Friday, July 31, 2009


Supreme Court justice Mr McClellan today overturned a 2007 jury decision that radio 2GB host Jason Morrison had defamed Islamic identity Kayser Trad. Mr justice McClellan was scathing in his remarks:
I came to the view that the plaintiff [Trad] attempted to frame his responses in a manner which he believed would suit his interests in the litigation at times modifying his true belief. Some of his answers were not truthful. The plaintiff was not a reliable witness.

On one occasion when reminded that his personal website included a link to Radio Islam which provided a link to Mein Kampf the plaintiff said he did not know who authored Mein Kampf. The plaintiff is obviously conversant with many works of literature, history and theology, at least those with a "right wing" leaning. His suggestion when giving evidence that he did not recall that Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf was disingenuous. I am satisfied that he was attempting to avoid the the [sic] criticisms which the defendant made of him.
McClellan was at this point only getting warmed up. See for yourself: the full 67 page judgment is here.


Many years ago when I was about to nominate my U.S. Navy duty preference there were essentially three choices: submarines; aircraft carriers; and surface combatants.

The surface navy, that is, destroyers, was the choice for those aspiring to be directly involved in sailing the seven seas.

Those desiring to enhance their promotional prospects had to choose between submarines and aircraft carriers. Naval aviation types presented submarines as "death tubes". Submariners countered with a very effective campaign showing an aircraft carrier with superimposed cross-hairs captioned, "Which end of the periscope would you rather be on?"

Over 25 years on the Royal Australian Navy has no such duty-selection dilemma: it has no naval aviation assets and its submarine force is diminished to the point of near irrelevance with only two of six vessels deployable:
Former senior defence official Alan Behm says the shortage puts the Australian Navy at a disadvantage should Australia go to war.

"If it were serious ocean warfare though, we would be in a pretty poor position," he said.
If any nation more capable than New Zealand attacks, we're screwed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Antony Loewenstein on freedom of expression:
Personally, I find that censoring any opinions is a dangerous precedent, especially those that may be unpopular with the ruling elites.
This from a hypocrite who tightly controls comments at his blog, refusing to post those that are "difficult".


Grodster Bridgit Gread on outspoken cab driver John Sunol:
After delving further into John’s back catalogue, it’s fairly clear that he’s stupid to the point of possibly having some kind of disability.
For Gread such "stupidity" is understandable given Sunol's line of work:
John’s endearing combination of outspokeness, incoherence and ignorance is not so surprising once you learn that he’s a cab driver.
Funny how leftards like to rubbish blue-collar Australians every chance they get.

Update: Sydney cab driver Adrian Neylan:
Bridgit’s own fearless brand of invective is not so surprising once you learn that she’s anonymous. Bravo!
Rather well said for a retard.

Update II: Thin-skinned cry-baby Gread has a sad at Neylan's blog about me being mean to school teacher Scott Bridges. This, of course, has nothing to do with the matter at hand or with Neylan. Another boo-hoo-hoo from Bridgit.

Update III: Continued here.


British researchers reach a predictable conclusion:
Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.
Organic farmers are unimpressed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Helen Caldicott -- currently visiting Kalgoorlie -- sound-bites were this afternoon featured on at least one Perth radio news broadcast. She raved, of course, about the "inevitable cancer epidemic" that will strike Australian children should uranium mining be allowed to proceed. Such scare-mongering from a trained medical practitioner is inexcusable.

Update: Included in The Sydney Morning Herald's Caldicott profile:
"I haven't retired, I think I never will," says Caldicott, who has been passionate about anti-nuclear issues since reading Neville Shute's novel On The Beach as a 15-year-old.
Wrong. On the Beach was published in 1957; Caldicott was born in 1938. Believe this woman at your peril.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Not long ago a rodent infestation was easily handled: set spring-loaded death-traps or put out poison, or both. The potential disease-spreaders now have rights and should be trapped and euthanised humanely -- capturing alive and dispatching with a sharp blow from a hammer is suggested. Exploding the little critters with a Rodenator is a no no. Malcolm Fraser was right: life wasn't meant to be simple.


To his credit, Middle East "expert" Antony Loewenstein has finally visited Gaza. His latest Gaza post, Gaza: flattened, occupied, sick and rootless is, however, typically muddled with Gaza simultaneously "occupied" and "under siege for over three years by Israel and the Western powers". Read the whole thing, marveling at the writing -- good enough for Crikey.

His conclusion is powerfully persuasive:
In the small village of East Maghazi, near the Israeli border, a farmer told me a story that seemed to encapsulate the sense of humiliation that infects this conflict. After the Israelis bulldozed his home without warning in early January, along with killing some of his live-stock, they returned to steal the roots of a 100 year-old sycamore tree, a shady covering used by his grandfather in decades past. The roots would undoubtedly be re-planted in Israel as a way to eradicate the Palestinian connection to the land.

This is the real meaning of occupation.
The Palestinian cause may never recover.


A subsequent study will probably soon report contrary findings but for the moment dairy products have more nutritional pros than cons:
Some 4,374 UK children from a 1930s study were traced 65 years later by researchers in Bristol and Queensland.

They found those who had had high dairy and calcium intakes as children had been protected against stroke and other causes of death, journal Heart reports.

Despite dairy containing artery furring fat and cholesterol, high consumption did not raise the heart disease risk.
Dairy's link to cancer is also iffy. Go for the full cream products; that's where the flavour is.

Monday, July 27, 2009


PhD candidate Damian Lataan reckons Antony Loewenstein is harshly dealt with here because he's "making a dent in your Islamophobic rhetoric and propaganda". Nope, Loewenstein is ridiculed because he can't write and wouldn't have a clue. Here's Loewy's latest post, as an example:
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who has spent the last while hanging out with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concludes the following:
After spending a week traveling the frontline of the “war on terrorism” — from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan in the seas off Iran, to northern Iraq, to Afghanistan and into northwest Pakistan — I can comfortably report the following: The bad guys are losing.
That’s right, world. From his perch alongside the US military, things seem to moving along swimmingly against the enemy.

