Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Dream Of Gina

ANY DAY that begins with an Indian gentleman sticking a camera up your bottom is probably not going to be one of the best. Then the computer came to life, news poured into the Billabong and things took a turn for the better, as opposed to the many turns the camera took to get somewhere just short of a poor Bunyip's adam's apple.

There must be some very nervous stomachs at the Silly and Phage right about now.

Not to worry. The Professor can recommend a good proctologist.

UPDATE:  An invaluable resource for nervous Fairfax types. Better hurry though. Job security will only last until Abbott & Co. take charge.

UPDATE II: A little more here. Not a lot, just a little.

Still Waters, Back Channels

PRIOR obligations this morning rule out any posting -- both a pity and a frustration, as the unfolding spectacle of the Love Machine "moving on" from Gillard's race riot is a wonder to behold. It is all a yawn at Fairfax, where the strategy is to round up the usual grievance mongers and let 'em rip. At the ABC, it is last week's story and, if there is a story, then it is the Coalition's shamelessness in transforming a minor incident into a campaign that can only inflame racial tensions and prejudice.

But all that will have to wait until later today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Silly Sisterhood

SILLY editrix Amanda Wilson, ignoring Marieke Hardy's advice that she and other modern women might like to sidle up to blokes in bars and ask for "a root", prefers to advance the cause of sisterhood:
Amanda WilsonDebra Jopson's insights on this week's Aboriginal anger worth reading  
 Admire Wilson's uterine loyalty by all means, but don't bother following her suggestion.

Hook, Line and Stinker

AS THE tide of warmist alarms recedes it is becoming increasingly obvious how the settled science's leap onto the bandwagon has done so much damage to credibility. For example, the Age has a long article about over-fishing and the rapid depletion of jack mackerel stocks. Every word may be true, every statistic accurate and its call for action inarguable.

Trouble is, the scientist ringing the bell is a certain Daniel Pauly, whose body of published work is replete with dire projections of the steamy fate awaiting not just mackerel but cod and other finny creatures. He is an alarmist of the first order and, inevitably, a champion of computer modelling.

While climate change is not mentioned in relation to the mackels' woes, how can we now invest the slightest faith in anything Pauly has to say? It will take many years of good behaviour and academic rigour to wipe the stain of climate careerism -- a hard road for science and, quite likely, jack mackerel as well.

UPDATE: It is not only earth sciences that have been harmed

The Academic Mind

THESE DAYS it is much nicer to play at golf and wield a whippy rod than devote thankless days to expanding human knowledge, but every now and then one catches word of academic pursuits and projects so undemanding that the business of ambling about the links or hauling fish onto mossy banks can seem positively energetic. Such were the tidings delivered with this morning’s salvaged copy of the Age, which continues to be delivered to the house two doors down the street even though the occupants moved out six months ago. Normally it is left to rot, but this morning, after last night’s epic final at Rod Laver Arena, it seemed worth the effort of stooping to scoop up the sports writers’  thoughts on what was, and without a doubt, one of the greatest finals every played.

That was the Age’s first disappointment: Not a mention of the contest and its outcome on the paper’s front page. Not a picture! Not a word! The action stopped at 1.30 am, which is late but not so late the event needed to be ignored. The rival Herald Sun made the effort and provided readers with a front page picture of Jocko the Great baring his chest in triumph. What a pity female players do not celebrate their victories in similar fashion.

Not to worry. This morning’s Age cost nothing, which is what it is worth, so it was flick, flick, flick through the pages to see if they contained anything sensible. Like Lot combing Sodom for a righteous man, it proved a fruitless quest.

Though to be fair there was, briefly, a flicker of hope on the opinion page, where Monash University’s Jane Lydon has a column which begins with a lament that the PM’s restaurant riot robbed an award recipient, nonagenarian Laurie Baymarrwangga of the Yolgnu people, of the attention she and her good works deserve. What a surprise: an apparent acknowledgement that last week’s orchestrated affray at The Lobby eatery harmed the efforts at reconciliation those window-thumpers are so fond of going on and on (and on and on) about. Perhaps Age editors were too busy watching tennis to weed it out, just as they failed to report the match itself.

But then disappointment returned. By halfway down her column Ms Lydon’s thoughts were back on the approved track. Yes, Humpytown is both a national treasure and a tool for alerting white Australia to the fact that Indigenous people, like Laurie Baymarrwangga, do not fit the racist Eurocentric stereotype of the “lazy Abo”. If the column’s start and its conclusion appear to present a contradiction, you are quite clearly not an academic specialising in Indigenous Studies, which is Ms Lydon’s happy station. She writes:
New ways of representing the cause have emerged. Some indigenous leaders have therefore criticised the tactics of what they (and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott) suggest may be an outmoded style of protest. I disagree: the embassy is more than a heritage relic; it continues to serve an important role as a thorn in the side of national complacency.
And a thorn in the side of the un-feted Laurie Baymarrwangga as well, one gathers.

Now there really is no excuse for Ms Lydon’s slavish reversion to the standard line. Her current project, generously funded by some $600,000 in ARC grants, consists of “working with four major European museums (the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris and the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden)” to retrieve from their archives photographs of long-dead Aborigines.

Apart from travel time to and from Europe, which even in business class can be tiresome, that does not seem too demanding a brief, certainly nothing so all-consuming that Ms Lydon would not have had the time to inject a little logical consistency into her Age column. Here is how this nice little earner pans out (from a .pdf so no link is available):
Dr Jane Lydon -- Approved
Project Title: Recognising Aborigines: from objects of science to First Australians
2010: $74,386.00
2011: $147,672.00
2012: $151,294.50
2013: $156,214.50
2014: $78,206.00
The Professor will be off to whack a few in a couple of hours’ time, a round of golf promoting not only good fellowship with Dr Yowie and Double Bogey Daddy but also providing time for contemplation. Today all thought not devoted to putts and drives will be dedicated to preparing an ARC submission for funding to investigate Indigenous handicapping systems and the modern pitching wedge’s origins in the nulla nulla. There are some fine golf courses in Scotland, and surely Aborigines played some part in their creation, so it would be nothing less than racism if the request meets rejection.

