Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gambling not a game of chance

Slot machines are for mugs. Programmed to deliver a profit to casino operators, slot machines are not a game of chance but are rather a certain profit generator for their owners. And should fate intervene with a machine delivering an unexpected windfall, a casino operator can simply cry "malfunction" and refuse to deliver the promised payout:

Lady Luck played a cruel trick on a gambler in Colorado when a slot machine had her thinking she'd won $US42 million.

"People were coming up to me and saying I won $42 million," Louise Chavez told KDRV FOX31.

"Lights were flashing, it sounded like a fire truck, the screen said 'see attendant'."

But the staff at the Fortune Valley Casino said the machine malfunctioned and Ms Chavez wasn't a winner at all.

A malfunction should be a chance event requiring pay out and not an excuse for refusing to cough up the promised winnings. Stay the Hell away from casinos and slot machines.

The great self-esteem con

Psychiatrist Anthony Daniels, writing as Theodore Dalrymple, on the "psychobabble" nonsense that is self-esteem:

When people speak of their low self-esteem, they imply two things: first, that it is a physiological fact, rather like low hemoglobin, and second, that they have a right to more of it. What they seek, if you like, is a transfusion of self-esteem, given (curiously enough) by others; and once they have it, the quality of their lives will improve as the night succeeds the day. For the record, I never had a patient who complained of having too much self-esteem, and who therefore asked for a reduction. Self-esteem, it appears, is like money or health: you can't have too much of it.

Everything Dalrymple writes is worth reading and this is article is no exception, so do yourself a favour and read the whole thing.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Climate doom-mongers wrong: Gulf Stream shows no signs of shutting down

Contrary to what Al Gore and his fellow climate doom and gloomers have encouraged us to believe, the Gulf Stream shows no signs of shutting down:

The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.

Confirming work by other scientists using different methodologies, they found dramatic short-term variability but no longer-term trend.

A slow-down - dramatised in the movie The Day After Tomorrow - is projected by some models of climate change.

So it looks like the predicted global warming-induced Gulf Stream shutdown will not produce a seemingly paradoxial European ice age after all.

Hybrids a hoax

Insurer IAG, keen to go green, crunches the numbers to come up with a not so surprising conclusion:

The hybrids use less fuel than the average car, but they're also more expensive to build and buy. When IAG worked out the numbers, factoring in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a hybrid vehicle, the extra cost was some 10 times greater than the value of CO2 they were saving.

So IAG New Zealand is buying highly fuel efficient diesels instead of hybrids and using some of the money saved on driver education, which has the ability to cut fuel consumption by about 10 per cent.

The Prius is for those who want to make a statement about being a friend of the environment without actually doing anything friendly for the environment.

Cold weather kills millions

With Central Asia experiencing temperatures of - 40º C some of that much talked about global warming would be very welcome indeed:

The International Red Cross has appealed for help for thousands of Mongolian herders who have lost their livestock because of extreme cold.

The Red Cross said that millions of animals had perished during the country's hardest winter in years.

A particularly cold winter doesn't disprove global warming, of course, but does show that cold is the killer we should fear most of all.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Best-selling author's work greatly improved by editing

As an independent blogger my prodigious output goes online edited by no one other than me – like this isn't obvious. Now I don't know about you but I have trouble finding errors in my writing: I know what a post is supposed to say and don't always notice that something could have been better written or doesn't quite nail the point I wanted to make. I'm also, well, lazy. And anyway, it's not like I'm deluded by any fantasies of journalistic adequacy – I am after all really nothing more than a hobby blogger who's been hired to add a bit of conservative commentary to a mutli-blogger site.

Then there are journalists that blog, Tim Blair, for example. Tim's writing talents are well suited to the blog medium: no one can compare when it comes to succinctly and humourously skewering an opponent. Love him or loathe him, no one can sensibly deny the man's talent.

At the opposite end of the blogging spectrum is a talent wasteland where a would be tall poppy deludes himself that his almost-good-enough-to-be-high-school-newspaper-editor writing talent will one day bring him fame, fortune and a one way ticket out the Australian journalism backwater.  (Figured out where this is going, have you?)

So, let's take a look at an Antony Loewenstein article as written and compare it to the same piece after editing.

The original 1,300 word piece, written for BBC Persian, starts off:

The face of murdered Iranian woman Neda Agha Soltan by a sniper’s bullet echoed around the world. Murdered in June 2009 during the upheaval after the disputed presidential election that saw a new term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the vast majority of iconic images seen outside the Islamic Republic were shot by citizens on mobile phones or digital cameras. They were raw, brutal, confused and powerful. Their aim was to document events and let historians and journalists find order in the chaos.

The same piece after an axe-wielding editor removed some 350 words and in the process effectively rewrote it:

The face of murdered Iranian woman Neda Agha Soltan, killed by a bullet in the Iranian capital Tehran, echoed around the world.

Like this, the vast majority of iconic images that documented Iran’s disputed presidential election to the outside world were shot by citizens on mobile phones or digital cameras.