The US government must be pleased with yet another successful embed.
Friedman says he "followed Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he visited a vast, choking-hot and dust-covered refugee tent camp in Jalozai". The article contains nothing about him "hanging out" with Admiral Mullen.

The premise of the article is not that we are winning but rather that Islamists are alienating their subjects:
They have failed to persuade people by either their arguments or their performances in power that their puritanical versions of Islam are the answer. Having lost the argument, though, the radicals still hang on thanks to gun barrels and oil barrels — and they can for a while.
The article does not mention military operations.

Friedman was not embedded with U.S. forces.

Loewenstein can't read a newspaper article pitched at high school level and get it right. Over to you Mr. Lataan.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


July temperatures across much of the U.S. have reached record lows. Is Al Gore on a speaking tour, perhaps?

Via reader minicapt.


Not overly embittered? That doesn't mean you're not mentally ill; there are plenty of other iffy mental disorders -- from sex addiction to frotteurism -- you've never heard of. And even if you aren't yet obviously in need of help, you could well be "subthreshold" or "premorbid". There's no getting around it, you need to see a psychiatrist.


During his first ever short visit to Israel conducting "research" for the "best-selling" My Israel Question, Antony Loewenstein stayed briefly with distant relatives, the Greens. According to Ronald Green, Loewenstein regards Australia as a cultural backwater, hoping to escape by achieving international recognition as an author and journalist. Having recently moved to New York Loewenstein is living his dream, this despite his writing generating little public interest -- his most recent book, The Blogging Revolution, is currently sales ranked #837,812 at Amazon.

Loewenstein's success, such as it is, is built not on his writing skills, which are ordinary at best, or on unique or even special insights deriving from expertise, of which he has none. No, his notoriety arises almost entirely from his status as an oddity, that is, as an outspokenly anti-Israel Jew. Loewenstein has tenaciously parlayed this, slowly but surely achieving minor celebrity status. (Go here is you want to read some of his articles; here for interviews.)

As his prominence increased Loewenstein was noticed by Macquarie University's Dr Andrew Vincent, who appointed him the "fairly well qualified", appropriately left-wing and anti-Israel "token Jew" on the board of the university’s Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Loewenstein is also an Honorary Associate at Macquarie University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. These affiliations -- in particular his position as a board member at the Centre for Middle Eastern and North African Studies -- suggest that Loewenstein is a highly educated and knowledgeable Middle East commentator. He isn't

If Macquarie University's Middle East group blog, Khaldoun, is any guide, Loewenstein should feel right at home hobnobbing with academics. Khaldoun links to Loewenstein's blog as a "site we like". And like Loewenstein, Khaldoun's bloggers are preoccupied with Israel, with the Jewish state the subject of 36 of its 37 posts so far in 2009. But hey, it's not like anything of any importance has happened anywhere else in the Middle East over the last seven months.

Always seeking to be more visible Loewenstein teamed up with philosophy lecturer Peter Slezak as co-founders of Independent Australian Jewish Voices. The IAJV mission:
In keeping with the goals enunciated in our originally published IAJV statement, we as organizers are concerned to widen the debate about Israel/Palestine and thereby to permit a more honest, productive debate that might foster a better understanding of the issues.
The group a response to stifling pressure allegedly brought to bear by the broader Jewish community:
In common with other such groups, IAJV is concerned about the narrow range of opinion and fact that is available in the mainstream media on Israel/Palestine and also with the uncritical stance of the leadership of the organized Jewish community. The statement criticized the vilification of dissenting Jews as self-hating or disloyal.
This dovetails perfectly with Loewenstein's oft bleated protest that the mainstream Jewish community effectively silences him -- not listening is not the same as silencing, however. But it is now Loewenstein who attempts to silence pro-Israel Jews, often referring to them as ignorant and bigoted supporters of a rogue state. Here's a recent example:
Raimond Gaita is a leading Jewish, Australian intellectual.

Like so many of them, he expresses profound ignorance, bigotry and intolerance towards the Palestinian narrative and the recent Gaza war.

Truth is forgotten when it comes to backing the Jewish state. The moral blind-spot is revealed yet again.

Independent Australian Jewish Voices writer Michael Brull investigates.

Brull describes Gaita as "an anti-Muslim racist". This unwarranted attack drawing two responses (here and here) from non-Jew Gaita, with Geoffrey Brahm Levey adding:

I was one of the original signatories to the initial petition announcing IAJV’s existence. Though I disagreed with some of the wording of this year’s IAJV petition against Operation Cast Lead, I signed it because I believed stopping the violence in Gaza and on Gazans was more important than my qualms about some wording. I presented a lecture in the recent ACU lecture series on Gaza. I know Rai Gaita. I read his lecture. And Antony’s and Michael Brull’s characterisation of Raimond Gaita, his lecture on Gaza, and his views on Palestinians and Muslims are totally unwarranted and out of line. Even if they were correct on the substantive issues — which, in this case, they’re not — why they think impugning somebody’s motives and character is germane to putting and winning an argument is beyond me. Ratbaggery only impresses ratbags. If this is what IAJV has become, you may count me out of any further IAJV activities.

Loewestein's only response is to correct the Gaita is Jewish error -- that Gaita is considered not only a Jew but a "leading Jew" speaks volumes about Loewenstein's ignorance. By the way, Geoffrey Brahm Levey won't be the last signatory to sever links with IAJV.

Anyway, Loewenstein recently visited Israel (where does the money come from?) and has heaps of new posts on the evil Jews. Here's a still of the fearless Jew conducting man in the street interviews.

