Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

When to shut up – please!

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The death of ABC employee, Jill Meagher, has had a very sorry ending with the discovery of her raped and murdered body. The good news, if there is such a thing in these circumstances, has been the charging of Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, for those offenses, provided that he is the actual rapist and murderer.

Where matters have a distinct possibility of coming unstuck is the amount of anti-Bayley social media commentary that has been so prevalent that it has lead to Victorian police calling for people to basically shut up. And I agree with them.

All of us have a fundamental right to a fair trial. A foundation stone of a fair trial is that a jury hears your case, free from prior mental contamination. Once something has become seen widely enough in a negative sense against the party facing trial, the process can become contaminated to the point that the courts decide a fair trial cannot occur and matters are dropped.

Possibly the most infamous case of this was when Derryn Hinch used his then-television program to publicly name and shame a pedophile who was facing a trial for abuse of minors. Hinch was clearly warned by the Court not to do so. But he shot his mouth off andwas  subsequently found guilty of contempt of court, serving weekend detention. Hinch has made plenty of mileage out of that episode over the years, insisting it demonstrated his personal conviction etc. But what was the real outcome? An apparently known pedophile, facing a pretty strong case against him, had his charges dropped because of the contamination of potential process. I fail to see how Hinch’s actions were anything more than a PR stunt that saw all sense of justice denied to all concerned.

The truly guilty should never be able to walk free simply because people refuse to shut their mouths. Are we entitled to our opinion? Yes. But if we really want the guilty to face the consequences of their actions, then we need to be careful how and where and when we express such opinion if it could provide a means of cases being dropped. If Adrian Ernest Bayley is guilty of the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, then while he deserves a fair trial, Meagher deserves to be remembered by her assailant paying for his crimes. Her family and friends deserve the degree of closure that a guilty verdict may provide. But should her rapist and murderer, Bayley or otherwise, walk free because people cannot shut their mouths, then it would be incredibly deceitful to her memory and an insult to her family and other loved ones.

So please, people, please – just shut the hell up about what you might want to do to Bayley and let judicial process take its course.

R U OK?

Posted: September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Today is R U OK? Day This is an Australia national day of action on the second Thursday of September (13 September 2012), dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?’

So why has this venture been put in place? As it explains on their website, by raising awareness about the importance of connection and providing resources throughout the year the R U OK? Foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs.

The end result of the sort of isolation being considered here, all too often can end in suicide. I know. Been there, done that twice. First time I simply didn’t know what I was doing and it didn’t work. Second time is still hazy but someone found out what I had done and called an ambulance. All I knew was that I came to in the local hospital Emergency ward, being copiously sick.

I was fortunate in that my attempts, for whatever reason, did not work. The great love of my life was not so fortunate as she took her own life back in 2004. I won’t go into all the details but frankly I was not in any shape to be able to do anything meaningful, being pretty much a mental jellyfish at the time. My bastard employer sent me that way and I still consider them responsible for it all, including her death.

R U OK? is about simply being nice to people. Even if they say they are fine when they aren’t, the right approach can mean more than you realise. That little positive can mean the difference between being depressed and in need of help, and that of doing yourself in.

Depression is a form of mental illness. And that is what it is – an illness. Just like a cold or the flu but unfortunately with greater ramifications for treatment.

In a previous post I reflected about bullying and someone I had once bullied, turning that around toward the end of my high school years to make sure I just gave him a friendly greeting when I saw him. That teenager had been depressed and previously counseled for a suicidal mindstate. Just to have someone give him a friendly ‘g’day’, calling him by name as they walked past gave him a visible boost. Admittedly I started doing so because of guilt over my treatment of him several years earlier. But in my advancing years I realise that it really can be that simple – be friendly, show some friendly concern.

You might just be saving someone’s life.

Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always. Or even follow the blog by email.

“Why, thar’s a couple of blacks wanting to marry th’selves in our church! I’s telling you Pastor, them’s blacks ain’t coming near our church!!”

Now you could probably understand such sentiments being expressed in Mississippi of 1860. Maybe even 1960. But in 2012??

It is being reported in the media that Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, a black couple, had set the date for their wedding at the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs and posted the invitations. Yet the day before their happy day, the church’s pastor, Pastor Stan Weatherford, had to turn them away, claiming “a small number of church members had virulently opposed holding the event at the church, and he faced being sacked if he went ahead with it.” Pastor Weatherford compromised by marrying the couple at a nearby church which had a largely black congregation.

What makes matters even worse (if that were possible) is that Te’Andrea was already a member of the flock at the Crystal Springs First Baptist Church.

