Monday, April 30, 2007

Шпионы Австралии ..... ПРАВДА!

I notice another shocking piece of truth over at Pravda,
"Why we escaped from Australia"

If you can't be bothered to read it (a shame, as you're missing out), then just know:
"The moral of this story is very simple: Australia and Italy are Police states that use the Secret Services to terrorize and keep the population under control."

Life much be so much more libertarian under Putin. Here are some choice extracts:

"It appears that my wife's birth brother is a very important judge in Australia who has managed to keep his real family background secret."
Perhaps it's...Marcus Einfeld?

"But since we have been in Italy, now for seven months, SISMI (the Italian Secret Police) has done the job of ASIO. "
Must be a result of that bloody Vanstone's posting.

"Are the secret services running the World?"
Good to see Pravda is maintaining their long tradition of journalistic integrity by not publishing conspiratorial paranoia.

Royally Screwed by a Solid Sarkozy

I've been following the French elections with only a mild interest. It's nice that unlike here, they actually have a more lively democracy; in my opinion, the choices were between a left, center and center-right President. Granted, they do ultimately narrow it down to a 2 party primary, but it's still much more choice than we're seeing here, what with center-right vs center-further-right.

Anyway, François Bayrou, the centerist, was knocked out, leaving Segolene Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. By most estimates, Sarkozy has pretty much got it won.

The Times (via the Australian) say that a TV debate is Royal's last chance.

It's too bad, then, that the Frenchman whom I chatted to about this was adament that Royal's biggest flaw is her unconvincing, witless public speaking.

Incidently, as the article says, "65 per cent found Mr Sarkozy "solid” while only 24 per cent attributed the quality to Ms Royal."

A Corny Joke

I thought Rudd was smart to select Maxine McKew for Bennelong.

But Nicole Cornes? I'm not so sure. In fact, just reading about her nauseates me.

Firstly, I hate the Sunday Mail. A rag indeed, only discernable from my hometown's Cairns Post by its size. And, upon the basis of this simple enumeration, I'd actually say it's worse.
So she was/is (I rarely read it so I don't know) a columnist for the Sunday Mail.
Not really surprising then that she's also a former Howard voter, which certainly strengthens the argument that Rudd is Howard-lite.

As has become standard practice, Cornes has to be portrayed as an Aussie battler (Matt price puts it beautifully here):
"Nicole left school at 15, is a mother raising two daughters, has run a small business, put herself through university – many South Australians can identify with her." says Deputy Premier Kevin Foley

I was unaware South Australia was a state of 37 year old, high school drop-out, part-time Law student, small business owning mothers of two. But, one learns something new each day.

And then theres the question of her alleged photogenicity.

Now where have I seen that blank, vacant gaze before...

Ah, that's right.

Friday, April 27, 2007

'And That is a Scientific Fact!'

Came across some this in Lestienne's "The Creative Power of Chance", and thought it deserved to be shared:

"From the standpoint of individual variations, the "genetic distance" between two individuals chosen by chance from the same large human grouping is as great as that between two individuals taken from different racial groups. Let us not forget that racial differentiation is a fairly recent phenomenon, linked to the great migratory movements that took place during the last milion years. In fact, it is generally thought that it does not go back more than two hundred thousand years, and may even disappear again if, with a little goodwill, we can surmount what remains of our disdain for cultural differences."

I really hope people are able to really consider this and understand what it means for everyone.

And if that doesn't convince, then there's always the (perhaps now cliche) line a few paragraphs earlier:

"Each of us certainly has in our body several million molecules of the water that passed through Socrates' body (supposing that nature equitably recycles), and our bodies are made up of atoms, themselves recycled, that were forged some billions of years ago at the heart of a star."

And they say science takes away the wonder of life. Philistines!

Oh, and can anyone guess the film I'm quoting from with the title?

The Reward for Vanstone

So, this is her reward for wasting our money to not speak Mandarin- she gets posted to Italy as Australia's Ambassador.

Honestly, what kind of a mates-club is Howard running? And I know it's not just the Libs; the various state governments are just as vomit-inducing in their appointment of judges.

But I take personal offence to Mandy getting this appointment. It's reminiscent of Bush posting Bremer to Iraq. What exactly are her Italian qualifications?

No doubt, it's easier to learn Italian than Mandarin, so it might just be possible for someone of her abilities. Still, nothing in the official statement suggests that she actually can.

