Thursday, 30 December 2010

Yet another Townsville Blog

Following The Magpie's move to the blogosphere, Townsville now has another new blog on the scene.

Photoblogging $30 million at work in Townsville is an intermittent blog of pics taken of our dinosaur racing racing track built at taxpayers expense in Ried 'Park' on the other side of the Creek.

Posts will be completely adhoc and dependant on my going down Boundary St. and thinking to take a pic when I do.

Please feel free to submit your own pics - just email them to  islander505@gmail.com

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Big Leak on Maggie or The Big Rip-off by the Townsville Bulletin?

I see that The Bully has this morning finally reported about the buzz on Maggie Island about building some sort of statue in tribute to the Island's one-time son, Julian Assange.

We reported on it here at length yesterday and earlier (about 10 days ago) here.  And we of course took our lead from Magnetic Times who first raised the idea in this story on 11 December and a week later developed it further in this story (including with the cartoon by George shown at right).

But true to style, in finally running the story, the Bully fails to give any recognition or reference to Magnetic Times (reflecting the old mainstream media paradigm of 'every other media outlet is a competitor and therefore shouldn't be given an inch').  In fact, when you read  the Bully's piece, you could swear that their hard-working journo, Anon, wrote it based on their own detailed investigative journalism.

Rather, The Bully ignores the originators of the idea (and the story) and instead focuses on "local island character" Crusty Heron.  Of course, in any small community such as the Island, "local character" is a euphemism for "local nut-job". 

Don't get me wrong, Crusty is a nice guy, good to wave at from the other side of the road and does quite a reasonable wedding (although I brought one from him and it didn't work).  It's just that you want to avoid getting into a conversation with him at all costs.  If you're wondering why, just have a read of his diatribes in the comments to these Magnetic Times articles here and here

But hey, he's a talking head who always answers his phone - making the 'investigation' by The Bully's increasingly familiar Anon all that much easier and providing the perfect out from giving due credit to The Magnetic Times.

Finally I really wonder whether the photo-shopped graphic with the Bully's story was really done by Crusty as implied in the article or was it actually mashed-up by Anon him/herself?  You certainly won't find it on Crusty's website, facebook page or from any google search I could think of!

PS: - Magnetic Times got eight weblinks out of this story and The Bully only one - a good score I reckon and one that won't help The Bully's google rankings one bit!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The real meaning of xmas

Via Planet Irf

Incredibly unimportant breaking news

Of Malls and Convention Centres

I finally had a wander down the 'finished' section of the Townsville Mall (or Flinders Street as it will soon be instantly recognised as around the globe).

Seeing no one is game to publicly bucket Council's latest little adventure in urban design (remember Flinders St East), let me be the first:
  • It's gonna be a bloody wet place to go shopping in the wet season
  • It's gonna be a bloody hot place to eat your lunch when it's not raining
On the plus side, some of Townsville's ugliest buildings are now fully exposed for the world's architecture tourists (and American boat people) to truly 'enjoy'.

More to the point, it seems that Council and the developer class about town have worked out that the renovation ain't going to work, ain't gonna make the Mall one bit more competitive as a shopping destination and ain't gonna be the $57 million incentive to potential investors in Lancini's Flinders Plaza development that it was designed to provide.

The building 'campaign' for Townsville's much mooted Convention Centre to be located within the CBD (read Lancini's Flinders Plaza ghetto)  is a great study in how these guys play the game (with the help of The Bulletin of course):
  • You simply start by someone with profile raising the suggestion - as CBD Taskforce chairman Craig Stack no doubt did in a call to Tony Raggatt who pushes the idea into play.  The same day the Bully's anonymous Editor does a support piece in his editorial - not too strident, gently, gently, place it second.
  • The next day you run a page-3 story (complete with front page header) in which, according to Raggatt, "the idea has been supported by Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell and CBD Taskforce chairman Craig Stack" (the previous day he had reported Stack and Tyrell as saying that the idea should be considered). 
  • While we're about it, let's introduce Lancini into play - carefully though, you wouldn't like to look too eager at the prospect of a $140 million key-stone tenant to kick your stalled development along.
  • And let's add a bit a bit of weight to the proposition by quoting an economist - and none other than local developer Carey Ramm
  • And for good measure, why not give Raggatt a 'Business Desk' opinion piece on the same day when he can invoke the ghosts of his father to argue that Lancini should have the subsidy Convention Centre.
In one sense, of course, they are all right - the only thing that will make the Mall work is more people!  However, no one is going to open a shop in the Mall on the promise of maybe lots of people attending a 2 or 3- day conference once a month for maybe nine months of the year.

And of course adding a few carparks (even at the expense of the hundreds that come to the precinct every day by bus - how dumb is that) is not going to make the CBD any more attractive or convenient or, therefore, competitive against Stocklands, The Willows etc

I'm afraid that population density in the CBD (both residential and office) is the only thing that will save The Mall and Council had their chance when they considered a proposal for the development of an Arts Centre (that could have also accommodated conventions) and office/residential complex on what is currently the carpark between Council and the Law Courts.  Instead, they chose to use the available funds to build the tack-on to the Civic Theatre which (coincidentally, of course) gave Les and the big boys a perfectly oriented balcony from which they can gaze down on Pitt Straight during the annual Ried "Park" dinosaur race.  Perhaps Raggatt should chase down that story.

A convention centre to save Flinders Street is a dumb idea - just like putting a road down the middle will prove to be.  But now that they've started the play, I'm afraid that we're all gonna have to watch it unfold over the quite holiday period when no-one is paying any attention to politics. After all, it might just lead to an extra $140 million subsidy support to the failed Flinders Plaza ghetto -on top of what is fairly obviously the failed $57 million subsidy Mall 'upgrade'.

Oh, did I remember to mention that Lancini is a gold advertiser with the Bully and probably the occasional supplier of free drinks to Tony Raggatt?

Magnetic Island's monumental marketing opportunity

As I've noted before, there is a bit of a buzz around about building a monument to Wikileaks founder and former island hippie Julian Assange. Magnetic Times editor, George Hirst has even offered a first design option although I must admit to being a bit taken by Rolf's suggestion of one of those "cutsie little boy peeing sculptures" (see comments).

