Five Things Make A Post 30 SEP 2018
1) While I am thoroughly unsurprised that the Republicans are not budging on the idea of getting Brett Kavanaugh assigned to the Supreme Court, I do think it might be a good idea if parents in the USA point out to their children (particularly their sons) the behaviour he demonstrated is not appropriate behaviour in a job interview. The only way you get a job out of that sort of nonsense is if you're a highly privileged white man applying for a job which is a political appointment which has been largely sewn up from the get-go. Anyone else who tried that kind of behaviour in a job interview would have been confronted with a highly unamused "thank you for your time; we'll let you know" in the first five minutes and been slung out by security so hard they would have bounced if they'd continued.
2) I pause to note that in one of my units we had an assessment item due this week which was (in part) "write a piece of fanfiction". I believe I may have mentioned I love my degree? Certainly I'm getting more written for uni than I am for most of my current projects, so yeah... if not for uni, I might well have just stopped writing altogether.
3) The weather here in Perth is starting to warm up again, although yesterday was a return to freezling cold and rainy (although I didn't have to go out in it, which was good).
4) I've made a few changes to my daily routine, mostly along the lines of dropping a few things which weren't really amusing me (and were starting to be a chore). One of these is dropping Villagers and Heroes (MMO game, free to play, fairly nice and placid, but also rather pushy about users logging in regularly). The last update (around a week or so back) did something weird to either the executable, or the path for it in Steam, and I decided since I wasn't actually playing all that much, I'd just let it drop. So I gained the time that took back into my day, and lost something off my list of things to do. I also dropped playing Candy Crush for half an hour before I go to bed, because a few weeks back it started crashing out regularly after about five or ten minutes, becoming more "Candy Crash" instead. So what I'm doing with that half-hour is using it to work through books from my "Farewell re-read" shelves.
The "Farewell re-read" process is one where I go through books from the various boxes I have stashed in the storeroom, and start deciding whether I want to keep them, or give them to charity. A lot of the time, it's a pretty clear decision, but there's a certain quantity/quality of book where I'm not sure whether I want to keep it or not. So I give it one more re-read and decide at the end of that whether it's something I'd read again, or whether it's something where I prefer the space the book occupies rather than the book itself.
So far I'm up to my third book from the shelves ("Fast Food Nation", by Eric Schlosser - I think that one is going to be a "bye-bye" book), and I've kept one of them ("Emma" by Jane Austen).
5) I have discovered that Kettle Chips Chilli chips (with Jalapenos and Hot Chilli) are quite nice. Very hot and spicy, and very more-ish.
So, what's happening for everyone else?
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In Response to the Furore re: Clementine Ford
What happened in the Clementine Ford case was this: a bloke said something abusive about her on the internet, in such a way that it could be linked back to his employer. Namely, he had his employer details on his Facebook profile, and Ms Ford brought his online behaviour to his employer's attention. He got sacked as a result of his actions, because his employers didn't want to deal with the negative publicity involved.
Or in other words, this bloke did the online equivalent of yelling abuse at her on public transport while wearing his workplace uniform, getting snapped while doing so, and reported to his employers.
Now, we'd all agree that if someone did something like the second example above, should they get sacked, it was their own silly fault, and they should have behaved civilly in a public setting. We'd agree if a guy yelled abuse at a woman in a public hotel, or a shopping mall while wearing anything with their employer's logo (such as a uniform shirt or similar), the woman they yelled at would be within her rights to report it to their employer, and the employer would be within their rights to sack the damn fool for being too daft to work there any more. We'd agree that if a guy launched into a tirade of abuse at a woman for talking to her friends in the pub, he'd be due at the very least to be barred from being served any more alcohol, and more likely, kicked out by the management.
We readily agree that unprovoked personal abuse in a public context is unacceptable when it's in a face-to-face context, and that if someone does it while being able to be clearly linked to an employer, a professional organisation, a particular religion, or family or so on, then they should bear the social consequences of their actions being reported to those groups. We agree that doing such things while being able to be linked to employers, professional organisations, religions, disapproving family members or similar is something which is likely to fall under the parameters of the Being Bloody Stupid Act - not only do you wear the consequences, but it's expected you're going to wear them politely, suck it up and bloody well deal!
