Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Thursday, 30 September 2010


It didn't fit on the stamps. And?

Many happy returns.

Okay, it went through with amendments on the next vote, but still it gives a little hope. A bit more of this and there may be another election, hopefully with better options than either the Liberals or the ALP put up last time. On the other hand it might be worth hanging on long enough for the Green agenda to sink in with the electorate.

Government: not there to help and certainly NOT your friend.

Anyone who is not aware of that by now really ought to pop over to the Australian Libertarian Society's blog, Thoughts On Freedom, where this morning theReal World Libertarian sets things out as they are in his home state.
At this time each year the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland releases its annual survey on government red tape. On the release of last year’s figures there was an outcry from business when it was revealed that the government had enacted 31 bills with over 5,000 pages of new or amended legislation, costing an additional $497 million to comply with it. This represented a 9.4% increase in regulation in that year.

As this brought the total pages of regulation to just under 80,000 it should have been reasonable to assume that the government would find its way clear to leave well enough alone for a while and possibly cut some of this red tape in order to streamline things.

Unfortunately the governments in this country only know one way to cut red tape, and that is lengthwise.


Twelve months after the business community outcry over red tape in Queensland, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has revealed that the Government has failed to reduce the burden and has added an additional 7,900 pages of new and amended legislation.

CCIQ's latest estimates show state-based red tape now costs the Queensland economy $6.5 billion per year. This is an increase of $780 million since last year.


Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland President David Goodwin said the latest results show that the Queensland Government has no real commitment to reducing the cost and burden of doing business in Queensland.

"Every dollar spent on complying with regulation is a dollar not spent on growing Queensland businesses and employing more Queenslanders," Mr. Goodwin said.

This is only the state based cost, we have a federal government which adds another layer of costs on top of this and a host of local authorities all eager to put more rules in place that they can extract fees from. While Goodwin makes the point of dollars, “not spent on growing Queensland businesses and employing more Queenslanders,” there is another aspect to this.

Every dollar spent by business on compliance with the vast array of regulations is a dollar they have to increase their prices by in order to remain profitable. In fact it is more than just that dollar as it is reasonable to accept that as profit margins are based on the margin required to make a reasonable profit on the total costs of the enterprise, consumers are paying that as well subject to competitive pressures.


The criminal code exists to deal with such matters as theft, fraud, misrepresentation, and so on. There is no need to make another set of rules just to bring business to heel.
Quite, and of course it's broadly the same all over the world. The fact that it's got this bad and getting worse is a clear sign that politicians and bureaucrats simply cannot help themselves. They don't mean to do it, but to paraphrase Sir Humphrey Appleby they so often mistake activity for accomplishment. A huge part of the problem is that the Sir Humphreys of this world are so often guilty of the same thing.

It's window licking good.

How detached from reality do you need to be to equate so-called junk food with heroin? Do you actually need to have got off your dial on something mind altering first? Frankly I can't think of any other explanation for this:

Heroin, everybody - it's as safe as giving your kid a Happy Meal.* Have I got that right?

H/T to Dick Puddlecote.

* Of course historically opium didn't cause as much grief as heroin does now. We have the same kind of Righteous thinking that created this video to thank for that as well.

Hazel Blears destroyed by underwear inferno.

Via Guido, the most clear cut case of an over made up smug faced fucking ranga a politician telling a bare faced lie.

I sincerely hope that this epic pants-on-fire moment does indeed destroy the Right Dishonourable Hazel Blears in the career sense but I'm not hugely optimistic. This venal, dishonest and self-serving creature, people of Salford, is your representative at the Motherfucker of all Parliaments, and for that you may thank 16,655 of your fellows for re-electing the house flipping midget back to her first class seat on the gravy train. And now there's not a damn thing they can do about it but to sit there and watch her feed parasitically on the taxpayers' earnings like a small orange vampire for another few years, while telling them what a wonderful track record Labour has and trying to ignore the smoke pouring from her knickers.

How do I loathe thee, Hazel? Oh, fuck, let me count the ways.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I wonder how this news is being taken.

Warn? So we can do precisely what about it? Sell any shares in Kodak? Or are the researchers warning of the implications as regards the solar and planetary magnetic fields? Who knows, The Tellytubbygraph doesn't say beyond noting that it's a sign of less activity of the kind that causes solar flares and "sun sports" (sic), which sounds like disastrous news for cricket fans and men who appreciate beach volleyball for its athletic content, honest.

So how do we look at this article? You could, if your mind works a certain way, choose to view this as a reminder of the massive influence that the fat end of two thousand trillion trillion tonnes of fusing hydrogen parked, in astronomical terms, almost on our doorstep inevitably must have on the Earth. On the other hand you could, if your mind works in a different way, be sitting there wondering if there's a way you could plausibly blame this on global warming. That warble gloaming is even automatically associated with this by Google Ads means I'm sure it's crossing a few minds.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Edkita Milischev.

With all the slightly oxymoronic sounding 'New Labour is in the past' stuff flying about ooop North Raedwald and Dizzy have likened the Labour Party conference to the Soviet Union's 1956 Conference of the Communist Party. And so, particularly as Dizzy hoped someone would do it... here's Edkita Milischev.

It's not as hideous as Eddie Shaw a few posts back but he still looks like a Harry Potter goblin.

Political cover versions of hit songs #4.

Na na na na na na na, na na na na na na.
Ha ha.

Cognitive Dissonance Of The Fucking Century Award.

It can't be anyone other than Liam Byrne, can it?
Shadow Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne accused the Government today of being "hell bent" on destroying the foundations of economic success laid by Labour.
Nothing was laid by Labour, you idiot, but an awful lot was fucked. I can't even bring myself to wade through the rest of the self righteous wibble about how Labour's handling of the recession, which if I recall involved spending the boom years spunking away every spare penny and going into colossal debt rather than putting anything aside, was so brilliant because anyone who believes that the Cobbleition actually wants to make things even worse than the fucking mongsters who left this massive pile of festering, fly blown shit on the nation's living room carpet has to be so far away with the fairies that he ought to be granting wishes or getting someone to wake the sleeping princess. Or is it anything to do with his name being an anagram of By Liar Men?

H/T Leg-iron, who shot perfectly good whisky out of his nose over this.

Filling a lake, Keynesian style.

Via the ALS blog I've just come across the best demolition job I've seen on the whole idea of stimulus, quantitive easing, nicking even more money from taxpayers and spunking it away at random, call it what you will. It's in a transcript of an interview with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, that aired last night on ABC's Lateline program. The whole thing is worth a read despite what look like a couple of annoying transcription errors ("government 'limbed' to the Constitution" - 'limited' surely) but there's one part that really caught my attention, and that's a very simple explanation about why government stimulus is flawed.
LEIGH SALES: Is it a good idea to be cutting spending when America's economy is still weak. Because there is of course the counter-argument that the economy needs to be stimulated, it needs to be stimulated by the government?

GROVER NORQUIST: Yes. Um, this is a very interesting argument that the government's gonna take a dollar from somebody who earned it, either in taxes or debt and give it to somebody who's politically connected. And if you do this 800 billion times there'll be more money in the country.
If you take water from one side of the lake and put it back into the other side of the lake in front of the cameras, that there's more water. It doesn't work, it isn't true. We've wasted almost a trillion dollars and nothing has happened. It's time to stop wasting money.
This is what governments and their spendthrift supporters have been trying to tell people - that taking water from one side of the lake and pouring it into the other somehow makes more water, and that's clearly bollocks even to a six year old. Sure, some would say that the money is actually from borrowing and so there really is more water, but that's simply taking the water from the stream that feeds the lake instead of the lake itself. You do have more water right now but less water will come in the future than would have if you'd left things alone. Anything governments borrow must be repaid, and one way or another it is the taxpayers who must repay it.

