Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Journalists Suing Journalists....Is Graceless & Weird"

In follow-up to this post about the downright sad and pathetic legal battle that sees Daily Telegraph blogger Tim Blair suing Crikey bloggers for defamation, here's Blair writing about talkback host Steve Price successfully suing Crikey founder Stephen Mayne for defamation back in 2002 :
"...leaving aside the matter of journalists suing journalists, which is graceless and weird, Price took this action – at a cost to himself of $150,000 – to restore his reputation. But has his reputation been restored? Most journalists I've spoken to today believe the opposite."
Graceless and weird, indeed.

(via @cosmicjester)

Tim Blair Vs Crikey : Stupid Blog War Now Wasting NSW Supreme Court's Time

By Darryl Mason

Apparently he decided to only go after those he thinks he might actually get money from, if he wins :

(Daily Telegraph associate editor and blogger) Tim Blair is now suing Eric Beecher's Private Media, publisher of the website, in the NSW Supreme Court for defamation. He is understood to want tens of thousands of dollars because of the damage to his reputation.

Damage to his reputation? I thought his reputation as a journalist was damaged almost beyond repair years before when he and his gormless commenters spent months attacking the character and motivations of an American mother whose young soldier son died in the Iraq War....

More from Sean Nicholls & Jessica Mahar :

....the Diary understands the trouble began when one of Crikey's bloggers noticed that the IP address - or computer identification number - of one of the people commenting on Blair's blog was identical to Blair's own IP address. In effect, the blogger wrote, Blair was so hard up for comments to his blog that he had resorted to writing his own comments, under another name. It sparked almost a year of demands by Blair, through his lawyers, that Crikey atone for what he says is a false accusation. While the blogger published an apology of sorts early in the piece, Blair was unsatisfied because he thought it repeated the alleged defamation. A couple of weeks ago he took the matter to court.

Here's the (now deleted) early March 2009 apology from Crikey's Pure Poison that failed to repair the immeasurable hurt allegedly caused :
Correction and apology to Tim Blair

In a post last night titled “Sockpuppet Worn” it was suggested that enthusiastic Pure Poison critic “WB"....had been making comments from Tim Blair’s private IP adress. The post, now removed from the Crikey site, included speculation on the identity of WB, concluding that it was Blair. Tim denies this flatly, and notes that people in the same house would share an IP. Commenters to the original deleted post had also made that point. We don’t know any more than that WB comments from the same private IP. Our criticisms are reserved for whoever “WB” turns out to be. We unreservedly withdraw any allegation that Tim has been using the “WB” identity, that he had personally used this identity to artificially boost his “hits”, and apologise for any offence caused by the above.
Blair's Law appears to be true, after all.

No typing cats were harmed, immeasurably or otherwise, in the posting of this story.

UPDATE : Sorry, all comments are closed on this blog for the moment. I'm guessing you can understand why.

Iraq and Afghanistan war correspondent Paul McGeough poses a question :
Australia is occupied by a foreign power and you join the resistance — where would you draw the line between name-calling and suicide-bombing?
And details his dream newspaper front page headline :
World's Last Arms Manufacturer Closes Plant, Join Former Competitors Aiding Agriculture Projects In Africa
More Here


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming to Australian cinemas, June 1 :

Air Supply as a key theme song for this "gritty" Australian movie? Really?
I Smoke, And I Vote

Murray Clapham, a director of the Victor Chang Foundation, writing in the Jakarta Post :

''The real argument is here in Indonesia some quite remarkable Indonesian scientists and doctors have discovered that cigarette smoking can, with specially treated cigarettes, significantly assist people's health and has the potential to cut health costs around the globe.'

''One thing we must do is learn from the ancient wisdom and find out how to grow healthy tobacco. Indonesia has made a start and it's a great place to do it. Unfortunately my country (Australia) has almost banned any private initiatives in this area.

''Tobacco is certainly not the key factor in many of the health issues attributed to it; the jury should remain out on that.

''These and other matters are still the subject of investigation. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water here in Indonesia now. To conclude, let's ban unhealthy cigarettes and promote healthy smoking.

''This will serve many purposes, the pro-smokers can have their cake and eat it without fear, the anti-smokers are likely to have a new cheap readily available healing tool.''

"Healthy smoking." There's two words I don't think I've seen paired together before. At least not in the past few decades anyway. And smoking as a "healing tool"?

Woody Allen's 1973 future-satire Sleeper foresaw this day :

"Here, smoke this. And be sure to get the smoke deep into your lungs."

"I don't smoke"

"It's tobacco. It's one of the healthiest things for your body."

