Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Australian Coup : Does Kevin Rudd Know Something We Don't?

In the Twitter reality, Kevin Rudd is still prime minister of Australia, and was not deposed in a coup on that began one week ago, on the morning of June 23.

This is the @KevinRuddPM twitter page on June 30 :

Shortly after the coup, the 'Verified Account' tick disappeared from the @KevinRuddPM page.

Last night the 'Verified Account' tick reappeared.

@KevinRuddPM is still posting updates to his 930,000 or so followers on Twitter about moving his family from Canberra back home to Queensland :

For nearly a week, Australians have been posting messages to @KevinRuddPM on Twitter pouring out their shock and disgust at what happened to the prime minister they believed they elected, and had the right to vote out at the next election if they weren't happen with his performance.

The messages are a portrait of a country, outside of Canberra and the mainstream media, where support for Kevin Rudd as prime minister remained in the majority, and his literally overnight disappearance as their leader remains mostly a mystery. How can they his happen in Australia? they ask, over and over. Aren't we a democracy? Don't we get to choose our prime minister?
What have they done to you? What have they have done to this country?

A recent sampling :

As far as most of the media here are concerned, however, this official approval of the coup from Rupert Murdoch is all that needs to be said :

But millions of Australians don't agree. Labor politicians are acknowledging "the anger out there" over the coup, but they've done little to address it.

If Julia Gillard doesn't round up Labor voters lost thanks to bitterness, anger and bewilderment over the coup, they're going to be in real trouble.

Last night, Julia Gillard attended a function in Brisbane. She must have been thanking whoever you thank when you don't believe in God that the protesters weren't holding up 'Bring Back Kev' signs :


Monday, June 28, 2010

Police violence against Sydney anti-war protesters 2004 - 2007 :


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mr Percival : Hero Or Barbarian Pelican?

By Darryl Mason

Storm Boy, the 1977 movie of Colin Thiele's childhood altering book :

Storm Boy got a screening on ABC2 on Saturday night, decided to catch it because that's how I roll (now I don't rock so much). We did the Storm Boy book and movie in primary school. It's fascinating to re-watch, many decades later, a movie that impressed you, made you weep, as a kid.

However, Storm Boy is a bit hard to enjoy as adult without thinking horribly/cynically, 'Wait...Mr Percival might be smart and might really like this kid, but that pelican grew up with a free feed, he can fend for himself, but he doesn't want to. He's lazy. That pelican is there primarily for the fish handouts.' Therefore, Mr Percival was a New Barbarian.
And another thing becomes starkly clear, early on, that didn't register as a kid who thought it would be plenty cool to live on a beach with a fucking huge pelican....well, for a while anyway, it becomes obvious that this dune shed isn't a dream place to dwell and that the father is living with the kid, nicknamed Storm Boy by a local Aboriginal man, in a scrap wood and sheet metal humpy in amongst wind blasted sand dunes because he's utterly shattered by the death of his wife, and has literally withdrawn from the world, from the 20th century, taking his son with him.

If the trio of orphaned pelicans, fresh out of their eggs, hadn't turned up in the lives of Storm Boy and his dad....

Some observations made via Twitter as I soaked up Storm Boy last night, spoiler warning in effect :
What a brilliant children's story Storm Boy is (Ch 22). Kid lives on a beautiful beach, no shoes, doesn't have to go to school and his best mate is a pelican

Storm Boy rescued the pelican, Mr Percival, when he was a baby. He returned pelican to the wild, pelican returned. They play catch together

Aboriginal friend from up the beach reveals that when a pelican is shot, big storm arrives. Don't tell drought stricken farmers that.

Haven't seen Storm Boy since 8yo. Forgotten the ending. The boy & that pelican are such good friends, sure hope nothing happens to that bird

Storm Boy's dad : "Radio? You don't want to listen to radio. Fill your head with wanting this and that. Things you don't need." Communist!

