Open Thread


All through the ages, the first thing the great dictators did when they got into power was to burn the books. There hasn’t been a time throughout history when a dictator hasn’t burned or banned books. Whether it be Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Napoleon, Brezhnev, George Bush or Sarah Palin. Even now countries such as China, Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Cuba just to name a few have strong censorship laws.

I came up through the sixties and seventies working for Collins Book Sellers who were battling the Henry Bolte/Aurthur Rylar government’s arcane censorship laws. Books like The Little Red School Book, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Outcasts of Foolgarah, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, were books that we were able to use to challenge the law; along with various editions of Playboy. Gough Whitlam came along and there was a new dawn with books. Most of the old rules were overturned and in Victoria there was very little trouble any more because Bolte was gone. Although in Queensland they still had Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

Labor governments in Australia through the ages have been on the progressive side of censorship. The Howard Government was doing it’s best to bring in strong censorship laws. Once even getting a law that would have had anyone arrest and charged for loading any sort of porn onto the Internet inside or outside the country, that is, if you were uploading porn to the USA you would be charged. It was stopped on the way to getting governors’ approval. Whose definition of porn was it?

I was most relieved when Kevin Rudd was elected. No more trouble with censorship laws. The ALP had more sense. The ALP would have much smarter people working in that department. No more trouble. Imagine my horror when I received an email from my son about the Great Firewall of Australia. You cannot imagine the anger and swear words that came from my mouth. The thing that really disappoints me the most is the amount of talent in the ALP that has not stood up against this law. One person in particular who is my hero, Maxine McKew, for beating John Howard in Bennelong. I have my own personal desktop background of the Bennelong result, she has not been stood up on this issue. Maxine is not the highest person in the ALP but she comes from a very strong media background. I expected that she would have taken a stand on this issue. But Maxine is not alone. There are many others in the ALP who remain silent.

Why won’t the firewall work? First of all, you could never make it a word based program. There are two many words that cross over, for instance the first and most obvious word is sex. If you ban the word sex, you also ban communicating with Middlesex and Sussex, you could never mention the word sextant. You would stop any email with a job application asking the persons sex or any document asking for your sex. That would just about grind the Internet to a halt in Australia. What about Virgin? Well there goes Virgin Airlines, Virginia and West Virginia for a start, then the online bible. Most of the words to do with women’s sexual health would be out. To show how effective a word based censorship firewall is to try blocking the word Viagra in your email. Ads by using the word Viagra will still get through. It cannot be done, because I still get V!agra Vi*gra and Viagr* coming through.

Senator Conroy says he only wants to ban child porn sites. Well I can tell why it won’t stop the child porn sites. Even if he blocked every site it would still get into Australia very, very easily. How? Every laptop coming into the country. Every portable USB hard drive on a key ring. Has anyone mentioned to Senator Conroy that the new portable hard drives can hold over 1Terabyte of information? Then there is Peer to Peer networks. His system won’t be able to block those at all. The record companies have been unsuccessful in stopping them, how is he going to stop them? Anybody with a little bit of computer knowledge can do that. Just ask your kids to show you how. Ask them about Limewire. Peer to Peer networks are a giant whole in Senator Conroy’s firewall, so big you could drive a truck through it.

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Senator Conroy’s intention is to block illegal websites. He has a budget allocated for that. It will be very difficult to do that for the present standard of the Internet without blocking a lot of innocent sites. But what Senator Conroy has not taken into account the huge explosion of the Internet in the USA that’s about to happen under Barrack Obama. Free up restrictions on the Internet, introducing broadband to large amounts of untouched area’s in the USA. Senator Conroy’s system will slow the Australian Internet down under today’s system. It will be worse when Obama’s Internet kicks in.

Let’s say Senator Conroy is 100% successful in the sites he blocks. All are correct none that shouldn’t be are blocked. The ALP is tossed out at the next election. The Liberals win in a landslide and Tony Abbott is the new Minister for communications. Not a nice thought is it? That would be senator Conroy’s fault.

Senator Conroy’s 40 million dollars would be much better spent and far more effective on extra police to crack down on child pornography. Oh I forgot, he can’t give that to another department can he?

