Attila the Pun
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Check out this site. Blogger 'Glen' is posting images and military information he finds through peer 2 peer networks.
The photos seem pretty innocent stuff - pretty much what you would expect to see from a bunch of bored soldiers stuck in the desert.
The other information is less innocent - personnel rosters, including name, address and phone numbers of marines, as well as other administrative information.
Glen says he is posting it to draw the military's attention to the problem, to avoid its use by terrorists. I think it is a worthy goal, however I think a more realistic misuse of the information would be by anti-war protestors, who would love the personal phone numbers and pagers of a bunch of marines.
Some criticised Australia's planned purchase of M1-a1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. (I criticised the fact that we have to pay retail, while Egypt gets 200 for free), but an Australian military official has provided a reason why all peaceniks should support such a move
“When you send in the Abrams you know the enemy might just shit himself to death before a shot is fired.”
Bob Brown provides an excellent example of what is wrong with Michael Moore's film, and the people that are striving to defend it. Writing in today's Australian, he states:
"Fahrenheit 9/11 has a signal scene in which Bush regales wealthy Republican donors with a toast to "the haves and have-mores".
In Bob's eyes, this means that:
"It is an unforgettable scene where Bush exhibits his unfitness as president of a great nation, let alone as world leader. "
Thats great Bob, too bad he wasn't regaling wealthy Republican donors. He was, as we say in Australia, taking the piss. Out of himself specifically (something I am yet to see the dour Brown do)
As Dave Kopel has pointed out in his excellent article:
The speech actually comes from the October 19, 2000, Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The 2000 event was the 55th annual dinner, which raises money for Catholic hospital charities in New York City. Candidates Bush and Gore were the co-guests of honor at the event, where speakers traditionally make fun of themselves.
It is a wonderful irony when you consider that Bush's remarks offended Bob so much when they were made in a nation "with 30million people too poor to access hospital care."
The dinner raised $1.6 million for hospital charities.
nonsensical Whitlam reference No. 235
They really need to check the water coolers at the Sydney Morning Herald. From an article exploring the strength of Australia's female swimming team:
"Australia hasn't had such a powerful women's swimming team since 1972 when Gough Whitlam was swept to power with the famous "It's Time" slogan."
Or to put it another way
"Australia hasn't had such a powerful women's swimming team since the 1972 Munich Olympics"
Or are they trying to suggest that a 15 year old Shane Gould was so inspired by Gough's victory that she swept all before her to claim her 5 medals?
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Vote 1 Bikini models!
Gabrielle Reilly thinks that John Howard is "fundamental in the global war on terror" and that although Mark Latham may be a 'nice bloke" "the strategies Mark Latham is platforming contribute directly to allowing terrorism to proliferate around the world."
Oh, did I mention she said all this while posing in a bikini? She does recognise the appeal of her brand of punditry though:
"Obviously being in a swimsuit attracts many voters from either side of the political fence to visit my site in the first place. But I hope the logical political arguments I present will educate voters on critical issues that will assist in John Howard's re-election," she says."
The caption under the photo is the money quote:
"Gabrielle Reilly says pictures of women's bodies transcend national borders."
They sure do.
Here is her website if you are interested. Not a bad rig for 35, though the face is showing it a bit.
Age urged to have proper headlines
The headline to this story previously read "Court urges UK to pressure Australia". If you read the article you can see that this was blatantly wrong.
"A London court was today urged to order British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to pressure Australia into granting visas to two boys who escaped from the Woomera detention centre. "
"The judges reserved their decision. "
So basically counsel for the boys was doing all the urging. It has now been updated to read "Court urged to pressure Australia", which whilst slightly better, is still wrong.
Lets hope the Age's new editor cleans up rubbish like this.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Live in the now
Today's Herald Sun encapsulates quite well the reason that I will never vote for Mark Latham. Unfortunately different to the on-line version, but the headline today is "Son of Gough". The story goes on to explain:
"LABOR leader Mark Latham will use Gough Whitlam's famous It's Time slogan to push for election funds.Mr Latham's step back in time, revealed in Labor fundraising material, is a direct copy of his mentor's celebrated 1972 campaign."
