(Above: one of a number of weekend triumphs for the Abbott government, and more Wilcox here).
Today is Amanda Vanstone day, as Monday often is ... a blight on the mind at the start of the working week that's roughly equivalent to the effect of the fungus, phytophthora infestans, on tomato plants ...
You can, if you're of a profoundly masochistic nature, find infestans Vanstone scribbling belatedly about Gough Whitlam for the Fairfaxians, and later today she will no doubt turn up yet again on the ABC.
So here's the pond challenge. See if you can listen to Theodore Dalrymple on last week's Counterpoint without wondering if you've just dropped a tab of acid ... then if you survive the test, why you're free to listen to Vanstone today and join in a rant about idle, wretched youffs ...
Meanwhile, the pond indulged in another test. On the weekend the fearless leader announced he'd changed his mind. No surprise there, he's such a relentless flip flopper, he could be mistaken for casual foot wear. But the subject was the enormously tedious quagmire of federal-state relations.
Now in the old days, only a faithful party organ like Pravda would routinely headline the thoughts of the chairman of the presidium, and this seemed like an acid test. Who would put the thoughts of the current chairman at the top of the page?
Only one rag came through. Come on down reptiles of the lizard oz, so the pond can drape you with the accolades that befit a Pravda down under:
Well played reptiles and a bonus for featuring the University of Sydney's claim that higher fees will lead to more scholarships, and the poor and the helpless throughout the land will rejoice.
It reminded the pond of the way the proposed reforms will shift the tertiary system into the wretched patronage system that bedevils tertiary education in the United States, and that timeless seasonal cartoon:
Sad to say however, the reptiles were gazumped in the front page stakes by a most excellent entry from the Currish Snail:
Naturally the first reaction of the pond was to flee the computer in a state of blind, irrational panic.
It would have been a more complete experience if the paper had a couple of hands attached to it that could slap readers like the pond on both cheeks, but as a first class shouty use of shouty fonts, it's still a tremendous tabloid effort ...
Only in the state where dunking a penis in wine and showing the feat to the world is seen as a fitting qualification for giving pre-selection another go ...
Sadly the pond had to mark down the Fairfaxians, though not because they trotted out Richard Marles all at sea in a bold bid to prove that Labor can out flip flop Tony Abbott any day of the week ...
No, it was the blatantly obvious way that the Fairfaxians attempted to wrest the title of climate denialism from the Murdoch tabloids.
You see, it's routine that, whenever it comes to a mention of unseasonal or even seasonal heat, the first response of the Murdoch tabloids is to show punters having early great unseasonal or even seasonal fun in the sun, preferably at the beach.
The coverage relentlessly conformed to the pond's golden rule: "sssh, whatever you say or do, please don't mention climate change or climate science".
Now the Fairfaxians played a solid hand on the front page. And on the inside digital page they maintained an astute stance certain to win pond approval:
Excellent stuff. Look at the fun they're having. Diving in the lens flare, basking in the warm glow on the beach.
Not just one, but two illustrations of the fantastic fun to be had from a little early in the season warmth from the loving sun ...
And the copy was excellent too, with three authors contributing to Sydney's scorcher set to continue; global records could tumble (forced video at end of link)
Well it started out excellent. There was talk of records being broken in Sydney, and coverage of fire danger, with news of total fire bans, and the talk of global warmth happily focussed on a super El Nino, and then the wretches had to ruin it:
What is unusual about this years potential to break the temperature record is that it will not be a "super El Nino" year, where sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific rise significantly above average. The last super El Nino ended in 1998, the hottest year ever recorded - a year frequently cited by climate change skeptics who claim that the planet has not warmed in 18 years.
Oh dear, sssh, whatever you do, don't mention climate change. It will only get the Bolter agitated and upset.
Even worse the link in the story led to that namby pamby Peter Hannam breaking the golden rule:
The hottest years on record were in 2005 and 2010, which just pipped the "super El Nino" year of 1998 - a year often used by climate change sceptics to claim global temperatures haven't increased in as long as 18 years.
The fact 2014 may challenge for the hottest year even with at most a weak El Nino is one reason climatologists warn action must be taken to curb the rise of greenhouse gas emissions that trap ever more heat from the sun.
The bureau's Dr Watkins said heat records could be broken even without a "full-blown El Nino" because of the planet's broadscale warming. Sea-surface temperatures in the central Pacific, for instance, had increased by about 0.5 degrees since the 1950s.
"You get the warming signal on top" of any El Nino, he said.
The pond was startled and immediately looked for advice from the world's leading climate scientist, George Pell, but he was busy in Rome repressing gays and women ...
What to do, what to do?
Sadly the only other leading climate scientist in the land was busy denouncing the Daesh.
Now it's not for the pond to urge the Bolter to adopt the name the perfidious French favour but here's how it's done, link courtesy of Washington Post here:
How does the Bolter start off?
The savagery of the Islamic State is pornographic and absolute.
Indeed. It's state with a capital "S".
And the story in the New York Times, here, is indeed graphic, disturbing and heart-wrenching.
Amongst many sickening incidents and events, this one caught the pond's eye:
They also began waterboarding a select few, just as C.I.A. interrogators had treated Muslim prisoners at so-called black sites during the George W. Bush administration, former hostages and witnesses said.
Uh huh. So where was the Bolter when it came to that use of torture?
Why here he is in Bush: waterboarding saved lives ...
Waterboard three suspects up to the ears in al Qaeda, or risk the deaths of possibly hundreds of civilians? The critics who shy at answering this stark question are guilty of intellectual cowardice at the very least. Kipling knew their type well, as Orwell explained:
Kipling was a Conservative… He identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition. In a gifted writer this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality. The ruling power is always faced with the question, “In such and such circumstances, what would you do?”, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions.
Admirable. A triple play, Kipling, Orwell and Bush.
And here's the Bolter doubling down:
There's a more than passing irony in that header.
Back in the day, Waterboarding used to Be a Crime.
Yes, National Review, We Did Executive Japanese for Waterboarding. (and the Politifact finding is here).
But for the Bolter, back in the day it was all the way with Cheney and with Bush, and the sordid, sorry history outlined in detail in this detailed survey of waterboarding ...
Conservative ratbags like the Bolter helped sowed the anarchistic seed and now reap the fundamentalist ratbag Daesh whirlwind ... which explains why the pond often broods about what happens when fundamentalists get their hands on a decent set of drones ...
The Bolter should get back to climate science. Fucking up the planet is a noble and urgent task, and more seemly than indignation about the pornography of waterboarding and executions...
And to end on a lighter note, this one is dedicated to Optus.
There's also Hume, Nelson Goodman, Heidegger and Buddha in the joke, and if you never suffered philosophy, there's an explanation hidden at the bottom of the cartoon. The full cartoon and plenty of other philosophical in-jokes are here at Existential Comics: