Tuesday, March 01, 2016

In which the pond keeps waiting for Godot, or is that Paul 'Krispy Kreme Kid' Sheehan, and does its duty with the Caterists ...while thinking only of Queen, country and Ming the Merciless ...

And some cynical pond readers were wondering why Malware shed a tear on NITV ...

Well it certainly wasn't a tear about NITV funding, which sees it endlessly recycling old shows, while buried on an SBS multi-channel, on a broadcaster itself already reduced to dire, dismal programming and a totally useless online app, thanks to being led down a cul-de-sac by a Liberal-stacked board ...

But wait, we haven't finished with Mad 'furious node' Mal just yet ...

And some people wonder why the pond's favourite cartoonists are the two Davids, with more David Pope here and more David Rowe here ...

As for the Academy Awards, this year it returned to the old wisdom that the best director didn't direct the best film, and the best film didn't have the best director, and the safest choice for best film was what the pond calls its "Stanley Kramer" mode, which is to say an indifferently made film with a heartfelt social message.

And right in the middle of Pellist testimony, proving that the Academy is part of an international conspiracy, no doubt organised by the UN world government as payback for the Pellists' excellent contributions to climate science.

Meanwhile, we enter the squillionth day of the Paul Sheehan matter, with Media Watch joining in the hullabaloo and the outcry, as you can see here. (And don't overlook the Mamamia yarn, which helps explain why the pond never visits that site. Is the whole world now click-baiting, trolling hell? Well at least we know how the after-life will play out, with pop-ups and adware and redirects).

Inter alia, Barry alleged that Fairfax had an actual editor, one Darren Goodsir, which astonished the pond because the pond thought the rag was being run by a Committee for the Digital Demolition of Decent Journalism ...

You can count the number of times the pond has visited Red Flag on one toe, but they too joined the ride with Fairfax bosses are either racists or cowards. Or maybe both ...

So let’s summarise. One journalist writes a factually unimpeachable article about a state that has committed war crimes, and loses his job under a torrent of allegations that he is an anti-Semite, accusations for which there is not a shred of evidence. A second journalist, who has made a career out of Muslim-bashing rants, writes an inflammatory story slandering the Muslim community that 10 minutes of investigation could expose as a pack of lies. He keeps his job. What conclusions can possibly be drawn from these incidents about Fairfax management? Do they share Sheehan’s vile racist views? Or are they such cowards that they can stand by a celebrity journalist who attacks Muslims, the number one scapegoats of Australian politics, but are happy to hang another out to dry for the crime of offending the powerful and politically connected Israel lobby? Maybe it’s both.

Meanwhile, Mike Carlton has been having a field day, twittering and re-tweeting...

And so on.

And Jenna Price, who called for an apology here, is also on board with Media Watch ...

Meanwhile, mUmBRELLA optimistically reports at least one complaint to the Australian Press Council, but no doubt the half-baked, half-arsed apology will be seen as an attempt to short circuit any complaint.

What the pond is waiting for is any attempt by Sheehan to dip his toe back in the water, aided and abetted by an editorial and management team that have abandoned the last fig leaf pretence that they have the slightest interest in quality journalism ...

After all this fun - which seems likely to run as long as Pellist testimony - the pond thought of doing the obvious thing about fundamentalist Christians turning up on Q and A, like brave lions fronting the Roman secularists, but such obvious trolling isn't for the pond, and besides we never watch the show.

No, the pond knew its duty. Today was Caterist day, and come what may, enduring the Caterist blather would be its Herculean, Sisyphean challenge.

It wouldn't be easy, readership would likely drop to zero, but dammit, somebody has to step out of the tent into the snow, and watch their toes drop off as their eyeballs freeze ...

Okay, stop right there. It wasn't Robert Menzies who launched or introduced Commonwealth scholarships in 1951 (though he did keep a cap on 'Commonwealth').

It was Ben Chifley who launched the idea, as can be confirmed, not just by heading off to the ADB here, but by heading off to Trove here (scroll around), and lordy lordy, hasn't that dear beast had a troublesome re-boot these past few days ...

There you'll find The Worker - lordy, lordy, two socialist rags in a day, has the pond gone pinko prevert? - on 21st November 1949 hailing Chifley as Australia's Man of the Hour, and reporting him saying in his Brisbane City hall meeting ...

The Government was prevented from operating its dental scheme for the time being because of the shortage of trained dentists.
It was to overcome such shortages that it had introduced a scheme providing for 3000 scholarships which would enable the training of students who could not normally go to the University ...