Apparently, no black couple has ever married in the white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs since its founding in 1883 and clearly these narrow-minded bigots calling the shots were going to make damned sure that record wasn’t going to be broken on their watch. Of course if they had the slightest scrap of brains between their ears, they would have seen that this was in fact an opportunity to end that relic of Confederate jingoism, acting in the true meaning of the Christian faith by loving thy neighbour.

So far it seems that this small number who appear to be opposing the fact the Confederates lost the Civil War, let alone the successes of the Civil Rights movement, are now keeping their heads down. So all we can do is imagine what they must be like. Now if they had the power to ensure sacking of Pastor Weatherford, then they had to be in a position of authority with that particular church, perhaps the congregation’s Elders. It is not difficult to imagine them being older, still missing the good old days when those ‘black varmits knew they’s place’ and possibly with a pillow case or two laying around their homes, complete with eyeholes cut out. And once they discovered their precious record was about to be broken, shocked telephone calls and secretive meetings going on so they could stop that heresy! And I don’t care much for Pastor Weatherford’s future there either as he would fall into the KKK’s definition of a ‘nigga luva’. And even if those leaders of  the congregation aren’t members of the KKK, they sure as shit are acting like they were.

In fairness, a member of that Crystal Springs congregation has been reported as stating she and the bulk of the congregation were unaware of this stunt, stating they were ashamed of the decision. If so, then now is the time for the apparently silent majority of that congregation to stand up to this incredibly bigoted minority, sending them on their way.

Now there are those who might be uncomfortable with an Australian, with our less-than-stellar record of treating indigenous Australians, now criticising treatment of African Americans. But should a church here turn a couple away merely because of the colour of their skin, there would be hell to pay in our modern society. And yes, I am well aware of the (unjust and unfair) irony that they can turn people away because of their sexuality. But if this sort of act, so terribly reminiscent of an era best left way behind, is allowed to stand, then we are sure as shit never going to progress!

I have said it before and I shall say it again. Sometimes one really has to wonder if the human species is indeed worth saving. Well it seems that while the rest of us are grabbing our snorkels and heading to the hills to escape the oceans rising from global warming, there is a group of Christian elders at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs who should be left behind, firmly tied down on the beach.

Here endeth the rant… for now.

Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always.

Picture: Glenn Barnes

Something has just struck me a blinding mental blow.

It has become almost something of a national past-time to ridicule and make fun of Australian billionaire mining magnate, Clive Palmer. But we’ve been entirely wrong to do so.

Now Clive has been anything but reticent in making all sorts of press statements in recent times. To mention just a few:

  • Picture: Lisa Clarke Source: The Courier-Mail

     he was giving up on Wayne Swan’s seat and instead going after independent, former National Party, hat-wearing, gun-toting, redneck Bob Katter’s seat (despite Katter’s stranglehold that ain’t gonna be broken in a hurry – watch out Clive – Bob might just start loading mining-magnate-gauge shot)

     But now the penny has just dropped. Clive Palmer clearly has a quite big picture plan in mind.

    Obviously the grim spectre of the CIA really is controlling our not-so-little corner of the Antipodean world, with President Obama about to declare us the next State within the Union – and Prime Minister Jul-i-ah can do a reprise of her tearful speech to both houses in the US about how the US can do ‘anything.’ And we’d almost certainly lose all that which is great and good about Australia – cricket and football. And we can’t have that, can we! Although perhaps one of the US’s super-smart-missiles might be just what we need to regain the Ashes.

    Then adding to the disaster, we’ve been dodging the pieces of the sky that are now falling in all over the place following implementation of the Carbon Tax so clearly we are definitely in need of saving.

    The key to fixing these terrible disasters is obviously a free press. And now our dear, philanthropic Clive, will come to the rescue with his own online newspaper!

    “Oh no,” I can hear you all cry. “Won’t the terrible CIA just take that over as well?”

    Fear not, dear friends, because philanthropic and saviour-of-all-that-is-great-provided-it-benefits-him Clive has the answer there too. You see, that is where the new Titanic comes in – Clive will dump all his former Fairfax journos on the ship and sail them gleefully around the world and keeping them out of the clutches of the US spooks.

    See – all we need to do is keep a clear and open mind about things and they all make sense, don’t they?

    Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always.

I am watching the ‘premiere’ of Tim Allen’s new show, Last Man Standing.

