Open threads

Feb 20, 2012

Weekly Open Thread 20-24 February 2012

It's weeks like this - when sensationalist tabloid media sense blood in the water and think they can push a story-selling leadership change - when turning Pure Poison into a gard

It’s weeks like this – when sensationalist tabloid media sense blood in the water and think they can push a story-selling leadership change – when turning Pure Poison into a gardening blog becomes increasingly appealing.

Even better: gardening AND kittehs.

But alright, if you must. If the media wittering gets too much and you just need to vent, here’s an open thread to do it in.

I’m just not doing an actual post on the subject.

And if you happen to drown out the leadership garbage with discussion of actual policy, of matters that actually affect Australians… well, you’d be setting a brilliant example for the national media.

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92 thoughts on “Weekly Open Thread 20-24 February 2012

  1. Nick the Hippy

    Doh, honeymoon killer

  2. Nick the Hippy

    Headline, page 9 of the Aus, “Honeymoon killer’s aquittal stuns family.” Surely if he has been aquitted he can’t be a “honeykoon killer.”

  3. Angra

    A comment on the evolution of language.

    The Spastic Centre of NSW is a noble and honourable institution which has been providing services to people with cerebral palsy for many years.

    They recently had to change their name. They are now the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

    This name change was not their fault, but due to the evolution of the meaning of ‘spastic’ from a perfectly acceptable medical term, into a term of derision and denigration.

    “Derived via Latin from the Greek spastikos (“drawing in” or “tugging”), the word originally referred to a change in muscles affected by the medical condition spasticity, which is seen in spastic diplegia and many other forms of cerebral palsy and in terms such as “spastic colon”, with no negative connotation, as it is accurately descriptive of the condition.”

    However it is now commonly used in Australia as a sick form of abuse – hence the need to change the name. This has not happened in other countries – ie India.

    By the way, the fund-raising director for many years for the Society was Marty Rhone – he of “Denim and Lace” fame – often voted the worst Australian pop song, which he would happily and ironically perform at fund-raising events.

    A good man with a great sense of humour.

  4. Cuppa

    I don’t know, Podrick. Let’s hope he goes behind the paywall! Wonder if many wingnuts would pay good money to read the propaganda.

  5. podrick

    Cuppa @78 does this mean bolt will be behind a paywall? Iam getting pretty tired of rants lately and there is no way I would pay to access it.

  6. Cuppa

    Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    [In a belated and probably futile attempt to retain what little sanity I still have, I’ve sworn off streaming ABC radio (any of them) and Australian radio altogether.]

    Good move. I’ve been a radio listener for many years and never known the Australian product to be as shitful as it is these days. Unless one is a bubblehead or frothing right wing frootloop, talk radio, whether ABC or commercial, is an offensive wasteland.

    Fortunately the world wide web opens up a world of options. The free software Radio? Sure! comes with 20,000 stations pre-loaded in a wide range of formats.

    Stitcher is the customisable talk radio experience. Just pick the programs and podcasts that interest you, and arrange them in the order you want. You need never hear another Hadley or right wing nutter again!

    Intelligent commercial talk radio from the UK at LBC.

    Progressives everywhere will thrill to Mike Malloy, the hardest-hitting, most controversial progressive talk show host on the planet. A year’s subscription to his podcast is around $US60 – gets you an episode every weekday. Hugely recommended! (formerly known as Radio Time) Listen to radio from around the world.

    …And finally, waiting for Dave Gaukroger and Jeremy Sear to get themselves a gig on air with their smart and funny brand of progressive talk. How about it, guys?

  7. Matthew of Canberra

    fractious @81

    Turn off entirely. Go listen to the BBC World Tonight and World at One, top it up with NPR’s “Tell Me More” and if you’re still desperate for news go check out PRI’s “The World”.

    You don’t need our news providers to stay informed. And the other-perspective makes the world seem a lot more sane.

    Oh – they’re all podcasts, by the way.

  8. Matthew of Canberra

    My gosh. FOX has declared the movie “The Lorax” to be:

    “plainly with an agenda, plainly demonizing the so-called “1 percent” and espousing the virtue of green-energy policies, come what may”

    Do these idiots (and by “idiots” I do indeed rope in some guy called “Lou Dobbs”, and although I have no particular knowledge of his foibles, his lack of understanding of what follows surely ranks the guy among the shit-eating dickheads of media) know ANYTHING about theodore geisel?

