August 29, 2006
Lakehead University in Canada has put world-famous dunce George W. Bush to use in its new advertising campaign.
Bush, who graduated from Yale in 1968 for reasons completely unconnected to his multi-billionaire father, is depicted looking somewhat confused above the words ‘yale shmale’, with a caption saying ‘just because you graduated from an Ivy League Univeristy, doesn’t mean you’re smart.’
Of course, as one who never went to University and merely has to work with those who did, I’d say ‘just because you’re a graduate doesn’t mean you have any noteworthy skills or talents at all’, but that’s because I’m bitter and twisted and deeply, painfully cynical about the tragic world order that we’ve created. It’s all nonsense, particularly now we have degrees in Hair-based Physics and Media Studies (no offense, Modeski, I know your doctorate in Klingon is entirely legitimate). Endless levels of bullshit arrayed in a desperate attempt to excuse how a haircut in France costs more than a triple-bypass operation in India, propagated by a culture that fears the guilt it’s piled upon itself through rampant centuries of pitiless colonialism.
Anyway, the University has refused to withdraw the advert which some of the faculty have labelled ‘repugnant’, and has cited the 7,000+ hits it’s received. Which is all good. If Canadians can’t take the piss out of US politicians anymore, then what kind of a world do we live in?
August 29, 2006
I love deadlines, especially the whooshing sound they make as they go past.
Hi folks, sorry for the delay in this week’s – well, last week’s column. I had a very busy weekend. Anyway, are you sitting comfortably? Let us begin.
Abbott defends religious influence on policies
Health Minister Tony Abbott this week asserted the rightness of the religious reasoning behind his policies.
I find myself becoming very frustrated listening to him speak, because he can be very contradictory. As a Catholic, Costello likes to toe the Pope’s line when it comes to policy that the church likes to weigh in on. He said that he does this…
“not because it was religious, but because it was right.”
But then in the same breath he also said…
“Political debate should turn on human values not religious teaching.”
Which is to be, Tony? It will be interesting to see if the Health Minister alters his stance on embryonic stem cell research given the recent news that scientists have found a way to conduct experiments without destroying embryos.
Jihad Jack subject to draconian provisions
Despite his conviction being quashed by an appeals court, terrorist suspect Jack Thomas now faces severe restrictions on his daily life.
Retribution from the Australian Federal Police perhaps? Possibly. Mr Thomas now has to report to police three times a week, obey a strict curfew, and cannot even use any telephone that has not been approved (read: bugged) by the AFP. I laughed when I read that he has been specifically forbidden from contacting Osama Bin Laden. Yes, that’s likely to happen!
Now, I’m often accused of being a terrorist sympathiser (mostly by morons on The Age’s Your Say blog), but the way I see it is this: If a court of law has quashed your convictions, and you’ve not actually committed a terrorist act, you’re innocent and should be free to go about your daily life. I don’t see that as unreasonable, because it’s a principle that can be universally applied.
The most laughable thing about this is the justification for his continued punishment. Consider these quotes from the police and Philip Ruddock.
“Mr Thomas is vulnerable. Mr Thomas may be susceptible to the views and beliefs of persons who will nurture him during his reintegration into the community.”
“There are good reasons to believe that, given Mr Thomas has received training with al-Qa’ida, he is now an available resource that can be tapped into to commit terrorist acts on behalf of al-Qa’ida or related terrorist cells,”
And from Philip Ruddock:
“The issue is about protecting the Australian community and not punishing a person for an offence,” he said. “If you work on the assumption that only those people who could be convicted of an offence are subject to a control order, then you wouldn’t have control orders.”
Obese teenagers to go under the knife (and fork?)
Sorry, lame joke. Following on from last week’s item on obesity, The Age is reporting on a new State government report which claims that surgery is a cost-effective method to try to tackle childhood obesity levels, which, like their waistlines, are expanding all the time.
The report also recommends restrictions on advertising junk food to children, but Health Minister Bronwyn Pike seems not to be trumpeting that too loudly. Goodness knows why not; I think it would be far more sensible to take practical measures to curb obesity before we consider putting children under the knife. Gastric band surgery is often used as a last resort tactic for morbidly obese adults. It’s a drastic procedure, not without risks.
