for anyone who missed it

States approve new anti-terrorism laws | ABC News. Why the states and not federal government? Howard openly admits the laws are unconstitutional, but the states can get around that.

We can now be detained without charge or trial for at least 14 days, not to mention jailed for any web post deemed to justify terrorism. The great victory of the states was to get a 10 year sunset clause. I'm sure they raised a sweat getting that, FFS.

Check out Araquael's Gnus Roundup for more details, in case you're not angry or scared enough yet: Gnus Roundup - Police State Special. Beazley is claiming the new laws don't go far enough. Amazing what happens when the nation's political leaders become entirely confident that no law could ever be applied to them. Put him under house arrest for a few months, see if he still thinks the laws don't go far enough.

I have no idea who I can vote for any more. Bloody self-destructing Democrats. I can see the new bumper stickers now: Don't blame me, I voted informal.

terrorism has destroyed civil liberties

Innocent in London: So, basically the Police have decided that wearing a rain jacket, carrying a rucksack with a laptop inside, looking down at the steps while going in a tube station and checking your phone for messages just tick too many checkmarks on their checklist and make you a terrorist suspect.

I think what bugs me is that Australia seems determined to implement various laws justified with notions of national security... the result is likely to be that anyone can be arrested, any time, with no actual reason required. This does scare me.

What if I wander into a train station while sending a text message? What if I'm wearing my trenchcoat at the tail end of winter when realistically I could use a lighter jacket? What if I take a photo of something and some twit of a security guard doesn't believe there was an aesthetic interest? What if I have a USB extension cord in my backpack?

Do you trust them to honour a sunset clause? Or will they just keep us scared of bombs forever?

around the traps

politics meme

You are a Social Liberal (68% permissive) and an Economic Liberal (8% permissive). You are best described as a: Socialist - You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

In the big graph I was down in the bottom right, like everyone else on my lj friends list so far ;)


news bits

news bits

  • Howard delighted as Telstra sale cleared. 15/09/2005. ABC News Online: Prime Minister John Howard says he is delighted the Senate has finally passed legislation to sell Telstra. In the end, wavering Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce backed the full privatisation of the telco. I guess a) the farmers' federation thing WAS just to pressure Joyce into caving; and b) telecommunications in this country are fucked. Acting Prime Minister Mark Vaile believes the approval of the legislation will trigger a huge investment in communications for the bush. What fucking planet is Vaile from? ...and how fucking stupid does he think we are?
  • Latham 'emotionally unstable' - National Breaking News - Breaking News 24/7 - ABC host Andrew Denton said today former Labor leader Mark Latham was emotionally unstable and one of the most conflicted public figures he had ever met. ... He said he was concerned that Mr Latham's insight into Australian politics might now be dismissed. ... "He has some very coded relevant things to say about the dysfunctionality of politics, Labor politics in particular, and the media and politics, and I don't think they should be dismissed but I fear they will be."
  • Fuel sales drop 5 per cent - Fuel pressure - Breaking News 24/7 - PETROL consumption across Australia fell by almost 5 per cent in the past week as motorists backed away from record pump prices. Probably lots of people capping the cost and putting in 3/4 tanks instead of filling up. I wouldn't be surprised if consumption goes up by 5% next week when people simply can't put it off any longer and fill up their car.
  • 'Caveman diet' to stay slim - The Other Side - Breaking News 24/7 - The Warrior Diet mirrors the eating habits of our cave-dwelling ancestors, who tended to eat just one big meal a day after killing their prey. It sounds plausible, but the other thing our ancestors did was exercise. Plonk the cavemen behind a desk all day and I'd bet they'd put weight on. They ate once a day after the hunt, ie. they literally ran around all day to get food.
  • Govt slaps peace activist with $11,000 travel bill. 16/09/2005. ABC News Online: The Australian Government has charged an American peace activist who was removed from Australia yesterday $11,000 for sending him back to the US. That's just bizarre. If you deport someone, you removed the choice from them. You don't get to charge them as if it was a fucking holiday tour. Not to mention the fact that nobody has given any clear reason that he was a risk to national security in the first place.
  • Why Dubya minds his pees and queues - The World - Breaking News 24/7 - Confirmation: Dubya doesn't do *anything* without getting help from his advisors. Also of note: at the UN, the discuss the cricket before world peace. So to speak.


