Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Genius Called Robert Earl Keen

JUST BECAUSE, in a world we are forced to share with Anne Summers, Bundoora Bob, David Marr, Dick Smith, Susan Mitchell, the Phage and Silly, their ABC, taxers, ninnies, scaremongers, climate charlatans, social workers, hack judges, union crooks, gag artists, liars, dim Jesuits, Jonathan Holmes, the old growth tree known as Bob Brown, white Aborigines, Mike "Butch" Carlton, speed cameras, booze buses, water police with breaythalyzers, bicyclists, architecture critics, the St Kilda Football Club and lady golfers who can't hit 50 metres but refuse to wave through big-hitting male foursomes, well, everyone needs some cheering up.

And, oh yeah, because Christmas is just around the corner. Behold, the great Robert Earl Keen, who has never toured Australia, but needs to very soon.
If that doesn't bring a smile, cut your throat. You are beyond hope.


  1. I tick everything in your litany, except "speed cameras, booze buses, water police with breathalyzers". I am an old prosecutor and have seen the evil that these measures are designed to reduce. Is an 86% agreement with the Bunyip Creed enough for me to continue to be a card-carrying Bunyipophile?

  2. PhillipGeorge(c)2011October 10, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Prof, I might have to put my hand up as a scaremonger. If Robert Earl Keen's going to tour what municipalities could have him when he chucks Christmas parties? A God fearin, flag salutin, gee-tar pickin, Bourbon drinkin southerner might just burn a Koran when a good councilor's back was turned.

    allah hu akbar -----

    try, SuperTramp's "Fool's Overture"

    - for a blipvert on reconciling all history into one side of a 78rpm fast play.
    When narcissism meets pure worship - didn't Michael Angelo try that, wasn't that the Sistine Chapel? Pathos and pageantry or just "old time religion" - it even has Big Ben chiming [Benjamin's prophetic typology], Hitler youth, church children's choirs, Churchill's call to a nation[s] .....

    loved it, thanks Prof, Merry Christmas

    all history Prof, Professing what? blood and learning?

    and happy festive season councilors - suck it in

  3. Michael O: Yeah, you're probably right. Booze buses have saved many lives, but like most well-intentioned government initiatives to change behaviour they have gone too far. Fact is, out of every 1000-or-so drivers stopped, a mere 10 or so will be over .05, and most of those will be under .08. In other parts of the world .08 is the legal limit. Sure, you shouldn't drive over .05, but if you stuff up your post-barbecue mathematics (body weight divided by standard drinks multiplied by 4.17 if the month has an R in it) you do your licence for six months. Well there should be a grey area -- an on-the-spot fine for being over.05, with the serious penalties kicking in at .08.

    Trouble is, while much of Melbourne cannot get a divvy van within half an hour of mayhem breaking out, lots and lots of wallopers are making more and more innocent citizens blow into tubes because, well, breath testing has become institutionalised to the detriment of overall policing.

    In any case, if you are still sufficiently sober to consult an iPhone, you can check your Trapster app and know with near certainty which route not to take home. Someone will have reported a booze bus within minutes of it setting up.

    Check out, which also is a whiz at telling you where the mobile revenue cameras are currently parked.

    As for breath testing on the water, is it really needed? Having been stopped twice in six weeks off Williamstown (where the water police are based), and on neither day having swallowed anything stronger than Fanta, it strikes me that this is another example of bureaucratic overkill.

    Something like 1100 Victorians once died every year on Victoria's roads. That figure now fluctuates between 300 and 400, so its safe to say the war on dangerous/drunken/reckless driving has been won. Every stepped-up effort after this is a classic example of greater investment in diminishing returns.

    That's my objection to booze buses. And just by the way, I haven't driven pissed since I was 19, quite a few years ago.


    The local Albury cops did 1500 (1700 reported on local radio) RBTs and caught 5 people. That's around 0.33% of all tested. Seems like a huge effort for very little return.

  5. I recently retired from Victoria Police, I must disagree with Michael O. A large number of the fatal, serious and not so serious collisions are caused by a small group of drivers. They generally have a long history of offences, suspensions and disqualifications, they don't care and the only way to stop them driving is to lock them up.

    I don't think I've ever seen a serious collision caused by a person being around the .05 mark. In fact I doubt whether they have any more collisions than those who are 0.0 . The previous government lowered the level for prosecution from above .05 to .05 and above. There was no evidence then and there isn't now that this has had any effect on the road toll, however we now have many more people getting pinched for drink driving than before, it was a bad idea.

    If all the resources used in traffic duties Highway Patrol, TDAS (Booze Buses) were put into normal policing there would be an immediate improvement in policing levels for the community. Instead we have qualified police members sitting in $70,000 cars hanging a radar gun out the window to give a ticket to someone doing a few kmh over the posted limit. It's all about the revenue. At Christmas and other holiday times nearly all suburban stations have to spend several hours each shift testing drivers for .05 . It's rare to get one and if you do they are normally close to .05.

    You know that in most Highway Patrol units there is overtime available almost constantly for those who wish to work it. Yet a copper in a normal station probably works 4 to 8 hours unpaid overtime most weeks and if you need more time to complete paperwork or process an offender requesting the overtime is like pulling teeth, unpleasant and painful.

    It's a great job being a copper but it's such a waste when your crook catching time is reduced to ask law abiding people to blow in the tube. They haven't done anything wrong and haven't hurt anyone. You are prosecuting them for a possible future crime. How about we prosecute people for what they do and not for what they may do. If I could do the same thing for other crimes I could have locked up nearly every burglar in Victoria.

  6. Your Tout is a lawyer in a regional town, but not muchly involved with petty crime. Still, I wish to applaud the work of Sgt Pat Barry (God rest his soul) who was stationed in the rough coastal town of Port MacDonnell. Pat would don his uniform, and appear at the pub about 1/2 hour before closing time. He would assess a drinker with the knowledge of experience, and suggest to the well-tanked that they drop their car-keys in his cap, and collect them from the Police Station next morning.
    It was a very well run town. And a lot of people are very grateful that Sgt Barry saved them from fines and licence disqualification. But I bet the new-wave management of policing would tell him that his statistics are woefully low, and ergo he must be a bad copper.

  7. PhillipGeorge(c)2011October 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    To Anonymous Ex-Policeman,

    thanks - an all too often overlooked aspect of this is expanding or creating another area of "victimless crime".
    It has profound philosophical implications - making "criminals" when there is no evidence of a victim, in itself damages a trust in the legal system and the general use of "legal fiction" as a tool.
    I doubt whether one in a hundred graduating lawyers are capable of even commenting on it...
    [perhaps this is too pessimistic though]