Yet somehow, the apparent expectation is that this bloke (and the many others who do similar things, such as sending abusive and/or harassing emails from their work email accounts), who has done something Bloody Stupid (and Bloody Rude, while we're at it) should be allowed to not only get away with his actions, but that it's positively unfair of Ms Ford to have pointed them out to his employer. That this was somehow an over-reaction, and a vindictive act. That he should not have been forced to deal with the consequences of his behaviour (a behaviour he chose to carry out of his own free will, and which he wasn't, to the best of anyone's knowledge, coerced into by any other person) in an adult fashion.
To be honest, I'm with Ms Ford on this. He brought his problems on himself, and my sympathy is strictly limited.
(PS: Guys, women across the world have already learned this: on the internet, you have precisely as much privacy and anonymity as you can be bothered to carve out. If you can't be arsed to keep your online life strictly segregated from your offline life, then the only damn solution is to ensure your online behaviour is either beyond reproach, or something you would feel positive about defending to your employers, your spouse, your mates, your girlfriend, your mother, your grandmother, your kids, your work colleagues, and anyone else in your offline life who asks about it. Because otherwise, sure as eggs are eggs, your online sins will find you out, eventually).
 Strangely enough, not many women feel it's appropriate to have such details publicly available online. The main reason why not starts with "bl" and rhymes with "folks".
 Ankh-Morpork legal code.
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"Peeple for People" - Just When You Thought High School was Safely Behind You
The bits of Twitter I follow have been exploding in about twenty-seven different directions regarding "Peeple for People".
This article pretty much sums up what it's all about:
"Yelp for People" is pretty much the elevator pitch version of the idea. According to their FAQs, they largely envision it being used by folks to be all positive and caring and nice about people they know (in the same way Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are at present). Which, I think, says it all.
Essentially, this is how it would work - someone wants to 'review' you, and so long as they fulfil the conditions, they can do so. What kinds of conditions? They have to be over twenty-one, and have a Facebook account. They need to know your name, the city you live in, and your phone number (or know a phone number they can say is yours). Then they can create a profile for you, if you don't already have one, and publish 'reviews' of you. If someone posts a negative review of you, that review will get texted to your phone number (or to the phone number Peeple has for you) and the onus is on you to respond to that reviewer within forty-eight hours and see whether you can "change a negative to a positive".
(Those of you who are busy attempting to beat yourselves unconscious by head!desk-ing, I sympathise.)
Even getting off the internet altogether won't protect you from these negative reviews.
(Meanwhile, the people behind the app started the day with a locked Twitter account - which they've since unlocked to a degree; have taken steps toward getting a parody account mocking them on Twitter deleted; and are said to be deleting non-positive comments on their Facebook accounts. Nice for some, clearly.)
The system as it is described at present is wide open to abuse by stalkers, abusers, online hate mobs or just people who are feeling malicious on a particular day. It's all the worst possible social aspects of high school, pulled onto the internet and made international.
You can read their version of the story here:
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What Border Force did Wrong on Friday.
( Very long Australian political rant below the fold )
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The SIWOTI Fund
As some of you may know, over the past year, I've been dropping small change into a jar (well, a yoghurt container these days - the jar got broken some time earlier in the year) when faced with egregious stupidity online. Essentially, the rule of the SIWOTI fund is either 5c per comment which gets moderated down by moderators, OR a minimum of 10c per article which raises my blood pressure or makes me stressed. Yesterday was the maturation date for the end of the fund's "year", and I totalled up how much it came to.
The SIWOTI fund this year came to $128.85 AUD. $64.85 of this is going to buying booze, probably a bottle of rum for the household "liquor cabinet" and a bottle of wine for my parents' Christmas present. The other $64 of it is going toward games.
The main thing which contributed to the fund's size this year was the bountiful harvest of stupidity, daftness, and sheer WRONG from the Australian Federal Government. Their antics proved the leading contributors to the fund, and I'd like to thank our Prime Minister and his cabinet for providing such a wide range of things that annoyed me. Other big contributors included #gamergate, and various other MRAs online.
The SIWOTI fund re-starts today, and will get closed again on 21 DEC 2015.
