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August 29, 2003

It's all relative

It's funny 'cause it's true: switch: relative.

Posted at 04:43 PM in the Weblogs dept.| Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Psychic can't see a thing

Here's one more headline to add to VodkaPundit's Duh! Award competition:
Psychic fails to find body

A fresh search for the body of missing British backpacker Peter Falconio has failed to find his remains.

Crime author Robin Bowles launched the search, aided by a clairvoyant and an Aboriginal spirit woman, near Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs, at the weekend.

Posted at 09:54 AM in the Australia dept.| Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 28, 2003

C.S. Lewis on the abuse of the English language

I'd like to share a comment from one of my all-time favourite authors, C.S. Lewis. Here, he is commenting on the 'deepening' or 'spiritualising' of words to the point of making them useless. It is, I feel, an important thing to keep in mind: no matter how good your intentions, changing the meaning of words to make them inoffensive always involves the dumbing-down of the language.

Continue reading C.S. Lewis on the abuse of the English language...

Posted at 02:03 PM in the Books dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 27, 2003

Chopper "artwork" purchased

Oh for the love of all that's sacred. More taxpayer money is going to Mark "Chopper" Read. This time by the State Library of Victoria for the purchase of a self portrait by the murderer comparing himself with Ned Kelly.

"The painting is important to the collection because it represents a contemporary interpretation of Ned Kelly and the state library has a very important collection of Ned Kelly material," the library's director of collections and services Shane Carmody said. "We feel it is important to add to that collection so that people can see how Ned Kelly is interpreted through the years."

The glorification of criminals in this country has now stooped to a new low. Don't get me started on the glorification of Ned Kelly. But at least he had a cause of sorts. Read is just a cold-blooded murderer. Why do we care that he thinks he's like Ned Kelly, and more to the point, why are we paying for it?

Posted at 04:02 PM in the Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 26, 2003

Edwards on Terrorisim

An outstanding article by Steve Edwards on the differing views of the root causes of terrorism in light of the recent attack on the UN, commenting on the recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Gerard Henderson.

There is no "root cause" for crime other than the sick minds of criminals. People who kill people, or themselves, through their own irresponsible or terroristic actions have only themselves to blame. Period. There is no difference between a suicide bomber and someone like Martin Bryant. Both have no respect for human lives whatsoever, and are not out to prove anything to the world other than "I can cause murderous violence". If there is a difference it is that legions of sanctimonious academics are willing to excuse the activities of suicide bombers as they appear to be a "legitimate response" to a real and "existing evil".

I would only draw one distinction, I feel that there is a root cause of sorts; these people do this because they believe they are doing what God wants. Disabuse them of this idea that it is God's will to go out slaughtering people and most of the attacks would stop. Yes, there will always be psycho fanatics who just like killing people, but without the "eternal reward", most people would not be willing to throw away their lives just for the 'fun' of killing. I'm not talking about going out and forcing people to convert from Islam or anything, but the Muslim scholars that advocate peace need to be given a louder voice by the west.

Posted at 01:59 PM in the Not Australia, Weblogs dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BBC Style Guide

The BBC has a News StyleGuide (PDF) for their journalists. It would be great if any news agency, including the BBC, actually followed it's recommendations.

Some amusing highlights include where the guide defines certain words & phrases for clarity:

Evacuate. The rule used to be that only places or buildings were evacuated, not people (unless they had been given an enema).This is at odds with common usage so let the people be evacuated.
Go missing is inelegant and unpopular with many people, but its use is widespread. There are no easy synonyms. Disappear and vanish do not convince and they suggest dematerialisation, which is rare.
Admissions of responsibility. There is nothing responsible about terrorist attacks on civilian targets. Prefer terrorists say they planted the bomb or did it.
Bad news/good news. Avoid using either of these. They are subjective terms. Rain might be good news for the farmer, but bad news for the holidaymaker; interest rates going up is bad news for borrowers, possibly good news for savers. But an asteroid heading for earth could reasonably described as bad news for everyone.

Posted at 10:02 AM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 25, 2003

Egyptians to sue for Exodus 'theft'

Egyptian Lawyers are intending to sue the Jews for the treasure taken from Egypt in the Exodus (yes, as in biblical times)

Since the Jews make various demands of the Arabs and the world, and claim rights that they base on historical and religious sources, a group of Egyptians in Switzerland has opened the case of the so-called 'great exodus of the Jews from Pharaonic Egypt.' At that time, they stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewellery, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless.

