Thursday, January 19, 2012

Time to take a stand, or at least wash the paws Pontius Pilate style and shed a few crocodile tears ...

(Above: the pond thought of running a still from the movie The Mouse that Roared, or perhaps a snap of a crocodile shedding tears, but this will do).

Last night the Potus disconnected Sydney's inner west from the intertubes and from telephonic communications for several hours, and suddenly we felt at one with the world about SOPA. Let it all go dark, let the strike begin, teach 'em all a lesson ...

Who knows how long the outage lasted, because the p and p p enterprise (pond and pond partner) settled for watching the movie The Trip, then watched the last ten minutes of the show on the box, and spent a fruitful ten minutes arguing about whether there'd been any change to the cut between feature and series, in a manner and tone entirely consistent with the show (oh if you could only hear the pp do Bond).

Hang on a tic toc, did we say Potus?

Sorry the fingers must have slipped, something went wrong in the auto correct, we meant of course Optus. Oh Rupert, the pond and you are one ...

What joy to be reconnected this morning by the Potus, and read the grand news Web Protests Piracy Bills, and Senators Change Course.

But that's in the New York Times, and how pleasant it is to see the likes of Chris Dodd frothing and foaming in his folly.

The Sydney Morning Herald's contribution to the discussion?

Well its offering was to recycle a little FUD from AP under the header Wikipedia blackout a slippery slope: volunteer editors.

Sure Jimmy Wales might have polled the wiki community and its editors, but it didn't take long for AP to dig up a dissident dodo:

"My main concern is that it puts the organisation in the role of advocacy, and that's a slippery slope," said editor Robert Lawton, a Michigan computer consultant who would prefer that the encyclopedia stick to being a neutral repository of knowledge. "Before we know it, we're blacked out because we want to save the whales."

Bugger the pond dead, slippery slopes and saving the whales all in a couple of sentences.

What shocking advocacy, to make a stand against a legislative measure that might be used to shut down Wikipedia or any other website deemed to have breached MPAA standards of behaviour.

Fortunately the punters weren't having any of the 'save the whales' spin, and when last noted, voting in the accompanying poll was running in favour of the Wikipedia blackout 84 to 16%.

What a wretched rag the SMH is and nary a mention of the potent Potus protest in the inner west!

Thank you ZDNet for noticing, but please, forget the Potus spin, 5.30 pm isn't 11 pm, and the pond part of the inner west stayed offline until at least 11 pm in potent Potus protest ...

Meanwhile, it wouldn't be Thursday without the newly and entirely productive Paul Sheehan contributing a column.

Yep, these days he's as hard working as a waiter serving thirty tables, what with scribbling a full and handsome two columns a week, and today's effort, It's stiff cheese for the mouse that roared, is as fine an example of crocodile tears as the pond has seen all year (oh okay, it's only January, so let's include last year too).

Sheehan does a grand dance on the grave of Andrew Wilkie, who's been dudded by Gillard, and whose power play stance has been dudded by the Slipper conundrum (or is that the Slipper identity, supremacy or ultimatum?)

Sheehan starts off with a fine flurry of existential gloom, and a Pontius Pilate washing of hands. First the existential despair, which begins with a dark and stormy night, or is that a bright deep blue sky moment?

Leaving the beach on a recent Saturday afternoon on a day when a bright deep blue sky reached down to meet blue water, I walked through a beachfront hotel, through the bar and then a large room filled with poker machines. As always with gambling rooms, it was dark, with most of the light coming from the garish machines. The room was packed.

Then a little unseemly gloating, a strutting above the common herd, but not in a patronising way:

It was an off-putting contrast between beauty and the beast for someone who only gambles once a year (Melbourne Cup) and cannot see the pleasure people get from poker machines, but has no right to patronise them.

Except for the patronising bit that is, as Sheehan walked amongst ... the beasts, in their dark, garish rooms of satanic worship.

And then comes the Pontius Pilate washing of the paws:

While it is plain to even the most avid libertarian that there is a dark side to the gambling industry - the disproportionate amount of money made by clubs and pubs from problem gamblers - the question of how to respond does not offer glib answers.