From the promos I had a feeling that this was just a repackaged Tooltime Tim from Home Improvement. I was right. The sons are replaced with daughters but that’s about the only real difference. Instead of tools, it is sports materials. Instead of a television show, it is a website. Instead of an attractive Patricia Richardson as the wife, it is an attractive Nancy Travis. So far all that is missing is the equivalent of the mysterious, all-knowing neighbour. But I suspect that won’t be far away.

About all that has really changed is that Allen is greyer, and fatter with a small double-chin and more wrinkles. Is this really the only role that Tim Allen can get back on the idiot box? I suppose he couldn’t keep doing Santa Claus movies for ever.

This really is not worth the time or effort of picking the remote up to turn it on.

Fail. Big Fail.

I don’t like to say it, but I am glad that I missed the ceremonies at the Tent Embassy today. That way I managed to avoid the dramas at the nearby restaurant, The Lobby. Now am I defending the comments by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, that were used as the incitement for a couple of hundred protesters heading to The Lobby to encircle the building and act in such a manner that security forces were needed to remove Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Jugears Abbot? Most definitely not. But when will protesting groups get it into their heads that acting like thugs only does harm to your cause?

We saw the same thing back in the 1990s following the election of John Howard. There was promptly a protest on the lawns of Parliament House, driven by the union movement. I know – I was there. And like the majority of attendees, I was down the slope, watching the stage which included the rather odd sight of the then-Secretary of the ACT branch of the Community and Public Sector Union, dancing and singing. Like the majority of those attendees, I knew nothing about the drunken antics of a much smaller group of protesters who decided to literally bash down the doors into Parliament House, an even smaller group of them decided to break into a shop and loot it. At one point I did get a bit bored and had a wander around including going by the courtyard where the drama occurred. I couldn’t see exactly what was happening but something clearly was and the sheer volume of eskies and discarded beer cans made it rather obvious that whatever was happening was most likely alcohol-fuelled. However I never so much as even suspected an attempted invasion of Parliament House was occurring. But because I was there at that protest, for a long time I was referred to by non-supporters of the union movement at work as ‘one of those Parliament House invaders’. This behaviour by a small proportion of the attendees damaged the entire point of the demonstration against then-pending changes to industrial relations. It made the entire union movement look bad. Nor did it help for a small, radical faction to start pushing hard to have the union movement pay all legal fees for those charged for that invasion of Parliament House. The entire point of that demonstration was badly compromised.

I suggest that the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the worthwhile things it stands for, will now be overshadowed by the actions of a minority, compromising the potential good that could have come out of the event.

the REAL Excess Baggage

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Alleged ‘reality television’ programs seem to go through phases. Obviously weight loss is the current preferred flavour. The newest addition to the stable is the WIN/Channel Nine program, Excess Baggage. This ‘reality’ sees a group of overweight ‘ordinary’ people all paired up with an overweight ‘celebrity’. Naturally the winner shall be the pair who lose the most weight.

What gets me is this idea of featuring celebrities. In whose mind at least, are some of these people celebrities? Let us have a quick squiz at some of the line-up.

There’s a former Australian Rules footballer who retired some twenty years ago. While Dipper is a big personality, was a damn good footballer and well known to Aussie Rules fans of his era, how exactly does that make him a ‘celebrity’? What proportion of the country will have a clue who Dipper actually is? I suggest not a lot.

We have a paparazzi photographer who thinks he is a Mohawk Indian with a fetish for psychedelic colours.

Best of all, my favourite, is the international celebrity in the ranks. That’s right folks, we have the ex-husband of a pop star. How much bigger can you get than the bloke that Britney Spears gave the boot to via a text message? Answer: much, much bigger. Let us put this into perspective. Kevin Federline was a broke, occasional backup dancer when he met Britney and they hooked up. When the marriage ended, Federline did pretty well out of the deal, now on huge alimony payments that mean he doesn’t even have to do the occasional work these days. So he sits around, blowing that alimony on food and drink as is obvious from the size of his gut. Of course there was also his impressive career as a rapper. What a flop that was. He probably should have then tried out for the US diving team as he sure had the nosediving gig right. Yet he is still going by that stage name of K-Fed. Briefly aligning himself with the professional wrestling world to help promote his debut album probably didn’t do his credibility much good either. This is a ‘celebrity’? This is a ‘celebrity’ that is worth importing into the country? This is something that the public supposedly want? Oh pluh-eeeze.

For my money, the only saving grace would be that of the program host, the still delectable Kate Ceberano. But even Kate’s attractions are going to struggle to get me there. There is probably some grass growing somewhere around my place worth watching.

Hey WIN – I’ve got some news for you. The REAL excess baggage is the numbnuts who approved this crap.
 
Here endeth the rant