They were raw, brutal, confused and powerful. A society was challenged in a way that rocked the foundations of the state.

And there you go, with a few hours of editing Loewnestein's work is... readable. Perhaps if Loewenstein buys a dictionary (and learns how to use it – the words are arranged alphabetically) and maybe gets an apprenticeship, or some such – hey, now that he's something of celebrity Fairfax should take him back and complete his training – maybe one day he will actually be able to, you know, write, thus liberating himself from the Australian journalism backwater.

Sydneysiders shun Earth Hour

Here's a scenario familiar to probably half the males on the planet: after a few drinks a truly great idea staggers into view. You know, revelations like: the game's gotten really boring so let's liven things up by running onto the pitch and tackling a player; I can beat that train; I bet the water-bed can spring me right up to the ceiling; or, she'll love a pair of crotchless panties. Fortunately, most such ideas soon pass into oblivion; not so with Earth Hour:

Like so many great ideas, Earth Hour was conceived in a pub.

So says "the co-founder and executive director of Earth Hour Global, Andy Ridley." Exactly why a spontaneous participatory activity needs an executive director is unclear – the position seems akin to being executive director of Change Your Underwear Global.

Anyway, the Sydney Morning Herald – a big promoter of the event – reports that Earth Hour 2010 is "bigger than ever." This is technically correct in that the idea has been picked up around the world. Sydneysiders have lost some of their passion for flicking off the lights, however:

Electricity usage reports are indicating that fewer people and businesses took part in last night's Earth Hour in the Sydney CBD than in previous years.

Energy Australia recorded a 6.3 per cent reduction in energy use in the city during the event, equivalent to 15.9 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Paul Myors from Energy Australia says that is one of the smallest reductions in the event's history.

And the people of Sydney had a bright idea: let there be light.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Protect your head, wear a Bell helmet

Motorcyclists looking for the latest in head protection should consider a Bell helmet. Bell has been around for years but hasn't quite kept up with the latest in helmet design but that changed in 2009 with the introduction of the Bell Star range of full face helmets. The Bell Star isn't the lightest helmet around but its features make it an outstanding helmet; its ventilation system making it particularly well suited to hot climates like Australia.

So if you have a valuable head you'd like to protect stylishly and keep cool, I suggest you go to TFD's Bell Store and check out the Bell Star closeout bargains. If you have any doubts about sizing - the Star runs a bit large - and availability just drop them an email; their customer service is spectacular. Their international shipping rates are a bit high but even then you'll save big bucks on first quality head protection.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Australia's opposition leader again ridiculed for being physically fit

Competitive Australian male athletes traditionally wear, when swimming, little wisps of gossamer material generically known as Speedos; colloquially referred to a budgie smugglers. Ever since opposition leader Tony Abbott, a very fit man, dared appear in public wearing the the same swimming costume worn but those against whom he competed, his totally appropriate attire has been ridiculed by the left; the ABC, Australia's government-funded broadcaster, leading the way.

It thus comes as no surprise that The Drum, the ABC's "analysis and views" appendage, today publishes a piece by far-left identity Tim Dunlop, the former proprietor of the now defunct far-left site The Road to Surfdom, linking Abbott's performance in his debate with the Prime Minister, to his altogether irrelevant choice of competitive swimming atire:

What Tony Abbott lacked in today's debate was substance. Kevin Rudd reached in (figuratively speaking!) and removed the socks from the front of Mr Abbott's Speedos.

This from a far-left commentator who shut down his political blog  because he found the rough and tumble of political debate too stressful, and now blogs about music. Surely those who are critical of Abbott's physical fitness, as demonstrated by his ability to wear Speedos, are extremely petty. Come on Dunlop, let's see what you look like in "budgie smugglers".


Monday, March 22, 2010

Dogs mirror human morality

Dogs quickly learn what is expected of them – crapping on the carpet and peeing on the furniture are forbidden, for example. The dog's unerring sense of right and wrong, and commitment to cooperation, closely mirror human behaviours:

Every dog owner knows a pooch can learn the house rules—and when she breaks one, her subsequent groveling is usually ingratiating enough to ensure quick forgiveness. But few people have stopped to ask why dogs have such a keen sense of right and wrong. Chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates regularly make the news when researchers, logically looking to our closest relatives for traits similar to our own, uncover evidence of their instinct for fairness. But our work has suggested that wild canine societies may be even better analogues for early hominid groups—and when we study dogs, wolves and coyotes, we discover behaviors that hint at the roots of human morality.

It's a short article, so read the whole thing to see why cats are pets but dogs are companions.

Update: Dogs have other advantages over cats:

An armed robber has come off second best after attempting to mug a man as he walked his dog in a Mirrabooka park.

The 23-year-old man was walking in the park next Boyare Pimary School earlier this month in Allamanda Gardens when he was confronted by three men who asked him what he had in his pockets before one of them threatened him with a knife.

The man released his dog, which latched onto the leg of one of the offenders as the other two fled.