Obama’s Internet Revolution Begins.

1,645 replies on “Censorship”

EC at 1500

Not having though about euthanasia that much … it just seems to me that from an economics point of view, it’s good for government. But if government is holding back it’s because of the adverse polling of religious groups. Is that all this is really about?

Wonder if some of this has “gone to a good money home” like Mr Madhof’s $50bil

Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion (Update2)

“There has to be something they can tell the public because we have a right to know what they are doing,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

“It would really be a shame if we have to find this out 10 years from now after some really nasty class-action suit and our financial system has completely collapsed,” she said.

The Fed’s five-page response to Bloomberg may be “unprecedented” because the board usually doesn’t go into such detail about its position, said Lee Levine, a partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP in Washington

This is further to yours.
It’s beyond me.
Why would anyone give the government money for free?

Treasury Auction Proves You CAN
Get Money for Nothing

Back in the 1980s, the rock band Dire Straits put out a smash hit called “Money for Nothing.” It reflected the laments of a couple of blue collar workers who were complaining that rock singers got too much easy money for too little work. But I never thought I’d see the day when the U.S. government would get the same deal!

What do I mean?

The Treasury Department recently got a sweet gift from investors: $30 billion in FREE money!
Well, the Treasury Department recently sold $30 billion worth of four-week bills. And like any debt instrument, T-bills usually pay interest. So you’re guaranteed some kind of return if you hold them to maturity.

But these bills? They were sold at a 0% yield.

That means buyers literally agreed to give the U.S. government $30 billion in FREE money, accepting ZERO return. And those buyers were falling all over themselves to get a piece of this “great” deal.

Gaffy, the T Bills are very short term, so the loss of a percent or two (annual) over a few weeks is the cost of ‘parking’ cash that investors clearly do not entrust to banks. It’s the fear of the financial system crashing that has driven the rates down.

But buying a longer bond has even bigger problems: first one is, what about inflation? Even now the real level of US inflation is probably well over 3%. But even more scary is the fact that you’ve bought this thing at the absolute nutcracking TOP of the market and there is nowhere but down for this thing to go in price. It could drop 10, 20, 30 percent at any time and your miserable 3% return (currently on the 30 yr) ain’t gonna cover your ass.

And the moment there’s some hunger for risk, and return, restored in the market, the colossal sound you’ll hear will be that of the cash being sucked out of Treasuries. It’ll be the Twin Towers all over again!

You do have to laugh…no, you really HAVE to!

Just examine, if you will, these two excerpts pertaining to the financial scandal du jour in Seppoland:

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigated Mr. Madoff in 1992 but cleared him of wrongdoing, appears to have been completely surprised by the charges of fraud.

…and this one:

While Mr. Madoff’s firm was not a hedge fund, the scope of the fraud is likely to increase pressure on hedge funds to accept greater regulation and transparency and protect their investors.

…so, as you can see, the SEC utterly failed to spot the humongous fraud this guy was perpetrating, BUT, even more regulation will somehow, miraculously, work better?

Maybe….NOT! LOL

Like I said, you have to laugh.

1499 Catrina Any system is open to abuse. The conservatives could run a scare campaign to get something up they wanted. Murdoch combined with Alan Jones and 3AW could run a scare campaign to get what they wanted. But till recently country towns had been controlled by one local paper and a local radio station. This gave the conservatives strong control over huge parts of the country, because they controlled both of those in most cases. Also a limited amount of television didn’t help. But broadband Internet is about to change all that massively. Tapping into grass roots support is a very good way of by passing the old paradigms and controls. Reaching people that have had very little contact with Labor ideals.
This have huge advantages, which would by far outweigh the downsides.

It is a very good way to get the message out and get feedback. Mind you at the massive speed things are developing on the Internet anyone not adapting will be left behind. When you consider that the USA under Obama’s Internet revolution, will probably double the size of the Internet at least in the USA by 2012. Maybe faster. Then all the new innovation that will come along with it. Cyrillic alphabet Internet sites will start to appear en mass shortly. One third of the worlds population has not been able to access the Internet because of the lack of a Cyrillic alphabet on the Internet. More innovation.