He's not the heartthrob he once was.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Discover Magazine blogger Carl Zimmer attacks George Will for quoting Mark Steyn:
Today Will has published a column about recent negotiations on controlling carbon emissions. He considers them a bunch of empty promises, which seems to be just fine with Will, because there is no global warming to control anyway. Here’s how Will closes his latest piece:
When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”

Which could explain why the Mall does not reverberate with youthful clamors about carbon. And why, regarding climate change, the U.S. government, rushing to impose unilateral cap-and-trade burdens on the sagging U.S. economy, looks increasingly like someone who bought a closetful of platform shoes and bell-bottom slacks just as disco was dying.
In earlier days, Will liked to claim the World Meteorological Organization as an authority when he wrote that there has been no global warming since 1998. Now that the World Meteorological Organization has set things straight, he’s claiming a columnist at National Review as his authority. That’s quite an upgrade
But it isn't only right-wing ideologues who ignore climate change "reality":
At a recent dinner at the University of Oxford, a senior researcher in atmospheric physics was telling me about his coming holiday in Thailand. I asked him whether he was concerned that his trip would make a contribution to climate change - we had, after all, just sat through a two-hour presentation on the topic. "Of course," he said blithely. "And I'm sure the government will make long-haul flights illegal at some point."

I had deliberately steered our conversation this way as part of an informal research project that I am conducting - one you are welcome to join. My participants so far include a senior adviser to a leading UK climate policy expert who flies regularly to South Africa ("my offsets help set a price in the carbon market"), a member of the British Antarctic Survey who makes several long-haul skiing trips a year ("my job is stressful"), a national media environment correspondent who took his family to Sri Lanka ("I can't see much hope") and a Greenpeace climate campaigner just back from scuba diving in the Pacific ("it was a great trip!").

Intriguing as their dissonance may be, what is especially revealing is that each has a career predicated on the assumption that information is sufficient to generate change. It is an assumption that a moment's introspection would show them was deeply flawed.
When those with a vested interest in climate change aren't believers it's hardly surprising the average man in the street isn't on board the global warming bandwagon.

Update: Thanks to a link from Instapundit I'm currently getting more traffic per hour than I usually get per day. Yippee!

Update II: A hobby blogger Instalanche looks like this:

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Antony Loewenstein:
Raimond Gaita is a leading Jewish, Australian intellectual.

Like so many of them, he expresses profound ignorance, bigotry and intolerance towards the Palestinian narrative and the recent Gaza war.
Ignoring the gibberish second sentence, Raimond Gaita is nowhere identified as Jewish. Sol Salbe also has doubts:
Sorry Antony but as far as I know (and Wiklipedia concurs) Raimond gaita is not Jewish. His nearest connection is a Jewish wife.
Will Loewenstein correct? If he remains true to form, no.

Update: In a possible first Loewenstein corrects:
I am informed that Gaita is not Jewish, so let the record be corrected.
A few minutes fact-checking would have made this unnecessary.


Guide Dogs Queensland has complained to ABC management about a fake guide dogs advert by The Chaser team. The ad -- video here -- isn't really offensive but, more importantly, isn't nearly funny, making this observation from ABC news perhaps prescient:
The final episode of The Chaser will be aired next week.
Yes, please.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Drunk randy man meets drunk randy woman. Man proposes sex; woman consents. During foreplay woman passes out; man continues mission. Man charged with rape. Judge in a quandary.
There is an inference that she might have consented (to more sex) had she been awake," he said.

The issue I have to resolve is whether I should even impose a suspended sentence here, that's my problem.

He declined to pass sentence, saying he needed more time to consider his ruling.
Stay tuned.


A male sea lion from California called Mike has died of exhaustion after over-exerting himself during the mating season in an animal park in Nuremberg, the city said on Tuesday.


All comments will be moderated at least temporarily.

Monday, July 20, 2009


A middle-aged guy is riding his bicycle, not bothering anyone, when out of the blue a gang of tattooed females knocks him to the ground and pleasures him:
As the man was lying defenceless on the ground, the women proceeded to pull off his trousers and underwear and molest him sexually before fleeing the scene.
Police hope similar, previously unreported crimes, will now now come to light. It ain't gonna happen.


The Australian sees fit to publish occasional commenter, and Irfan Yusuf pal (see sidebar), Daniel Lewis's letter. Lewis is, unfortunately, totally cleaned up by commenter Patricia:
And DL, here we go again; talk about Pavlova’s dog!
Patty plays ruff.


The Prime Minister's first blog post -- on climate change -- opened for discussion at 2pm 16 July; with 680 replies so far, many running to several hundred words, Mr Rudd's blog is a roaring success. Or is it? Actually, it's a mess. Here's why (bold in original):
Moderation and publication of comments will take place during business hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. While users may submit comments at any time, comments will only be processed and posted during business hours. We undertake to moderate all posts within 24 hours of receipt.
As of the close of business Friday, 17 July, 374 comments had been posted, this number remaining the same until shortly after moderation staff returned to work this morning, at which time the comments that had backed up over the weekend began to be posted. Over 100 comments were posted within the first hour.

Just trying to find the point at which the conversation concluded on Friday is a major project -- the comments are neither numbered nor permalinked. So, anyone wanting to take up the discussion where it left off has to search through the comments page by page looking for the last comment on Friday. Using the 50 comments per page viewing option, this is on page 10.

Now since a huge number of comments had obviously collected over the weekend, the promise to "moderate all posts [that is, comments - ed.] within 24 hours of receipt" obviously wasn't met.

In short, the PM's blog is a waste of time for anyone wanting to engage in discussion; if Mr Rudd sincerely wants to be a blogger he's needs to make some major changes to the way he operates.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Tim Blair gets it wrong:
[N]obody seems to think that expanded uranium mining is such a bad thing.
Helen Caldicott reckons mining uranium -- almost all of which will be exported -- is "the first step to war". And we're doomed even if there is no nuclear holocaust:
Apart from the nuclear weapons proliferation problem inherent in uranium export, massive quantities of nuclear waste have and are being produced from our uranium, which over time will induce epidemics of cancer and genetic disease.
These radiation driven epidemics will become evident soon. Really. Soon. In the meantime Blair needs to pay more attention or the PP boys will be all over him. Oh wait...


