Friday, September 14, 2007

Goat Friday

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Verbiage wins the day

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, talking to Macquarie Radio, expands volubly and relentlessly on the problems that do not beset the federal Liberal Party:

There was naturally, within the party, discussion about our political position given some of the published polls and nobody has behaved in a disloyal fashion towards me.

Yes, Prime Minister, that’s very nice to hear.

There have been some suggestions that Mr Downer, Mr Turnbull, Mr Costello have been behaving in some kind of disloyal fashion. They haven’t.

No, of course they haven’t, perish the thought.

And the discussions that ministers had occurred with my approval and my sanction and it’s the act of a mature group of men and women that if they have a political challenge, they should talk about it.

Yes, of course, of course.

We’ve had a party meeting and there was absolutely no evidence in that party meeting of any desire on the part of the party for any change in the current leadership team and that remains the position. It has been the position for some time and that’s the position that will obtain into the election and beyond.

Yes, we see.

I can certainly confirm that I fully agreed with Mr Downer talking to the colleagues about our position and giving me a report on that discussion, yes. Nothing he did was in any way disloyal or in any way designed to hurt me. Alexander Downer is a close friend of mine.

Thank you, Prime Minister, and good night.

And there is no suggestion, and can I say Peter Costello behaved, you know, quite properly throughout the whole of this thing and any suggestion that he was trying to do anything dirty or do me in would be quite wrong.

Okay, okay.

Peter’s been, you know, very, he has legitimate ambitions and I applaud ambition and that’s a fine thing. There is nothing wrong with ambition. I’m all for it.

Alright already.

I mean I think I’ve demonstrated in the past little while that I’ve got a lot. I mean, when I said yesterday, I’ve never run from a fight in my life, that was really directed at the Labor Party.

You mean? You mean? Give it a rest.

I mean there was some people running around saying well look the polls look so bad, this that and the other, Howard will fall on his sword, Howard will go, he won’t stay around and fight.

Enough already.

Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s alien to my nature. I mean this is going to be a tough campaign for me. I recognise that but I’ve got a lot of energy, I’ve got a lot of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm and I’m really dedicated to winning. I’ve got a much better team than Mr Rudd has.

Over and out, Prime Minister.

We can still win this election. I really believe that and I think the most important thing for Liberals now to do is to focus on what the Australian people want and the Australian people’s future —

I’ve stopped listening, sir.

— not our futures. We’re really irrelevant to this, it’s the future of the country that matters to people and I believe that what people are wanting from us is a more detailed explanation of how we propose to use the prosperity we clearly now have for the benefit of future generations of Australians.



Meanwhile, poor old ‘Tip’ Costello, as ever, is out of the loop and kept in the dark:

“The meetings didn’t involve me and I didn’t know they were taking place,” he said.

Courtier’s Reply virus alert

In his piece The Courtier’s Reply, P.Z. Myers has confected what on the surface seems an entertainingly droll, even devilishly clever, rebuttal of a widespread criticism of Richard Dawkins’s book, The God Delusion — namely, that Dawkins has been terribly remiss in not sufficiently researching the breadth and depth of theological literature.

After detailed examination, I have tentatively concluded that Myers’ piece may be a Trojan Horse-type of viral construct. I have almost certainly detected at least one, and possibly two, Straw Men and perhaps one or two stray, mutant memes.

I’ve reproduced Myers’ piece here for study purposes, but have taken the precaution of isolating it within a meme-resistant protective layer, to circumvent the possibility of escape.

Approach with caution...

P.Z. Myers: The Courtier’s Reply

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots, nor does he give a moment’s consideration to Bellini’s masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat.

We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor’s raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor’s taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sceptical spirit of science epitomised

Until 1998 it was generally accepted that the Universe would eventually stop expanding, contracting until the Big Crunch.

Then Australian astronomer Brian Schmidt overturned this theory, finding that the Universe will expand forever at an accelerating rate.

The Universe will just keep getting bigger and bigger.


And. Ever.

For his work, Brian Schmidt was awarded the prestigious Gruber Prize for Cosmology. In an interview recently on ABC Radio National’s The Science Show, Dr Schmidt epitomised the sceptical spirit of science:

Robyn Williams: Is it right that when you looked at the universe and found it zooming away from us, expanding at this fantastic speed, at first you and other researchers didn’t believe it?

Brian Schmidt: I would say we didn’t want to believe it and we just assumed we must have made a mistake somewhere along the ways because it just did not make sense, and so we had to beaver through our work and find what we did wrong and that beavering actually didn’t turn up anything.

Robyn Williams: You were right.

Brian Schmidt: It appeared that we hadn’t made a mistake, yes.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

APEC security a ‘big show’, says truther Devine

Supposed conservative columnist Miranda Devine has laid bare hitherto hidden left-wing leanings in her latest Sun-Herald column:

The stunt [by The Chaser comedy troupe] demonstrated that the security overkill in Sydney was just a big show, designed not to protect anyone from terrorists but to stymie protesters.

Thus has Ms Devine divined the real agenda behind the $330 million APEC Big Show.

It’s to be hoped that this fearless journalist will continue to Speak Truth to Power, and vigorously pursue the story behind the APEC conspiracy thingy.

Here isn’t the news

Late yesterday afternoon there was an ABC news item that as originally published was headed:

Police praise anti-APEC demonstrators

A google search on ‘abc news police praise protesters yields the following result at the top of the list:

Police praise anti-APEC demonstrators - ABC News (Australian ...
Police praise anti-APEC demonstrators. Posted September 8, 2007 18:25:00 ... Police estimate about 3000 people attended the protest march to Hyde Park, ... - 15 hours ago ...

Hit the link and we’re taken to an item headed:

17 charged following APEC protest

It appears that, about a half hour after the original headline, the document had been changed to something a little meatier.

Oh, and more in keeping with governments’ narrative about protesters...??