 Someone Is Wrong On The Internet
 The small, reachable space behind the microwave where I store the bottles of cooking brandy and cooking sherry.
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Vandals attack Sikh temple by spraying anti-Islamic slurs on walls
Found here on the ABC
As a Western Australian, I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Minister for Education to amend the religious education curriculum as follows:
Taking the following set of religions -
Cover the following topics:
* Key theological and doctrinal concepts (eg major deity/deities, major prophets/philosophers/theorists, major holidays and the story behind them)
* Key internal splits (for example, in Christianity you'd be looking the difference between Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christianity; in Judaism, between Reform and Orthodox Judaism; in Islam, the differences between the Sunni and the Shia; etc etc etc) and the reasons given for these splits.
* Worship practices past and present.
* Conversion and Exit practices (is it possible to convert to the religion; if so how; is it possible to leave the religion; if so how; what penalties exist for leaving the religion; etc)
* Places of worship, and iconography (How to spot a place of worship for $FAITH from the outside, if you're so daft you can't read the signs at the front gate).
Hopefully such changes to the curriculum would at least ensure future generations of bigoted nincompoops will be able to target the correct places of worship with their idiotic scrawl. This will prevent us all from being embarrassed by their combination of both bigotry and ignorance.
(One or the other of bigotry or ignorance I can handle. Both at once... well, there's something which needs addressing there).
EDITED 7.35am 30 OCT 2014 - post in haste, edit at leisure.
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Alan Jones Goes To Journalism School
To be honest, I'm not surprised Alan Jones has had to go to Journalism school. What should be surprising people is that this man got a job as a broadcaster without having any journalism training in the first place. Mr Jones previous history (as per Wikipedia) is as an English teacher, a rugby coach, a parliamentary speech writer, and an unsuccessful conservative politician. There's indications he was very successful as a rugby coach (it's what he got his MAO for, after all) but aside from this, most of his paid employment since approximately 1974 has been as a result of his connections in the Liberal and National (formerly Country) parties.
He used to be a columnist for the Sun-Herald (but lost the job after publishing a column which was pretty much a straight lift from a Frederick Forsyth novel without bothering to attribute his sources - the other staff at the newspaper campaigned to have him removed as a result).
Alan Jones was never a journalist. He was never trained as a journalist. He should never have been taken seriously as a journalist. He's a demagogue. Simple as that.
Sources and Resources:
http://theconversation.edu.au/a-very-naughty-parrot-acma-sends-alan-jones-back-to-school-10212 - The Conversation
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-18/alan-jones-ordered-to-do-journalism-training/4320534 - ABC.Net.au
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Jones_%28radio_broadcaster%29 - Wikipedia page on Jones
http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/business/media-2/alan-jones-greatest-hits/ - Independent Australian
http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_600069 - ACMA media release about the conditions they've put on 2GB.
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Thoughts on The News.Corp Phone Hacking Scandal
Latest news in this ongoing disaster is that the newspaper imprint at the centre of the scandal, the News of the World, is being shut down.
Certainly, the paper has been haemorrhaging advertisers since the scandal started breaking, and as the breadth and depth of the depravity involved has been further exposed, the advertisers are running further and faster to put distance between themselves and the newspaper that published the majority of the stolen voicemail data. But I have to wonder: what about the rest of the News International/News Corporation stable?
It's worth noting that the executive who was the editor of The News Of The World at the time when most of the data theft occurred is still employed. She's now the Chief Executive of News International, and while she's offered to resign, that offer has been resisted - apparently she "knew nothing of the crimes allegedly committed when she was editor" (sourced from News of the World shuts amid hacking scandal). Which, to me, doesn't really sound like an outstanding endorsement of her managerial ability, to be honest. Either she didn't know about such things (in which case, what the hell was she doing in order to earn her salary?) or she did know and pretended she didn't (which leads me to wonder whether she'd do the same sort of thing when faced with evidence of an embezzlement), or she did know, and took steps to cover it up (which means she's criminally culpable too). She's still employed by News International.
That Ms Brooks is still considered a valuable employee by News International leads me to question the management and ethical practices of the entire damn corporation. The problem which was "resolved" by data theft didn't start in the newsroom of The News of The World. It started further up the corporate ladder, with the constant push on all the News Corporation properties to obtain ever-increasing profits, ever-growing circulation, ever-climbing advertising revenues.