Storm Boy is a child. He doesn't realise pelican he rescued now and adult and is using him to catch & cut up fish dinner & snacks. Pelican trained boy

Uh oh. Storm Boy has to go to school now. No shoes, can't read, hangs with pelicans. The other children will be brutal, vicious, relentless.

"We miss you Storm Boy. Me, your dad, and Mr Percival." Storm Boy's joy at discovering school is actually quite nice ruined by dependent pelican

How long do pelicans live anyway? What happens when Storm Boy turns 18 and heads to uni? Having a pelican following u round then would be weird

Storm Boy back at home now with dad & pelican. The kid & dad prepare for a gale at the beach humpy. Pelican bails when there's hard work to do

Boat caught in gale off shore. Only way to save people on boat is to get a line out there, reel them in. Mr Percival volunteers to do it

Pelican saves boatload of people, possibly asylum seekers, Storm Boy realises pelican isn't a total sponge. Pelican waits for fish reward

"I knew you could do it, Mr Percival! You're really great, Storm Boy tells pelican, who seems to be getting annoyed no fish reward is forthcoming

People rescued by pelican discuss possible newspaper headlines. One of the rescued men tells StormBoy when hero pelican is dead he'll look "great stuffed and in a glass case"

Weird that when StormBoy discusses rejecting life of school, shoes, electricity with Mr Percival, pelican immediately flies off in the direction of hunters

Hunters are shooting at Mr Percival. Oh fuck,now I remember how this ends. "They shot Mr Percival!"

StormBoy visits grave of his pelican friend. Contemplates lesson learned by his mate Mr Percival - save peoples' lives, get shot at

Hmm, no storm appeared when Mr Percival was shot dead. So StormBoy's friend from up the beach is a liar.

Aboriginal friend shows StormBoy nest of recently hatched pelicans. "Like Mr Percival started all over again." Pelican poses in sunset, credits roll
Beautiful movie.

A near perfect children's movie.

Do kids still think it's kind of cool to run around without shoes and live without TV and refrigeration? Probably not.

But Storm Boy will instill in children who view it a lifelong respect for birds that have beaks big enough to hold more fish than their bellies can. It may possibly also introduce a mysterious suspicion of radios to their mind state. And also ingrain a slightly crazed, yet justified, loathing of hunters who shoot pelicans for fun and teenage hoons who tear up protected sand dunes for kicks.

Like I said, a near perfect children's movie.

A beautiful passage from Colin Thiele's novel :
"And everything lives on in their hearts the wind-talk and wave-talk, and the scribblings on the sand; the Coorong, the salt smell of the beach, the humpy and the long days of their happiness together. And always, above them, in their mind's eye, they can see the shape of two big wings in the storm-clouds and the flying scud, the winds of white with trailing black edges spread across the sky. For birds like Mr Percival do not really die."

Unfortunately, the talented Mr Percival died last year. He was 33 years old. As in the movie, Percival made sure he really did not die, mating successfully into his declining years. And his tale has a wonderful ending :

Mr Backhouse had cared for (Mr Percival) since starting at the zoo in 2000.

"....I’m 33, so I remember Storm Boy pretty passionately as a kid.’’

A boy who loved Mr Percival in Storm Boy ends up looking after him, until his death.

Where's Australian Story?

Face reality, the producers are running out of interesting humans to squeeze a half hour out of. The old Australian Story is already running repeats, or "encore presentations" as they're now known, of the Julia Gillard one. And what's she done lately of interest? Nothing.

The first series of the New Australian Story, one which is not speciesist, can focus on a living things that everyone loves. Hero animals. Like the Australian Defence Force dogs that died serving their country in Afghanistan. Brendan Nelson can introduce one on Simpson's donkey.

Series two can deal with thespian pelicans.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Trouble Brewing

The circumstances of Rudd’s removal are a graphic exposure of the thoroughly worm-eaten character of both the Labor Party and the entire system of so-called parliamentary democracy in Australia. The Labor Party long ago ceased to be a mass political party in any meaningful sense of the word, but the depth and breadth of the gulf between it and the lives and concerns of the mass of ordinary people have never been so clearly demonstrated.