Now, could someone put it in a join the dots book and give it to Red Ed (for a giggle - if he gets it he won't be allowed to make anything of it) and the twins and their pal Georgie over on the government benches? But don't waste your time with Vince Cable, eh.

NB - this is a repost of an identical post earlier today which lacked a comment link because of a setting I'd fiddled with and hadn't put back.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Disqus - UPDATED

You're fired. Clear your desk, pack your shit and get out. Comment moderation is back on until a replacement comment lackey can be found.

UPDATE - Moderation is off again already and the experiment continues with comments by Intense Debate. I have to fight the temptation to call it Mass Debate but so far it looks like it can do what I got Disqus for and offers a few extra toys to play with such as the ability to post pictures. In theory anyway, though for some reason I'm not quite sure of that doesn't seem to be working even though it's enabled.

UPDATE 2 - Aha! You use the <img src=""> code.

Political cover versions of hit songs #3.

And now it's time for one from the swinging 60s.

Or possibly that should be 'muppet'. I was thinking of doing 'Cunt on a Rope' but I don't remember any song by that name and I imagine Gotty's probably done it by now.

Political cover versions of hit songs #2.

By special request of the All Seeing Eye, who'll probably wish this was something he could unsee.

But it kills the song when the manager starts joining in.

MSM vs Blogosphere - UPDATED

Big news in The Australian today, although apparently of no interest to anyone else in the media apart from the ABC, is the outing of Australian political blogger Grog's Gamut as a federal civil servant by a certain national newspaper whose two word title consists of the definite article and an adjective meaning 'relating to Australia'.* Cue arguments and a Twitterstorm, which I can't follow because I don't twat, about why was it done, whether The Australian and it's journo should have done it, and whether there's a right to anonymity. For what it's worth my I feel the answers are who cares, probably not and unfortunately not.

Firstly, the matter of why. There seems to be some suggestion that Grog's Gamut was critical of the MSM during the election and this was a revenge outing, though if so it's anyone's guess why it was left so long when the journalist, James Massola, has apparently known the identity for months. Massola sort of gave his reasons for the outing in his piece and Grog's Gamut argued why he thought it was bollocks in his blog, and frankly his reasoning seems more convincing to me. That leads on to the second point which is whether Massola should have written it and whether The Aussie should have published it, and while they may be feeling all satisfied and self-righteous about it I can't see what purpose it served. I now know the name of someone whose blog I was aware of but didn't read much, big whoop! From his blog it's not hard to guess that politically he leans towards Labor but does the fact that he's a public servant blogging bother me? Not remotely. He may have kept his identity to himself but he didn't hide the fact he's a public servant, and that's good enough disclosure for me. I can't see any wider public interest or any purpose at all in outing the guy except shit stirring with the expectation that he'll at least be made to feel uncomfortable, could get into trouble at work and might even have to stop blogging (remember NightJack's outing by The Times, perhaps coincidentally a Murdoch publication like The Aussie). At the very least they can expect that people he comes into contact with at work will now know he blogs and will be careful to watch what they say around him, limiting any potential he has to whistleblow something of great public interests he might have learned in the future since everyone in Canberra is now on notice: be very careful what you say around that guy, he's Grog's Gamut. If anything I'd have said there's a wider public interest in not exposing the names of political bloggers in his position, and a more narrow self interest for the MSM. Sure, if he ever did get anything really juicy he'd have blogged it first and told you lot later, if at all, but you would still have got something to print out of it. Now it's highly unlikely he ever will if a minister was snorting coke in his office off the top of his secretary's naked arse while being pleasured under the desk by a Russian dwarf in a koala outfit any chance of him learning and blogging that is gone, and for all we know nobody else will ever find out. Yes, of course Grog's Gamut may never have broken anything big, but for the sake of a very minor news story now, and who knows, maybe revenge for Grog's Gamut bagging the MSM during the election, Massola and The Ocker have virtually made sure of it. So, no, probably not a good idea in the long term and I feel it's not a good look for a national publication owned by an international corporation to bully a solitary anonymous blogger and take away the thing that made him comfortable and confident blogging. You may have every right, fellas, but it's pretty unedifying behaviour.

And that leads me on to the third part: whether there's any right to anonymity. As an anonymous no-one blogging under a pseudonym myself (though lacking sources or contacts all I ever do is slip in the occasional original thought among my editorialising and bitching about things) I'd like there to be even though I really have little to lose but face. The Angry Exile is a much lairier swearier version of me that doesn't get let out in real life since it can't be trusted in polite company and I'd be a bit red faced if he somehow escaped the confines of the interwebs, but the uncomfortable facts are that there isn't and can't be any guaranteed right to privacy. There may be some whose blog content has a wider public interest than their identity and who might deserve protection if they'd be silenced otherwise, but generally ff a blogger has the right to dig around and blow whistles then others must also have the right to do the same to them. If your pseudonym is just a bit of fun and you actually publish your name anyway then you're pretty fireproof, and if you've gone to great lengths to protect your identity or if outing you is even less newsworthy than it was Grog's Gamut then you may be pretty confident too. But there really can't be legal protection that doesn't restrict someone else's free speech, and as I've said several times before, free speech is an absolute and any restriction at all means it's simply not free. You'd think that if we want to remain anonymous the best bet is probably to be too valuable to unmask or conversely not worth unmasking, but NightJack and Grog's Gamut are probably in the first category but were outed anyway.

The lesson is that those of us who blog anonymously and want to carry one doing so probably ought to be careful what we say and to whom, both on line and off, and whether it's worth taking further steps to keep identities secret. But there's one further thing that can be done, and that's to punish those sections of the MSM that out a blogger for no good reason by voting with your wallet. Don't buy their print editions without them putting a gun in your face, don't pay a cent to see any content they put behind a paywall (yes, Times and outer of NightJack, I do mean you fuckers) and use RSS to get at their content rather than browsing through their site and giving the bastards the satisfaction of knowing that you've at least looked at the ads. I do prefer The Australian and News Corp rags to the Fairfax papers like The Age, even though both sets have agendas and political alignments that in different ways aren't my own (is there such a thing anywhere as a libertarian newspaper?), and I do actually buy it from time to time. But if they're going to out bloggers for no obvious newsworthy reason then fuck 'em, that's stopping as of today.

UPDATE - elsewhere other bloggers are simply leant on by the powers that be. The game, folks, seems to be that of cat and mouse - the cat has the right to try to find the mouse, the mouse has the right - and the need - to try as hard as they can to evade the cat. With that in mind if anyone asks you I'm Angus Exfile.

* I see no need to name him too - both the link to The Aussie and ABC as well as his own blog, at least the most recent post, have his name.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Political cover versions of hit songs # 1

The Galiband Brothers, with their version of Things Can Only Get Bitter.

Sorry, that should read 'better'.

Bananas everywhere heave sigh of relief - UPDATED.

The other muppet won. Pity really. I doubt I was the only looking forward to using Bananaman as a tag.

UPDATE - Leg-iron has gone with 'Mr Ed, the incredible talking horse's arse'. I chuckled but it doesn't really make much of the fact that he's a sock puppet for the union bosses, since it was their block vote which installed him as Labour leader ahead of his fruit waving brother David, the preference of the party members and MPs. Ideally there'd be something called Ed that reflects this... hmmm, actually that's ringing a bell.