Another thing which interests me is the way that the various News Corporation properties tend to pass a story around. For example, here in Australia, the Australian newspaper will report on a story which "broke" in the magazine New Idea (both of these are News Corporation properties), or they'll pass on a story which started off on Fox News in the USA, or in the Sun over in the UK. So there's the potential for the scandal to go far further than just this one newspaper. If we examine stories propagated across the News Corporation stable of properties throughout the period in which one News Corporation property was buying information obtained through data theft, how many other stories are tainted with this same brush? How far did the rot spread? How far up did the rot go? Did it go all the way to the top?
(It's worth noting that the Australian head of News Limited has officially denied that such a thing could happen over here:
Today, News Limited chief executive officer John Hartigan told the company's Australian journalists "the behaviour that has been uncovered at the News of the World is an affront to all of us who value the integrity and credibility of good journalism, the reputation of the company and our own reputations as professionals."
"Phone hacking is the antithesis of everything we stand for. It is a terrible slur on our craft," he said in a statement to staff posted online.
"I am confident that the practices that have been uncovered in the UK do not exist in Australia, at News or any other respectable media outlet." - sourced from Murdoch accused of tabloid closure 'stunt'
If, like me, you're a fan of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, you know never to believe anything until it's been officially denied.)
[I feel I should mention at this point that I have absolutely no monetary interest in seeing the Murdoch family go down. However, I do feel a certain moral and personal interest in the challenging of their ideology that what people are interested in is solely the cheap, the tawdry, the nasty and the unfriendly. The Murdoch family's News Corporation is a big part of the global kyriarchal bully culture, one which glorifies the petty, nasty side of the human psyche to the point where they present this as the only damn option there is. I don't want to read, watch or hear nasty comments about other people, so I don't purchase their products. Now, if only there were a viable alternative.]
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Author's notes on my little fable
First up, the morals of the story:
1) Not all wealth "just lying around out there" is free to claim. Ask whether it belongs to someone else before you start picking it up.
2) Even though someone else has different priorities to yourself, they aren't necessarily stupid or foolish. There's more than one type of wisdom in the world.
3) Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup/tomato sauce (depending on dragon's preference or ethnicity).
A big thank you to everyone who has praised my little fable/parable. I wrote it because I tend to think in analogy, allegory, simile and metaphor, and I was trying to come up with a way of explaining the gift culture of fanfiction writing to someone who wasn't able to understand or wasn't willing to listen to a longer explanation. And yeah, the best example I could come up with was a group of squatters growing veges on the fields of someone else's castle, and occasionally throwing aside a gold nugget in order to clear the ground for their plants.
From there, I pulled in the long-standing fable trope of the town dweller versus the country dweller, where the town dweller thinks they're all that, while the country dwellers are just ignorant yokels. This fitted nicely into the divide between the business-minded taker and breaker types, who seem to think that the world begins and ends with money and that money is more important than anything else ever, ever, ever; and the less materialist maker types, who create things for the pleasure of creation, and see monetization (despicable term) of their hobbies as not being a priority.
The "growing vegetables" thing is because those of us who make transformative works are doing it to nourish something inside us. We do it because we want to, because we enjoy it, or in extreme cases, because if we don't, we get twitchy. It's putting something back, using someone else's stories and ideas as a basis. In the case of Tolkien fanfic, the stories and world-building work that JRRT put in are the ground we're growing our vegetables on - and it's very fertile ground indeed.
On a purely structural note, I'll admit I'm not overly happy with the ending of my little tale. But then, it's based on the real world, and in the real world, we still don't know whether the city boy is going to put down the rocks and let people go back to their farming without argument; or whether he's going to continue on his current course. Said current course does tend to resemble him starting to sing very loud, very rude rugby songs about dragon-slaying, while trying to make his escape with the gold and jewels and hoping the dragon won't notice him.
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Fandom vs Money-makers: Round the latest.
Oh dear. The latest episode in "Why Making Money From Fandom Doesn't Work For Non-Fans" is starting up. Grab your seats early, and tune in to the fun, as Keith Mander attempts to monetize LOTR fandom.