The leadership challenge was not decided by a move from the caucus but by a tiny handful of unknown factional bosses and union bureaucrats responding directly to the demands of powerful corporate and financial elites for a revamping of the government.

Not only did backbench MPs have no idea of the events on Wednesday evening, Cabinet members were in the dark as well. As one minister told the ABC: “I am sitting in my office watching all this unfold on TV. I have no part in this and no idea what’s going on. This is madness.”

Much has been made of the collapse in opinion poll support for Labor as the underlying reason for Rudd’s demise. But the opinion polls reflect more the impact of the media on popular consciousness than any genuine social or political movement. When key sections of the media and the corporate interests they represent backed Rudd, his opinion poll ratings reached record highs. Once he lost their confidence and their support was withdrawn, his opinion poll rating, and that of the Labor Party, fell accordingly.

The ousting of Rudd—the only time a Labor prime minister has been removed during his first term—was not carried out as a result of a movement of the working class, but by key sections of the financial and corporate elites.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott knows a coup when he sees one :


From this :

And this :

To this :

And this :

Homer Simpson :

"When will people learn? Democracy doesn't work."


Friday, June 25, 2010

Haunting :

The Orstrahyun, always first with the Big News. From September, 2007 :

Gillard To Challenge Rudd For Leadership Of Labor Party

How The Media Welcomed Julia Gillard, Prime Minister

A round-up of graphics from local and international online news sites announcing the results of the Australian Coup.

ABC News Online :

7News online :


Daily Telegraph : :

Herald Sun : :

New York Times :

Sydney Morning Herald online :

And two particular favourites to close. The Illawara Mercury :

And Al Jazeera :

The Murdoch media decides it's okay, now the coup is over, to call it a coup :


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Peter Hartcher :
Kevin Rudd’s polling numbers were no worse than John Howard’s had been at the same point in the electoral cycle on several occasions before he went on to win.

Howard managed to rally his party, campaign and win. Rudd has not been given the same opportunity.

Rudd’s poll support fell brutally in April and May, but had stabilised. Two polls this week, a Newspoll and an Essential Media survey, put Labor ahead by 52 per cent to 48 on the election-deciding two-party share of the vote.

As the former national secretary of the Labor Party, Bob McMullan, told a caucus meeting on Tuesday, no government sitting on these polls numbers this close to an election had lost.

And no opposition leader as unpopular as Tony Abbott at this point in the cycle had gone on to win.

Call It What It Is, A Coup

By Darryl Mason

Did it really only take the mere rumour that prime minister Kevin Rudd was considering a super-profits tax, like he was planning for Australia's richest miners, to be imposed on all of Australia's most profitable corporations, for the coup to commence?

It began, as most major news stories do these days, with a Twitter update. ABC News on Twitter announced before the 7pm news that prime minister Kevin Rudd was fighting a coup :

This news was retweeted (republished) minutes later by ABC managing director Mark Scott to around 30,000 followers, including every journalist, business leader, investor, news junkie in Australia who realises Twitter is where news breaks first now :

ABC political reporter Chris Uhlmann pumped the news out to thousands more on Twitter :

It was no longer conservative media and Liberal Party-allied media fantasy. Their dream of a Julia Gillard prime ministership had come true, many months early, and the Rudd government was tearing itself apart.

Minutes later, ABC News Online published this story :

The original brief ABC News Online story, posted shortly after 7pm Wednesday (now swallowed up and changed through updates) :

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's leadership is under siege tonight from some of the Labor Party's most influential factional warlords.

The ABC has learned that powerful party figures have been secretly canvassing numbers for a move to dump the Prime Minister and replace him with his deputy, Julia Gillard.

It appears she has rebuffed the advances, but it is a measure of the disquiet which has been building in the party since Mr Rudd's approval ratings began their precipitous slide in April.

