Thursday, April 17, 2014

The pond takes a break, but not before predicting dreams, nightmares and a bloody big hangover ...

(Above: Willy Pogány c. 1910, Slimy things did crawl ... upon the slimy sea)

So this is Easter, and what has the pond done?

Another year contemplating a god who would crucify Her son in the most brutal way imaginable, while offering pie in the sky later on ...?

How's that helped?

Let's not mention the genocide that led to the film Noah, and the torturing of thousands of innocent, hapless cinema goers, or the suffering of the dozens trapped inside churches this Easter by angry Sydney Anglicans and Catholic priests.

Or for that matter the mystical musings of Elizabeth Farrelly this very day in Meditation on the cross:

I feel it in the Gothic, its hefty stone stretched skyward; in the psalms, with their sooty melancholy and soaring descants; and in the upright of the cross. God keeps us tall. 

She keeps us tall?

This vertical stretch, good for us, is demanded by the planet. On any issue – materialism, carbon, financial crisis, climate change, population – old Gaia needs us to clamber up a few chakras. Blindingly obvious. Our environmental crises are not scientific, political or behavioural. At root, they’re spiritual. It’s almost as if Gaia wants to drive home the core mystic message, the age-old paradox; we must lose our selves in order to win eternal life. 
Paradox, and the parable needed to express it, lives at the heart of Christian traditions: darkness in light, poverty in riches, pain in beauty, death in renewal. Paradox is the mystery and the enchantment. Witnessing the sung Passion last weekend sent shivers down my spine. The music was glorious but the story – the betrayal, the regret, the suicide, the cowardice, the despair – the story is breathtaking. I like Jesus best in his darkest doubt. A doubting God is the most bewitching paradox of all. For me, that’s it. Story could stop right there. 
Easter, the pagan point of renewal, is the chosen moment of God death. Saturday’s Paschal Vigil begins with The Blessing of the New Fire, reminiscent of an Aboriginal smoking ceremony. This mix of paradox and paganism gives Christianity a potency that New Age religions cannot access; a potency daily betrayed by mainstream dumbed-down populism.

Uh huh.

Like people scribbling about tallness and shivering and Gaia and paradox, and in the mainstream media this very day abusing others for their mainstream dumbed-down populism?

The pond feels a koan coming on:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. 
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!" 
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?" (and more koans here, and here).

But on to the matter at hand, which will see the pond sheltering from the storm and broadband in a world as remote as the dreamtime, though it's sometimes mistaken for a major rural heartland. It's either an Elizabeth Farrelly dreaming or a pond nightmare.

Of course it happens because big Mal isn't up to the job, but then his dream for the big smoke isn't much of a dream either.

More a same old ongoing nightmare, of the kind where Freddy Kreuger keeps lurking under the slow-moving bed:

... users of the FTTN network will not receive speed guarantees beyond 25 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, the report states - similar to the maximum performance under ideal line conditions of today's ADSL2+ service. 
Fibre customers hoping to receive the fast service they ordered may also end up being disappointed under NBN Co's proposals. 
NBN Co reportedly said it will not take responsibility for individual line speeds, leaving the selection of the correct speed tier to end users and providers. It will not prevent end users or providers from ordering up to 100 Mbps speed tiers for a service that would typically experience speeds of less than 50 Mbps, according to the report. (more details here)

So have there been any consequences for this profound failure?

Nope.

Hold on.

Remember all those predictions by the Liberals of a state-owned monopoly using its market dominance to deny competitors offering a better service?

NBN Co this morning signalled an attack on the fibre-to-the-basement plans of competitor TPG, in an effort to mark its territory in reponse to the threat of emerging competition. 
It announced a plan to bring forward its FTTB rollout in certain metropolitan areas in a "commercial response to emerging competition for high-value customers", in a rollout that could extend to 50,000 apartments.
TPG has already begun construction on plans announced last September to roll out fibre to the basements of an extra 500,000 apartments across metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. 
The plan mimicks the Coalition's FTTB efforts and has drawn criticism from NBN Co CEO Ziggy Switkowski, who said it had the potential to “severely impact" the NBN. 
TPG is using a legal loophole in federal anti-cherry picking legislation in order to build its FTTB network alongside the NBN. NBN Co will announce a list of priority areas in the coming weeks, which it said will likely include Haymarket in Sydney, New Farm and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, and South Melbourne. 
"A building that signs up to TPG runs the risk of being left with only one retail service provider – TPG itself," NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.

Yep, offer a shitty service, and when someone offers a competitive service, crush them like cockroaches.

Because when Turnbull and Cormann blathered about a multi-mix technology last week, they didn't mean an actual multi-mix.

They meant a monopoly on shitty services ...

Of course the fear of cherry-picking is a fear that government will be left offering expensive services to remote users ... while users clustered tidily in big cities and wanting a half-way decent service will pay for the pleasure and tell the big Malaise and his tin can and spaghetti machine to go away ...

Never mind, at least where the pond's going they're still relying on string and sealing wax for a broadband service ... and the carrier pigeons are performing well, though beaks are drooping under the stress ...

Meanwhile, the pond is still brooding about the HFC which is the new big Malaise dream for the pond's neighbourhood.

Yes, we've already had our future technology, and we've had it for decades, little did we know.

But if they do force local ADSL users off copper - as proposed in the pond's street - and on to the HFC, the pond will end up with even worse broadband, because all users will be forced into what the jargon calls shared utilisation.

Too many users ruins the speed.

This is well known - it was predicted way back when, as you can read in Coalition FTTN would ignore HFC areas: Conroy.

The HFC cable infrastructure is capable of supporting speeds up to 100Mbps, and Telstra and Optus have upgraded the infrastructure to a certain level in order to support these kinds of speeds. However, the technology is considered by many to be broadly unsuitable for Australia’s future telecommunications needs, as it does not function well under heavy shared utilisation, and many renting so-called multi-dwelling units such as apartments are unable to have it connected as it requires a whole block of apartments to be hooked up.

There it is: ... it does not function well under heavy shared utilisation ...

The pond can't work out what's worse. Being forced to agree with Conroy or living in a bleak grey future, a kind of black plague of grey technology known as the grand Malaise.

Come on down TPG, it's not just the apartments that need you ...

What else?

Well occasionally the pond goes cultural, as a break from the tedious rants of the reptiles or the mystical musings of the slightly strange.

Sadly, the first episode of Fargo was disappointing.

The Slate review here had it about right:

All of these characters and all of these stories frequently add up to something handsome, funny, and weird. But Fargo is missing the spark of originality that would make it great. If you’re going to remake something as concise and self-sufficient as Fargo, there should be a reason, and pointing out that unexpected evil lurks in the hearts of men is not a very good one. For that we have, and I am just barely exaggerating, almost every other drama on television.


The problems came early, with the new version of the William H. Macy character shown as a total drop kick and a loser, and worse, graced with a name (Lester Nygaard) that led to predictable, cheap, easy jokes.

It would have been easy to give Martin Freeman a little more to work with, so he could produce a less one dimensional character. In the near to opening sales scene, his character could have been given the sleazy charm of a grifter insurance salesman, who could at least defraud the gormless pregnant woman and her gormless partner who turn up in his shop front. A closer can still be a loser, or vice versa, as Macy showed (and he threw in the Tru-coat) ...

Instead  Freeman's character is subjected to OT bullying and slapstick broken noses, which head into caricature well before the episode is over ....

Never mind, the pond got out the feature film, and soon enough all was forgiven and forgotten ...

Well except for big Mal. You see, the reason why everyone in old media - from the FTA networks through the Murdochians to the Fairfaxians - is happy with shitty broadband is that talking about a show that just premiered in the United States - and destined for SBS here - is what all the closed fortress types fear, and never mind that a simple same day FTA service would make it all redundant ...

In closing, please allow the pond to stay in the y'artz for a moment, to marvel at the way having The Graudian as a local downunder edition has led the pond into some bizarre encounters.

Like reading the incredibly pompous and more than vaguely ridiculous Jonathan Jones on art.

It seems that Jones has a hang up about Banksy, and frequently embarks on rants about the man. You can sample this sort of nonsense in New Banksy? Whatever. Graffiti is just a tame in-joke for Guardian readers.

Now it's a good thing that the pond gave up on Freud, because otherwise there'd be something bizarre about a writer for the Guardian flagellating readers for being readers of the Guardian - a kind of Algernon Swinburne or Percy Grainger quality, especially when all Jones has to offer is bile and prejudice, and personal opinions dressed up as universal truths ...

The pond was fixated and entranced, that such a thing should be (yea, just as slimy things did crawl with legs upon the slimy sea), and read the outraged comments, and it dawned on the pond that Jones was just a y'artz troller.

So we read a little more, and came across Jeff Koons: art's king of pop reigns on at the Gagosian.

In Antiquity 3, a model in lingerie and stockings rides a toy dolphin and caresses a toy monkey in front of a trio of marble nudes. The art of ancient Greece meets modern sex. They get on well in this irresistibly funny tease of an artwork. Koons collides the sublime and the ridiculous yet slyly asks a question that is hard to answer: what is beauty? Is it abstract or carnal? 
A scrawled, primitive drawing also covers the composite image, which draws attention to the peculiar play of dimensions in it. The picture is a tangle of two-dimensional and apparently three-dimensional space, of the flat and the seemingly solid. This is the kind of attention to form that makes it impossible to dismiss Jeff Koons. The real tedium of so much art today lies in a lack of interest in aesthetics, a lack of pleasure in visual complexity. Perversely, Koons, who has never pretended to be a hands-on artist and who is notorious for commissioning craftsmen to make statues as well as running a factory-like studio, stands out for his attention to the finer details. His works are richly visual and formally satisfying. 
Long may the monkey king ride the seas of commerce on his dolphin, and long may Gagosian attend him.

Banksy really bad, and Koons really good? In particular this Koons really good?


The pond has come across this easily excitable kind of male before.

Indeed there's a shop on south King in Newtown dedicated to the kustom kulture scene, Faster Pussycat. You can usually find this sort of Betty Page thing there:




It's probably where Koons and Jones do their shopping.

So the Graudian gets the village idiot to cover the y'artz?

And Malcolm Turnbull is entrusted to deliver broadband to Australia?

Enjoy your easter eggs and hot very cross buns. It's going to be a long winter of discontent ...

The pond will, roadwork permitting, resume business after Easter, but here's a last movie memory from David Rowe, and more Rowe here ...


Never mind, after Easter, it might not be a dream or even a nightmare, it might just be a bloody big hangover ... but where's Mike Tyson when at last he's needed?

No joy, but plenty of plonk and weirdness on the ABC ...

(Above: screen cap only, you can find the fun here)

Prattling Polonius surfaced on the ABC last night - though why he graces that reprehensible mob of leftist tea trolley cardigan wearing greenies with his presence is inexplicable - and did his best to help Barry O'Farrell:

I mean, the idea that you would lose your job because you accepted and probably drank a bottle of wine, which you didn't try to sell and you didn't even try to pawn it, you probably drank it, the idea that ...

He probably drank it?

Yep:

...I read the newspapers and listened to the news. But the point is this: that Barry O'Farrell's out, Australia's got a reputation of being corrupt, as has NSW, as has Sydney, over a bottle of wine which he probably drank - and I know Barry well over a long period; he's not particularly interested in wine, as I understand it. I wouldn't know the cost of a bottle of Grange. I would have no idea it was worth $3,000. If someone gave it to me, I'd probably drink it and I may or may not forget about it.

He probably drank it ...

And trust me, I should know, because I'm profoundly ignorant?



Depending on your point of view, it's either high or low comedy of the finest water ...

As for not knowing that Grange is the most expensive domestic red wine in the land - the pond can never afford to be tickled by its cheeky presumption - how does a plea of profound ignorance help O'Farrell or maintain Henderson's status as the vaguely sophisticated head of an inner city elitist Sydney Institute?

As for the rest, the pond refers you to a transcript here, along with the rolled gold moving pictures (and please remember the true meaning of rolled gold), but surely Sam Beckett is rolling in his grave:

KATE MCCLYMONT: Gerard - Gerard, that's what the note is all about. 
GERARD HENDERSON: No, it's not; he may have forgotten. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No. Gerard, ... 
GERARD HENDERSON: You're confused. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: OK. No, no, no, no, Gerard, I think I was listening to the evidence; you may not have been. 
GERARD HENDERSON: But he never said he didn't tell the truth. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, Gerard, listen to me. Gerard, listen, listen, listen. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Well you're pretty confused about this. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, no, no. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Yes, you are. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: No, no. Gerard. 
GERARD HENDERSON: OK.



Then out of this fog of babble came McClymont making a bleeding obvious point which put paid to at least one aspect of Henderson's specious pleading defence:

KATE MCCLYMONT: ...when he says, "If I had received this bottle of wine, not only would I remember because it was a vintage Penfolds Grange Hermitage, I would have also entered it into my pecuniary interest declaration."

The pond has a passing sympathy for O'Farrell, who left the gig more gracefully than some and certainly with more style than the wretchedly corrupt spivs of the Labor party who continue to deny they had their snouts in the trough, and still parade shamelessly, while John Robertson struts about, hardly able to believe his luck, babbling on about what a fierce corruption fighter he is ...

Well at least until the pond remembers that O'Farrell handed Barangaroo to James Packer on a silver platter ...

But with friends like Hendo, who needs enemies?

At least O'Farrell didn't claim the ignorance defence - he knew the value of a bottle of Grange, and who knows whether he drank it or not?

These casual defamations, in the name of mounting a defence and attacking ICAC were simply bizarre ...

And then it got even weirder.

GERARD HENDERSON: ... I'll just make my point. 
STEVE CANNANE: Sure. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier before ICAC got involved.

What sort of point is that? That sacking is all a corrupt politician need fear? That there should be no investigation of gross corruption?

So it seems:

GERARD HENDERSON: Hang on. Let me finish. Eddie Obeid was sacked by the Labor premier. ICAC didn't get Obeid; Labor got Obeid. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That's not correct. 
GERARD HENDERSON: Ian Macdonald was sacked by the Labor premier too. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That is not correct. I'm sorry, that's not ... 
GERARD HENDERSON: But they were not in government at that stage. 
KATE MCCLYMONT: That is not correct. 
GERARD HENDERSON: That is correct.

The pond understands that at the time of a passing of a friend, at the time of personal stress and unhappiness, things can be said that perhaps shouldn't have been said, that points are made that on reflection shouldn't have been made, but at that point, really, appearing on the ABC should be considered the wrong option ... as opposed to mourning in private, or doing a little bonsai or origami until the stress has passed.

Because, near the end, Henderson's still maintaining the "it's all a flagon of piss, this plonk" defence:

If someone gave me a bottle of Grange, I would have no idea. I would certainly drink it. I would have no idea what it was worth. And according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the authoritative Sydney Morning Herald, the wine's no good any rate. It was like drinking old rags, according to someone.

Please, enough of Hendo's personal ignorance. Even Bazza knew the value of a bottle of Grange plonk.

Eventually, after all Polonius's pleading about memory failure and media attention, he made a lunge for the metaphor of the week:

...it's like walking into the library and all the books suddenly fall on you

And then came the wrap up:

GERARD HENDERSON: Well that's consistent with having a bad memory, that's what it is. So the Premier's gone and he's got a bad memory. Well there you go. Over something that happened to him at a very, very busy time in his life three years ago. 

KATE MCCLYMONT: But you can give that evidence. You can say exactly what you just said. STEVE CANNANE: Alright. We've run out of time. Thanks very much to both of you. 
GERARD HENDERSON: It's an absolute pleasure.

An absolute pleasure?



After that performance, the pond was in need of a very rough red ...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The splendid vision shattered, but hey, have a flagon of claret ... from the days when a red was a claret ...