I have no idea whether or not these skit-style VicRoads ads will help reduce death tolls and car accidents, but they're pretty funny and more likely to cut through and be remembered because they aren't grim lectures :

More VicRoads Ads Here

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mitchell Library, in Sydney, one of Australia's most beautiful and historically important buildings, is now welcoming virtual visitors to areas of the library once off limits to mere members of the public.

A slide show of some of those areas, collections and exhibits from ABC News

One of the collections includes the death mask, and mementos, of one of my childhood literary heroes, Henry Lawson :

(photo from ABC News)

Henry Lawson wrote the perfect Australian short story for bored boys sitting in late 1970s stiflingly hot classrooms wondering what droning story their teacher was going to read to them next. That perfect Australian short story is The Loaded Dog. Not only did Lawson go into great detail about how to constuct a devastingly powerful bomb (for fishing purposes), the tale romped along and had a gruesomely funny ending.
...there was a vicious yellow mongrel cattle-dog sulking and nursing his nastiness under there - a sneaking, fighting, thieving canine, whom neighbours had tried for years to shoot or poison.

Nearly a dozen other dogs came from round all the corners and under the buildings - spidery, thievish, cold-blooded kangaroo-dogs, mongrel sheep- and cattle-dogs, vicious black and yellow dogs - that slip after you in the dark, nip your heels, and vanish without explaining - and yapping, yelping small fry. They kept at a respectable distance round the nasty yellow dog, for it was dangerous to go near him when he thought he had found something which might be good for a dog to eat. He sniffed at the cartridge twice, and was just taking a third cautious sniff when --


When the smoke and dust cleared away, the remains of the nasty yellow dog were lying against the paling fence of the yard looking as if he had been kicked into a fire by a horse and afterwards rolled in the dust under a barrow, and finally thrown against the fence from a distance.
Read The Loaded Dog By Henry Lawson Here

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I must admit, Harold Hulk and George Bush were two of my favourite prime presidents of Australia as well.

This harmless vid sparked a gusher of gruesome elitist snobbery :
"What a devastating indictment of our education system and culture of proud know-nothingness"

"Beats me why these neanderthal boofheads are 'heroes' and 'role models'...they’re brainless, mysogynistic idiots who chase a ball around a field."

"they really are only required to be able to grunt and tie their shoelaces."

"Yet Australia still has compulsory voting?"

"I want a refund of my education tax money."

"I haven’t seen a better argument for ending compulsory voting."

"how moronic do you have to be NOT to know only five prime ministers?"

"Footy players, AFL or League are by definition thick as two short planks. The come from the working class"

"Why would you expect them to know names of prime ministers when they probably need to take off their shoes to count the twenty?"

"This is the best reason I have seen to restrict voting to those who can pass a general knowledge and intellingence test."

"Compulsory voting stinks. What a marvellous way to bugger up democracy."

"This is utterly shameful."
Some footballers don't know much about Australian political history so they should have to sit a test before being allowed to vote?

It's probably for the best those haters of Australian culture and democracy have somewhere to go to unburden themselves of at least a small portion of their spite and bitterness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Labor, state and federal, are extremely worried about The Greens, and their ever-growing popularity. The anti-Greens campaigning by Labor, in the lead up to the federal election, has begun.

Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner kicks the campaigning into gear :

The Greens are not some benign group loosely allied with Labor. They're not a middle-ground party. They're not idealistic activists changing the world. They're just another political party, no less cynical or manipulative than the others. They feed off Labor's need to make compromises to marry progressive reform with majority government. Their energies are directed to attacking Labor, not the conservatives.

It might seem like a good idea to support those who yell the loudest, but it's unlikely to produce good outcomes. Labor is the only worthwhile option for achieving progressive change through parliamentary politics. It might be a bit piecemeal and gradual, but it beats the hell out of doing nothing.

While he doesn't say it directly, Tanner is pushing a mantra that declares if you vote for The Greens, then you are also voting for the Liberal Party, whether you intended to or not. It sounds surreal, but it's a line Labor will continue to push, perhaps hoping that opposition leader Tony Abbott will come to The Greens defence, which would allow Labor to brand them as radicals, extremists, or worse.

It won't happen anytime soon, but Labor clearly understands that if a new generation of Liberals find much common ground with The Greens, that is a mid-decade Liberals-Greens coalition, Labor will be in big trouble.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Donald Ritchie, who has lived opposite The Gap for nearly 50 years, has shown what can be done when you have the chance to intervene. He and his wife have talked many back from the brink, with a few kind words and the offer of a cup of tea. Honoured with an Order of Australia, Ritchie has talked more than 160 people out of taking their lives.
Malcolm Turnbull on The Gap, where some 50 people every year jump to their deaths.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44. More than 65,000 Australians try to take their own lives every year, more than 1880 succeed.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photos By Darryl Mason
The Northern Territory News always delivers :
Aliens could be the latest to weigh in on the nuclear waste storage debate after UFOs were spotted near the proposed Territory facility.
How can you not read the story after that intro?