After that, perhaps a meeting might be possible with the fetching Dr Lydon in Paris, where the restaurants are very good and Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s debt to Indigenous cuisine has yet to be properly explored. That should be worth at least $700,000 in additional grants. And if the committee is a little uncertain, the Professor is more than prepared to churn out a column or two of contradictions to establish the application’s ideological soundness.
Has Ms Lydon (above) ever walked arm-in-arm by the Seine at dawn or sampled the literary life beneath a bridge, as was Anais Nin’s pleasure with Henry Miller? If that grant comes through, she can count on the Professor to expand the good cause of education on very many fronts indeed.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


IF the booted Tony Hodges did only what the Prime Minister claims – contacted the oppressed in the expectation “a couple” of black faces would front the cameras to denounce his boss’ foe – what exactly did he do wrong and why was he fired? Skewering opponents is what politics is all about, and Hodges is – was – paid to sharpen knives and pass them out to this government’s eager accomplices and apologists in the gallery.

Lies being her stock in trade, Gillard’s non-explanation explanation at her Saturday afternoon press conference was suspect from the very instant that spigot of falsehood beneath the Pinocchio nose began to drip. Several hours later, Kim Sattler, directly contradicted the woman on behalf of whose office she sped to Humpytown with word of Tony Abbott’s incendiary racism.

That mad dash is what reporters should be seeking to have explained today. It is the only question, the hinge on which the door to the race riot’s disgrace swung open and the genesis of Team Gillard’s confident whispers in the immediate aftermath of her evactuation that ultimate blame could be pinned on none but Abbott.

That wasn’t true and Gillard’s paid liars knew it. Had it not been for Ray Hadley baring the truth on talkback radio -- is it any wonder luvvies hate the medium so? -- the strategy would by now be proceeding apace. Today’s papers would be larded with reflections on the Opposition leader’s divisive personality, his contempt for reconciliation, the intemperance of his rhetoric and, inevitably, how the riot was the predictable second chapter in the chronicle of incitement first opened at the carbon tax protests.

By Tuesday, tertiary slurs would have been slathered over news pages and opinion columns. Not just Aborigines, but women, refugees, trees and enlightened rationality itself would be presented as the targets in Abbott’s alleged crosshairs. Now the toadies are scrambling, frantic to find a narrative which re-channels the flow of commentary and reporting onto safer ground.

Sattler’s newly revealed Aboriginality, would that do the trick? The spinners must by now have considered it as an avenue of escape, perceiving the potential of a racial excuse and explanation for her cries of “Fire! Fire!” in Humptytown’s theatre of the absurd. The approach might have worked, but not now that Sattler has effectively said the Gillard version is a lie.

Could Gillard’s ink-stained urgers simple move on – that ever-popular phrase – forget the race riot and bang again the tired tropes of a nation divided and reconciliation bogged in the quagmire of conservative intolerance? Who knows, even now Larissa Behrendt may be tapping out just such a sermon.

Let them have their heads for now, indulge them to read only the signals in each other’s anxious eyes as they gather in the closed circle about the latest batch of crackers. This time it is a lie too far, although the gallery in its arrogance and isolation will not yet have noticed as much. They will lecture and scold and advance the pro forma rationales, but the Australia whose day was desecrated by the Prime Minister’s tawdry little tricks is unlikely to be moved.

Not this time, not after so many lies and liars.

UPDATE: Kim Sattler now claims to have been quoted inaccurately and has brought her version of events into line with Prime Minister Yabby. What a surprise!

Fascinating as this matter remains, it is a hot, glorious day in Melbourne and the beach beckons. Any comments received for the next hour or so will be put up. After that things will go quiet until later tonight.

The Love Machine

DIGNIFIED, resolute, blameless in every regard, beset by traitors, cursed by John Howard’s toxic legacy yet implacable in her commitment to truth and principle, our Prime Minister sails serenely through the pages of this weekend’s Fairfax press:

Julia Gillard has been accused of betrayal for her inability to deliver to Andrew Wilkie the promised mandatory precommitment technology on all poker machines, yet her actions are the direct result of her having been betrayed by a man who once was one of her closest advisers.
– Anne Summers, “Dice Loaded In Clubs Battle

The [footage] also captured a Prime Minister keeping her cool in the middle of sharply deteriorating circumstances, working her way through the options, mapping the entrances and exits; no hysterics, taking the inventory. (We all here? Good. Let's do this vaguely unpalatable thing then.)

If the demo showed a darker side of politics, that Gillard looked out for Abbott was a reminder of the shared values of our democracy. As they got to The Lodge, Abbott observed Parliament would be pretty tame by comparison to what they had just been through. ''All credit to the Prime Minister and her security team for getting us out…. 

Howard's greatest successes was to sell his brand of nationalism to the young, but it was not the act of a statesman since it left us with a national day that annually calls up our deepest and most abiding division. It was inevitable that sooner or later, whether by accident or design, an event like that which occurred in Canberra on Thursday was going to happen. A situation now exists which extremists on both sides can work to their advantage. 

Let us not pretend for a second that the Craig Thomson affair would be as compelling to Tony Abbott and the media if it did not involve allegations about prostitution. 

''No one's angrier than me about what happened on Australia Day,'' [Gillard] said
–Misha Schubert and Amanda Dunn, “No One Is Angrier Than Me

When an image of Julia Gillard’s fearful face, wedged beside her bodyguard, flashed around the globe, indigenous issues were at the centre of Australian politics again. Almost always, indigenous politics must touch the Canberra powerful somehow to get a hold

Gillard conducted herself with calmness, courage, humour and decency, as witnessed by her concern for the safety of her chief political foe. It was an unscripted - and unwarranted - opportunity for Gillard to show her mettle and she came through with flying colours.
– Sun-Herald editorial, “Shielding Gillard As Battlelines Are Drawn

Gillard will use an address on Wednesday as the real start to her 2012 political calendar, telling the country Labor will deliver low interest rates, low inflation and low unemployment. According to a report in The Sun-Herald today, voters will be treated to a more dignified Prime Minister, a big-picture visionary who will leave the trench warfare to her lieutenants.
– Sun-Herald editorial, “Shielding Gillard As Battlelines Are Drawn

The negative sentiments against Gillard seem more visceral and personal than with Bligh. And, unlike Bligh, Gillard has had to battle a good deal of hostility virtually from the start of her leadership.