In fact there's nothing in her career that suggests the ideal qualities of a diplomat, and in light of the Mandarin-gate affair it's just ridiculous. This sort of complacency is what will see Howard thrown out by his own, I hope.

To be fair, she might find work in Opera. Put her in the right period costume and she'd be perfect for that part I often refer to as the 'big mamma'.

She has a marketing studies certificate. That was part of the official statement. I'm serious.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hall, the True Englishman

Whilst on the subject of other blogs, there is one that really is unmissable.

Sir Iain Hall, notorious tsunami-pranker and fast-food employee, is also a proud Englishman.
This is most obvious from his superior command of the English language, evidenced in a headline such as "No Where near good enough".

Like a true Englishman, Iain loathes light beer, just as he loathes the ALP.
Sir Iain also advocates that homosexuals be denied access to medication.
Proclaiming a lack of English television programming available in Australia, Sir Iain is incensed over the special non-English programming on the Special Broadcasting Service.

And, most telling of all, he continues an old Etonian tradition of rhetorical questions, such as
What is it with the left? Are they all entirely mad?

Hats off.

" Wow four links to my blog in one post and you misrepresent my position with every one. That must be some sort of record.
Can't you cut it arguing on the issues?
From the look of this post I think not." steams Iain.

I should clarify. He doesn't loathe light beer so much as he loathes urination without reward.

He only thinks some homosexuals should be denied access to medication.
I fail to see the logic here, since his position is also that the spread of HIV needs to be contained; does he think that someone denied medical treatment is less likely to want to infect other people?
There's also the ethical consideration involved in denying medical access to prisoners; it seems rather similar to capital punishment from the discourse of utility.

I also fail to see why a SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE should be subject to the broad statistics of an entire demographic when it is aimed at a select demographic. I don't think it was ever the intention of SBS to cater to whining Poms, so he's constructed somewhat of a strawman here.

And I may be just a descendant of a convict, but I'm pretty sure 'nowhere' is not usually written as "No Where".

Blog Spotlight

Added three new blogs to my links list, and thought they deserved special mention.

First up: China Issue. It's a formal, academic and in-depth analysis of China, courtesy of my good sinophile friend Laurie. Highly recommended as a change from the 'dull binary that passes for thought in the public realm' (a phrase I read in the ALR last weekend). Also, Laurie will be appearing on SBS radio soon with a report! Very cool, and details shall be republished here as they emerge.

Next is matjin-nehen, which I found through Laurie, incidently. Hard to generalise, but linguistics and Australian politics seem to be the main focus. There's fascinating stuff on an Australian language which the author is researching. There's entertaining analysis of Johnny and Kevie's latest stumblings. Most importantly, it's always well written and considered, and there's often an intellectual melee of some sort going on. Good times. Join in!

Finally, The 88's could be said to be a pizza with a philosophy base, and toppings of the two former blogs. That metaphor didn't quite work as I'd hoped, but hopefully it's perked enough of your interest to check it out. The author is the enigmatic 88.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Baldwin - The Real Deal

There's a great lot of fuss over the answering machine message Alec Baldwin left for his 11 year old daughter. I can't see why this is seen as such a bad thing. In his signature irate tone, he berated her for standing him up, and called her a 'thoughtless little pig'.

I'm glad to see that Alec Baldwin is as much of a hard-ass in real life as he is portrayed on the screen. The only other actors I can think of who are as hard-ass in real life are Arnold, and perhaps Chuck Norris, though the latter is subject to some dispute. Actors like this don't have to ham things up for the big screen; they have to tone things down.

As far as I'm concerned, this ordeal only adds to the authenticity of his body of work.

Alec 'Real Deal' Baldwin

Monday, April 16, 2007

Клаудленд Путина

I remember a conversation I had recently with an older chap who'd worked in Foreign Affairs for many years. We were discussing, predictably enough, foreign affairs, and the topic of Putin came up. I was unsure, I told him, of whether Putin was taking Russia forwards or backwards. He assured me there was no doubt that Putin was indeed taking the country forwards.

I'm remain however, unconvinced, and the more reports I read and hear coming out of Russia the more I am sure that if anything, Putin is taking the country backwards.

Most likely, it depends on the angle one looks at the situation. Economically, things are great. Never been better. But from a libertarian angle, it's a growing nightmare.

Just recently there was the destruction of a cultural hertiage site without a permit.
Now the brutal supression of a protest, in which Gary Kasparov was arrested.

There are countless other examples, and the point is clear, I think.