It's surprising the dog owner wasn't charged with failing to leash his mutt.

Afghan Special forces explain why they fight the Taliban

Afghan soldiers selected and trained by U.S. special forces explain why they are taking on the Taliban.

Why We Fight from Tyler Ginter on Vimeo.

West Australian surfing spot one of the world's 10 best

A not so well kept secret goes public:

Margaret River has officially joined the ranks of the world's top 10 surf breaks, being named as Western Australia's first national surfing reserve.

One of my sons moved to the the southwest of Western Australia just so he could surf the area's numerous great breaks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Warmer weather boosts Arctic numbers

Arctic populations explode:

The first analysis of a 40-year database of Arctic species reveals that populations grew by 16 per cent on average between 1970 and 2004.

A not so surprising benefit of warmer temperatures.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Obama Australia visit given racially insensitive operational title

The New South Wales police use a computer program to come up with operational titles:

"Various groups of nouns belonging to a selection of themes are entered and the operation name is generated from an existing database," a spokeswoman said last night.

Police seeking an operation name ask the computer to provide one. "This was the case in this instance," she said.

The computer generated operational designation for Obama's visit was quickly and quietly axed, however:

US consular officials were aghast when briefed by their counterparts in the NSW Police Force about the title, Blue Gum. In America, a "bluegum" is offensive slang for a lazy African-American who refuses to work.

Contacts in the NSW police inform me that they are relieved computer-generated alternatives to Blue Gum were 86ed. Some of the computer-suggested alternative operational names for the now cancelled Obama visit:

Flash in the pan


Monkey business

Ace of spades


Hey Hey

One term wonder



And those are the names that are reproducible.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The world's oldest dog?

Tony Abbott 'too fit' to be Prime Minister

In a typically petty anti-Liberal piece at the ABC's "analysis and views" site The Drum, former Crikey editor and current The Drum editor Jonathan Green questions Tony Abbott's "fitness" to be Prime Minister:

Sunday March 28 will be a big day for Tony Abbott.

On that day Abbott will compete in the Ironman Triathlon in Port Macquarie.

Lets just spell that out, then pause for a quick breath. This is no ordinary race. The ironman triathlon is a 3.8 kilometre swim. Followed by a 180 km bike leg. And then a 42.2 km run. That last bit is more usually referred to as a marathon. Except a marathon is not normally preceded by a 3.8 km swim and a 180 km bike ride. You have no more than 17 hours to complete the three.


Tony Abbott, now presumably tapering his training, must be feeling as good or better than he ever has in his life. He must be chockablock with a robust sense of self worth. Totally absorbed in his sense of achievement. Rippling with a finely tuned utterly physical sense of self.

The next thought is: how can he possibly manage to combine the training for an event like this with the demands of public life? Is it conceivable that he can do both and give both his best?

Most of us would find the training requirements for a race like this beyond imagining.

Green then describes the strenuous training regimen of British triathlete Jonathan Bramley, who had little time for anything other than race preparation, Green concluding:

We might joke about the chunky, workaholic geek we have as Prime Minister, but would the country be well-served by so dramatic a jock alternative? Can a man so absorbed in physical training give the fullest possible attention to his fundamentally intellectual day job? Or would the contrast be a refreshing, invigorating alternative... a healthy mind and a healthy body?

Fair questions to ponder as the budgie smuggling form of the elite athlete who would be PM takes on the race of his life on Sunday week.

Abbott is not a competitive triathlete, having completed a half triathlon in Nivember 2008, his effort qualifying him for further competition. Green nonetheless smears Abbott as a "budgie smuggler"-wearing "jock", who as we all know are narcissistic weirdos. Green clearly does not believe that a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind.

Perhaps Abbott should abandon the fitness regime, instead claiming to have been raised in a car.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BBC does its best to confuse Iranians

Everyone's favourite best-selling Australian writer of near indecipherable prose was "commissioned" by the BBC – translation: begged by the author – to write a piece on "Iran's political troubles". Now considering that it's nearly impossible to work out what Antony Loewenstein's on about in English, it's hard to imagine the piece translated into Farsi making any sense at all. The finely crafted language mangling starts with the very first sentence:

The face of murdered Iranian woman Neda Agha Soltan by a sniper’s bullet echoed around the world. Murdered in June 2009 during the upheaval after the disputed presidential election that saw a new term for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the vast majority of iconic images seen outside the Islamic Republic were shot by citizens on mobile phones or digital cameras. They were raw, brutal, confused and powerful. Their aim was to document events and let historians and journalists find order in the chaos.

On the internet mediocrity is no hindrance.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Addiction not a disease but rather a lifestyle choice

In 1991 non-expert Herbert Fingarette dismantled the disease model of alcoholism, determining that heavy drinking is, more than anything else, a lifestyle choice. Fingarette's book went largely ignored by alcohol abusers and the highly profitable addiction treatment industry which found it convenient to continue to rely on the disease model of addiction which absolves addicts of all responsibility.

Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by psychologist Gene Heyman, "a research psychologist at McLean Hospital and a lecturer at Harvard" confirms Fingarette's findings:

Heyman mounts a devastating assault on the brain-based model of addiction. Not that he views addiction as independent of the brain—no serious person could even entertain such a claim. What he rejects, however, is the notion that excessive drug or alcohol consumption is an irresistible act wholly beyond the user’s control, as the term “addiction,” commonly understood, implies. If anything, Heyman writes, “[a]ddiction … helps us understand voluntary behavior.” How so? “[B]ecause,” he explains, “it is not possible to understand addiction without understanding how we make choices.”

This methodical, clear, and concise book shows why. Addiction: A Disorder of Choice is an invaluable tutorial in how to think about drug addiction. In bucking the medicalization trend, Heyman pits himself squarely against the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the nation’s main research facility on addiction, which coined the slogan that “addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease.” Since then, the institute’s brain disease model has been widely adopted. It is promoted at major rehab institutions such as the Betty Ford Center and Hazelden and is now a staple of anti-drug education in high schools and of counselor education. "The emerging paradigm views addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder," said a Newsweek cover story on addiction.

Heyman will, of course, be attacked by substance abusers and the treatment industry that makes millions catering to their "disease" fantasies. Many of these "disease model" treatment programs are, in fact, counter-productive but are hugely profitable, funded as they are, by health insurers paying for "revolving door" treatment programs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Black Cobra gang stages major heist

With a name like the Black Cobras you'd expect a gang to be involved in major crimes like bank robber, armoured car hijacking and perhaps a high profile kidnapping or two. Nope, these guys are into sweets:

Criminals with connections to the Black Cobra network are suspected by police of pilfering 120 boxes of almond tarts, punch rolls, apple crowns and brownies from a delivery truck in southern Sweden on Thursday.

One gang member was apprehended while feeding a stolen cake to his child. Very scary indeed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Al-Jazeera uncovers irrefutable proof of WMD use in Iraq

Dr Muhammed Tareq al-Darraji cites, during an al-Jazeera segment, a UK Atomic Energy Authority report which predicts "500,000 Iraqis will die due to the radioactive debris left in the desert before the end of this century", this radioactive debris arising from depleted uranium munitions.

John Pilger cites the same "report" during a discussion with discredited depleted uranium "expert" Doug Rokke:

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority have published a report, or not published a report but have certainly concluded, and you probably know about this, that if 8 per cent of the depleted uranium fired in the Gulf was inhaled it could cause 500,000 deaths.

So, the report doesn't actually exist.

Pilger, apparently unsure of the exact nature of Rokke's expertise, describes him first as a health physicist and later as a nuclear physicist. (From what I gather, Rokke has neither health nor physics qualifications; his PhD is in Educational Methodology.)

But I digress. The al-Jazeera segment featuring Dr al-Darraji and independent journalist Dahr Jamail is truly atrocious, blaming supposedly toxic American radiological and chemical "WMDs" for an unquantified increase in cancers and birth defects in Fallujah. Viewer email comments, all reaffirmed by Jamail and al-Darraji, including:

"Bombs and rockets tipped with depleted uranium are the real Weapons of Mass Destruction, and their effects will continue for generations."

"Such deformities and anomalies are sure to have occurred through the use of restricted weapons including radiological, biological and chemical."

According to host Riz Kahn, the program examines the evidence "behind allegations that "controversial" weapons used by U.S. soldiers in Fallujah six tears ago have caused the surge in serious birth defects in that city." This claim is bogus in that the "evidence" is nothing more than hearsay and rumour. When asked if stress could perhaps be contributing to the alleged surge in birth defects Dr al-Darraji replies, "it must be radiation or something". Yes indeed; or something.

To round the report out Israel's use of whtie phosphorus comes up as does the "irrefutable proof" of American veterans fathering deformed babies as a direct result of exposure to "dangerous" American weapons.

Toward the end of the segment Jamail goes way over the top, however, in citing Doug Rokke as the U.S. Army's "man in charge" of studying the effects of depleted uranium. Rokke has never served in any such capacity.

Also mentioned is Dr al-Darraji's "detailed" report on the allegedly disasterous effects of the U.S.'s use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium, the report featuring the unbiased testimony of the Independent's Patrick Cockburn.

This al-Jazeera segment is nothing more than poorly disguised anti-U.S. propaganda. Since it's linked by Antony Loewenstein this is inevitable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

'Science' blogger Tim Lambert caught quote doctoring, again

Back in 2007 ScienceBlogs.com blogger Tim Lambert was caught red-handed doctoring a Tim Flannery sea level rise prediction:

In the course of a discussion on sea level rise, Lambert disputes a predicted 80 meter rise as attributed to Tim Flannery. To make his point he posts what appears to be a Flannery quote:

"...some of the best climatologists say we may have triggered - or could soon trigger - global warming to effect a sea level rise of maybe 25 metres, which is the height of an eight story building."