Mr Manders starts from a bit of a handicap. For a start, he isn't actually a member of fandom. So he doesn't know the first thing about the history, the background, or the little nuances of the place. He doesn't know the politics, and he doesn't know who to believe when they tell him "yeah, you can do this". For seconds, he apparently doesn't know the first thing about the IP holders either. This means he is blindfolded in the ring with the archetypical sabre-toothed-tiger with a toothache, and he thinks he's dealing with a cute, fuzzy kitten.
This guy is, to use a Discworldism, going to be cheesed (like being creamed, but it goes on for much longer, and the results are rotten).
Elf has the beginnings of a linkspam. The affected archive is LOTRfanfiction.com. The main comparison being made is to FanLib.
( Musing below the fold )
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Random thoughts about buying online
I do a certain amount of online shopping, because it's convenient for me. As someone who's living in Western Australia, and who has previously spent some time living in the Eastern States, I know perfectly well there are whole heaps of things which never make it across the Nullarbor to the west side of the country. In addition, having worked retail, I know there's not really much scope for ordering things in - if I do this, I'm likely to have to pay extra for the inconvenience to the retailer.
So I buy things I can't find in the stores here online from places in NSW and Victoria, and get them mailed to me.
I do a certain amount of online shopping because it's more comfortable for me. I don't know whether anyone's been looking these days, but a lot of bricks-and-mortar stores appear to have embraced the notion that the more auditory and visual clutter they put in the way of people looking for product, the better. I find this overloads me and leaves me feeling exhausted - I'm more likely to shop in a store which doesn't have loads of banners, or doesn't store items on shelves apparently at random than I am to stop in at some of the "big box" retailers which do. I also don't appreciate mall shopping, for much the same reason. I prefer the comparative quiet of the local shopping centre to the noise of the nearest big mall.
So I buy things in online stores, because I can find what I'm looking for without being distracted and overloaded.
I do a certain amount of online shopping because there are some things which just aren't available from Australian retailers. I'm a fan of yaoi manga, and I've also shopped overseas looking for things like obscure British historical drama series which hadn't been broadcast on Australian TV (to my knowledge) and more obscure films from one of my favourite actors. If I literally can't find it here in Australia (because for one reason or another it doesn't get shipped here) I'll look around online and see what's available.
So I buy things online because that's the only place I can find some of them.
I do a certain amount of online shopping because it's where I can get decent value for my money. If I can get something for approximately half the price from the US than the equivalent item here in Australia, I'm going to buy it from the US. The proof of the difference in prices has been around on my major retail purchase (books) for most of my life. I have books dating back to the seventies where the UK price is 1 UK pound, while the Australian price is $2 - and the difference in prices has increased over the years, to the point where Aussies are sometimes paying more than twice the price of the original product. Why does a translation into English of Ouran High Host Club cost $12 here in Australia, but only $7 in the US? Can't be the distance, because the blasted thing is translated in Singapore. Maybe it's a relic of the old marketing arrangements, or maybe it's something else. Either way, it's annoying and frustrating for me as a consumer.
So I buy things online because sometimes it's cheaper, even factoring currency conversions and the fees for same charged by my bank.
I prefer to do a certain amount of online shopping overseas because I can find what I'm looking for, buy it cheaper, and also get it shipped to me sooner than the corresponding Australian mob can be bothered to manage. Oh, and the service is better - online retailers appear to actually want to keep their customers, which is a nice change from the majority of the big box retailers here, who have the attitude of "take it or leave it" when it comes to selling things.
We're a big country here - the Australian land mass is the size of the continental United States. We're also unevenly distributed across this landmass. But our retail giants seem to have decided that the One True Way of shopping is to go to bricks and mortar stores in mega malls, and purchase from these. If we can find what we're looking for. If we can afford it. If we can spare the time, the energy and the mental fortitude to do so. Online shopping is a godsend for people with energy-management issues (such as depressives like myself, whose get-up-and-go has already got up and left) or for people with mobility issues who may indeed have actual difficulties entering bricks-and-mortar store fronts. Online shopping is a help for people with social issues (for example agoraphobia, social phobia, shyness etc) because you don't have to face people in order to get your purchases done. Online shopping is a great help for folks who are living in rural or remote areas, because it means they don't have to travel hours or even days to reach the nearest supplier of whatever-it-is they're after.