Oh dear.

The chattering classes are having a field day, and the mice of Sydney are in an uproar.

No, not about Grange-gate, though it does seem odd to be careless about a bottle of Grange.

Rather, it seems as if the dream might be dead. The header says it all:

New Sydney airport should be in Canberra: O'Farrell

Oh it was a dream, a vision, with grand plans:

57 minutes to Sydney ... and less than a decade away

Canberra Airport will today unveil plans for a $140 million high speed rail (HSR) facility to be constructed adjacent to the new airport terminal. 
“We have long been advocates of a high speed rail link between Canberra and Sydney, and that reality is getting closer with strong support from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and the ongoing stalemate over where to build Sydney’s second airport,” Canberra Airport Managing Director, Stephen Byron said. “Today Canberra Airport is proud to present plans for a superb, multi-modal, transport facility to underline the high speed rail’s integration into Canberra Airport, in accordance with Premier O’Farrell’s vision. 
“This terminal will provide a seamless interface for passengers arriving in Canberra by air ready for their 57minute train trip to Sydney. “The facility will cost $140 million (in 2012 dollars) and take two years to build.

Courier, a bottle of Grange and be quick about it, we need to drown the sorrow at the dying of the dream, but sssh, hide it behind the pot plant on the front verandah,

Meanwhile, the comparisons of Tony Abbott to Stephen Conroy have begun:

Within weeks of taking office Treasurer Joe Hockey commissioned a Productivity Commission inquiry into the funding of infrastructure. 
Its draft report released in March identified what it said was a classic example of how not to do it. “The National Broadband Network, Australia’s largest public infrastructure project, was commenced without a cost-benefit analysis having been done,” it said. 
“It also appears that detailed analysis of the project was focused, from a relatively early stage, on how best to implement the government’s policy objectives, rather than considering the merits of different options.” 
It sounds like Badgerys Creek. (here)

Oh indeed. Now with Sydney airport quite possibly the worst capital city airport in the western world - a gouging, inefficient monstrosity of useless delays in air and on ground, and consequent unnecessary costs - the pond has always thought a supplementary airport would be handy.

But Tony Abbott has done a classic policy on the run manoeuvre - most notably promising endless spending on roads, with nary a jot or a whistle about trains, with the matter of the curfew unresolved, proposed flight paths not specified, environmental assessments a decade old, and with the current owners of Sydney Airport having first right of refusal on any new build - and Max 'the axe' 'shit happens' Moore Wilton already having made his views on the need for a second airport very clear - a complete and utter waste of money, ex-ALP activists looking for new ways of wasting the people's money, and so on, here.

So jolly Joe and MAMIL Tony are just ex-ALP activists looking to piss money against the wall?

Perhaps the most fateful dodging and weaving came with the refusal to announce a very fast train service.

The theory, according to the Abbottians, is that there won't be enough business to justify a train in the early years, but if that's the case, why spend zillions on roads?

Is it not so much a case of Mr Infrastructure Man as Mr Stupid Infrastructure Man running so fast he doesn't realise he's rotated and heading towards the ground?

The pond was completely unnerved at the sight of the Daily Terror's Photoshopping:


Already a new episode of Air Crash Investigations?

One thing's certain. The pond has never read a more empty, blather laden piece of rhetoric than that supplied to the Daily Terror under Abbott's name, with the header Badgerys Creek airport will take Sydney to new heights.

The lack of specifics is only matched by the unctuous, smarmy forelock tugging in the direction of the Terror:

For many years, The Daily Telegraph has consistently argued for more infrastructure and better services in Western Sydney. 
I thank The Telegraph for its campaign to deliver more jobs and infrastructure in Western Sydney.

And they think Mark Scott doing it with a hamster is funny? Is it as funny as Tony Abbott doing it with a newspaper?

As for the grand vision, it's back to the 1950s, and roads, roads, roads:

Building a new airport also means major road and transport upgrades in Western Sydney. The government has committed $1.5 billion towards WestConnex and will be making ­announcements in the coming days about the infrastructure that will accompany the airport. 
Road and transport links must be ready and operating long before the airport is complete. Roads first, airport second, is our approach.

And with all of that, the first flight is still a decade away, at a minimum, which leaves plenty of time for Abbott's lack of vision to be given a slow roast and grind ...

In particular, the absence of vision in relation to rail (which is currently a mess in western Sydney), and with rubbery figures that sees only 130,000 people allegedly affected by aircraft noise from Sydney airport, and only 4,000 at Badgerys.

And then there's all the idle talk of an economic bonanza, and a gold rush, and employment opportunities, and 60,000 new jobs (4,000 initially, increasing over time to 60,000, here with forced video).

This presumably means -  if you take the ACI's figure of 1000 jobs for every million passengers per annum (mppa it in a pdf here) - that Badgerys should over time be delivering 60 million passengers a year.

That would put it up in the top ten of aircraft and passenger movements, at least if you do a Greg Hunt on passenger movements at large airports here, with Dallas-Fort Worth clocking in at 60,436,266 in 2013.

It's rubbery figures all over again.

Is it possible for a politician to fuck up a sensible idea?

Of course it is. Have a look at the grand Malaise fucking up the NBN ...

Or take a look at David Rowe, and more Rowe here.



Point of order Mr Rowe.

Did you consider using a unicorn?

Abbott should have been in a position to present a coherent plan, and a logical case, and instead he's exposed his flank to rabid former allies, such as Jackie Kelly (Badgerys Creek: Jackie Kelly launches attack on PM Abbott over second airport plan).

What should have been a lay down misere promises to be a decade of lay down misery ...

Does the pond care? Not much. The pond will be long gone before the second airport is working, and likely enough, Abbott will also be just a dream ...

And the reality has always been that the new airport would struggle in its early days, and it would never reduce the operations at Mascot, and so the pond's friendly, reliable alarm clock - the first plane came in today on the third runway a few minutes before six today - will keep on working ...

Meanwhile the vision, the dream is dead, and it seems that the pond will have to crack open a flagon of claret.

ICAC heard evidence that the precious bottle was sent by courier to O'Farrell's home. Under oath Di Girolamo said O'Farrell even called him to thank him for it. O'Farrell insists, also under oath, he never received it. Who to believe? The Premier's problem is that we are asked to accept that the bottle was stolen or otherwise disappeared from outside his home in Roseville, which he describes as a ''friendly'' neighbourhood. That alone stretches the bounds of credibility. 
His inability to recall the contents of a 30-second phone call to Di Girolamo the evening the bottle was purchased compounds the suspicion we are not getting the full story. The episode has exposed O'Farrell's lack of candour about his relationship with Di Girolamo. Rather than barely knowing each other as he has previously implied, it has emerged the pair had each other's private mobile numbers and were in frequent contact. (and the rest, with forced video, here)

Oh yes, the dream is well and truly dead. And it turns out it might not have been much of a drop in the first place - Penfolds Grange 1959: A little past its best.

Here you go Bazza - it's so good to share - and remember to look behind the pot plant.


Ah yes, the Sydney Morning Herald 10th December 1970, when men drove on roads and drank flagons of claret and Tony Abbott had his infrastructure insights by heading out on that highway, looking for adventure and whatever came his way ...

UPDATE: well the dream is now even longer gone, with Bazza biting the dust, as recorded in NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to resign over evidence he gave to ICAC.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The pond's pledges are worth as much as a Tony Abbott pledge, no less but certainly no more ...


Inspired by the fearless leader, the pond decided on its own set of pledges:

Oh dear. So quickly broken.

How about another pledge?


Which reminds the pond of the funniest video! You can watch it at The Graudian here, or here it is at YouTube (ads attached):




Oh where are the ladies, we've lost all the lady members, we've lost all the females, oh they're probably doing female business hah hah hah hah hah ...

Oh wait, there's one:


Phew, that's a relief.