In the NTN, even storms have a local crime-related angle :

"We Know What You Are Against, Now Tell Us What You Are For"

It's hard to see this as some kind of prelude to war. Gone is the talk of 'Axis Of Evil' and the 'War On Terror'. Obama could not sound anymore reasonable, which no doubt infuriates his most fevered critics, who aren't used to, and do not like, reason after eight years of BushCo.

NeoCons and anti-Muslim warmongers can shriek all they like about 'worldwide threat' posed by Iran getting nuclear energy, demanding the UN "do its job!" (despite usually claiming the UN is utterly useless), but Russian and China will not back tighter sanctions, they've moved on, nor will they allow the US, or Israel, to attack one of their biggest trading partners.

It's not going to happen.

And President Obama knows this.

Friday, March 19, 2010

He Really Liked Peter Costello

The glory days of the influential, hard drinking, extremely well paid political journalist are over.

Glenn Milne is one of the last to fall :
The automated email response from News Limited gallery hack Glenn Milne delivered the news: “Please be advised that as of the 13/03/2010 I no longer work for News Limited Sunday Papers, I still work for The Australian.” Milne is directing correspondents to a Gmail account, presumably because his role at News is now as Australian column contributor only.
Interesting. So Glenn Milne gets sacked from the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Herald Sun for being a very expensive and all but useless inventor of quotes from anonymous 'senior Labor officials', but will still be writing columns for The Australian? Presumably the rate of publication of his columns in The Australian will fall off as he eased out of the way in time for serious election coverage.

Unless he writes them for free, of course.

VexNews :

Warned late last year after being summoned to a gathering of the Sunday newspapers’ editors that he had to pick up his game, the axe finally fell this week.

Milne is believed to have been on a package well in excess of $250,000, a number considerably in excess of most of his bosses. They compared their own productivity to his poor performance as a Gallery lounge lizard and found him wanting.

Frequent complaints about Milne included his lack of current political connections, his failure to generate exclusive stories of the kind he frequently promised and his tendency to share with editors “his stories” that were not much more than prevailing gossip around the water-cooler in the Gallery.

Exhibits from Glenn Milne's Hall Of 'Journalistic' Shame & Hilarity. 1) :
....more Australians have died as a result of the Rudd government's home insulation program, "administered" by Environment Minister Peter Garrett, than lost their lives in the Iraq war.
2) Glenn Milne announces Tony Abbott's friends should tell him to quit politics and go home to his wife :
...watching Abbott's disintegration you have to ask whether the strength of those convictions was ever viable in an environment where the electorate increasingly likes its politics "lite" in all respects, including when it comes to values.

In some senses, Abbott is simply too honest and too raw for modern politics...
3) My favourite :
Peter Costello will take over a decimated Coalition unopposed as Opposition Leader, knowing he would have been able to mount a stronger fight against Kevin Rudd and Labor.

There is unlikely to be any credible challenge to Mr Costello when he formally stands as leader at the first Liberal Party caucus meeting.

Previous contenders - Alexander Downer, Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull - have all faded under the weight of their own mistakes.
Glenn Milne used to get paid $250,000 a year to come up with stuff like that?

Just another example of the amazing excesses of 20th century corporate journalism. How could such a business model do anything but fail as the decades long decline of newspapers ran headlong into endless free comment and content from the internet?

Democracy Hater

By Darryl Mason

How much does Rupert Murdoch's most prominent Australian opinionist, Andrew Bolt, hate democracy? So much it makes him seethe at the free election choices about to be made by Tasmanians.

He's trying to claim, yet again, as always, that people who exercise their democratic rights in a way that displeases him are mentally ill.

If you don't like the free and fair democratic vote we have in Australia, Mr Bolt, why don't you go live in North Korea?

Love it or leave it, democracy hater. Love it or leave it.


One of the first movies to be filmed in Australia is believed to have been made as a "Fuck You!" to the early international movie-making competition. was seen as too risque for Australian audiences although it proved popular in European cinemas.

It was produced in 1896 by French filmmaker Marius Sestier, who was dispatched to Australia by a French film company in a bid to introduce cinema to the colony.