Thank you, Canada.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 30

Sports. It's come up before in this occasional series about life here in the Off World Colonies but I do wonder how Australia came to take sport so seriously, and in particular Aussie Rules, the 'game they gave the world' (even though the world never took it out of the box and might even have taken it back to the shop if it wouldn't have caused hurt feelings). This weekend saw the AFL Grand Final which, improbably given how high the scores can get, resulted in a 68 all draw and a replay next Saturday, which in turn dominated news programs on Saturday evening ahead of a light aircraft crashing between Melbourne and Geelong, a woman dying after somehow launching her car into the roof of someone's house and the Victorian police covertly investigating phone records of journalists and politicians. The main political news at the weekend was that Prime Minster Julia Gillard said she hoped the football final wouldn't result a draw because Australia had already had one this year with the election, and then - ho, ho - it was a draw after all.

And that was the news this weekend, September the ..... Jesus Christ, everybody. I know being a Pom my opinion doesn't count for much, but it's just bloody sport. It's a really watchable game and over the last several years I've got into it so that Saturday afternoon footy is as much a part of my weekend as it is for millions born and bred here. You've got me, okay? It is a bloody good game.

But for all that it's still just a bloody game. Get a grip, will you.

But not there.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Where to draw the line.

The other thing I wanted to post just before I unplug myself from the blog for the weekend relates to another round of the interminable debate on capital punishment between me, JuliaM and some of the other commenters that hang around the Ambush Predator's cave. As usual Julia and others take the view that sometimes capital punishment is justified because the world has got some proper fucking scumbags in it, while others oppose for various reasons while conceding that there are indeed some scumbags, but it's the fact that the state itself is the biggest bullying scumbag of them all that is the reason why I'm personally against putting that power back into its hands. I was going to copy and paste the arguments I made at Julia's and edit them a little to make a quick post on it here but really there's nothing much I didn't say in this blog back in May last year. In short, the state has a habit of granting itself powers and abusing them before you can even say, 'Hey, I'm just a photographer, leave me alo-aaargh,' and with that in mind how can we trust that the same mission creep would never be applied to capital punishment? Even if you trust the current crop of politicians you can never be certain that will always be the case. As I said at Julia's, the Weimar Republic were happy to keep capital punishment on the books just for murder and probably never envisaged a deranged demagogue being democratically elected and going on to pass Enabling Acts so the law could be changed to suit his regime. The handful of murderers the Weimar Republic executed became 40,000 under the Nazis, many of whom were guilty of nothing more than speaking out against the state.

And where is Britain now? Populist leaders democratically elected recently, check - Thatcher on one side, Blair on the other. Enabling Acts, check - Blair and Brown passed lots of mini-Enabling Acts that add up to a great deal of executive power and which, rather worryingly, the Cobbletion doesn't seem at all interested in repealing. They probably wouldn't but there's not much to stop a future fucknuts PM as it is. Still, like Sophie Scholl they can only cut off your head for it once, eh?

But it doesn't even need that to happen for death sentence mission creep to occur. All it needs is a government under some pressure to save a few quid and look tough for the tabloids.
Minister: Can we release a few more of the minor criminals early?
Advisor: Sorry Minister, that's political suicide.
Minister: Alright, what about speeding up the death penalty procedures and executing more of the worst criminals? Surely that would be popular?
Advisor: Well, we could certainly streamline the process a little more.
Minister: Only a little?
Advisor: To be honest Minister, after removing the right to a final appeal for clemency to the Queen there's not that much scope left beyond processing the paperwork more quickly.
Minister: Right, do that then. Anything else? Could we extend execution to other serious crimes?
Advisor: Such as, Minister?
Minister: Well, what have we got now? Murder, obviously.
Advisor: Yes, and terrorism, rape and sexual assault of minors.
Minister: Okay, then we just need to know what the papers are baying for blood over at the moment. You take The Daily Shriek and I'll look through the Gnash Of The Teeth.
Advisor: People seem very concerned about drugs again, Minister.
Minister: Okay, shall we say any second offence of dealing Class A?
Advisor: I can draft it this afternoon, Minister.
First offence? You'll probably get off with crucifixion.

So without rehashing the case against capital punishment any further I'd like to expand this whole argument into a simple principle of restraint on the power of the state. A golden rule on limiting executive power, if you will. Simply put it is this:

Never give your government any power that you wouldn't also be comfortable
entrusting to a genocidal dictator.

Now I'm definitely off. Enjoy your weekend.

Light scorching of the quangos.

So much for buggering off for a blog free weekend, but there's just a couple of things I want to touch on before I look up directions to the town of Off in the atlas and fuck there with alacrity. For this post that's the not-quite-bonfire of the quangos.

Sounds good, eh? Well, no, not really. For starters twice as many will survive as will definitely be chopped, and that's nothing to get excited about. Maybe there'll be more abolished, possibly as many as 94, but maybe that'll be the lot. And secondly, a lot of the functions of those quangos are not being abolished at all, just brought back into Whitehall (my emphasis).
The biggest cuts concern the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with more than 50 bodies to be abolished, and the Department of Health, where about 30 bodies will be cut or have their functions transferred back to the department.
For which the department will no doubt demand an increase in its budget so as to take on staff to deal with the increased workload, and if DEFRA is the only one I'd be very surprised. The Cobbleition have failed to realise that it's not just the quango that must be made to justify its continued existence and funding, it's the function being carried out that must be justifiable as well, as explained by Raedwald.
... the test applied, you see, is whether the quango has been shown to perform a technical role that cannot be better discharged by government, or sufficiently demonstrated their independence from government, i.e. from tax funding. Not whether the technical role is necessary at all, or can better be discharged locally, or whether the function needs to be discharged at a national level.
Which means, as he says, that the state has at best lost a little weight, but retains almost all of its strength and its grip on power. The Cobbleition Twins will no doubt present it as a great reform that blahblah and blah for the blahblahblah people but the reality is that it's probably no more than a minor set back for the quangoracy. The powers aren't gone and they can be re-issued to new quangos by future governments, and possibly even by this one when everyone's forgotten and it can be done without attracting attention.

Nice opportunity squandered, fellas. Fuck you. Fuck you very much.

Another one bites the dust.

Or hangs up the keyboard, though with the proviso that he may come skulking back if other things he wants to do now don't pan out. If that means children's parties I doubt Obo will be missing from the blogosphere for too long, and I bet he still tweets although I'd rather read rants a bit longer than 140 characters. Good luck anyway, you weird fucker.

No papers 'til Monday...

... post cancelled, cats redirected and milk being looked after by Mrs Papakonstantinou at No 14.

Bloody Blogger.

Bloody Blogger and bloody Blogger's bloody comment system. I've just found the fucking thing has chucked one of my own comments in the spam bin. Can I prevent a repeat? Doesn't look likely.
Blogger now filters comments that are likely spam comments to a Spam Inbox, much like the spam folder in your email. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it will be reviewed against our spam detector, and comments that are identified as possible spam will be sent to your blog’s Spam Inbox, found at Comments | Spam.

You can help improve our ability to automatically detect spam comments by checking your Spam Inbox and deleting spam comments and marking real comments that may have been flagged as spam as Not Spam.

We are always seeking feedback on how to improve this feature, so please share your feedback with us by clicking on the Report Spam Filtering Issues.
Ground Control to Blogger Tom... take this feedback pill and put your thinking helmet on. I'm hardly going to spam my own fucking blog, you muppets.

The state is mother.