Yes, a glib answer would involve taking actual action, which would simply be way too glib, especially for supporters of Dr. No. Why, it might even involve taking on the clubs, and the Woolies/Coles combine.

Okay, so now for the comedy routine:

The Liberals share the general concern about poker machine addiction destroying vulnerable families ...

Ah yes, no doubt, but the question of how to respond does not offer glib answers. Except of course, no, no, no and neigh ...

It turns out that poker machine addiction and legislative action is entirely a problem for Wilkie, a mad suicide bomber no one wants to negotiate with, whether in government or opposition.

Now how to spin this, and make a glib phrase or answer to the problem of taking any action?

How about micro-managing? Now that's a fine phrase:

The Liberals... regard Wilkie's signature reform as intrusive micro-management of the industry.

Intrusive micro-management! Even better. How cleverly crafted, what fine humbuggery, what a perfect excuse for inaction, inertia and indifference...

...because any action would involve an intrusive micro-managing of the clubs industry, and they've been managing themselves so well, even if it involves making out like bandits when it comes to the issue of problem gamblers.

After all, where's the problem, when the Liberals have been doing well out of the anger being fomented by the clubs industry?

Uh huh. As usual, if you read Sheehan expecting some kind of moral stand, well it's stiff cheese for the readers and bring out that bowl of water, and make sure you put a little lemon in it for that nice acidic touch on the fingertips ...

One thing you can guarantee. No one these days mentions it all stems from a Productivity Commission report, as the PC is no longer close to the hearts of the commentariat because of its PC ways ...

And so we're left with this closing, pungent par:

Wilkie is essentially on his own. Like the people who can't stop feeding the machines.

Yes, and don't expect Paul Sheehan to shed anything but crocodile tears about it (yes it's a wiki link, and it'll come good, or not to worry, it's all there in google cache)

O devil, devil!
If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile
Out of my sight! (Othello)

Meanwhile, it is possible to read sensible commentary on the magnitude of the Labor party's perfidy, in Welching on Wilkie: Labor plays percentages on pokies:

You could call it political ruthlessness, which it is. But it also looks a bit like yet another half-smart political play that this government excels at — moves that at first blush look clever politics, but eventually yield a host of problems. It might be the right political move in the short-term, but there are some serious longer-term risks.

The Gillard government may be lucky if this doesn’t come back and bite it.

What a pity the pond was never going to vote for the Labor party anyway, but if the Labor government wanted to convince the punters that having it in office guarantees nothing will happen except back-stabbing, betrayal and doubling back, they're doing it in style, folding like the playing cards in Alice in Wonderland.

Come on Potus, nothing to see except stiff cheese and stiff columnists in the antipodes, let's get back to that SOPA strike.

(Below: a neatly constructed protest - a flickering glimpse, then cruelly snatched away - and with a Learn more link - oh fond memories of Starship Troopers - that leads you here).


  1. The gambling thing is not about the money clubs make. It's about the money extracted from people and families through an addiction. And the impact of the addiction on people and families.
    One can only be enraged by the pious, fey sentiments of the pseud Sheehan who chooses simply to condemn people with his inanities.
    And the hypocrisy of Sue Cato and Neil Lawrence! Take a look at their pasts. And their clients!
    Take a look also at the shocking attitude of political parties who know perfectly well that the money sucked out of poker machines by State Governments is a miserable tax on those least able to pay.
    Literally, this is a conscious imposition that might as well be designed to promote domestic violence on a wide scale.
    A pox on them all.

  2. The tax free status of "sporting clubs" should be directly tied to the amount spent on sporting and community injections of captial outlayed in the year.
    If they haven't spent bugger all on the "grassroots sporting organisations" they should be taxable on the difference.
    At least that way, some of the revenue could be collected for helping problem gamblers, it's blindingly obvious that the Clubs WANT there to be problem gamblers.
    The directors salaries and other perks are the true rorts being allowed in the "not for (a declared) profit organisations"


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