Why should such details matter, except to history students and pedants like the pond? Why should anyone care these days that Menzies sharked Chifley's idea and made it his own, and thereafter doofus dumbbells like the Caterists chant 'marvel at the mighty Ming the Merciless' like holy writ?

Well it's an indicator. Because if you get the details wrong, you'll get the overall picture wrong ...

Yes, the man wearing the denim overalls was actually Iowa artist Grant Wood's dentist Byron McKeeby, alongside the artist's sister Nan Wood Graham.

Oh okay, the pond is deeply bored, but on we must trudge ... but can we at least have a short gobbet?

Oh dear, why did they bring Parker into it?

Isn't that the Parker behind that story in The ConversationStephen Parker: higher education changes a 'fraud on the electorate'?

Isn't he the black sheep VC who went to war with the poodle? The pond might value his wool, but was it wise of the Caterists to revive memories of University of Canberra's Stephen Parker slams Universities Australia?

And then those buggers in the Senate did reject the bill - shame, shame, what we need is a Liberal majority in the Senate entrenched for life - and Parker was back in The Conversation scribbling Drawing positives from negatives: looking back at the higher education reforms.

But why brood? The poodle has moved on to slavering over a DD bone, and because the pond selected a short gobbet, the punishment is a final, eternally long gobbet ...

Of course the pond relishes the irony. If ever there was an example of a student elevated above his pay grade, a dullard, stolid student, capable only of C+ thinking, surely the Caterist would be a prime example, scoring a degree in sociology from the University of Exeter - sociology! -  and then heading down under for his ultimate career ... scoring hearty taxpayer funding by way of grants ...

And naturally such a student, enjoying the fruits and rewards of his government grants, would fail to mention the real scandal of the education sector, which is the privatisation of trades education and the subsequent, now routine, scandals about the rip-offs, the abuse of students and the abuse of taxpayer money.

He wouldn't have had far to look - just back to November 2015 for Up to 12,000 students in limbo after Vocation collapse ... or Vocational education, the biggest get-rich quick scheme in Australia (with forced video) or Vocational education crisis: AIPE college paid $1 million a graduate (with forced video). And so endlessly on, with too many to list here.

But it goes without saying that you won't find a man in receipt of abundant, generous government boondoggle grants getting agitated about privatised eduction making hay with its boondoggles ...

As for the rest, why bother to foreshadow what's coming in the run-up to the plebiscite, when Cathy Wilcox put it in a cartoon, and more Wilcox here ...


  1. ok; so now that I've eaten my muesli and banana, I can venture beyond that worrying Caterist headline ...

    1. Would you like penalty-rate-free fries with that takeaway?

    2. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnafternoons/university-inequality/7215046

  2. Great read as always DP. Cater and his fellow travelers just can't get past the fifties can they? I'll bet he still has his Biggles book collection in a box in his attic.
    For anyone who missed it,I recommend last weeks Background Briefing to see how political ideology can fuck education at massive expense.

    "It wouldn't be easy, readership would likely drop to zero, but dammit, somebody has to step out of the tent into the snow, and watch their toes drop off as their eyeballs freeze ..."
    Your valor beyond the call of duty is duly noted DP.

    P.S. I'm watching Pell's testimony this day and I have to say it is like watching a centipede single nailed to a pin-board and having it's legs removed one by one.
    As a former student at one of the more notorious primary schools of the sixties I find Pell's testimony unbelievable in the extreme.A true piece of shit who will rot in his own hell.At least he will never get to return to Australia.

    1. Pell had his Oscar Wilde moment though. While admitting complaints about Ridsdale were rife, Pell admits "I wasn't much interested in them."

      (The turning point in Wilde's second trial. Carson asked Wilde directly whether he had ever kissed a certain servant boy, Wilde responded, "Oh, dear no. He was a particularly plain boy – unfortunately ugly")

    2. An astounding dereliction of his duty, if you ask me. He 'wasn't much interested in them'??

  3. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2016/mar/01/labor-steps-up-its-campaign-against-senate-voting-reform-politics-live?page=with:block-56d4d146e4b0e3887170f459#block-56d4d146e4b0e3887170f459

    "Well it's an indicator. Because if you get the details wrong, you'll get the overall picture wrong ..."
    It is well worth scrolling through to Mike Bowers shot of the Monk sitting up the back at the morning Party Room meeting.

  4. Normally I find a journey down the Cater smug spiel almost as irritating as Abbott's delusions, which sent me into recovery at the weekend.

