Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In which a meeting of the Algonquinite loons deals with a number of matters, ranging from Eric Abetz to Maurice Newman and Tom Switzer ...

(Above: yes the pond is already in meetings with the National Union of Arachnids about Pope's casual defamation of spiders. How is a harmless, innocent spider in any way comparable to Eric Abetz? More Pope here).

Madam chair, if we may start this meeting of Algonquinite loons with a few matters of minor business.

First is there anyone at the meeting who can offer any explanation whatsoever to explain why Waleed Aly invites that pompous blowhard Scott Stephens on to his show to rant, and worse, then makes the folly available at Religion and Ethics: Are we making the news bad?

The answer to that question is yes, Waleed Aly, you are making the news bad, because the bad news is that Scott Stephens was on your program, but hey there's plenty of classical music available - there's a nice modern mix at WQXR2 and if you have internet radio and like blues and jazz, you can always listen to WWOZ in New Orleans.

Don't even think of getting the pond started on Stephens, let's instead note another order of business, which happened to be Phillip Adams defaming the dead Peter Ustinov in the course of his wireless program. while relentlessly sucking up to David Suchet (no blame to Suchet).

Ustinov, Adams said, had entirely got it wrong when doing the main voice in Grendel, Grendel, Grendel. Actually, Ustinov delivered a Ustinov performance, which means either (a) the producer got it completely wrong by casting Ustinov - guess who was the pompous, ponderous, portentous producer who paraded at the start of the show and got it deflated like a lead balloon before it had a chance to fly, and was responsible for the casting? or (b) the director, one Alex Stitt, failed to tease out a suitable performance from Ustinov.

Why should anyone care a toss about this sort of idle defamation of a dead artist who appeared years ago in a forgotten Australian animation?

Because it's fucking irritating, that's why, and a suitable opportunity for pedantic loonacy.

And so to the business of the day, and why not start with the stupidity of the interventionist activities of big government and Tony Abbott having to hose down the monstrous ineptness of his interventionist spidery government ...which is to say the folly of his government's ongoing inept attempts at the persecution of the unemployed.

Soon enough the comedy routines flowed.

There was one wag, Nick Evershed, explaining I applied for 40 jobs in nine minutes, thereby reminding the world that Eric Abetz doesn't have the first clue about the intertubes - but hey, that's the entire government.

Then there was Industry concerns about Coalition's 40-job-applications-a month plan, and the slow dawning light filtering into the mind of a very stupid man in Abetz concedes 40 jobs per month Newstart rule could be 'box-ticking'. And then there was Tony Wright having fun in Tapping away into the night: The Shipping News provides a poster girl for Eric Abetz's new dole plans:

Ms Budgel is an example to them all. 
''Dear Sirs,'' she taps. ''I am writing in response to your ad for a Spanish-speaking clerk. Although I do not speak Spanish I have a B. E. in Maritime Traffic Engineering and will relocate. I enclose...'' ...
''Dear Sirs,'' Ms Budgel writes to another firm. ''I recently saw your advertisement in The Globe and Mail for a floral designer. Although I do not arrange flowers I am willing to learn...'' 

And so on. Is there an explanation for Abetz's abject stupidity and suitability for mockery?

Well it arises from the desire of the government to be seen to be doing things, and preferably doing punitive things to the unemployed so they can be demonised and blamed. The trouble is, Eric Abetz started out in life as a lawyer before heading off to parliament, and he doesn't have the first clue about employers having to handle a flood of job applications, or the chances of success of wannabe workers firing off applications in a bid to conform to the requirements of big brother government.

Which is why we end up with stories such as Job seekers could be forced to turn to crime, expert warns (forced video at end of link, an ongoing irritation for anyone who uses tabs in their browser).

This is yet another own goal, with Abbott blathering on about consultation and collegiality, and so on and so forth, which is simply code for 'yes, it's another Abetz fuck-up and I have to work out a way to sweep this turkey under the rug'.

And so to other business, which must of course involve a survey of the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

Was it only a couple of days ago that the pond was reading the irreplaceable Guy Rundle in Crikey on the matter of Tom Switzer (paywall affected):

So farewell then to Tom Switzer, who is stepping down from the editorship of The Spectator Australia after five years in the job — and two weeks after publishing a cover featuring various right-wing warriors celebrating the demise of a carbon tax that had, er, not yet been abolished. Coincidence, no doubt. The Speccie Oz will continue under the stewardship of the even more right-wing Rowan Dean. Our sources tell us that it sells no more than 1800 copies a week — not much more than in the days when they simply imported the UK edition, and costing, of course, a motza more. Never mind. As long as we can still get a magazine that publishes both endless denunciations of “the anti-Semitic of the Left” and the unquestionably anti-Semitic columnist Taki in the same magazine, we will be satisfied. 

Funny, but the pond knew the farewell was premature.

Switzer is the sort of bad penny guaranteed to turn up all over the place, and what do you know, this very day, here he is taking the side of Vlad 'the impaler' Putin for the lizard Oz:

You can read Stop provoking the bear if you like, and can be bothered getting around the paywall, to discover the bizarre sight of Switzer agreeing with John Pilger on giving Vlad a break, but if you spent your money on the lizard Oz, you did your dough, because the very same Switzer piece ran under the header Don't Isolate Russia in The American Conservative, several days ago, and it's available for free for anyone interested in reading Switzer's pandering to Putin and his needs (because right wing commentators just love their dictators?).