But that's not Flannery, it's the ABC's Richard Glover -- Lambert edited the excerpt to suit his needs. Here's the original (omitted text in bold):

"[Flannery] told 702 ABC Sydney's Richard Glover the best example he can give is the melting of ice around the world, which if it all melted, could raise sea levels by as much as 80 metres, adding that some of the best climatologists say we may have triggered - or could soon trigger - global warming to effect a sea level rise of maybe 25 metres, which is the height of an eight story building."

Lambert, obviously a slow learner, posted just the other day:

Claiming that [Flannery] predicted [an] 80m [rise in sea level] instead of 3-5m is an enormous exaggeration...

Flannery did indeed predict a possible 80 meter rise in sea level and Lambert knows it, but again denies it. Oddly enough, Lambert claims The Australian is waging a war on science. Lambert, a computer programmer, is not a reliable source of information on any topic, scientific or otherwise; everything he posts should be considered suspect until proven otherwise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attention-seeking names

Parents once named children so they'd fit in rather than stand out. Many parents today name their children with the weirdest, attention-seeking names: Kyd, Suri, Trig, Satchel, Apple, Tameesha and Jaxon, for example. Thus the extraordinary is now common. Parents seeking truly distinctive names should consider John and Mary. 

Potentially deadly insulation faults to be corrected

The Federal government will apparently offer home owners with potentially deadly foil insulation installed under its subsidsed scheme either replacement insulation or an earth leakage circuit breaker to prevent elecotrocution.

Home owners would have to be mad to accept the circuit breaker option: any current leakage, caused by condensation, for example, will trip the circuit breaker, throwing all of the home's non-lighting circuits offline. The circuit breaker will not reset until the fault is found and rectified. Thus a home could be without power for quite some time and the home owner could be liable for a sizable bill for an electrician who might spend hours hunting down the fault.

The government hasn't yet estimated the cost of fixing the foil insulation problem, but if the job is done properly, it's going to cost plenty – the oppostition reckons $450 million is a reasonable estimate.

There's also the matter of shipping container's full of insulation that have been abandoned due to the insulation scheme's suspension. Some shipping companies are holding hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of insulation no one wants. The government will likely end up assuming some of these costs as well.

The insulation scheme has been one massive stuff-up.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A great middleweight bike from BMW

Over the last 40+ years I've owned a number of classic motorcycles by BMW, Norton and Ducati. My current bike, a BMW F800R, is, without a doubt, the most fun to ride. It isn't the fastest, most powerful or best handling middleweight bike but it is a competent performer in all respects and can be had with superbly functional anti-lock brakes. If you're in the market for a middleweight bike (798cc) that doesn't disappoint, take at look at the BMW F800R.

Toyota doomed

Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles to fix mechanical faults related to sudden acceleration but insists there is no underlying computer problem causing runaways. An out of control Prius indicates that Toyota vehicles could indeed have an underlying computer problem:

A Toyota Prius accelerated out of control on a busy California freeway overnight before police intervened to bring the vehicle to a standstill, police said.

James Sikes, 61, was driving on the busy Interstate 8 freeway outside San Diego when he noticed his car was starting to accelerate of its own accord, the California Highway Patrol said.

The terrified motorist was helpless as the car hurtled out of control along the road at speeds more than 145km/h.

Mr Sikes was able to call police. Officers used a loudspeaker to talk him through the process of slowing down by using his emergency brake and then turning off the engine.

Police then pulled in front of the car as it decelerated and rolled to a stop - putting the rear bumper of the squad car against the front of the Prius.

Regardless what's causing these incidents Toyota will be sucked into legal action that will ultimately bankrupt the company. This is no flight of fancy: Dow Corning manufactured silicone breast implants that were alleged to wreck women's health but were ultimately shown to produce no systemic adverse health affects whatsoever. Nonetheless, Dow Corning ultimately found it it necessary to file for bankruptcy due to mounting legal costs. It will be the same for Toyota.


A post from best-selling wordsmith Antony Loewenstein:

How to ween America off its love of big cars and invading other countries?


In a post the other day I incorrectely noted that Aussie blogger Scott Bridges was "missing in India". Bridges and his travelling partner have, in fact, returned to Australia due to a family illness.

Monday, March 08, 2010

'35 distinguished Jews' reject Israeli policy

Of Australia's estimated 120,000 Jewish population, 35 "distinguished Jews" have signed a petition opposing Israel's "law of return" which grants foreign Jews Israeli citizenship:

Some of the key signatories include world-renowned ethicist Peter Singer, actor Miriam Margolyes, legendary feminist campaigner Eva Cox, La Trobe University’s Dennis Altman, Monash University’s Andrew Benjamin, Sydney University’s David Goodman and John Docker, legal scholar GJ Lindell, best-selling author and journalist Antony Loewenstein, writers Susan Varga and Sara Dowse, ANU’s Ned Curthoys and many others.

Antony Loewenstein a distinguished Jew? Whatever. The most distinguisihing factor about this group is that is represents less than .03% of the Australian Jewish population. Those desiring more information about this mass movement can contact Loewenstein directly: he'll be happy to provide a self-promotional interview, of course.