What I am actually trying to say is, whatever you start out with will probably rapidly change. But not to start at all would be a huge mistake. The Internet is tapping into a mass of brain power, so everything is evolving at a rapid pace.

paddy, enjoyed Arundhati Roy’s article on Mumbai and her wider take on The Imbecile’s “GWOT”. No wonder the PNAC/GOPper/MIC warmongers-for-profit despise her.
They can’t handle the truth.

If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colors, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The U.S. military is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unraveling of the American economy and who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire.

(Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?)

“Subvert the dominant paradigm.”

I love it when you get a bit Bolshie and talk like a commie, Chris.

President-elect Obama on Saturday announced Shaun Donovan as his choice to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Donovan currently serves under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City.

“With experience that stretches from the public sector to the private sector to academia, Shaun will bring to this important post fresh thinking, unencumbered by old ideology and outdated ideas,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

Movement in Minnesota

The Minnesota canvassing board recommended yesterday that state’s 87 counties review all the rejected absentee ballots and count any that were improperly discarded. Officials estimate that the number of improperly disgard ballots may be as high as 1600. Democrat Al Franken hailed the ruling while Republican Norm Coleman said this will just confuse matters unless there are statewide standards. In addition to a fight over absentee ballots, there are 4000 challenged ballots to be manually inspected by the canvassing board, which will begin this task on Dec. 16. While Coleman currently leads by 192 votes, that margin could dwindle quickly as the absentee ballots are reinspected and the challenged ballots are reviewed.

In addition, the board handed Franken another victory by recommending that the precinct in which 133 ballots were lost go back to the count they had on election day and ignore the recount. This decision gives Franken 46 votes. This race is not over by a longshot.

Daschle to be true health czar.

Tom Daschle’s new post as head of the Health and Human Services Department and a newly created White House health reform office gives the former Senate majority leader unprecedented power to drive the coming health care debate.

The double-barreled position gives Daschle authority over the policy office and the agency that would be charged with implementing the policies.

“This truly does represent a czar role. That phrase gets thrown around a lot in Washington and sometimes it doesn’t reflect the reality. But this time it does,” said Phil Blando of the health care consulting group AB+M Partners. “He’s the go-to guy across the board. People will try to end run around him and they’re going to have no where to go.”

Huckabee’s argument that gay marriage somehow tarnishes the institution of marriage is, as usual, a crock. It’s analogous to the argument that me taking my own life before the terminal disease does somehow diminishes our ‘respect’ for life.

Both arguments are the tyrannical exercise of moral choice over others. That is, they get to ‘feel good’ about something while I get to suffer the consequences, and as Stewart points out, the downside for gay people is considerable. (From memory, as I saw this episode a few days ago, Stewart even tried to appeal to Huck’s notion of a ‘fair go’ as we’d say, but to no avail).

As usual, Jon Stewart presents the voice of reason, tolerance, and balance, all delivered with humour…he is a CLASS act, and I’ll miss him over the break.

I loved the line he used on the bible bashing Mike, who tried to infer that homosexuals make a choice to live a ‘bad’ lifestyle: “So when did you decide to be heterosexual?”


I noticed Mike then avoided that spurious line of argument from that moment, and moved onto the other ones on the list of specious excuses for treating homosexuals like second class citizens.

God they’re a sick bunch of bigots, who spend their time getting their knickers in a twist about what to call homosexual’s cohabitation status as if their society would implode to call it marriage.

Meanwhile, their society IS imploding, but it’s got absolutely nothing to do with homosexual’s legal rights.

That’s certainly an “interesting” read BO.
Even if it *is* a little depressing on a wet Sunday morning.
At least I’ve stuffed Kev’s christmas present under the mattress and not gone into treasury bonds.

I think at this stage, I might just invest in a few good bottles of wine.
At least I’ll be able to drink them, while hiding in the cellar from the bandits. 🙂

Switzerland opens its borders.

Switzerland, right in the heart of Europe, but not in the European Union, is opening its borders to EU member states. Under the Schengen Agreement, which Switzerland is joining, cross-border passport checks will be abolished.