Oh dear LOL, another pledge bites the dust. Never mind, let's keep those pledges flowing:


Why only the other day the pond was reading Greg Hunt - rhyme the name in your head how you will, the pond is always ready to abandon feminist principles when dire emergencies arise - promising pie in the sky, as you can read here:

Coal will be used for decades and decades more … but what I do think will change is the emissions from it and that is the critical thing,” he told Sky news, describing “highly prospective” technology being developed by Csiro. 
“What I think will happen is this … we will be able to use coal and gas in a dramatically more efficient way, with dramatically lower emissions … that will happen over the coming decade as we make real progress, including cleaning up our brown coal power stations, with drying gasification and capturing, not for storage … but capture and reuse,” Hunt said.

That would be the CSIRO (well it is The Graudian), which of late has been flung into turmoil by the very same government.


Inevitably there's already been idle chatter about young and sensible scientists packing up and heading overseas.

And why wouldn't you?

As for the pie in the sky that Hunt's peddling, presumably he got it from wiki... and skipped a few chapters here.

Meanwhile?

Meanwhile, the Minerals Council of Australia has launched a website, called Australians for Coal, which extols the financial benefits brought by coal, which it calls “indispensible to modern life”. (here)

How lucky they are to have the likes of Greg Hunt as a foundation member. Did he tip them off to the typo, and now we understand that coal is "indispensable to modern life"?

The pond sometimes wonders how people like Hunt and Malcolm Turnbull lie straight in bed at night, but presumably they can do it because of all the intellectual contortions and distortions they go through as part of their daily business carrying out the instructions of the head luddite, and never mind the blatant contradictions, hypocrisies and stupidities involved.

Crooked men walking a crooked mile ...


Meanwhile, the craven lickspittle apologists are in fine form today.

There's the Bolter, all indignant and apoplectic, as usual, about the ABC, in Mark Scott apologises to Chris Kenny. Admits it's too late.

Quoth the Bolter:

How long does a simple review of a grotesque insult take? It took me no more than an instant to know the ABC had crossed a line. How come it took Scott six months and “internal ... review processes”? One thing is already clear: the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs doesn’t know s..t from sawdust and should be sacked. How many other dodgy decisions has it made to protect the ABC?

Uh huh.

Meanwhile, on another planet, Jules Morrow tweeted this image here:



So how does the Daily Terror deal with it?


Yes, it makes it even ruder, by making Scott have sex with an anonymous hamster, rather than a warm and human and identifiable hamster, and by covering up a bit that in the original is fully clothed.

The only thing that's too rude is the stupidity of the editor who allowed this sort of Carry On Benny Hill humour to get into the act.

In the lexicon of News Corp, it's a grotesque insult, and you'd expect the Bolter to be outraged, and spend month after month abusing the Daily Terror's editor, and the rest of News Corp, demanding apologies while campaigning on behalf of Scott for the grievous personal and professional injury he's suffered at the hands of the Terror. Like this:

How long does a simple review of a grotesque insult take? It took me no more than an instant to know the Daily Terror had crossed a line. How come I didn't respond immediately? 
One thing is already clear: me and the Murdoch press wouldn't know shit from sawdust and the whole lot of us should be sacked. How many other dodgy editorial decisions have we made to further our hideous desire to destroy the ABC lock, stock and barrel? And to lower the tone of debate in the mainstream media to the level of Faux noise?

Or some such thing. The Terror's effort comes under the header The ABC's ham(ster) fisted apology to The Australian's Chris Kenny.

But the image was also on view, in cut down form on the front digital page:


That's tipping off the world to an image, that in the world of Chris Kenny, was deemed hurtful and injurious and worthy of a court case.

Meanwhile, the Bolter was explaining in sombre words today how Even Holocaust denial should be debated into silence, not legislated.

The Bolter starts off by quoting the Caterists, out and about doing their usual stroll into the land of stupidity in Diary changes agenda (behind the paywall, because Caterists should never be allowed to roam free).

Inter alia, the Bolter then proposes a far-fetched example, whereby Jews opposing Palestinians claiming a right of return to Israel would run a very real risk of falling foul of exactly the law that caught me.  

Never mind the far-fetched stupidity of this. Never mind the St Sebastian martyr pose the Bolter routinely adopts when talking about me, me, me, and my case, mine, mine, mine, and the suffering, suffering, suffering ...

No, let's just run with the notion that even holocaust denial should be debated into silence....

... while a joke about Chris Kenny has been seen as the end of western civilisation as we know it, and a reason to cut ABC funding, yet the Daily Terror, a ratbag publication, can publish essentially the same joke and the same image and the same idea, as if the change of animal and a few Photoshop tweaks make it okay ..., but this time about Mark Scott ...

Scott knows that all he can do is suck it up, and meanwhile, there's not a squeak about the hypocrisy and double standards rampant in the Murdoch empire, as the lickspittle apologists go about explaining how the government is doing the very best for free speech by changing an act of parliament to suit the Bolter's wounded pride and vanity ...

Which is why the pond can tarry only for a moment with the Caterists, with Nick Cater concluding grandly:

It is not speech but totalitarian suppres­sion that makes atrocities possible. The Holocaust started in silence and continued in silence.

The stench, the nausea, is almost too much for the pond to bear. Did the Caterists mean to say?

It is not speech, or comedy, or jokes, but totalitarian suppression by right wing commentators taking legal action that makes comedy impossible. The Murdochians started in outraged vocal anger and then ended up in silence ... or worse, in half-baked imitation, shamelessly reprinting a comedian's joke and tweaking it, without any regard whatsoever to the integrity of the work ...

Which brings us to the pond's final noble pledge:


But, but, but, you say, being as billy goat, the pond has broken every single pledge on this page at the very same time, on the very same day as making them ...

And what about the news that the Abbott government is finally going to set Badgery's Creek running?

It's on everybody's lips this morning, at least in old Sydney town, long the centre of the known universe, with Paris and New York minor outposts of civilisation ...

Shouldn't the pond be grateful that while doing its best to help fuck up the entire planet, Abbott and company are going to do a bit of urban planning, as long advocated by the pond?

Well yes, but no. You see, crazed right wing ratbags lie and cheat their way into power, and then toss the odd bit of cake, or perhaps a bone, off the table to the ravening dogs sitting with doleful eyes, waiting for a treat ...

While going about grander acts of theft, such as proposing that field and factory and heavy duty workers keep on toting those bales and lifting that steel until they turn seventy.

They will, of course, end up on a cheaper form of the dole - new start for sixty nine year olds - or kicked out of their houses, because of the luck of the draw of their settling, new members of the lumpenproletariat, discarded and ignored, Boxers of the new age, off to the knackery*.

So there's the difference. Why should a humble amateur give Tony Abbott and his acolytes a break when they're professional, paid liars, who merrily break promises and create mayhem?

Thank the long absent lord the polls and David Rowe feel the same way, and more Rowe here:


* Oh you knew an Animal Farm reading was to hand, and the rest of this prescient novel, which compares Tony Abbott to Napoleon the pig, and which is available in full at Project Gutenberg here:

About half the animals on the farm rushed out to the knoll where the windmill stood. There lay Boxer, between the shafts of the cart, his neck stretched out, unable even to raise his head. His eyes were glazed, his sides matted with sweat. A thin stream of blood had trickled out of his mouth. Clover dropped to her knees at his side. 
"Boxer!" she cried, "how are you?" 
"It is my lung," said Boxer in a weak voice. "It does not matter. I think you will be able to finish the windmill without me. There is a pretty good store of stone accumulated. I had only another month to go in any case. To tell you the truth, I had been looking forward to my retirement. And perhaps, as Benjamin is growing old too, they will let him retire at the same time and be a companion to me." 
"We must get help at once," said Clover. "Run, somebody, and tell Squealer what has happened." 
All the other animals immediately raced back to the farmhouse to give Squealer the news. Only Clover remained, and Benjamin who lay down at Boxer's side, and, without speaking, kept the flies off him with his long tail. After about a quarter of an hour Squealer appeared, full of sympathy and concern. He said that Comrade Napoleon had learned with the very deepest distress of this misfortune to one of the most loyal workers on the farm, and was already making arrangements to send Boxer to be treated in the hospital at Willingdon. The animals felt a little uneasy at this. Except for Mollie and Snowball, no other animal had ever left the farm, and they did not like to think of their sick comrade in the hands of human beings. However, Squealer easily convinced them that the veterinary surgeon in Willingdon could treat Boxer's case more satisfactorily than could be done on the farm. And about half an hour later, when Boxer had somewhat recovered, he was with difficulty got on to his feet, and managed to limp back to his stall, where Clover and Benjamin had prepared a good bed of straw for him. 
For the next two days Boxer remained in his stall. The pigs had sent out a large bottle of pink medicine which they had found in the medicine chest in the bathroom, and Clover administered it to Boxer twice a day after meals. In the evenings she lay in his stall and talked to him, while Benjamin kept the flies off him. Boxer professed not to be sorry for what had happened. If he made a good recovery, he might expect to live another three years, and he looked forward to the peaceful days that he would spend in the corner of the big pasture. It would be the first time that he had had leisure to study and improve his mind. He intended, he said, to devote the rest of his life to learning the remaining twenty-two letters of the alphabet. 
However, Benjamin and Clover could only be with Boxer after working hours, and it was in the middle of the day when the van came to take him away. The animals were all at work weeding turnips under the supervision of a pig, when they were astonished to see Benjamin come galloping from the direction of the farm buildings, braying at the top of his voice. It was the first time that they had ever seen Benjamin excited--indeed, it was the first time that anyone had ever seen him gallop. "Quick, quick!" he shouted. "Come at once! They're taking Boxer away!" Without waiting for orders from the pig, the animals broke off work and raced back to the farm buildings. Sure enough, there in the yard was a large closed van, drawn by two horses, with lettering on its side and a sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat sitting on the driver's seat. And Boxer's stall was empty. 
The animals crowded round the van. "Good-bye, Boxer!" they chorused, "good-bye!" 
"Fools! Fools!" shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping the earth with his small hoofs. "Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van?" That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel began to spell out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly silence he read: "'Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.' Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker's!" 
A cry of horror burst from all the animals. At this moment the man on the box whipped up his horses and the van moved out of the yard at a smart trot. All the animals followed, crying out at the tops of their voices. Clover forced her way to the front. The van began to gather speed. Clover tried to stir her stout limbs to a gallop, and achieved a canter. "Boxer!" she cried. "Boxer! Boxer! Boxer!" And just at this moment, as though he had heard the uproar outside, Boxer's face, with the white stripe down his nose, appeared at the small window at the back of the van. 
"Boxer!" cried Clover in a terrible voice. "Boxer! Get out! Get out quickly! They're taking you to your death!" 
All the animals took up the cry of "Get out, Boxer, get out!" But the van was already gathering speed and drawing away from them. It was uncertain whether Boxer had understood what Clover had said. But a moment later his face disappeared from the window and there was the sound of a tremendous drumming of hoofs inside the van. He was trying to kick his way out. The time had been when a few kicks from Boxer's hoofs would have smashed the van to matchwood. But alas! his strength had left him; and in a few moments the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away. In desperation the animals began appealing to the two horses which drew the van to stop. "Comrades, comrades!" they shouted. "Don't take your own brother to his death!" But the stupid brutes, too ignorant to realise what was happening, merely set back their ears and quickened their pace. Boxer's face did not reappear at the window. Too late, someone thought of racing ahead and shutting the five-barred gate; but in another moment the van was through it and rapidly disappearing down the road. Boxer was never seen again. 
Three days later it was announced that he had died in the hospital at Willingdon, in spite of receiving every attention a horse could have. Squealer came to announce the news to the others. He had, he said, been present during Boxer's last hours. 
"It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen!" said Squealer, lifting his trotter and wiping away a tear. "I was at his bedside at the very last. And at the end, almost too weak to speak, he whispered in my ear that his sole sorrow was to have passed on before the windmill was finished. 'Forward, comrades!' he whispered. 'Forward in the name of the Rebellion. Long live Animal Farm! Long live Comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always right.' Those were his very last words, comrades." 
Here Squealer's demeanour suddenly changed. He fell silent for a moment, and his little eyes darted suspicious glances from side to side before he proceeded. 
It had come to his knowledge, he said, that a foolish and wicked rumour had been circulated at the time of Boxer's removal. Some of the animals had noticed that the van which took Boxer away was marked "Horse Slaughterer," and had actually jumped to the conclusion that Boxer was being sent to the knacker's. It was almost unbelievable, said Squealer, that any animal could be so stupid. Surely, he cried indignantly, whisking his tail and skipping from side to side, surely they knew their beloved Leader, Comrade Napoleon, better than that? But the explanation was really very simple. The van had previously been the property of the knacker, and had been bought by the veterinary surgeon, who had not yet painted the old name out. That was how the mistake had arisen. 
The animals were enormously relieved to hear this. And when Squealer went on to give further graphic details of Boxer's death-bed, the admirable care he had received, and the expensive medicines for which Napoleon had paid without a thought as to the cost, their last doubts disappeared and the sorrow that they felt for their comrade's death was tempered by the thought that at least he had died happy. Napoleon himself appeared at the meeting on the following Sunday morning and pronounced a short oration in Boxer's honour. It had not been possible, he said, to bring back their lamented comrade's remains for interment on the farm, but he had ordered a large wreath to be made from the laurels in the farmhouse garden and sent down to be placed on Boxer's grave. And in a few days' time the pigs intended to hold a memorial banquet in Boxer's honour. Napoleon ended his speech with a reminder of Boxer's two favourite maxims, "I will work harder" and "Comrade Napoleon is always right"--maxims, he said, which every animal would do well to adopt as his own. 
On the day appointed for the banquet, a grocer's van drove up from Willingdon and delivered a large wooden crate at the farmhouse. That night there was the sound of uproarious singing, which was followed by what sounded like a violent quarrel and ended at about eleven o'clock with a tremendous crash of glass. No one stirred in the farmhouse before noon on the following day, and the word went round that from somewhere or other the pigs had acquired the money to buy themselves another case of whisky.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A confusing flurry of tangled, mixed messages from the reptiles at the lizard Oz ...

(Above: the pond has run it before, and likely will run it again, and always checks for more David Pope here)

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

Here's Henry Ergas being satirical in Strapped in for mid-air dharma (behind the paywall because never mind the date, reach for the purse), yet it carries the date of April 7th.

After a severe flurry of pinches, the pond confirmed it was April 14th. Seven days ago, the story first saw digital light of day, yet there's dear old desiccated Henry at the head of the Oz's digital commentariat parade this very day:



Look, there he is, which leads to the question, down, deep down on the right hand side.

Did the reptiles think Ergas's brand of juvenile, undergraduate humour hadn't had enough of an airing? Or is raiding the mausoleum the new and EXCLUSIVE way forward?

As for the piece itself, it's tragic. Academic humour? As the immortal Johnson once remarked, Sir, an academic being funny is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all:


Linking arms with some of the party’s legendary Gold Pass users, Plibersek led the Labor Elders Choir in 1960s protest songs, including the iconic We Shall Not Take Off. (“We shall not take off/We shall not take off/Why, deep in my heart, I do believe/we shall not take off today”). Other passengers, whose flights showed no signs of departing, praised the campaign for reflecting “conditions on the ground” while the choir burst into I Still Call Trades Hall Home.

It's possible to imagine young Henry slurping a lithe, spirited red, springy and sappy in its youthfulness, and cackling with delight at his clever impudence, as he pounds away at the keys of his typewriter, and he nails the comrades to the floor, but only if you're a follower of Dali and inclined to surrealism.

There's reams more, all ripping yarns and jolly good satirical fun:

Reminiscing about Aeroflot in the golden days of the Brezhnev era, Rhiannon criticised Tony Abbott’s move to reintroduce knights and dames into Australian honours. “If instead Alan Joyce could aspire to the Gold Star (Two Sickles) of the Hero of Socialist Labour,” she said, “you’d get Soviet quality on Qantas and Australians flocking to state rail: a win-win solution.”