Unless we chase the fat little buggers round the hospital grounds, scalpel in hand. 🙂
Oil price set to fall by Christmas
Cambridge Energy Research Associates have forecast a fall in the price of crude oil to $50 a barrell. John Howard and senior economists have jumped on this prediction to assure us that petrol will go back down to $1.15 a litre by Christmas.
Production is set to grow by 25% in the next 9 years or so, and Howard promises – though with a tinge of caution – that by the end of the year we’ll have seen the end of high petrol prices. I’ll believe it when I see it. What confuses me, and perhaps someone would enlighten me (join the forums!) is that analysts are saying that high prices will lead to a drop in demand, and so prices will drop down again. Surely this will bring demand back up and we will be back to square one?
And finally – no and finally
Okay, there’s not much nonsense going on in Australia right now, apart from the usual political spin, so I’m going to render this section an “irregular feature”.
Thanks for your attention, and please do join up the forums and submit your article ideas. Writers are always welcome.
August 27, 2006
The Tory party has given up on it’s recent attempts at economics and has gone back to simply suggesting they’ll slash taxes again.
George Osborne, the Tory’s shadow Chancellor, reckons that scrapping Stamp duty on share trading will give a big boost to the major share holding pension schemes. Of course, it’ll also rob 4 billion quid from the treasury.
Osborn also talked of removing lower-paid workers from tax altogether. In fact, he’s talked about a number of ways in which he’d get rid of lots of money that’s currently going into the treasury; possibly he just wants to make the job of Chancellor slightly easier. It’s clearly left Gordon knackered.
Of course, the whole thing is just a ludicrous and transparent attempt to lure greedy voters away from New Labour. It’s just getting to the point where I wish the Tories would admit they stopped being a serious political party some time in 1992, and just bugger off. Every time they elect a new leader, they end up going through the same process of completely failing to do anything with the party and then go to the election on a raft of tax cuts that aren’t fooling anyone. It’s crap opposition that’s allowed Blair to get away with murder for the past nine years, and unless one of the other parties shows us they’re competent he’ll continue to do so.
August 27, 2006
Hyperfundamentalist psycho-theocracy Iran has continued to ignore UN demands that it cease work on enriching uranium, and has opened a heavy water plant.
Heavy water would be instrumental in the cooling facilities for the planned nuclear reactor that Tehran has been building. While Iran insists that the reactor would only be used for power, the USA reckon that it would be used to create a nuclear weapon.
Tehran continues to insist that it has no intention of building a nuke, and the heavy water plant itself doesn’t actually constitute a breach of the anti-nuclear proliferation agreements.
All in all, the whole messy situation could prove disasterous. Israel won’t tolerate another nuclear power so close, and particularly not the violently anti-Israeli Iran. The US and the EU are also against Tehran on this, and while Russia and China are willing to help Moscow is rather more interested in finding other solutions, probably involving their own vast power industry.
From this Article in The Age this morning. Apparently, some guy walked into the city loop railway tunnel in my home city this morning, about 90 minutes before my train got in. I didn’t experience any delays or anything, in fact I got in a minute or so earlier than normal, woo!
Anyway, this is the today’s topic on The Age’s Your Say section (see links on the right), and I’m just annoyed that some people are talking about terrorism in relation to this incident. It always has been, and remains ridiculously easy to commit a terrorist act on the transport network. That’s not what this guy did; he is probably just some nutter taking a walk, or a disgruntled commuter seeing if he can get round faster than the trains.
If someone wants to blow up the tunnel, they will. And I will bet you $100 that they will be less obvious about it than wandering off the platform into the tunnel in full view of commuters and the CCTV network.
We’re not all about to die. Chill out, people.
I wrote a haiku about it
Someone in the loop
Crazy man with big bomb? No
Just Connex, too slow.
August 24, 2006
I am sick to death of commuters wheeling tiny roller trolleys around the station and streets every morning. Seriously folks, are you that lazy? Pick the damn thing up! It’s the briefcase equivalent of a yappy lap-dog. Aww, does it hurt your tiny arms to carry it? TOO BAD, SO SAD – SWAP ARMS, IDIOTS.
I very nearly went on a homicidal rampage this morning as 4, count ’em 4 people in a row walked in front of me with these, taking up the entire footpath and an area which could have fitted 15 people.
Buy. A. Freaking. Backpack.