    Everyone here must, post-haste, go buy themselves a copy of “Dr Seuss Goes To War”. It’s a collection of geisel’s work at PM Magazine before and during WWII. This guy was all behind The Cause. Looking at his cartoons now, I don’t believe he ever put a food wrong in terms of backing funding for the war, arguing its moral cause, lambasting hoarders and rent-seekers and people who didn’t do their bit, pointing out the risks in relying on the soviet unions, and here’s the best bit …

    … he saw Pearl Harbor coming.

    A few days before the bombing, he penned a cartoon showing a (admittedly racially-negative-stereotyped) japanese emperor winding up to throw something at uncle sam. And the caption? “Give Me a Brick To Bean You With, Or I’ll Paste You With This Pie”. It was an observation on the isolation strategy of FDR, and japan’s likely response. And it happened, just a few days later.

    And THAT guy wrote The Lorax.

    Screw you, Dobbs. Whoever you are. You’re a first-rate moron, not to mention historically tragic.

    Incidentally, the Intelligence Community’s failure to see Pearl Harbor coming led to a great big investigation. Turns out, everyone had intelligence that pointed to an attack, but nobody was sharing it. Inter-departmental resistance led to a sneak attack on the great state of hawaii a US protectorate in the Pacific, when everyone, it turns out, “saw it coming”.

    And thus was born the CIA. And that solved everything.

  9. Angra

    However my faith in humanity has been restored. I just spoke to one our local tradies at the fish and chip shop (drives a V8 ute, listens to C AND W, probably reads the Tele).

    I complained about ACA and TT. He said “I don’t watch commercial TV anymore – just the ABC and SBS. The rest is just so full of crap.”

    God bless that man.

  10. Angra

    ACA just did a free ad for expensive retirement home ripoffs. I wonder how much they got paid for televising this crap?

    Apartments range from 400k to 1 mill – that’s for a one, two or three bedroom flat. Well within the price range of the average pensioner.

    You pay around $200 a week for maintenance, and you didn’t even get to keep your capital – you have to pay around 30% back to the companies running these if you sell and move out before you die – in which case the property belongs to them.

    What a blatant con job – and ACA claims it’s ‘a great deal for the oldies. Some are even pet-friendly and have socials!’.

    And I have a great bargain offer on a bridge which goes right across Sydney harbour.

    ACA has reached the bottom-most pile on the arsehole of television.

  11. Durham Red

    Lesbian transvestite strawberry patch killer Donna Lee Casagrande ‘ran rampant’

    Another classy headline from News Ltd.

  12. fractious

    In a belated and probably futile attempt to retain what little sanity I still have, I’ve sworn off streaming ABC radio (any of them) and Australian radio altogether. Today I’m listening to the BBC World Service and the World Today – you’d almost get the idea there were other things going on besides the current nonsense in Canberra. More than that it seems there are other countries in the world, and in many of them things are happening and we know things are happening in these other countries because there are people called “journalists” who investigate and report on them.

  13. Angra

    Not sure if this has been covered, but the NHMRC has announced that all research reports will be made freely available.

    “While America seriously considers the insane Research Works Act (banning the open publication of publicly-funded research), Australia is moving in the other direction. Its National Health and Medical Research Council has announced that all funded research will be made available to the public starting July.

    Without detailing what license will be used for publication, the NHMRC’s CEO Professor Warwick Anderson has announced the move in this post at The Conversation.

    While Australia’s public research is not under the same attack as is taking place in the USA, the question of open access to academic research is a growing debate. Australian researchers are lining up with their international peers in opposing the dominance of Elsevier in academic publishing.

    The NHMRC is a major player in Australia’s scientific research, allocated nearly $AU800 million in the 2011-2012 budget and disbursing thousands of research grants annually. It also supports research fellowships of various kinds, and provides career development and scholarships to researchers.

    In announcing the decision, Professor Anderson cited similar policies espoused by the UN’s National Institutes of Health, the UK’s Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust.”