Yeah, a real ideas man is Mark.
The Libs take the easy shots:
Treasurer Peter Costello quickly seized on the ploy.
"It's time for a tax policy, Mark," he told the Herald Sun.
"It's time for an economic policy, Mark. It's time to come clean on $10 billion worth of unfunded promises."
The funniest bit relates to the "roll-call of high-profile guests for next month's fund-raiser"
Who will your $11,000 per table get you?
"Celebrity cocktails will be hosted by Little Pattie, actor Rowena Wallace, swimmer Susie Maroney and former Test cricketer Greg Matthews."
I shouldn't be unfair, there is also this:
"NSW Labor general secretary Mark Arbib wrote to business leaders advertising Mr Whitlam, Labor recruit Peter Garrett and comedian Vince Sorrenti as star guests."
I will be running a fundraising drive soon so that I can go along. A collection of stars of this calibre only comes along once every 32 years....
Actually, if you look at those who appeared in the original 1972 commercial:
"It's Time the jingle was created by ad man Paul Jones and was filmed at Festival Hall and in Sydney. It was sung by pop star Alison McCallum.
Those on stage for the commercial included Little Pattie, Bert Newton, Jack Thompson, Judy Stone and Bobby Limb."
They could have pretty much got the old gang back together (apart from Mr Limb of course).
Come on up!
Here is an interesting question - which is more humiliating:
1. Appearing in an advertisement for an anti-impotency spray, and admitting that you suffer from sexual disfunction; or
2. Appearing in said ad, then getting sued for false and misleading conduct by the consumer watchdog?
Lets ask Ian Turpie. Ian, who as is helpfully pointed out "once dated Olivia Newton-John", has admitted breaching the Trade Practices Act, and been granted partial indemnity in return. The ACCC is also seeking an order that Turpie 'come on down' to a trade practices compliance seminar.
Monday, July 19, 2004
Cry me an iriver
Actually, if you buy an iriver H320 mp3 player, it is highly unlikely that you will be crying a river. You will be more likely to be grinning and/or saying 'wow', 'cool' etc, as well as showing it off to anybody that wanders by.
There was a distinct lack of reviews available on it, and it appears that it may have become available here in Oz (and the rest of Asia) before it was available in the States an Europe.
Its pricing here was identical to its equivalent (i.e. 20 gig) iPod.
Summary - it rocks.
- 20 gig HDD. You can make up your own mind whether that is enough or not for you . For me, that is plenty. I assume there will soon be a 40 gig version (called an H340 I bet), but its current size appears adequate.
- Gorgeous TFT screen. Great viewing angles and brightness. Which is great for taking advantage of its next trick -
- USB host capabilities. Thats right, you can now plug a USB device (e.g. digital camera, portable HDD) into the iriver, and download info to it. No more need to worry about your camera's memory card fillinh up on you.
- Radio - much better reception than my previous mp3 player, but I didn't really buy it for its radio capablities anyway
- Recording - from either its internal mic, an external mike (supplied) or from the radio. The quality of the recording, and the pick up by the internal mic is incredible. I left the iriver on a table in the middle of a decent sized room, and it picked up clearly a conversation being held by five people seated on chairs around the room (albeit facing inwards) Not a hugely useful function for me, but has already paid for itself in amusement value.
- Finish - comes ina fake carbon fibre finish. This is probably the aspect i like the least about it. I would have personally matt black, which seems to be the general consensus from others. That said, it is a pretty subtle finish, and doesnt scream 'cheap!' like a badly done silver finish would.
- Carry case - very sturdy, and has a nice black finish. Doesnt add too much bulk, and has a belt clip (if thats your thing)
- In-line remote. This appeared to be a backwards step by iriver. The model it replaces had an in-line remote with LCD screen. This was very useful, especially if you have the main player in a bag or similar. The buttons on the H320 remote are rather close together, and it is sometime hard to tell immediately if you have hit the play/pause button instead of the skip track. That said, the remote from the older model is compatible with the H320, so I am going to telephone the distributor to see how much they are going to sting me for an LCD remote.
