Thursday, 29 April 2010

A coincidence or sinchronicity?

A got this through a feed from BoingBoing just after I'd read an item from Peter Martin about the PM's announcement of a 25% increase in tax on fags this morning:

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Life in perspective

This amazing picture and rest from the Hubble Telescope's Top 100 are available here (click the pic for a full-size view)

The Bulletin - insult or out-of-touch?

Last week I was presumptuous enough to wonder in these pages whether it was Blogging Townsville that The Bulletin were slaging-off at when they gave their little burst about 'latte sippers' in their Thursday editorial.

At the time, I did point out though that latte had never passed our lips and that we are strictly double-shot long black drinkers.

Accordingly, I was taken by this post from Club Troppo today about what the term 'latte sippers' really says about those who use it - like the Bulletin:

“Latte sipper” is thus like “a fair shake of the sauce bottle”; an attempt to appeal to an Australia of the past that showcases the speaker’s isolation from the present.  More here

Parkies done for drunk driving? I don't think so...

You may have skimmed over this small page-7 article in todays' Bulletin.  If so, read it again.

If the article is correct, you have to wonder why the coppers would be targetting "homeless people and itenerants" (whatever they look like) and not just anybody breaking the law in the area?

And anyway, why wasn't the operation also carried out in the nightclub precinct? Or is anti-social behavour ok in Flinders St but nowhere else?

I'd also love to meet the five "homeless people and itenerants" that got done for drink driving - none that I'm aware of have cars!

How to get a full page of free advertising in The Bulletin

Over half of the front page and 3/4 of page five in today's Bulletin (along with their lead home-page pic and on-line photo gallery) is free advertising for an Arlie Beach house sale.

While the house owner must be rubbing his hands with glee at having sucked the paper in so magnificantly, I doubt very much that any potential buyers for the $12-$16 million beach shack are reading the Bully.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Worth a read #7

- I'd love to hear Andrew Bolt explain the graphic on the left (click to enlarge) from "State of the Climate Global Analysis March 2010" by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center

"Nearly 300 allegations of sexual abuse have been substantiated by church investigations since 1996, ... perpetrated by approximately 100 priests... Just one priest has been defrocked as a result". And that's just Victoria they're talking about!! From The Age

-  See also: Seven key facts about the Vatican, the Pope and child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy by Dr Ben Mathews,  Associate Professor in Law, QUT in OnLineOpinion
-  Other forms of corruption - The Goldman Sachs Phenomenon by Eric J. Fry at TheDailyReckoning

-  And in a similar vein ... from Gary Sauer-Thompson at Public Opinion
In his The Non-Existent Hand in the London Review of Books Joseph Stiglitz says that he shares the view that most of the blame for the crisis should reside with those in the financial markets, who did such a poor job both in allocating capital and in managing risk (their key responsibilities), a considerable portion of it lies with the economics profession.
He adds:

The notion economists pushed – that markets are efficient and self-adjusting – gave comfort to regulators like Alan Greenspan, who didn’t believe in regulation in the first place.
They provided support for the movement which stripped away the regulations that had provided the basis of financial stability in the decades after the Great Depression; and they gave justification to those... Treasury secretaries under Clinton, who opposed doing anything about derivatives...
We should be clear about this: economic theory never provided much support for these free-market views. Theories of imperfect and asymmetric information in markets had undermined every one of the ‘efficient market’ doctrines, even before they became fashionable in the Reagan-Thatcher era.
He adds that the present crisis should lay to rest any belief in ‘rational’ markets. The irrationalities evident in mortgage markets, in securitisation, in derivatives and in banking are mind-boggling; our supposed financial wizards have exhibited behaviour which, to use the vernacular, seemed ‘stupid’ even at the time.

Getting up The Bulletin's nose?

I was going to post in response to Bulletin's front page and editorial on the parkies yesterday but ran out of time.

The leaking of the police report quoted so extensively in the story is interesting - presumably it was done so by the coppers? Or could it have been Cr Dale Last perhaps?

If so, it's a dangerous game for them to be playing I would have thought. Especially when the report seems to be so bad.

As reported by the Bully, it's filled with unsubstantiated claims and wild accusations such as ''Many groups and organisations tender for public monies to deliver a specific service to a variety of target groups and then fail to deliver that service.'' and ''The State Government currently provides about $7 million annually to a variety of groups who often do not deliver their tendered service."

That of course wouldn't stop The Bully.  They also ran one of their meandering Editorials on the subject (not online) in which are included the words hightlighted in the pic.