The move is the latest in a long and complex series of bilateral agreements which the Swiss government has negotiated with Brussels, in order not to be isolated within Europe’s powerful trade zone.


Obama stimulus could reach $1 trillion: report.

President-elect Barack Obama’s team is considering a plan to boost the recession-hit U.S. economy that could be far larger than previous estimates and might reach $1 trillion over two years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Obama aides, who were considering a half-trillion dollar package two weeks ago, now consider $600 billion over two years “a very low-end estimate,” the newspaper said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter.

The final size of the stimulus was expected to be significantly higher, possibly between $700 billion and $1 trillion over that period, it said, given the deteriorating state of the U.S. economy.

FOX News Poll: Most Americans Positive About Obama’s Cabinet

A recent FOX News poll finds that many Americans are pleased with President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet picks.

Most Americans rate President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet selections positively, and just over half think his choices represent the change he promised to bring to Washington.

In addition, Obama’s popularity has soared, and most have high expectations for his presidency, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday.

Overall, 65 percent rate the quality of Obama’s cabinet choices positively as some 24 percent say they are “excellent,” and another 41 percent says “good,” while 20 percent say “fair” and 8 percent “poor.”

This must stick in their gullet. More..

Another day, another huge fraud, this one committed by a NY lawyer who swindled investors out of meagre $380m (so far). He just sold dodgey company notes, straight out scam, and of course he lived an incredibly lavish lifestyle.

So the US legal profession is now in a panic that they will be tainted and their clients will be asking to ‘see the money’. A run on lawyers? yeah, why not? Another financial panic to add to the bonfire of the inanities.

It gets worse by the day.

Given that every country has it’s “least favourite” profession Kirri.
The US must rate Lawyers pretty close to the bottom.
Conspicuous consumption might just become a life threatening pastime in the near future.

Mr. Dreier’s lifestyle includes a waterfront home in the Hamptons, a Manhattan triplex and a place on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, Calif. He kept a Mercedes 500 in New York, an Aston Martin in California, and a 121-foot blue and white Heesen motor yacht with a Jacuzzi and a crew of 10 docked in Manhattan or St. Maarten. Associates said the boat, the Seascape, was the site of late-night parties at which Mr. Dreier, who is divorced, was often joined by an attractive young crowd.

The law offices themselves at 499 Park Avenue were like modern art galleries. In court papers filed this week, the comptroller for the law firm reported that $30 million to $40 million of the firm’s assets had been spent on art. Among Mr. Dreier’s holdings were works by Picasso and a Warhol depiction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
In recent days, someone not affiliated with the firm removed several pieces of artwork from the walls and carted them away, a person at the firm said. It was not clear what became of the art.

The end of the “American Dream” draws closer by the hour.

A sobering read about the US Iraqi Reconstruction effort.

At the end of his narrative, Mr. Bowen chooses a line from “Great Expectations” by Dickens as the epitaph of the American-led attempt to rebuild Iraq: “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us.”

New York Times: Report Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Blunders

Banks and consumers brace for new credit card rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. credit card industry, harshly criticized for imposing surprise fees and interest rate hikes on consumers, may face a day of reckoning on Thursday.

The Federal Reserve is to vote on credit card reforms that may bring some relief to customers who face a variety of ways for being hit with late fees, universal defaults, shorter payment periods and confusing payment allocations for different balances.

Credit card users likely also would see easier-to-read tables in their monthly statements as a result of the changes.

The new rules, which were proposed earlier this year, are expected to total some 1,000 pages. They need approval of the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration, which all are expected to act on Thursday.

Now that’s all well and good……..But it seems that Reuters, like all other media, is trying to save on sub-editorial staff.
Try this on for size further down the same page.


In 2007, Americans were using an estimated 694.4 billion credit cards with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover logos, according to the Card Industry Directory.

Ummm…….Unless that wine I’ve been drinking has totally screwed up my basic maths. That would mean over 2000 credit cards issued to each and every American. 🙂 Please someone tell me I’m wrong!