  14. Angra

    Mr B has a snide dig at Aboriginal participation in education.

    “Explanation needed, to be sure we’re closing the gap”

    “This astonishing rise – noted in the Gonski report – needs to be accounted for: This increase is vastly greater than the fertility rate among Aboriginal women of 2.6. How to explain it? Are more Aboriginal students suddenly going to school, or more children identifying as Aboriginal? Is there some other possible explanation? ”

    His implication is that more people are identifying as Aboriginal. It can’t be anything to do with more Aboriginal kids actually going to school, surely?

    “Unless we can debate this honestly and without fear of legal action, we will not know if our efforts to help disadvantaged Aboriginal children is working well or not.”

    And of course to rub in the point about his recent conviction and (horror!) the censorship of his views –

    “No comments, I’m afraid.”

  15. Cuppa

    The Herald-Sun to go behind a paywall in March. Some content will still be free – late-breaking news and material widely available from other sources.

  16. Aliar Jones

    Surely MORE Bole Report will fix Ten’s problems!

    (secretly i hope they do, it should fix them for good)

  17. Indiana Jones

    I hope you guys are getting up early tomorrow, there ought to be plenty to wade through!

  18. SHV


    And none of your trollbot fans would dare mention that Channel Seven turned a $163Million profit:

  19. Liz A

    Oh, how I would love to do a Bolt right now and create some spurious linkages between 2 vaguely correlated facts in order to jump to a conclusion.

    If I was to do that, I would for example take this statement from James Warburton:

    [The first-half results reflect tough trading conditions and a difficult final quarter of calendar 2011 as the Company re-set its cost base and focused on creating a more sustainable business.]

    and then I would link to this:

    [In its first season The Bolt Report, which airs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, pulled 123,000 viewers on average in its 10am Sunday spot, at the bottom of the free-to-air ratings for its timeslot.]

    Read more:

    And then I would leave my army of commenters to draw a line between the 2 factoids I have just placed in their willing hands.

    But I’m not, so I won’t.

    “No Comments”

  20. Angra

    Here’s a nice recipe for turkey soup – ‘cos I’m sick of all the politics and media and Bolt and stuff. Courtesy of my mum.

    First get a turkey hindquarter (about $3 after Christmas). Place in stock pot with 2 pints of water, 3 bayleaves, a couple of spoons of vinegar, a spoon of sugar, a dash of salt and pepper, and simmer gently for 2 hours.

    Meanwhile cut up a potato, carrot, stick of celery, some ginger and 3 cloves of garlic and split peas. Add to the turkey stock. You should have soaked half a packet of split peas the night before (sorry forgot that).

    Add everything to the turkey stock and simmer for another 2 hours.

    Strain out all the ugly big bits and serve with some toasted baquettes and a sprinkling of shaved parmesan.

    Fucking A!


  21. SHV

    Re: Guy who threw his kid off the Story Bridge, obviously I’m not the only one struck by the media treatment:

    Conal Hanna defends the media:

    [Isn’t the contrast between the Jason people knew, the teacher, rugby coach and referee, and the one who died in such dramatic, horrific fashion – taking his young son with him – the essence of this story?]

    I suppose you could argue that if any of the coverage contained something a bit like, say, “contrast”.

    [The fact is nice people do bad things.]

    No, ‘bad’ people do bad things. ‘Nice’ people don’t kill their children. Don’t they have dictionaries at Fairfax?

    At least, most of the comments on his piece seem to understand the problem with the media handling of the story, even if the “journalists” can’t.

  22. Liz A

    Sorry about the tag on my last post guys. The Crikey subs have been trying to fix my web link… not very successfully 😉

    Surly @70

    shouldn’t be long now: the bolter put this one up today…

    but he doesn’t see that the overall temperature trend in his “proving-denialist-wrong” theory is upwards?

    But that’s OK, cos it was published by the Wall Street Journal, so it MUST be right!

  23. surlysimon

    How long before we see the usual suspects trying to convince us this means AGW has been a con all along


    awww Fox News, they really are becoming paranoid…

    Apparently the movie adaptation of Dr Seuss’ “The Lorax” is creating “occu-toddlers” some sort of under 5’s army of next generation wall street occupiers and eco terrorists!

    who’d have thought huh.