Ministers and party members have been lining up all week to voice their support for Mr Rudd but behind the scenes, party leaders have been contemplating a leadership change.

Although Mr Rudd looks likely to survive the challenge, news of the attempted coup will undoubtedly weaken him.

It is understood that the only thing holding the Prime Minister up is that his deputy refuses to join in a bid to bring him down.

The essential word "coup" appears to be missing from later stories, all other news sites and nearly all late night TV and radio reports.

A few hours after ABC News Online broke the story, prime minister Kevin Rudd faced a press conference to announce a leadership vote Thursday morning at 9am. He seemed mildly stunned, but firm, and railed against the right factions of the Australian Labor Party, all but shouting that he wouldn't let the Labor right wing take over the government; the same right factions who had almost effortlessly plunged the Australian government into utter chaos, with days of stock market uncertainty to follow.

Frontbenchers of the Rudd government were seen sitting in their Parliament House offices, watching news of the coup unfolding around them on the TV, mouthing words that simplify out as "What The Fuck?"

By 11pm, Julia Gillard was a bigger discussion subject on Twitter than even the World Cup, which is fucking remarkable :

Kevin Rudd's name briefly climbed into the Twitter Trending Topics list, but not for long.

Newspaper front pages aren't online yet, to round up for this, however bizarre, truly historic event in Australian politics and Australian democracy. But the pre-midnight graphics of Australian online news sites clearly spelled out the (perhaps only brief) federal government disaster unfolding. None with more fever than the Murdoch media, who have been all but hysterically demanding Julia Gillard replace Kevin Rudd as prime minister for months.

Adelaide Now : au :

The Australian Financial Review :

ABC News :

The Australian :

In fact The Australian was so excited they invented a new word to mark this historic occasion :

The Sydney Morning Herald :

NineMSN :

The Age :

The Herald Sun :

The Daily Telegraph :

How dare Kevin Rudd be "defiant"? Who does he think he is? The democratically elected prime minister of Australia?

The face of our new prime minister, Julia Gillard, as she exited Parliament House last night, after what some media reported as a solid two hours of yelling and raging "discussion" in the prime minister's office :

(screengrab from graphic on The Australian)

If Julia Gillard wins the Labor Party vote to replace Kevin Rudd, she has to call an election. Immediately. As all new leaders of any state or federal government should and must, but rarely, do when they rise to peak power through internal wranglings and not by the vote of the public.

Democracy demands it.


The Australian, quality lead editorial journalism, June 23 (excerpts) :
Kevin Rudd looks safe as leader, but at what price?

Judging by his performance in question time yesterday, the Prime Minister thinks he can win the next election. So, it seems, does the caucus, including the person who has the most to gain by Kevin Rudd's exit from the top job. Julia Gillard is astute, capable and popular - and she is sticking by her boss.

The alternative scenario advanced by many of Ms Gillard's supporters sees her replacing Mr Rudd a few months after a narrow Labor victory. She would indeed make a good prime minister. But like Peter Costello before her, the deputy might find that when it comes to power, timing is everything.

The Rest Is Here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fair Shake Of The Coup Bottle

One of the final messages from @KevinRuddPM on Twitter :

It should have read : This is still a democracy.

In Australia, coups don't require military assistance. So far.

Coup D'eRudd

Australia Vs Serbia. Gillard Vs Rudd.

Both events will make great television tonight.

(ABC News graphic)

ABC News :
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's leadership is under siege tonight from some of the Labor Party's most influential factional warlords.
It must be true. ABC managing director Mark Scott said so on Twitter :

UPDATE : ABC News online is now covered in decorations :

Kerry O'Brien closed the 7.30 Report by describing the Rudd leadership challenge as :
"...a fluid situation."
With or without a serious challenge tonight, there will be all sorts of bodily fluids being spilled.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Downer On Rudd : Studious, Bright, Passionate, Qualities Shine Through

Former Howard government foreign minister and failed Liberal Party leader Alexander Downer sings the praises of prime minister Kevin Rudd :

There is a parliamentary consensus that Kevin Rudd is bright. No one could reasonably doubt his addiction to hard work, his studious attention to detail and his passion to acquire knowledge. His success at university and in his early years as a junior diplomat attests to that.

