Tuesday, 9 January 2007

04-01-2005_04-30-2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

More Or Less Justice
More legal head-up-buttism, this time more a case of what looks like buddies making a farce of the legal system yet again as a vehicular murderer is released on a charge of dangerous driving and a $3000AUD fine.
Gee - the legal system a farce? I am soooooo shocked... As observed by Bismarck, anyone who loves sausage and respects the Law should never watch either one being made. In fact, think really hard about what goes into sausages for a moment (maybe this quote from James Lileks - look about halfway down the page - will help) and then imagine the legal equivalent of lean sphincter steak...
Once upon a time a sausage was a way to preserve meat for the future, to use as much of the meat as possible, and it was a survival aid. Nowadays a sausage is a way to consolidate every last scrap and dreg, and wring a profit from them. Modern sausages have as much relationship to ancient sausages as youthful exuberance has to Alzheimers.
Now d'you know what the legal system is these days? Employment for lawyers judges and a retinue of flunkies secretaries paralegals benchpolishers penpushers and - of course - politicians. Cf the principles of justice in any way shape or form with the prognosis for sausages above.
There's this Saudi sheikh who just got a journalistic bollicking for saying that some women may bring rape upon themselves. Heretical thought, not politically correct, yet everyone has shaken their head sagely at least once in their lives and said something along the lines of "she'll get herself in trouble one day, acting the tease like that!"...
And everyone knows at least one person who seems to be a professional victim, a bad-luck magnet. So come on - what is it that this guy has said that's so different from all this other stuff? Is it because he's a Muslim and they have different Law to ours? Do you know what justice is? It's a society's consensus on what they consider acceptable.
So a man acting within the Law of his country may well be acting far outside the Law of another society. In some places children are to this day given in marriage at the age of twelve or thirteen. In our society, you become another Michael Jackson... As little as 25 years ago I lived in a country where payback was the rule rather than the exception - if you messed up someone else's life, they or their relatives would spear you in the leg. That's justice at work. It may not be all neat and packaged like the legal system tries to be, but it ensures that there's some disincentive to mess someone's life up again...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:44 PM Ted
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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Justice is not only blind,
... it has its head up its ass ...
I'm referring of course to so-called judge Mr Dodd, who fell asleep several times during the trial of one woman's alleged rapist. He apparently fell asleep several times during the course of the trial, and the woman claims that his actions may have unfairly biased the jury, who found the alleged molester not guilty. And during a nurse's compensation hearing, he fell asleep while she was giving evidence. She got nothing, how strange...
Ten News attributes the following quote fragments to the good judge: "I can do my job despite narcolepsy" and "I don't think my actions influenced the jury at all."
Hello? Hello! HELLO!!!
What the hell is he on about? Firstly, as the victims of his "snore and order" can attest, he is not doing his job if he is alseep. I don't care what the hell his excuse is, he is ruining people's lives. If an air traffic controller fell asleep, he would not even get a warning. If his negligence caused an air disaster, we actually still have the death penalty for such cases, and the controller would get life imprisonment if not the needle.
This pompous asshole (sorry I do not feel he is due the respect given to a functional functionary of the Law) had the option of taking annual, special, or medical leave until his apnoea was treated, instead of stuffing up people's lives by falling asleep during the most important and momentous minutes of their lives. I feel that he was stealing from the public by drawing a public salary and not performing the service he was being paid for.
So to take his quotes and refute each one: Firstly, he cannot do his job if he falls asleep during a hearing, because he is then not privy to evidence presented during his mental absence. If he is not aware of all the evidence, he has to read court records to catch up, and if he is so tired that he falls asleep, he cannot be relied upon to make any kind of sane or rational decision. That much has been proven by studies, which show that 16 hours awake impairs one's judgement and thinking as much as being legally drunk.
Secondly, the bit about not influencing the jury at all. Sorry, I always thought the judge was there to impress upon the jury the facts of the case as he sees them, and to guide the jury in the direction their initial deliberations take. I thought his function was also to in some cases pass judgement, after all, he's a judge isn't he? Yet he fell asleep during the trials, missing up to 15 minutes' of evidence/summary/whatever - surely that's a huge disadvantage when trying to decide if a jury was impartial or biased, or when a judegment is required?
And since Mr Dodd obviously thinks that he can in effect absent himself for 15 minutes at a time and not make a difference to the case at hand, that begs the question of: Exactly what does a judge do in a trial, then? By logical extension then: If a judge can be effectively absent for 15 minutes at a time, (and it apparently doesn't matter which particular 15 minutes,) and a judge doesn't have to manage then a judge could be absent for the entire trial...
