Friday, June 14, 2002

We don't often agree, Jack Robertson and I.

But in this post he raises some important stuff about artists who trap their creativity by hitch-hiking on "true life stories".

Worthwhile reading.
Got this in the email from my mad mate Beaver. Apparently it's all over town.

YOU KNOW YOU LIVE IN SYDNEY WHEN ...

- You make over $100,000 per year and still can't afford a house.

- You never bother looking at the train timetable because you know the
drivers have never seen it.

- You order organic fruit and vegetables online, but eat out every night anyway.

- You spent more money on your coffee machine than on your washing machine.

- You spend $200+ for your room in an apartment with stunning harbour/beach
views and European appliances; and then spend a total of 40 hours each
week there (37 of which you are sleeping).

- You contemplate calling a taxi from your home to where you managed to park
the car the night before.

- You spend 30 minutes in a traffic jam next to a car with more power to its
speakers than its wheels.

- You know everyone's e-mail and mobile number but not their last name or
home address.

- You can roll sushi, make pasta and keep your red curry paste recipe under
lock and key...but couldn't roast a chicken to save your life.

- Your taxi driver was a micro-surgeon before he moved to Australia.

- Your co-worker tells you he/she has 8 body piercings but none are
visible.

- You can't remember....is dope illegal?

- You've been to more than one baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm
donor.

- You have a very strong opinion where your coffee beans are grown and can
taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.

A really great parking space can move you to tears.

- You are thinking of taking an adult class but you can't decide between
yoga, aromatherapy, conversational Italian, French or building your own website.

- A man in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps gets on the bus. You
don't notice.

- A woman with live poultry gets onto the bus. You don't notice.

- You keep a list of companies to boycott.

- You are genuinely surprised when you meet someone who was actually born in
Sydney (but then, they are Swiss/Thai/Brazilian).

- Your hairdresser is straight, your plumber is gay, the woman who delivers
your mail is straight.... and your Avon Lady is a drag queen.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Have a good laugh at Bush's expense.

This reminds me of an old gag about former Prime Minister Paul Keating ordering lunch during a Cabinet meeting.

He refuses to look at the menu, instead demanding the waiter bring him "Steak! Well done!"

"Yes Prime Minister. And ... the vegetables?"

"They'll have what I'm having!"


Thank you and good night
I KNOW IT WAS A SLOW NEWS DAY BUT ….

Not a lot to talk about at JJJ Radio news today. The Prime Minister addressed the US Congress, large numbers of Afghanis were denied refugees status, ongoing Church child abuse scandals, industrial warfare . Even dope fiend MP’s.

If that doesn’t toot your horn, there’s the occasional body in a drum, or an MP accosted in the toilet.

But what counts as the big news for Australia’s national youth radio network?

The Federal Government is under formal investigation for possible breaches of privacy laws.

Last week, the Government's youth website The Source sent multiple spam emails to the site's previous visitors, advertising a competition for free movie tickets.


This ran as the lead story on the 6am, 7am. 8am and 9am news bulletins. By 1pm it had moved to second place.

That’s right. The most important story in the country was an investigation into whether a government web site had used subscriber email addresses to promote their own contest. Not sold them to a private concern, not used them to track anyone’s personal emails. Just used them to promote a contest.

I’ll make this prediction:
1. The Privacy Commissioner will spend upwards of $20,000 on this investigation.
2. He will find that guidelines were breached, and will issue a memo that this not happen again.
3. The Federal Department of Family and Community Services will agree to do just that.

And that. will. be. that.

Except that every brass razoo spent on this exercise could have been spent on something that actually matters to the users of the web site. Like suicide prevention, or nutrition, or half a year’s salary for a case worker to stop petrol sniffing.

You know, the kind of things a national youth radio network might care about, if they could spare the time away from putting the boot into the Government at every possible opportunity.

There’s more than one way to waste money.

DON'T EXPECT ANY THANKS

The rationale behind seeking refugee status might be summed up as "I don't want to be here, but I can't go home. Please let me stay".

The UN has ruled that only 10% of the Tampa boat people are refugees. Not the evil fascist non-elected Australian Government. The UN. The reason is clearly that the US and Australian efforts in Afghanistan has turned that country from the seething shithole of religious primitivism it was in August, to somewhere that people can return to. So the "I can't go home" bit has been fixed.

It's not as nice as Australia. But very very few places are. Wanting to be someplace better is not enough, according to UN standards, to get you a refugee spot. This is for the very good reason that it debases the standard by which you measure persecution.

So to conclude: we and our allies have done what no other outfit in thirty years has done. We made Afghanistan fit to live in, or soon will be. We have taken the most effective step possible to eliminate the need for Afghanis to undertake life-threatening voyages from their home. Lives will saved, both on the sea and on land.

I don't expect thanks for those who laid it on the line, but perhaps an easing in the hatred?

TODAY'S REQUIRED READING

Bruce Hill produced this essay on why we need not hate the Islamofascists.

Read it. It truly doesn't get much better than this.

Why do stories of military hardware provoke such a visceral thrill? We are talking about killing other humans, even if they are right-wing religious nuts. Why are we pleased that we can kill them faster and better than they can kill us?

Because it's good to know that the bad guys are going to get it before you do. Defence is moral. Pre-emptive defence is moral. When some loon tells me repeatedly that he wants me dead, demonstrates that he has the means and propensity to make me dead, then I bloody well expect my government and its allies to protect me. National Defence is the one use of tax dollars that all political thinkers agree is legitimate. Just because it's the US doing the shooting doesn't make it less so.

