Archive for April, 2010

Anything for a headline

April 18, 2010

The Herald Sun behaved irresponsibly, inadvertently led to someone being killed and most importantly messed with a major police investigation.

The major media organisations and the police used to have an understanding that when the release of a story would jeopardise a major police investigation the media would either delay or not report on a story, in return the media liaisons in the police force would ensure that the media would get other juicy news stories from them in exchange for playing ball.

You may scream “censorship” at such an arrangement, but it was entirely voluntary, served both parties and most importantly allowed the police to do their job. The speed of news on the internet and rushes to deadline have changed this arrangement.

One of the most notable fuckups of this arrangement happened last year when the Australian leaked news of federal police conducting terror raids hours BEFORE the actual raids had taken place. Luckily the raids were conducted successfully, but the Australians irresponsibly looking for a front page scoop put the lives of AFP officers who conducted the raid under unneccessary risk and it could have fucked up a major police operation that was a long time in the making.

What does this have to do with Carl Williams death? Well this morning the Herald Sun had a story about the school fees of Carl Williams daughters being paid for by the police. It’s a typical once-sided Hun story to appeal to their simple-minded readership. Corrupt Labor government paying evil gangsters kids to go to posh private school, put up an internet poll asking “Should your taxes pay for convicted killers kids school fees?” and enjoy the controversy you create.

The police and the government couldn’t comment on the story because obviously a deal had been done. Whilst I can only speculate there is a good chance that Carl Williams gave information to police officers in exchange for what is likely to be school fees for his daughters. If that is the deal Carl Williams gets nothing, his daughters which can hardly be blamed for having a murderer for a father go to a nice school and the police get more information and evidence to pursue criminals. A good outcome by anyones standards, but no Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun had to cause an outrage.

This was Andrew this morning.

”I think it’s a disgrace,” he said of the payment of the school fees of the murderer’s daughter. ”The best way to get information from him is to deny him privileges, not to extend his privileges. Tax dollars going to reward a low-life like this, I’m just staggered.”

Andrew just like being a complete non-expert in climate science also knows sweet fuck all about police interrogation.

This morning before Williams was killed I predicted this would cause trouble.

Bloody irresponsible reporting from the Hun on the yarn about Carl Williams kids schools fees. Let the police do their job.

And surprise surprise the likely reaction at the prison was other prisoners took it to mean that Williams was a snitch and beated him to death. A convicted killer dying isn’t a big tragedy, but it makes it harder for the police that were collaborating with Williams to do their job now that a valuable informant is dead.

And no surprises but it looks like the death is related to the Herald Sun article.

Melb reporters tell me Carl Williams was accused by fellow prisoners of “doing deals with the cops” after they read the school fees story.

Herald Sun, a round of applause for being irresponsible fucktards. Bravo.


On racism, context and political correctness

April 15, 2010

Yesterday I doubt many people would have heard of Nick Sowden apart from his friends and Brisbane student politicians, today the story of his racist tweets is leading the media bulletins and the LNP has acted quickly and expelled him from the party. What a change a day makes. If he ever had any dreams of entering politics those are likely dashed, and his name will forever be connected with his racist tweets because of the internet.

Last night when I saw his tweets by following the #obama730 hashtag I was the first to retweet it to a larger audience and quickly wrote last nights blog post to get the word out as soon as possible. I then tipped off various media organisations to try to get the story in the msm.

I thought maybe it would get a small mention in the Brisbane media and the LNP would quietly act, I didn’t know how big the story would become.

Today Nick himself and a few defenders have come to different levels of defence of his actions, claiming that he was “taken out of context” and that he was actually parodying extreme right wingers and political correctness. He claimed that the tweets were meant not for a wider audience but for people who knew him and his unique sense of humour. I don’t agree with this for a few reasons.

Regardless of his intention his tweets were meant to get a wide audience. If you followed the stream you can see he made the first Obama/monkey joke only to his followers, when this fell on deaf ears did a similar tweet with the #obama730 hashtag so that it would be viewable to everyone who reads that stream. When responses to his unique brand of humour were less than impressed, he didnt try and explain that he was actually sending up racism. He actually retweeted the abusive tweets he received and one of the last tweets before he shut down his account said “All too easy” suggesting that he was intentionally trying to troll for a reaction and wasnt just tweeting to his friends.

I can sympathise with the issue of context. I have never met Nick and wouldn’t know him for a bar of soap, but looking through his previous tweets with various sexist and racist remarks it is hard to think of him as anything but a racist. Liberal blogger Tim Andrews knows Nick and claims that the remarks were taken out of context and that the Liberals shouldnt turn against themselves so quickly. Another tweep who also knows him personally also claims that he is not a racist but just has a very poor sense of humour.

In my view even if he was trying to be funny he shows such poor discipline and judgement that any political party is better off without him. Can you imagine the damage done to the LNP if this was happened close to an election?

A blog called Shiny New Coin did a post on the subject that is well worth the read. It’s true that we adapt our language when we are conversing with different people. Among close friends I will say something designed to get a reaction that I would never say in public. Because my friends know me they know when certain comments are serious and when some aren’t. Perhaps Nick is used to saying things amongst his friends purely for shock value but does not really hold those views. Perhaps he felt relaxed on twitter like he was just talking to his friends and tweeted outrageous things without considering of the wider audience that can view every tweet. Maybe.

