Posts tagged ‘politics’



Wayne Swan, according to Mr. Turnbull has betrayed all Australians. Or something.

Listen to me Malcolm, none of us give a shit. Really. I cannot believe they suspended parliament for a whole day for this.

Ahem. Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme? Anyone?

iPhone 3G S upgrade details?1

  1. Okay, that isn’t relevant. But I still want to know

Posted by Jackson Kearney to | 2 Comments »

Bits and Bobs

Bit quiet around here, eh? Don’t worry, we’ll get back on top of things soon. There’s plenty of stuff to review, but we’re just busy. There’s a revue being put on by the Leonardian Players so we’re taking a bit of a break. Andy isn’t in it but he’s waiting for us to fill in the gaps in the Battlestar reviews. The idea is that we’re taking turns — the further idea is that Jackson will be one of the “we” in this case. This would make it a crazy 9 reviews for him on ATR which I’m not sure the universe is ready for.

Some quick summaries since I can’t quite review them yet — Children of Men is awesome. The Departed is good but not quite that good. I won’t say any more lest I run out of things to say in any reviews which may or may not get written.

While I’m here, may I voice my concerns over Premier Bracks’ desire for new weapons for police? Clearly what our boys in blue need is more weapons. They’ve been doing such a bang-up job with the ones they’ve got. And in general, I dislike grandstanding over big manly words like “tasers” and “semi-automatic” when you know perfectly well that you don’t get to choose how your funding will be spent.

This is irritating because I’m normally a bit of a labor voter (after Greens of course, my responsibility as a young idealist). But I’m vaguely tempted by Ballieu this time around, in part because he sounds like a library but probably mostly because I just like changing stuff around. It’s lucky I’m not in charge.

… oh, and by the way, the details of the Revue:

The Off-Broadway Lounge

Friday 17th November & Saturday 18th November


TC Woolhouse Theatre
St Leonard’s College
163 South Road East Brighton

Tickets $15 at the door

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 7 Comments »

Turmoil in the Middle East

The situation in Lebanon is truly horrific. I was shocked that after hearing the smooth-talking Israeli Foreign Minister outline their plan on The 7:30 Report I almost thought it was a completely legitimate policy to bomb a country into oblivion and then open negotiations. Everything’s so messy over there that I can barely form an opinion either way, but there’s one particular, far less controversial, aspect which befuddles me.

How do you spell Hezbollah?

All the Australian news (i.e. ABC Online) seems agreed on the above spelling. But then I was reading and found that they prefer “Hizballah”. Well, I thought, I’m sure we can clear this up. I’ll just google it. There’s bound to be a simple answer.

Ahem. Potential spellings of Hezbollah include:

  • Hezbollah
  • Hizballah
  • Hisballah
  • Hizbollah
  • Hezballah
  • Hizbullah
  • Hisbollah
  • Hizb’ALLAH
  • Hizb Allah

I eventually found my way to Wikipedia (I would have gotten there straight away but I, er, spelled Hezbollah incorrectly). Those last ones there give an insight into the word: turns out translating from Arabic is tricky sometimes. “Hizb” means “party”, and you may remember “Allah” (God) from some of his previous work. Apparently the Lebanese dialect gets Hizb closer to Hezb, hence some of the confusion. Wikipedia claimed that Al Jazeera used the final spelling but a quick check reveals them to conform with the very common “Hezbollah”.

I hope I’ve cleared that up for everyone. I expect I’ve missed some vital piece of the puzzle where all the confusion was started as a plan to vaguely irritate the party into surrendering.

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 2 Comments »

More of the Same

I saw Ted Baillieu, new leader of Victoria’s liberal party, on the ABC news today. Really impressive fellow. I’ve never seen such dedication to sounding so completely neutral. Even John Howard shows more character than this political automaton. Perhaps he’ll loosen up over the next few months, perhaps he’ll develop some character, and perhaps he’ll answer a question about how he’s feeling, or what he thinks, with something other than “I don’t think the voters care about that, I think they care about our policies.”

Because, frankly, people do care what sort of person you are, they care about your personality, they care whether you’re willing to take shit from the Prime Minister.