The newly-restored film contains the 19th century equivalent of a well-known gesture of contempt, as the rollerskater lifts up his coat to show the camera the imprint of a white palm on his posterior.

The Video Is Here

Politicians are calling Federal Election 2010 'The Twitter Election', apparently :
Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming told a parliamentary seminar discussing the "Twitter election" that politicians could use the social networking site Facebook as a powerful tool to phish phone numbers.
Yes, a federal member of parliament does appear to be lavishing praise on a form of digital identity fraud, at least according to this headline :

From the Courier Mail :

"There is extraordinary capacity there to create non-political pages and harvest and phish huge numbers of not only emails but mobile phone numbers," he said.

"And once you have a mobile phone number . . . they don't have to follow me, I phish them and can sort of harvest huge numbers of mobile phone numbers and then I just drop them onto a single piece of software and I can SMS hundreds if not thousands of people directly when I choose."

Yeah, that'd work great. If people didn't furiously mind getting spam messages from politicians on their phones and want to punch the sender in the face, or the nuts.

What's the thinking here?

And if it really is going to be 'The Twitter Election', what should we make of the massive gulf in Twitter followers when it comes to the main event?

There's no denying the incredible power of a politician being able to reach thousands, or tens of thousands of voters through Twitter updates, free of media filtering or re-interpretation.

So far on Twitter, Rudd (and/or his team) is making Abbott look like an amateur.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From imagery by NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites, twin tropical cyclones over the South Pacific on March 15:

(click to enlarge)

More On The Cyclones From Earth Observatory

The twin cyclones hit the Solomon Islands and Fiji hard. Cyclone Tomas has been hammering Fiji for four days. Dozens of homes were damaged in the Solomon Islands. The death toll is rising in Fiji.

UPDATE : Tourist resorts off the Queensland coast are now being evacuated.

Two Believers In Old Superstitions Battle For Leadership Of Australia

What in all fuck?
Kevin Rudd has taken on his arch-rival Tony Abbott on a heavenly question - whose saintly namesake is the best?

At a dinner in Brisbane to mark St Patrick's Day, attended by both leaders, the Prime Minister jokingly contrasted his namesake - St Kevin of Glendalough - with Italy's St Anthony.

Mr Abbott (said) "...the PM is trying to be more Queensland and more catholic then he really is."

Sticking to the Irish-Catholic theme, Mr Abbott joked that Archbishop John Bathersby said that Mary Mackillop's second miracle was to bring him as leader of the opposition.

Can you both step into the 21st century, please?

The Full Story Is Here


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baby Monkeys Wonder Why They're No Longer The Cutest

If Mr Shuffles dies suddenly, or even worse, gets sick and dies slowly, there will be uncontrolled weeping in the streets of Sydney. And probably a state funeral.

In this downright adorable vid, the elephant calf's mother moves into action, it seems, only when she realises he can't get out on his own, and the elephant on the far right is concerned enough to at least drop his pole, for a while anyway :

Yeah, dunno if a baby elephant taking its first dip qualifies as a "close call". Have they never seen an elephant swim?

Inevitably, Mr Shuffles has a Twitter account. When he's not trying to escape, he is busy lobbying to stop a competition being held by Taronga Zoo and the Daily Telegraph to change his name.

Whatever his new name turns out to be, it won't be as memorable as Mr Shuffles.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tony Abbott is continuing to use the term "All hat and no cowboy" to describe prime minister Kevin Rudd. So I'll repeat what I wrote here on March 8 :
Last night, Abbott also attempted to unleash on prime minister Kevin Rudd.
"It is pretty clear he is a guy who is all announcement and no follow through. He is, to coin a phrase, 'All Hat And No Cowboy'."
Abbott didn't coin the phrase. It's been in common usage in Texas for decades :
"It is not a compliment in West Texas to be referred to as 'All hat and no cowboy'. It is a term of derision used to indicate the person has little real character beneath the very thin veneer of appearance."
It's a good line, but it doesn't sound very Australian.

There is argument that the correct West Texas historical phrase is actually "All Hat, No Cattle", which certainly sounds more local.

Or perhaps Abbott knows this phrase, too, and decided not to use it to attack Rudd, because it has been popularly attached to George W. Bush since the late 1990s.
Abbott will stick to "all hat and no cowboy". He won't allow himself to be seen comparing Rudd to Bush. Ever.

John Howard, his unofficial adviser, wouldn't let him.

"They Think I'm A Fucking Dickhead! I'm Fucking Not!"

The return of the angry, angry, angry Australian. Warning, this audio clip contains Level 5 Rage & Swears :

He sounds like some supremely unhinged relative of Kenny.