Tim Blair is eating my brain waves! The Australian Sauron delivered Sydney Morning Herald resident dingbat Jon Casimir the flogging he deserves, only earlier and better than me. Bastard.

For non-Oz readers, our national broadcaster sounds like a horrible cross between "All Things Considered" and Susan Sontag.

I will add one point Blair didn't raise: one of the excuses given for left-bias in the ABC is that this balances right-wing bias in the commercial media. The deeply silly part of this argument is the implication that if the commercial media was left-biased, the ABC would promptly swing to the right. Phillip Adams morphs into Stan Zemanek? Yeah, that's gonna happen.

HINTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE:

Do not attempt to persuade your wife that the 12th anniversary is the X-Box anniversary.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

I don't care how much money you throw at it; the words vegetarian and banquet should only be used together when "avoid" also makes an appearance.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Thanks to Gareth Parker for the Reuters link concerning returning Afghan refugees.

Our government has offered the equivalent of two years wages, plus transport back to Kabul, to Afghan asylum seekers here. Once there, the UN provides more money, plus food, blankets and transport.

So far, upwards of a million Afghans have voluntarily returned. The whole premise of refugee status is that you would rather be at home, but it’s impossible for you to return. The fact that Australia is nicer than Afghanistan is not sufficient.

Given the imminent prospect of an economic boom in Afghanistan, fuelled by UN spending, rebuilding and returning entrepreneurs, the reasons available for afghans to stay here are dwindling.

Monday, June 10, 2002

ROBERT “MANNE” HAS FOUND OUT HOW TO “USE” THE “ KEY

Robert Manne would like us to thank him for his magnanimous concession to the blindingly obvious, that is: deterrence works. Having admitted his error, Manne would also like the Government he actively despises to then undermine the policy by reversing several layers of administrative and judicial review, and release every rejected refugee held in detention.

Military deterrence used to be wrong because it wasn’t going to work, then because it wasn’t working, then too expensive, then it wasn’t the boat season. Now it’s wrong because it

appears to have succeeded

Bust a gut there, Bob. A few grafs later, this is downgraded to “worked”, using those nifty inverted commas that are the crappy writer’s version of a wink. Same goes for the “problem” of asylum seekers, the nature of “unauthorised” arrivals, The Tampa “crisis”, and the “successful” result of deterrence.

And since Manne is generous enough to concede that which is manifestly true, supporters of the government should in return admit this policy is

The most brutal anti-asylum seeker policy edifice found anywhere in the Western world.

Yeah. That follows.

As far as can be determined by only using the actual words written down, Manne gives absolutely no justification for altering the status of almost 8000 asylum seekers, a big chunk of whom Manne is pleased to admit

have been rejected by the system.

So it doesn’t matter to ol’ Bob if you’re a genuine refugee or not. Let ‘em out! Does it matter that every day Australian immigration officials defer qualified asylum seekers in reeking, cholera-infested camps outside of Australia? Not to Bob! But hey, Achmed and his family aren’t here to complain, are they? Because they lacked the wealth to get here under their own power. That’s what Professor Manne is effectively advocating: a refugee system that uses personal wealth as a sorting mechanism. Nobody with a brain thinks boat people are wealthy by Australian standards. But plenty of people who claim to have brains can’t understand that wealth is relative, both here and at home.

This is one of my favourite bits

if the Left is willing to concede that the Government strategy has achieved its objectives, and the Right is willing to concede the depth of suffering which its first deterrent strategy has caused

where Manne tries to make it into the old Left-Right battle (helps rally the troops), and sets himself up to drag out the tired line about

Hanson-inspired policy

I’m sure many supporters of the system as it stands would be surprised to learn they were both Hansonites, and keen to increase the depth of suffering in detention.

So, the message? Prime Minister, look how generous he is being in admitting he totally misread the policy, its effectiveness and timing. Forget that he called you a poison dwarf, or even now that he says that unless you adopt his ideas, you take

personal pleasure in inflicting in the process pointless suffering on innocent human beings

Tell you what Bob: how about you write publicly that those asylum seekers in detention who don’t meet YOUR criterion for release can stay in detention permanently, and that you will publicly oppose anyone who seeks their release;

How about you share with the rest of us how many refugees we should take. Then tell us what we do when that quota is exceeded.

When you lay out an alternative, instead of bitching about present policy. When you can be honest with us poor Then perhaps I won’t consider you a policy retard at best, or an opportunistic hypocrite at worst.


Sunday, June 09, 2002

Bruce Hill has pointed out the absurdity to which the US civil liberties posse has sunk.

I’ll reprint my comments to his post on the US decision to start fingerprinting visitors from nations KNOWN to harbour terrorists.

The truly amazing thing is that this wasn't in place before. Why does any sovereign state feel required to justify treatment of NON-citizens seeking the privilege of entry?

Citizens of any nation have the right to free movement within their own territory. International law is based on the premise that as soon as you cross the border, you are subject to the laws of wherever-you-are-now.

Not only should they not care, they should make it bloody clear that they don't care. If a country is known to harbour terrorists, then a BIG piece of the responsibility for that rests with the government of that country. And if the tin-pot dictators, generalissimos, Presidents for Life, or People's Revolutionary Committees don't like it, Hey! Stay home.

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