Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Guy is Rude! :o

Foxtel is in trouble with the Australian Communications and Media Authority over an episode of Family Guy where the character “Death” has a sex with a dead girl. Way to keep up with the times! I’ve seen that episode at least four times, the first being several years ago. The scene in question is:

A) Animated
B) Not explicit
C) fucking old news!

Get a grip people. Foxtel don’t set the classification. If there was a problem with the episode, it should have been picked up when the program was originally classified, before it was aired. Why was that episode singled out? What about the one where Brian (the talking family dog) doesn’t pay his gambling debts and Stewie (a 1 y/o) beats him to within an inch of his life, shoots him, and sets him on fire? Or maybe they could whinge about the running gag that there is a predatory homosexual paedophile hunting Chris Griffin? If you are letting your kids watch Family Guy thinking that it is in any way good wholesome family entertainment, you’re a moron. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t let their kids watch it if that is the decision they make, but complaining about it afterwards is just weak. Make the decision and accept the consequences. I love Family Guy. That and American Dad are two of my favourite shows. Letting my kids watch it might be a different story. Sharpe Jr likes it, but then, to him it’s just bright colours on the screen. When he gets a bit older I might have to sacrifice it, but if I still choose to watch it with him in the room, that’s a decision I’ll make and I’ll live with the consequences. It is part of being a parent and being responsible for the upbringing of my child. Blaming someone else because I let him watch something a little risqué is abrogating that responsibility.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The death of Blogocracy

A News Ltd Blog set up a couple of years ago to address a perceived imbalance in the Murdoch blogosphere, Blogocracy, sees its final post today. Host Tim Dunlop moves onto quieter pursuits. I would often peruse Dunlop’s site in my internet meanderings, mostly just for a chuckle. Dunlop did try very hard to maintain a balanced approach to his blog, with varying degrees of success. There were some quite insightful comments there from time to time. Mostly it was the usual howling at the moon from the rabid left. There were a number of characters there, much like there are at any blog I suppose. On the good side, there were some commenters who did daily battle with stupidity, and I admire their determination above anything else. There were also the clinically unhinged who were given a haven to vent their idiocy. To his credit, Dunlop catered very well to both, and I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do from here. Just for the entertainment of it, for the sheer mindless, banshee-like ululation of a majority of his contributors; this was my favourite thread.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Australians in Afghanistan

There is an excellent feature at today on the Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. It is well worth a look.

Two New Navy Ships

I can't claim credit for this, I got it as an email. Enjoy.
Two New Navy Ships

Seeing it next to the Arizona Memorial really puts its size into perspective... ENORMOUS!
When the Bridge pipes 'Man the Rail' there is a lot of rail to man on this monster: shoulder to shoulder, around 4.5 acres. Her displacement is about 100,000 tons with full complement.
Top speed exceeds 30 knots, powered by two nuclear reactors that can operate for more than 20 years without refuelling
1. Expected to operate in the fleet for about 50 years
2. Carries over 80 combat aircraft
3. Three arresting cables can stop a 28-ton aircraft going 150 miles per hour in less than 400 feet
1. Towers 20 stories above the waterline
2. 1092 feet long; nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall
3. Flight deck covers 4.5 acres
4. 4 bronze propellers, each 21 feet across, weighing 66,200 pounds
5. 2 rudders, each 29 by 22 feet and weighing 50 tons
6. 4 high speed aircraft elevators, each over 4,000 square feet
1. Home to about 6,000 Navy personnel
2. Carries enough food and supplies to operate for 90 days
3. 18,150 meals served daily
4. Distillation plants provide 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water daily, enough for 2,000 homes
5. Nearly 30,000 light fixtures and 1,325 miles of cable and wiring 1,400 telephones
6. 14,000 pillowcases and 28,000 sheets
7. Costs the Navy approximately $250,000 per day for pier side operation
8. Costs the Navy approximately $25 million per day for underway operations (Sailor's salaries included).


The HMAS KEVIN RUDD (KRUD51) set sail today from its home port of Werribee Sewage Farm.