I got very excited there for a while about what seemed to be proof that Blogging Townsville was getting up the editor's nose - after all, I'm plenty guilty of accusing The Bully of playing the race card.

But then realised he was talking about latte drinkers and I'm strictly a double shot long black sort of guy!

Rupert Murdoch - owner of The Bulletin

Apparently, the desire to beat-up make the news (see my post earlier today) is endemic to Murdoch's empire and eminates from the very top and spans the globe. - via BoingBoing

Let the beat-up continue

The Bulletin is really determined to whip-up fear of young people and fear of youth gangs in particular and maybe they are starting to succeed.

Pushed off the front page by the circus that is the NRL industry, The bully’s page three effort today even has a page header slogan “Gang Violence: the fightback” under which are bundled 3 stories:

The lead article is about the boss of McDonalds at The Willows complaining about kids hanging in his car park and getting into the occasional argument or fight. Doesn’t sound like gang activity to me – nor apparently the Willows Marketing Manager, Donna O’Neill who is reported as saying “…no impact on trade has been noticed.” Sounds more like the McDonald’s Boss should take responsibility for his car park and his business and hire a security guard if he has a problem – it’s what, for instance, Sunferries does on Full Moon Party night.

Second is a small story about a new initiative to put a BBQ on at the Riverway Skatepark on Thursday nights as a way of giving local kids somewhere to go and (presumably) enabling youth workers to engage with them. All good stuff.

But it was this quote from Kirwan copper Sen Sgt Garry Eddiehausen that particularly caught my attention: “A lot of youths have issues with police, so if they can talk to community members, it may make a difference”

Maybe, just maybe, it’s some police who have issues with dealing with young people (have you ever watched a young copper and a young adult male standing toe-to-toe, chests puffed?). And of course youth workers make a difference – their effectiveness is well established, it’s just the funding that isn’t

The third article is a pure beat-up - but a dangerous one. Longer than the second good news article, this one quotes some poor lone unnamed person who’s presumably rung into the Bully with an idea to set up a “Guardian Angels’” type community watch group. Of course, one man does not make a vigilante group and we’ll see how many turn up to his Vic Bridge gathering on Saturday - my guess is six!

Irrespective of how many turn up though, the guy’s response is perfect illustration of the dangers of the media’s beating up the youth gangs/black kids out of control hysteria in order to sell papers. To see the logical conclusion of irresponsible media presentation of young people, see this earlier post

Was the “Gang Violence: the fightback” page header necessary? No.  Did it illustrate the story?  No.  Did it seek to inflame the best selling emotions - fear and anger?  Yes

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Exactly who is “out of control” here?

After beginning to despair that the Bulletin was becoming too boring to blog, we have today’s front page beat-up in true Bully style
I had been mulling over what to post in response to the story of the death of a mentally ill man at TGH last week, particularly in light of the COAG negotiations that are going on right now.
But today’s front page “Gangs out of control” followed by “Gangs of thugs on rampage” on page four gives me the chance to do three birds with one post:

First today’s Gangs on the Rampage beat up:
  • There is no evidence in the story or reported from the police of any gang activity – rather a group or groups of young people.

  • The incident of the 66 year old getting bashed is a nasty one but the article of course only reports one side of the story – I’d love to know for example whether the old man’s son and his friend said or did something to provoke the fight that the old man ended up getting himself in the middle of.

  • In 08/09 there were on average 4.5 assaults per day in the Townsville Police District - presumambly the other 3.5 that happened yesterday didn't rate a mention
Segue to the case of the mentally ill man who died after being restrained by police and sedated at the Townsville Hospital's mental health unit where he’d gone seeking help but was told to go home as there were no beds available.

  • A man dies, the mental health system is apparently left wanting, there's yet another black death in custody and the Bully gives it (from memory) page five coverage.
See where I’m going here? (Apparently) black kids out of control - major story / crazy black man dies - a sad and unfortunate incident

Segue to the COAG health negotiations going on as I post:
  • I’d be the first to agree that they health system needs fixing and that a national system is one of the required fixes but I’m appalled at the lack of discussion on preventative health services and mental health services.

  • And we have had in Townsville within the last week an unnecessary death as the most dramatic evidence of the need for improved funding for mental health services.

  • The Bully today devoted all of a 9cm column to the health system negotiations
Pity the Bully couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) pick the real story to beat up.  See also this earlier post about The Bulletin's sister paper, the Adelaide Advertiser's efforts and effects of beating-up race-based gang hysteria.