Crawled into work today, but apparently that took all the energy I had. No idea how I'm going to stay awake tonight for dinner and The Factory, tickets bought and no other realistic chance to get there. Might crawl home early and try to get the sleep which refused to happen last night.

Put in sick leave details for last three days. What I wanted to put into the 'additional comments' field: So sick I had to give away my tickets to the Broncos home final. Although since I'm pretty sure HR doesn't take that as proof, I also have a medical certificate.. However I decided to go with the boring-but-safe Medical certificate in your In tray.

My ability to focus on work seems limited at best. Fuck. I guess this is that latest buzzword, 'presenteeism'.

news bits

joy. rapture. sickness.

Never thought I'd be "glad" to be sick; but I am actually sort of relieved to find out I am sick again rather than still sick. Crappy luck though it may be, I'd rather be sick for the second time in six weeks than still sick with the same thing after six weeks. Again, it's not Raging Throat Death, just another illness with attached sore throat.

Doctor quite stridently recommended I stay home again tomorrow (L too, since she seems to have the same thing). Nothing but time and rest can kick this second illness apparently. All I'd do at work is infect everyone else.

Have given in to apparent reality and started buying flu tablets in the double-size value pack.

news bits

  • Muslim community expresses concern over anti-terrorism laws. 11/09/2005. ABC News Online: Members of Sydney's Muslim community have used a public meeting to express concerns over the Federal Government's proposed anti-terrorism laws. Prime Minister John Howard has used the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorism attacks to bolster his case for the new laws. We should all be worried about this. Australia seems to follow America in most things, the rampant loss of civil rights is apparently no different. / Politicians 'stoking anti-Muslim hysteria' - National - Politicians had fuelled anti-Muslim hysteria sparked by terrorists who'd 'hijacked' Islam, a Muslim leader has told an anti-terrorism summit.
  • Bush allies secure post-Katrina rebuilding contracts. 11/09/2005. ABC News Online: Companies with ties to the White House and the former head of FEMA have clinched some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Bush's ratings hit all-time low. 11/09/2005. ABC News Online: His approval rating stands at 38 per cent, while some 52 per cent of Americans polled said they lacked confidence in Mr Bush's ability to make sound decisions in a crisis, whether domestic or international.
  • Petrol price tipped to peak at $1.45. 11/09/2005. ABC News Online: The Australian Tourism and Transport Forum [managing director, Christopher Brown] ... is calling on the state and federal governments to re-invest some of the taxes they collect from fuel into the public transport system.
  • Joyce not sold on Telstra guarantee - National - Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce will not commit to supporting the full sale of Telstra despite Government assurances a $2 billion fund to pay for improved telecommunications services in the bush is guaranteed.
  • 'Dive' has Broncos fuming at Orford - League - Sport - Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett last night accused Melbourne halfback Matt Orford of conning video referee Chris Ward by 'taking a dive' to ensure a crucial Broncos try was disallowed in the Storm's gripping second qualifying final victory. Keep in mind this is the same referee who gave a penalty against the Broncos after two Storm players ran into each other and knocked themselves down; and allowed a try by the Storm despite an obvious forward pass. He also got in the way after a scrum and prevented the Broncos gaining possession of a loose ball. The standard of referreeing this season has been atrocious. I genuinely think bad calls have turned several games against the Broncos this year (the Storm coach even admits the call in question was the game's turning point: FOX SPORTS | League | Bennett says Orford conned refs (September 11, 2005)). Even taking my own bias into account there are just too many calls being made which are shown to be totally wrong in the replay. To be fair, in some cases the Broncos made errors which would otherwise have secured the game even in spite of the reffing; but you should never have to win despite the efforts of the game officials. I've also noticed players on all sides are being penalised for "backchat" if they so much as ask the referee for clarification. The referees know they're getting it wrong and they're overcompensating.

around the traps


You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead... But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself. You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place. You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

How Machiavellian Are You?

bring on the cybernetics

I'm sick of the meat.