Magnetic Times also has a poll at the bottom right of their front page asking Should Magnetic Island commission a sculpture to celebrate the achievements of Julian Assange? With 385 votes so far 98% responses have been positive.

And I see that The Magpie's Nest has seen some "ripper marketing opportunities" in Assange's association with Maggie island - including the tourism pitch: `Want a tan like Julian Assange's? Holiday on Magnetic Island - in the rainy season!' - an increasingly accurate xmas tag given the forecasts!

I reckon that both local scholars are on to something here.  If you consider the potential value in niche tourism Maggie Island could be sitting on a marketing goldmine (Checkout for example the 12-day Lord of the Rings tour of NZ).

But when you think of the types of people who might come to visit the childhood home of Assange, I think that any monument would need to be able to be visited in all anonymity and would need to include a free and highly encrypted wifi connection and highly secure server.  Sorry George and Rolf but I'm not sure that electricity and water are going to work!

PS: Don't forget to vote on the Magnetic Times poll.  You can also join this Facebook group if you're into that sort of thing.

Kids doing dumb things

This reminded me of a couple of stories from when I was a youth worker many years ago in the then outer southern suburbs of Adelaide.
The first was when a group of local kids got stoned one night and decided to break into the local supermarket to score some free fags.  They successfully got in through the roof but gave themselves away when, stoned and giggling as they fell over each other in the dark, they turned the lights on.  The supermarket was on a rise, in the middle of a car park and right on the main street into town and just up from the cop shop!!

The second was a car-full who went to the drive-in one night (remember them?) after dropping some Mandrax (remember them).  They of course all proceeded to fall asleep, including the driver who pushed the car out of gear setting in rolling down into the car in front!  They were all still asleep with in the coppers arrived!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Bulletin does good

Credit where credit is due!
I thought the headline on the Bully's story this morning about the horrific and wretched deaths on the cliffs of Christmas Island yesterday was both sensitive and respectful. 

Full recognition that these were/are people seeking freedom and security and none of the "illegal immigrants" "people smugglers" or "queue-jumpers" we normally hear so much of from the MSM.  It also happens to be a beautiful construction. 

Well done to the sub-editor who wrote it.

PS: Compare the Bully's effort with this little trash piece from (surprise, surprise) Dennis Shanahan in (surprise, surprise) The Oz:   NO politicians wanted to be seen to be taking political advantage from the tragic sinking of the people-smuggling vessel.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Would you donate $5 to help build a statue of Julian Assange on Magnetic Island?

It had to happen - following the Magnetic Times article and our post in response, there is now the facebook poll!:
Would you donate $5 to help build a statue of Julian Assange on Magnetic Island?

Could Wikileaks take us here? (or are we already there)

Found this good post by  Johan Lagerkvist at onlineopinion.com.au* discussing the implications of how the powerful might responds to Wikileaks, including this quote


It can be foreshadowed that governments will craft laws that target citizen-journalist activities. Citizens’ unauthorised storing of leaked material could be made illegal. Another potential outcome could be state eavesdropping, monitoring and storing information on a broader spectrum of the citizenry than hitherto possible.
Chilling - especially when you've just read this story from Stephen Martin at The Mirror:
Boy of 12 hauled out of class by police over David Cameron Facebook protest
Scary!  Maybe the proponents of the Julian Assange Statue on Magnetic Island will need to re-think their personal security!

* Originally posted on YaleGlobal Online. Copyright © 2010, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Of Magnetic Island, Julian Assange and a Statue

Further to my earlier posts about Wikileaks, Magnetic Times has a great piece on Julian Assange's connection to the Island.  The comments that follow are worth a read too.

I wonder what would happen if someone set-up a facebook donations page for a statue of Julian Assange to be erected on Maggie Island ...? 

I'd probably contribute - after all, he's the only man who I can think of who has taken on the prevailing power-structures on a truly global scale - and won, I suspect!

Also worth a look - Planet Irf's regularly updated WikiLeaks hysteria ... post.

A good news story worth recognition

News last week of the Federal Court's granting of native title to their Country for the Waanyi people is a real good news story.

I know a little of both the Waanyi's fight for their Country and Century Zinc's approach to recognising the claims of, working with, and providing opportunities for the Traditional Owners of 'their' mine site. I'm sure it wasn't smooth sailing for either party but the outcome really does seem to be a real win-win outcome that should be celebrated as an example of the resilience, determination and power of the surviving first nations and a mining operations intelligent (and as it happens, just) response to the traditional owners of country they want to exploit.

All I could find with a quick google were variations on this story by Darren Cartwright at AAP: Win-win for Waanyi people and miners.  If anyone can recommend a link with more on the history of the Waanyi people's struggle, please post it in a Comment.

Congratulations to the Waanyi people and particularly to Jane Ah Kit, Edith Medwin, and Glenys Saltmere – threeWaanyi women I had the pleasure of working with a while back.  I bet there were some good parties at Lawn Hill and in the Isa and on Mornington and across the North-West last week!!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

I can see the smoke from The Bully already

I reckon I can see the smoke coming from Bully Headquaters as they read the latest post over at The Maggie's Nest.  You see, the old Maggie has published the latest circulation catastorpie at the Bully under editor Gleeson's watch - a 4.2% fall in the last quaterly audit - on top of the previous 10% fall I posted about here.

I wonder whether, as a result, the old 'pie will get an editorial dressing down similar to the one I recieved?  Or perhaps 'Typo' Gleeson* will be too busy looking over his sholder for Murdoch's crack accountants death squad.

* The term "Typo" Gleeson is completely the invention of The Magpie and less demafitory than anything I could think of.  It is used with permission (I hope)

Friday, 10 December 2010

O Really?

What the?

Is Wikileaks making an ememy in Murdoch?

Isn't it interesting that the Fairfax Press seem to be doing all the running on the Wikileaks story - all of the Australia related leaks (Arbib the Cabinet rat, howAfghanistan scares the hell out of Rudd etc) have been reported first on the front page of The Age.

Perhaps Wikileaks are doing here what they are doing globally - that is, not providing a feed to any Murdoch owned press.  Globally, they  provide advances of what they will publish online to The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais - not one Murdoch rag among them.

Smart man that Maggie Island kid, Assange.  Makes me wonder whether News Corp will be one of the global mega-businesses that Assange has warned Wikileaks has files on and plan to release soon.