(via @Benjamint)
Two year old Cohen Stone, from Perth, has achieved international fame the easy way, by crawling inside a lolly machine and getting stuck.

His mother took the photo. She claimed he was upset. Note the little thief is so upset he's trying to pacify himself with lollies. The family walked away with an apology and a $50 voucher.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Zealand : It's There For The Taking

We cannot wait for New Zealand to become a threat to Australia's national security. They vigorously deny pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but information leaked to The Orstrahyun, by various defence industry lobbyists who are worried that a winding down of the War On Terror will result in a reduction in profitable war industry contracts, say that while New Zealand currently does not have nuclear weapons and is not actively trying to pursue a nuclear weapons program, the intent to do so at some future point in time is a possibility, and the dream of New Zealand becoming a dominant nuclear power in the Pacific is more than likely being discussed, if not in an official capacity, then at least between a few people at a pub on a Friday night.

Enough is enough.

UPDATE : Reader Damien points out that, while New Zealand appears vulnerable to invasion, the presence of Corporal Willie Apiata hasn't been taken into consideration :

Photo by Philip Poupin

Invasion cancelled.

Heart Full Of Hate

Miranda Devine, yesterday :
"....the internet has made it possible for people to express that hate before their better instincts kick in, before the instant rush of blood to the head dissipates and is forgotten. Their primal viciousness is captured and congealed in digital form."
It sure is. Miranda Devine, February 12, 2009 :
If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.
Miranda Devine, December 2006 :
When commentators describe the deteriorating situation in Iraq as "satisfying" because it gives them an opportunity to score a point against rivals who supported the 2003 invasion, they reveal an addiction to Schadenfreude so profound it has alienated them from moral reality.
When challenged, Devine could not produce one example of any commentator, in Australia or elsewhere, stating they found car bombings in Iraq "satisfying".

And here's Miranda Devine, on the victims of Cyclone Larry, which included mothers who waited in long queues for two or three days in the rain, to get food and clothing for their
infants :
" much as we will miss their avocados and bananas on our supermarket shelves, we can live without their whingeing."
Primal viciousness, indeed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

There's not a lot of tourist attractions around Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia.

But there is a decorated termite mound :

Photo by Eliot Garvin

Friday, March 12, 2010

This radio ad from the UK takes Australia's old "Alert, But Not Alarmed" campaign into disturbing new realms of suburban paranoia and neighbour loathing :

Presumably it will be only a matter of time before we get identical ads here.

Probably closer to the election....
The Daily Telegraph :

Are there really "respected Australian psychics"?

And if so, why doesn't the Daily Telegraph get rid of their journos and employ psychics instead?

Tomorrow's News Today, literally.

Shot At Overnight Fame Flames Out

Contrary to popular belief, publicist Max Markson cannot sell any old shit to Today Tonight for a suitcase full of cash :

I will keep trying. But I can't say I'm not disappointed.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

ABC Blinded By "GroupThink" Claims Chairman

ABC chairman Maurice Newman on why he believes the Australia media in general, and to a less defined degree ABC news and current affairs, has been intolerant of climate change doubters. Newman blamed "GroupThink".

Excerpts from an interview on ABC's PM :
"The media hasn't been good at picking these things up and it's really been the question of what is conventional wisdom and consensus rather than listening perhaps to other points of view that may be sceptical.

"And I brought in as well in that vain what's been going on in climate change where there's been clearly a point of view which has been prevailing in the mainstream media, and the fact that again perhaps consensus and conventional wisdom may not always stand us in good stead.

"I think the ABC has probably been more balanced than most in the mainstream media. I think that we've listened to the words of sceptics as well as those who are scientists in the field.

"But climate change is at the moment an emotional issue but it really is the fundamental issue about the need to bring voices that have authority and are relevant to the particular issue to the attention of our audiences so that they themselves can make decisions. So that we are seen to trust and respect them sufficiently that they can make up their own minds about the various points of view that are being expressed through the medium of the ABC.

"....I still have an open mind on climate change, I have an open mind on a whole range of issues because I think that to have a closed mind leaves you in a position where if you take a strong stance you are likely to be wrong-footed.

"I think that what seems fairly clear to me is that the climate science is still being developed. There are a lot question marks about some of the fundamental data which has been used to build models that requires caution."
The Full Interview Is Here

Crikey publisher Eric Beecher :
With just one speech, the ABC’s chairman has returned the national broadcaster to the days of having a politically interventionist board running a culture wars agenda — and he has done it by trashing the editorial independence of some of this country’s finest journalists.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

She Finds Your Lack Of Faith In Her Faith Disturbing :

But What Kind Of Truth Is It?

