Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tis the season

Posting will likely be infrequent around here for a while as I intend to spend most of my holiday out fishing.

So in case I get lost at sea, just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas now.

Say it isn't so!

You mean to tell that the claims of anti-nuclear groups are unscientific fearmongering?. I mean, would they lie about something like that (oh, that's right, they would).

The good prof is wrong about one thing though, it won't help "dispel many environmentalists' fears". Their fear isn't nuclear power, it's human development. They don't care how little pollution it creates, they want everyone living in caves.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hircinous Hicks

The UK government has announced that they will appeal this weeks court ruling that David Hicks is eligible for British citizenship. Although it seems unlikely that their appeal will succeed. I guess at worst they can demand he applies in person at the nearest embassy.

However I doubt that they appreciate their laws being used by someone trying to evade justice, so I would imagine they won't be too eager to demand his release.

Catch of the Day

Well done sir!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Remorsefully taking to his feet he beat a very remorseful retreat

Remorseful for the killing, or just the fact he was arrested for it?

Ok lets see, runs down and kills 82 year old woman. Apparently was doing 54km/h, and while the article doesn't mention what the speed limit was, I doubt it was much less than that. Maybe he just wasn't paying attention, or perhaps she ran out in front of him.

I'd have a lot easier time believing how remorseful he was, if he hadn't gone to such lengths to conceal his crime. First took off after the accident. Then lied to the police when questioned about his whereabouts. Then presented fake ownership transfer papers to police, to try and claim they had sold the car. Then had the car repaired and altered. Then claims remorse when arrested. Seems to me his arrest is about his only regret.

As for his parents, if they represent the moral guidance he was raised with, it explains a lot about his actions.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mob behaving like a mob

There's a reason why we rely on our police forces to enforce the law, rather than just letting mobs of vigilante's roam around meting out punishment as they see fit, to who they see fit. It's because mob behaviour is prone to punishing the nearest available target, rather than going to the trouble of finding the culprit of the original offence. They also have a tendency to mete out punishment far in excess of what we'd consider appropriate to the offence.

But what happens when a large enough number of people feel that the police either aren't willing or aren't able to enforce the law? We then you get scenes like were seen in Cronulla, where people will take the law into their own hands, without much regard for the letter of the law. Whatever the realities of police efforts against the lebanese muslim gangs, there is undeniably a feeling within sections of the community that the law isn't being applied the same to everyone, and that the police aren't making the same effort to protect some sections of the community as they are others. I doubt this was helped when the police stated during the week that they would crack down those who were planning on "taking back the beach", despite not being seen to be making an effort to crack down on the gangs that had committed the earlier attacks.

If the media has any blame it's not for reporting stories that may have fuelled anger, but for not reporting stories, and for only partially reporting the details. Maybe they reduce the chance of payback attacks by report offenders as "person of middle eastern appearance" or "youths of specific ethnic origin" (or as they most often do, make no mention at all), but in doing so they help to hide the problem, rather than exposing it so that something might get done. When enough people have been on the receiving end, media reports that deliberately avoid naming the perpetrators make things worse.

Link of the day

How to look stylish, while wasting ammo.

My favourite is the guy in the life-jacket. While it might save your life if you are drowning, it probably won't stop a bullet. I'd have thought that if you were in a war zone, the last thing you'd want to do is wear something really bright which will make you easy to spot.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Compulsory contributions canned by Christian

In the best news I've heard all week, Family First Senator Stephen Fielding has passed the VSU bill after Barnaby Joyce crossed the floor to block it.

Hating hircinous Hicks humectates holothurians

Apparently today is not only the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's shooting, but also the 4th anniversary of David Hicks caribbean holiday, so his supporters are having a party in his honor. Not that I totally object to that, I support parties for just about any reason, with the possible except of political ones.

As usual, they moan that he must be tried in a civil court. That would be true if he was arrested by the police in a law enforcement operation. But he wasn't, he was detained in a military operation while fighting for the other side.

The problem for the left in championing his case is right there in the opening few words of the article "SUPPORTERS of Australian terror suspect". I'm astounded that they think that they can get anyone to give a rats arse about what happens to him. To quote one from Kev's comments:

The problem for the right (which you’d have to agree with) is that with the Government ignoring this bong smoker from Adelaide, and letting him rot in a Cuban gaol without justice, one has a rallying point for the left which might just come back to haunt Howard, especially should the trail process be found illegitimate.