But strangely there's not a single joke about Alan Joyce pissing money against the wall on a venture into Asia at precisely the time that Asian airlines were cashed up, buying up fleets, and competing fiercely for travel dollars, nor a single joke about Joyce and the Qantas management driving the airline into the ground. Strange, it must be that some academics only have a funny right-wing elbow ...

Never mind, let's leave the dharma bum to chortle, and look forward to him chortling about the state of network Ten, guided as it has been by such exemplary capitalists as Lachlan Murdoch and Gina Rinehart.

"We destroyed Ten so as to save it," muses Gina. "Who could hope for a higher dharma, or fiercer satire, than that?"

But after that blast from the past, it was time to move on, and where else but to Graham Lloyd who contributed a magnificent six paragraphs on climate change under the header Panel in search of message to keep it in the game (behind the paywall because you have to pay to for the pleasure of such detailed scribbling).




Six whole pars. And the first and the last were single, rather short sentences!

Now elsewhere you could read detailed reports on the matter at hand - yesterday the Fairfaxians printed quite a detailed UN calls for drastic action to stop climate change.

The message seemed clear enough:

The world must take radical steps to combat climate change, and begin right away – but if it does, the cost of a greener, healthier future will be surprisingly small. 
However if the world wishes to avoid ecological catastrophe, it will probably need new technologies that suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and bury it underground. 
This is the message of a new major climate change report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in Berlin on Sunday.

Uh huh. That sounds like a clear enough message.

And yesterday The Graudian seemed to have no trouble deciphering the message in IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable:

Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable. 
“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team. 
The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

The Graudian went on at some length, and provided sundry links here and there, and at the same time there were other messages out there, like the one headed The Statistical Probability That Climate Change Is Not Manmade Is 0.1 Percent:

“The main rational argument held by climate skeptics is that, the global warming hypothesis depends on these giant models—they say, if the evidence is so strong, we shouldn’t need supercomputers to demonstrate it,” he said. “Well, it turns out, we don’t. Without supercomputers, I got quite similar results, and I can use this paleodata to suggest the probabilities [that climate change falls within established natural variation].” 
 To do that, Lovejoy used surface air temperature measures from NASA, NOAA, and and the Climate Research Unit, and the paleodata proxies (at 100-year time intervals, where they are believed to be most accurate) to complete a statistical analysis of whether what we saw happen prior to human pollution matches up at all with what we’ve seen since humans began putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It doesn’t. 
“Even if you allow for very, very extreme natural fluctuations, the worst you can do is reject the hypothesis [of natural variation] with 99.8 percent certainty,” Lovejoy said. “This study will be a blow to any remaining climate change-deniers … their two most convincing arguments—that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong—are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.”

Yep, it only takes a few minutes of anyone's time to google up a few messages which seem clear enough. Whether you want to pay any attention or heed the messages is another matter, but it seems poor old Graham Lloyd has a scrambled receiver.

It's a bit like he's a crystal radio set with a hum in his ears:

(found here by way of link)

Yes, poor old befuddled Lloyd is confused, a right old corn cob of chaos:

The IPCC is becoming tangled in its own mixed messages regarding the cost and consequences of tackling climate change. 
The political imperative ­remains to highlight the risks of runaway climate change and ­inject a keen sense of urgency into calls for action on a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions, due to be inked in Paris next year. But the message — both in terms of the science and financial cost — is making it an increasingly hard sell. 
Release of the fifth assessment report in December was muddled by confusion over why global average surface temperatures had not risen for more than a decade despite strong growth in carbon dioxide emissions. After years of denial, the IPCC report finally acknowledged the “hiatus” and put forward a number of possible explanations, including natural climate variability and increased ocean heat. 
Further debate followed the release last month of the working group two report into climate change “impact and adaptation”, which estimated global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of 2C at between 0.2 and 2.0 per cent of income. 
This was much lower than many had expected, given the 5 to 20 per cent estimated by Lord Stern in his advice to the British government. Today’s IPCC report shows the cost of acting to reduce carbon emissions to keep warming below 2C could be as high as 11 per cent of global consumption by the end of the century. The political reality is that Australia has taken climate change off the G20 agenda, Europe is scrapping its subsidies for renewables and Germany is turning back to coal. 
And the IPCC is struggling for a clear message to keep its political objective on track.

That's it. That's Lloyd in his entirety.

Mixed messages, hard sell, muddle and confusion, the hiatus that many climate scientists claim isn't a hiatus at all, and an alarmist assessment of 11% at the very moment the Graudian was reporting something entirely different:

Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the IPCC report concluded. “The report is clear: the more you wait, the more it will cost [and] the more difficult it will become,” said EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said: “This report is a wake-up call about global economic opportunity we can seize today as we lead on climate change.”

Nope, the report isn't clear, at least to Graham Lloyd.

Which brings the pond to a deeper existential question.

Why does Graham Lloyd exist?

No, not on a personal level. No doubt his mother had her reasons, and no doubt Lloyd leads a life teeming with relationships and personal pleasures ...

It's more on the professional level.

Here's a man who ostensibly handles the environment for the reptiles at the lizard Oz, yet he seems confused and incapable of discerning clear messages, or when he does discern a message, he seizes on the wrong one, or old ones, or anything at all that will help serve a climate denialist agenda that seems to have been adopted as a peculiar professional - and personal - mission by the reptiles at the lizard Oz ...

What does he think each day he drags himself out of bed? Does he look in the mirror and wonder at the weirdness of it all?

Or does even that confuse and startle him, with a message that really is very tangled and mixed?

So there we have it. Week old stories, and stories with a mindset somewhere back in some mythical Luddite past where science is too confusing and too hard, and its messages too befuddling and bemusing ...

The pond thinks it's time for Graham Lloyd and the other reptiles to step into the modern age of communications.

Here's the very thing, fresh from 1936 when radio men were all the go, and women stuck to their knitting...


Sunday, April 13, 2014

The scorpion goes about his business - it's in his nature - and Polonius goes about his prattle - it's in his nature too ...



The Fairfaxians thought so much of this story that they gave it a big splash, and an EXCLUSIVE label. Yes they did, they did:



Well you can read it here, but really this could only be considered a news story to anyone who hasn't heard Orson Welles telling the story of the scorpion and the frog in Mr. Arkadin.

Abbott is, like most politicians, a professional liar, who will say and do and promise anything to get into power, and then once in power, say and do anything he thinks he can get away with ... and breaking promises is the least of it...

Abbott was always going to do over the ABC, it's in his nature, and it's also a natural and easy favour to the Murdochians, a down payment on the leg up they gave to him, and if anyone expected anything else when they voted for Abbott, well tadpoles, say hello to the bottom of the pond ...

Meanwhile, in other Fairfaxian news, Racism rife in schools, finds study, which again is completely unsurprising.

After all, children have as much right to be bigots as do adults, and how splendid it is that the rule of the bigots has helped bigotry to flourish ...

Speaking of bigotry, Gerard Henderson yesterday displayed some splendid confusion in Reality becoming a boring, distorted place as inner-city Left displaces the conservatives. (behind the paywall because you have to pay to access the very best minds, and Murdochians as well).

It will be remembered, for those few who care to remember the deep thoughts of our very own Prattling Polonius, that in days gone by, Polonius developed quite a bee in his bonnet about Muslim Lebanese people being the ruination of Sydney.

It was all the fault of the Fraser government, and Polonius hit something of a peak with Threat from enemy within makes anti-terrorism laws indispensable:

Some Muslim Lebanese-Australians have done well. Many have not. Too many are involved, with others, in criminal gangs in Sydney's south-west. A few have been convicted of conspiracy to commit quite horrendous terrorist acts.