Unfortunately, some of the big retailers here in Australia are currently complaining about the way that purchases online under $1000 aren't charged GST (our goods and services tax, currently set at 10% of the price of the goods). They're complaining it's eating into their margins, and taking jobs away from Australians. Which is interesting, since they're part of the reason why the Australian manufacturing sector collapsed in a heap (can't compete with the cheaper imports from South-East Asia) or relocated offshore. It's also interesting, because at present, online purchases under $1000 make up approximately 2% of the overall Australian retail spend. Further interest comes from the evidence of massive mark-ups which occur simply because a product is being purchased in Australia by an Australian - 100% isn't unusual, higher mark-ups have been mentioned as well.
For some reason, the average Australian online shopper appears to believe the big box retailers might just be having a bit of a lend of us, and trying to protect their oligopoly market.
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#MooreandMe - A linkfest
So I've been wandering about the internet, looking at bits and pieces regarding the whole #MooreandMe thing. Here's a quick list of some of the posts I've spotted.
EDIT - stuff marked with ** is new since the last time I updated the article.
LAST UPDATE: 1115h Western Australian Summer Time (zone GMT+8) 23 DEC 2010.
THE BASICS: If you spot a broken link, let me know (if you have the corrected link, even better!). If you've been linked here and you want to be delinked, let me know (if possible, let me know whether you're willing to accept a link which is cut-&-paste friendly, or whether you wish to be removed from the list altogether). I read all comments and screen them - your comment may not show up immediately. I read comments from both Dreamwidth and InsaneJournal, and will collate all of them into the one post which is cross-posted. Comment at whichever site suits you.
STATEMENT OF THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS: I just provide the links. I don't provide the content. I don't endorse the content. I didn't write the content at the links except where stated. I also don't guarantee the reader is going to be able to understand it. Some of it them have hard words, like "rape" and "truth" and "consent" and "responsibility". I suggest if you're having problems with anything, you consult a dictionary.
( Links under the fold )Again, I read comments from both InsaneJournal and Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment at either site.
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Tony Abbott, Ventriloquist supreme
For those who are unaware, Tony Abbott is the latest leader the Federal Opposition in Australia. He's been the leader of the Liberal Party for about a month or two now, and he appears to be trying for the title of World's Greatest Ventriloquist. I'd certainly give him the gong - he seems to be able to speak very clearly despite having both feet in his mouth up to about the knee at this point.
So far he's been demonstrating a wonderful "back to the fifties" ethos as the leader of the Liberals. Problem is he appears to want to go back to the 1850s as far as moral thinking is concerned, and maybe the 1650s for economic thinking.
His latest effort is a screed on the appropriateness of the death penalty.
I was particularly struck by this quote:
Mr Abbott says execution may be a fitting punishment for those responsible for mass death.
"Well, you know, what would you do with someone who cold-bloodedly brought about the deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent people?" he said.
Well, gee. Usually I start with the phrase "vote the bastard out", and work my way along from there. Come to think on it, isn't that what the people of the United States did to their former President who fitted those criteria? It's certainly what the voters of the federal seat of Bennelong did to John Howard in the last election. But hey, Tones, if you wanna risk a death penalty for the job of being PM, feel free. Let's start it in your potential first term as PM, hmmm?
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It's interesting, really, when so-called "Christian" spokespersons get to talking about other religions in the media. For example, Australia's favourite Christian Democrat (imagine the scare quotes around each of those terms, please), the Reverend Fred Nile, has spoken up following the deaths of thirteen people on the Fort Hood military base in the USA to suggest the following:
"Australians would like to be assured that our defence forces have in place a system of assessment and review which would identify any person whose adherence to any alien ideology might one day override loyalty to mates and loyalty to the Crown." [...]