- Menus - the previous model was criticised for not being completely user friendly. The iPod is the king of nice interfaces, but I found the learning curve on the H320 to be very shallow. The buttons are context specific, but always in a logical fashion.
- USB charging - a useful function, which means you dont have to carry a power lead and a USB cable.
- Portable HDD - unlike some other mp3 players (I am talking to you Apple, and creative) you do not need proprietary software installed on a computer for it to recognise the H320. Plug it in and it immediately appears as an extra drive.
Conclusion - I love it. If you are in the market for this kind of mp3 player, I would have no hesitation in recommending it.
Friday, July 16, 2004
Leunig the Mad
I have written before regarding my opinion of Leunig. But his latest 'effort' is outrageous. I understand that he is attempting to 'provoke', but labelling the Prime Minister of Australia as a war criminal is simply unacceptable.
There has been much written lately about the debasing of the language, and this is a symptom of it. I do not think (though I cannot be sure) that Leunig thinks that Howard is a war criminal and deserves to hang or spend the rest of his life in jail, but he is applying the tag for shock value. The problem with that (aside from the incredible slur against his character) is that when labels are used innappropriately, their power fades, until they lose the shock value that they require.
A perfect example of this is the word genocide. Genocide (or attempted genocide) is the attempted destrcution of an entire race or culture. It should not be used every time a war occurs. To do so devalues the times (e.g. WWII, Rwanda) when it did occur.
The only thing that angers me more is the use of the phrase "ethnic cleansing" when attempted genocide is occuring. I have never understood why the media picked up and used this phrase. It is a euphemism invented by those perpetrating genocide, we should not be partially complicit in it by going along with it.
Back to my main point. Hitler was a war criminal, Stalin was a war criminal, Pol Pot was a war criminal. Saddam Hussein is a war criminal (though I cannot find a Leunig cartoon which states this) John Howard, no matter what his faults, is not a war criminal. To suggest he is means the phrase loses all meaning whatsoever.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Good move, dumb comment
The US House of Representatives voted to pass the Free Trade Agreement with Australia today. Good stuff. However:
Moreover, the agreement would reward Australia for its support of US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The economic pact, said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas is "strengthening an alliance that is as strong as any in the world".
"Australia has been a true friend and ally," said Jennifer Dunn.
"They've been there when it counted the most, on the shores of Normandy, on the streets of Baghdad."
err yeah, except Australia wasn't there on the shores of Normandy, that would be Britain and Canada.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
saddam - you're hired
Donald trump has come out in defence of Saddam Hussein
"No matter how much you hate Saddam Hussein, and obviously he was a horror show, he kept terrorists out of Iraq,"
Yeah, that Hitler guy really got Germany's post WWI economy going again, and didn't Mussolini get the trains running on time?
Actually, the main point of the article is Trump criticising the decision to go to war in Iraq - characterising it as a "brutal mistake". How come?
"Trump's numerous development projects have been crimped by the war.
"You can't get concrete. You can't get steel. You can't get anything in this country," he said.
"You know where all our steel's going? It's going to Iraq, because we're rebuilding Iraq.""
Damn greedy Iraqis.
A rose by any other name...
It is euphemism city at the Age today:
Headline: Militants mutilate girl in Kashmir
Body: "Guerrillas chopped off the ears, nose and tongue of a teenage girl they suspected of helping police"
"The girl was held captive for eight days before the rebels abandoned her in a field outside the village of Manoh"
"Elsewhere, five schoolchildren who were headed to a picnic in a bus were wounded in crossfire between Indian soldiers and suspected rebels who attacked an army convoy on a highway outside Srinagar"
So if you attack a convoy, you are only a 'suspected rebel', but if you mutilate a teenage girl, you get bumped up to guerrilla status?