I'll be talking on ABC radio at 1.30pm (Sydney time) about popularity of 9/11 conspiracies and the American 9/11 Truther movement, which the American mainstream media is currently pumping as a potentially violent extremist group.

This sudden fresh interest by the US media in the 9/11 Truther movement, claimed by the Washington Post in a lead editorial to be "lunatic", follows the branding of the Pentagon shooter as a "Truther", and the announcement by Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth, in press conferences around the world, that they had now gathered the signatures of more than 1000 architects, scientists, engineers, pilots, firefighters for a push for a criminal investigation into the 9/11 attacks, and their aftermath.

This short piece in the Washington Times, the only mainstream American media to mention the February 19 press conferences, lays out their key questions and claims.

A common theme raised in online discussions about this apparently more serious group of 9/11 Truthers is : The Bush administration lied about Iraq being responsible for the 9/11 attacks, they lied about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, they lied about torture, so why should the Bush administration official version of the 9/11 attacks not be at least questioned, if not re-investigated?

You can listen in at ABC Online Radio here.

UPDATE : For those who were listening to ABC Newcastle a few minutes ago, here's the links to the key sources I referenced and discussed during the interview :

Washington Post Labels Japanese Politician Part Of "Lunatic Fringe" For Questioning Bush Administration Official Story Of 9/11

The Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth

Washington Times Says 9/11 Truth Push For Criminal Investigation Has "Political Implications" For Congress

American Current Affairs Show Disappointed Not To Find Ranting Violent Wackos At 9/11 Truthers Convention
Apparently, deputy prime minister Julia Gillard excites the same sort of weird fantasies amongst middle-aged conservative men as Margaret "You Naughty Boy!" Thatcher once did:
"Has she bent global warmist Tim Flannery over the dispatch box in the middle of Question Time and administered a richly deserved spanking with a dead penguin....?"
I predicted it would be a month or more before Australia's conservative media elite began claiming that Julia Gillard is planning to, or is "set to challenge", prime minister Kevin Rudd for the leadership of the Liberal Party. I was wrong.

It's Already Begun
The Daily Telegraph online, still classy :

Or to put it another way :

4 Out of 5 Modern Women Mostly Trust Their Men With Shared Finances

So how did the Daily Telegraph get that headline and story out the results of a poll that asked :
Do you or do you not "totally trust partner with shared finances"?
Well, you have to consider that the story was written by Joe Hildebrand.

And that the poll cited comes from Westpac's 'Women's Unit' (a PR unit) and the story concludes with the suggestion that partners having separate accounts for business and home finances will lead to less fighting over money issues.

More accounts mean more bank fees, which, coincidentally, now account for the vast majority of Australia's major banks' profits.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Andrew Bolt, the soon-to-be easy listening morning radio host, thinks this is representative of the "predatory gay" :

Even though they're also wearing speedos in a non-beach setting, this is not gay or even remotely homosexual, nor predatory. At all.

The "predatory gays" at least bothered to put on some footwear.

This brilliant tilt-shift vid by ZebraFive was "constructed from over 9000 stills shot on location around Sydney using a Canon EOS 5D MKII."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tony Abbott : It's Time For Big Business To Share The Wealth Around

By Darryl Mason

Tony Abbott on paid maternity leave, July 2002 :
"I'm dead against paid maternity leave as a compulsory thing. I think that making businesses pay what seems to them two wages to get one worker are, almost nothing could be more calculated to make businesses feel that the odds are stacked against them."
Tony Abbott, last night on Lateline, stacks the odds :
"If we are gonna have a comprehensive paid parental leave scheme any time soon, the fairest way to do it is for it to be a cost on business, and the fairest way to make it a cost on business is to ask larger businesses, the businesses that have the greatest capacity to pay, the businesses that have suffered least through the global financial crisis, they're the people who can best bear it."
Tony Abbott wants big business to share the wealth around, in particular to single-income families?

Who does he think he is? Obama?
"(Compulsory paid maternity leave) is pro-family, it's pro-child, it's pro-mother, and in the end, it's gonna produce a much stronger economy, because if we look after mothers in the workforce, we'll have more kids, and there is no greater contribution to the future economic strength of Australia than the kids we have now."
Well, kids, and coal.

Tony Abbott wasn't too keen to be reminded of the statements he made back in 2002 by Lateline host Leigh Sales :
TONY ABBOTT: ....I'm fully aware of that quote, Leigh. I have changed my mind.

LEIGH SALES: I'm sure you are. Our viewers ...

TONY ABBOTT: And isn't it a good thing to change your mind as your understanding grows?