I am starting to think that Kevin Rudd’s broadband will be well out of date by the time it is built. Just noting my own usage has rocketed in the last 3 months with political videos. But now I have discovered a huge amount of World War Two aircraft on You Tube (my hobby). I can see the use of videos on the net is only going to grow at a pace outweighing the rate of building a faster network.

paddy at 1539

I’m guessing that the statement would make more sense if we substituted ‘Americans’ with the credit card holders around the world who’s cards are issued by the listed companies.

Oh lordy, lordy, the fun never stops in Liberal land, does it? A report in today’s SMH has it that Costello will stay on and contest his seat again, so to be there when Turnbull’s leadership falls over! LOL

How comical is that? Obviously the hard liners aren’t happy with Malcontent, and are dying to shaft him. But resurrecting Bracket Creep?
Oh, spare me.

Blago & Badger knew instinctively when to go for a Big Play.

Kid Kahuna bursts from the tube scoring another “Perfect 10”.

paddy, liked this para from your link.
“Since spring 2008, as US investment banks sold off assets, imposed margin calls, and used access to unsegregated wholesale assets in custody in the rest of the world to upstream liquidity to their US-based parents and affiliates, the dollar has strengthened relative to other currencies. The media reports this as a “flight to quality”, but it is more like a last looting of the surrounding countryside before dangerous brigands hole up in their hilltop fortress. The brigands appear temporarily wealthy compared to the peons left stripped and penniless and facing winter. When the brigands have eaten all the stolen grain and livestock, however, they will have no means to replenish except to use force to raid the countryside again. The peons can always hunt, forage, farm and carefully husband a surplus to gradually increase their wealth. If the brigands raid too thoroughly or too regularly, the peons have no incentive to grow crops or keep herds (negative savings returns) and everyone starves (deflation).”

Kirri, there is no way Smirking Man will ever be PM of Oz.
So what if $weetie uses his years of parliamentary savvy and contacts to roll Petit Mal. Big deal! Enough Australians have had a gutful of the gutless wonder to guarantee that any “Costello for PM” quest is forever doomed.
Australians will never elect a leader who has no bottle, who won’t go in and fight for the top job. The bloke is a flake.
Pixie will be relishing this, so will Julia Prole who has Smirker’s measure and then some.

Good evening team.

I saw that you were debating euthanasia earlier. The involuntary one where someone is very sick isn’t much of a problem. Given that everyone dies eventually, there is hardly an controversy about withdrawal of treatment. It happens all the time.

The voluntary euthanasia debate is much harder. I personally don’t think the process should be “medicalised”. It’s absolutely frought with problems. If someone wishes to commit suicide, I’d prefer they do it without my help. There are plenty of ways to do it without a doctor.

Cat. On further reflection (and a few more wines) I think there’s a simpler explanation for the remarkable credit card numbers cited.
A simple typo, replacing billions for millions. 🙂
Heck, even with the entire global population, 690 Billion cards would mean 10 CC’s for every man woman and child on the planet!

It’s really getting heavy with Obama.

Reporters get personal with Obama.

Barack Obama unwittingly caused a kerfuffle the other day when a reporter spotted him working out with a Microsoft Zune — rather than his trusty iPod.

When word got out, Apple geeks went crazy, and the media — from Wired to the Wall Street Journal — flooded the zone. Suddenly, the phone lines at the Obama transition office were ringing with questions from reporters who passed up other pressing curiosities — who will be the education secretary? — to unpack Obama’s choice of MP3 players.

Welcome to the world of the celebrity president.


Diogenes @ 1546

Dio – I just wrote this very large(by my standards) post outlining a number of things with cavets here and safegaurds there

I just deleted it, I would like to know your opinions first.


Sorry – “the reasons for your opinions” first… note to self ; carefull when deleting large amounts of text

Ecky, the Smirk will provide us with endless comedy, but alas, he’s NEVER going to get to poll position on the greasy poll, for all the reasons you stated.

Palin’s Wasilla Church Damaged By Arson.

Several People Were Inside But No One Was Injured; Importance Of Palin Connection Unclear.

Gov. Sarah Palin’s home church was badly damaged by arson, leading the governor to apologize if the fire was connected to “undeserved negative attention” from her failed campaign as the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Damage to the Wasilla Bible Church was estimated at $1 million, authorities said Saturday. The fire was set Friday night while a handful of people, including two children, were inside, according to Central Mat-Su Fire Chief James Steele. No one was injured.