"Border guards killed three suspected Islamic rebels before they could cross a barbed wire fence about 1 1/2 kilometres inside Indian territory in Kashmir"
"India expects to complete the fence - which stretches along 580 kilometres of the 745-kilometre boundary - by September to keep out Islamic fighters from Pakistan."
"Insurgents also exploded a grenade outside a mosque in Handwara, a town close to the disputed border with Pakistan, killing one civilian and one policeman"
"He said two suspected rebels were killed in a clash with government soldiers in a forest area in Dogarpora, 100 kilometres north of Srinagar, while another suspected insurgent died after a shootout with the Indian army in the village of Kangan."
This is getting silly. How does a rebel differ from an insurgent?
"Police blamed the separatist rebels for Monday's attacks"
Can you be a suspected seperatist rebel?
You get the feeling that because they are fighting india, they can only rise to 'rebel' or 'inurgent' level. If the US were involved, they would be granted 'mujahadeen', 'revolutionary', or the top of the tree - 'resistance fighters'.
NYT 'largely' biased
Headline: 9/11 report finds no al-Qaeda, Iraqi links
Text: "The final report of the commission investigating the attacks on September 11 will stand by the conclusions of the panel's staff and largely dismiss White House theories about a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda"
Is 'largely' the same as 'no' links?
The panel's staff created controversy last month with an interim report that largely discounted theories about close ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, another justification cited by the Bush Administration for invading Iraq.
Apparently so. And what the hell does 'largely discounted' mean? That is even softer than 'largely dismissed' or 'discounted'. Used together, especially by the NYT, it shows that the partisan commission did not deliver the knockout blow that various terrorist huggers were hoping for.
The report said there was "no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaeda co-operated on attacks against the United States" and that repeated contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda "do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship".
So they are willing to admit that there were repeated meetings between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but think that nothing came of it? What were they expecting to find? - A Joint Venture Agreement, or Heads of Agreement letter?
What do they think Iraq (a nation opposed to the US) and al-Qaeda (a terrorist organisation) were talking about? al-Qaeda has no purpose other than to undertake terrorist activities, therefore any meeting with them must be to discuss such activities. Just because they and Iraq may have just swapped notes and hilarious jihad anecdotes, rather than actually equipping them with sarin gas, does not mean there was 'no link'.
Let me put it another way - what do they think was being discussed?
Friday, July 09, 2004
Greg Barns is a former Howard government advisor, and is now a member of the Democrats. Today he writes about the 'politics of character', arguing that it has gone too far.
The seemingly relentless inquisition into Mark Latham's past by the Government and sections of the media is dangerous for our democracy, not only because we ought to be focusing on policy and not personalities, but because in the past week the line between legitimate questions about a political leader's previous public life and illegitimate questions about his personal relations has been rubbed out.
He doesn't provide details of any relentless inquisition into Latham's past by the Government. Why? - because there wasn't any. All the rumours and innuendo were spread by the media (who Latham furiously courted, but has lately shunned) and Latham himself. Whilst not doubting that the Government has enjoyed the last week, there is no evidence that they are behind any 'inquisition'. Latham talking about an alleged 'dirt unit' is not evidence.
But drawing attention to the peccadilloes and behavioural lapses (unless they involve proven criminal conduct) of politicians and individuals involved in public discourse simply confirms the immutable fact that humankind is flawed.
But some humans are more flawed than others. And why is only proven criminal conduct relevant?
The attempt to suggest that such lapses and flaws should disqualify an individual from contributing through political life to advancing Australia's common good is abhorrent.
'Lapses and flaws' sounds much nicer than 'lying and violence'.
I think it is good that a modest amount of privacy is still afforded politician's families in Australia, but the suggestion that a person's character is irrelevant to their fitness to hold a position of public trust is absurd. What else do we judge them on? Policy certainly. but if their character suggests that they will renege on a policy, or modify it arbitrarily, then that is a valid concern.
Latham's character suggests that he is either a) a bully, who crumbles when any pressure is put on him or b) overwhelmingly cynical, and attempting to play for the sympathy vote.