LEIGH SALES: That is quite a change of heart.
TONY ABBOTT: Yeah, no, look, I accept that.

LEIGH SALES: So what's brought it about?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, what's brought it about is deeper understanding of the practical difficulties of women who are trying to juggle families and careers. We should not ...

LEIGH SALES: And how have you come to that deeper understanding?

TONY ABBOTT: By, I suppose, being more conscious of the burdens that friends and family members are carrying and of thinking more deeply about the sorts of choices that I would like to be available for my own daughters.
He wants big business to pick up the tab for his daughters' maternity leave.

So what's good for Abbott's children is good for Australia. I wonder if he had elderly relatives who smoked cannabis to relieve arthritis pain and reduce inflammation he would suddenly be backing medicinal marijuana?

Last night, Abbott also attempted to unleash on prime minister Kevin Rudd :
"It is pretty clear he is a guy who is all announcement and no follow through. He is, t coin a phrase, 'All Hat And No Cowboy'."
Abbott didn't coin the phrase. It's been in common usage in Texas for decades :
"It is not a compliment in West Texas to be referred to as 'All hat and no cowboy'. It is a term of derision used to indicate the person has little real character beneath the very thin veneer of appearance."
It's a good line, but it doesn't sound very Australian.

There is argument that the correct West Texas historical phrase is actually "All Hat, No Cattle", which certainly sounds more local.

Or perhaps Abbott knows this phrase, too, and decided not to use it to attack Rudd, because it has been popularly attached to George W. Bush since the late 1990s.

You may feel sorry for the journalists, but the Fall Of Newspapers is set to claim many victims, least of all obsessive-compulsive newspaper stackerers :

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Welcome To Melbourne

Photo from The Voxel Agents

A roundup of the freak Melbourne storm, from ABC News Melbourne HQ, with the great shot of a journalist reporting on the storms, holding an umbrella, inside a building, due to the amount of water pouring in through the roof.

Holy Fuck!

details on the above incredible vid of flash flooding in Melbourne earlier today :
I was there having coffee, the sky turned grey within seconds. Withinsecond, hail storm. Within 3 minutes, the street has gone chaos. It was a wave pool and flying branches and bins.
Melbourne's Flinders Street, a few minutes after storm clouds appeared :

Ballistic Freak Hail Storm Slams Melbourne

Now this is 3D :

The storm become curiouser and curiouser for Clemence Harvey, of South Yarra, who was watching the new Alice in Wonderland film with her 13-year-old in a packed theatre at the Jam Factory when water started pouring in front of the screen.

"Water started pouring through the ceiling and a torrent of water was pouring right in front of the screen, then they put a very large bucket down."

And it isn't over yet.

Seriously, how much testing do the weather machines need? They work, okay?

Now they're just showing off.

Brilliant digital artist Monomauve has 'detooned' Mr Monty Burns.

The Full Ex-ell-ent Image Is Here

Of course Australians have known for years what Mr Burns would look like, detooned :


By Darryl Mason

Liberal Party activists Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt get started on their campaign to seed division in the federal Labor Party vote, by pushing deputy prime minister Julia Gillard as the person who should leading Labor into the next election.

After all, Kevin Rudd is a one term prime minister, or so goes the new chant, even though polls show nothing like the anger and outrage against Rudd that professional Liberal Party activist-columnists, including Miranda Devine, claim is running wild across the land.

You know what's coming next, don't you? A full-blown campaign from the Friends Of The Liberal Party in the opinion pages of, mostly, the Murdoch media claiming that Gillard "has almost got the numbers" and "is set to challenge for the leadership of the Labor Party."

It's early March now, the election is likely to arrive before late November, so they'll need at least four months to really get those Gillard Vs Rudd rumours flaming up, after they light the first fires of course.

So expect rumours along the lines of "Senior Labor Party officials believe Rudd is dooming the government to one term" and "Gillard knows she can win where Rudd cannot" to start flooding the gruesomely predictable opinion pages of the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph and The Australian in a month or so. Paul Sheehan from the Sydney Morning Herald can be relied on to join in the chanting, too.

Murdoch-funded Liberal Party activists like Andrew Bolt want to get started now, he's champing at the bit, but he knows it's still a bit too soon.

First, Glenn Milne has to fill a Sunday Telegraph page with "leaks" from "senior government figures", and then it's on.

Not the federal Labor government leadership challenge, just the column filler that will breed more columns and heated talkback debate. Anything, anything, to avoid devoting all but the most hostile attention to The Greens, who are shaping up to gain control of the Senate.