Frank Rich, in the NY Times, puts the governor’s little caper into perspective against the Enron and Wall Street fiascoes and the hyped up war that Idiot George concocted:

Our next president, like his predecessor, is promising “a new era of responsibility and accountability.” We must hope he means it. Meanwhile, we have the governor he leaves behind in Illinois to serve as our national whipping boy, the one betrayer of the public trust who could actually end up paying for his behavior. The surveillance tapes of Blagojevich are so fabulous it seems a tragedy we don’t have similar audio records of the bigger fish who have wrecked the country. But in these hard times we’ll take what we can get.

…so a pretty petty sleaze bag deal gets the attention, while the massive corruption that has buggered their country mostly goes without penalty to the perpetrators.

Justice is indeed blind.

EC and Kirri

Even Laurie Oaks is sinking the boot in to the Smirk for leader bit.
He sinks it in to the lot of them as well,LOL

I know the proverb says that all things come to those who wait, but this is ridiculous.

Surely the words “Costello” and “leadership” belong together these days only in the punch line of a joke.

That they still bob up in apparently serious political analysis serves only to highlight the dearth of Liberal leadership talent in Federal Parliament.

More here,21985,24791015-5000117,00.html

Good to see you again, Dio. Appreciate your thoughts on this controversial subject. Legalisation seems to be working without too many complications in European countries.


That hurts! I’m in the nukes are fine if they were economical and carbon efficient camp. They are neither though. I think they’re relatively safe but should go the way of the dinosaurs.

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From a doctors POV, anyone who is “well” as opposed to being in imminent danger of dying is not considered someone we would want to “kill”. Withdrawal of treatment is “easy” for want of a better word but actively killing someone is something we just aren’t trained for.

Palliative care should be able to treat the pain, but not always I accept. Helplessness and depression can be treated in most occasions. So when someone wants to die from terminal cancer etc, from a doctors POV there has been a failure of treatment. When our treatment fails, our response is to try a new one, increase dose etc. You can always increase the dose of morphine etc. We often do things like that to relieve suffering, knowing that it will shorten someones life but the primary aim is palliation not euthanasia (although the border can get a bit blurry).

I don’t think that it’s necessary for doctors to get involved in most cases. There are plenty of ways for almost anyone to commit suicide. I’m not wedded to this opinion though and could be persuaded into the other camp. It honestly is very seldom an issue, although working in a hospital, when the end comes it tends to be fairly fast.

Glad to see that Kev07’s new Freedom of information is working well! Obviously you can see what you want as long as you can pay for it.

A Freedom of Information request by The Weekend Australian has revealed that Defence also has more than 82,000 pages of information regarding the US rendition program of sending prisoners to third countries for interrogation. But the department has asked for nearly $200,000 to examine and determine which documents can be released under the FOI request.,25197,24792756-31477,00.html

ha! This time it’s the Swiss bank accounts that get drained:

ZURICH (Reuters) – Geneva-based banks and investment funds have lost more than 5 billion Swiss francs ($4.22 billion) in the alleged $50 billion fraud by former Nasdaq chairman Bernard Madoff, Swiss newspaper Le Temps reported on Saturday.


That’s a nice line Gaffy, and just perfect for the Smirk. God I love watching the conservatives wallowing around in their own stupidity.

Bush ducks two shoes hurled by Iraqi.

Welcome to Baghdad. An Iraqi reporter set off pandemonium Sunday by hurling two shoes at President Bush during a news conference that was the centerpiece of his secret goodbye visit.

Bush was cool under fire and prevented an even bigger incident by waving off his lead Secret Service agent, who was prepared to extract him from the room.

Loved this bit from your link Chris.

“This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog,” the journalist shouted (in Arabic),

Hell, give that journalist a book contract at once. 👿

Plus, according to the Fox clip, Dana Perino suffered a black eye from the scrum of secret service agents trying to protect the imbecile.
I’d call that two for the price of one. :mrgreen:

Telstra excluded from national broadband tender process.