PS: My bet is that Rudd will throw something on the table at COAG on mental health as part of the bidding process and in part to keep the Oz of the Year quiet

Friday, 16 April 2010

Worth a read #6

From Guest Contributor, MB who says her favourite newspaper headline was when Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Minor Rootes Group died, the headline was: "Lord Rootes Dead."

Here are some headlines from the British tabloids.
  • Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
  • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
  • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  • Miners Refuse to Work after Death
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • War Dims Hope for Peace
  • If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile ........
  • Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
  • Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
  • Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
  • Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
  • New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
  • Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
  • Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half Chainsaw Massacre!
  • Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
  • Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Worth a read #5

No matter what you think of their methods, Sea Shepherd are certainly effective. This year, they saved almost 500 whales from Japanese freezers (I'd say "dinner plates", but no-one buys the stuff). No wonder the Japanese are pissed.
Whalers said they were angry, and blamed what they described as "violent interference" from the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  Clashes at sea between Sea Shepherd and the whaling ships paralysed the hunt for 31 days.

Does Lindy Nelson-Carr know who she's dealing with

"When a government committee wants to conduct an enquiry based on a report, it is usually wise to do some digging into the source of that report. One major thing to watch out for is the credibility of the report’s author/s and if they happen to be dubious then you have a problem before you even start. It should be especially alarming, if the dubious source is a group of evangelists, anti-drug nutters, religious right fundamentalists, Drug Free Australia ..."
Our own Lindy Nelson-Carr Chairs the Social Development Committee of Parliament - a quaint tradition designed to keep backbenchers busy and which it seems is conducting an inquiry into Addressing Cannabis-Related Harm  that ticks all of these boxes.  This post by Terry Wright in the The Australian Heroin Diaries is a brilliant unpicking of Drug Free Australia and the report that Lindy's Committee is basing its enquiry on.

It got me doing a bit of my own digging about DFA - I didn't even know there were people still around (like DFA Director John Barich) that belong to the National Civic Council !!! See

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Help spread the word

Occasional guest blogger Slim asked me recently, "Is it worth the effort".
My reply: "It is for now. I enjoy getting up the bully’s nose and putting my view out there so, for now, I’m happy to keep going"

But the more readers and contributors Blogging Townsville has, the more we get up the mainstream media's collective nose, and the more incentive we have to keep going. So help spread the word:

1. The poster
  • click on the poster to see it full-size and print, or

  • right click, save picture as and then print it off with your picture management software or insert it into a word doc for printing

  • Stick it on the noticeboard at work or at the bowls club - do it boldly and let them think that you might just be the real Island View
2.  The Email
3.  The Post
  • write a blog post about just about anything (but sticking to the current tone of Blogging Townsville would be good)

  • check that it meets our Rules of engagement and email it to me at

  • When i email you the link for your post, forward it to all your mates - bragging about being published if you think it will help
4.  Come back regularly, subscribe: Email RSS feed
     ...on Twitter
     ...on Facebook Bookmarking us

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Slim's got mail

From Guest Blogger Slim Cayenne

I am a fan of junk mail - the things that arrive are sometimes amazing.

Take the Smith & Elliott flyer, for example.

How much money do Australian Defence Forces get paid in a lump sum when they return from invading another country and attacking innocent civilians?

Enough to buy a house? Is that what they are implying?

These funds are my taxes at work and I get no say in these debacles. How much are these campaigns costing us?

How about the deal on the estate agent's commission? If they don't sell in 60 days you don't pay full commission? That will really drag in the punters - you need to go a long way to find a better deal!



Well I'll be buggered!

I never (ever, ever) thought I'd read this:
'God Save the Queen' dropped from Anzac Day service
"The question often comes up why do you have 'God Save the Queen'? It's not relevant and nobody knows it..." said the RSL's Victorian president, David McLachlan.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Worth a read #4

You might be interested:

The things you read in the mail

From contributor, Slim Cayenne:

A FREE bbq at Chez Mooney? Free piss? Free raffles? The sky is falling!

There always were strong rumours that the Currajong Branch was flush, but for an ALP function to be free?

Is Colbran going to put up another $98,000 for someone else's campaign?

So many questions.........

Here's a real thigh slapper from that bastion of good taste and racism, The Association of Justices of the Peace and Commissioners for Declarations:
  • Criminal: a person found at home in bed at 3am.
  • Desperate Criminal: an Aboriginal person found at home in bed at 3am.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

What's the story here?

The Bulletin’s page two today headlined “Minister admits Northern District cop stations are understaffed” seems to miss the point – or is a beat-up – or both.