Now that would be fun!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Is Mark Arbib just the tip of an iceburg?

I got a good chuckle out of this mornings news of the outing of Mark Arbib as a US sycophant - it could well be the end of his political career which probably wouldn't be a bad thing for either the country or the ALP.

However, there is a sub-plot in this story which needs a bit more exposure and that is about the role of the Australian-American Dialogue organisation in the Abib Affair and more broadly in Australian Politics over recent decades.

I first became aware of the Australian-American Dialogue during the Hawke years when a Cabinet insider explained their pervasive reach thought the labor party and union movement, the conservative parties and big business.  Their modus operandi was explained as targeting political up-and-comers early in their career, offering free junkets to the States and other general ego stroking in order to build their loyalty to the alliance (read, the US) and to build relationships which are able to be called on over the careers that follow.

Hopefully the Arbib-saga will shine a bit of light on this extremely well funded lobby group.  I'd suggest as a starting point, a bit of a trawl through the MP register of pecuniary interests.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

In case you haven't seen it

Doing the rounds in the blogosphere and no doubt soon to be seen in the email in-tray (The TSA is the US Transportation Security Administration - think full body searches at US airports)

Which reminds me - anyone want to take a bet on who the rich and powerful capture first - Osama Bin Laden (apparent cause of at least two wars) or Julian Assange (very apparent cause of much nakedness amongst the ruling class)?  Funny that - not!

The Townsville Bulletin's lead articles for January 2011 will be....

Did you see the Bulletin's "tell the editor" readers survey in last Saturday's Bulletin or here online?  We've seen this ploy from the Bully around this time every year for a while now - run a survey and then use the data collected to con advertisers about local consumer sentiment and to generate an endless stream of "Townsville residents think ..." and "Townsville residents outraged at ..." articles during the silly season when the Bully would rather have staff on leave.

 
In January you should expect articles on:
  1. How everyone loves the "new look Townsville Bulletin"
  2. An announcement on a change from Saturday to Friday for the publication of the Bully's Property Section
  3. How times are tough and people are cutting back on discretionary spending
  4. Voters demand the return of Council Divisions
  5. (more) Anger at Council over water rates / "sack the lot of them readers say"
  6. A report card (with ratings) on all the local pollies 
  7. CBD Upgrade has little impact on shoppers intentions / Shoppers prefer Myers at Stocklands over a road through the Mall
  8. Something about a shortage of GPs (interestingly, there are very few questions about the Townsville Hospital)
  9. Public live in fear of rampant hooliganism, hooning, cabbie bashing, rude drivers and bad neighbours
  10. Everybody loves sport and The Fury must be saved
  11. Most Townsvillians don't visit Maggie Island
  12. The Government isn't doing enough about homelessness and Townsville demands a mandatory detoxification program be introduced although  no one seems to know whether it should be for Flinders Street nightclubbers or parkies
And, believe it or not, you should also expect those old chestnuts:
  • Voters demand a separate NQ state, and
  • Maggie Is to become a tourism mecca if the bridge is built
Finally, I have no idea what sort of story they will beat-up out of responses to the question "Should council or business owners be responsible for the upkeep of heritage listed buildings?" but I'm sure a few developers around town (perhaps with interests in the Mall/Drive-through) will have written the article for have them.

 
Of course, all of this dribble that we will read over the holidays will all be meaningless, just as the survey is meaningless.  It will reflect the views of those people who buy the Bulletin or visit their website and choose to fill in a survey - nothing more and certainly NOT IN ANYWAY any kind of representative sampling of the local population (or even of the Bulletin's readership for that matter, advertisers take note).

I wonder what would happen if .....

I wonder if I announced here that I was going to bid for the townsville.com.au domain name before the auction closes at 4:pm today, whether the Townsville Bulletin will put in a pre emptive bid in an effort to stop me???

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

This is not funny!

I can think of a dozen funny lines I could have written about this headline but read the story.  Psychometric testing is standard practice for any business of size and should be mandatory for all aspiring politicians.

Myers-Briggs and the like are hardly "new-age" (well perhaps so in Murdoch's empire where head-kicking 101 seems to be the only criteria for promotion).  And while they would do a good job of weeding out at least the worst of the megalomaniacs, wankers, evolution-deniers, thieves and idiots, I'm not sure how such instruments could be calibrated to (safely) take account of ego - that essential ingredient in political success which is usually the last thing you look for in a good CEO or leader.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ewen Jones speaks - again

Further to yesterday's post, This is what we got for the $460 in wages (times about 5 for on-costs) that The Big Ewe cost the taxpayers of Herbert on Wednesday of this week:


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ewen Jones - Big dick or class clown?

Rather than a serial pest (and here), could it be that The Big Ewe is nothing more than a naughty private school boy who is no good at the "my dick is bigger than yours" game (The Mad Monk's forte) so seeks attention and approval by being the class clown?
"Mr Jones said he had now won the trifecta he was the first of the 2010 MP intake to be mentioned, to be warned, and to be ejected" Martin Rasini
And just like all class clowns, he seems to be proud of his achievements!! 

The Bulletin seems equally impressed by The Ewe - giving him a whole page today  to sell his wares and try and convince us that his achievements have been meaningfull!!!  I can't find The Ewe's piece on-line - perhaps that is the sort of content that Murdoch's Bulletin will make us pay-to-view or perhaps Rupe just claims the $5,000 value of the free PR as a tax deduction)

For the sake of balance:  The Big Ewe has made 13 'contributions' to debates in parliament since elected two months ago - at just over $14k per month in salary and allowances (ie not including staff, offices, car, etc, etc), that's about $2,160 per utterance!

I wish I could get those sort of rates!

PS: All I ever got as class clown was bashed up


Monday, 22 November 2010

Is Ewen Jones becoming a serial pest?

Listening to the House of Reps Question Time just now, Speaker Harry 'The Headmaster' Jenkins warned The Big Ewe of Herbert that he was in danger of breaching Section 65(b) of Standing Orders and should be very careful.  (I think he was talking in class and not paying attention to the proceedings)

Is this getting to be a bit of a habit?

Come on in. Take a seat at the Cabinet table. Let’s talk water.

Regular contributor Dee writes:

Just before the QR Float takes over the media completely.