The 20th century newspapers have to at least try and give the impression that they can still influence the outcome of elections, even if they no longer really believe it themselves.

And it surely must be only a matter of weeks now before some Liberal Party politician embarrasses himself by claiming Kevin Rudd is an "Epic Fail."

Or maybe they're saving that for some of their 'hip' new campaign ads?

March 10 update : And so it begins, earlier than I predicted :
"Jones and I aren't alone among conservatives for falling for a politician whose choice of books now suggests she's readying to take over from the increasingly friendless Kevin Rudd."

"Watch your back Kevin."

"So while we love challenger Gillard now...."
She's already challenging Kevin Rudd for leadership of the Labor Party? Scoop!

And this note of warning :
"I fear this love for La Gillard may well end in tears, like Act 5 of Romeo and Juliet itself."
Julia Gillard will appear one day to be dead, and Australian conservative journalists will commit suicide and then Gillard will wake up from her sleep to find them all dead and then kill herself out of intolerable grief and loss?

And, man, and I thought I had some weird fantasies :
Has (Julia Gillard) bent global warmist Tim Flannery over the dispatch box in the middle of Question Time and administered a richly deserved spanking with a dead penguin....?
The Sydney Morning Herald headline promises to reveal "The Dark Side" of a missing Australian nuclear scientist.

So what have they got?

His personal website reveals a man with bower-bird interests. These ranged from an obsession with suicide rates in the United States, Japan, Britain and Australia, the writings of Japanese Kamikaze pilots, Quebec's suicide ''hot spot'', ''suicide clubs'', The Complete Manual on Suicide to holocaust scenarios of nuclear attack, chemical poisoning, terrorist attacks and extensive works on the morality of war.

That's a bit thin to label someone having a Dark Side, isn't it? Bit weird, perhaps, but what if most of it is related to his research?

The story of the missing nuclear scientist is strange indeed.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Weaponised Fruit

As you may have already heard, British prime minister Gordon Brown has a temper of Ruddian proportions. But new reports keep hitting the British media about just how fiery and abusive Brown's temper can be. Even innocent fruit does not escape the Brown wraith.

An excerpt from an article in The Sun :

A factory worker claims that during an official visit to his plant the PM hurled a tangerine into a laminating machine after flying into a rage while on a phone call. He said: "The fruit got stuck in the machine and clogged it.

"It was very embarrassing, we had to stop the tour and he got even more angry. He called the person that gave him the tangerine an idiot."

Robert Popper is responsible for 'TangerineGate'


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

@Tara_Moss asks
is this the 'Headline Typo Of The Year?' It may be Typo Of The Decade :

However, the story is good news. The Royal Institute For Deaf and Blind Children celebrated its 150th anniversary today. Author Tara Moss joined Therese Rein at the celebrations, which included the unveiling of a video conferencing room at the new library. Video conferencing that will eventually allow hearing impaired kids to talk to the world, and hear all those voices talking back.

Sometimes I want to give the miracle of digital technology a big hug.

The Institute's website is here, where you can also donate.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fox News = Quality Geography

THR notices Fox News is still struggling with its geographic disability :

It's not the first time Fox News has made such a mistake.

(Via @sreejd and @chaslicc)
Poodle-Kitty spotted in Erskineville :

Monday, March 01, 2010

Northern Territory : Fish Fall From The Sky Twice in 2 Days

Local : "Thank God It Didn't Rain Crocodiles!"

grab from photo by Christine Balmer.

Last Thursday and Friday afternoon, residents of a Northern Territory town saw hundreds of fish fall from the sky. Locals claim the fish were still alive when they hit the ground.

On both days, the rain of fish began around 6pm.

'Newsbreaker' Christine Balmer told the Northern Territory News :

"Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere.

"I haven't lost my marbles. Thank god it didn't rain crocodiles."

I would go see that movie. As long as the rain of crocodiles fell over a city.

Lajamanu is the town where the fish fell from the sky. It sits on the edge of a desert, hundreds of kilometres from lakes, or the coast.

Even more bizarrely, rains of fish fell on Lajamanu in 2004, and in 1974.

A weather forecaster told The Northern Territory News that a tornado could have been responsible, but there were none in the area on the days the rain of fish occurred.

Go Here For More

This story is now being picked up by the Drudge Report, Reddit, Digg, thousands of bloggers and the news wires. The Northern Territory News has found its clickbait tale of the year.

And it's a good, more accurate choice by the NTN to use the term 'Newsbreaker' for what other media call a 'Citizen Journalist'.

In other Northern Territory News news, a monkey disguised as a normal everyday cat is running across roads. Points for the headline, though : 'Chimp My Ride.'