Just when you think he can get no lower, down he goes again. Tony Abbott's boast that he would turn back the refugee boats is rank populism, a despicable play for the talkback rednecks. 

Enough cheerleading? Keep a firm grip on breakfast because here comes the
pièce de résistance. No need to read any further than the headline atop Sun-Herald analyst Stephanie Peatling’s apologia:

How I’ll Slay Abbott.*

(*Originally posted as "Beat Abbott" due to Bunyip slackness, the coffee not being ready, the Rufous Bird wanting to know why the stove is greasy and why there is no Windex. And also because Young Master Bunyip ran out of fags and took the last nicotine lozenge because he was too slack to go to the shops. Now corrected, and many thanks to commeneter AR for noticing the mistake.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gillard's White Rabbit

IT'S JUST  a thought, a dreamy little reverie, but wouldn't it be lovely to have some audio of Kim Sattler playing at Paul Revere in Humpytown. Michael Anderson had this to say about the moment Team Gillard reached out to oppressed:
“There was a lady running around here when I was doing a radio interview and she said the prime minister’s office wants to talk to you and I thought she was joking and said I’ll talk later,” he told reporters.
So maybe the reporter caught it on tape or over the phone, and perhaps can confirm that Sattler was no mere freelance gabble-guts but a direct emissary from the PM's office. That would just about do her in. It is impossible to clear this point with Sattler because she has made herself scarce.

At the very least it would be interesting to know the reporter's name and to have this question answered: "Did you hear Sattler present herself as representing Prime Minister Gillard?"

Of course it is too much to hope. A reporter with such information would have come forward by now to claim a scoop. Surely that would be the case. Don't you reckon?

Journalism By Numbers

UPDATE: It seems we now know who took that call from the youthful Tony Hodges and relayed word of Abbott's presence to the humpytown layabouts: Labor identity Kim Sattler, pictured below.

Here is her CV.

now back to the original post ...

THE SILLY's Debra Jopson, whose opinion piece currently tops that newspaper's website, is another who must not have received those updated talking points from the PM's office, the spiel that asserts sacked staffer Tony Hodges merely passed along word of Tony Abbott's presence. Why making mention of a politician's scheduled stop, already a matter of public record, warrants the boot has not been explained, nor is it likely to be when people like 7:30's reporters and producers are proving so eager to do as they are bid.

Jopson's shctick is what we can expect from quality journalists, especially those who must surely admit in their private moments to serving primarily as publicists and advocates. Hodges arranged the race riot -- why else would he have been sacked? -- and the pin-it-on-Tony meme was out there and gaining ground, so it was time for Jopson to advance the cause with a dash of polemic distortion. Read this excerpt and see if you do not spot her game:
Despite the hopes of the moderates who have been working inside the government tent for years, the protesters’ rapid follow-up, whipping a flag out of a backpack to burn on the Parliament House steps, shows that it is likely we are going to see more anger. Dangerous as it is for race relations, because it is bound to bring out old hatreds as surely as did the rise of One Nation, keeping this volatility alive is too tempting to pass up, for radicals and media alike.

Apparently the problem is that white folks will take offence at seeing the nation's symbol torched, hateful white folks, and then we will see the perils of Pauline all over again. If it is your mates who are inflaming tensions and animosities, that is just "a rapid follow-up". The hate begins with the reaction to hatred, according to Jopson, who has forgotten it was not Pauline Hanson's admirers who ran riot but her enemies.

Expect more of the same from Jopson and her ilk. The government's incompetence blew the chance to pin the riot on Abbott. Now they will regroup, re-shape the storyline, and focus on Australia's bitter white heart.

And just in case you need to be told, those painyted as purveyors of loathing will be tied to Abbott at every opportunity.

And just for the record, Hanson is no favourite at the Billabong. She would have made even shorter work of the economy than even Gillard is managing.

Yesterday's Talking Points

IT MUST have been chaos at the ABC yesterday as 7:30 prepared to go to air. They had a report ready and all set to go with the day before's talking points, the line that Tony Abbott incited the restaurant riot, when news reached them that a Gillard spinner had been caught out (and promptly thrown out).

What to do?

Well in quality-journalism ABC-style, the show began with a simple recitation of the press release announcing Tony Hodges' departure. He had contacted "a person", the talking head said, not bothering to wonder who that person might be, what he or she was told or why, per the PM's office, it was not a good thing to pass along information of the Opposition leader's itinerary. That box ticked, 7:30 went back to the original script.

The item can be found here. The Abbott smear comes at about the 2:20 mark

Election Now!

A PRIME MINISTERIAL staffer incites a race riot. No ifs, ands or buts, that is that happened -- regardless of how many unnamed intermediaries and cut-outs were required to relay to the tent embassy's ferals word of Tony Abbott's presence at The Lobby restaurant. Young Mr Hodges has now been tossed overboard, and the lickspittle media is busying itself with trying to obscure the simple, ugly truth that his phone call was entirely in keeping with this rancid government's strategy of smearing the Opposition leader by any means necessary.

Why wouldn't a young buck in the PM's office pick up the signals and run with them? Hey, a quick call to a contact, a bit of misquoting and, Presto!, lovely footage on the nightly news of demonstrators demanding Abbott's head. See, Australia, even blackfellas hate him too.

If the scheme had gone as planned, does anyone doubt Hodges would have let it be known that he had engineered the coup? Of course not. He would have been sliming his little secret straight into our PM's ear.