As prime minister, those qualities have shone through. Kevin Rudd, PM, knows stuff, speaks a foreign language — and a hard one at that — and works day and night with barely a break to sleep.

Downer also has some criticisms. Rudd swears and wants to be on TV a lot, he's conceited and vain, and he works public servants too hard. And that's about it.

Compared to Downer, who ignored numerous memos and intelligence reports telling him there were no WMDs in Iraq, even before the war began, and that an Australian company was bribing Saddam Hussein with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, Rudd's failings and mistakes seem minor, and trivial, despite his profligacy.

What works for Portugal would also work for Australia. Unless we want to continue making criminals rich, and usually law-abiding citizens into criminals :

Friday, June 18, 2010

Now this? This is Rock. Jason O'Keefe from Airbourne :

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whatever Iran & China Can Do, We Can Do Better

Oh, look. Time Magazine has a big story on Australia!

Ahhh, shit....

The concept of government-backed web censorship is usually associated with nations where human rights and freedom of speech are routinely curtailed. But if Canberra's plans for a mandatory Internet filter go ahead, Australia may soon become the first Western democracy to join the ranks of Iran, China and a handful of other nations where access to the Internet is restricted by the state.

Why not just call it the 'Jesus Filter'?
....only a cluster of Christian groups and child safety advocates have come out as supporting the filter. In a June 5 poll conducted on the web site of the Sydney Morning Herald, 99% of the 88,645 people who responded to the survey said they were against the Internet filter. Nevertheless, (Stephen) Conroy told the Sun-Herald in May that the policy "will be going ahead.'' He also accused groups like GetUp! of deliberately misleading the public. 'We are still consulting on the final details of the scheme. But this policy has been approved by 85% of Australian internet service providers, who have said they would welcome the filter, including Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and iinet.'' Iinet have since denied that it ever approved the scheme.

Many say the biggest problem with the plan is that it simply won't work. "I don¹t see the point of blocking a site that no one would have come across, and making the criminals aware of the fact they are being watched. I am much more interested in seeing the Australian Federal Police work with international law enforcement agencies in tracking the site," Ludham of the Greens Party says.

The Full Story Is Here

The Liberals are making a bit of noise about the Jesus Filter, but they're not going to oppose it,, they just want to 'tweak it' a bit.
Please welcome to the bullfighting ring, Christian Hernandez, the world's smartest bullfighter :

Despite what you may read or hear, Hernandez was not arrested for "cowardice", he was arrested for breaking his contract, and paid a small fine before being released. He then announced his retirement.

Hernandez had previously been gored through the leg, but like all bullfighters, he has no doubt watched the following video and puked in fear and horror :

Sorry if you were eating breakfast.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peanut Butter Stings Less Than Vegemite

Helen Coonan : "I have two beautiful Golden Retrievers...."

UPDATE : Video is at the bottom of this post.

Definitely one of the most downright bizarre, and hilarious, panel debates ever seen on Australian TV. The subject? Consensual Sex With Your Pets.

From Monday night's Q &A on your ABC (transcript slightly edited, corrected) :
HOST TONY JONES : We have a web question from Deirdre Baker in NSW. QUOTES: "Peter Singer, in your 2001 article 'Heavy Petting' you state that mutually satisfying sexual activity between humans and animals can develop. Please explain."

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It is a fact that there is sexual contact between some humans and animals. I was raising the question why we have such a taboo on this. Sometimes it involves cruelty and the infliction of power and dominance on an animal, and clearly I oppose that. There can be occasions, I don't know how much vivid description you want.

TONY JONES: Go ahead.

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: I'm clearly not on American television tonight, because no American host would have said that. An example is a woman has oral sex performed by her dog.

PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: Brings new meaning to doggy style!

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: Women have said this is something that pleases them, the dog is free to do it or walk away, there's no dominance over the dog, that seems harmless.

SENATOR HELEN COONAN: This is a trained dog, obviously?

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It's her dog who enjoys doing it and the dog gives pleasure to the companion. I don't see why we have a taboo.

PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: Sorry, Peter, this is just weird. It's just weird!

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: It's not common, but is it wrong, is the question?

JOURNALIST DAVID MARR: Jay, this is your territory.


TONY JONES: Let's get a psychiatrist's perspective on this?

PROFESSOR JAYATHRI KULKARNI: I'm thinking, Freud did say that human beings are polymorphously perverse, which is another way of saying that there are lots of different views. Sometimes you have to draw the line and go, "That's weird."

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER: Since I wrote this piece, I've had people, sex therapists come to me, and say they have had patients who were tortured with guilt because they got some sexual satisfaction from contact with their animals, and their lives were miserable. And they gave them the article because it helped them to see other people were doing the same thing, and here was somebody who was saying, "This is not a sign of terrible moral evil."

TONY JONES: Helen Coonan, parliamentary sitting week up coming up, would you like to get on the record on this?

SENATOR HELEN COONAN: Thankfully, I don't answer questions, I ask them. I won't be asking this one, Tony. I agree, that's seriously off. I can't imagine... I have two beautiful golden retrievers, and... (LAUGHTER)

PROFESSOR PETER SINGER : I thought your party stood for individual freedom.

SENATOR HELEN COONAN: I think it's off the wall. Put it this way, I'll continue to find the nice patch under my doggy's ear that he likes, that's all I'll do.

TONY JONES: I'm sorry to say, we have run out of time.

DAVID MARR: I'm not sorry.
The video is here. It's definitely worth whipping through to about the 50 minute mark. Helen Coonan's line about her Golden Retrievers sent the audience, and host Tony Jones, into hysterical laughter, with a fair scattering in the crowd of absolutely shocked, disgusted and "oh, I'm about to wet my pants!' expressions.

I bet they won't be using any of that discussion in the promos for next week's show.

UPDATE : Okay, we have the video here now :

Beer Not Bought

Why would anyone think the Murdoch media are actively, hysterically campaigning against prime minister Kevin Rudd?

From the front page of today's Daily Telegraph online :



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Australia played a small role, as the landing zone, in one of the most remarkable episodes of space exploration - the capturing of small pieces of a comet by a Japanese space probe, now successfully returned to Earth for study.

More On Hayabusa Here

In more local Space-related news, Australian astronomer Anthony Wesley snapped this incredible shot of an unidentified impact on the surface of Jupiter :

On June 3rd, 2010, something hit Jupiter. A comet or asteroid descended from the black of space, struck the planet's cloudtops, and disintegrated, producing a flash of light so bright it was visible in backyard telescopes on Earth. Soon, observers around the world were training their optics on the impact site, waiting to monitor the cindery cloud of debris which always seems to accompany a strike of this kind.

"It's as if Jupiter just swallowed the thing whole," says Anthony Wesley of Australia, one of two amateur astronomers who recorded the initial flash.

More Here


Monday, June 14, 2010

Veteran journalist Andrew Dodd on the shaping of 'quality journalism' at Rupert Murdoch's national newspaper :
I know the culture at The Australian. I worked there for five years. Occasionally, as a reporter you get leant-on to chase things. You can be pushed into prodding a certain side in a certain way in line with the paper's campaign of the day. I know how uncomfortable this is, particularly when the paper is not a disinterested player.
The Australian, owned by a non-Australian, who voluntarily gave up his citizenship to make more money. You can't more un-Australian than that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Australian government's latest attempt to scare away asylum seekers.

How effective will it be?