Dangerous precedent, Mr Dodd!
Categories - ::/:: posted at 7:23 PM Ted
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Monday, April 25, 2005

Where Does The Time Go?
Today is a holiday. Yep. No need to mention which one cos we all know. And my 15 1/2 year old stepson is flying to Cyprus with his step-brother... Trish was extremely stressed but has held up really well, after all, that's her baby boy making his first big step into the world - but she has held up so well, I'm doing her favourite roast lamb for dinner tonight just to keep her spirits up and cos she's such a cutie...
Atila (that's his name, his father is a Turkish Cypriot) and his step bro Yusef (also a 15 yo) are off to visit the families over there, for three months they are going to be touring around one of the lovely Mediterranean islands in the summer there, and staying in towns cities and villages with rellies. I so damn well envy them...
People keep saying "but - at only 15!" as though that never happens... Heck at 15 1/2 I was off to Papua New Guinea at a time when there were still tribes of cannibal headhunters living there - and I stayed for five years. My eldest young sister left home before she turned 16, the other two not far behind that. My dad left home at 13 1/2 to earn his keep as a butcher's apprentice, and had joined the Marines at 15 1/2. (German Marines I'm afraid - we are Austrian immigrant Australians after all.)
And yesterday, another milestone went by, in the form of the graduation of a good friend of mine Chris A. I met Chris around 8 - 9 years ago when I was living in a flat in Currie St (all sorts of photos of mine have gone online at Flickr you may want to take a look) and holding small dinner and boozing parties with a bunch of like-minded flat dwellers in the same block. She'd come to visit someone else and joined the party, and I found myself another good friend.
She was radiant at her grad lunch, had organised it all to perfection, had remote family members who'd all made the trip from all over to be there, and I guessed there were about 60 to 80 people there, depending if you counted drop-in/drop-out people as well. I found her a matched set of ceramic buddhas (in all six stages) and I hope they bring her tremendous success in the future. I mean, this is a frined of mine who'd picked up a little rock I was carrying around, held it in her hand, and then told me all about my family, my past, and my then-current ladyfriend. Just out of the blue.
And since then we have always had spooky shit happen around us. The lunch was no exception. To put herself through Uni, Chris had been working at Antico Caffe in East Perth. The lunch was held there, and there were all these glitter bits all over the tables, in the shape of musical notes and "I Love You" writing.
I got sat down, and first thing I saw was a glitter teddy. (I'm Ted to my friends, tending more these days towards Big Ted... But that's another story.) So I picked him up and started looking for his mates, cos I figured they must always hunt in packs, right? Nope - nothing. The friend who'd helped decorate said there were definitely no teddies among the glitter bits they'd ordered and dispensed, and later we searched all the tables at some stage during the afternoon - there was only one teddy, and it just happened to be where Ted was seated. Spooky.
I put the Li'l Ted in a zip-up coin purse I carry, along with my placecard, as mementos. When I got home, I had the placecard with attached ribbon and pieces of glitter and stuff, but the teddy was gone, vanished from the classic sealed room or in this case, sealed coin purse I should be getting used to this stuff but it always freaks me out...
Antico Caffe? Do yourself a favour and GO THERE! Food is well prepared and tastes excellent, they have a really good kitchen. And they have a bar too but as I was driving I will have to give my opinion on that, next time we go. And there will be a next time, indeed. It's just too good an experience not to repeat it.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 5:14 PM Ted
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Blogged from the Oriel
... using Gawd knows whose access point - I think it's 93.9's public AP but can't be sure. All I know is that even at this distance it still totally rocks to be on the Internet and blogging!
Long live technology!
I'm here for a meeting with two colleagues who are due around 6pm, I've already had a coffee and a totally nice bacon and cheese croissant with onion jam, and I was just idly opening the laptop to see if there was anything else I could take to this meeting, and noticed a wireless network...
Mind you - I do have to sit with the laptop across the table from me because as soon as I move it this way I lose the AP, but who cares? I'm reading my newsfeeds and blog feeds, and it all works!
Categories - ::/:: posted at 5:35 PM Ted
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Drugs, and money, and the death penalty.
"Same thing that happened to Schapelle Corby happened to me" has to be the second-stupidest thing ever. The first is that they even attempted this, when Schapelle is still in court having her fate decided.
Come on, what were they thinking? "Oh yeah - while they're busy giving her the death penalty, they'll be too busy to worry about us. The plan's a masterstroke!"