But the scheme foundered, as all this government's projects do, on the rock of its endemic incompetence. Forget managing the economy, drowning illegal aliens or burying billions in the NBN's trenches. Gillard's crew cannot even spread a little malicious gossip without it coming back to bite them.

Now it is true that gossip and lies are integral parts of the political process, much as decent folk might dislike them. But gossip aimed at pitting white against black, at adding fuel to the fire that yesterday saw the flag of every Australian burned on the steps on Parliament! Anyone who sees that strategy as a means to a political end, or any partisan attempting to justify it, such people are beneath contempt.

We need an election and we need it now.

A NOTE OF GRATITUDE to visiting troll Numbers, who pointed out a typo. It is good know he is useful for something other than to be mocked

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Australia Jessica Knows Best

HOW the Silly's Jessica Irvine conceives of her newspaper's readers, not to mention Australia Day and the quaint, old-fashioned obligation to provide a day's work for a day's pay:

Feeling tired after a long day discharging your patriotic duty to binge drink and indulge in a bout of introspection bordering on a national identity crisis? (What does it mean to be Australian?!) Perhaps you even considered calling in sick today? After all, the placement of a public holiday on a Thursday - so perilously close to the weekend - is like a fresh, meaty bone laid in front of a dog: there for the taking.

Could this impression of an inebriated nation have been gleaned from observing her colleagues' conduct? Quite possibly, which would explain rather a lot. Let us imagine the scene.

Over there in the corner, Betty Farrelly is raising with shaky hand the next tot of absinthe (very French and fashionable) to her thin, parched lips, the other tapping both her keyboard and that bottomless well of incoherence which has produced so many essays to defy the understanding of all but fellow toss pots.

Nearby is environmental enthusiast, the young Ben Cubby, deep in the cups of his depression. He is staring at a light switch and sobbing, both furious and befuddled at the thought of all those volts pulsing wastefully behind the panelling. Adam Morton, up from Melbourne to co-ordinate Fairfax's felicitous transcription of Greens press releases, is swigging from a magnum of fermented lawn clippings and taking steps to put Comrade Colleague Cubby's mind at ease. Standing atop a chair atop a desk, he is mumbling threats against Big Carbon and poised to jam two fingers into a light socket. "This will teach them," he is heard to say.

Morton will need to be careful when he dismounts, because Mike "Butch" Carlton is on all fours with the coming Saturday's column gripped doglike between his teeth. It is an assault on radio listeners, whose mass abandonment of his show would not have mattered if broadcasting's evil bosses placed the same low premium on revenue and audience that characterise the Silly's senior stewards.

 Another day at the Silly

Paul McGeough and David Marr are bonding over a bottle or three, each informing the other of his own magnificence and neither listening all that hard. It is just as well. McGeough would be livid to learn the latest drop is kosher, as he has promised his new missus, the prominent Palestinian activist, that no Zionist wolves' piss will sully expense account or palate.

The scarcity of female quality journalists is at first a riddle, but then the shriek and cackle of alto voices drowns out the broader din and the mystery is solved. Yet another reprise of the Scottish play's first scene is being workshopped in the office of editrix Amanda Wilson, but the chief is not happy. Readers Editor Judy Prisk has been comatose for months and is snoring in the corner.  What is worse, A Dill Horin has drunkenly confused the latest ACOSS press release with the script and it is not working.

"When shall we three meet again?" begins A Dill. "When welfare clients know no pain!" Wilson slaps her, but not hard enough.

Into this  bacchanal, unnoticed by all, comes a small, grey man. He is a Fairfax investor attempting to ascertain what has happened to his nest egg. Editrix Wilson rouses Prisk and puts her on the case.

"It is all about commas, nothing but commas," she slurs and lapses again into unconsciousness.

The little man has no time to cut his losses, call a broker and place the sell order. He is bowled into oblivion by the flying body of Adam Morton, whose blackened fingers carve on the office air an arc of smoking particulants.

Poor Ben Cubby spies the floating carbon and cries even harder 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Invasion Day Studies

MEMBERS OF the Mordy-Litijus tribe endure another day's oppression in Canberra.

Unaccustomed to whitefella ways, this court-recognised victim of injustice (above) nevertheless stands tall in his traditional studded denim jacket. Notice the totemic tatoo on his bicep, an indication he has reached manhood and is a full member of the Northcote clan.

A darker-skinned protester has cannily disguised himself as a policeman. Meanwhile, a real Aborigine takes pictures as another displays his ceremonial backpack and white shirt, the latter a reminder that he must accept only preferment, not poisoned flour.

Traditional symbols stress links with the past. This design evokes the annual Moomba ritual, sacred to the Melbourne mob.

Aborigines from all tribes socialise in a traditional shelter known as "a mar-quee". Fearful that Tony Abbott will complete the genocide his ancestors began, the couple in the lower right appear intent on producing another generation before it is too late. Look closely and you will see the native maiden's leg has been placed over the young warrior's shoulder, a universally recognised indication of imminent availability.

Pat Eatock, who taught Andrew Bolt a thing or two, displays a tribal fetish. It is revered as the footwear of a large, emu-like creature some still believe has the power to make everything turn to gold. This belief is fading, and much contemporary research has established the opposite to be the case.

On the sole and hidden from the camera is an enigmatic marking, "Town Mode" -- an incantation that is said to drive away journalists. There is a considerable body of evidence to suggest the spell works.

More Labor Plagiarism

OUR PM escapes the mob in Canberra today.

Let us be thankful she did not also copy the gauzy outfit in Pierre-August Cot's "The Storm".

As for Tony Abbott, if you are not already aware that he is to blame for today's riot, you most certainly will be when the Phage, Silly and ABC have finished putting things in that "quality journalism" perspective.