Australian children fear the world will "burn up"

An Australian middle-school student asks a troubling question:

What’s actually going to happen with climate change? Is the world just going to burn up?

The sustainability workshop presenter, Lucy Manne, a member of the "Australian Youth Climate Coalition and a student at the University of Melbourne", and herself almost certainly a propagator of environmental doom and gloom, professes shock:

For a moment the rawness of his fear renders me speechless. There is no way for me to instantly communicate what I need to; that the future he faces is uncertain, but within that uncertainty there is the possibility of a more just and sustainable world.

In reality Ms Manne is no doubt very pleased that young children are fearful for their futures – get them young and you've got them for ever.

Manne's 556 word National Times article 10 times mentions the need for "sustainability" education but provides no particulars. She does emphasise, however, the need to educate children in creating a "more just and sustainable world", and to teach "students to develop the skills they will need to grow into active and productive citizens". Exactly what Ms Manne expects Australian children to be taught is uncertain, although there's this "Australian students need the knowledge and skills required to respond to the complex challenges of climate change..."

What knowledge and skills? The areas least likely to be inundated as sea level rises? How to gut, skin and cook a kangaroo – you know, when we're all forced into the dead centre by rising seas and the food supply has been totally disrupted? Or perhaps training on the use, care and maintenance of the AK-47.

If the targeted kids have any sense they'll realise that environmentalists want a simpler, "more just" future where children will get lots lots of exercise "pedalling furiously atop fixed bikes and keeping a light bulb aglow." A future with no iPods or iTunes, but plenty of physical fitness, and darkness.



Sunday, March 07, 2010

Charges laid in Indian boy's death

Gursewak Dhillon, 23, has been charged in relation to the death of  three-year-old Gurshan Singh Channa. Dhillon resided in the same house as the victim.

Australian blogger goes missing in India

Renowned Australian blogger Scott Bridges (founder of GrodsCorp and an initial contributor at the infamous Pure Poison) has been blogging from India for Crikey but last posted on 18 February. Gee, I think I can speak for the whole of the Australian blogosphere in hoping that Bridges and his travelling companion are doing okay. Really.

Kiddie condoms needed in Western Australia

The West Australian government might want to consider importing some of those tiny little Hot Shot condoms:

The Sunday Times can reveal that the number of very young mothers in WA jumped by almost 20 per cent in the past 12 months.

WA Births Registry figures show that 73 girls, aged 15 or under, registered as parents in 2009 - up from 62 in 2008.

This included 11 babies born to 14 year olds and 57 babies born to 15 year olds

Five babies were born to 13-year-olds. That's a total of 73 babies born to mothers under the age of consent: children bearing children.

What are the chances a baby born to a young girl will ultimately be anything other than a burden to the state? Not good, I wager.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Woy Woy Bye Bye for MP Neal

Controversial Labor MP Belinda Neal is a goner after losing a preselection vote:

Ms Neal's fate was decided in a ballot of 177 Labor members at the Country Women's Association hall in Woy Woy.

She was being challenged by Deborah O'Neill, a Newcastle university lecturer, who beat her 98 to 67 with four informal votes.

The always jovial Ms Neal was supported by Kevin Rudd but lost anyway.

Red Cross condemns Taliban use of boobytraps and IEDs

Taliban tactics have outraged even the normally unflappable Red Cross:

In an unusually strong statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the use of IEDs -- the main weapon in the Taliban arsenal -- was "completely unacceptable".

The Marjah farming area has been so heavily laced with IEDs that civilians are largely confined indoors and the sick and injured cannot be evacuated for help, it said.

People who fled the area before and during the assault, launched on February 13, feared returning along heavily-mined roads to villages where commanders and residents have said the bombs are planted in fields, hanging from trees and even embedded in the walls of houses.

Targeting the enemy and errantly killing civilians with mistargeted ordnance is one thing; mining roads and paths is quite another:

The ICRC's Stocker said little food was reaching Marjah as few commercial vehicles were able to enter.

"Sooner or later, residents and displaced persons will have no choice but to move about, if only to find food and water," he said.

"Sadly, there will almost certainly be casualties, as improvised mines and unexploded homemade bombs do not differentiate between a military vehicle and a boy on a bicycle."

Creating fear is what the Taliban are best at. Oh, and selling heroin.

Smaller condoms for pre-teen penises

The ever-practical Swiss fill a market void:

Called the Hot Shot, the condoms were produced after government research showed a growing number of 12 to 14-year-olds were sexually active.

Swiss manufacturer Lamprecht AG is marketing the new Hot Shot as the condom that "fits when passion hits".

The Hot Shot name was chosen over the less appealing Tiny Helmet (for your midget soldier):

According to company spokesperson Nysse Norballe these smaller condoms make a big difference.

"They said they had found out that those for teenagers and also for other target groups ... they are very often too large and will roll off," Ms Norballe said.