And that means, ladies, that if you bring any children into the world you are in fact bringing them into the world on behalf of the state, and as you lie exhausted and drained in sweat by the effort of childbirth, and as the hours of labour and the straining of both your body and your entire vocabulary of swearwords is swept away by new maternal feelings as you see and hear and touch for the first time that being you have created within yourself, the state would very much like you to fucking remember whose kid it really is and how they're to be brought up. So tits out for the sprogs, girls, because breast is best and the state's drones want to ensure you don't have any other option.
A CONTROVERSIAL call to make infant formula available only on prescription to boost breastfeeding rates has merit, the Australian Breastfeeding Association says.
A Melbourne expert argues that infant formula should be available only on prescription to boost breast feeding rates.
Doctors say a push to restrict infant formula could create difficult hurdles for young mums.
But association spokeswoman Kate Mortensen said RMIT University expert Jennifer James' proposal had merit and should definitely be seriously looked at.
Ms Mortensen also backed Dr James' proposed ban on infant formula manufacturers marketing their products to the public.
Yes, this is still bottle milk formula we're talking about, not tobacco.
"We support more support for mothers in general because most mothers do want to breastfeed, and they're able to with better support and better information," [Kate Mortenson] said.
It sounds like she's nicked half the supports for that Delhi footbridge. Look, Kate, our species is about 200,000 years old and our ape-man antecedents go back maybe twenty times that, and in those thirty or forty centuries we've managed get along without any need of support for support in support of breast feeding. We're good at the whole sex and child rearing thing, including breast feeding infants. We're so good at breeding and raising children that we managed to rebuild the population from possibly as low as a couple of thousand individuals 70,000 odd years ago to its current 7 billion despite war, famine and disease wiping out uncountable millions of us in the meantime. Individuals may not be, which in the past meant they'd be unsuccessful at raising children and in the present means they'll buy formula, but as a species we're bloody good at rearing replacement humans not only without supportive types supporting supportive efforts of support but, for much of that time, without a even a language with which to offer any bloody support. Christ, my cat managed, and in her case six million years of evolution has produced a creature that, while capable of surprising affection, is also so daft that she'll walk over the food in the near side of the dish to see if the stuff on the other side tastes better. Thick as two Planck length planks, I'm telling you. But despite being dense enough to bend light she still managed to feed a litter of kittens without some bossy tortoiseshell earth mother cat offering support for support of support to support her. In a supportive way.

I've got no problem with Kate Mortenson or Dr Jennifer James or anyone else thinking that breast is better. Hell, I'm prepared to believe it probably is better since we've evolved for it and it for us, whereas drinking cow juice and formula is a very recent move. And I have no problem with that information being put out there and I have no problem with trying to remove social barriers that might discourage breast feeding. Obviously in an ideal world everyone would just be able to look at breasts very functionally and mothers could simply feed whenever and wherever they needed to without anyone being bothered, but the world is not ideal and breasts do have a sexual significance. Sorry, sisters, but they do, and denying it is not dealing with it. And so prudes will complain about the dreaded breast while most of us men will either try to sneak a peek or look in absolutely every direction but the breast feeding mother unless forced to, and even then we'll try to look at a point at least twenty feet above her head. Yes, I am one of those, and yes, I realise that while it's a lot less embarrassing for her than staring straight at them and going, 'Phwoar' it's still going to make the poor girl feel self concious. It's often embarrassing for the mum and for men around her doing their best to respect both her privacy and her right to do one of the most natural things she ever will. We all know it shouldn't be, but it is. A very brave girl might go to extremes and bare her breasts with the announcement that the gents have a few minutes to admire the view after which she's going to feed her child, thank you very much, and she'd deserve nothing less than a twenty minute standing ovation for it. Others would be mortified at the thought and choose - the operative word, for the benefit of Jen and Kate - choose a more private environment. Probably the majority these days take the middle ground of lifting tee shirts or undoing some buttons and ignoring the extra attention drawn by what is really a pretty modest amount of skin being exposed, and there are even products available to help with that. Not surprisingly the breast zealots (is 'brealots' a word?) disapprove of them.
Nursing covers - the postnatal clothing accessory designed to allow mothers to breastfeed "discreetly" - are becoming an increasingly common sight as mothers cover up for fear of accidentally flashing a bare breast or midriff in public.
Mothers and breastfeeding experts are firmly divided over whether they are a wonderful idea or a step back to the Dark Ages.
Firmly in the "pro" camp is Murrumbeena mother Rebecca Azzopardi, who says her Peek a Boob cover allows her to feed six-month-old daughter Maya in situations where she might otherwise feel too self-conscious.
"I'm not ashamed of breastfeeding, but [the cover] is something that comes in handy when I'm out in public by myself, or even when I'm in a group with some male friends or around people that I think might feel uncomfortable," she says.
"For example, I used it at the doctor's surgery the other day. I had to feed her in front of quite a few older men and I thought they would probably be a bit embarrassed to see me breastfeeding. It comes in handy for those times when you're not sure how people are going to react."
Fair enough. She wants to breast feed and has chosen - Kate, Jennifer - chosen to buy a product that means she's comfortable doing it in places where otherwise she'd rather not. Sorry the world's not perfect yet but in the meantime isn't something that gets more women who want to breast feed actually doing it a good thing? Apparently not.
Jennifer James...
Oh, gosh, what a surprise.
Jennifer James, a senior lecturer in breastfeeding at RMIT and a lactation consultant for 28 years, believes breastfeeding covers only reinforce the idea that nursing women should cover up.
"It's time that women stood up and said, 'Sorry, don't like it? Then look away'," she says.
As I said, it takes a brave girl. Or possibly just one more intent on making the point than feeding the baby.
"It also sends an incredibly negative message to the baby."
What, more negative than, 'Sorry about lunch, kid, but your mother's tits are political now'?
Breastfeeding is meant to be a very interactive thing. When they are awake and feeding they are learning, so if you cover them up with a tent, the baby loses that contact with the world.
Oh, come on. What about the millions and millions of us who were born at a time when mothers had to leave the room? Did we all lose that contact with the world, and if so did we miss out? Or did it all take place at an age where we couldn't even focus on the world, which we would entirely forget within five or six years, and actually had few desires anyway beyond mum, milk, cuddles and not being in our own shit for too much of the day? I'll credit the Australian Breastfeeding Association spokesbrealot - not Kate this time - with being a bit more practical.
Australian Breastfeeding Association spokeswoman Karen Ingram says there are arguments for and against the cover-up range.
"We need to be really clear that women don't need to cover themselves while they are breastfeeding and by law they are allowed to breastfeed anywhere, any time, whether they have a cover over their baby or not," she says. "But for some mums it does help. Whatever assists the mum to breastfeed her baby should be accepted."
Quite. It's simply a matter of choice, and if the brealots are right that most mothers want to breast feed - and again I suspect they are - then given half a chance those mothers are likely to make that choice of their own volition. Ideally there'd be boobs on every street corner (and not a car crash to be heard) as women exercise their right to breast feed anywhere, but in this less than perfect world some women would rather minimise the exposure of their breasts.

But the ultimate sin against the sacred boob is that other women don't do it at all and buy formula milk instead. There are lots of different reasons why but again it boils down to a personal choice, the most offensive c-word in the vocabulary of the righteous. Choice is bad when the wrong choice might be chosen, so what Dr James and her ABA pal Kate want to do is to make breast feeding the only approved choice - approved by them and, since they want the law to remove the option of formula for any woman whose nipples aren't sufficiently wrecked to convince a doctor to write a 'scrip', approved ultimately by the state itself.