Patrick Lion caught my imagination today.

I guess it won't be too long before there are many vacant seats at the ALP Cabinet table, however, I'd put a small wager there is now, and will be in the future, standing room only with the many advisers providing high quality advice by way of large numbers of options.

They have wound up the mis-allocation of taxpayer's funds to new levels.
Patrick Lion's Courier Mail post is well worth a read: Come on in. Take a seat at the Cabinet table. Let’s talk water.

Ewen Jones's recent appearances

The following is today's RSS fee from OpenAustralia.org for The Big Ewe.

Yep! you got it - The Big Ewe's contruibution to the national debate last Monday was just four words:  Yassous, Yassous, Dawson and (yes) Dawson.


Sunday, 21 November 2010

Flying free, making a racket and crapping all over Townsville's "opinion makers"

The Towsville blogosphere is exploding and The Townsville Bulletin and a few other of Townsville's high-and-mighty should be afraid - VERY afraid!!

Check out The Magpie's Nest:
What, The Magpie Finished?!  FARK NO!
The old bird has simply moved to a new nest in the blogosphere, a universe where both you readers can move your lips while you peruse his regular load of old cobblers, or `column’ as it is known in some circles. In this smarty pants techno world, it’s now officially a `blog’, with regular `posts’ and guess what? You readers – yes, both of you – can have a say too. Just stick the tongue out of the corner of your mouth, crinkle the brow in concentration and – hey, knock yourself out, use two fingers if you like - tap out a message in the comment area provided. It will be published if it gets past the battalion of lawyers on alert for legal naughtiness.

The Magpie blog is also a work in progress, and will expand as the weeks go by with new links to some very interesting places. If you like, The Magpie will give you an email alert whenever he posts a new load of drivel, which will be at least every week, possibly more often. Just email him requesting same at townsvillemagpie@gmail.com
I know that The 'pie has been around the town a lot longer than I, has much better connections, knows a lot more about racing and punting and front-bar stuff and has a bit more time on his hands that I do - so expect to see his scoops regularly cross posted here.

Or better still, just get on his email list at townsvillemagpie@gmail.com

Welcome to the blogosphere Magpie - I'm looking forward to this!

Well, I got that one wrong!

Saturday's headlines about Clive Palmer's generosity with his staff at Yabulu has made me reassess the man - clearly he's a much smarter business owner than I expected.

While the the $10m face value of Saturday's party plus the 55 Mercedes Benz sedans, 700 holidays for two in Fiji, and 50 weekends in Port Douglas is iimpressive, the real cost was probably closer to half that (55 by Merc CLC 200 K Evolutions @ $58k each = $3.2m book values before what would be a VERY big bulk discount)

Either way- it's not a bad investment for $16m in (presumably recurrent) savings and the lifelong loyalty of his staff (and associated reduced turn-over costs as a result).

Now that's smart business and smart management!
* Honourable mention goes to Mercedes Benz who got a free page-5 pic and endless free mentions in the three pages of coverage

Is Lavarack Barracks about to become a Detention Centre?

Hansard it out and we can report on The Big Ewe's first question in Parliament (see this earlier post).

As you can read for yourself, he was either set-up by Chrissy Pyne as leader in the house or he seriously thinks we are under threat of seeing Lavarack Barracks turned into an asylum seekers' camp.  Which is the real Ewe I wonder?


And don't you just love Gillard's "go away little boy and finish your homework" answer?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

John Howard's re-re-re-launch of Lazarus Rising , and THAT Mango

Unfortunately, I couldn't find online the pic that accompanying The Bully's regurgitation of the Book Company's PR Release. It took me a long while to realist that it's not a potato he's menacing, but rather a Mango....
an  Anti Skinny Shoe-Hurler Operational Logistics Enabling   
Military Attack Neutralising Gooks Ordinance

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Howard deseves more...a LOT more

Peter Gray explains why he felt compelled to throw his shoes at John Howard on QandA:
Well said!  But he deserves to have a lot more than shoes thrown at him - like "the book"

The Big Ewe get's told off

The Big Ewe just got himself another mention in the House - admonished during question time just now by Speaker Harry Jenkins for being disorderly and "picking-up bad habits early".

Unfortunately, we won't see it in Hansard

Today's big news - a big iTunes PR campaign

So the Beatles back catalouge is to be released in iTunes?
But do you really need it?
And if you really, really need to buy - would you do so from iTunes??

$35.99 from iTunes or $28.99 from JB Hi-Fi online (and it's an actual CD with liner notes and pictures and stuff

Hat tip: Groupthink

Monday, 15 November 2010

Our Generation in our Townsville

Reader Kaylene sent this link for the film Our Generation, announcing that she will be organising some community screenings and fundraising in Townsville soon - stay tuned for more details, but in the meantime check out the trailer:



You could also check-out this article in the Cairn Post - interesting that we've seen nothing similar ion Townsville so far !!!  Go Kaylene

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The invisible man-of-steel

I just love the reports that man-of-steel John Howard (never to be confused with the pig-of-steel - a true Oz icon) gets mentioned just three times in Bush's 500-page attempt at writing his own history.

PS: It would almost be worth going to the Townsville re-re-re-launch of the old fella's soon to be remaindered book just to count how many mentions he makes of his old friend George - I guarantee it's a lot, lot more than three!
Via Your Democracy

Bligh and Fraser sell Port of Brisbane … to themselves

Regular contributor, Dee, prompted me to cross-post this piece from John Quiggin
Bligh and Fraser sell Port of Brisbane … to themselves
According to the Brisbane Times, the Bligh government has just sold the Port of Brisbane to a consortium led by the Queensland Investment Corporation. This must have been a tough negotiation, given that the QIC website states
As a Queensland GOC, QIC’s shareholding Ministers are the Honourable Anna Bligh MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts, and the Honourable Andrew Fraser MP, Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
Note: As with the QR sale, it looks as if the government has retained about $1.3 billion of debt in the Port of Brisbane Corporation, which now has no assets, so the net proceeds will be less than half the announced price of $2.3 billion.
I also love one of his tags for the piece - "bonehead stupidity".  It should be well worth following the comments on John's page during the day

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Lazarus to Rise (yet) again - in Townsville

Guest contributor, Dee forwarded the following to me suggesting that we start collecting boots and shoes now!