More importantly, why do we make it so attractive to these (sorry parents and relatives of these kids but a spade's a spade no matter what it carries, and a mule's just a bigger donkey when you come down to it) idiots? I realise there's always going to be an elementof the population who won't be educatable about drugs, but they aren't the ones who have the money to make the trade lucrative.
That small element are the ones responsible for most of the break-ins and robberies, to finance their habit, and all it takes to remove them as potential clientele of a drug ring is to be a bit firmer in sentencing and a bit more resolute in maintaining the sentence for the full term.
But the element that really needs to be addressed are the well-off and educated thrill seekers. These people are in the same "WTF were they thinking?" class as far as I'm concerned, and I don't think they should have recourse to a protracted legal battle, just a fixed and prescribed sentence for each offence. In fact, come to think of it, there needs to be a list of prescribed sentences, no appeal no argument no reprieve.
If you cover burglary, theft, and armed robbery with one prescribed sentence, you will clean out part of the market. If you similarly prescribe a fixed prescribed unshakeable sentence for possession, use, or sale of a list of drugs, you'll cut out yet another huge part of the market. All that's left then is the opportunistic kid on the corner who buys a hit just to see what it's like, and because we've pushed the market and cut the number of sources, that's going to be less likely.
Instead of cutting medical benefits and ruining my mortgage, we should be leaning on Johnny Bookworm to push a set of laws into being. Please consider this - in Singapore the police lock you up for spitting gum in the street. Here in Perth, we are seriously considering adding a cleaning tax to chewies. Who's better off? Us, for having a city centre that looks like it has black rot, and (despite any intentions of using the money raised for cleaning we all know it'll be too little to clean it all, and unfair to boot) or Singapore?
I know which one I'd choose.
Tell me why I'd be worried - I am not stupid enough to do drugs (aside from having used cigarettes in my youth - and I wish now they'd just locked me up...) and I am not stupid enough that if I had kids I wouldn't educate them pretty damn quick about what drugs do for you in return for what they do TO you...
It would make Australia inviable for the drug cartels, and eventually the flood would stop. Just the same way that a few rogue vigilante gunboats 20 years ago would have led to NO detainees today... Make the returns very small in relation to the very large risks and most people are smart. They stop. Think: If there was a nugget in a pot of medium hot water, you might be tempted to plunge a hand in quickly and take a stab at it. If it was in a pot of boiling water, the return/risk ratio is rapidly less appealing. If furthermore it's only a piece of gravel in the latter case, the return/risk ratio is definitely lousy.
Cheers, I'm off to have a beer...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:19 AM Ted
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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Daphnia oh daphnia!
Last night T and I went to La Premier to watch Sahara. Excellent unwinding movie by the way, just loaded with stupid humour and exciting moments of big firepower and things blowing up. Also, it's funny...
And what was funny to me was that on the drive to the movie, we saw a car with the numberplate DAPHNES. So we discussed the name and the flower, then I mentioned that daphnia was also a kind of tiny brine shrimp.
And today I read this online.
Stuff like that spooks me out.
Got to go to Station St Markets today! Finally! I visited stall holders there who I hadn't seen in ages, and finally got to Sami's coffee shop. I so much like Sam, he's just the nicest bloke, and I always enjoy trying to speak a few words of Arabic with him. Today there was some lovely date-filled shortbread type pastry to go with my wicked strong coffee that Sam always makes, and I was in seventh heaven...
Also went to Swansea St Market and bought up on veges and drygoods, and came back just after that rather nice midday shower. Worked hard cleaning up the yard, poached basah fish fillets, couscous, baby potatoes, and white parsley sauce for dinner, huge-ass chocolate biscuits for afters. All good...
ADDED 10 minutes later:
SPOOKY does not begin to describe it. Just about to pack it in for the night, taken my Stilnox because T's snoring badly again, and spotted a house cricket making it's way up the curtain about a metre from my head.
"Damn" says I, "he'll just get to the exact right height, jump off, and land on me, waking me up again. So I grabbed a thing and swatted it. Then settled in to read a few more blogs and clicked over to RisibleGirl...
Here's what RisibleGirl has as her blog article du jour, (Friday, April 15, 2005,) and here's what spun me out. How weird...
Categories - ::/:: Edited on: Sunday, April 17, 2005 12:35 AMposted at 12:09 AM Ted
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cat laws
Have you ever noticed? When any population feels stressed, they make moves to decimate the cat population first. Seems weird behaviour, unless there's something about cats that's evolutionarily harmful to us...
Yes stray and wild cats are a problem but Wisconsin wants to extend the sanction to "any domestic cat that isn't under the owner's direct control" and that right there is basically a license to just spray buckshot around. It puts the onus on the cat owner to have to leash their cat, and no blame to the idiot with the shotgun that just wiped out all the house cats in his neighbourhood, that's all fine.