It depends on whether the dangers you're trying to escape are more or less scary than being lost in a stormy ocean,, doesn't it?
Plague Of Locusts? Blame Rudd

It may seem completely irrational to blame what is expected to be the worst locust plague in decades on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, but I've been reading plenty of Australian tabloid newspaper columnists recently and I've learned utterly irrational blame-gaming matters not a hoot.

It's Kevin Rudd's fault.

From Bloomberg :

The worst locust plague in more than two decades is threatening to strike Australia, the world’s fourth-largest wheat exporter, after rainfall boosted egg-laying by the insects in major crop growing regions.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops and pastures that are potentially at risk,” Chris Adriaansen, director at the Canberra-based Australian Plague Locust Commission said in an interview by phone.

The forecast plague could cost Victoria’s agriculture sector A$2 billion ($1.7 billion) if left untreated, the state government said today.

“The advice of leading scientists indicates the scale of the coming spring’s outbreak could be as bad as we experienced in 1973 and 1974 when locusts swarmed through much of Victoria,” state premier John Brumby said today in a statement. “Prior to that, the last outbreak of this scale was in 1934, so we could be facing a once-in-a-lifetime locust plague with locusts swarming right across the state.”

Australian farmers have mostly completed planting of winter crops including wheat and canola, with final output depending on favorable weather through the remainder of the year. Aerial pesticide spraying and ground-level controls by agencies and growers is planned to curb the spread of the locusts and reduce damage to crops and pastures, according to the commission

A swarm may contain millions of locusts covering several square kilometers and overnight migrations of as much as several 100 kilometers are not uncommon, it said.

High density swarms, with more than 50 insects in a square meter, can eat 20 metric tons of vegetation a day, according to a South Australian primary industries website.

The Full Story Is Here

Friday, June 11, 2010

Enough Is Enough

Even Murdoch columnist Andrew Bolt, who gets free trips to Israel and then 'forgets' to mention so in a Daily Telegraph column where he recited IDF propaganda about the Gaza Flotilla slaughter without question, apparently has had enough of Israel's cruel, internationally condemned trade blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians :

Michael Rivero, who often links 2 or 3 times a week to Andrew Bolt articles on his popular website What Really Happened (contributing greatly to Bolt's claimed "2 Million Hits A Month!"), appears to agree with Bolt in this letter to the New York Times (excerpts) :

While I share the world’s revulsion at Israel’s attack on an unarmed aid flotilla in international waters I take strong exception to the comment made by the authors of this piece in the third paragraph. HAMAS did not stage a coup d’├ętat against the Palestinian authority. HAMAS won the elections, and it was FATAH that tried to forcibly remove HAMAS, but failed.

An official Israel government documented reported by McClatchy news only yesterday confirms that the purpose of the blockade is not Israel’s defense, but to force the Gazans to surrender their elected government and accept Israeli rule via their proxy Fatah. That the list of items banned by Israel in Gaza included potato chips, shaving cream, candy and cookies demonstrates that defense is not the issue here. Israel’s attempt to coerce acceptance of alternate government in Gaza is a mirror of the attempt by the USSR in 1948 and 1949 to blockade West Berlin in order to starve that city into accepting Soviet rule via their proxy East Germany.

The world reacted quite differently back then, mounting the Berlin airlift, flying 13,000 tons of food and necessities into West Berlin daily on the principle that no government has a right to starve another people into changing their political system.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is often accused of being utterly boring and morosely humourless, at least as far as his public persona goes. He's trying to change that perception on Twitter :

Er, yeah. Okay.

Apparently there's some soccer games about to start in South Africa, and an Australian soccer team will be playing, too. Though you'd hardly know it from watching the TV, or reading newspapers. They've barely mentioned it all.

(Yeah, I know, that was even less funny than Kevin Rudd's Friday afternoon attempt at humour).
Crikey's First Dog On The Moon has worried about a lot of things this week. Here's two :

Plenty More At First Dog's 'Highly Strung Week In Review'

Yunupingu Set To Crack The US

Some excellent news for Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu :

Indigenous singer-songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has scored a US release for his platinum-selling debut album.

