Monthly Archives: February 2008

February 2008 stats 1: top posts

These are the twenty top posts and pages to have been visited individually during February.

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Posted by on February 29, 2008 in blogging, miscellaneous stats


Here is some truth about Obama’s religious position

I have already posted on the quite seriously insane idea — and I mean insane quite literally and clinically — that Obama is the Antichrist. The benefit of course has been to this (and other blogs) who mention the words Obama and Antichrist, a great recipe for increasing traffic at the moment. Malevolent, though, as well as ignorant have been the Obama is a Muslim posts and comments: not that there would be any great harm, except to his electoral chances in the USA, if Obama were a Muslim. But he isn’t.

For a bit of truth on this go to Sojourners and read the whole article: I just got the email minutes ago.

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Posted by on February 29, 2008 in America, Australia, awful warnings, Christianity, faith, interfaith, politics, religion


More on the Blogger Meetup

James has posted Bloggers Meeting which makes me even sorrier I missed Marcellous! Thanks, James, for organising this. Oh, and James: Kevin Rudd = Lu Kewen.

See also:

Must put the Court House on the list of places Sirdan and I should go to.

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Posted by on February 29, 2008 in Australia, blogging, events, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues


Well now, that’s my Mardi Gras event for this year

courthouse After coaching tonight I caught the slow bus from Chinatown to arrive on a cold and wet Sydney night at Newtown’s rather wonderful Courthouse Hotel for the blogger meetup. That’s not our group in the picture on the right. I was late, so I missed Marcellous.

Even before I had settled into the group for an hour I met of all people someone I had taught English with at Dapto back in 1970, one of the Spender sisters, Dale and Lynn, the former a rather well-known feminist writer, the other no slouch either. It was Lynn I saw, though initially I thought it was Dale. We both contemplated the years that had flown since then with some amazement, though I have to say I am a minnow compared with what those two have done with that time. (See also When I was a twenty-something conservative in transition…)

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Posted by on February 28, 2008 in Australia, blogging, events, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, memory, personal


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Dangerous ground, this…

… but it is my belief that Michael Mansell’s views on Jenny Macklin’s handling of the Indigenous Affairs portfolio are no more worthy of consideration than my own. Objectively speaking, that is, and for a number of reasons aside from the fact my own degree of Aboriginal descent is probably much the same as his — and I am well aware what a minefield that is.

The fact is that there are no Aboriginal communities in Tasmania analogous to the communities in the remote parts of mainland Australia. There are none with the same issues.  In 2002 Richard Flanagan published an article that incurred Mansell’s ire:

Tension in Tasmania over who is an Aborigine

On an island of ironies, where leading Aboriginal activists can have fair skin and blue eyes, the question becomes more perplexing. Even to Tasmanian Aborigines, some of whom are predicting bloodshed, the answer is divisive. To the rest of the world it is just baffling, for Tasmania is still frequently – and wrongly – cited as the site of the only successful genocide in history.

On that strange, sorry island, it was said a race of indigenous people had, within 80 years of the English invasion, disappeared from the face of the earth. Glosses on their fate varied, but no doubt was had as to the fate itself. With the death of Truganini in 1876, the last of the Tasmanians was thought gone.

The dominant early view was that they had been wiped out by the colonisers. This, at least, had the honesty of acknowledging the horror of the English invasion. The Aborigines had fought back in a long war, and some, if not all, early colonists recognised their right to do so.

“Whatever the future historian of Tasmania may have to say,” wrote the 19th-century historian J.E. Calder, “he will do them an injustice if he fails to record that, as a body, they held their ground bravely for 30 years against the invaders of their beautiful domains.”

But this view dimmed as a new idea took hold in the late 19th century, backed with the ballast of the most advanced scientific thought. Nothing seemed to offer more striking proof to the late Victorian mind of the infernal truth of social Darwinism than the supposed demise of the Tasmanian Aborigines. They were an inferior race, a meek and primitive people doomed to die out, and the coming of the English, with their diseases and guns, had merely hastened the inevitable. Read the rest of this entry »


Meet two neighbourhood blogs

The first came my way as I was searching for information while posting this on Ninglun on Blogspot; Rob Baiton in Indonesia found that entry last night and left a comment there, while also being inspired by “Don’t say you weren’t warned” to post an entry of his own.

Generally, I try and be understanding of all, even the far Christian right, but this supposed Church is so far right that I do not think they are in cooee distance. Besides, I just do not see that rational argument is an option here. Look, how do you argue a rational point of view with a Church whose website address is After all, these are the same religious zealots (I must admit other words came to mind other than zealot) that protest at the funerals of returned service men and women in the US.

Apparently, God is killing America’s young men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq as punishment for moving away from the pure teachings of God. It appears that in particular God sends down his wrath against anyone or any country that tolerates homosexuality.The above just goes to show that there is no one religion that has a monopoly on fundamentalist teachings and interpretations. Even ones that seem to cross the line to vilification and hate speech in some pundits’ books!

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Posted by on February 27, 2008 in blogging, Christianity, current affairs, faith and philosophy, Indonesia, Islam



Oh dear, how can this happen?

fashion I found this via the news feed in Ninglun on Blogspot, sourced from Reuters India.

CANBERRA (Reuters) – An Australian school refused entry to a Sikh student on Tuesday because he was wearing a turban, saying it would not change its rules despite the threat of legal action.The family of the 12-year-old boy, who will not be named, have complained to the Anti-Discrimination Commission in Queensland state after Ormiston College ordered the boy to cut his hair and remove his turban as a condition of entry.

“The complaint is the college discriminated against the child by placing conditions on his enrolment that he was unable to comply with because of his religion,” family solicitor Scott McDougall told Australian radio.

Ormiston College is a co-educational and non-denominational school which says on its Web site that it “affirms individual differences and actively promotes cultural and intellectual understanding”.

The private school, which has almost 550 students, is on the coastal outskirts of the state capital Brisbane.

Principal Brett Webster said the school respected the boy’s religious beliefs, but would not change its rules.

“We’re certainly not asking the family or the boy to turn their back on their religion,” Webster said.

“But the question is should the school, should every organisation, change its standard policies every time somebody comes along with a different set of beliefs.”

Australia has around 50,000 Sikhs among the 21 million population.

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Posted by on February 26, 2008 in Australia, faith and philosophy, multicultural Australia, weirdness


Six good reasons for turning off commercial TV after 6pm Mondays…

I confess to enjoying my daily dose of Deal or No Deal on Channel Seven, but after that go to ABC for:

1. Landline at 6.00

This program is a bridge to rural and regional Australia. Aside from the fact it is actually interesting, it is something we city folk really need to watch if we are to have any understanding at all of our own country, not to mention of where our bread and butter come from. Speaking of bread, there was a fascinating item last night on native grasses and grains, about which I knew nothing.

SEAN MURPHY: Agronomist Ian Chivers runs a Victorian company already selling nearly 30 different types of native seeds.
(To Ian Chivers) So, harvesting a few in a week or so?
IAN CHIVERS: Well, I reckon about, yeah, seven or 10 days and get the first light one over then wait for the bigger one.
SEAN MURPHY: With protein levels greater than 20 per cent, low glycemic index and free of gluten he believes the alpine rice will have massive market appeal but it can also be of huge benefit to farmers.
IAN CHIVERS: I think it works beautifully in the high rainfall zones in the pasture sense where people can get a dual purpose out of it. They can graze it for eight months of the year, starting January through to August then close the gate, do a bit of fertiliser as necessary and then just simply come back and harvest it in December and then that just repeats. Because it is a perennial, you’ve not got the risks associated within an annual sowing, you’ve not got the risks associated with drought and other losses through that. You’ve just got a perennial crop that’s going to do it every year.
SEAN MURPHY: Graziers are increasingly seeing the benefits of native grasses as pasture, improving ground cover and biodiversity and reducing problems like erosion and salinity.
It wasn’t always so. Only 30 years ago, homegrown flora was considered a problem.