The article quotes the Northern Region as being under-staffed by 10 officers against a full complement of 748 – a vacancy rate of 1.3%. The Townsville District is understaffed by 8 officers out of 520 positions – a vacancy rate of 1.5%.

Opposition police spokesperson Vaughn Johnson and, even more so, the Bully would have us believe that this is tantamount to either a pending crisis in policing numbers or evidence of Ministerial or bureaucratic mismanagement.

Seems to me though, the story should have recognised that, with these sorts of vacancy rates, the Qld coppers are a long way ahead of many other sectors of the economy including mining

It's about the power and accountability of the press

Hungrybeast last night had this excellent piece on the the role of the mainstream media in inventing the “Gang of 49” myth.  It particularly and rightfully highlighted the role of Colin James from Murdoch’s birthplace, The Adelaide Advertiser in the creation and exploitation of the myth.

It then goes on to show how the baseless hype the press lived off for weeks and months is actually germinating and feeding the development of a gang culture among Aboriginal kids in the city.

James and The ‘Tiser should be held liable

I was reminded of our own Bulletin’s efforts – see my earlier posts here

Also available here

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Could the missing Member for Herbert have a point here - nah, probably not

The Bulletin has updated the PET scanner story (here) that they ran as a Mooney booster piece on their front page today. It includes this from the missing Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay:
“He said he had raised submissions with Health Minister Nicola Roxon for private operator Queensland X-ray to install a PET CT scanner at the Mater Hospital at half the cost to government 18 months ago.
However the Government opting to provide it through the public system at Townsville Hospital was a bad deal which would leave the city waiting until at least 2014 before it was delivered, he said.”
Lindsay may have a point – except for the fact that providing the scanner through a Private Hospital would presumably have restricted access to those who can pay and/or have private health insurance coverage.

Lindsay of course was silent on the other aspects of the $67.5 million hospital package announced by Rudd last night.  Presumably the Bully simply reprinted his press release rather than digging a bit further!

Population debates, migration debates and sustainability debates (and the race card)

Following the release of the Treasury's Intergenerational Report, there has been growing ‘debate’ (or is that hype) in the mainstream media about the prospect of Australia's population reaching 35 million by 2050.

The hype (and the effectiveness of playing the race card that he learnt so well under Howard) is what no doubt prompted the Mad Monk to hint at a policy to cut our 'out-of-control' migration intake in response.
The hype and the Monk’s play is also what no doubt prompted Rudd to announce the appointment of a Minister for Population and the development of a population strategy.

Neither party seem to be willing to touch the hard issues:
  • The impact of the $1.4 billion annual baby bonus on the Australian birth rate
  • Australia’s true migration picture.  See: Rubbery figures on migrant flood by Peter McDonald in The Age
  • What is an environmentally sustainable population for the country? See Sustainable Population Australia
  • Our place in the world community and what it means for our population growth and responsibilities.
As Malcolm McIntosh, Tapan Sarker and Rose Boyd argue their excellent piece Australia's population challenge in the ABC’s The Drum:
“Population is fundamentally a human rights and environmental rights issue but there seem to be few, if any, politicians willing to accept the leadership baton and step forward.”
Quite so

Could this happen in Townsville?

Homeless people in Darwin have been given the opportunity to get a meal, haircut and even a pedicure at a free community event

Darwin is a city of some 70,000 people (about 44% the size of Townsville) and yet according to the Darwin City Council (as quoted in the article) they have about 3,000 rough sleepers or long grassers (the equivalent of our parkies) - about 50 times more than Townsville’s 60 or so

If Townsville's 'problem' was of the same order of magnitude as Darwin's, our parkie population would number about 5,000!

If Darwin City Council can recognise that “"Every … city is facing these sorts of problems of the number of people who are sleeping on the streets," how come Cr Dale Last and the rest of Council and our own member for Townsville can’t (see other posts here and here).

And how is it that Darwin can respond in such a positive way and all Townsville can rise to is talk of punitive action?  Puts us to shame really

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Well, I thought it was funny

I've long thought that Malcontent Turnbull was a novice at the game of politics and the Mad Monk similarly so. Both have egos (a necessary prerequisite to even get on the field), but beyond their capabilities. This 'toon from seems to sum it up beautifully (I'm not so sure about Pinky playing the Monk tho!):

You can't really argue with that logic

Arguably, cigarettes and alcohol poison far more children than soft porn like Playboy and Ralph

How the Corporations Broke Ralph Nader and America (and Australia), Too

I met Ralph Nader briefly in the 70’s when I helped organise one leg of his Australian tour. He struck me as a good man.