The self-titled record by the blind singer from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory picked up a string of awards following its release in 2008, including an ARIA for best independent album.

It will be released in the US on the Dramatico label in June.

Yunupingu will also go on a promotional concert tour taking in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Toronto, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As part of the promo for the album's release, the song below, Wivathul, will be played in thousands of stores of a major American coffee chain across the United States.

Now, getting your song played in a coffee shop may not sound like a big deal, but literally millions of Americans will hear that song as they line up for their coffees and hang out.

A similar promotion a few years back successfully introduced Bob Dylan to a new generation of fans and helped sell hundreds of thousands of copies of a rare Dylan album.
If a reporter can say it on ABC News, why can't Kerry O'Brien drop it on the 7.30 Report? "For fuck's sake, Kevin Rudd, just answer the question!"

Mumbrella picks up even more accidental profanity on Sky News :

It's not the most inappropriate word to use when discussing the behaviour of Australia's richest mining bosses.

Attached to this story about Nimbin, by Mandy Sayer in The Australian, is this block of ads :

Who knew you could advertise better ways to grow an illegal crop in such a bastion of conservatism?

Blaze on, Boomers, blaze on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In case this isn't enough, I've posted a bunch of new stories at :

Your New Reality

And there's a shitload of new story links and random, vacuous, inappropriate and occasionally insightful comments over at Twitter :

Darryl Mason On Twitter

A remarkable photo by Tim Silverwood of the rotting corpse of a juvenile sperm whale on a Newcastle beach, from ABC News' Reader Submitted Photo Collection :

There's plenty more excellent reader photos here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I hope the trickle of entertaining #FedElect2010 political ads, by professionals & amateurs (or professionals imitating amateurs), turns into a steady stream. Key word - entertaining :

Via VexNews

Free Gay Heroin For All

John Birmingham poses a What If? on The Greens, who now command a chunky 16% of the national vote, according to recent polls (excerpts) :
What if Bob Brown's lentil eating slouch bikers and militant anti-military-stuff movement actually got a couple, just a couple, of seats up in the lower house, and forming a government after the next election actually required the eventual victor, be it Abbott or Gillard, to cut a deal with Brown?

What would that government actually do? And more importantly what could it not do, in terms of passing laws and spending money?

They might well be able to leverage their support into seemingly minor but actually significant policies such as, say, a moratorium on the release of genetically-modified organisms into the environment. Or a ban on old growth logging.

They'd almost certainly put a bullet into any xenophobic nonsense about demonizing asylum seekers as mad bombers and child killers waiting to jump our queues and blow up our shopping malls because they hate our precious, precious freedom so much they're willing to spend years in a detention centre just to have a crack at us. actual security policy, even motherhood statements like the party's central principle that "no nuclear armed or powered forces should be deployed within Australia's maritime boundaries" would mean a radical transformation of decades of settled, bipartisan policy, abrogating as it would the entire alliance with US.

A great read.

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Tony Martin on turning 41 :
Most people my age have kids to make them feel old, but my wife and I are part of that somehow suspect group of people standing over at the side, looking at their shoes, whenever some politician starts tossing around the word ‘family’; selfish couples who don’t want children. Other forty-one-year-olds have the blooming sophistication of their own offspring to point out how they’ve become daggy and unfashionable. We have to rely on far subtler signposts.

Until about two years ago, I would read both the local street press publications from cover to cover, down to every last Fred Negro curlicue. Then I started to notice how, when I got to the dance music section in the middle, I’d slide my hand through to the back page and flip the entire silvery supplement over, and make for the live reviews at the back, in the hope that someone I recognised, like You Am I, had done a gig that week.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Adriana Xenides died today, aged 54 :

Dan Ilic pays an appropriate tribute :

UPDATE : The Daily Telegraph sticks in the knife, one last time :

What the fuck do Holly and Annette think she should have been wearing to the newsagency? A fucking ballgown?