In the usual way, Polonius got some figures wrong when referencing a paper by academic Andrew Zammit, and then in the usual way, harassed Zammit in follow-up correspondence, in which it was clearly revealed, in stunning detail, that Polonius was the font of all wisdom, and Zammit somewhat blind for failing to understand this, and for daring to chide the mighty Polonius for pushing things too far (and naturally the all-seeing, all-knowing Polonius recorded his infallibility in his Media Watch Dog, here)

Now some find this public entertainment deplorable or perplexing:

I’ve generally considered the amusement some leftists take from Gerard Henderson’s blog to be slightly distasteful, an echo of the nineteenth-century fashion for visiting London’s asylum to giggle at the Bedlamites as they grimaced and drooled and tugged at themselves. 
Sure, there’s a degree of gall that some might call admirable involved in convincing the mysterious corporate backers of the Sydney Institute to fund Henderson’s late career reinvention as an internet pest. But his obsession with trivial slights from five decades ago, his penchant for posing as a dog, the peculiar interjections from his imaginary editor (‘They make him sound batshit crazy!’ – Ed), the narcissistic publication of the letters in which he harasses correspondents about inanities, his stalkerish refusal to move on from his failed bromance with Robert Manne: together, it all renders Media Watch Dog unpleasantly like the digital chronicle of a slow-moving nervous breakdown. (here)

Luckily the pond isn't inclined to leftism, and must take its pleasures where it finds them, and so to Polonius denouncing yet again, and for the zillionth time, David Marr, for failing to understand the genius of Polonius, and the Pellists, and consequently getting everything and anything you name wrong:

Marr’s article exhibits a considerable confusion.
On the one hand, he acknowledges that “this is a tolerant country that absorbs migrants with astonishing success”.
Yet he maintains that “strong minority resentments remain in play”. But do they? There are two empirical tests that measure the presence or absence of applied bigotry, and Australia comes out very well in both. 
This nation has a relatively very low level of ethnically motivated crime along with a relatively high level of intermarriage between the numerous ethnic groups. 
Moreover, the suburbs of Australia are much more diverse than the inner-city areas where Marr and his mates in the intelligentsia tend to live. And many parts of regional Australia have welcomed refugees into their communities when given the opportunity.

Yes, it's a miracle, those bloody Lebs which created such confusion and chaos, and were a rich source of jihadist terrorism and crime back in 2012, have suddenly merged into a blithe portrait of an astonishingly successful and tolerant Australia ... with the ever so tolerant Polonius prattling as he leads the way.

Call off ASIO, call off the jihads of war, all is forgiven Leb Islamics ...

And it gets better and better, as Polonius celebrates ordinary Australia, and denounces Marr:

So how is it that an intelligent man such as Marr can have such a distorted view of his fellow Australians who live in the outer suburbs and regional areas? 
The answer may well lie in the fact he attends too many literary festivals and listens to too many ABC debates where everyone agrees with everyone else and a fine, leftist, ideological time is had by all.

So how is it that hapless Polonius could have, only recently, had such a distorted view of the Leb crime and terrorist riddled western suburbs?

Could it be that he has now found his natural home amongst the reptiles at the lizard Oz, where everyone agrees with everyone else and a fine, rabid, reactionary, right wing conservative ideological time is had by all?

Especially by people who head off to their inner city elite aerie, funded by elite anonymous donors - too rich to have their name publicly dropped in casual social intercourse - and who spend most of their time explaining from their remote inner city aerie how everybody else is out of touch with working regional Australia?

Then, having exhausted Marr as a piñata, Henderson turns to another favourite for a good thrashing - the Sydney Writers Festival and its list of speakers, who show dangerous greenie and leftie tendencies, with barely a conservative on the list, and all funded by the taxpayer ...

It's a left wing stack, Polonius rants, but the lingering impression is that the chief outrage is that Henderson himself isn't on the list.

Sure, they invited Boris Johnson to the Melbourne Writers Festival as a token conservative, but what wit or wisdom has this "colourful Mayor of London" got to offer up against the assembled reptiles at the lizard Oz? And Polonius in particular?

But there is one insight Polonius offers which is worth treasuring:

According to Birrell, this year’s SWF will push “all kinds of boundaries”. 
It won’t, because it will more closely resemble a series of common sermons than an exchange of diverse views. 
Conferences where almost everyone agrees with almost everyone else are invariably boring. They also have the effect of distorting reality as the inner-city Left dismiss as bigoted the “they” who happen to live in suburban and regional Australia.

Um, is there a NZ subbie in the house?

So why does The Australian more closely resemble a series of common sermons than an exchange of diverse views?
Well, newspapers where almost everyone agrees with almost everyone else are invariably boring. They also have the effect of distorting reality as the inner-city Right wing reptiles scribbling for the lizard Oz dismiss as bigoted the “they” who happen to live in all parts of Australia, whether it be inner city, suburban or regional Australia.

The pond has lived in all parts of Australia - inner city, suburban, regional, rural, Sydney, Melbourne and yes Adelaide - and the one certainty, whether viewed up close or from afar, is that those who work in the heart of the city and blather about inner-city elites (while giving every appearance of being actual inner-city elites), are merely indulging in a form of camouflage, using stereotypes to deliver a cheap, easy form of abuse, lumping all sorts of diverse people under one gormless label ...

The problem for those belonging to this sort of temple is to say anything interesting or unpredictable. Unfortunately Henderson lost that skill long ago ...

It's a measure of the reptiles desire to push this old fogey that today the Bolter picked up Henderson's piece and gave it a plug in We pay so the Left may pray together ...

What's even more remarkable is that the Bolter credits reader Peter of Bellevue Hill for drawing his attention to the piece.

Yes, not even the Bolter bothers with Henderson, but hey, when you're in a cult where everyone drinks the same Kool Aid, of course you'll do a hat tip to help out someone struggling to reach the outer suburbs, with a readership that seems not to give a toss about Polonius and his prattle.

Henderson rarely features in the lizard Oz's fickle digital revolving finger of flash fame at the top of the page, so much so that for weeks on end, the pond routinely forgets he's still writing for the rag.

But Polonius clearly has his readers.  In Bellevue Hill:



Damn you inner city eastern suburbs elitists, damn you all to hell. You're everywhere ...

Now why couldn't it have been reader Peter of Penrith? Or Benny Bakir of Blacktown?

And so to Orson Welles, with the frog and the scorpion tale occupying the first minute of the clip:




In which Christian freedom fighters take a stand against bullying gays, women and Islamics ... and we keed, we keed ...

(Above: yes the angry Sydney Anglicans are on the loudspeaker again, but is anyone listening?)

The news that Christ might have been a sexually active man with normal healthy sexual appetites has once again sent the tabloids into a novelty spin, as the pond was recently advised by a correspondent, and you can read in 'Jesus's wife' fragment is not a fake, scientists claim ...

The only people who might get agitated by the notion - yes, the Vatican immediately denounced the very notion - are the ones who cling to celibate virginity as the highest spiritual state (and never you mind what that nocturnal emission might signify).

Like most other superstitions, the nonsense about virginity was a pagan one, shared by many non-Christian cultures, though when it came to the Delphic Oracle it had its wrinkles:

Echecrates the Thessalian, having arrived at the shrine and beheld the virgin who uttered the oracle, became enamoured of her because of her beauty, carried her away and violated her; and that the Delphians because of this deplorable occurrence passed a law that in the future a virgin should no longer prophesy but that an elderly woman of fifty would declare the Oracles and that she would be dressed in the costume of a virgin, as a sort of reminder of the prophetess of olden times. (do a Greg Hunt here)

It's an important reminder of the many pagan superstitions rife in Christianity and Islam (which borrowed slavishly from the Judaeo-Christian tradition), with Easter and its fertility rites and egg symbolism just around the corner ...

Why Christians would settle for the image of a bearded wimp afraid of a fuck, as opposed to a manly man who enjoyed a good fuck, is one of the deeper mysteries of ancient times. Let's even not begin to wonder why Christ also seemed to enjoy the company of men, and spent a lot of time hanging around with his buddies ...