She says although the name could be misunderstood as encouraging young boys to be sexually active, it is targeted more for adults.

"They are not going to ask for a condom which is a normal size or even a size small," Ms Norballe said.

"However, they will have no problem going in and asking for a Hot Shot. That has a positive influence on their self-esteem."

As if any twelve year-old male who's getting laid has a self-esteem problem – hey mom, don't forget to buy some Coco Pops and Hot Shots.

Senator Bob Brown: 'spineless' Rudd behind Sea Shepherd search

Greens Senator Bob Brown, keen to occupy the spotlight with Sea Shepherd attention-seeker Paul Watson, lashes out at the government after the Steve Irwin's crew was detained while the ship was searched by Federal Police on docking at Hobart:

The spineless Rudd government has laid charges, including throwing of rancid butter, but the Shonan Maru 2's ‘sinking' of the whale-protection boat Ady Gil, threatening the lives of six crew members, is not mentioned.

Tokyo has taken over Australia's Antarctic seas and whales and now it controls events in Hobart.

Brown can't speak highly enough of the butter-tossing sea-hippies:

It's just totally outrageous that Tokyo, using Australian police personnel has raided the ship carrying these anti-whaling heroes back into port in Hobart.

Yeah, how dare anyone use anything as trivial as the law to trouble these, er... heroes? I say we forget about historical greats – Charles Kingsford Smith, for example – and instead admire self-promoting do-gooders who spend their summers cruising Antarctic waters shooting lasers, throwing rancid butter and getting their multi-million speedboat run over. Cuz', you known, real acts of heroism are so, well, passe – saving the planet is so where it's at. Quick, update the national curriculum to include Paul Watson and his jolly Roger-sporting crew.

The Prime Minister, obviously miffed at the "spineless" jibe, is keen to show the Sea Shepherd-adoring masses he's right on top of the cetacean slaughter situation:

Either the government of Japan agrees to reduce its current catch from where it is to zero, in a reasonable time, or the Australian government will prosecute this matter in the international court of justice and we would initiate that action prior to the next whaling season.

Gee, the Ruddster is kinda hot when he talks all threatening like.

Hey, here's an idea: put Peter Garrett in charge of the anti-whaling effort and let's see what happens. Extinction looms.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Coldest winter since the 1980s traps ships

It's bloody cold in northern Europe:

The Baltic Sea was dotted with around 50 ships stuck in the ice on Thursday, including one large passenger ferry carrying around than 1,000 people. Many will remain where they are until Friday, Swedish maritime authorities said.

Sweden has suffered an unusually harsh winter this year, with temperatures across the country almost continuously well below freezing since December.

I blame global warming climate change.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Women's hands not fit for shaking

A firm handshake says a lot about a person. So, if you were on a selection committee it's highly likely any candidate who refused to shake hands would be immediately excluded from the selection process. This judgement call could be a mistake:

Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) has decided not to appeal its fine for discriminating against a Muslim man who had his benefits withdrawn after refusing to shake the hand of Jeanette Löding, the female CEO of a firm with which he was seeking employment.

Women should neither be seen nor heard, much less be allowed to interview job candidates.

Should 'bad parents' be paid not to have children?

Are there people who shouldn't ever have children? Well duh, of course. We've all met, know or know of people who would be terrible parents. But determining that people can't have children is too big a call for anyone to make. This even though it's obvious that some people will produce children – all too often in large quantity – who will be a burden on the state throughout their lives.

A New Zealand politician offers a modest solution to this "problem":

David Garrett, a member of the ruling coalition, told Radio New Zealand $NZ5,000 could be paid to abusive parents who choose to be sterilised.

"If we can incentivise people who, quite plainly, shouldn't be having children to stop having them, then that's something that we should at least have a discussion about," Mr Garrett said.

Further discussion has been rejected, of course:

Tau Huirama, from the anti-violence group known as Jigsaw, says he cringes at the thought of sterilisation.

"It's a thing that takes you back to Hitler and that sort of thinking," he said.

The Nazis did not offer cash payments for sterilization, which was not offered as an option – anyone deemed as needing sterilization was sterilized. The Nazi reference is a great conversation stopper, however.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Australia's publicly funded broadcaster applies leftward spin to deportation story

It's not enough that the ABC's The Drum "analysis and views" appendage consistently puts a counterclockwise (leftward) spin on the news, the ABC News site also spins news stories to fit the dominant leftist agenda. Thus we are offered this story Australian family faces deportation after fight:

A Melbourne woman and her children are about to be deported from the United States because one of her sons was charged over a schoolyard fight.

The ABC article elaborates, emotively:

Ms Washington's 13-year-old son is alleged to have punched a class mate and stole 46 cents from him.

He is now been charged with extortion, robbery and assault.

Youths who are arrested in San Francisco are required to be sent to immigration for investigation if there is any suspicion they may be undocumented.

Angela Chan from the Asian Law Caucus is representing the family and says the measures are extreme.