    *the stupid, it burns*

  25. Angra

    re. 66 – They meant Zucchini (or baby marrow in proper English), but they got confused, as NSW people are sometimes prone to do. Especially when they repeatedly lose to Queensland.


  26. podrick

    Ok Part One for today from the always completely neutral and never bias Curious Snail.
    Headline Screams:
    [‘Labor stooge’ confronts Newman as leaders’ election campaigns to cross paths in Townsville ]

    What the alledged stooge actually said.
    [“Basically he said I was either a member of a union or the Labor Party, which I’m neither, and he actually insulted me by calling me names, which was pretty upsetting as you can see,” Mr Jones told AAP.]

  27. Angra

    Or more correctly “womens’ rights to shoes”?

    Mind you I don’t trust Fairfax to be guardians of our linguistic culture. After all they once said ‘courgettes’ was French for ‘red peppers’.

    Nevertheless shoes must be of fundamental importance to ‘wimmin”.

  28. SHV

    @61 & 62,

    Compare it, for example, to the treatment of the 2004 murder suicide involving Jayson Dalton:

    “One Nation Candidate Believed To Have Killed Kids”

    The special treatment in the current case feels like more than just “old school tie”. As I said, its disturbing.

  29. Matthew of Canberra

    “Eventually the Libs are going to have to let go of the “Carbon Tax lie” too”

    They will, but only after they’re in office and have to stop mentioning it in case people wonder why they’re not rolling it back.

    In related news, Essential research has some interesting figures:

    The 54/45 2PP isn’t the interesting bit. The interesting bit is the surprising amount of support for the NBN and mining tax (whatever “mining tax” happens to mean in the minds of those polled)

  30. Angra

    And an astrophe-police interjection.

    Shouldn’t the SMH headline “A woman’s right to shoes” be “A womans right to shoes”?

  31. Matthew of Canberra

    SHV @57

    Conflicting knee-jerk reactions at work :-/

    Give it a week or two for the “bugger, what are we going to say – the bugger’s DEAD” reaction to pass and we might see some aggro.

    Now … if he were muslim

  32. Brizben

    @Bob Brown – How long did it take you to get over the “Never ever GST” lie Howard told? From what I recall at the time people were upset but then everyone got over it and got on with their lives. Eventually the Libs are going to have to let go of the “Carbon Tax lie” too.
    [The media’s focus only on the “Rugby coach, well-loved teacher who had it all” angle is disturbing.]
    If the guy was a junior footy coach from the western suburbs there would be a different angle. I think the old school tie network is still alive in Brisbane. But yeah the rent situation is bad. I am starting to see properties where it is cheaper to pay a mortgage than to rent. I think the government should use the opportunity presented by the current market to put some low income earners into rental purchase schemes. If it decreases their rent and helps them invest in the community why isn’t it being done already?

  33. Angra

    Mind you the Barramundi sounds tasty. In PNG I could get the ingredients for this for less than $10 for four people, from local fishermen and the market.

    Hells bells! – I’m falling into the same trap!

  34. Sammy Jankis

    Michelle Grattan really mixes things up today with an article about Rudd, Gillard and Labor leadership speculation. Change is as good as a holiday I guess.

  35. Angra

    God, don’t you get sick of all the elitist, rich people shit covered by the papers? The best cars, the most expensive houses, the most fasionable food, the most exotic places to travel, the clothes you should be wearing this autumn?

    Here are some of todays stories in the SMH! (Double Bay and Wahroonga, this is for you).

    Mercedes-Benz reveals new SL63 AMG
    At $75 million, it’s a price to make you scream
    Hands on with Vita #7
    Spiced apricots with caramel coconut cream
    Carnival climax dazzles Rio de Janeiro
    A woman’s right to shoes
    Green papaya salad with crab
    Barramundi with pineapple, chilli and mint salsa
    Gold higher on bailout doubts

    Shit, I’d be happy to have a decent sausage sandwich and a Chery J1 right now and a flat where the roof doesn’t leak.

