Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Henry Ford and the Great American Horseshit Crisis

According to The Age, John Howard told a meeting of government MPs not to be “mesmerised” by the Stern report. The warning wasn't needed in the case of Nationals MP De-Anne Kelly – she’s obviously immune to mesmeric influences.

De-Anne has found it easy to stay on the PM's message – more or less – on the Stern report, telling reporters that Australia should look to technology, not economics, for solutions to the problems of global warming. And she backs up her position with a well known historical precedent:

"It's technology that provides an answer for the future, not an economic answer that taxes, slices, dices and removes opportunities for young people."

At the turn of the century, economists in the United States predicted horse drawn carriages would lead to the country being covered in horse "you-know-what", she said.

"This was a topic of great debate. They were going to tax horses; they were going to remove horses from the city and, of course, along came Henry Ford," Ms Kelly said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Low Society

Local identities the Supplieds have been busy over the past couple of weeks, writing letters to the Moreland Leader. Name, and partner Address, are very upset at the way they have been abused and defamed in the letters pages of the paper.

In a jointly signed letter, Name writes:

MY objection to the development of Munro Manor is not “ill-informed or judgemental” (Christopher Anderson letter, Moreland Leader, October 23).

It is based on evidence that this sort of accomodation does not have successful outcomes for many tenants, especially at this size.

I refer to a report commissioned by Yarra Community Housing, the group who will be responsible for management of the facility. Its 2002 report, No Place Like Home, is very clear in its concerns about this sort of housing.

“Rooming houses, particularly the larger communal style properties, were not felt to represent a viable long-term option in their current format for increasing numbers of people,” it says…

I’ll leave off there, if you don’t mind. The Supplieds have a bit of a reputation for being touchy buggers and sometimes they get a bit writ-happy.

Here We Go Again

Today’s big kerfuffle in Ozblogistan is the Stainless Steel Weasel’s announcement of $90 million in Federal funding for a school chaplaincy program. It has Zeppo Bakunin wondering what High Court judges think when they read their morning papers – do they think, oh bloody hell no, this is the last thing we want coming before the Court or well, here’s an interesting challenge to look forward to in a couple of years’ time?

Our Their ABC, taking a scrupulously non-partisan line, reports:

Mr Howard has told Macquarie Radio that the Government would ensure the chaplains are not extremists, but he denies that the plan blurs the line between church and state.

"I don't think it is," he said.

"I think it is just reserving the right in extreme circumstances - the Government, because taxpayers' money is being used - to say we don't think this person is appropriate.

Reassuring, in these troubled times when the antediluvian views of the chronically stupid are seen as a threat to all that we cherish about this great nation of ours. And a challenge for the Australian Parliament’s legislative and regulatory draftsmen too – how are they going to weasel federal government selection of school chaplains past section 116 of the Australian Constitution? You know, this one:

116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. (emphasis added)

Well, I suppose they could hand the money over to the States, who aren’t bound by this section of the constitution, and leave the religious discrimination to them. The one problem I see with that approach is that I can’t imagine too many of our current State Premiers or Treasurers queuing up for program grants that are offered on the condition that the State governments do Prime Minister Evil’s dirty work for him.

And where does the ALP stand on this issue? There hasn’t been any word from Fat Bastard yet, but:

The Opposition education spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, said Labor supported the chaplaincy program, but said: "Any new chaplaincy program must be flexible enough to take into account the diversity of religious beliefs in our school systems."

So at the Federal level, the broad church of the Liberal Party and the true believers of the ALP are united in a spirit of ecumenism. Warms your cockles, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Enough with the Stupidity, Already

… And who is someone wise? The one who prescribes the right medicine for the right illness, we call him wise. And the one who says the right word at the right time, we call him wise. And the one who acts appropriately on issues, wise.
(Sheik Hilali in that sermon)
My personal prize for the worst headline in today’s news – and I admit that I haven’t looked very far – is this headline in The Age:
Prove it and I will stand down, says the sheikh
Reading on, it’s clear that the headline should be something like “If my mates can prove to me that I meant to say what you think I said then I’ll stand down”:
… Sheikh Hilali said yesterday: "I will stand down and leave all work related to the Muslim community if they can prove what I said was meant to be offensive. I won't be saying anything to them (the clerics) but will listen to what they have to say." He said he was confident he would have their support.

In other words, the Sheikh has no intention of stepping down. A less disingenuous position would be for the Sheikh to declare that he will stand down if the invited clerics can prove that, by his own standards, he’s far from wise and actually pretty stupid:

And the one who says the right word at the right time, we call him wise.
So, did his rambling sermon – which declared that atheists and trinitarian Chrisitans will be damned to hell, that the grasping materialism of wives is responsible for drug dealing and organised crime, that the “immodesty” of women is responsible for the crime of rape and that women are Satan’s best weapon – show that the Sheikh is wise?

First, none of this guff was meant to be offensive, as the Sheikh has said today. We can also see this from the Sheikh’s quick qualification of his remarks on grasping women who incite their husbands to become career criminals:

… Not our women in Australia, the women of Canada. The hall up there is full. They are the women of Canada and Mexico, the ones who encourage their men - to do what? Go! Get me! And no matter how much he brings her, she wants more.

Well, that’s alright then – no Australian woman, particularly a member of Sheikh Hilali’s congregation – would push her husband into crime to satisfy her greed, but those Canadian and Mexican women, they’re different – stay well away from those.

But do we call the man who realises that he has just said something highly offensive to his audience and has to improvise a rapid qualification of his opinion a wise man?

Sheikh Hilali said he was upset that his sermon, which was meant to "protect the modesty of Muslim and non-Muslim women", had been so misunderstood.

In hindsight he would have used a different example during his Ramadan sermon, he said.
(The Age)
Do we call the man who chooses the wrong example to use during a sermon, a wise man? Or do we call him something else?

“My sermon did not discuss or mention rape. The message of my sermon was intended to protect oneself from sexual predators and indecent attacks.”
(The Age)

… The Al-Rafihi scholar says in one of his literary works, he says: If I come across a crime of rape - kidnap and violation of honour - I would discipline the man and teach him a lesson in morals, and I would order the woman be arrested and jailed for life.
(The sermon)
Do we call a man who can’t even remember what he said, or attempts to unsay it a wise man? Or do we have better names for this kind of a man?

So, enough already. Sheikh Hilali is just plain stupid. And the loyal followers who have rallied to his defence – well, they’d have to be pretty bloody stupid too, wouldn’t they? And all those people who’re prepared to big noise this numbnut as a threat to the Australian way of life – on this subject, they’re the biggest bloody idiots of all, regardless of where you find them.