"Her child made the mistake and he knows it is a mistake of taking 46 cents from another child and punching the other child, but he did not hurt the other child," she said.

"The other child did not need any medical attention and they both shook hands afterwards and he apologised to the other child.

"It was a schoolyard altercation that should not have happened but the consequences have been extremely large on the family.

"The child was taken into immigration and ... the mother and child were handed a deportation order and they have to leave very soon."

An insignificant child's jab and the theft of 46¢ will result in deportation? Nope, the deportation has nothing to do with the alleged assault and theft:

The deportation has been ordered because investigations revealed Mrs Washington and her children were illegally staying in the country, due to an oversight they were not aware of.

Mr Washington says they were given the wrong information.

"They have an 800 number that you can contact and we call the 800 number, not once but twice, and were given the same misinformation," he said.

Unfortunately for Mrs Washington's the old adage, "ignorance is no excuse", applies in these circumstances: it is well established that bad advice from government employees cannot be used as an excuse for a subsequent violation of the law.

It is not unreasonable to expect the ABC to more accurately report news than does the notoriously biased The Age.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Current street violence trends 'un-Australian'

Ageing rocker Angry Anderson, 63, reckons taking weapons to a fight is un-Australian:

"You never kick a bloke when he's down . . . you don't gang up on a bloke. These things are Australian and we shouldn't shy away from being Australian."

The father of four said he had taught his sons these principles and said "other cultures" had introduced weapons, including the Lebanese, Indochinese and Pacific Islanders.

"We have to acknowledge that they have a different view about how they deal with each other," he said.

Anderson's politically incorrect views have been rejected, of course, as pure fantasy. Yet it is only recently that the king hit and blade weapons have become a prominent feature of street violence.

J. Edgar Hoover, transvestite head of the FBI

As with much accepted wisdom it turns out there is no evidence, none at all, that J. Edgar Hoover was gay or liked to parade around in dresses and blond wigs. And if he was gay, who cares? The left, of course.

U.S. to deport alleged Australian juvenile delinquent, brother and mum

The way The Age presents the story, U.S. immigration authorities are about to deport a frisky 13 year-old who did nothing more than playfully punch a classmate and take 46¢ from him. Naturally, heartless U.S. immigration authorities are deporting not only the alleged kiddy criminal, but also his mother and a five year-old brother. It's only much later in the tear-jerking story that The Age reveals that it's actually the Australian mother, who over-stayed her visa, that is being deported and her kids are being sent with her.

Rough injustice

A 52 year-old West Australian has been charged with aggravated assault after thumping three wayward kiddies who were trying to break into his home in the middle of the night. Local police are sympathetic:

Det Sgt Doyle said the man, who had been charged by summons, had been burgled three times before.

"He's become frustrated, obviously scared,'' he said.

"It's alleged he got a little bit carried away but carried away because of the fact that he fears being unsafe in his own house."

The courts are unlikely to be so understanding.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Drum: Publicly funded, poorly written and biased

As Gavin Atkins rightly points out, The Drum, ABC News' "analysis and views" appendage, is dominated by contributors from the left. So entrenched is this bias that almost indecipherable fringe left rantings are given prominence, as is this article on Israel's alleged involvement in the Dubai assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Some excerpts from the 1,038 word piece:

  • Australia has a long history of bi-partisan support for the Jewish state but I can't recall another time when the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have expressed such public outrage over Israel's apparent use of Australian passports to cover their tracks in the Dubai murder.

  • Senior ministers in both the ALP and Liberal party were equally vague on ABC's Lateline on Friday. [There are no Liberal ministers.]

  • Perhaps an early indication of Canberra's anger was seen in a vote in the UN last week that saw Australia abstain from backing Israel against the serious allegations contained in the Goldstone Report related to allegations of war crimes in Gaza. [Allegations of allegations?]

  • An Israeli official, anonymously of course, told the conservative Washington Times that the revelation of Mossad's behaviour in Dubai would not affect intelligence sharing between Israel and the West. [The article names two persons saying that intelligence sharing would remain unaffected.]

  • It is possible that Australia will briefly downgrade its relationship with Mossad, as Canada did after the botched assassination attempt in 1997 of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal using fake Canadian passports, but backing Israel for Australia is too central to its complicity with the US alliance to seriously question or radically change. [Attempted murder by fake passport? The second bit is anyone's guess.]

  • Countless reports have emerged over the years of Israeli allegedly using Australian passports as cover for covert activities but successive Australian governments have never fully pursued the leads.

  • But there is no doubt that Kevin Rudd, like most Prime Ministers before him, view Israel as a unique state deserving special privileges.

  • The image of Israel in the wider Australian society has inevitably taken a welcome hit but it remains highly unlikely that the political and media elites will implement the obvious implications of the latest affair; Israeli behaviour in the Middle East and the occupied territories are not the sign of a responsible or democratic nation.

The ABC should be deeply embarrassed at having put such poorly written rubbish on a publicly funded site. Then again, no commercial site, other than a humour site, would publish such crap unedited.