And now they're looking at ammending the law to allow Putin another term.

If Vladimir, son of Vladimir, is indeed taking Russia forward, then to borrow a Ruddism, it's a bridge too far.

Still, I must admit, he does it with style unmatched by any other dictator or leader I've seen.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Defeat for Progressive Thought

Janet Albrechtsen, as usual, misses many points. It's not surprising in the least.

Whilst it's looking more and more likely that we'll see a Rudd victory this year, the numbers won't be coming from generation-Y. It'll be from their parents.

So Janet should be happy. Rudd is a victory for conservatism, much to my chagrin. Whoever wins, Janet wins.
I think it's a terrible day when people start raving about our opposition because of how he resembles our incumbent in so many ways.

It's fine for the Anyone But Howard camp, and I agree that a change is desirable. I hardly think, however, that it's worth celebrating when policy and ideology will essentially remain unchanged.

Just as Martin Amis remarked of England, we're witnessing the death of politics in Australia. There is no longer a debate over larger issues such as the distribution of wealth.

You don't get balance by shifting Labour to the right; all that results is an ever more conservative state of politics. It happened in England; my recent post points to the effects of such a swing.

A further freezing-over of politics in Australia has resulted from environmental issues going mainstream. This has stripped the Green party of its relevance.

Whilst I can envisage myself giving preference to Rudd over Howard, it won't be an entirely happy decision; it's conceding defeat to conservatism, and it's a sign of a flat-lining democracy.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Stanley Kubrick, a hero of mine, apparently remarked “If the Labourites ever get in, I’ll leave the country.”

If he were alive today, he'd probably have left the country by now.

These Orwellian talking-CCTV-cameras are extremely worrying development, though apparently this is a minority view I hold, according to Home Secretary John Reid.

Over this mornings hot-cross buns and coffee, the guys, girls and I discussed this. Some put forth the view that it didn't matter since they wouldn't break the law. However, I think this view falls down after some extrapolation.

Firstly, I think everyone acts differently when they're knowingly surveiled. Apprently Foucault would agree.

Secondly, do you think it's right for someone to be publicly humiliated for an act which could be totally innocent?

Thirdly, it sets precedent. Whilst I don't wish to take the slippery-slope fallacy, the significance of legal precedence must not be ignored.

Finally, it should be worrying that this is how the Labour party acts these days. Some might say that the Tories would be worse, and that's potentially true, but not necessarily.

Shadow home affairs minister James Brokenshire said the government should be "very careful" over the cameras.

Hopefully people haven't forgotten the origins of 1984's INGSOC.

On the other hand, I also agree it's possible the Tories could be even worse, and Orwell was hardly a Tory anyway.

Again, as I maintain, both sides are flawed.

On that note, I think I'll go pickup a 2nd hand copy of 1984, it's been too long.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Allow me to put the spotlight on Musicovery for a moment.
My friend Kevin introduced me to it, and I've had a very good relationship with it ever since.

I love the way it categorises music according to mood, and then genre.

I spend most of my time in the calm section, slightly left of center.

Coincidentally (?) it seems to line up with my position on the political compass.

Also, it introduced me to the artist Richard Bona.

To paraphrase Ron Burgandy..."Musicovery.....drink it always goes down smooth".

You stay classy San Diego.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Iain Hall, Missing in Tsunami

Iain Hall has been reported missing, feared dead, after a killer-tsunami struck the coast of Eastern Australia today.

Sir Iain is a prominent blogger with many years experience in the fast-food industry.

"McDonalds has lost a faithful employee, customer, and friend" said an industry source.

More on this as information becomes available.

We have it exclusively, direct from the source. Sir Iain has, apparently, been found. He was hiding in the disabled toilet of the Dalby McDonalds.
"It was apparently some kind of an April Fool's joke" remarked an industry source, "has no one told Iain it is the first of April that is the appropriate day for such spoofs?"

In related news, the tsunami also appears to have been a belated April Fool's day joke from fed-up weather forecasters.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Battleground God

Following on from The Political Compass post earlier, a friend of mine told me to take the Battlefield God game over at The Philosophers Magazine Online.

It's a rather well laid out questionairre which will put your religious beliefs to the test of rationality.
Have you thought out your conception and of God?

Naturally, I scored perfectly, because I spend time thinking about these issues.

But will you? Keep in mind, it doesn't matter whether or not you believe in God, it matters that you have consistent views.

A fun way to spend five minutes, in any event.

Let me know your results.