And surely — though it occurs to me I’m probably wrong about all of this — surely they want to see you smile, and laugh, and act like a human.

In any case, on a different note — I can’t comment on rumours that I still haven’t gotten atypicalreview’s new layout working correctly on Internet Explorer. There’s certainly no point speculating as to whether there are still pages out there that are practically unreadable. And any insinuations that the comments only got anywhere vaguely near complete today are baseless attacks on my character. That is all.

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 4 Comments »

Today Tonight

Last August, the ABC’s Media Watch highlighted a Today Tonight report on young muslims for editing together a series of interviews dishonestly. Though it was obvious that the vibe of the story had been twisted in that way that Today Tonight does so well, one interview’s cut in particular really irritated me. A bloke named Ahmed was quoted by Today Tonight as saying:

I mean you have all this talk about integration. Why hasn’t the Muslim community assimilated or why doesn’t it integrate into the Australian community as quick as other communities. Well, at the end of the day OK, we will never integrate.

When in fact, he went on to say:

… we will never integrate in the way other communities integrate purely because of the fact that you have to draw the line with what your idea of integration is and what our idea of integration and accepting, you know, accepting the practices of other people.

That’s my emphasis up there by the way. I don’t completely understand the integration issue. I don’t see why anyone cares whether muslims around the country are having a barbecue and watching the cricket. Does an Australian immigrant have further responsibilities past making sure he or she can communicate sensibly with other Australians? Anyhow, the reason I’m highlighting this is because according to Media Watch this week our TV watchdog — the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) — doesn’t think Today Tonight was naughty. This from page four of their report:

The latter part of the quote which was not broadcast did not alter the statement “we will not integrate”.

Really. Hmmm. Interesting. Try chopping a statement like “A bumblebee does not fly in the way that birds do” in half and see how much sense it makes. If the part I highlighted in bold wasn’t there, I could see the ACMA’s position. But it’s there, and it qualifies “We will not integrate” very strongly.

On a basic level, I’m a bit concerned that we can have an organisation like the ACMA and that they can look at Today Tonight on any night and think “Hmm, yes, fair enough.” There needs to be a clause preventing a program from being full of shit put into the Code of Practice. Just think, it could have protected us from Skithouse too.

Posted by Tom Charman to , | 12 Comments »

Is it safe to come out yet?

Having spent the last few years scaring the shit out of us all by predicting our imminent and painful deaths (e.g. “Bird flu fear: A Melbourne man has been rushed to hospital with suspected bird flu symptoms.” Would those also be the symptoms of that other lesser known disease, regular old human flu?), the Murdoch papers were in a bit of a predicament when, despite Tom’s unending cynicism, something bordering on scary actually happened this week with the terror arrests: How to convey the new seriousness of actual scary rather than pretend scary? I must say I was impressed with the ingenious solution the editors of the Herald Sun and MX came up with. HEADLINES ALL IN CAPITALS. They left themselves a little room to ramp the fear up another notch by keeping the trusty exclamation mark in the bag for now but I bet they have their fingers crossed that someone hurries up and invents electronic paper so they can do flashing red headlines for when bird flu goes pandemic-y.

No one does scary news as well as the Americans, although in their case it is as often unintentional as not. Such as this story about Kansas’ decision to once again change its education rules in favour of intelligent design. Among other things “the board rewrote the standards’ definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena” and is merely a “systematic method of continuing investigation”. Umm… ok. I guess if you can’t get religion taught in a science class, you just redefine science until it includes religion. Personally, I’ve always found the definition of religion as “belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe” a little narrow. I’m not even sure Baoism would make it in, lacking as it is in a story of creation. Any ideas on how to make the definition a little less discriminatory?

Posted by Andrew Coulthurst to , | 8 Comments »

The Wizard of Oz

Sometimes, the name of a weblog post comes before you know what you’re going to write about. But this was easy. And if we want to keep on going, there’s heaps more Oz book titles to choose from.

We have a terror alert level, did you know/remember? I’d pretty much forgotten, though I vaguely recall some kind of fridge magnet doing the rounds at some point. Anyhow, it’s still at medium, despite our ultra-scary and important specific intelligence concerning a potential threat that Mr Howard kindly told us about yesterday. Now why is that? Probably an oversight I imagine.