So let's just imagine a scenario where this actually comes about and let's imagine what the results will be when, for whatever reasons - and the actual reason is none of our business - some women want to bottle feed their babies. 'Breast is best' is already orthodoxy and there's an element who'll judge and criticise mothers who've chosen bottle, which must make them feel really good about themselves if they've tried to breast feed and given up with cracked nipples or just didn't produce enough. So let's imagine that formula milk is basically off limits to anyone who is feeding a baby and who isn't in fact a man. How many will feel judged and looked on as failures, inadequate mothers, by society and by their peers and by the medical profession itself because the orthodoxy of breast is best is even stronger than now? How many of them will go to the doctor to ask for the government permission slip to buy formula milk, and how many will be too embarrassed and ashamed to? How many will be bullied and cajoled or shamed into carrying on as best they can despite pain and discomfort, or a possibly underfed baby? How many of them will actually have to beg milk, breast or formula, on the QT from their most trusted friends or relatives? And how long will it be before a black market supplies that which Dr Jennifer James and Kate Mortenson want to have put beyond the casual reach of mothers, and the nourishment of a significant minority of babies becomes reliant on the activity of criminals?

Ridiculous? Impossible? Not at all. Why wouldn't there be when there's already a black market in breast milk?
A BLACK market in breast milk has developed in Australia as families desperate to feed their babies the natural elixir are being charged up to $1000 a litre on the internet.
A thousand bucks? 'Elixir' had better be right. That's... that's... that's more than petrol for God's sake. Does it come in a 24ct gold bottle? Was it expressed by Scarlett Johansson? It's MILK, not cocaine.
One mother contacted the Gold Coast based Mother's Milk Bank to ask what the real "going rate" was for breast milk after online sharks demanded the extortionate amount when she placed a web advert seeking human milk.
 Mother's Milk Bank director Marea Ryan told her that the not-for-profit bank sold milk for $50 for 1.2 litres.
 "I think it is increasing more and more as people become a lot more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding," Ms Ryan said.
Or as they're increasingly made to feel like lousy parents if they're buying formula.
"It is very dangerous because in an unregulated fashion there are no checks and balances, the milk would not have been tested for viruses and bacteria," Dr James said.
Well, yeah, obviously, but ... hang on, Dr who?
"Women are being put in this insidious position because of a lack of breast milk banks nationally."
Which will be the same as if government controls the supply of formula. But what did you say your name was again?
"They have no option but to look outside the system."
Exactly what I've said will happen if women have no free choice between breast and formula. In fact it sounds like you'll not only create a black market but you'll boost an existing one. And sorry, but I'm sure you said your name was Dr James, am I right?
RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) lactation expert Dr Jennifer James said she was aware of the growing unregulated black market.
It is you! Bloody hell, Jen, you may know more than I will ever care to about lactation but how the hell can the likelihood of a formula black market escape you when you've got the evidence of a breast milk black market in front of your face? It's demand and supply - what the fuck did you expect was going to happen when you inflate that demand by nagging about breast milk all the bloody time?
The risky practice has increased with the advent of the internet where women advertise their milk for sale.
[sarcasm]No? I'm in shock.[/sarcasm] And her solution?*
Dr James said there should be breast milk banks in all major hospitals but blamed inconsistent legislation for making them difficult to set up.
"In some states it is classified as a food while in others it is human tissue or bodily fluids," she said. "The milk bank at the Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney had to close down because it was classified as bodily fluid. We need nationally consistent guidelines."
Ah, yes, of course. The answer is central government. The answer is always central government, especially when it comes to raising future generations of the taxpayers that are essential to governments' own survival.

Quite often I blog with a slight element of despair because someone has suggested giving government even more power to intrude and micromanage lives, and rather than howling them down vast numbers of people begin to nod and mumble that yes, it would be just super if the government would monitor and rule on the minutiae of their existence, and yours and mine and everyone else's too because the government have to do it for/to everybody. Happily, stepping between mums and their children looks to be one step too far (my emphasis).
Avondale Heights mum Christine Rookas said it should be a mother's choice whether to breast feed or not.
"I would be very frightened and afraid to think that formula will be prescribed," Ms Rookas said.
"I think there's already a paranoia for mothers. They feel guilty enough about using formula milk."
... other mums who commented on the were scathing about Dr James's suggestion.
"What do these people know about every person's situation?," Dee said in a post at 12.57am this morning.
"Unless you are in a situation such as my family, please don't speak for us. Don't push your ideas on us if you haven't walk in our shoes. These are personal decision that is made (sic) by each individual."
They are woman, Jennifer, hear them roar, 'Piss off and leave us alone'. You would force mothers into breast feeding despite the fact that many would choose to do so anyway, even if many of them would rather keep their breasts covered up instead of partaking in the open display of maternalism that you advocate. Surely it's best if mums can find whatever level of exposure or screening they as individuals are comfortable with and then carry on with the job of getting milk down babies' throats, which I thought was the whole idea. But if you get government to intervene, if you get it literally to lay down the law on how babies must be fed and to force mothers, who by nature overwhelmingly want the best they can do for their children anyway, to breast feed regardless of whether they're comfortable, then once again government takes away a little bit of our ownership of ourselves. Parents may still conceive their children and mothers may still give birth to them, but the state, which already demands so much control over a child's upbringing and education and yes, diet too, will also control how they are fed from birth. With that level of needless interference over both of them how much could a new mother honestly say that her child, and even her breasts and milk, are hers and not the governments?

I'm sure your intentions are the best, Dr James, but the road to hell is paved with many more like them.

* That is the process which will solve the issue, not her personal solution. That'd be yucky and not what I want to think of when I'm about to get a milky cup of tea.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Offence seeker of the week.

Oh, those crazy Kiwis at Air New Zealand just don't know when to stop. Last year they ran ads and safety videos featuring staff wearing nothing but body paint prompting a prude backlash of a whopping one complaint to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority.
"All genital areas were hidden but they left nothing to the imagination and [it] conjured pictures that none of us needed," the complainant said.
No, you just have a dirty mind, that's all. That might have occurred to the ASA as well but they settled for saying the ad was unlikely to offend many other people (sadly avoiding the opportunity of asking whether there's any right not to be offended in the first place). Then, as I mentioned back in January, they ran the 'Cougar' advert and, according to the offence seekers, demeaned every woman over 35 past, present and future. Or something.

But this time they've really pushed boundaries of taste and decency by running an advert with 'whoop-whoop' in it, the heartless, insensitive basta... wait, what?
The advertisement has prompted a woman who lost her father in the crash to label the airline's use of the phrase as insensitive.

"It definitely tugs at the heartstrings," Jayne Holtham said. "The second you say that, you remember the last few seconds of the flight."
Oh? A crash? Okay, go on...
There was a "whoop whoop" warning from a ground-proximity system just before an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Antarctica's Mt Erebus ... killing 257 people.
Whaaaaat? Oh, come on. That's a bit bloody tenuous. There are ringtones and slot machines and heaps of video games and any number of movie and TV shows that include similar noises - are you telling me you complain about all of them? No? Does anyone else who had a relative die in any other air crash complain? No? So this is just because it's the actual company involved in the crash in which your relative died, and apart from them any use of the sound or someone printing or saying the words 'whoop-whoop' and there's no tugging of the heartstrings at all? None of this should bother you then.

I'm sure some would think I shouldn't be taking the mick out of your recent loss, which I'm surprised I missed in the papers and must be an oversight on my part since it's not like I live out in the back of Woop Woop or anything... just an expression, sorry.* So, when did this happen, exactly?
[Flight 901] crashed into Mount Erebus in sector whiteout conditions on November 28, 1979, killing all 257 people aboard.
Oh. Thirty-one years ago. Too soon, is it?