Rally around Hicks all you want, as long as your intention is to keep Howard in power. If you want the support of the australian people, I'd suggest not deliberately associating yourself with someone who'd like to see their way of life destroyed.

Mad mullah Mahmoud mulls massive move

Iran's hardline* President has softened his stance on Israel. Now instead of wiping them out, he says he'd be happy for them to simply be forced to move from the middle east. See, he can be reasonable, we just need to be more understanding of his point of view.

Kofi it seems is shocked by this. I'm sure he'd be just as shocked to find out what Iran would like to use it's long range missiles with "Death to Israel" painted on the side for as soon as it acquires nuclear technology.

*I seem to remember him being refered to as a "moderate" when he was elected. In fairness he probably was the most moderate of the candidates who where allowed to run. And for his involvement in the Embassy hostage crisis he gets described as "a straight-talking former commando". Lovely.

Prancing protesters pester Pine Gap.

Who needs Scott Parkin, when we've got our own Serial Pests.

I hope they feel a little better about themselves, for having bravely stood up to "the man". Can we cut their dole cheques yet?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gag reflex

I'd probably find it a lot easier to get worked up about the government gagging debate in parliament, if any real debate was actually going on, as distinct from name-calling and pointless censure motions (yeah, the government is really going to pass a censure motion against itself).

Dirty Bombs

I've always thought that the threat of terrorists utilising Dirty Bombs is overstated. The "x% higher chance of certain types of cancer y years from now" just doesn't seem to fit the death, destruction and mayhem idiom they seem so fond of.

If they do end up setting off a dirty bomb, I would think it would more likely poorly assembled nuke that didn't go off with quite the bang they expected.

New Terror Laws

Since the discussion of the new terror laws over at Kev's joint is already careening offtopic (somehow Gerard's appointment to the Reserve Bank got raised, what that has to do with terrorism beats me), I'll state my postion over here.

First of all, the one thing I really like about these laws is the inclusion of a sunset provision. I can't think over any other laws in this country that were passed with a similar provision, and I'd have to say I'd love it to be more common.

To the other points:
* CONTROL orders to monitor terrorism suspects;
* PREVENTATIVE detention of suspects without charge for up to 14 days;
* 16 to 18-YEAR-OLDS suspected of terrorism can be subject to control and detention orders;
Detention without charge isn't a nice concept, but I'll accept that it could be a necessary evil is some cases. As for monitoring, go for it.

* SEVEN-YEAR jail terms for urging violence against the government or sections of the community;
This would seem to be aimed at those who preach terrorism, but don't necesarily get involved with planning attacks. I'll accept that we need to have some ability to act against them, but I also wonder what they will do to prevent them prosetolysing from a jail cell.

* TOUGHER police stop, search and seizure powers;
* POLICE and ASIO powers to examine passenger and business information;
* BROADER use of surveillance cameras at transport hubs;
The key to authorities catching terrorists before an attack is carried out is information. The police already have the power to stop and search you if they have a reasonable belief, and they can already watch what you do in a public place (like a transport hub).

* OMBUDSMAN to oversee police use of new powers;
* PARLIAMENT to receive reports on police powers;
* TEN-YEAR expiry date and five-year review of laws;
* LAW Reform Commission to review sedition laws in 2006.
Love the expiry date. Would like to see it on a lot more laws. As to what use the ombudsman, LRC and pollies will be in seeing that these laws aren't used unfairly, only time will tell.

Overall, I care far more about how these powers (and other powers granted to authorities) are actually used than about the individual legal points.If they start using detention without charge for druggies and car-thieves, then I'd say that's not why we granted you these powers. The claim is that the are needed to fight terrorism, and for that they have my support. Use them for anything else, and you'll have a hard time convincing me to support them.

I'm surprised the shepherd boy wasn't banned for depicting child labour

Donald Sensing asks, What if you gave a Nativity and Jesus didn’t come?

I've got to say that is the silliest bits of PC I've ever heard of. I'd even go as far to say it tops those who say that we should follow the lead of several areas in the UK and refer to Christmas as "Winterval" so as no to offend non-christians. Given that we are in the southern hemisphere, I'd feel rather silly wishing someone a "Happy Winterval" in the middle of a scorching aussie summer.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Seriously dude, piss off

Not content with wasting the time of our police and intelligence agencies, Scott Parkin now wants to waste the time of our courts as well.

Personally I think that he should have been denied entry on quarantine grounds, I see no problem with classifying him as a foreign pest.