I am undecided, though I favour a mixture of the two.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
I may hate Shannon Noll's songs, and will never forgive him for the way he butchered the national anthem at this year's Grand Prix, but I must admire him for his honesty.
Witness his interview in the Hun today (no link):
Q. Are women you meet respectful that you are attached?
A. Not always. I think (they do it) to be part of the fame. I don't think I'm famous. I think I am just another guy. See, I lived in Sydney for eight months when I was 21 playing football and I got two roots the whole time and one of them was Roch (his fiancee) Now it's funny to go to a nightclub and have women come up and I just think, "Whatever! Where were you when I was 21?"
Q. Are you going to sell your wedding photos to a magazine?
A. Yeah, for sure.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Michael Leunig disgusts me.
Have a look at some of his greatest hits:
Item 1: Thats right Michael - the only difference between Coalition forces fighting terrorists, and terrorists murdering civilian hostages, is the fact that one uses guns and one uses a knife. A + in moral relativism.
Item 2: This one is more pathetic than anger inducing. Sure, all you need is love. If we love the terrorists, they won't fly planes into buildings or bomb nightclubs. Great policy.
Item 3: This one made me angry. Let me say it slowly for you - Hicks wasn't charged with being "evil, dangerous and menacing", he was charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy. Just look at the way that Hicks has been drawn (as a Leunig character) - small and naked. Where is the RPG he was photographed with? Oh, the US character has it.
Item 4: I don't think many would doubt Leunig's ability as a cartoonist - I merely loathe the way he applies the skill. This is a perfect example - nobody would deny the tragedy of the boy who lost his limbs in a US bombing raid, yet to show that as the sole image regarding the handover of sovereignty is dishonest. Would not an equally appropriate image (and pun) have been to include the men whose hands were cut off by Saddam, and have now had prosthetics provided by the US?
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
A less than ideal example
The Herald-Sun's latest campaign is about public housing or lack thereof. They had previously revealed that families on as much as $75,000 a year are living in public housing, and that prisoners can pay a nominal rent of $15 a week to have a house held for them for up to year.
Ignoring the sensationalist spin that the Hun puts on many things, there are certainly valid issues being discussed.
However, their choice of example of the current 'crisis' is less than ideal in my opinion. Meet the Norton family - currently living in a bus, having previously lived in a tent, after having previously being evicted from the house they were squatting in.
How many people in this family? - 6. - Mum, Jayde, 11, Tayla, 7, Cher, 6, Clayton, 5, and Boe, 3.
Here's an idea Ms Norton - if you have an unstable domestic environment, and no means to support your family - stop having kids. Will that solve your problem? No, but it will certainly help.
The Victorian Office of Housing said that they have been offered accommodation twice, but had refused to take up the places.
Ms Norton claims both houses were given to other tenants before she could move in because they were deemed more in need.
Being a government agency, there is bugger all that the Office of Housing is allowed to do that doesnt leave a paper trail a mile long. Misleading a newspaper on something like that would be a very stupid idea, as there would be no paperwork to back it up.
Therefore I am much more inclined to believe the Office of Housing on that one.
If it is true that she refused to take up accomodation that was offered, it provides an interesting example of how a newspaper decides to spin a story.
The way they have chosen this time is to go with the 'unfortunate family living in a tent' angle. However, they could have just as easily chosen 'House snob mother makes family live in squalor by refusing accommodation'.
Monday, July 05, 2004
I went to the wrong High School
If it is good enough for the Sydney Morning Herald, then it is good enough for me:
17 year old school student is suspended for 'saucy' photo taken in uniform.
Here is the blog. Here is her NZ modelling photo. She looks about 25, not 17.
The SMH's decision to publish the photo does not make up for also publishing Margo's photo, but it is a good start.
(Thanks to Yobbo)
**UPDATE** I love the internet. Here is the photo that really got her suspended (not to mention a bunch of others as well. Tut tut
I know Tiger Hand
Go here. Read. Laugh.
On that topic however, I would like to express just how much it annoys me when people try and introduce new elements to Rock Paper Scissors. It is called Rock Paper Scissors, not Rock Paper Scissors Dynamite.