Oh dear, you paid money to the reptiles and gave them a gold bar? Well there's a bad penny lost for the need to see where a bad penny has landed.

Meanwhile, the Oz is admirable in its dedication to maintaining its status as climate denialist central, and here's today's effort:

What's got up Maurice's nose? Well it's New South Wales ...

No, it isn't the public sculptures for Sydney launched on an unsuspecting world by Clover Moore, which served to remind the pond yet again how Melbourne has got its street art in great shape, and how Sydney has always preferred the grandiose, ostentatious statement, rather than street level personal pieces that encourage interaction. (Yes, it's all here in Social media responds to Clover Moore's new Sydney sculpture, but watch out for the forced video at the end of the link).

The pond loves Melbourne's street art, but dear long absent lord, how it sticks in the craw to say it. I mean, this is a town full of Collingwood supporters:

Or maybe they're Carlton supporters.

But back to the apocalyptic, apoplectic Maurice, getting highly agitated about the deviant pervert greenies:

NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes told a Clean Energy Week forum last week, “We are making NSW number one in energy and environmental policy.” He added: “When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.” 
 Really? This is an extraordinary decision that flies in the face of the Abbott government’s efforts to arrest the alarming slide in Australia’s international competitiveness and the evident failure of these policies in California and elsewhere. It suggests appalling lack of judgment and is a measure of the degree to which green fantasies have penetrated the thinking of otherwise sensible governments.

Yes, because sensible governments don't give a toss about the environment, they just dig it up and ship it overseas. Sensible governments want to ensure that Australia's international competitiveness is helped by matching the wages of African miners - but really is a couple of bucks a day entirely fair to Gina Rinehart?

Well you can if you like read California dreaming is nuts in NSW, but what's the bet that Newman mentions Enron?

You remember:

This is Bob Badeer (a trader at Enron's West Power desk in Portland, CA, where all these tapes were recorded) and Kevin McGowan (in Enron's central office in Houston, TX, as he mentions in the transcript): 
BOB: (laughing) 
KEVIN: So the rumor’s true? They’re fuckin’ takin’ all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California? 
BOB: Yeah, grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to fuckin’ vote on the butterfly ballot. 
KEVIN: Yeah, now she wants her fuckin’ money back for all the power you’ve charged right up – jammed right up her ass for fuckin’ 250 dollars a megawatt hour. 
BOB: You know – you know – you know, grandma Millie, she’s the one that Al Gore’s fightin’ for, you know? You’re not going to – (and so on and more transcripts here)

The private sector in its finest electric hour.

Maurice's piece is a rant about renewable energy and how it has ruined California and is ruining Europe and will ruin New South Wales and how we need giant oligopolies running things for their and our benefit, and by the end of this unfolding tragedy, the pond was reduced to a wracking sobbing at the suffering of ... yes, you guessed it, grandma Millie ...

However strong Mr Stokes’s faith in green delusions, belief and enthusiasm are insufficient grounds for him and his government to find noble ways to squander pensioners’ and taxpayers’ money.

Sssh, whatever you do, don't mention Enron, or come to think of it, climate science, and remember in that Glaswegian way, it's coal, coal, coal for Australia ...

Oh and please, let's have no talk of renewable energy, it's so wasteful, or doing anything meaningful about climate change, because that's just a conspiracy by the UN to introduce world government, but let's have lots and lots of talk about abandoning the RET because it's coal, coal, coal for Australia ....

And that's how reptiles have got the market cornered as your  denialist central home.

What else? Well the lizards also ran this piece:

But it was a column too far for the pond. If ever there was a man that deserved the title "fatuous idiot", then Mark Steyn's linking of colonialism to progressivism scores him the gong to loud acclaim.

The pond wondered if it could compete.

How about Hitler's national socialism endures as union activism?

What about Stalin's centralist bureaucratic five year planning endures in Tom Swtizer's Putinist activism?

Actually, it's no joking matter, though Steyn is routinely a joke, but he does provide the pond with an opportunity to close with a relevant David Rowe cartoon. And as always more Rowe here:

And then there's Steve Bell here:


  1. On applications for inappropriate jobs, you'd go a long way to beat Pete and Dud.

    1. Oh the one legged skit. Now there's a find...

  2. Another excellent piece DP. I still remember (years ago) your interpretation on James Morrow's nanny state.. Gold!

  3. Silly question of the day. Digital TV carries radio channels (they're at the end after the TV stations). But these are not ordinary radio. They seem to have no commentators or DJ's and only SBS and ABC seem to have taken up the option.

    But why duplicate broadcasts? Can't digital TV carry all radio stations as a matter of course? It would increase coverage for smaller or remote radio stations and be a lot more convenient.

    1. Yes, but there's limited interest in radio that plays music only while avoiding engagement with listeners by using expensive humans between the tracks, and not everyone has a TV where they listen to the radio, and some like the pond resent switching on a big plasma to listen to the radio.
      In an ideal world, digital radio would have taken off but the government, by insisting on peculiar standards, totally stuffed the roll out, to the joy of old fashioned AM and FM broadcasters, and now the best hope, long after the pond is gone, is that listeners without a digital service will be able to listen to radio via the internet. Truth to tell, the pond has never looked back since hooking up a small digital tuner to a small amp - you can access digital radio via smart TVs or your computer - but if you listen to the radio in the kitchen you want a radio in the kitchen.
      Of course this depends on big Mal and Tony Abbott delivering a working broadband system to 97% of Australians. Good luck with that.


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