(Hat Tip Gareth Parker)

You've got to be kidding me, this is an obviously spurious publicity stunt. And as far as I am aware the only historical record of this event is in the Old Testament, and it says that they asked for the gold and God made the Egyptians give it to them. So if this is the Egyptians' proof-text then they're going to have to sue God. Of course, considering that the Egyptians had held the Jews in slavery for some 4-5 hundred years prior to this event, you could just consider what they took as payment for services rendered.

This is just nonsense.

Posted at 11:31 AM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2003

It's still America's fault

According to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan America is responsible for the bombing of the UN building in Iraq

US defence officials said the UN had rebuffed a US offer to station troops around the building, but the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said ultimate responsibility rested with the US and its military allies.

Now, where I come from ultimate responsibility for an action rests with the people who do it. Suggesting that the US is responsible because if they didn't go into Iraq then the UN wouldn't have been bombed completely misuses the concept of cause & effect. The invasion of Iraq did not in any way force the terrorists to attack the UN. This is only true if you are of the mindset that belives that terrorisim is unnavoidable and a default reaction to certain events. This is a dangerous mindset.

Kofi Annan also says that even though the UN staff may have rejected US offers for protection, the fact that the building was unprotected was still the US's fault.

Mr Annan said he did not know whether the UN had rejected a US offer to protect its headquarters, but said: "They should not have been allowed to turn it down".

So what would he have said if the US had gone ahead and provided troops in front of the building? Probably something like "You are inviting attacks on the UN and have once again disregarded the wishes of the international community." It's just setting the US up for failure.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn makes some interesting observations on this topic (Hat Tip Tim Blair)

Posted at 01:29 PM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 21, 2003

Bill Whittle on Responsibility

Read this article. Then read it again. This is Bill Whittle at his best.

Now if Freedom is the credit card, and Responsibility is the monthly payment, it should not come as a surprise to us to realize that human nature says we want the spending spree, but not put in the overtime to pay for it. And if this were just happening on a one-on-one basis, there would not be too much to worry about.

But remember this: words are words. They are encapsulated ideas, and the only harm they can do us is the harm we ourselves allow them to do us.

How much better, how much stronger and healthier are we, when we dare anyone to use whatever terms they chose, and rather than sitting as powerless victims, rise in angry and righteous indignation to fight the human filth that use words like nigger, spick, gook, mick, kike, dago, and all the rest? How much more secure, how much more inoculated, are we when we can hear these words knowing that those who use them are discredited and terrified infants so out of ideas and argument that they must resort to such childish tactics to reassure themselves? What words can hurt us when we refuse to be hurt by words? What simple and powerful wisdom is bound up in Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me?

I have been called a few choice names in the course of these writings, and I have quickly learned that I do not want to be admired and respected by totalitarians, willfully uneducated idiots, smug and jaded suburban revolutionaries, and apologists for dictators. If people like that agreed with me I would be ashamed of myself. I’m proud to anger those people, and whatever names they choose to call me I consider a badge of pride, considering their source. We can indeed judge ourselves by the loathsomeness of our enemies.

Posted at 11:42 AM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 20, 2003

More legal stupidity

I am so sick of our idiotic legal system. Why does a killer get $300,000 in compensation for killing someone when the family of his victim are only entitled to $50,000? More to the point, why does he get anything?

Within hours of being released from a psychiatric hospital, Kevin Presland stabbed his prospective sister-in-law to death, nearly decapitating her in his frenzy. Yesterday, he was set to receive $300,000 in damages, after the Supreme Court found Hunter Area Health Service and a psychiatric registrar had breached their duty of care by failing to detain him in Newcastle's James Fletcher psychiatric hospital.

One more ridiculous example of people trying to shift the blame for their own actions. I think the mother of the victim sums up my opinion well:

"Don't give it to him," said Christine Laws. "Put it back into the mental health system to help people . . . It was his choice to take marijuana, his choice to drink - nobody else's. No one made him do it, yet the system sees fit to pay him. I can't understand the law."

Posted at 04:42 PM in the Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"I wish the real world would just stop hassling me" - Rob Thomas