RPS has a wonderul balance. You must choose one of three options. Each option will defeat one of the other options, and in turn will be defeated by the other option. Elegance personified.
Friday, July 02, 2004
James Delingpole has an article for you.
His main contention is that winning is better than losing, and that people are foolish to deny it.
Unhappiness isn't some man-made construct born of an ugly society's misplaced estimation of success over failure. It's God's way of telling us to pull our finger out. When, for example - as I do almost every day - I find myself cursing the fact that I am not nearly as rich and famous as I deserve to be, I do not yearn for the creation of some fairness commissar to bring people doing better than me down to my level.
Rather I go: "Right. Better write an even more brilliant novel next time. Better turn out an even more hilarious, richly inventive, cleverly argued, impossible-to-disagree-with rant for a national newspaper..."
And when I get my piece printed in this spot and someone else doesn't, I think it's great because it means I've won and they haven't.
Ha-ha, Air America, Ha-ha
The Guardian discovers Fox discovering blogs. The article mocks Fox for being late in recognising the growth of the blogosphere. Ironically, the article doesnt cite the original Fox source. One of the reasons for the popularity of blogs is that when a blogger comments on something, you can examine the original source for yourself, and decided whether the comment is fair or out of context.
Carr then descends into comedy, not to mention blatant bias, when talking about Air America:
"Through affiliates in cities from New York to Honolulu, angry liberal voices such as Al Franken, author of the anti-Bush bible Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and Hollywood's Janeane Garofalo are taking on right-wing blowhards such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly."
How many affiliates? 11, compared to Rush's 666 (again, they don't quote a source for that, and that number seems a little too convenient for my liking...) But there's more:
But unlike Limbaugh and O'Reilly, who frequently replace research and reason with rage and rhetoric, Air America's hosts are armed to the teeth with hard, up-to-the second facts to support their relentless Bush bashing. Their sources? Blogs.
Or possibly those hallowed sources of truth - Michael Moore movies...
It then provides a possible reasons as to why Air America is falling over in a screaming heap:
On Garofalo's show, barely a minute goes by without Janeane or her co-host Sam Seder referring to a news article or nugget of information they have discovered via a weblog or online news source.
Great, so they basically just read out the internet to me? Thanks.
Still, for an article that mocks Fox for being ignorant of bloggers, it seems silent on some of the more prominent members of the blogosphere, ones unlikely to be quoted by Garofalo, like Instapundit or Sullivan. I wonder why that is...
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Working in a professional environment, surrounded by people from middle or upper class backgrounds, I was constantly hearing tut tutting about the new baby bonus.
Stories about how pokies were doing a roaring trade, TV sales had jumped etc. Basically it was complete arrogance and snobbery towards 'working class' types.
Stephen Matchett does a wonderful job of refuting just about every 'argument' that has been raised. Example:
But what would really enrapture people who hate the idea of lower income Australians being allowed to do what they like would be lists of prescribed, and proscribed, products. Alcohol would not get a guernsey. Children may drive most parents to drink, but the poor, being weak and foolish creatures, should be kept away from temptation, whether they want to be tempted or not. Fast food would obviously be out. But sellers of lentils and leafy greens would clean up.
Read the whole thing.
Saddam bad, Bush worse
Robert Scheer, in the Los Angeles Times (via the Age):
Allawi also demanded that Saddam be put under his Government's control and tried quickly by an Iraqi court - probably a strategic move to seize Saddam's strongman crown directly.
Or it could be that they want the murderous bastard dealt with as soon as possible of course.
The main thrust of the article is that the new Iraqi Prime Minister previously worked on behalf of the CIA to attempt to unseat Saddam.
Its funny, this occured during the 1990's, yet the only Presidents mentioned in the article are Reagan, Bush Snr and Bush Jnr. Clinton, who was President during the 1990s, doesn't get a mention.
Then again, the end of the article tells us that:
"Robert Scheer is a co-author of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq (Allen & Unwin, 2003)"
I will be listening to him for fair and unbiased opinions...