So I was interested to read How the Corporations Broke Ralph Nader and America, Too by Chris Hedges in about the intentional marginalisation of Nader by corporate America.

Among other things, I was fascinated by the account of how the big end of town copied Nader’s own tactics, establishing “lavishly funded think tanks and conservative institutes to churn out ideological tracts that attacked government regulation and environmental protection … and … organizations to monitor and pressure the media to report favourably on issues that furthered corporate interests…”

Which got me to thinking about the plethora of right-wing think tanks established and funded by corporate Australia in recent decades to represent their interests over all others.

Judging by the daily column inches and airspace given over to the likes of the Australian Business Foundation, the Brisbane Institute, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, the Centre for Independent Studies, the HR Nicholls Society, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Lowy Institute, the Menzies Research Centre, and the Sydney Institute (to name a few) it is clear that the same tactic is a work here. Supported so enthusiastically by big media of course.

Other suggested reading:

If I made a lot of noise would my business get free publicity like this?

I've never much liked the Red Baron seaplane tourist business. It’s always annoyed me that if I were to make the sort of intermittent noise that this guy makes from my home-based business I’d be closed down within days.

But perhaps making a lot of noise (and wearing a funny hat) is exactly what I need to do to promote my business – after all the Baron got a free half page spread on the cover of today’s Bulletin and another on page four.

Best headline of the week - so far

Well, four best headlines actually.  They all relate to the same story and all are a good chuckle until you read the last one and find out what happened to the killer wombat:
  • Flowerdale man attacked by wombat - from The Age
  • Wombat mauls camper - from ABC Online 
  • Wombat assaults 60-year-old man outside his caravan - from 
  • Man-mauling wombat felled by axe

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Perfect timing

Easter Sunday - perfect timing for this announcement of an evolutionary discovery!!

Easter messages

I was going to blog about some of the nonsense spoken by Christian leaders this Easter and in particular this incoherent doosey by Anglican supremo Peter Jensen : "Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself"
However, I found these two posts which say most of it for me:
Suffice to say, the Christian Churches obviously have their backs against the wall (no pun intended) if they are spending their second most important marketing weekend of the year attacking unorganised atheists and reverting to the use of Godwin’s Law as the Catholic supremo of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher has.
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful"  Lucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 4 BC-AD 65)

Bob's still got it

I'm a big Bob Dylan fan and, along with many others, consider him the greatest songwiter of his generation if not the last century so I was pretty impressed to see this headline (although I bet the article was written by a 25 year old that had to look up his entry on wikipedia in order to write the last couple of throw-away lines):
China refuses Bob Dylan right to perform
Keep shakin' 'em up Bob

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Of Jeeps and jilted workers

Questions need to be asked about today's story in The Bulletin about TCC workshops doing work on Manager's cars while (real) work vehicles have to wait in line.

The line spun by the "council spokesperson" that one of the vehicles was simply there for a safety inspection doesn't ring true.  If I buy a new car, I don't mediately take it somewhere else for a safety inspection (unless it's a Toyota perhaps). And if the manager's cars are brought (or more probably, leased) as part of a salary package, all responsibility for the vehicle (including converting it from a soft-top to a hard-top) rests with the staff member and/or the leasing company and not with Council.

But I suspect the real story behind this headline lies in how ready Council staff are to rat on their bosses. As I've pointed out before - my sources tell me that morale in Council is at rock-bottom at least in part because the organisational re-structure that is currently under-way is being handled abysmally by Management (and their Brisbane-based consultants) and, while creating enormous angst among workers, is doing nothing about (and in fact is increasing) the already bloated management layers in the organisation.

You can expect many more such leaks from Council workers - particularly as the new structure gets rolled out

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A truly shocking number

Further to my earlier posts here and here about the hypocracy and ciminality of the Catholic Church comes this via from John Richardson at
Figures from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice estimate that since 1950, an estimated 280,000 children have been sexually abused by Catholic Clergy and deacons.
Truly shocking, fightening and appalling - mind-bogglingly so.

Comradeship, unity, equality, solidarity, justice – the ALP in Herbert

Occasional guest blogger Slim Cayenne sent this copy of the latest letter doing the rounds to ALP members in response the shoehorning of Tony Mooney into the party's candidature for the race for Herbert (click on the pick for better view).

Slim added the following comment:
"Governments lose elections by not listening to those who will make the decisions about who they will vote for.  The LNP will hold onto Herbert."
I agree on both counts Slim.