Far better to place some responsibility back on the hunter, to make sure they don't shoot a domestic animal, isn't it? After all, domestic dogs are somewhat protected from shooting unless they are causing harm, you aren't just allowed to go and shoot someone's cattle because they're grazing on the roadside verge, and if you shoot someone's horse in some places you can actually face quite stiff fines.
Have you hugged a pussy today?
Categories - ::/:: posted at 8:32 PM Ted
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Post Desertion Detention Derision Natal Depression
Exposure is getting exposure tonight. Kids allegedly left overexposed to danger in a car, two blokes overexposed by not staying with their car. Is there some kind of something new in the air? And me, who paid taxes for the last 30 years, finding that I am not gonna get a cent from the government in my retirement. Underprotected is same as overexposed...
I should get used to it, shouldn't I? The Government screwed my family out of our family home, they will screw me out of my old age benefits too. So what's new?
The poor woman who was had up because here kids - and get this, because this is the important bit - "could have been locked in the car for over an hour" but someone called the cops after 20 minutes. You're supposed to remember "over an hour" and forget the bit where some do-gooder called the cops after about five minutes, if the kids were released from the car in 20. You try getting a cop to show in under 15 minutes...
So this asshole (sorry but that's the only term for this dobber) waited five minutes and called Plod. Can you spell "fitted up" children? Of course she was. Someone had it in for her and seized the moment. Notice the dobber stayed RIGHT out of the news coverage? No outraged "Well there I was watching the poor kids turning red and crispy" or anything. This nasty asshole did their dirty work and pissed off. And the cops and the magistrate and the news service helped this hatchetperson...
The two Landrover guys, I feel sorry for. When we were in Witteoom it was almost an annual thing for tourists to have close scrapes, or worse, do a perisher out in that unforgiving country. The sad news is that I've gone out looking for people who ended up dead because they walked away from a line of windmills... I've also picked up tourists with broken legs in what is now Karijini National Park, because they thought they could tackle the Gorges country in loafers or thongs instead of decent boots.
We usually had several such incidents a year, and we even formed a volunteer cliff rescus group and trained with SAS instructors to get our skills up to the point where we hoisted a 150Kg man (no I am not kidding) half a kilometre upward, most of that at a 45 degree angle so we had to carry the stretcher rather than hoist it on the winch. In 45degree temperatures. I am not kidding.
And still every year more came. One year, we picked up a mother and child waiting by their car, on a fairly regularly travelled road. Her husband went to fetch help, walking in the wrong direction, and didn't make it...
Look people, what exactly IS in the air? We're proving over and over that we're good at making really really lousy choices. We choose a Government which throws citizens out of house and home, squanders our money on gawd-ugly green glass penis substitutes, makes it possible for a backstabber to get a woman in trouble for something I bet every parent's done, and has people like John Howard in it...
We walk off 300 meter cliffs and away from windmills and into the desert, we march in protest for detainees who come from countries where population pressure and poverty caused them to abscond in the first place and where those pressures have got to be making a vast land like Australia look mighty good as a Southern Annexe... Oh yes, detainees deserve better than being locked away for years- but only a return journey back to their homeland is really an option.
Claiming to be refugees is fine, but you actually have to be one. And that's what the detainee situation is choking on, non refugee illegal immigrants. Because so many are not refugees, there have to be decisions made, claims heard, proof found. Hell, I could claim that my government is persecuting me by taking my home, taking my future, and that therefore I'm a refugee and deserve to live in America. But seriously, do you think it would fly? Not likely... The Yanks would send me back and then charge me for the ticket...
Or suppose I was a street druggie, broke into your house, and then claimed that you had to shelter me because Assad The Dealer was after me for not paying my bills. You'd put up with that shit? I think not...
That leads me to another thing people: ecological sustainability. One reason many of those countries are so poor is because they are in that situation where they need more manpower to dig a living out of the few resources they have, so they outgrow their sustainable population. Once you are poor, you get things like the Nike sweatshops and Bopal. Because you are poor, the big fish feed on you.
And we are the people making those big fishes bigger. By supporting them. We are also the people making animlas extinct by buying crap made from ivory of tiger fur or whatever. And lastly, we (and by that I mean you - yes you reading this) are the ones responsible for things like leaving a 100w light on every night (producing 1.5 cups of environmental polution per year, using airconditioning and heating constantly, producing another five or so buckets of pollution, and driving a car to work and back instead of putting pressure on manufacturers togive us solar powered cars.