I love the way it's tagged as a Book Launch - it must be the 50th time it's been launched in the last couple of weeks.

And I know that business is business and that they'll make a good quid out of it, but I must say that I'm surprised by Mary Who being the organisers/sponsors! (as will a lot of their regulars I suspect!!)
Alumni Association - Hon John Howard, former Prime Minister – Book Launch - Lazarus Rising
Date: Wednesday 17 November 2010
Time: Auditorium opens at 5.30pm
Location: Sir Geroge Kneipp Auditorium (Building DA026), JCU Douglas Campus, Angus Smith Drive, Douglas, TOWNSVILLE, Australia
Summary: JCU Alumni in association with Mary Who? Bookshop presents The Hon J Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia in conversation with Richard Lane and also launching his autobiography Lazarus Rising.

John Howard spent decades under media scrutiny, and while his credentials as a political leader, devoted family man and sports tragic are beyond dispute, in this autobiography he reveals much more about himself. In Lazarus Rising.
Howard traces his personal and political journey, from childhood in the post-World War II era through to the present day, painting a fascinating picture of a changing Australia.
We see the youngster who had to overcome serious deafness and who latched onto the family passion for current affairs and politics. From school debating, to a legal career, to the Liberal Party and life with Janette, it all seemed such a natural progression. Yet no one would say that Howard had it easy; not when his own colleagues sidelined him ... twice.
An economic radical and social conservative, John Howard's ideology united many Australians and divided just as many others. Lazarus Rising takes us through the life and motivations of John Howard and through the forces that have changed and shaped both him and the country he led for 11 years.

Lazarus Rising will be on sale afterwards and Mr Howard will be pleased to sign copies.

Presented by: JCU Alumni,  Mary Who? Bookshop
Cost: No charge

Registration: Please register online at
http://alumni.jcu.edu.au/netcommunity/JohnHowardTnsv

Contact: Everyone welcome. For further information please contact Viv Sonntag, Email: Viv.Sonntag@jcu.edu.au, Tel: (07) 4042 1850.
And I just can wait to see how The Bully creams itself when they get the call for a 1-on-1 interview with the old war-horsemonger.  I wonder whether Editor Gleeson will keep that one for himself.......

Crime and perspective in Townsville

Maybe today's headline news in The Bulletin may finally give the city's 'opinion makers' a real perspective on crime and law and order in Townsville.

Contrary to the wedge first inserted by Mooney all those years ago and repeated ad nauseam ever since by the likes of Cr Dale Last and of course The Townsville Bulletin, the real crime/law-and-order issue in this city (as in any other) is not a few homeless people looking untidy and (perhaps) drinking in full view of the general public (and the 'opinion makers' in particular) or a few teenagers in the western suburbs meeting in public spaces at night or having the occasional brawl or leaving the occasional graffiti tag.

As is very clear from today's story, the locus for crime in this city (as in most) is the night club district where the purveyors of and profiteers from legal drugs provide the venues, culture and environment for the illegal drug traffickers.  As has been the case since the days of Al Capone, they're also great places to lander money.

Arguably these dealers - the legal and the illegal - are some of the city's greatest social menaces.  The police understand this, that is why they devoted so many resources to this last operation (on top of what they have to normally devote to Flinders Street night-in and night-out).

Perhaps now Cr Last and The Bully will finally get it too?

PS: Having again broken a lifetime habit and read today's editorial in The Bully, maybe it will be a while before they get it.  Reading that 'opinion-making' piece you'll see that the problem is young people (2 out of 11 identified in the article were below 20 years), that responsibility rests with parents (tell that to the aging parents of the over-40s who were arrested) and that the public policy response should be an education campaign!  Doh!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sex shame or just plain pedophilia?

I find the headline highlighted below fascinating. 



Pedophile becomes sex shame teacher when it happens in a private school (or is that, a private school formally attended by many of Courier Mail's elite?)


Explaining the US mid-term election results

America frightens me at the best of times, but the swing to the radical right evident in the mid-term election results scares me absolutely sh*tless.

Think about this graph and what it is likely to mean over the next couple of decades in countries with similar demographics (like Oz) - voluntary voting or not.  Think too about the backlash that will come from under-30's as they have less and less power in the process. 
My guess is that the next wave of new music will emerge over the next 2-3 years - about the time that we should expect the rise of the next anarchist, neo-Nazi, and hippie movements

Via The Daily Dish

Andy Irons - July 24,1978 – November 2, 2010



Via Gerry @ Weddwould

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Climate change denialists are all stoners

I noted in The Tally Room's sumnmary of the US mid-term election outcomes, that the Calforniam results incuded defeat of Proposition 19, which would have legalised marijuana (56% opposed), and Proposition 23, which would have suspended climate change legislation (58% voting No).

Could this mean that,in California, most stoners are also climate change denialists???

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Found in Slim's letterbox

Regular contributor, Slim writes:

Bligh's local representatives are getting desperate by spamming the community far and wide.

The community could show their appreciation by sending a message to:
The community could picket this function.

Cheers,
Slim
I for one am tempted to go just to see how many turn up (my bet is 18 not including the organisers) ....

Horse wins the Melbourne Cup

First posted in An Onymous Lefty in 2005 and again today
In exciting news today, a horse won the Melbourne Cup horse race. This horse travelled around the track at Flemington slightly faster than the other horses.

Around the nation, some people won money because they bet on the winning horse. Other people lost money, because they bet on a horse that didn't win.

Sports reporters broke out the special occasion hyperbole, reminding their viewers and listeners that if one of the horses happened to win, it would be the most tremendously exciting and fantastic thing that had ever happened in their lives, and that they would be telling future generations about the glorious win of a specific horse in the 2005 version of an annual race, for all eternity. Because it would be that astonishing.

"Dad, dad," children of the future would say, "what happened in the 2005 Melbourne Cup horse race?"

And fathers would reply, "Children, children, don't you remember what happened? I tell you this exciting story every night!"

