xenophon is guilty of blatant Xenuphobia.

But the Church of Scientology don't like to talk about Xenu, in public :
(Xenu was) the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology dogma holds that the essences of these many people remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm
This is John Travolta as Xenu :

The Xenophon Review into the tax exempt status of the Church of Scientology should, of course, be extended to review the tax exempt status of all Australian churches and religious organisations.

UPDATE : Comments from Prime Minister Rudd :

"Many people in Australia have real concerns about Scientology."

"I share some of those concerns. Let us proceed carefully and look carefully at the material he has provided before we make a decision on further parliamentary action."

Nick Xenophon's Full Speech

Certified Punk Boffin

Dr Karl catches some awesome, with help from Frenzal Rhomb's Jason Whalley :

A brilliant example of how to get your message out, in song, without being a boring, evangelising trout.

About 30 seconds into the video, the words "believing silly things" appear over a copy of The Bible. And yet, Dr Karl recorded the vocals for this song wearing a Jesus t-shirt :

I suppose that's kind of punk....
More Immeasurable Hurt?

The Professional Idiot has admitted he obsessively reads Crikey articles, editorials and comments in a quest to note down every nasty or rude thing someone writes about his delicate self. He has a reputation to protect, apparently.

A letter from Andrew Bolt to Crikey publisher Eric Beecher :
Last week I drew your attention to comments and blog postings you had published over the space of just a few days calling me a “proven liar”, “nutty”, “unhinged”, “underhand”, “loopy”, “paranoid”, a “hypocrite”, a “racist”, “dishonest”, “hysterical”, “petty”, “evasive”, “deluded”, “irrational”, lacking in morality, someone guilty of “deliberately misrepresenting” people, “full of poisonous shit”, and a “notorious liar” who practices “lies, misrepresentations, and deceit”, “lies, distortions and smears”, “fakery” and “cowardice and dishonesty”, while giving “tacit approval” to “extremist sickos” and “playing the paranoid schizo’’, resembling in my person an “asylum for the criminally insane”. You conceded that these comments included a number of statements that were “untrue and unnecessarily personal in tone”.

Bolt was also very upset by this piece from Crikey's Pollytics back in April :

The Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt actually thinks Crikey contributors want to anally violate him with calculating devices. No, he really, really does :
I’m still considering how to respond to Crikey’s “quality journalism”, especially after this latest foul claim, and any lawyer should consider themselves free to advise.
Or does he mean "advise for free"?

Any Murdoch journalist considering taking legal against bloggers for allegedly causing hurt of the immeasurable kind should keep in mind Blair's Law :
As a blog war intensifies, the probability of lawyers being called in to protect the glass jaw of the more cowardly party approaches 1.

– Inspired by the precedent set by the aborted 2009 defamation case of (Australian journalist/blogger) Tim Blair vs Teh Left.
Someone in comments at Bolt's is suggesting they start a legal defence fund for their conspiracy-addled Guru Of Truthernessnessness.

Piffling pseudo-threats of legal action against Crikey by journalists and lawyers in the Murdoch empire make more sense when you remember that not only is Crikey a powerful and influential critic of the Murdoch media, but they are also online Australian news media competition in a crowded market.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clive James is massacred in a brutal book review in the Daily Mail. Highlights :

He tells us he is a frequent guest at Sandringham and that the Prince of Wales has dined at his house...we recall that what James remains best known for is showing us clips on television of Japanese game shows....James's fiction - Brilliant Creatures, The Remake, The Silver Castle - is total tosh...he seems to be making a desperate attempt to be associated, to be connected....Happy with the fact he has an 'ungovernable ego', James ought to be flung into the recycling bin with his some curious, crass level the clumsy swagger humanises him - as if he's unaware of how awful he is...The reader cringes on James's behalf, wishing he wasn't such a prize prat....Television brought James the riches and fame he craved. But as far as his ambitions to have been an artist of merit are concerned, he squandered his talent, which is tragic. Then again, to witness how fatuous and conceited he has become is pure comedy


More Here
This Is Your Brain On Meep

A high school principal in Boston is attempting to ban students from saying, or yelling, or even wearing, the word 'Meep'.

He robocalled parents and threatened expulsion from school and possible police action for all students who refused to stop saying "Meep".

When a New York lawyer contacted the school with a simple message, 'Meep', the assistant principal told him his e-mail had been forwarded to police.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 2000
: Saddam Hussein announces Iraqi oil will be priced in euros, not US dollars.

March 2003 :

Mid-2003 : Iraq's oil goes back to being priced in US dollars, not euros.

November 2009 :

“The idea that an oil company was participating in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution leaves me speechless”

100,000 to 1 million : Number of Iraqis estimated to have been violently killed during the War On Iraq.

5 million : Number of Iraqi children left orphaned by the War On Iraq.

6000 : Approximate number of coalition government and American private corporation soldiers and agents killed during the War On Iraq.

1 in 4 American soldiers returning from Iraq require ongoing medical and mental health care.

70% of Iraqi children are believed to be suffering trauma-related symptoms as a result of the War On Iraq.


115 billion barrels : Iraq's estimated oil wealth

340,000 barrels : Estimate of oil consumed by the Pentagon per day.

Possessing the world's largest fleet of modern aircraft, helicopters, ships, tanks, armored vehicles, and support systems - virtually all powered by oil - the Department of Defense (DoD) is the world's leading consumer of petroleum.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chuck Norris pontificating on how The Elites Are Faking Global Warming To Create A One World Government is the very definition of 'conspiracy porn' :

Good times.

Fox News is now The Alex Jones Show, but with a bigger budget and flashier graphics.
Cinema used to be such stupid fun.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Smokey October sunsets over Sydney

It's Still Shit, But We Like It Now

In April, 2009, Chris Mitchell, the editor of The Australian, compared 140 character messages on Twitter to acclaimed BBC TV dramas and Oscar winning movies and found that Twitter messages are lacking, in depth and detail and profoundosity.

Mitchell predicted the fast demise of the global message distributor, under the headline Time Is Up For Twitter.
Like swine influenza, technologies such as Twitter race around the world before spluttering out.

...the story it tells about the latest online fad is always the same. Like diseases that must mutate to infect ever more hosts, transitory technologies have an enormous impact until people build up resistance...
Twitter's 140-character message format is a content-killer, leaving most tweets with the compelling content of those "I'm on the bus" mobile phone conversations impossible to avoid on public transport.
Stupid, useless Twitter.

But wait!

Octoher, 2009 : More than 50 million people visit Twitter each month. One if five internet users are doing something Twitter-related on a regular basis.

And so, today :

Just in case..

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Alf's 94 year old hand