Restoring some of my faith in humanity, other relatives don't agree.
However, Susan O'Rourke, whose mother Marlene Hansen was a passenger on the flight, said the phrase did not upset her.

"It's commonly used. I have even used it on my Facebook page, so I've got no issues with it," she said.

"It's used all over the world by many different people, especially younger ones."
Which is what Air New Zealand said.
Nicked from The Australian
In a statement, an airline spokeswoman said the words referred to a "party phrase".

"The theme of the advert is `Let's Party' and DJs at dance parties will often call out, `Can I get a whoop whoop?' and the crowd responds with `Whoop whoop!'."
See? Nothing to do with cockpit alarms or anything like that. I'm glad the Susan O'Rourke and her sister at least can see that.

O'Rourke's sister, Melanie Fishburn, said she was not worried by the phrase.
Oh, thank fu...
However, the sisters said they understood why some relatives might be upset.
And they were doing so well. Look, on a certain level I can understand as well. As it's been explained I can make the connection, though I wouldn't have had a hope in hell otherwise, but three decades on isn't it perhaps time anyone who has a problem put it behind them? Shit happens and people die, and the number of us who will never suffer the loss of a parent through one means or another is quite small - and when people do that inevitably means the equal or greater tragedy of parents outliving their children. No matter who we lose and how close they were eventually we need to stop grieving, get a grip and remember that life goes on. Above all we need to remember that things that remind us of our deceased loved ones can crop up all the time and completely at random, but if someone hasn't actually said, 'Hey, remember that time when your [insert dead rellie] said such-and-such, what a card, eh, how we all laughed?' you can be pretty confident that it wasn't meant. It's just chance connections made in our own minds and no-one, least of all whoever or whatever prompted the memory, bears any responsibility. It's sad that this woman's dad died in an air crash, but it's sadder still that after 31 years she hasn't moved on enough that the airline involved can't run an advert, quite possibly dreamt up by someone who wasn't even born at the time, without her getting upset.

And not sad so much as fucking enraging is that we're again pandering to the concept that there's some innate right to go through life without being offended, and for this Air New Zealand do bear a portion of the blame.
The company apologised if anyone was offended.
No! There is nothing to apologise for. You used a phrase in an advert, that's all. If someone doesn't like it they can whine all they like but their fragile feelings DO NOT give them any fucking veto on your use of the English language. I get offended by things all the time - all the fucking time - including by these constant fucking displays of victimhood and the associated need for the whole fucking universe to revolve on fucking eggshells to avoid even the lightest bruising of an ego or the gentlest hurt to someone's feelings. It doesn't merely boil my piss, it dilutes it with a generous serve of four star leaded petrol and compresses it to about thirty or forty atmospheres before releasing a bolt of fucking lightning through it. And yet I don't complain because I know being offended gives me no such right. Sure, I rant about it here or I tell my wife how full of pricks the world so often seems to be, but I never, never, ask that anyone stop on my account. I just stay offended until I get the chance to blog it out of my system, at least until someone else comes along to do it all over again.

There is no right to not be offended. Learn to live with it.

* No, I'm bloody not.

The future of public transport.

It may include 150mph buses but don't think that means you won't still share the experience with a lot of discarded burger wrappers, chewing gum, three other people's unsynched MP3s being played just loud enough to hear and be annoyed by but not to actually listen and possibly enjoy, the mad woman with a carrier bag full of plastic bottle caps who has been passed through five councils' social services in as many years, as well as being the victim of grievous bodily odour courtesy of the fat, grimy KFC event horizon in the football shirt sitting opposite. It's just that at 150mph you won't have to put up with it for as long.

Green is the colour of evil, dictatorship and death.

As disgraceful as what's being done to the Thompsons is (see last post) we should remember that for some greenies this is only the beginning, and that what they really want is to kill off most - about 90% - of the world's population either directly or by encouraging disease and starvation in the third world, to sterilise many of the rest by force, to licence having children (actually a child), to set up re-education gulags for those who aren't on message but for whatever reason aren't killed (yet, I presume), and to have the few remaining people completely under the control of their ruling elite and living the kind of life that hasn't existed in Western nations for several centuries. There are people out there who absolutely and sincerely believe that Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and others in the Window Licking Happy Massacres Club were doing the world, as distinct from humanity, a favour but didn't go far enough. And this man, Pentti Linkola, is one of them.

Philosopher Pentti Linkola has built an enthusiastic following of self-described “eco-fascists” receptive to his message that the state should enact draconian measures of “discipline, prohibition, enforcement and oppression” in order to make people comply with environmental dictates.
Jesus Christ Almighty, you can almost hear the marching jacksandals, can't you? Form an orderly queue at your nearest gun shop if you're not keen on the idea of going quietly when this fucker's greenshirt stomrtroopers kick your door in. You really shouldn't judge by pictures but there's something about that photo of him that to me makes him look like he's evaluating the person behind the camera. It's a look I've always imagined was on the face of Josef Mengele and fellow Nazis as they experimented on prisoners. It's a look of someone who doesn't just not value human life but values the extinguishing of it. Or maybe that's just the impression I have because he says things like this.
[World War Three would be] a happy occasion for the planet.... If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating, if it meant millions of people would die.
I like the idea of him sacrificing himself without hesitating but I'm not so keen on all the other stuff. Admittedly I feel pretty misanthropic myself, ooooh, about four or five times a week, but I don't want everyone else dead or even necessarily converted to my way of thinking - I just wish their apparently congenital need to suck the state's tit from the cradle to the grave while they tweep out in front of the idiot's lantern wasn't stopping me from living my way. Smiler up there wants to go so much further, further even than the likes of Porridge, Lovelocke and Moonbat, and if there was a button I could press to interrupt the X-Factor with a short message to the effect that this greenie at the least, and almost certainly many others, would very much like everyone watching the show to die please, I'd happily sacrifice a few minutes of other people's on-air freak wrangling* if it meant millions of people finally learned how genuinely dangerous these eco-tools, or rather eco-facists as some of them are beginning to admit, can be.

Gentlemen... 'Eco Prevails!'
Islam? Osama bin Liner? Don't make me fucking laugh. He might harbour dreams of a caliphate and the conversion of western nations to his particular fantasy, but relatively speaking that's chickenshit. What Linkola and his fellow believers want is basically the end of the world.

* TM Daily Mash.

Destroy the unbeliever! Kill the heretic!

Modern Greenism is a funny thing. In some ways it's like many other industries - it has products to sell and needs to create a market for them, it's ruthlessly protective, chock full of vested interests and it lobbies both governments and media all over the world to ensure that it gets lots of promotion and regulatory, ah, environments that suit it, which is why I often refer to it as Big Eco. Yet it's also like religion in that they've got people performing the prescribed rituals even when there's a self evident and needless risk of setting the cat on fire, they've persuaded courts that religious discrimination laws apply to them, and that they really, really, really hate infidels er... heretics er... unbelievers er... sceptics. Seriously, you only have to look at the reaction to Lomborg's 'return' to the fold and the whole more-joy-in-heaven-over-one-sinner-who-repenteth-y tone to it, even though the guy really wasn't saying anything very different from what he'd said before, and how the warmist zealots treated him when they thought he was an AGW apostate.