And the children would cry, "We know dad, but please tell it again because we love it so."
And fathers would tell the story. It was 3pm on 1st November 2005, and there were about twenty horses lined up at the start of a racetrack in Flemington, Melbourne. They ran around the track. One horse won by taking less time to do this than the other horses. One horse came second, one came third and so on. And there was much rejoicing/weeping, depending on which horse the various people had backed. And this went on for a few days until everyone remembered that for the rest of the year they don't give a shit about horse racing.
It was truly extraordinary.
And this amazing story gets replayed every year!!
 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Update: The Big Ewe's first Question

Further to Monday's post Ewen Jones' big day out, the following is the Hansard transcript (via openaustralia.org).
Ewen Jones (Herbert, Liberal Party)  My question is to the Prime Minster. I refer the Prime Minister to the decision to locate onshore detention centres at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills and Northam in Western Australia. Will the Prime Minister rule out all other military facilities as onshore detention facilities?

Julia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister)  I thank the member for his question. I would refer the member to the statement and information that the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and I released at the time that we announced these new detention facilities and also the arrangements for children. These are the government’s plans for detention. We wanted to be transparent about a long-term strategy to undercut the fearmongering about other sites that had been going on around Australia. If the member truly wants to inform himself about this, all of the information he requires was publicly available and transparent on the day we made the statement (my emphasis)
Set-up by Crissy Pyne I'd say!!  Or maybe the Big Ewe had been picking-up a groundswell of local fear about Lavarack Barracks being converted into a detention centre???

Of yesterday's men and selling books

From Alan Moir:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What a damn good idea


Although, given our experience in Townsviile, I'd suggest that candidates in Council elections should also be similarly banned from accepting money from the alcohol industry! 

And then, if industry advertising was banned we might also finally get some balanced reporting on the real costs to taxpayers of the alcohol industry.





An Indigenous woman speaks out

The following posted by Ken Parish at Club Troppo first caught my attention because it mentioned a common old firend - when I saw Bob Durnan's name I knew the piece would be worth reading.  Turns out it is a must read and is cross-posted in full below:
An Indigenous woman speaks out

Bob Durnan is an old ALP colleague who has worked in Indigenous communities in central Australia for the best part of 30 years. Like me, he has witnessed the tragic deterioration of living conditions in many if not most remote communities and town camps in the Northern Territory over that period of time. As such Bob is a strong supporter of many aspects of the Howard government-initiated NT Intervention, especially the income management system.
Bob has just emailed me a copy of what I think is a very important speech delivered to the Australian Alliance of Lawyers last Friday in Alice Springs by Bess Price, a senior Warlpiri woman from Yuendumu.
The background is the release last week of the Bath Report into children’s services in the NT, which revealed that not much had improved in that area since the “Little Children Are Sacred” report which triggered the Intervention in 2007. NT Minister Kon Vatskalis said last week:
“The communities out there are in total collapse. There is a crisis in the communities,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“Yesterday, I was thinking, I said where is the person like Martin Luther King to come out and say ‘I’ve got a dream?’, because I can’t see anybody in the Indigenous community at the moment coming out and saying ‘I’ve got a dream’ and lead the communities. There is no leadership.”
Ms Price is certainly an Indigenous leader whose voice needs to be heard more widely.
My mother and father were born in the desert. They lived their childhood out of contact with whitefellas. They were terrified when they first saw a whitefella. They taught me the Old Law that our people lived by. That Law worked when we were living in tiny family groups taking everything that we needed from the desert. It is Sacred Law. There was strong Law for sacred business. If the sacred Law was broken both men and women could be killed. There was strong Law for who we could marry. Men had the power of life and death over their wives. Young girls were forced into marriage. Men too had no choice in who they married. There was no law for property except that everything must be shared. There was no law for money because we didn’t have any. There was no law for houses, cars, grog, petrol or drugs – we didn’t have any except for bush tobacco which was shared like everything else we had. The only way to punish was physically, by beating or killing the law breaker. They couldn’t be fined, we had no money or wealth to take. They couldn’t be locked up, we had no jails.
Everybody knew what they had to do to make sure that everybody survived. We all knew how to make a living from our country. We lived from day to day. Everybody was taught to fight. We only had our family to defend us. We had no army, no police, no courts. Everybody needed to know how to use a weapon, women and men both learned to fight and knew they would have to do that sometime. We also believe that our Law Man can make magic, they can heal the sick but they can also make people sick and die by magic. That is what all my people believe. We kept the peace by fear of violence and magic.
Now we live in a world ruled by a new law that is not sacred, that doesn’t accept that magic exists. Now we are all equal citizens with human rights. Now we have property, houses, cars, grog, drugs, pornography. Now we live off welfare, other people’s money or we need to get a whitefella education and get a job. We still share everything and this keeps us poor. We can’t say ‘no’ to our family even when we know they are drinkers and gamblers and will waste our money or destroy themselves with it. Now too many of our men still think they have the power of life and death over their wives. My people think all property should be shared and we think whitefellas are just greedy and stingy. We don’t plan for the future, we don’t budget or invest – we share and consume. All this has happened too quickly.
The Bath report on the failure of child protection in the NT tells us that our kids live in a chaotic world where they are at terrible risk. My community of Yuendumu has been torn apart by feuding. These problems show us that government has failed but is also shows us that Aboriginal Law has failed too. Aboriginal organisations have failed as well. Aboriginal politics that focused on the ‘Stolen Generation’ and ‘Deaths in Custody’ also failed. Aboriginal politicians forgot about our women and kids, forgot about the violence on the remote communities, forgot about the problems we are causing for ourselves. We can’t just keep blaming the government without taking our share of the blame. That is the only way we can find our own way out of these problems.
Our old Law worked really well in the old days but it was not about human rights. It was about unconditional loyalty to kin, to family and following the sacred Law. It was about capital and physical punishment. There were wise old people who tried to make sure that there was justice. But they are all dying now. Those like my own parents who were born and grew up in the bush, are all getting very old and passing away. But even they could not stop the grog and the violence that came from the new world we were living in. There is nothing in our old Law that helps us deal with grog and drugs. All these new things that whitefellas brought in we have no law for. But we still respect our ancestors and we still want to keep our culture. The Two Laws, whitefella and blackfella, are based on opposing principles. My people are confused. If they go the blackfella way they break whitefella law, if they go whitefella way they break blackfella law. Our young men are caught in the middle, they are still initiated into the old Law but they live in a world run by the new law, that’s why they fill up the jails.
Con Vaskalis is right when he says that we don’t have effective leadership. We have wonderful old people who know the old Law but are confused and worried by the new. They are truly wise when they have real authority, when they are in small, family based communities away from towns. They are ignored by the drinkers and the young people who are rushing to take the benefits of the whitefella way without learning whitefella law. Too many don’t know either law now. We have Aboriginal people who speak out all the time but don’t live in the communities and don’t speak an Aboriginal language – who don’t have any idea what life is like for my people. We have Aboriginal people who others call leaders who we know are only looking after their own families, their own interests and not those of the whole community. We have very good people who want to do the right thing but are too worried and confused and who are continually grieving over the deaths of their loved ones.
We have white radicals and NGO’s with their own agendas who want to use us like political footballs. When we women talk out about our problems they either ignore us or tell the world that we are liars and trouble makers. Some of my people who carry on about human rights and attack governments every time they try to do anything new run away from their own kin and communities when there is trouble. They never find it hard to find a gullible human rights lawyer to back them up in public but they don’t do anything in their own communities to make things better for their own people.
Too many lawyers are only interested in the rights of the perpetrators. Because they are worried about racism and they don’t like a particular government they will do what ever they can to make sure that murderers and rapists and child abusers are protected from the new law. They will only advocate acknowledging traditional law when they think it will work better for their clients, the perpetrators. But they don’t know how the old Law worked. They never worry about the victims who are also Aboriginal and victims of racism, who have had their basic human rights ignored and trampled on by members of their own communities, their own families. It seems to us that human rights lawyers only worry about the black victims when the perpetrators are white. It is not somehow more acceptable to be raped, abused and murdered when the one doing it to you has the same colour skin.