Andrew Bolt notes the death of the 11th Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, adding:
This brings to 51 the number Coalition troops killed in Afghanistan this month - making it already the deadliest month of fighting there.

Britain has now lost more soldiers in Afghanistan than it has in Iraq. Canada alone has suffered an astonishing 125 fatalities. That said, the Coalition deaths in Afghanistan are still a quarter of those suffered in Iraq. It’s just that Iraq is essentially won, but Afghanistan has little end in sight. It’s also that Americans were left to do almost all the real fighting in Iraq, while now its partners are asked to do their share in Afghanistan.

Typically, it’s largely the English-speaking countries that have responded.
PP boy Scott Bridges trims Bolt's quote down to this:
It’s also that Americans were left to do almost all the real fighting in Iraq, while now its partners are asked to do their share in Afghanistan.

Typically, it’s largely the English-speaking countries that have responded.
A screen-grab of a Wikipedia table showing national force number contributions to the 42-member International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is attached with Bridges observing:
Three of the top ten contributions (apart from the USA) come from English-speaking countries.
Bridges' post, which asks his readers to "compare and contrast" Bolt's post with reality, is patently dishonest: Bolt addresses participation in anti-Taliban operations ("fighting") whereas Bridges looks only at force numbers.

Wikipedia's Coalition casualties in Afghanistan page shows 1,182 coalition deaths connected with Afghanistan operations* of which 985 (83.3%) were sustained by the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. Further, the U.K., Canada and Australia account for 62% of non-U.S. casualties, with the remaining 38% spread over the other 38 participating countries. Bolt is therefore correct: English speaking countries are bearing the brunt of the combat burden, which explains why Bridges resorts to a cherry-picked quote and irrelevant numbers. This is exactly the sort of "intellectual dishonest" the PP boyz are meant to seek out and discredit, not perpetrate.

Regardless, the main point of Bolt's post is reflected in its title -- Eleventh Digger killed in Afghanistan -- and again in its lead sentence:
We have lost our eleventh soldier in Afghanistan.
Bridges could have acknowledged this sad event but didn't because he was on a points-scoring anti-Bolt mission.

* Wikipedia had not yet updated to show the latest Australian killed. Also, not all of those deaths listed occurred as a reult of combat operations inside Afghanistan: personnel killed in car accidents and other non-combat accidents are included in the totals.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Guantanamo detainee Ramzi Binalshibh accuses the United States of ongoing torture with his cell allegedly flooded with foul smells and loud noises, and his bed "vibrating". Binalshibh's not in Cuba, he's in a cheap motel somewhere just off an Interstate in the 1970s.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Larry Buttrose mourns an untimely death:
A few weeks ago, a neighbour from up our street left a printed sheet of white paper in our letter box informing us that his wife had died, and that a memorial service would be held. It was very sad to read.

A* was a delightful young woman. The couple had come to parties at our home, and she was elegant, charming and witty, even though she had little voice. The reason her voice was weakened was the cancer that had affected her throat, and the reason she had cancer, and would eventually die leaving her husband and child, was Chernobyl.
No ifs, ands or buts: Chernobyl caused A*'s cancer. So did A* live close to the reactor, or was she perhaps one of the highly irradiated workers who tried to contain the mess? No:
A* and her husband had come to Australia from Poland. After one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power station blew up in 1986, its plume of lethal fallout was carried on the winds far and wide. Poland was literally next door: it shares a border with Ukraine, and A* had been affected by the radiation.

While they had come to Australia and resettled, she had fallen ill.

Her husband said the doctors had told him they had never seen a cancer of its kind before. Last year he took A* to Germany for special treatment, but to no avail. After a decade of fighting the cancer with enormous bravery, A* died.
Sad and stirring? Yes. Did Chernboyl fallout cause her cancer? Probably not. The adverse effects of Chernobyl fallout have been carefully studied; the IAEA reporting:
Apart from the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer incidence among those exposed at a young age, there is no clearly demonstrated increase in the incidence of solid cancers or leukaemia due to radiation in the most affected populations.
So, whereas A*'s cancer might be Chernobyl related, it's impossible to know this with any certainty. It is therefore grossly irresponsible of the Sydney Morning Herlad to publish this anti-nuclear piece, based, as it is, on grotesquely cynical exploitation of a death to a "never before seen cancer" "caused by Chernobyl". Conjecture is not fact and should not be reported as such, even in an opinion piece.

By the way, Hiroshima cancers, while more common than normal, are not as common as many would suspect.

Editing note: Several errors have been corrected: the author is Larry, not Trevor Buttrose; the piece is in the Sydney Morning Herald, not The Age.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Compare and contrast:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


In what is now a tradition, youths celebrate Bastille Day by torching more than 300 cars:
The police described the night as relatively calm without major incident.
Yep, everything is relative.


The votes have been counted in JJJ's "The Hottest 100 Of All Time" with at least one observer troubled by the results:
However, as the countdown progressed, something sinister emerged: of the 100 tracks that ended up comprising the list, there were no female artists.
Listeners simply acknowledged reality: men are better musicians. It's also relevant that JJJ -- in my experience -- attracts a predominantly male audience.


Contrary to what's popularly believed, the world is less violent than ever. Check out this essay by psychologist Steven Pinker, or I'll smack you a good one.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Advocates for Animals wants crustaceans accorded their due rights -- no more dropping crabs and lobsters into boiling water, for example. Crab specialist Peter Fraser refuses to fall into line, however:
As for lobsters in boiling water, sensory nerves from crabs living in temperate waters fail irreversibly at 25 °C, about the temperature of tepid bath water. This procedure is not inhumane.
Any bets on which side is going to win this one?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Grodsters vs Jeremy hostility goes bitchy in comments to a Harry Potter post by Jeremy at Pure Poison.