Nor do you even have to write a book saying it might not be as bad as all that and that anyway it'd be cheaper simply to adapt to any warming to attract the green wrath. Oh, no. Just saying you're not a believer can get your life ruined, as explained by Anthony Watts (update here).
I need your help, because they need your help. Please read this whole story and consider if you can help. WUWT readers may recall this story: Death of a Feedlot Operator …in which the anal-retentive government of West Australia has “licensed” a family farm out of operation due to some shonky science and arbitrary application of the “sniff test”. Yes that’s right, cattle farms smell, so do pig farms, as does any farm.
Even windfarms once you take into account the niff from the chunks of dead birds dropping from the sky. But this shouldn't be a problem in a country in which agriculture is still such a huge part of life and the economy that Aussie farmers are supplying beef to McDonalds not just domestically but even in the US. Just considering livestock alone and ignoring crops and wines the agriculture industry earns nearly a billion dollars from exports, about two thirds from beef. So it seems a little odd that the WA government would, as Anthony Watts claims, regulate out of business a cattle farming family - Rotarians, incidentally - who've invested in environmental standards by planting trees, using a worm farm to break down waste and have invested in odour reduction system precisely to address the concerns that people living nearby would have (though for my money living in rural Oz and complaining about farms is like moving to the end of the Heathrow runway and whinging about the noise). What could possibly be... it’s reason to shut one out due to baseless complaints from the local greens. And, it all started when Matt Thompson started doubting global warming and talking about it publicly.
Ah, yes. That'd do it.

Click to embiggerse
It goes without saying that my position on telling people what they can do with their own land, land that they occupy legally, is the typical libertarian one of non-interference unless you can actually show that someone else is losing out, and as I mentioned above not living with a farm-y smell in an area that is so heavily agricultural should not come anywhere near qualifying. However, Australia's track record on this is not something it should be proud of, especially since it so often seems to be in the name of that which is Holy and Green. The Thompsons are joining reluctant company such as Peter Spencer, a farmer driven to go on hunger strike to protest a ban preventing him from clearing his property of vegetation so that the land can count towards Australia's carbon sinks, incidentally rendering him effectively unable to farm on his own farm and making his land virtually worthless. A billion dollars of exports and they're simply not important enough for the the government to care about, and indeed, judging from Jo Nova via WUWT, the Thompsons weren't even on the radar at one point (my emphasis).
The Thompsons waited a full year to get Works Approval for a 15,000 head feedlot. After they had already committed the capital, the rules kept shifting. They discovered they’d need ongoing licenses as well. After several years of ramping up the capacity on these licenses, things changed. Matt spoke out as a skeptic. About that time, the renewals were delayed, then the numbers were cut in half, and new conditions were added that were impossible to meet. To feed and supply water for thousands of cattle the Thompsons had to sign agreements in advance to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars of goods they could not use, but had no way of knowing that at the time. When they appealed, it took 18 months to get “vindicated” but by then there was only six months left on the “two year” license. Not enough to set up all the contracts and run a business. The new sub-clauses meant that even licenses for a qualified “10,000″ head had vague untestable conditions: the license you have when you don’t have a license.
The usual bureaucratic goalpost shifting up to a point and then suddenly, no doubt completely by coincidence, delays and restrictions and more delays that basically destroyed the farm as a business despite the Thompsons 'winning'.

It's a fucking strange kind of win that can really only be celebrated by the other side, and that's the situation now because the business is screwed and the Thompson family have just days to get out before the NAB bank, who had once promised not to act till the end of the year, repossess the property. This, by the way, is the same NAB bank who are currently running this advert about how wonderful they are towards small business. As such an appeal is running to help the Thompsons, and if you can spare a few quid I'd highly recommend you pop along either to WUWT or Jo Nova, read the whole thing and click on the Paypal Donate button on your way out. If not then please at least repost it, Twatterise it or do whatever you can do with Facebook about it. If you're in Australia you could write to the WA Premier and relevant minsters as suggested on WUWT (see 'Update 3' down the page), and if you bank with NAB you might think about moving banks and writing a letter to explain why.

And if you ever decide to visit West Australia, which is a beautiful part of the country, do remember to take a clothes peg with you on the off chance you might be in the area where the Thompson' farm is and hopefully still will be. It probably won't smell much even if by some miracle they're still farming there, but on the off chance that you find a greenie whining about the cow farts hurting the sky you can do everyone a favour and use it to peg his lips together.

H/T Obo. I was very late to this having been a little too busy to catch up on who on the blogroll has written what lately, and only a shirt while ago happened to notice Obo's appeal to Oz based folks to spread the word about it.

* 'Predictions' have mostly been long since downgraded to 'projections' and then 'scenarios'. I was under the impression that theories with a real claim to be scientific are normally not shy of making predictions. It's what they're fucking for. As with so many things this does not apply to warble gloaming theories, partly because it's half religion and half Big Eco business and partly because they seem to prefer any actual predictions they make to be untestable by anyone not prepared to wait around for a hundred years or so.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Ch ch ch ch changes.

Regular commenters will have noticed that I've been buggering about with the comment options in Blogger, and like some teenager that's never quite happy with the colour of their bedroom I'm not entirely satisfied with any of the options. So I've been looking at other options and have decided to give Disqus a whirl. I'm currently waiting for it to import the existing comments (right now it just says 'Queued for import, progress 0.0%' and 'Depending on the size of your blog, it may take a while for this to complete' - no kidding, it's been like that for ten minutes) so in the meantime older comments probably won't appear and newer ones... well, I suppose they should be okay and the older ones will be along presently.

And yes, this whole post is just an excuse to put a clip of David Bowie on.

P.S. - feedback on the new Disqus powered comments would be welcome. Any comments using the word 'disqusting' will be instantly punished with a fortnight's unpaid holiday with Gordon Brown.

A rare, nay, freak occurrence.

See this guy? A week ago he raped a woman jogger on a beach 50 km or so to the south of Melbourne, prompting fears that he would strike again.
Detective Sergeant Peter Dodemaide, from the sexual crimes squad described the rape as "cowardly and callous" and said police were worried the man would reoffend.

"We are very worried about him re-offending," he said. [Yes, that Monty Python delivery is really how The Age wrote it - AE]

"His behaviour is indicative of somebody who may commit further sexual offences."

Detective Sergeant Dodemaide said women should avoid running in the dark and in secluded areas.

"My advice to women, if they have to run alone, is to make sure that you are aware of your surroundings, keep your wits about you at all times," he said.
JuliaM's ambushy whiskers are probably twitching at this point, and with very good reason because today we find out that the police now believe that the attacker has a hitherto undisclosed identifying feature, though not one that is likely to lead to his arrest: non-existence.
Police this morning said detectives had completed their investigation and were now satisfied no such event happened.

"Police wish to allay community fears and reinforce the fact that this incident did not occur and there is no one sought in relation to the matter," a police spokeswoman said.
Of course the police helped stir those fears up in the first place, though in fairness it's hard to blame them. They're supposed to prevent crime and warning people is obviously a necessary part of that, and if the report they've been given by the woman gives them reason to think a repeat offence could happen any time they'd be criticised for not doing their job if they sat on their hands. No, you can't really blame the police for reacting as they would if there really had been a rape, and so there's only one person really responsible for causing alarm and wasting everybody's time, not to mention trivialising the experiences of genuine rape victims. And for what? What the hell did think she was going to get out of it? Her names in the papers? Anonymity prevents that. Is it just attention seeking? Perhaps a trick cyclist could explain it because I'm at a complete loss.