TELSTRA says it has been excluded from the national broadband network tender process for “trivial” reasons.
The telco says it was excluded because its proposal did not include a plan on how to involve small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the building of the network.

The move to exclude Telstra leaves just five bidders for the multi-billion dollar project.

“The decision to exclude us from the RFP (request for proposal) is the commonwealth’s decision to make,” Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie said.


Bush is right, though: this incident demonstrates that progress has been made in Iraq. Would anyone have thrown a shoe at Saddam Hussein? If they had, what would have been the result?

The question is: is the relative freedom that Iraqis have now worth the price that they have paid for it?

Is our current freedom worth the price that many of those who came before paid for it?

Uni results:

pass for computing – dissappointed a touch, but as I do not like computing at all and it is not a basis for me going on to further study, not too worried.

distinction for discrete mathematics – should have been an HD, but two questions on the exam were not printed correctly and so they were not counted for anyone’s grade. Given that these were questions that I aced, not too happy. But a distinction is fine.

high distinction for linear algebra – very happy with this result. I studied hard, which was good as the exam was very difficult. As a result, I got most of it correct.


1567 David Gould That’s a lot of deaths to enable someone to throw a shoe. Then there’s all the lying cover ups corruption torture and the massive numbers of injuries. They still haven’t got Bin Laden. Terrorism is still going on.

Congrats on the results DG
Great news.

As for the price of shoes……Comparisons between Bush and Hussein aren’t really worth the price of a bale of straw.
They are/were both responsible for the deaths of uncounted innocents. Neither will survive the judgment of history and Bush is not the leader of Iraq. [Elected or otherwise]

Telstra out of broadband plan.

Telstra says it has been excluded from the bidding process for the construction of a national broadband network by the Federal Government for “trivial” reasons.

Telstra said reason given for its exclusion was that it did not include a plan on how to involve small and medium enterprises in the building of the network in its from the “request for proposal” lodged on November 26.

“The decision to exclude us from the RFP is the Commonwealth’s decision to make,” chairman Donald McGauchie said.


Diogenes @ 1559

Even doctors will admit that upping the dose of morphine for terminally patients is often not effective to relieve extreme suffering. It certainly wasn’t in the case of my mother.


Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There is normally something we can give although some pain is really hard to control especially pain related to nerve damage.

There is a risk with voluntary euthanasia that society will form the expectation that the terminally ill will chose this option rather than struggling on and resentment could build up against the people who need help the most. There is also the danger that palliative care will be under-resourced if this is seen as a money-saving opportunity by bureaucrats.


I question whether Bush is responsible for the deaths of uncounted innocents in the same way as Saddam was responsible for the deaths of uncounted innocents.

Morally equating starting a war with fighting a war by deliberately targetting civilians is a popular pastime on the left. But I am dubious of its validity.

Bush chose to start a war. His enemies chose how to fight it. Bush is not responsible for their choices, and thus cannot be responsible for the civilians that they murder.

*I am setting aside my doubts as to the whole notion of responsibility for the purposes of this discussion.

I would draw people’s attention to the part which begins thusly:

I dare say you love him not so ill, to wish him here
alone, howsoever you speak this to feel other men’s
minds: methinks I could not die any where so
contented as in the king’s company; his cause being
just and his quarrel honourable.”

While I know that Shakespeare is specifically talking about souls and salvation here, a possible and logical extrapolation is that the decisions of individuals under his command are the responsibility of the individuals, and not the king.

1577 David Gould None died so I could post freely on an Internet site. It hadn’t been heard of in World War Two.

I have just completed a bit of an examination of the English Civil Wars. Many thousands died in the battles between Parliament and the King. And while Parliament won, in a few short years a king was back. However, the ideas fought for lived on and the triumph of parliament was in the end total. Was it worth those thousands of lives?

And that was but one step on the road to freedom. Every step is slick with the blood of innocents. Is the climb worth it?

Chris B at 1579,

It is sad that you do not think a little further back than that. Australian freedom is based on the British parliamentary system, which was won inch by inch with blood.