Keep Those Whispers Coming

FROM deep inside the fetid bowels of Fairfax World Headquarters, a shtum survivor pours out his heart to a Bunyip:
We have another new columnist, Martin McKenzie-Murray. We describe him as "a regular contributor", but that is not all he is. He has spent his entire post-uni career spinning for Labor ministers and Labor schemes.
The Billabong's informant wonders, but only rhetorically, why editors responsible for processing McKenzie-Murray's columns have so far denied readers any hint of the writer's background and sympathies. Then comes a sarcastic suggestion that complaints should be lodged with the "excuses editor", a reference to Judy Prisk, who was appointed to handle complaints about inaccuracy, bias, and propaganda presented as news -- complaints, in other words, about all the sins that make Silly and Phage the travesties they are.

Fat chance of getting any satisfaction from Ms Prisk.

Dinky Di Dementia Day

THE Lavatorians celebrate Australia Day as only leftards can.

In the Fairfax press, the national celebration is a cue to get stuck into John Howard, denounce an "artificial fabrication designed by governments, the corporate world, media, Australia Day Councils and smug Anglo-Saxons" and insist that "a bit of coloured clay" is comparable to a Rembrandt if wrought by an Indigenous hand (and observed by Betty Farrelly).

And at The Drum, two articles give readers opportunities to rail against "racists disguising their bigotry as patriotism" (comment by Don't Ask Don't Tell. Oh, and there also is this comment (by Claire), which is a beaut:
I have no problems when people of migrant background affirm their love for their country in a public way. I am of a migrant background too and I have done it myself, though in different ways. I do object - and yes, think "bogan" - when it is a person from the Anglo dominant culture who wears the flag and has the tattoo.
Those disempowered New Australians should make the most of their right to hail the nation that took them in. Come the next generation, by Claire's logic their kids will be no less stained by Ocker Guilt than the detested "dominant Anglos" who arrived before them.

From victims to cultural oppressors in one generation! Australia really is the land of opportunity.

AN INVITATION: Readers who come across further examples of the OCSIOV Syndrome -- Our Cringing Shame In Our Voices -- should feel free to provide links in comments. 


Two Things That Fell Out Of A Chook's Bum

THIS grief Anthony Albanese is getting for pretending to be Michael Douglas, it is not entirely fair. In regard to both the carbon tax we were never going to have and those pokie promises made to the Dill for Denison, our Prime Minister also has drawn sly inspiration from Hollywood. Here she is saying one thing....

.... and here is her borrowed explanation for doing the exact opposite. It begins at the 3:28 mark:

It would be impossible to tell them apart if not for Humpty's more fetching figure.

She Rhymes With Itch

WHAT was it the American humourist Will Rogers used to say? Ah yes, "I only know what I read in the papers". These days, of course, we can learn a lot about newspapers by reading blogs -- and if you happen upon Margaret Simons' online handiwork at the Parkville Asylum's Centre For Advanced Journalism, where she writes about papers and other newsy things, you can also learn a lot about her. Going by this recent post, and ignoring entirely her recent kak-handed bid to put legs on baseless rumour, the first and most enduring conclusion will be that she is an extraordinarily rude piece of work.

But perhaps the Professor is being too harsh. Come to your own conclusions after considering the facts, which are these:

Simons' centre has taken under its wing a number of Sudanese migrants with an interest in journalism or, to be accurate, an interest in making sure journalists write only positive things about their community. To this end, one of Simons' acolytes contacted the Herald Sun and asked if it would be possible to arrange a tour for herself, former centre head Michael Gawenda, and a small posse of Sudanese youngsters.

The newspaper agreed and appears to have assigned a very senior executive, Hugh Jones, to serve as a tour guide. He spent several hours with the group, answered their questions and even showed them Andrew Bolt's empty office. The result was a marked change in attitude in at least one of the visitors.

"We were ambivalent about what was ahead of us in regards to who we would meet and how we would be received," admitted David Vincent, who went home on the tram home a changed man. "I concluded Herald Sun reporters all just wanted to do their work with no intention of causing anyone or any group of people any harm. One man changed my views."

So far, so good. All the talk we hear so often about reconciling differences, gaining understanding of the other, burying hatchets, respectful co-existence etc., well all of that actually came to pass.  Hugh Jones, who must have had better things to do, invested his time, courtesy and effort and, after that, it was all ebony and ivory on Southbank. A coup for the Centre For Advanced Journalism!

But is Simons pleased about this development? Is she grateful to Jones? Does she see any good as having come from the visit? Not if the headline she has written for the official account of the trip is any indication. Here it is:

Just One Question: Why? Sudanese Tour the Herald Sun

Simons must have preened at the keyboard as she tapped out that little exercise in bitchiness. How witty! How cutting! How very sharp she must have thought herself!

And stupid too. Why were your students there, Ms Simons? Because they asked to be, you sneering gargoyle on an ivory tower!

If you ever wonder why some Sudanese believe themselves to be victims of newspaper bias and distortion, it may just be because ideologues in academic gowns do a roaring business these days in peddling and promoting paranoia. When those fears are put to rest, as they were by the Herald Sun visit, the venom still needs to seep out somewhere, in this case via Simons' headline. If this solon of quality journalism ever comes to your home for dinner, except a curt 'thank you' at the door and a blackguarding from behind her keyboard.

There is further evidence of this mindset in a note on the visit compiled by one Simons' disciples, a white American called Violeta Politoff. She writes:

When we arrived we walked into the foyer and I immediately noticed what I assumed to be a Herald Sun front page wall of fame. I was surprised to see that amongst these revered front pages was an image of Osama Bin Laden announcing his death with the headline “Got Him”. Such brashness made me question how issues around the reporting of Sudanese Australians could be addressed? Would any of us feel brave enough to ask these questions?
An image of Osama announcing his own death, eh? Well that would be a first, and don't forget the author professes to be some sort of journalism teacher -- a trade which appears no longer to require  familiarity with the most basic conventions of sentence construction. But that is a minor point, and it is not as if she is alone in her ignorance.

How could anyone but a lunatic take the Bin Laden front page as a statement of animosity toward a group of well dressed, well behaved students? What can Violeta Pull-It-Off believe goes on inside the Herald Sun to pen something quite so daft as that? Hugh Jones should have told her that Andrew Bolt's office was the scene of satanic rituals, with the Dutchman dressed as George W. Bush and Terry McCrann sacrificing little black Muslim babies on an altar cloth of Rupert Murdoch's underpants. The ridiculous creature would have believed every word.