    This one was more enjoyable, however, for your Fisking of it. I learned something new, that the great Ben Chifley was responsible for starting the Commonwealth Scholarship system, and not Ming. I should've known, since I used to get annoyed at how he'd claimed the credit for the Snowy Mountains scheme, which had originated with Ben. The Liberals are very good at claiming credit for others' vision. The Commonwealth Scholarship system had become folklore as a Menzies thing and when retiring he claimed it as his greatest achievement. He certainly did encourage it but it started before him.

    I even enjoyed learning that he had a degree at Essex University in sociology. I'm sure that gave him a solid grounding for his later vocation as a Liberals shill. I better not go too far with academic snobbery since my degree was in arts at University of New England, Armidale. Still it does allow me a smile of superiority.

    Of course I got that through Gough and Malcolm's generosity of access, something which he now seems to deplore.

    1. Much as Benedict Chifley was responsible for Australian citizenship, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the Holden car and ASIO, he didn't actually start the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme. Sure he had an idea for awarding 3000 scholarships to deserving young lads (and maybe even young lasses, but that's not so clear), but because he insisted on wanting to nationalize the banks, despite Menzies' very successful scare campaign, he lost office before he could actually do such a thing.

      Therefore, it was actually Ming who initiated an expanded CommSchol scheme in 1951 (two years after Chifley lost office) from which many, myself included, benefitted. He then went on to use ASIO very effectively to hound 'The Left' during much of his 17 years in office.

      Such is life.

    2. Many years ago, while doing research for a Uni essay (BA, Australian National University, History & Political Science - not much, I know but I like to think it still beats Cater), I was reading a pile of late 1940s newspapers. I noticed at least one report of then-Opposition Leader Menzies opposing the Chifley Government's plans for the Snowy Mountains Scheme, on the ground that it was an infringement of States' rights. Faaark - yes, I know that you can argue the long-term impact the Scheme in ecological terms, but at that time it was possibly the biggest, most visionary infrastructure project that had ever been proposed in this country; if it was up to the Tories, would _anything_ of real substance ever have been accomplished here? Always looking for an excuse to do nothing......

    3. Quite fitting really, Anony, since it was Chifley who created the ANU (and, after a constitutional referendum, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - but that's another story).

      The conservatives did start the PMG department in 1901 (during the first Australian government of our founder, Edmund Barton), however it was Chifley's government which added on the OTC in 1946 to connect us with the world.

      But conservative governments were only ever expected to keep the currency stable and nothing much else, so of course they resisted everything else.

    4. Yes, GD and GB, the point is who had the idea, and then who sharked it. So many ideas generated by one party or the other are taken over, blatantly sharked, and then history only records and credits the actual implementation. Being a politician, Menzies borrowed all his good ideas from Chifley and others in the Labor party, and borrowed all his bad ideas from Joe McCarthy ...

    5. Quite so, DP, and never a man (or government) better to shark ideas from than Chifley's (except for ASIO, of course, which was a really bad idea). If only Chifley hadn't been so stubborn about nationalizing the banks and maintaining petrol rationing (supposedly to help "the mother country") we might have had a universal health scheme (based on Britain's NHS) as early as 1950.

      What would Australia be like today if it had been Chifley who was PM for 17 years, not Menzies. But despite all his (and the ALP's) achievements in his short time, he is barely remembered, much less celebrated, at all today.

  5. Funny that Abbott condemns the safe schools programme for being 'social engineering' when it was introduced by his Government!

  6. Ms Pond,
    I am probably very late to the party, it was only yesterday, as I was reading of how the ACL had access to cabinet ministers (not only Liberal but I fumed over their access to Sen Conroy when the great Aust Firewall was on the agenda)that I decided to take a look at the ACL's "Tony" McLennan.

    I find that he is also "Anthony" McLennan, a director of the Menzies Research Institute. Explains his access.

    1. That's Anthony McLelland, s3.

    2. Ooops. McLellan (no terminal 'd')

  7. Sldr360, what a wonderful get that is.

    Just goes to show that it's always worth looking under a rock. You really do never know what you'll find eh?

  8. Has the world's best environment minister ghunt been taking his pills?

    1. Photo credits: Environment Minister Greg Hunt during question time in the House of Representatives in Canberra this afternoon, Tuesday 1st March 2016. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

    2. Looking very 'Southern Walrussi' don't you think.

  9. Bolt is covering Pell's testimony for Sky; just like Kenny goes to Nauru, is this what the media ownership changes are going to give us ?


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.