The Christ industry has spent the last few thousand years honing the right sort of image, playing down Christ's testosterone-driven anger management issues and producing an ethereal blue-eyed, pale skinned Scandinavian incapable of masturbation or fornication.

It reached the peak of absurdity with Jeffrey Hunter:


Rumour had it that preview audiences complained about the Messiah's hairy chest, and scenes were re-shot to give Jesus a nicely waxed body for the crucifixion scenes. Oh the persecution of the bears, when bears should be allowed to roam wild and free (it's listed, along with assorted other Jesus movies, here).

But enough of the weirdness of historical myth-making, because right at the moment the world is blessed by the angry Sydney Anglicans doing their best to flip events to suit their myth-making, led as always by the Jensenists, strangely posing as defenders of free speech in Phillip Jensen's Bullies and Censorship. 

Why is it weird? Well let's forget the weirdness of Sydney Anglicans posing as anti-censorship freedom fighters for the moment ...

Jensen even gets agitated with QI for not giving equal time to slagging off Islamics the way the panellists allegedly slag off Christianity ... (they also probably don't spend enough time on Mormons and underwear, Hindus and sacred cows, or Scientologists sweating into their E-meters).

Anyway, here's how it's done. After the odd few thousand years persecuting gays, Jensen is shocked and appalled that gays might take a view, and in these liberated times, do something about it:

Amongst the strangest censorious power groups today are the minorities and victims. The homosexual lobby has repeatedly bullied people into silence, its latest victim being the IT giant Mozilla whose new CEO Brendan Eich, a co-founder of the company, was forced to resign for opposing gay marriage. 

Actually Eich wasn't bullied into silence. He can keep on being as bigoted as he likes.

What he can't go on doing is pretending that the idle nonsense that was outlined in the Mozilla Manifesto and the Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines can continue to be blathered, in a meaningless, well-meaning way, without people noting the actual activities of the CEO of Mozilla.

1.Inclusion and Diversity:  

The Mozilla Project welcomes and encourages participation by everyone. It doesn’t matter how you identify yourself or how others perceive you: we welcome you. We welcome contributions from everyone as long as they interact constructively with our community, including, but not limited to people of varied age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. 

Except if you were a gay who wanted to get married.

There's endless more blather, full of righteous hypocrisy, and completely at odds with Eich's actual activities, and Mozilla knew it, which is why they hastily attempted to paper over the cracks of an appointment guaranteed to cause trouble, and issued an FAQ on CEO Resignation - as geeks are wont to do.

But let's go on, because it seems bullying the hapless Xians is also the sport of vicious Islamics:

Another minority movement which bullies organisations into censorship, is the Islamic community living in Western nations. So Brandeis University has withdrawn its offer to confer an honorary doctorate on Aayin Hirsa Ali. She is an ex-Muslim atheist whose personal life is highly controversial but whose public life has involved campaigns against genital mutilation, honour killings and forced marriages. It was because of her published opinions against Islam and Mohammed that the university withdrew the offer of the degree. Those who live in Islamic lands do not have the freedoms that Muslims enjoy in Western nations, yet they use our freedoms to bully us into silence. 

The bald-faced cheek of this one rocked even the pond. The notion that angry Sydney Anglicans are in the business of offering freedom of speech to atheists - even ones that have defaulted from Islam rather than the Anglicans - is risible. And the notion that the angry Anglicans have been bullied into silence ... well if only, if only ...

The Australian Christian Lobby is one of the most active censorship groups doing the rounds, and the angry Anglicans have frequently been in league with them, but even more ironic was the recent fuss that surrounded one Robert Crotty:

The issue was raised in a Note to Readers in the latest issue of the Journal of Religious Education, published by ACU. It was paltry: “Robert Crotty thinks ‘that Jesus was conceived in the normal way by two Jewish parents, named Joseph and Mary’.” 
The sentence was extracted from a professional book chapter on the obvious difference between sacred story and historical reality. 
In the same note was this puerile statement: “The assertion by Robert Crotty does not reflect the opinion of the Australian Catholic University, nor the Faculty of Education. Teachers using such material contained in the article within the classroom should exercise due caution and prudence.” 
A quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the virginal conception of Jesus was cited as sufficient evidence for this extraordinary statement. (Academic freedom is at stake, behind the Oz paywall because freedom of speech comes at a price)

Yes, we're back in the tortured domain of healthy Jews having a productive fuck.

Now this was a Catholic do, but the fuss handily draws attention to the way that angry Anglicans and Catholics deal with their own and with others, by charging them with heresy, or by simply overlooking them or berating and snubbing and shunning them or refusing them promotion or appointment (do a Greg Hunt on Christian heresy in the modern era).

Where the rubber hits the road always comes back to pornography:

Australia is still struggling with censorship. The idealism of the 1960’s has proven untenable, with the rise of the pornography industry and, in particular, child pornography. 

Which is code for, while you're reading this ostensibly freedom-laden tract about freedom of speech, in a profoundly anti-censorship way, how the angry Sydney Anglicans would dearly love to censor pornography, because won't someone think of the children ...

But the real problem of censorship is the silencing of intellectual debate about issues of abortion, homosexuality, child raising, multiculturalism and Islamic violence. 

Which is news to the pond. The angry Sydney Anglicans routinely continue to rabbit on about all these issues, at times in offensive ways. The real irritation, surely, is that they are, these days, routinely ignored, except when their bigotry contributes to the hapless condition of gays in Africa and women's rights in Sydney ...

 If you do not defy bullies you will be enslaved to them. Undoubtedly, at times, Christians in power have been at fault, but since the Reformation, Christians have slowly learnt the importance of truth setting us free rather than offence needing to be restricted. 

Not had your fill of delusional rhetoric yet? How about this?

We now need to learn not to be cowered into silence by bullies. 
The Christian pulpit is one of the few uncensored voices left in our land...

Yes, by that point, the pond was rolling jaffas down the aisles, and looks forward to atheists around the land being invited into church to preach sermons on atheism and its joys ...

Relax, the uncensored voice really only means the right to continue to preach the patriarchal bigotry and prejudice inherent in the bible. And whatever you do, remember this doesn't include celebrating Jesus as a man with a wife, who hopefully gave him a hard time about equal rights for women ... and don't you go giving me any of that complementarian crap, Jesus, I've had it up to here ...

If you want a classic example of how the angry Sydney Anglicans get their history back the front, take a look at Michael Jensen's A bloodthirsty God?

Jensen opens with a tale of the bloodthirsty Aztecs doing damage to some of Hernanz Cortez's men, and never mind that the Spanish empire, by way of disease and deliberate violence, killed hundreds of thousands in the invasion of South and central America (and incidentally imported over 12 million slaves up until the time slavery was abolished - there's a brief history of all this google cached here).

The rest of Jensen's tract is the usual anguished attempt to sort out the vengeful, angry old testament god who was inclined to all sorts of barbarities, right up to and including genocide. It's tricky because this angry god kept up the tradition in the new testament by arranging for the execution of his son, perhaps because he envied his son's manly life and marriage ...

As a corrective, the pond commends the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, which inter alia has a number of highlights on absurdity, injustice, cruelty and violence, misogyny, intolerance and other good stuff.

And handily, lest the pond be accused of imbalance, it also provides a link to a body count for those killed by god in the book of Mormon, while readers with time to waste can also indulge in the Skeptic's Annotated Quran (with highlights on injustice, intolerance, cruelty and violence, women, yadda yadda), and the Skeptic's Annotated Book of Mormon, though many will find it hard to get past the sundry bits of plagiarism in this relatively modern cult...

Meanwhile, as Jensen rages about gays, Islamics and other bullies, how are the Sydney Anglicans showing their freedom-loving ways?

Why by slagging off a woman's right to choose, gays with an ear for hypocrisy, and Islamics showing the sort of prejudices that were long considered the rightful domain of various Christian cults ...

It's a funny old world, and if only we could say Jesus fucked, rather than Jesus wept ...

(Below: Cathy Wilcox taking a view on hypocrisy, and more Wilcox here)