Remember, parents, these are the people you are paying in the hope your children will emerge from their care with degrees and some prospect of a job. Just don't expect them to find work in any field where basic good manners are expected.

Simons should apologise, especially to the Herald Sun's Jones. And if she baulks, someone should make her.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sceptical Science, er, Lie-ence

IN HER last dark days, Alene Composta found succour in the kind words of Skeptical Science’s John Cook, who together with close friend Stephan Loondowsky believed in her to the bitter end. Faith like that can be karmic, so it was nothing less than cosmic justice when the physicist won the Australia Museum’s Eureka Prize for advancing the cause of scientific understanding, an award that bestows the additional joy of a $10,000 purse provided by the NSW government. Alene would have loved to share the moment with Cook, of that we can be sure, just as it is certain she would have stood behind him now, when ugly things are being said about standards and integrity.

The accuser is blogger Shub Niggurath, who lays out a persuasive case that Cook’s site turned a sceptic’s words on their head by not merely doctoring a quote but performing major surgery upon it. He even provides a graphic to show how, with the sort of science honoured by Eureka Prizes, it is the done thing to take a fragment from the head of the page, a bit from the middle and an unrelated sentence from the foot in order to make a whole “quote” which can be demolished at a stroke. This is particularly the easy when the panel-beaten passage is twisted to state the polar opposite of its writer’s intention.

Shub is obviously unaware that Cook represents the essence of contemporary Australian science and has a $10,000 cheque to prove it. As the Eureka commendation states, climate deniers have “nowhere to hide” when he and his believe-a-matic iPhone app are on the case. They don’t hand out $10,000 sums lightly, you know, even if it is only someone else’s money -- not like prophecies of endless drought or warnings that climate-deafened clown fish are soon to be smeared by speeding southbound sharks. Those Eureka Awards have standards, lots of entry conditions and all of them are laid out here!

But then again, it might be better not to mention them. While Cook’s award recognised his success in ringing the climate-change alarm, a close reading of the conditions of entry reveals no premium on accuracy or truth. Indeed, neither is mentioned at all.

Perhaps the prize committee found those bits to be daunting or inconvenient and simply erased them. As Skeptical Science’s own-quote bending demonstrates, that’s the settled science for you.

Election Now!

PRIME MINISTER Julia Yabby -- the meat's in her tail, the crap in her head -- has added yet another dubious triumph to her growing list.

At Quadrant Online, a diplomatically anonymous teacher explains how that laptop-for-ever-child thing is working out.

Short summary: It isn't.

And while you are over there, why not take out a subscription? Quadrant gets better with every latest issue.

Dusted With Poo And Grants

IT IS A GOOD thing for the University of Western Australia’s Farida Fozdar that custodians of the public purse do not fly Australian flags from their cars on Australia Day, the coded signal her innovative statistical analysis has deciphered as proof that there is a racist behind the wheel. To Fozdar, who prefers to think of herself not as a simple Australian – and she is very, very simple, mind you – but as a much-hyphenated “Indian-American-Bruneian Baha’i in ‘multicultural’ Australia”, our wide, brown cesspit of prejudice and intolerance has been rather generous.

Extraordinarily generous, actually, given that one of her academic interests is “Sperm milkshakes with poo sprinkles”.

This and other scholarly pursuits recently scored her ARC funding of some $700,000 over five years (see the second entry in the list below). It is a significant sum, but only when plucked in isolation from the overflowing bag of all her other funded projects. Just so readers will appreciate the breadth of Fozdar’s interests, here is the fully tally of her haul since 2003:

Research Grants

Project Title – Effectiveness of a Whole-School Approach to Creating Supportive Environments that Remove Barriers to Learning for Refugee Youth
Researchers – Fraser, Barry, Fozdar, Farida, Aldridge, Jill
Scheme Name – ARC Linkage
1-Jul-2011 - 30-Dec-2016

Project Title – Refugees, Housing and Social Inclusion in Australia
Researchers – Flatau, Paul, Fozdar, Farida, Pedersen, Anne, Colic-Peisker, Val
Scheme Name – AHURI Research Funding
1-Mar-2011 - 30-Sept-2014
$192,322 (pending)

Project Title – Australian, Transnational and Postnational Identities: affective aspects of social inclusion
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – ARC Future Fellowship
2011 – 2015

Project Title – Evaluation Steppers Employment for Disadvantaged Refugees program
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – Evaluation, ASeTTS
1-Jan-2011 - 30-June-2012

Project Title – Refugees in Western Australia: Settlement and Integration- Post Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Services
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida and O’Hara, Michael
Scheme Name – LotteryWest
1-January-2011 - 31-December-2011

Project Title – Intergenerational Social Interaction
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – Research Capacity Funding, Murdoch
1-Jan-2010 - 31-Dec-2010

Project Title – Research Support Grant (SSH)
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – ibid, Murdoch.
1-Jan-2010 - 1-Dec-2010

Project Title – Fostering the development of intercultural confidence as an integral part of university education
Researchers –Volet, Simone and Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – ARC Discovery
1-Jan-2009 - 31-December-2011
$140,000 (plus $45,000 Murdoch support grant)

Project Title – Evaluating 4 Refugee Inclusion programs
Researchers – Fozdar, Farida
Scheme Name – ASeTTS tender
1-Dec-2008 - 31-May-2009

Project Title – The retreat from multiculturalism
Researchers –Tilbury, Farida
Scheme Name – Research Excellence Grant (REGs)
1-Jan-2007 - 31-December-2007
$12 384.