    Reminds my of my favourite Penn and Teller ‘Bullshit!’ episode, where they con rich arseholes into believing they’ve had the best, most exclusive meal available but were really feeding them cheap crap shit from the local garage supermarket, tarted up a bit with some dead lettuce decoration and lots of fancy talk. And they fall for it!

    We live in a country of wankers. What hammered this home to me was while waiting for a bus one night some ‘acquaintances’ offered to drive me home in their BMW and spend the whole time talking about their latest skiing holiday in Aspen.

    I’d just returned from five years in PNG.

  36. SHV

    There is something very strange going on around the media echo-chamber regarding the death of Jason Lee and his child (Lee threw his 2 year old son off the Story Bridge then jumped himself).

    Remember the ‘Shock! Outrage! Fury!’ over stories where a father murders a child? There was Arthur Freeman who threw his daughter from the Westgate Bridge or Robert Farquharson who drowned his sons by driving into a dam. Both were rightly and loudly condemned by the Courts and the Media.

    Freeman’s argument that he was, himself, suicidal at the time was completely rejected by the Court.

    Not sure how it’s being covered down south, but up here in Qld there is a uniformity (as usual) between Fairfax, News Ltd and ABC. Not a word of condemnation for a man who by all accounts murdered his son. Instead we are told that he was “well loved” by all, “compassionate”, “a gentleman”, a respected teacher at ‘Churchie’ private school, a Rugby coach and even a reserve referee for the Dubai sevens. A good man. We are told how saddened the community is and that his funeral will be held at the school chapel.

    In one article I just read, there was hardly a word about the dead son and none at all about the grieving mother – it was all about what a terrific guy this bloke was.

    Every story comes with the obligatory “Men’sline” numbers etc.. and the commentary that I have seen/heard is exclusively about ‘what could drive someone to kill themself, especially a guy who has it all’.

    All that is fair enough and suicide is obviously a real problem but he killed his kid FFS.

    It’s a tragedy and a heinous crime all rolled into one. The media’s focus only on the “Rugby coach, well-loved teacher who had it all” angle is disturbing.

  37. Aliar Jones

    [Hee hee bet you wouldn’t put money on him though :-)]

    Show me where he nominated a precise (as in a specific date) of a climate event (you wont be able to) – either way as a scientist he’d be the first to admit nothing is precise.

    As opposed to the predictability of denialists like yourself Blob

    [Oh Jonesy all this constant dribble about insanity and stupidity. I’m almost starting to think you’ve got some sort of left wing projection going on !]

    You obviously don’t read back your own posts..

  38. dogspear

    Tony knows that “carbon price” doesn’t mean “carbon tax” Are you calling Tony a liar, Bobliar?

  39. dogspear

    here you go, Bobliar. Julia made the distiction again, in case people have been living under a rock for the last decade or simply forgot that there was a difference between an ETS and a tax.

  40. Cuppa

    [A “lie” is when you say something you know is untrue. Where you describe as true something that you know isn’t.]

    The irony of explaining to a RWF what “lie” means :D!

  41. Post hoc

    Sorry MoC I was copying you in your avoidance on all things in the Land of Bolt, but I am weak, I succumbed. Anyway our resident climate scientist has linked to a paper on a recent study on Surface Mass Balance of Antarctic Ice sheets, once again it appears he doesn’t quite understand what the paper really says, he just takes a link that he thinks means something.

    Anyway the study by Lenaerts et al is not good news for humans. This is what i left for Mr Bolt, let’s see if he publishes it

    Mr Bolt

    I don’t believe you understand the information that the new paper by Lenaerts et al or that of Monaghan.

    The fact that there is no trend in snow accumulation across the continent is actually a major concern. It was expected that snow accumulation on the grounded ice would reduce some of the sea level rises associated with ice on the shelf. By showing no accumulation in the interieor and only coastal this indicates pushes the amount of sea level rise higher.

    See that is the problem of taking a quote from a paper that you think means something but not having an idea what it actually means. I suggest you read Monaghans paper, and others to get an idea on this.

  42. Matthew of Canberra

    This is a very, VERY strange thing to become a news story. Particularly with this level of detail:

    If this was anybody else, would the police be handing out that kind of information, in that kind of detail? I wonder if this is seen as some sort of “justice by other means” (yes, I also have my opinions about what happened in new york).

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