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Posted by on February 26, 2008 in Australia, TV


Don’t say you weren’t warned

In the previous post I declined to name the sub-Christians in Topeka, but couldn’t resist when I saw this on Queer Penguin.

So loving….

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Posted by on February 25, 2008 in awful warnings, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues


Police and Sydney Mardi Gras

A story that does not do the NSW Police great credit appeared in the press yesterday: Taunts forced gay officer out.

DURING his three years as a NSW police officer, Dallas McCarthy endured taunts of “poofter boy” and “fag dog” – not from criminals but from his own colleagues.

Mr McCarthy claims he was ordered by a superior to introduce himself to senior officers as “pillow-biter”. And he says when he discreetly complained he discovered a handful of chopped liver in his locker and a note warning: “Your heart’s next.”

The former constable abandoned his ambition of becoming a gay and lesbian liaison officer, quitting the force in disgust last April.

In his initial letter of complaint, while stationed at Cabramatta, Mr McCarthy told of being ridiculed by an officer in the tea room with the claim that he give his boyfriend a pillow for Valentine’s Day…

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Posted by on February 25, 2008 in Australia, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, politics



Australian History, its teaching, and some other tangents

In The Weekend Australian Magazine last Saturday Richard Guilliatt profiled historian Anna Clark (grand-daughter of Manning), specifically her ideas on the teaching of Australian History. (I referred to an earlier Guilliatt item in Their 1968 and mine on OzPolitics.) The theme of the weekend article (not online) was that school students tend to switch off in droves whenever Australian History or Indigenous Australians get a run.

While the Governor-General, Michael Jeffery, has been urging a national history curriculum that places even more emphasis on the teaching of Aboriginal history, in Clark’s interviews student after student groans about the lessons they have been force-fed since primary school. Kids complain the lessons are shallow, repetitive and fixated on past injustices. Teachers, meanwhile, express discomfort and uncertainty about their role in teaching it. As a supporter of indigenous studies, Clark admits to being “shocked” by the vehemence of the comments. The awful irony suggested by her book is that in trying to correct past neglect — both the neglect of Aborigines themselves and the omission of their culture from school textbooks — educators may be turning an entire generation away from the issue.

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Posted by on February 25, 2008 in Australia, Best read of 2008, education, reading


Mardi Gras related


If I go I will be about an hour late… Sounds interesting though, and I am not doing much about Mardi Gras this year. As for last year, see here and here, and before that quite a few entries and pages on the Big Archive.

The Empress is a 78-er: that is he was in the first Mardi Gras in 1978. (That’s from a left-wing source and they do romanticise themselves a bit, in my opinion. Shame about the attitudes and policies of people like Castro and Mugabe…) He’s not participating this year on the grounds it is all too commercial now and, he thinks, has lost the plot. That is perhaps a bit too strong, though I know what he means. I think it still serves a useful purpose, and is also one of Sydney’s more colourful occasions, though some still find it confronting. That last may in fact be proof The Empress is not right…

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Posted by on February 24, 2008 in Australia, blogging, Christianity, events, faith and philosophy, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, religion, South Sydney Uniting Church, USA



Presenting all Western civilisation (British spelling!) in under 3 minutes…

What a service Hungry Man TV has done us!

Many years ago I had a very clever if lazy student (in Wollongong) who wrote me an essay on Othello “proving” that Desdemona got what she deserved. One of his “proofs” was to assert that every time the word “trumpet” appeared in the play it should actually be “strumpet”; it was so ingenious I gave it a good mark, and a warning!

In Ancient History he came up with a fictitious Greek called Peripites, who “lived” in Athens from the Persian War period through the next fifty years. Even in exams he would start quoting what Peripites had said about the matter in hand whenever he couldn’t think of any actual content.
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Posted by on February 23, 2008 in diversions, education, faith and philosophy, memory, personal, weirdness


Saturday who read what on my WordPress — 3

Except today I include Ninglun on Blogspot, which is moving forward at last. That story first.

At 9am Sitemeter for Ninglun on Blogspot stood thus:

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Posted by on February 23, 2008 in blogging