Project Title – Settling in Australia: The Social Inclusion of Refugees (workshop proceedings publication)
Researchers –Tilbury, Farida and Colic-Peisker, Val
Scheme Name – OMI Community Grants Sponsorship Program
1-June-2007- 31-December-2007

Project Title – Innovative Career Development Project: Career Guidance for Young Refugee People
Researchers –Tilbury, Farida, Gallegos, Danielle
Scheme Name – South Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre
1-June-2006 - 31-December-2006

Project Title – New Migrant and Refugee understandings of citizenship and multiculturalism
Researchers –Tilbury, Farida,
Scheme Name – Research Excellence Grant (REGs)
1-Jan-2006 - 31-December-2006

Project Title – Managing Work and Motherhood: perinatal mental health implications
Researchers – Gallegos, Danielle, Harris, Patricia, Abernethie, Loraine, Tilbury, Farida,
Scheme Name – State Perinatal Mental Health Strategy
1-Feb-2006 – Feb-2007

Project Title – Pathways to Apprenticeships and Training for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
Researchers – Walker, Iain, Tilbury, Farida, Tungaraza, Casta, Volet, Simone and Hansen, Susan.
Scheme Name – Department of Education and Training tender
1-July-2005- 30-September-2005

Project Title - Refugees and Employment: Exploring the Effects of Visible Difference on Discrimination
ResearchersColic-Peisker, Val, Tilbury, Farida, Peters, Nonja
Scheme Name - ARC Discovery
01-January-2004 - 31-December-2006

Project Title – Producer perspectives on the management of livestock health and disease
Researchers – Farida Tilbury, Max Sully
Scheme Name – Australia Bio-Security CRC PhD top-up scholarships x 2
30-January-2005 - 30 January -2007

Project Title - Finding the Family Meal: determining patterns of family meal consumption
Researchers – Tilbury, Farida; Gallegos, Danielle; Dziurawiec, Suzanne; Abernethie, Loraine
Scheme Name – REGs
1-January-2005 - 31 December -2005

Project Title ‘Medicating the Unruly child’: a Genealogy of ADHD
Researchers –Rapley, Mark, McHoul, Alec, Broderick, Pia, Walker, Iain, Tilbury, Farida
Scheme Name – REGs
01-January-2004 - 31-December-2005
$14 500

Project Title - ‘Becoming socially and economically Beneficial’ – the process of acceptance of Afghan Hazara refugees in Albany, WA
ResearchersTilbury, Farida, Harris, Trish, Baldock, Cora.
Scheme Name - REGs
01-January-2004 - 31-December-2005

Project Title – Good Food for New Arrivals, Meta Evaluation
Researchers – Stratton, Ralph, Tilbury, Farida, Gallegos, Danielle
Scheme Name – Association for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ASeTTS)
March-2005 - March-2008
Promised Grant Amount $47,000 (plus GST)

Project Title - Bassendean Needs Assessment and Social Plan
Researchers - Tilbury, Farida, Davies, Deirdre, Mackenzie, Gaye
Scheme Name - Bassendean City Council
15-December-2003 - 31-December-2004

Project Title - Migrant Contributions to Western Australia edited book
Researchers - Tilbury Farida, Wilding Raelene
Scheme Name - Office of Multicultural Interests
01-July-2003 - 01-August -2004


1/ The campaign to confuse and mislead Fairfax editors by spiking comment threads with outrageously stereotypical leftoid parodies continues apace. They are parodies, surely?

2/ Until just a few years ago, Ms Fozdar went by the surname "Tilbury". Readers who leap to the conclusion the switch might have had something to do with making her grant applications a little more authentic should be ashamed of themselves.

3/ Hear Ms Fozdar nee Tilbury explain herself to Chris Smith.

4/ Ms Fozdar-Tilbury's potential for bagging additional monies is nowhere near tapped out. According to the list above, she has yet to explore links between racism and climate change. No doubt that application will be filed soonish.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bike Boy Gets The Story

ALMOST four years ago the Bunyipmobile was heading north up the Hume when one of the local radio stations mentioned something about an outdoors show being held that day in Wodonga. The ultimate destination was a remote but not-too-difficult to reach mountain valley below Cabramurra, the site of a former mining settlement abandoned around the time of the Great War. The fishing can be good, it is never crowded and, best of all, there is one particular, near-perfect camping spot beside an arc of shaded creek that cascades over a series of shallow ledges.

Centuries of running water have carved depressions perfectly shaped to accept and anchor the human bottom, and it is very pleasant on a hot day to be sitting belly-deep, drinking beer and, if you are reasonably careful, reading a book. Your evening's entertainment will be the humungous hunstmen attracted by the carnage pressure lanterns wreak on moths, and the morning's may be a pair of wary wallabies poking about near the ashes of last night's fire (but only if they think no one is looking). As the outdoors show was on the way to the Snowies it seemed like a good idea to stop off and see what was new in the way of interesting gear.

The show turned out to be a bit more than an exercise in separating the Professor from his money -- eagerly handed over, by the way, for a beautiful, handworked tomahawk so sharp and well balanced a fellow could shave with it. That was the day's delight.

The amusement was a mob of anti-gun ratbags, raving vegans and public nuisances shrieking insults at everyone sane who passed them by.  The more they were ignored, the worse the abuse became. We were rednecks with little dicks, killers, butchers and, according to one memorably huge poster, child-killers in the making. Two members of the cult slipped inside and shackled themselves with bicycle locks to a railing, blowing whistles for a while and demanding justice for ducks etc. The pair ran out of puff eventually, by which time nobody was paying the slightest heed in any case.

Best of all, the police took their sweet time fetching bolt cutters, at least two hours, and everyone had a good laugh at how uncomfortable the geese looked up there on their balcony perch, where they inconvenienc3ed no one but themselves.

All this comes to mind because of Boy On A Bike, who puts to shame those quality journalists we hear so much about. Not so long ago, Boy discovered that Fairfax owns a big chunk of Earth Hour, which casts its papers' advocacy of that dubious cause in a decidely mercenary light. Now he has learned the Wodonga protest was organised out of the offices of NSW's then-attorney general.

It is a fascinating post because there is more to it than that. Two-member astroturf "coalitions", deceptive letterheads, misuse of taxpayer assets, Lee Rhianon, obligingly incurious reporters -- Boy's investigation reveals an awful lot.