Grodster John Surname has a go at Green supporter Jeremy:
Is Harry Potter the new Greens, completely untouchable? I assume, being a Friday, that this was published in the Entertainment Guide. I fail to see any intellectual dishonesty in not liking a series of children’s books and films.
Jeremy responds:
I suppose that’s in The Age publishing it as if it were a piece of genuine literary criticism, when it’s just a vague whinge about Harry Potter being popular.

By all means, write a post condemning the series for actual faults. That’s what this piece implied it was going to do - and then didn’t.
Drawing this comeback:
“That’s what this piece implied it was going to do - and then didn’t.”

No it didn’t. Right from the headline it was pretty clear about what kind of piece it was going to be. I feel your dislike of this article has more to do with the fact it takes the piss out of adult fans. Like you.
To which Jeremy retorts:
“I feel your dislike of this article has more to do with the fact it takes the piss out of adult fans. Like you.”

Thanks, John, but no - I don’t see myself in her criticism at all. Come to think of it, I do see a little bit of you in her, though.
With Surname concluding:
Thanks Jeremy, your response proved my point.
Funny how these lefty-spats seem to go all personal.

Editing note: Misspelling in title corrected, after a couple of tries.


Andrew Bolt argues that better teachers deserve better pay, with principals to determine the most deserving. This ignores that no amount of money spent on teachers can overcome the problem of disruptive students:
Education Minister Geoff Wilson has acknowledged bad student behaviour would have a direct impact on academic results, prompting more calls for the Government to change their funding formula according to need. It is now based on enrolments.

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said schools with behavioural problems needed extra funds.

"If there is a need in the school, you need additional staff, whether that be teaching staff or support staff," Mr Ryan said.

"They need to be found and the school has to have the ability to do that."
It is simplistic to concentrate on teacher quality when bad behaviour is rife in schools.


Lindsay Tanner unwittingly compliments Australians' collective intelligence:
Australia is one of the few countries in the world where academic is a term of derision.
Many academics do deserve ridicule: Jake Lynch, for example. As already noted, he doesn't present the full facts in a recent Sydney Morning Herald article.

Factual error isn't the only problem with the article, however, which accuses Israel of piracy:
Israel sent six military vessels to seize a ship, the Spirit of Humanity, sailing from Cyprus with relief supplies for the people of Gaza, and arrested - no, make that abducted - 21 people on board, including the Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire. After a week in detention, they were released and deported.

At no time did the Spirit enter Israeli waters, so Israel's action could be deemed piracy under the definition of the International Maritime Bureau...
This aligns the Herald's reporting with that of Socialist Worker Online, Al-Ahram Weekly, Alarab Online, Global Arab Network and other fringe news source.

Then there's "adjunct professor of international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University" Noura Erakat's article at Huffington Post. Erakat ignores the piracy issue, concentrating instead on Israel's blockade and destruction of Gaza:
While blockades are not new to the international legal order, think to the decade-long US-imposed sanctions on Iraq or the 49-year US-imposed embargo on Cuba, the blockade of Gaza is unique for including the prohibition of basic goods, being applied against an occupied nation, and persisting in spite of a military attack that left 14,000 homes, 240 schools, and 219 factories destroyed. In Gaza, the otherwise sterile moniker, 'blockade,' amounts to a policy of starvation.
Ignoring that no Gazans are reported to have starved as a result of the blockade, operation "Cast Lead" did not destroy 14,000 homes and 240 schools. Also, Iraq sanction were imposed by the United Nations, not the United States.

Highly educated academics are supposed to be better informed and more intelligent than the "average" person. This notion is obviously incorrect.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


A warning from Choice:
Genetically modified ingredients are slipping under the radar and into some foods – possibly your favourite glass of red.
The article, promoting a new "pocket-sized guide listing alcoholic drinks free of genetically modified ingredients" produced by Greenpeace, mentions possible GM "contamination" of foods three times. For example, linking GM foods to Americans, who as we all know will eat anything that's bad for them:
Imported drinks are more susceptible to contamination from GM-derived ingredients, especially where the US is the country of origin.
Both the alcohol guide and the site where it's found, True Food Network, repeatedly refer to the "possible" hazards of genetically engineered foods. On the other hand, the all too real health risks associated with alcohol consumption are ignored. In reality alcohol is far more likely to adversely affect the health of Australia's drinkers than are any genetically modified materials possibly found in intoxicating beverages.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Adept hosts, the French are unpopular abroad:
French people are the world's worst tourists according to a study of the global hotel industry.
Knew it, didn't you?


Jake Lynch, director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, writes in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Israel sent six military vessels to seize a ship, the Spirit of Humanity, sailing from Cyprus with relief supplies for the people of Gaza, and arrested - no, make that abducted - 21 people on board, including the Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire. After a week in detention, they were released and deported.
But in a discussion on Irish TV Maguire does not dispute that she was offered immediate release, opting instead to remain in Israeli custody. Does Lynch know this? If not, why? If so, what's with the lie?


Pure Poison's admirable mission:
Exposing intellectual dishonesty in the mainstream media, across the political spectrum.
So today PP boy Jeremy critiques a Harry Potter item appearing in The Age's entertainment section, describing author Bryony Gordon as "a judgmental and sanctimonious prick". Oddly, I cannot recall any journalist aspiring to mainstream credibility referring to a female author as a penis. Perhaps some controversy will enliven things at PP. Coming attractions: drink bottle penises.

Pure Poison: like Grods but different, somehow.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


An 81 year-old whose girlfriend was giving him the silent treatment went to his shed and... selected the appropriate tool for the mission.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Former academic and fake indigenous American Ward Churchill has had his day in court following allegedly illegal termination by the University of Colorado. The presiding judge very politely advised Churchill to eat shit and die, so to speak:
A state court judge on Tuesday not only denied Ward Churchill everything he sought in his long-running battle with the University of Colorado system, but also negated the one victory the controversial scholar had won so far: a jury verdict holding that system officials had violated his First Amendment rights by firing him from a job as a tenured ethnic-studies professor in response to statements he had made.