Our problem is that we want to keep our culture. We want to respect our ancestors and their Law but we also want to be equal citizens and we want human rights. We can’t do that without changing our Law. But we need to change it ourselves, others can’t do that for us. Only we can solve our own problems and we will do it in our own way. But we really need the support of governments and our fellow citizens. You need to listen to the voices that are usually drowned out by the strong, the noisy and the powerful. You need to find a way to listen to those who don’t speak English, who are the most marginalised and victimised in our own communities. You need to listen to our own women and young people, the ones who don’t have a voice under the old Law. If you really want us to have human rights then you have to find ways to protect the victims of black crime as well as white crime.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Ewen Jones' big day out

Listening to Question Time in the House of Reps live just now I heard Ewen Jones ask his first question! 

A big day for the big man, even though no-one other than the wife and kids were listening - although not quite as big as his maiden speech which is gig that ends up in the official history.

So what was the target of the big fella's first real test in the bear-pit?  A question on Health funding (dare I say, the bloody PET scanner)?, or the mining tax?, or the copper-string project perhaps? even the future of the goddamn Fury - no, a question about asylum seekers!!

It will be interesting to see how the Big Ewe (clearly just following orders - a bit like a big ewe), and the Bully report this momentous occasion and explain the choice of subject.

I'll post a Hansard link when it's available.

PS: Gillard batted the question away - telling the Big Ewe to read the public record!!

The Bulletin, The Fury and cheap news

Why is it that the demise of The Fury generates a front page and so many column inches in today’s Bulletin?

You would have thought they would have given prominence to this story about the arrest over the weekend of a 29-year-old man on 137 child sex offence charges – a story that every parent in the city would want to know more about. Instead, the sex offender gets 5 paras at the bottom of page two (four in the online story) while the long, slow and totally predictable death of The Fury gets three pages.

So why would The Bulletin run with a distinctly anti-business line (slamming the Football Federation for making a simple cost-benefit decision – as all businesses must) for a mob that has trouble getting 5,000 people these days to fork-out for a home game?

It certainly can’t be for the economic benefit the Fury brings to the broader community – I reckon that the Greek Fest, a good orchestra or a band like Powderfinger would bring more money into the town than the Fury could even hope to.

Rather, could this be about Murdoch’s investments in the development of soccer as yet another source of cheap content for his TV interests (There’s more soccer in a week on Sky Sports than SBS would run over a year).

The reality is that The Fury was always going to fail – the Townsville market is small and overcrowded with three other teams already in National Competitions. With a cost structure more like that of the Cowboys, The Fury can only draw as many as The Crocodiles who have a far, far lower cost-structure - it simply doesn't add-up and never did!

The Bully’s nonsense is nothing more than a self interested beat-up - and not a very smart one on their part, given the lack of interest in The Fury in the town.

Next they’ll be asking for more corporate welfare (government intervention) to support what is no more than cheap content for the mainstream media! (Don’t laugh – remember that TCC have already sunk your taxes into this diabolically bad business)

Monday, 18 October 2010

0.01% of Townsville citizens can't be wrong

Today's Bulletin includes a report on the Townsville Residents Against Crime rally at the Showgrounds (talk about wishful thinking) for the community to express their concern about law and order in the city.

Presumably the outrage from the 20 citizens who attended led the Bulletin to 'observe' that "the group is also concerned about the growing itinerant problem in the CBD..."  

(Of course the Bulletin did actually attend the rally didn't they? - not just a call to the organiser after? - surely not?  And speaking of the rally organiser, Mark Smith, by my account this is his third attempt to stir the masses who are right now cringing in their homes, hiding from marauding bands of criminals, 'itinerents' and, even worse, yoof)

So, now it is on the public record and to be repeated forever in Dale Last's mayoral election campaign (I bet he was one of the 20!) - the "itinerant problem" is growing!!
0.01% of Townsville have spoken!!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday funny

An attack add of the likes we ain't seen in Australia - yet!


via Truthdig

Playing the race card in Townsville - again!

Dale Last moved his Mayoral campaign up a notch today just as it looks as if Lez will have to do a humiliating backflip on water rates.

And what a better way to move your campaign along than by playing the race card - it's an old trick, 'sucessfully' deployed by Mooney for years after he'd learnt it from the old CLP in the Territory.

Last's latest effort here in today's Bulletin shows him and his tactics for what they are:
  • " ...investors were raising serious concerns about developing in the city." Last claims!  Of course, the investors are unnamed and, as such, the claim should be treated as nonsense.  I defy Last to produce one investor who's pulled-out of the inner-city (or any other part of the city) because of small groups of parkies - because of the lack of speed in increasing population densities in the inner-city or because of the lack of parking or simply because the inner-city can't compete with suburban shopping malls maybe, but because of a few parkies - no way.  If there was money to be made, they'd be there, parkies or no.