The ship is the first of its kind in the Navy and is a standing legacy to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 'for his foresight in military budget cuts' and his conduct while holding the (formerly dignified) office of PM.
The ship is constructed nearly entirely from recycled aluminium and is completely solar powered with a top speed of 5 knots.
It boasts an arsenal comprised of one (unarmed) F18 Hornet aircraft which, although they cannot be launched on the 100 foot flight deck, form a very menacing presence.
As a standing order there are no firearms allowed on board.
This crew is specially trained to avoid conflicts and appease any and all enemies of Australian States and Territories at all costs.
An onboard Type One Universal Translator can send out messages of apology in any language to anyone who may find Australian’s offensive. The number of apologies is limitless and though some may seem hollow and disingenuous, the Navy advises all apologies will sound very sincere.
In times of conflict, the HMAS KEVIN RUDD has orders to seek refuge in China.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Child abuse or just plain old discipline?

FOUR children were removed from their grandparents' care and put into separate foster homes, allegedly because the grandmother smacked one of them on the bottom after the child tried to climb into a drain.
The children had lived on and off with their grandparents for six years while their mother battled drug addiction. The children were removed in December by the NSW Department of Community Services (DOCS) and have been living in foster homes, separated from each other.
How much more trauma did these kids need to go through? Their mum is a battling drug addict, and then they are removed from the care of quite obviously loving family members because some people in our democracy disagreed with their opinions on child rearing and discipline.

Maybe I’m a little ignorant, but I don’t seem to recall the referendum on smacking. I also don’t have any clear memory of a significant High Court ruling declaring any corporal punishment as child abuse. My understanding of the issue was that it was still a parent/guardian's perogative to discipline a child in the manner they chose, so long as the discipline was not abusive.

The subjective word here, I guess, is abuse. What defines abuse? Is a smack on the bum for climbing into a drain abusive, or just good old fashioned parenting? DOCS have a very difficult job to do. For mine, that job could be a whole lot easier if they stopped focusing on moral crusades, and started addressing some real cases of child abuse.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Castro Fan Club

Mrs Sharpe sometimes thinks I’m exaggerating when I talk about the blatant stupidity of papers like The Age and The Guardian. When I showed her this link however, she was as astounded as I was when I first read it. Have a read of Alice Walker’s reflections on Castro, the Kennedy’s, the current US Administration and the “chill of Global Warning”. Try not to laugh; the woman has a Pulitzer Prize.

H/T eeniemeenie at Blair’s

Culture Wars hit ADFA

There has been quite a bit made of the views of a Prof Anthony Burke, a humanities lecturer at the Australian Defence Force Academy, and his spat with James Cook Uni’s Dr Merv Bendle. At the centre of this dispute is an article in Quadrant Magazine in which Dr Bendle claims that “On the question of terrorism, Burke declares that “our critical task is not to help power [that is, the USA] seek out and destroy the ‘enemies of freedom’ [that is, terrorists] but to question how they were constructed as enemies of ‘freedom’ [and how] we … might already be enemies of freedom in the very process of imagining and defending it”. As Burke’s use of scare-quotes indicates, he doubts that terrorists are enemies of freedom or that freedom has any particular value, while claiming that it is “we” who are its real enemies anyway. One wonders how students at the ADFA will feel if they are asked to place their lives on the line for Australia in Afghanistan, Iraq or in other battlegrounds in the war on terror.”

LP have picked up on this and are spinning it the way you would expect them to. It has also been discussed, vigorously, at Tim Blair’s, where yours truly may have gotten a little heated with one particular commenter.

At the crux of the issue is the juxtaposition between academic freedom in a tertiary institution and course material suitable for a military training establishment. ADFA is both. The easy solution is that Burke is a numpty and has no place attempting to fill the heads of young Officer Cadets with ludicrous ideas that will run in opposition to tasks and missions they will likely be required to achieve in real time, in an environment of significant threat, with the lives of subordinates dependant on their decisions.

That might be too easy an answer though. Is it better to expose these potential commanders to all of Burke’s batty theories in the safety and comfort of the academy in Canberra, so that they can be calmly and rationally discounted before they ever step foot in front of real soldiers/airmen/sailors. I do think that Officer Cadets are certainly clever enough to see through such naiveté, and form their own opinion. Failing that, six months in a battalion will certainly shake the cobwebs from their heads before they face the problem for real.

All that said; is the idea of academic freedom appropriate for a military training institution? Servicemen sacrifice many of the freedoms and privileges they are sworn to protect. It comes with the job. They are also certainly not insulated from such opinions. A night out in Civic will expose a young cadet to the full gamut of Canberra’s fruitloop fringe. Do they also need to be exposed to it in the academic environment where the expectation will be that they will have to parrot these idiocies to pass the course?