Pop over and have a look.

UPDATE: Here is a video of the Wodonga protest. Why do they always need to be so rude?

Social Make-Workers

HAVE YOU ever noticed how the number of social maladies keeps outpacing the increasing numbers of social workers hired to solve them? Why, it is almost as if it’s a scam or something – the more hand-wringers, the more problems they seem to discover. A little story in today’s Phage would seem to be the proof.

The article is reproduced in full below, along with what would seemto be some pertinent questions and observations:

A day in the Children's Court

THE big man with the tattoos fumbles for tissues as the magistrate gives her interim ruling that he can return to the family home with his wife and four young children. The day before the Children's Court hearing, Department of Human Services officers arrived suddenly at the family home and issued an ultimatum: he had to leave immediately - or the children would be taken into the custody of the state.

Social workers have this authority? Remarkable!

Now, 24 hours later, the entire family is assembled in the Children's Court. While the mother and father sit anxiously in the courtroom as the intimacies of their family life are revealed, the children wait outside in the foyer.

''If you had the 'luxury' of sitting here for a week; you would see an infinite variety of complex and nuanced situations - this is just one of them,'' says Andrew McGregor, who was among six lawyers sitting at the bar table last Tuesday.

Six lawyers, the case worker(s), a magistrate and an unstated number of court functionaries and support staff – that is quite a crew. This must be serious, so what is the source of all this drama?

The anatomy of this family crisis, like many matters before the Children's Court, is convoluted. The state's intervention in the household began late last year, when the oldest daughter, 13, alleged her father had touched her breast. She later retracted the allegation, saying she made up the story because she was afraid that he would hit her for leaving the gate open and enabling the family dog to escape. The pet was run over by a car.

So, even though the kid lied, that was enough to prompt an invasion of social workers who – Surpise! Surprise! – still managed to come up with reasons why the taxpayer must continue to to fund their stickybeaking.

Acting on the original allegation, however, protective concerns were lodged with the Department of Human Services last year.

The daughter’s accusation was groundless, but “protective concerns” trump the facts on the ground.

On that first visit, police went to the family home with welfare officers. The mother took out an intervention order against the father and he left the home.

Why would Mum file such an order? Quite possibly because the social workers threatened to make off with the kids if she did not. To ensure that prospect sinks in, police have been diverted from more worthwhile pursuits.

Some weeks later, he had returned by agreement (the intervention order was varied).

Mum and Dad have jumped through hoops and filed papers to get him back into his own home, where he belongs. Ah, but not everyone is happy….

The DHS remains concerned about the children's physical and emotional wellbeing. Although there have never been any other reports about the family, they say the father has been physically punishing his children and fighting with his wife.

The initial charge was a lie and there is no evidence of abuse, but the social workers are not going to let their painstakingly constructed make-work project fall to pieces. A man fights with his wife? Shocking! He smacks his daughter? Nice, upper-middle-class families – the sort that produce social workers – don’t hit kids. Dammit, they are going to have that big Islander brute out on the street. After all, arrogant white yuppies know best!

But should he be forced out of the home? That is not a decision for DHS to make. It is up to Children's Court court to decide.

It should never have been before the court in the first place. If not occupied with this drama, the court might have found the time and resources to deal with those teenage vandals who two weeks ago spray-canned the new fence of an elderly widow who lives just up the street from the Billabong. Those rascals were not apprehended, possibly because lots of police officers were serving as muscle to squadrons of predatory social workers.   

Each parent is represented by a lawyer in the hearing. There are three separate lawyers representing the children's independent interests. The children have made it clear in private interviews that they want their father back.

There was no basis to the initial charge. There is no sign of abuse. The wife and kids want him home – and yet this matter still requires the attentions of half a cricket team of learned friends, each paid from the public purse.

Chastened by the intervention order, the father's behaviour appears to have changed.

What was wrong with it in the first place?

A key piece of evidence in the case are graphs each child has independently provided to the DHS welfare officers in which they plot a much improved change of atmosphere in the household.

Dad should consider himself lucky his tormenters stuck to simple charts. If they had brought out the anatomically correct dolls he could have been in real trouble.

The father and daughter have also signed up for a range of counselling and community support services.

His “behaviour” has changed or is it his attitude? We can deduce that he is no longer raising a fuss about being booted and harassed for no good reason, perhaps having concluded that he cannot win, has no choice and is obliged to become complicit in the madness that has made his life a torment. Anxious to keep a good thing going, the social workers have brought in their mates for ongoing “counselling and community support services”. This family is going to be a nice little earner for years and years to come.

The situation is also further complicated by cultural factors. The family has been in Australia only a short time, and have a Pacific Islander background in which physical chastisement is acceptable. In a role reversal, the father, who is a shift worker, has also become primary carer. The wife combines work with tertiary study and has had to hand over some sensitive household matters to him.

In the hanky-wringers’ own homes, such a father would be regarded as an exemplar of modern, enlightened non-sexist parenting. Ah, but social workers’ fathers are not likely to be dusky sons of the islands, of whom your open-minded and progressive sorts are apparently obliged to think only the worst.

She has revealed to the welfare officer their teenage daughter has been refusing to shower, and the father has reluctantly had to deal with the issue of the daughter's personal hygiene.

How can he deal with it after what he has been through? If he gets her angry, she may ring those social workers and have him thrown out on the street again. The wonder here is that yet another cadre of DHS interferons is not on the way to the family home, possibly with police escort, to initiate and oversee soap-support services and ablution intervention.

Despite resistance from DHS, the magistrate rules in favour of the father returning home immediately. Although there will be another hearing, she is satisfied he does not present an unacceptable risk to his children.

Reluctant to let go of a good thing, DHS is still intent on crucifying poor old Dad.

That poor family. Whatever joy it experienced upon being granted official permission to re-unite, it is still being watched. It’s London to a brick they will get to see further close-up examples of the Caring Industrial Complex in action.