  • The "...Urban Quarter (is) on its knees with businesses going broke because of the public disorder and the problems associated with this group of people there, constantly harassing people." Last proclaims.  This is not just nonsense, it's bullshit.  Businesses in the Urban Quarter are going broke because if its location.  Completely predictable before it opened, until the redevelopment of the old rail yards is complete there is not the population to support two supermarkets in the city centre.  With Coles (the most poorly located of the two) not able to attract enough punters into the building, the rest of the tenants in the Urban Quarter have been pushing it up hill ever since it opened.
Blaming bad planning and business decisions on a few parkies is laughable simply playing the race card.

As for the reporting of Last's campaign launch, the Bulletin could not have made him happier than with the headline "Shops 'go bust' in city of drunks".  Of course neither the Bully or Last were game to admit that if the city deserves such a tag it is because of what happens in Flinders Street most nights.

Had they looked at the source of most serious alcohol related crime and hospital admissions in the city - you won't find a few parkies - you'll find middle-class kids and boy soldiers (predominantly white) behaving badly and a few club owners (and supporters of Last and major advertisers in the Bully) getting rich! 

And of course they wouldn't see any irony (or is that contradiction) in the Bulletin running at least 1 1/2 pages of liquor adds today while also running Last's latest little race-card play

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Wanker Medal

When Tony Abbott was first elected leader of the Libs, my initial reaction was that he'd do himself quickly and then flame-out.

Clearly, I was wrong!  Rather, he's evidently going to do himself slowly.

Leunig seems to agree:

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

My welcome to Townsville: Shame Anna, shame

Each day as the trial of 20 year-old Tegan Leach has got closer I've become more and more angry that, in this day and age in Australia, a young woman is facing judgement because she chose to have an abortion.

I was toying with what to post but then along came this from No Right Turn in NZ.  The heading in particular says it all for me really:
Like I said, Shame Anna, shame
Barbaric
Something barbaric is happening in Queensland: they're trying a woman for having an abortion:
Abortion is legal in Queensland only by a judge's ruling - and that ruling applies only to women who have gone begging to a doctor and effectively declared themselves insane. It does not cover modern pharmaceutical abortions, and it certainly doesn't let women control their own bodies. The upshot: two young people are now facing serious jail time because Queensland's abortion law has failed to keep pace with the times.
It is alleged that Tegan Leach, 20, and her partner, Sergie Brennan, 22, imported the abortion drug misoprostol from the Ukraine and used it to terminate Leach's eight-week pregnancy. They face jail terms of seven and three years respectively.
Meanwhile Queensland's "pro-choice" Premier Anna Bligh refuses to act, and says that any reform has to come via a member's bill. But she blocked such a bill just two years ago. Like most politicians, she doesn't want to take a position if she can avoid it. The consequences of her cowardice will be seen in the Cairns District Court this week.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Anon and proud if it: Part 2

There were some great comments on my last post about The Bully bullying bloggers, including a fantastic offering from NormanK called We're the Voice which I've now given pride of place in the blog sidebar.

In case you didn't see it, Inside Business (I wonder how many at the Bully watch it?) on the ABC this morning had a great piece on the media's absolute fear of transparent (read,  real) circulation figures and the lengths they have gone to (and still do) to bodgy the data in order to continue hoodwinking their real customers - the advertisers.  Read the transcript or view the vision here

Friday, 8 October 2010

Anon and proud of it: The Townsville Bulletin celebrates our first birthday

Well, well, well! Haven’t we bloggers really got up the nose of The Bully? :-)
As a rule, I don’t read editorials – mainly because I know that the only people who do are journos and politicians (editorial cartoons however are a very different matter).

So when reader M pointed me to today's Bulletin editorial, I just had to go out and pay good money for a hard copy !! And what a doozey it is – it’s not available online, but click on the graphic to read it full-size!

The story about the outing of Grog’s Gamut is now getting pretty old given that it happened over 10 days ago (I posted here on 28 Sept.)

For a fantastic summary of the action and reaction got to Craig Thomler's eGov AU blog here

Now I might be getting up myself a bit here, but I can’t help but think that rather than finding a bit of passion in a 10-day old story, the Bully are lashing out at this post from yesterday morning where I pointed out data from the Australian Newspaper History Group showing that the Bulletin’s average daily readership (or sales - it is unclear) is just 26,395 and had declined by almost 10% over the first half of the year!!!

Touchy aren’t they?   Not information they would be keen to have out there perhaps? 

Touchy as the the Oz was at the critiques of their work by Grog's Gamut?  I've asked the question before here, but, given that I seem to have drawn their fire publicly, I wonder if they are so touchy they will out me next? - after all, I know they've worked out who I am! 

Of course I could use their own language back at them and say they are the cowards if they don't - knowing the increased readership I'd get and backlash they'd get!!  But I won't.

For the record, my reasons for Island View’s anonymity are simple – I’m a small businessman trying to make a living and pay the rent in a small regional city and, believe me, publically calling the most powerful and most connected media outlet in the town to account wouldn’t be real good for business!

I may well be a coward but I’m certainly not stupid!

PS: today is more-or-less the first anniversary of Blogging Townsville and The Bully's Editorial has been the absolutely best anniversary gift!!  It's given me food for another post which will now float in the blogosphere forever with a Townsville Bulletin tag and showing them for what they really are.

UPDATE:  In the comments below, both Bill and Craig Thomler @ eGov AU point out that Townsville Bulletin Editor, Peter Gleeson, chooses for his Editorials to be published anonymously - just like this blog and yes, just like Grog's Gamut.  See more in Craig's post here on the propensity for the mainstream media to publish material by the widely read (and often either very wise or very funny), Anon.

Craig also managed to find the Bully's editorial online here

Finally, I note that in the hardcopy Saturday Bully this morning, there were no letters and no published txt messages about yesterday's Editorial.  As of this morning, there are no comments on their on-line opinion page.  Doesn't sound much to me like their editorial was representing the "voice of the people" - more like the voice of someone in power who's not used to being challenged, let alone questioned or held to account.