In the end, the Culture Wars will not be won or lost on the campus at ADFA. Those young officers who may be taken in by Burkes proselytising, will be quickly disabused of those notions in the real world. Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is not whether this subject matter is appropriate for Officer Cadets, but whether a proponent of ideas so naive is a suitable lecturer for educated and intelligent young Australians.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kevin Rudd: Let's work as a team and do it my way

An offer of bipartisan economic management from the opposition:

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I am offering Kevin Rudd today, with my deputy Julie Bishop with me here today, we are offering to Kevin Rudd to sit down with him and speak and co-operate in a bipartisan way on the measures that can be undertaken in the very near term to provide greater stability and security in our economy and our financial markets

A rebuttal that proves that to Kevin Rudd, bipartisanship means my way or the highway:

KEVIN RUDD: If there is to be an act of bipartisanship, it can start very close to here. About 100 metres or so that way and slightly over there - it is called the Senate. $6-billion worth of bipartisanship. I noticed that someone said this morning that $6-billion actually wasn't much money.Can I say, it is. If you want, for example, to fund long term reform of pensions and of retirement incomes policy in Australia, $6-billion is not a piece of loose change - it is a lot of money. So a good test of bipartisanship is unblock the budget measures in the Senate.

Essentially, let us do what we want. Don’t provide meaningful opposition, and we’ll be happy to treat you as collaborators.

Try and figure this one out

An anti-globalisation group in Sweden is blaming the decline in women’s rights in Europe on religious extremism and neo-liberalism.

Ms Bekkouche said that across Europe, both "immigrant women and local women face the same problems amid the rise of religious extremism and neo-liberalism".

"The Swedish authorities and politicians have a lot of respect for religions and traditions and they think it's not possible to criticise Islam,"

They claim that the trend began with the ascension of the centre-right right government in Sweden.

He linked the decline in women's rights in Sweden in part to the centre-right government's arrival in power in 2006.

"The conservatives have more power now. There are more religious schools than five or 10 years ago (and) they get (state) subsidies. I am worried because I see a backlash on the ground," said Mr Ghasemiani, who has lived in Sweden for 24 years.

So, in a nutshell; women’s rights in Europe are eroding because of neo-liberalism and the fact that criticism of Islam is not tolerated. This is the fault of a centre-right conservative government in Sweden.

When is bagging a terrorist not as good a thing as it seems?

It seems the crew at LP are tying themselves in knots over the fact that Howard’s evil anti-terrorism laws have actually bagged a bad guy. The quote of the day goes to a poster called Francis Xavier Holden for this little gem:

From what I saw somewhere about rescources (sic) devoted to the case I worked out that it consumed at least 10 person years of work (10 x F/T persons) just for surveliience (sic) etc.

Person years? Priceless.

F-111 Senate Inquiry closes

A good mate of mine still suffers from symptoms linked to his time in the RAAF working on F-111s. Hopefully something comes of the findings of the Senate Inquiry.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Snappy Headline

Chair-sniffer becomes state treasurer” bellows the headline in News Ltd’s online service Now, there’s nothing factually wrong with that statement, it just seems that to distill Troy Buswell’s entire life and/or political experience into a stupid scandal panders to the lowest and most trivial readers. Let’s face it, it really was pretty dumb to go and sniff a chair. That said, imagine having to stand in front of news cameras and apologise to the whole nation (there was no way that little gem was going to be contained to the Western Australian audience), with your wife by your side for behaviour like that. There would certainly have been a temptation to run out of the press conference with a jumper over your head and spend the rest of your living days working as an insurance salesman in Uzbekistan.

I think Troy Buswell got the raw end of the deal though when it comes to perpetual character tarnish for scandalous or just plain dumb behaviour. I seem to recall a day in November last year when every paper in the country ran banner headlines the proclaimed “Ear-wax eater wins election!” No? Let’s check what News Ltd said, “Kevin Rudd to be Australia's next PM”. OK, how about Fairfax? They’re usually good for a nasty little barb. “Rudd romps to historic win”. Nope. Not there either.

The journalistic profession in this country is sliding. The ABC fought a vicious rear-guard action during the Howard years to maintain their ideological bias, and now that they are free from the evil hand of their former conservative masters, they can indulge in their indoctrination of Australian audiences. The commercial media are little better. At the time of posting, the headline on was a story about the weight problems of American actresses. Fairfax are much the same, only they are openly transparent when it comes to their political allegiances.