We take our freedoms for granted, and call the throwing of a shoe at a leader without death resulting a minor thing. Yet for most of the world such a thing cannot be done. It is impossible.

And this in a thread about censorship.

Is my pomposity way over the top or what? 😉

1582 David Gould So has every other system that’s come up through the ages. In a time when we are more civilised. The corrupt American system fought a completely unnecessary war. Hopefully they will pay for it.

Chris B,

We may be more civilised. Most of the world is not. We know of only one path to freedom.

We disagree about the necessity of the war. I think that there are few more wars of a similar nature that need to be fought. One in Zimbabwe, for instance; one in Burma; one in the Congo; one in Saudi Arabia; one in Iran. Everywhere that there is dicatatorship and opression and death and we sit and watch. And the wars will be immoral. But not fighting them is even more so.

Bush attacked Iraq for the wrong reasons. But it was a war that needed to be fought.

Virgin Media broadband speeds up.

Virgin Media is widely expected to unveil a 50 Megabits per second (Mbps) domestic broadband service.

It is the first of Britain’s ISPs to roll out a next generation broadband service that runs far faster than most others available to UK web users.

So far no word has been given on pricing or which parts of the country will be the first to get it.

Currently, the fastest domestic broadband speed available from Virgin Media is 20Mbps.

Diogenes – insightful comments as usual and something for me to mull over in my little box

David – Great stuff ! – My better(much much smarter) half just got her final result as well. Straight HD’s with one exception where she missed the HD by 2 points. I encouraged her to ask for it to upgraded. “To hell with it, I’ve had enough” was the response 😀

Ah Uni – I wouldn’t go through that again for any money 😉

Thanks, Spam Box.

I love studying, actually. I am interested in going on to honours if possible, and then further if I am smart enough (I have my doubts on that score – some of the advanced maths stuff just looks … incomprehensible.)

Oh, and I left China off my list because even if victory were possible there the price would be too high.

The only other options are basically sitting around waiting hundreds of years while these nations gradually move to democracy – and they will move there via blood, as we did, if they move there at all. (I do not think that there is a historical dialectic that means democracy and the freedoms that accompany it are inevitable, but it seems reasonably likely that such will be reached after a sufficient time period.)

It’s good if you can actually enjoy it, I always found it a drain. For me it was always about the piece of paper at the end and boy was I glad when I got it. I did honors though as it seemed to me to be good value for the bit of extra effort – better employment options and more income but after that, no more for me thanks. 😀

I’ve seen people doing PhD’s and they never, ever, look happy 😉

Oh, I get grumpy even now if I cannot understand something, so I am sure that there will be times during a PhD that I will be very grumpy indeed. 😉

Big emission cuts ruled out

The Federal Government has ruled out a deep cut to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions before 2020, believing the world will not get its act together on climate change soon.

– Emission cuts 15% at most
– Emissions trading to start July 2010
– Business gets many free permits
– Coal gets $4 billion aid
– Electricity and gas bills to rise about $6 a week

The government has set an absolute maximum cut to emissions of 15% by 2020 – if the world signs an effective climate pact – in its greenhouse plan released today.

It is pretty much guaranteed that there will no significant global agreement reached on emissions. China and India will go on their merry way. Many animals are going to die; many poorer nations are going to get poorer. But we’ll be okay. And in 40 years there will be sufficient cheap and clean energy available that will solve the problem. Too late for many species, of course.

David Gould at 1597

Too late for many species, of course.

Isn’t this a coin with two sides? According to the theory of evolution, changes in the environment cause some species to die out, and at the same time, other species proliferate and new species to emerge. I keep hearing about the species we know – but I don’t often hear about the new.

And also too late for the Great Barrier Reef, the Murray, and Kakadu. Not to mention hundreds of coastal homes.

To detect a new species is very difficult as changes as speciation is slow.

The rate of species destruction cannot be made up for in a short time period. It took millions of years for the earth to recover from previous rapid mass extinctions.

Some current species will, however, do well as the climate changes – just as, for example, some species have done very well out of massive urbanisation while other species have been driven extinct. So you are correct there.

There will be human winners out of climate change, too. Some areas will become more hospitable and better for agriculture, for example.

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