"There is an argument for suggesting that the safety and morale of our troops may warrant a ban on dedicated Muslims joining the armed forces, who may be influenced by Islamic fundamentalism." (quoted from the article Muslims in ranks a recipe for disaster: Nile on the ABC news website)
I'm not a Christian by any stretch of the word, but I seem to recall from my reading of the various gospels (and most particularly the gospel of Mark) one of the key things Jesus Christ (remember him?) said about following in Christ's footsteps was you had to put your loyalty to God before your loyalty to anything else - country, posessions, employment, even family. For examples of what Christ had to say on the matter, have a look at the following biblical passages: Mark 9: 43 - 48; Mark 10: 17 - 25; Matthew 5: 29 - 30 (the sermon on the mount); Matthew 6: 19 - 21; Matthew 6: 33 - 34; Matthew 10: 37 - 42.
It should therefore be reasonable to suggest there is an argument (in order to assure the Australian defence forces are able to "identify any person whose adherence to any [..] ideology might one day override loyalty to mates and loyalty to the Crown") for dedicated Christians to be banned from joining the Australian armed forces. Surely this is a more reasonable criterion than banning Muslims, since the religion of Christ, and particularly the version of the religion of Christ created by Saul of Tarsus (aka St Paul), is strongly opposed to the notion of warfare, fighting, and conquest in the first place - and therefore antithetical to the concepts on which the Australian Defence Forces are based.
It might also be reasonable to suggest the best thing the Reverend Fred Nile can do, in all Christian charity with the relatives and friends of those injured or deceased as a result of the Fort Hood shootings, is to shut his bloody gob, and re-read his bible. Maybe this time he could pay more attention to the gospels than to the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus.
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Murdoch warns Google: it's time to pay
News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch has launched a stinging attack on Google and other on-line entities for stealing content.
At a conference of World Media Executives at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Rupert Murdoch has taken aim at search engines like Google as internet parasites.
According to the News Corporation Chairman, the so-called "aggregators" on the internet steal content from tradition media organisations and, he says, the time has come for them to pay for it.
"If we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it will be the content creators - the people in this hall - who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph," he said.
Let's see - "the current movement toward paid-for content" is being generated mostly by News Corporation, which, if I recall correctly, is the corporate media entity largely owned by Mr Murdoch's family. News Corporation also controls large shares of the media markets in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and several other countries, the most notorious branches of which are the Murdoch tabloid newspapers (such as the UK "Sun" and approximately half of the major metropolitan daily newspapers in Australia) and the Fox News cable channel in the United States (commonly nicknamed "Faux News", because of the lack of resemblance between life as reported by their so-called "journalists" and the consensus reality of the majority of human beings). Do I sense perhaps the petulant foot-stampings of an old man who is terrified the global media empire he's spent a lifetime building is being threatened by the content aggregators, who collect into one space not only the Murdoch empire's view of the world, but also all those other views as expressed by people who aren't part of the News Corporation conglomerate?
After all, if people can choose to see multiple pictures of the same event (or multiple views from many different sources) they might just start to realise things aren't the simple black-and-white over-simplifications of Mr Murdoch's beloved format. If people can pick and choose from dozens of news sources in a single page, they might start asking questions about some of the articles from News Limited. Questions like "why is this news?" (for example, why are we being constantly told in the Murdoch press about the private lives of soi-distant "celebrities"; why do we never hear about "causes" without a so-called famous face to attach to them; why are the bedroom games of the British royal family such an all-consuming matter etc) or "why is this such a scandal?" (Famous star comes out as gay; female celebrity gains or loses weight; celebrity couple divorces) or even "why aren't we hearing about X?" (media conglomeration; media gatekeeping; corporate censorship; corporate abuses of power; non-capitalist economic theory; challenges to right-wing prejudices; shall I continue?). The news aggregators offer a view of a bigger picture, rather than the small-minded, small-world images Mr Murdoch wants to keep selling us. They offer a picture of a complex world, one where people aren't just one thing or another, but might be both at the same time, or even something completely different.
The news aggregators threaten Mr Murdoch's livelihood, just by offering a diversity of links to a variety of stories. They take away his control over the shaping of opinion, and threaten his ability to offer up a world where everyone is just like him: white, wealthy, upper-middle class, educated, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian, Anglo-Celtic and male. What the news aggregators threaten isn't the rights of people to create content, but rather the assumed right of Mr Murdoch and his social equivalents to dictate how the world looks to the rest of us. They threaten Mr Murdoch's privilege - and how dare they do that?
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