The chair-sniffer headline is symptomatic of the decline of Australian journalism to the standards better known in the Fleet St gutter press.

It is really little wonder that more people are turning to the internet and blogs for their news.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Age is at it again

According to Bolta, Catherine Deveny is not a well woman. If it was only speculation before, I think this nails it. A key phrase that describes not only Deveny’s view of politics, but by extension and reputation, that of The Age, is this line “I believe in democracy. As long as everybody else votes the same way I do.” The truly sad part is that whether or not the reports of Ms Deveny’s health are true, The Age still saw fit to print that. My mother-in-law reads that paper. I think there's something in that for all of us, don't you?.........

The regional balance of power

This caught my eye about a week ago. Bob Brown, the leader of the Australian Greens, believes that an increase in Australia’s defence spending will initiate an arms race regionally.

We're going to make them divert even more money from their own societies into an arms race," Senator Brown said

He said Mr Rudd he should be spending more on alleviating poverty in the region."It is Cold War rhetoric and we ought to be instead improving the neighbourhood relations and helping our region tackle climate change disasters and poverty."

That is what passes for rational thought in the Greens? I’m sure that India, China and North Korea are madly trying to curb their defence budgets, but those pesky Australians keep getting new toys!

“If only the Australians would halt their relentless rush into regional military hegemony so that we can slow our own spending” an inside source in the Chinese Politburo told me over steamed pork buns in The Valley yesterday. “We would have given up this communist game years ago if it wasn’t the only way of working the people to death to pay for a standing army of 2.5 million men just to protect the country’s sovereignty from an overtly militarist Australia. They have Abrahms now.” he added sagely and apprehensively.

North Korea have also embarked on a plan of massive military build up following the threat of an increase in Australian capability. Their recent attempts to build an atomic weapon were, in fact, an attempt to gain the upper hand in this increasingly bitter regional arms race. This was reinforced by a spokesman for North Korea’s “Dear Leader” recently, when answering criticism of his government’s failure to halt a massive nationwide famine. “We would have provided food for the people, but we were so dammed worried about a 3% p/a increase in Australia’s defence budget, that we just couldn’t risk it.”

Not only are the Chinese and North Koreans quietly shitting themselves, the Indonesians have recently ordered SU-27 and SU-30s to deal with the threat of a “shock and awe” style air battle with an expansionist Australia as soon as they take delivery of the 24 Super Hornets planned for next year (or 2010 or maybe later, who knows really?). They are well aware of the mood in Australia in regard to Schappelle Corby, and are adamant that they will deny any military incursion into Indonesian territory to affect a rescue.

Other regional powers seem less concerned. New Zealand is actively encouraging an increase in Australian defence spending. They hope to be able to do away with the NZDF entirely by 2015 at currently projected rates.

PNG is keeping a watchful eye over developments in the Solomon Islands and Tonga, both of which have been subdued by single Australian infantry battalions in recent years. Whilst a recent move to establish an eighth regular battalion in the ADF was met with concern, they have realised that it really only takes one, so why fret about eight?

Whilst India is accelerating military spending, they have acknowledged that it is slightly ludicrous to be forking out such a massive percentage of GDP to protect themselves from a ravenous Australia, only to hand over an even bigger proportion to have Australian cricketers play in their domestic competition.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First Target - Malcolm Turnbull

It worries me that the former head of the Australian Republican Movement is now the leader of the opposition. He is now charged with the responsibility of providing an alternate viewpoint to our social engineer government. Given that his cause de jour prior to entering representative politics was the formation of an Australian Republic, and our current government’s enthusiasm to discard the inherently separated nature of our head of state and legislature, who now is the voice of the majority of Australians who rejected this very issue in referendum in 1999?

Update I

Turnbull claims that he will not support a new referendum until the reign of the current monarch is ended. Her Majesty is now the oldest reigning British monarch ever. How long do we have before an Australian public, gullible enough to elect Comrade Kev, will again have this issue forced upon them with all of the requisite emotive symbolism they seem so keen to embrace?

Sharpe's Sortie

Man the battlements and raise the portcullis, Sharpe sorties forth! With bayonets fixed and swords drawn, let’s see where this adventure takes us.