Having presided over the four-week trial that led to the jury's April 2 decision that the university had illegally fired Mr. Churchill for academic misconduct, Judge Larry J. Naves decided to vacate the jury verdict on the grounds that the university officials named in his lawsuit were immune from such litigation.

Moreover, Judge Naves held, he could not appropriately order Mr. Churchill's reinstatement on the flagship campus, in Boulder, because the jury had found the professor undeserving of any significant compensation for damages—as reflected by its awarding him just $1 for economic losses—and because the university system's lawyers had successfully made the case that returning Mr. Churchill to his old job would damage the university, its faculty members, and its students.
A fitting decision all round.

Update: Opinion on the judgement and further backround from Inside Higher Ed.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has doubts about the judge's ruling.


Should a tree in Poland planted to honour Hitler and still living despite the devastation all around it be cut down or left in place? I say leave it; we need all the trees we have and then some.


PP boy Jeremy's take on the HMAS Success yob-gobs two days ago:
The only problem in this one is that it suggests a culture on the part of some sailrs that treats female members of the defence force as sex objects. They might need some counselling as to what’s appropriate in the workplace, but that’s about it.
In today's column Andrew Bolt also sees the scandal as much ado about not much since it's not known if any of the male sailors actually managed to have sex with the "targeted" females. Jeremy's brain, urgently needing to find fault -- something, anything -- with the Bolt piece, homes in like a guided grey matter missile on the sex angle:
Um, because having sex isn’t the offence here? The problem was the lack of professionalism and respect inherent in the ledger idea.
At what point the ledger idea became an "unprofessional offence" is unclear. Is it an offence to appreciate a fellow sailor's looks? Is it perhaps unprofessional to be sexually attracted to a crew-mate? Is it improper to have sexual fantasies about a co-worker? Is voicing these fantasies to colleagues improper? Perhaps the offence occurs when these thoughts are put to paper in a letter to a friend or in a personal journal? Does the offence only occur when a small group of men jointly commit their fantasies to paper in a shared journal? Or do these conquest fantasies only become improper when a value is attached to the propspective "targets"?

Regardless, Jeremy seems to have little understanding of what men surrounded by attractive women think, talk and fantasise about. Go figure.

Update: Since it is their raison d'être (ain't French sexy?), the PP boyz could perhaps take a look at the intellectual dishonesty in this item at mainstream site Crikey.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Antony Loewenstein has relaunched his blog with a sexy new look and extra features. The content remains the same old, er, stuff, however. There's the usual Israel is evil hoopla. Then there are items like this:
Back in March, George Galloway led a convoy of aid into Gaza.

He’s going back...
The linked Press TV article says Galloway organised this second aid convoy but says nothing about him participating directly. Sure it's a little thing but a Middle East expert shouldn't make such mistakes. I mean, now that Loewenstein has moved from Australia to the U.S. he's over 3,000 miles closer to the action in Gaza and should get it right.

Update: Loewy screws up a two-word post:
Mondoweiss writes:
Mondoweiss doesn't write anything; it's a blog. Philip Weiss is the author. A-Lo should know this since he sometimes guest-posts there. Duh.


Experts say the left and right fringes in Sweden have equal potential for violence:
Political extremists in Sweden are generally more violent than their counterparts in Denmark in Germany and Denmark, a new report shows.

The study, commissioned by the government and carried out jointly by the National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå) and the Swedish security service Säpo, also found that groups on the right and the left in Sweden are equally prone to violence.

“Political violence is equally likely on both sides,” Säpo analyst Johan Olsson told Svergies Radio (SR).
But the far right gets all the attention:
In accepting the report on Monday, Sweden’s Minister of Integration and Equality Nyamko Sabuni said it was time to recognize the detrimental effects of left-wing political violence.

“We have long distanced ourselves from the white power movement’s activities and violence, not least due to historical experiences. But for just as long we’ve romanticized and downplayed the violence that left-wing groups have inflicted on society’s representatives, calling it a youthful misunderstanding or freedom fighters who have gone too far,” she told SR.

Another sign of Swedes’ differing views toward left- and right-wing violence is the difference in the number of programmes designed to help people leave extremist groups.

While there are a number of support groups for people interested in leaving neo-Nazi and other nationalistic networks on the far-right, there are few resources available to those looking to distance themselves from left-wing extremists.

“As far as I know there is no support for those who want to leave left-wing extremist movements and that’s due in part to the fact that society hasn’t treated this sort of extremism with the same seriousness as right-wing extremism,” said Robert Öhrell from Exit, a Stockholm-based organization which gives advice and support to people wishing to leave right-wing groups, to SR.
For young intellectuals nothing has more allure than forcibly redistributing wealth a la Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro and Pol Pot. You know how it works: do it their way or it's a bullet behind the ear. The seductive allure of violence perpetrated in pursuit of a supposedly noble cause is powerful indeed.


Attention to detail is a crucial part of the job:
I’m a lawyer. I check these things regularly...
Let’s see just how closely everyone's favourite lawyer checks things. In this post, Jeremy quotes David Starkoff:
Winning division 1 in Oz 7 Lotto requires picking the seven winning numbers from 45: 45,379,620 combinations. Since you can buy a 12-game ticket for $12.70, the entry cost to buy every combination is therefore a shade over $48,000,000… This suggests that a brute force attack may be efficient: i.e., buying every combination and making a profit.
The important words in that extract, which Jeremy presumably checked carefully: “12-game ticket.” But Jeremy goes on to write:
I think he’s got the maths wrong by a factor of about ten. $12.70 multiplied by 45,379,620 is $576,321,174, not $48 million. Unless I’m missing something.
He has. He’s missed the fact that a 12-game ticket (there’s a clue in the name) plays 12 games, not just one. Alerted to this by a reader, Jeremy responds:
Ah – I didn’t know that.
Almost 24 hours later Jeremy finally corrected his post. Such admissions are rare indeed and should be savoured.