Even IF if was a joke gone wrong, I still believe that it is completely inappropriate behaviour for a member of a broad-based political party to say in a public forum.

Nick Sowden, upcoming Liberal and a current racist

April 15, 2010

Whilst I usually try and stay away from the various internet and blog wars, tonight on twitter something fired me up. Whilst us political tragics and nerds gathered around twitter to collectively watch the Obama interview with the #obama730 tag we noticed a few racial slurs.

The gentleman who tweeted them has since locked his account but we have preserved them.

Witty stuff.

A quick read of his twitter stream informed me that he is a member of the Young Liberal National Party, has written for conservative think tank Menzies House and is the secretary of the Griffith Rural Health Association.

My question to both the LNP and the Rural Health Association is what do you intend to do to discipline this behaviour? Do you want a noted racist in your ranks? How does it reflect on you as a group if you tolerate this?

I started a tweet to ask the Young Liberal National Party what they will do.

If you are on twitter please retweet it, they can’t ignore all of us.

Elsewhere. Darryl Mason on Nick Sowdon.

UPDATE  Some have tried to excuse his racism as a very poor attempt at humour. This could be true, but things like this dont look too good for him.

And obviously involved in the Liberal Party for some time.

And the story hits the MSM

Another Update. I spent some time tipping off the media last night and the story is now everywhere. The LNP says they will move to expel Sowden. Good.

If anyone in the media wants a comment feel free to email me on or contact me on my twitter account. @cosmicjester

More blogs on Sowden here, here and here.

Jesus died so that you may whinge

April 4, 2010

Religion is a funny old thing isnt it?

It probably wouldnt surprise many that I am an atheist, or a godless heathen as some would say. Unlike some like Richard Dawkins I dont believe this gives me a moral superiority over anyone. I dont think I am instantly smarter than anyone who believes in a god or gods and I dont think the worlds problems would be solved if everyone were an atheist like me.

So why am I an atheist? Like many religious people I am probably an atheist because that is the way I was raised. Chances are if mum and dad were devout Muslims, Jews or Catholics I would still be following the religion of my parents.

My father however had the intolerance of religious people that many religious fundamentalists have. When I was young I briefly started attending an Anglican church. I was ridiculed and belittled by my father for doing this. Even though I discovered organised religion wasnt my thing (I like casual sex, pork, my foreskin and sleeping in on Sundays thank you very much!) I tried consciously to banish my fathers intolerance from my thinking, and I think I succeeded.

So anyway nothing gets my goat than high up religious leaders using their influence to spread intolerance, mistrust and hatred. This year was different, it is usually sectarian name calling between followers of different faith but this year they seemed to be tag teaming on the atheists.

Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, made oblique mention of the recent scandals enveloping the Catholic Church.

He used his Easter message to tell the faithful that despite Christianity’s faults, it underpins our entire way of life.

”We often hear about Christian failures to live up to Christian standards – and there have been too many scandals and too many victims,” Cardinal Pell wrote.

”But the great majority of Christians continue to follow the commandments of love through regular service, tolerance, forgiveness and community building.”

Cardinal Pell also attacked atheism, by giving thanks for church-based community organisations, and noting that ”we find no community services sponsored by the atheists”.

Eh, that would be because atheists aren’t a legally recognised institution, with no hierarchy and structure to do such thing. Plenty of atheists donate and serve in charitable organisations and it is a lie to suggest we dont. But likewise although no community services is sponsored by “atheists” as a group, no pedophilia and child abuse is covered up by us either.

Bishop Fisher also got the ball rolling.

”Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating,” he said.

”Nazism, Stalinism, Pol-Pottery, mass murder and broken relationships: all promoted by state-imposed atheism or culture-insinuated secularism.”

Pol-Pottery? One could spend time debunking the “atheism is to blame for Nazi’s and communism” strawman that always pops up, but they have been debunked before.

But what is the point of all this? Do they want Catholics to mistrust atheist friends? If they wanted to get an atheist like me into church, blaming me for all societies ills isnt a good way to do it. The great thing about this country is the sectarian divides are very minor compared to many other countries, yet some of our “peaceful” church leaders dont seem to like this fact.

They could follow Christ’s example. If the sermon on the mount omitted “turn the other cheek” and instead used “Romans are pricks and have sex with goats” I doubt people would be talking about the guy 2000 years later.

Life is in 3D, and it doesnt require glasses

April 3, 2010

Pretty much every major film is hopping on the 3d bandwagon after the success of Avatar. The next James Bond and Harry Potter films will all be released in 3d.

3D is certainly reaching the point of overkill, especially when they do rush jobs on 2d films and make them 3d to cash in on the craze. It gives the film a look like those old viewfinder toys, it’s not really 3d but looks more like several things in flat cardboard placed at different distances.

I really enjoyed Avatar but it is less comfortable than seeing a normal movie, if you don’t have a really good seat somewhere in the centre the 3d doesn’t look “right” you have to make sure your head is always at the correct angle and the constant refocusing on changing depth perceptions throughout a movie does get kinda annoying after a while.

It’s fine for something like Avatar that was really designed the ground up to be 3d, but not everything from James Bond and Harry Potter please.

Cinema needs to stop looking for the next novelty to get customers and make something new that people want to see. Putting Transformers and Megan Fox’s cleavage in 3d is not a way to do this.

Luckily there is a cheap cinema near me that doesn’t have a 3d projector. I can see everything there for 8 bucks in old school 2d!