Ah, it also turns out that our government has specifically told New Zealand that nothing is actually supposed to be happening soon, however. It must some kind of diversionary measure against the terrorists. Once you get them confused, they’re easier to catch.

Oh, we also didn’t tell our anti-terrorism infrastructure about it. That’ll really confuse those awful men. It’ll be like when you steal someone’s chocolate to get a rise out of them, but they don’t react amusingly and so you grudgingly give it back because you’re bored. I’m sure the bombs will be left, defused, outside Parliament House tomorrow.

So, there’s something bad happening, at some point, in the future, possibly. Very important, but only if you’re an Australian Senator or just an Australian pleb. Now, if group A could just remove group B’s social liberties quickly and neatly? Or, hey, we could just discuss these really important and potentially useful changes without cheap tricks and political sleight of hand. That’d be nice.

Posted by Tom Charman to , , | 2 Comments »


Only the Herald Sun could take something which isn’t actually an issue — the existence of fee paying places in our premier state schools — and use it to peddle what seems to be some kind of racist agenda on their front page.

Because, not for the first time, foreigners are taking things from us. They’ve always taken our jobs, but now they are taking our kid’s spot in a good state school.

I’ve been told from an extremely reliable souce that fee-paying spots aren’t at the expense of free ones, making the whole article pointless — but that isn’t the issue I want to talk about.1

It’s the Herald Sun’s ridiculous emphasis on the fact most of these places are held be foreigners. This may be true, but it’s also completely irrelevant. Surely the only issue should be that there are fee paying places, not who has decided to buy them. The fact that foreigners have is completely coincidental and barely worth mentioning, let alone in a massive sub heading on the front page of the paper. Although in defence of the journalist who wrote it, they don’t actually get to decide the titles.

In any case, in a society which seems largely xenophobic and always on the search for a scape-goat, it seems wrong and irresponsible of one of our major papers to promote those kinds of attitudes.

People don’t need to be pushed much I find.

  1. Although we can go into it if you’d like.

Posted by Jackson Kearney to , | 3 Comments »

Documentary Evidence

Damn that Michael Moore. He’s spoiled my innocence. I used to be able to watch documentaries and think I’d learned something. Now I’m so mistrustful my brain develops layers and layers of “take that with a pinch of salt” that end up feeling like I’ve taken nothing away at all.

Or maybe they just don’t make documentaries that well any more. I’ve just watched the Tony Robinson documentary on The Da Vinci Code which pretty much attempts to discredit every single thing the book says — fair enough I suppose, but it does it without interviews with the Catholic church or any other church. It discusses the idea that Magdalene and Christ were married yet doesn’t talk to any of the prominent Anglicans who have suggested such a thing.

Basically, whenever it talks to anyone on either side of the fence, they’re either engaging in guesswork, or clearly loonies. And there I was, wanting to know THE TRUTH. It’s depressing being an adult. I hope all the cool stuff I used to watch about Egypt was all true. Otherwise I’m very upset.

Posted by Tom Charman to , , | Comments Off on Documentary Evidence

Al Qorby

Until now the main take home message for me from the whole Corby saga was that if you are going to be international drug smuggler, make sure you are a good looking Anglo female in your mid-to-late twenties since this seems to be sufficient proof of your innocence to the vast majority of Australians. But this isn’t exactly news as the Tampa incident already demonstrated the inherent racism of the population of this country.

But it turns out we aren’t just racists, we are terrorist sympathisers too. According to Channel Nine’s highly scientific poll, 20% of our fellow countrypeople think its legitimate to carry out biological attacks on foreign nations who have the nerve to find one of our pretty white girls guilty of a crime. The fact that she had an open trial and her defence was largely based on heresay which wouldn’t have even been allowed to be presented in an Aussie court seems irrelevant.

And yet we can’t understand how the populace of Islamic nations would feel sympathy for Al Qaeda when America imprisons Muslims for years without any openness or any trial whatsoever…

Posted by Andrew Coulthurst to , | 10 Comments »