Update: Jeremy can't fact check a paragraph he quotes but takes journalists to task for not getting it right. Tee hee.


A rooster problem, perhaps?

Monday, July 06, 2009


A unique talent for impersonation.


David Penberthy compares The Punch's numbers to Crikey's and thanks the lefties for a traffic-boosting link. PP boy Scott Bridges responds by screaming BLOGWAR!. Unfortunately for Crikey's hit count, Penberthy has so far ignored the gauntlet thrown down by Bridges.

Crikey has allowed Bridges to transfer his ongoing spats with bloggers Iain Hall and Leon Bertrand from Grods obscurity to Pure Poison quasi-mainstream respectability, however. Here Bridges refers to Bertrand as a"bozo" and Hall a "halfwit". Bridges, over-sized ego on display, reckons Hall should be glad for the link:
Anyway, I thought you might like the traffic last Thursday. I’m a nice guy like that.
Pure Poison has now moved from debunking intellectual dishonesty to personal attacks on rivals. The Grodsification of PP continues. The infamous Blair and Bolt incidents taught them nothing.

Update: Perhaps Iain Hall can enlighten us as to how much traffic the mighty PP sent his way.

Update II: Hall says he received seven hits from the Crikey link. Jeez, I am envious.


With precious little information to report, the HMAS Success "sex scandal" beat up continues. Earlier reported as a "sex plot", money is now a core issue:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says allegations that Australian sailors engaged in a sex for money competition are disturbing.
Almost sounds like prostitution.

On the other hand, PP boy Tobias Ziegler sees the "scandal" as a problem of "organisational culture":
The problem here is that it appears some male seamen regarded their female counterparts as potential conquests, and that raises questions about attitudes toward and treatment of women in the Navy. Arguably, this is similar to the issue arising from certain high-profile sportsmen being involved in group sex or other activities that, regardless of whether they were consensual and irrespective of the fact that nothing criminal took place, involved treating women as objects in a sexual game.
Now unless there's evidence that any of the male sailors bullied or coerced the females it must be assumed the females allowed themselves to be "conquered" and must therefore share the blame if it's determined that any sex acts were in any way improper -- say for example that sexual activity in a gun mount, for example, in some way impaired combat readiness. In any event, nothing indicates the events aboard HMAS Success are indicative of institutional flaws within the RAN.

Update: Maybe it's the cold medication but it seems Jeremy and I have the same take on the sailor "sex scandal". Damn.

Note: Screwed up the title with the double quote at one end and a single at the other. Really should wear my glasses.


Working outdoors in southwestern Western Australia's reliably wet and windy winter is not without health risks. There was no escaping last week's horizontal rain so I was soaked a couple of times. Oh well, it's better than sitting behind a desk all day. Anyway, as a consequence of the rain I've picked up a good old fashioned head cold (you'd reckon they have a cure by now) which means I'm even more groggy than usual. Throw in a couple of cold and flu tablets and some medicinal whiskey and I could end up posting damn near anything.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


A new study reveals that self-help measures look to be counterproductive. British spychologist Simon Delsthorpe sagely observes:
If you're not close to your parents, don't have many friends, are unemployed and are unhappy with your appearance, it might be hard to have high self-esteem.
Telling yourself you're wonderful ain't gonna make you feel better about yourself; the solution is counseling, of course.


Unnamed sailors formerly aboard HMAS Success are the subject of much media speculation:
A shocking scandal within Australian naval ranks has seen several personnel sent home.

It is believed male sailors on HMAS Success devised a competition based around how many female colleagues they could sleep with.

Allegedly, men in the service put dollar amounts on the heads of different women and accrued points based on how many female colleagues they slept with.
There is no indication any crime was committed, or that the "conquered" women were coerced or bullied. Outrage has flowed nonetheless:
Women's Forum Australia spokesperson Melinda Tankard-Reist says the allegations are extremely disheartening.

"When you consider that women constitute 40 per cent of the Navy, they have a right to feel safe in their place of work and not to be treated as potential notches on a sailor's belt. Obviously things have gone backwards, I thought the defence forces had moved on from this sort of pack-animal behaviour."

"This is a serious sexual incident. It requires the strongest level of disciplinary action and censure possible. I don't believe these men should be able to serve at sea anymore because they're not reliable, they can't be trusted, they don't respect women and these are not the kind of men that we need defending us."
It would be helpful if in amongst the hyperbolic bullshit we were told exactly what the male sailors did -- based on what is know so far -- that is wrong or even improper.

Update: The Seven Network News report that started the furor.

Update II: The Age site prominently displays the HMAS Success "sex scandal" story and next to it an Ask Sam! blog post about how natural it is for a man to relish chasing and conquering a woman, quickly moving on to a new chase and conquest. You know, like those HMAS Success sailors allegedly did.


Self-confessed 65-year-old "energy geek" Warren Yates realises a dream with the installation of a $30,000 three-kilowatt rooftop solar power system -- $8,000 of that total rebated by the federal government. Figuring a 20 year life for both Yates and his solar system works out to over $90 a month he forked out in advance for electricity -- $125 a month if the rebate is included. Hardly a bargain. Not only is the system costly, it doesn't cover his power needs:
At first, we weren't self-sufficient; it took us a while to get our energy consumption down," he said.

Turning off the family computers overnight, running the dishwasher every couple of days and refusing to turn on the heating "unless we have visitors" were some of the tactics the family used to reduce consumption.
Yates has cut back consumption to the point where he recently received a $10 credit for excess power his system generated. Cool, with $10 he can buy some cheap K-Mart slippers to keep his feet warm.


Antony Loewenstein's 20 most recent posts have drawn a total of 10 comments. Two of these are from conspiracy theorists: a 9/11 truther; and this:
Antony, when I go to post a comment at your blog, I have about a 33% success rate. The other two-thirds of the time my entire browser shuts down, or your site simply won’t display the comments page I wish to see. I am barred from access.