Oh yeah - forgot. Sorry! The government gets GST on every pair of Nikes sold here don't they? And they can't put a tax on solar energy, so there goes our support for THAT particular effort... Ooops... See? That's the government we choose, the choices we make. Every week you drive your car to work, your contribution to global warming and acid rains in other parts of the world serviced by the jetstream adds up to about half a cup of rice less that some poor farmer harvests, due to those things. You're directly responsible for one of the illegal immigrants who come here in your lifetime. Don't come whiningto me that it's costing your taxpayer dollars to keep him or her...
A big Karmic circle, you see. Do something and something happens back. Push the envelope here and someone gets pinched out - there... And given our demonstrated penchant for perambulating tangentially or perpendicularly, we're pretty much stuffed unless we figure it out.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 12:14 AM Ted
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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Affairs Of State
Gahhhh! Haven't we had a gutful of affairs of state lately? What did I notice? All the pomp, all ancient, all on its last legs...
The Catholic Church still has a few zillion dollars stashed away and won't collapse anytime soon, but it will run out of wherewithal as less and less Catholics fill the churches and the Church coffers, and that is a direct result of many people seeing that you don't actually need pomp and splendour to have a religious experience.
And the Royal Family, yes there is a generation of princes and princesses in the wings, but as far as most people are concerned, royal families are fast losing relevance. After all, when's the last time a King or Queen uttered the immortal phrase "Orf with his head!" or anything else that actually affected their country?
And one other thing... Remember that there is always some guiding ruling power over the populace. In the time when Cocky was just an egg, it was the toughest caveman in the cave. That became the headman of the clan, the chief of the village, the mayor of the town, the king. Now ask yourself this: Where is the power these days? Because the Churches are losing power, royals are losing power - and it's got to be being taken up somewhere by someone...
Funny how one thing only serves to bring something else into focus - until watching one part of the royal wedding, I didn't make the assocaition above. But (and I hope the rest of the festivities went somewhat better, and that I was just unlucky enough to catch the one mistake) there were Charles and Cam leaving, the announcer was waxing lyrical about some piece of music written for the happy couple, the band playing it up - and the biggest sour note I've ever heard from the horn or trumpet...
Why did that start my train of thought? Well, 400 years ago, Charles would have just had the player beheaded for ruining the special day. 200 years ago, a prince would have had the player thrown in a cell for that mistake. No questions asked. And Charles? Did not even blink. Because imagine if he had insisted on a capital end to the affair? No-one would permit it - and there's the problem, right there - royalty does not require anyone's permission, by definition a king or queen or prince are the ultimate authority. And when they are no longer the ultimate authority, then they are no longer royalty.
Same with the Church. Once upon a time they and royalty were intertwined, indistinguishable. Now - nothing... All that power - gone...
So play the game, follow the pea - which cup is it under now?
Categories - ::/:: posted at 11:01 PM Ted
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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Room near complete!
Yess! Our extensions are pretty much together. The builder has been finished for a few weeks now, and Trish and I went to it, painted, and the last two weekends I've been putting in skirting boards, and designing and building the built-in wardrobe. Now I have only a few minor items to do, and Trish will do the painting because I can't handle enamel paint fumes so well anymore.
But we have a great wardrobe, plenty of room, and an airing cupboard for our linen, so we have now got space to move again.
I've been home with the flu today and at some stage I had this great plan to go and put the ceiling on the wardrobe and finish it once and for all but this is one mean flu, I've hardly had the energy to sit up. Oh well, one more week delay...
I've also upgraded my Flickr account and will be posting some new pics of it all soon.
Categories - ::/:: posted at 5:12 PM Ted
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How does that figure?
Watching some news show last night and they carried an article on how beef graziers are running out of feed and auctioning cattle off to graziers further south who have more feed.
That's fine, it means they are planning and doing right. But the announcer's closing summary stopped me:
Apparently, the fact that the market is being flooded with beef cattle because there's not enough feed, might lead to higher beef prices. What the? How do you work that out? There are more cows out there looking for a plate to land on because it's cheaper to sell and slaughter it than it is to feed it, so suddenly the laws of supply and demand are turned upside down?
There was some p**sweak excuse in there about less cattle getting to market but really - can you see a southern grazier, who after all also has to pay the overheads associated with more cattle, just keep pushing money down their throats for years? Given that these are beef cattle, not dairy, and given that they have been bought at auction from distressed graziers, there's a profit there already, why would any grazier hang on to these cows for any longer than was absolutely necessary?
I sense a bit of spin doctoring and a huge dose of "let's bend them over a bit more" going on here...
Categories - ::/:: posted at 3:56 PM Ted
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