And of course the other thing that she may not have fully considered is that some guy's life might easily have been blighted by this, so it's gratifying to see that the police were able to satisfy themselves that her story was made up before charging off and arresting some lad with bad hair and skin and what looks like a Carlton Football Club hat. When that happens the only real victim is the poor bastard in the cells wondering how the hell he's going to convince everyone - not just the police and maybe the court but in his wider life as well - that he's not a rapist. It took the police a week to decide that there was no attack in the first place, and if someone matching the description had just happened to walk past a cop a day or two after the attack he could easily have found himself under arrest. Fortunately it never got that far in this case, and if it had it seems likely that the police would have reached the same conclusion anyway and released any arrestee expressing many apologies and certainties that he was in fact innocent all along, but that sort of accusation probably never quite goes away. However, recent history shows that that's by no means certain, and I suspect it's even more likely to go much further when a woman points the finger at someone she actually has met and maybe has slept with, as JuliaM's ever increasing collection shows.

Julia, who will probably be feeling less than sororal towards this still unnamed 21 year old, might be cheered to hear that the police are no more keen on false rape reports than anyone else. As in the Port Melbourne case a few months back, Victoria Police intend to charge her.
"The 21-year-old woman is expected to be charged on summons with making a false report to police."
A charge of making a false report in Victoria carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a year or 12 'penalty units' (fines have a set amount per unit, currently $119.45) meaning nearly $1,440, and either of those can be accompanied by an order to reimburse the police for the costs of the investigation, which is likely to be thousands as well. Even if they rarely if ever apply the full weight of that law to people making false reports for rape the principle of it is completely appropriate if you ask me. The police still have to prove intent and knowledge that the person knew the report was false and making an honest mistake is a legitimate defence, so it's doing nothing more than making people responsible for any reports of crime they do make to the police.

But it might seem quite inadequate if someone is actually arrested, charged and imprisoned though. Farah Jama did 15 months for a rape he didn't commit (it must be said that this was due to a forensic blunder rather than a false report) and was eventually awarded over a half a million dollars in compensation, and though it vindicated his protestations of innocence I doubt any money completely erases the loss of freedom and the stigma of being labelled a rapist. I also doubt that if someone had been arrested and jailed as a result of a false claim of rape that there'd be much hope of getting compensation from the accuser, even is she is morally responsible and ends up compensating the police.

Most of all I doubt any of this ever crossed the mind of Miss Still Unnamed when she was knocking on doors and asking people to call the cops. Does it ever in these circumstances?

Special delivery.

There's a very good reason why private sector delivery companies don't rely on reindeers to get packages safely to their destination.

Monday, 20 September 2010


I has it this week.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Casualties - UPDATED.

Thinkers seem to be in short supply in this world of The X-Craptor, Duncing With The Stars, I'm a Non-Entity, Get My Career Going Again etc. scattered among the shithouse soaps and gameshows that consist of guessing whether a fucking box has something in it,* so being able to see and absorb the thoughts of those thinkers who choose to blog is one of the things I like best about web 2.0. So it's always sad when someone hangs up the keyboard and doubly unfortunate to see a couple of good bloggers jacking it in in less than 24 hours. Not sure why the Angry-Teen guys are hanging it up but TheBigYin over at Freedom-2-Choose has pressing and very sad reasons that force him to call it a day. I can only wish 'em all well, BigYin especially, and say thanks fellas - I for one enjoyed what you had to say. Hopefully I might still see you round various blog comments.

As usual no blogroll adjustments for the time being, just in case. But I think I'm going to have to have an old blogs archive before long.

UPDATE - More from Angry Teen in the comments. More a hiatus than an exit by the sounds of things, and also for reasons that are quite understandable.

* It'd be an enraged cat in a gas mask and a few lungs full of hydrogen cyanide gas if I had anything to do with it.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sorry, no refunds.

Many years ago I bought a car. In fact it was my first car, and I was moderately pleased with myself because it was fairly cheap. However, it was also a Fiat and nearly everyone I knew told me that Fiats had a reputation for being a bit useless. 'If it starts first time it'll never make it all the way to where you're going,' they said. 'It stands for Fix It Again Tomorrow,' they said. 'Don't for Christ's sake buy that bloody Fiat,' they said. And although many journeys were completed without it breaking down, proving that there was a lot of hyperbole in what I'd been told, it was nonetheless true that these were broken up by periods of absolute rage and misery because the fucking thing was off the road for some reason or other. Even when it was working it seemed there was always something that needed to be fixed, even if it was more an annoyance than an actual hindrance. There were probably good Fiats around (I had a decent Fiat years later) but this one was a dog.

It wasn't as bad as I'd been told it would be but I had been warned it'd be a dog and it was. And who's to blame? Who was responsible for inflicting the bastard thing on me? Who should have paid the price for my misfortune? Only one name comes up, a certain Mr A Exile. I chose to ignore advice and buy a car with a poor reputation just because it was a cheap set of wheels, and neglected to consider that everything between those cheap wheels might be more demanding and less stable than Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.

Oil pressure light.
And I did indeed pay the price, literally and figuratively, for not listening to advice. Caveat emptor, as the Romans said, meaning 'you bought it, tough shit'. Nobody made me do it and I did so knowing that others had advised me against it. There is nothing to be done in this situations but accept it and move on, though bizarrely some don't see it that way.
Labour have failed in an eleventh-hour attempt to get compensation for people who bought ID cards as MPs approved legislation to scrap them.
It had to be Labour, didn't it? The party with absolutely no concept of people being responsible for their own decisions.
Shadow ministers wanted people who own cards to be refunded, saying they had bought them in "good faith".
Like I did with that car? Look, sometimes you just have to accept that you've made a bad decision. It's part of being human and imperfect, and when all it's really cost you is thirty quid and some face I'd suggest you've got the benefit of an important life lesson for a bargain price. Refunds? Pah!
Labour's Denis MacShane, a cardholder himself, said his money was effectively being "confiscated" and said if someone's house had been taken by the state, that would get recompense.
Demonstrating that Labour also has little grasp of what happens when you buy something. In return for getting something you want or think you need you give your money away. It is not confiscated, and since governments and politicians in general and socialists in particular are experts at confiscating money I find it very disappointing that Denis McShane is unable to tell the difference. You still have your card, Denis. What you are unhappy about is that it has become worthless and without any useful function, even though many felt they always were and it was never a secret that the ID card scheme would be scrapped if Labour lost the election. The value of pointless government shit may go down as well as up.
... SNP MP Pete Wishart said it was "tough luck" on card owners as they had made an informed choice to buy one.

"We have to be absolutely and abundantly clear with this - ID cards are exclusively and solely a New Labour creation," he said. "All other parties in this House made it absolutely clear that we would have nothing whatsoever to do with them."

Ministers say cardholders were aware they would be invalidated with a change of government.
Quite. But if McShane wants to press the point maybe it would be worth conceding that perhaps both parties should settle up.
Rejecting calls for compensation, Immigration Minister Damian Green said the scheme had cost £292m but fewer than 15,000 cards had been issued - equivalent to £20,000 per card.

"This is by any standards a scandalous waste of money which lies squarely at the door of ministers in the previous government," he said.

"We don't see why the taxpayer should have to pay out yet again."
No, but here's a thought. Denis McShane and nearly 15,000 other pricks who wanted ID cards got them in the face of all the opposition and in the knowledge that their future wasn't assured, and they got the rest of the country to bloody pay for it all. Compensation, Denis? Sure, but first let's discuss the 19,970 quid difference between the cost of the card you wanted and what it cost the rest of the country. Alternatively you could just grow up, accept the fact that you made a poor buying decision that is your responsibility and your's alone, and shut the fuck up.

H/T Looking For A Voice.
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