Is this why you have so few comments at your blog? Is your blog under cyber attack (as i write this in Word, my web browser has shut down on me – likely I won’t get access to your site for the rest of tonight)?

Your blog would be much more powerful if it were allowed to build a visible following.

I’m obviously not the only one who understands this.

And here I was thinking Loewenstein gets so few comments because hardly anyone other than me reads his blog and because he shit-cans all negative comments; when the credit should go to the Mossad. Silly me.


At the end of AFL round 13 my footy tipping record was pretty good -- 75 correct out of 104 -- but I wasn't gaining any ground on the top tipper who was on 80. So for round 14 I abandoned picking winners by instinct, checking out odds and picks online. Bad move: this round will be my worst of the season so far. The moral of this story: sometimes the less you know, the better.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


One of the dangers, or benefits depending on point of view, of mixed sex crews:
The Defence Department says it is investigating claims sailors on the HMAS Success played a game to see who could sleep with the most female crew members.
Would Defence investigate female sailors doing the same?


German parliamentarians want to ban flat-rate unlimited-sex brothels as exploitative:
Social Democrat representative Katrin Altpeter has lent her support to the plan. “The state must intervene quickly to ban arrangements that do not respect human dignity,” she said.

The "Pussyclub" bordello opened in Fellbach on June 5 offering a flat-rate deal for sex. Customers pay between €70 and €100 to patronise prostitutes as often as they like in a single visit.

“The low price raises the suspicion that the women are being exploited,” Palm told SWR4.
Hey, economic times are tough. And anyway, a sex industry insider doesn't buy the exploitation angle:
"Men often over-estimate their abilities," Patricia Florein, manager of the Berlin bordello said. "Hardly any can manage more than twice."
It's a smorgasbord so load up your plate...

Update: Prostitutes in the west are in for a weekend workout:
Perth brothels are increasing staff to contend with the arrival of two US warships carrying more than 5400 sailors.
It would be interesting to know how much of the $5 million anticipated to be spent by sailors will be for sex.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Number one on New Scientist's list of most inspirational woman scientists is, of course, Marie Curie. Paradoxically coming in at number nine is non-scientist Rachel Carson. Funny how science can be so unscientific.


The Australian today publishes an editorial describing sites such as Crikey as "parasitical", in that they rely in large part on print publications as fodder. Without realising what he's done PP boy Scott Bridges parasitically posts the whole Australian editorial simply adding:
Here’s The Australian’s editorial today.

The PP boyz need to think before they type. What are the chances?


In a Pure Poison post titled "Remember when journalists gave subjects an opportunity to respond to allegations before publication?" Jeremy Sear remarks on his new-found journalistic ethics and powers:
I may have learned some bad habits from the example set by the previous “journalists” [Bolt and Blair] we were watching. Also, it hadn’t clicked that, unlike when I was just some guy with a blog, I can now actually ring the subject of a piece and say “it’s Jeremy from Crikey” and they’ll answer the phone.
So when Jeremy can't find an email address for Virginia Haussegger he gets on the phone to give her an opportunity to clarify her position on banning burqas, right? Wrong, Jeremy goes to her blog and lodges a comment not under his real name but as anonymouslefty. He then publishes her unscrupulously elicited response at Pure Poison and has a big sad at Haussegger refusing to post or answer an additional anonymous comment. Sadly, sites such as Crikey are meant to be the future of journalism.

Update: As a journalist Jeremy should know his ethical obligations:
Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast.
The PP boyz continue to play by their own rules.

Update II: Jeremy points to an ethical lapse by The Australian:
They have now removed the above paragraph from the linked obituary. It does not include an acknowledgement of this fairly major change.
This from a guy who removed his blog from Google's cache in order to hide his errors, alters his posts without notification, and silently adjusts his own comments. What a joke.


Greg Sheridan has a well-deserved but fleeting go -- 36 words out of 1,070 -- at a chronic Israel disser:
What have you got to say, Antony Loewenstein, stupidly and inaccurately labelling Israel an apartheid state and approvingly quoted in the Iranian official media, but listless on your blog in the face of the Iranian repression?
Guy Rundle defends the Crikey regular:
Should Antony Loewenstein sue Greg Sheridan for libel? In his rather hysterical article in yesterday’s Oz, Sheridan slates various people for failing to condemn the actions of the Iranian government with the vociferousness with which they condemn Israel.
Without quoting Sheridan's alleged libel Rundle carries on:
Leaving aside the fact that Israel claims its legitimacy from the West in a way that Iran does not — making a continued protest against its actions necessary to avoid silent consent — it’s clear that Loewenstein has made repression in Iran a subject of his blog, with three posts among the last dozen focusing on the protests, and featuring a letter from Iranian bloggers asserting their rights, which The Australian seems to have missed.

By no fair assessment can that be called ‘listless’ — indeed Iran occupies more space in A-Lo’s blog than it has in The Australian’s op-ed section.

This is clearly a deeply unfair attack on Loewenstein’s reputation — particularly since A-Lo’s book, The Blogging Revolution, was partly written out of a trip to Iran to meet dissident bloggers, a venture not without risk (as the fate of Roxana Saberi demonstrated).
Despite several opportunities, G-Run's article contains nary a link to A-Lo's blog. This is because a quick perusal of A-Lo's blog reveals Sheridan is basically correct. Check out A-Lo's Iran posts and see for yourself: many are actually thinly disguised attacks on Israel. More of the same old B-Shit from Crikey.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Prosperity gets the nod:
"India cannot and will not take emission reduction targets because poverty eradication and social and economic development are first and over-riding priorities," a statement on behalf of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.


Ramesh also said India would not accept a provision in a U.S. Congress bill which would impose trade penalties on countries who fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The coming Copenhagen meeting to negotiate a treaty to replace Kyoto should be interesting.