Well, more to the point, the meat is sick. So fucking damn fucking sick that I've had to cancel my plans to go see the Broncos home-ground quarter final against the Storm. See, Tuesday morning I snapped up three tickets, my shout, to take my father and brother along. Much happiness.

By Wednesday morning I was sick. Again. Relapsing flu/headcold thing. Fuck.

Thought I'd be better by now, but if anything I'm worse. So now I'm sitting at home tonight watching it on tv and - to my extreme surprise - my anti-football mum is going in my place. At least she'll know what we're on about, although I'm not sure how she'll cope with the catering options :)

Disappointed? Hell yes. Stupid body. I didn't give it permission to get sick. Of course, I didn't slow down during the Sydney trip nor did I miss VNV Nation and Tycho's gig at Ric's last week. So I guess on average I'm doing ok. Need to recover properly though. Web Essentials '05 coming up in just a couple of weeks! Can't be sick for Sydney again.

for anyone who has received or sent the 'no petrol day' thing

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Pain in the Gas):

Claim: Participating in 1- or 3-day boycott of gasoline in September 2005 will cause oil companies to "choke on their stockpiles" and bring down the price of gasoline.

Status: False.

The logic just doesn't work - it's not like 'buy nothing day', where the point is made to the consumer. Buying your petrol a day earlier or later means there's no difference to the actual amount of petrol used; so there's no point made to the oil companies.

If people really wanted to make a difference, they'd have to get absolutely everyone to boycott petrol for at least an entire week and probably more. Alternatively, get people not to use any petrol... and unless you make an exception for buses, that's not going to work.

To really really make a difference, we all need to buy electric cars. Which won't happen until they're no different in price or performance. We - as a society - are not the slightest bit ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of using less petrol.

around the traps

worthy things

...where I plug some worthy things being done by friends!

  • The Factory: adventures in brisbane subcultures... promises to be a great dance show, choreographed by Claire Marshall. September 15th, 16th, 17th @ 7pm, 9pm and 11pm each night. Venue: 610 Ann St Fortitude Valley. Tickets from Rockinghorse. I don't like modern dance as a general rule, but I love Claire's work. It'll be fuckin' funny AS, mate[/strine].
  • Rocksluts now features photos of the VNV Nation/Tycho Brahe/Novakill gig from last Thursday night. Excellent work as usual.
  • Third Stone Botanicals products are now available online via Vitale (Paddington). From the site: Over the 10 years that Third Stone Botanicals has been researched and developed, a comprehensive range has evolved including face & body care, hair care, bath treats such as bath teas, oils and salts, and a few favourites ? Aromatherapy cleansing bars, herbal teas and a mother & baby range. Tess is my cousin. She's bloody good at what she does :)

the betrayal of new orleans

Eventually I had to mention the situation in New Orleans.

I imagine I'm like many people... I've been seeing news reports I can't quite believe. The only solution Dubya seems to have proposed so far is to get in there and start shooting people. I mean, sure, that's an effective way of stopping people being hungry. Dead people don't eat much.

But how on earth are we supposed to accept the idea that the US can organise hundreds of thousands of troops to invade a country on the other side of the globe, yet they can't get an effective aid solution for a disaster with several days lead time? It's not like the tsunami... people knew the hurricane was coming. It was kind of hard to miss.

I personally believe that Dubya fundamentally doesn't care and it's probably racial to some degree - whether he's smart enough to understand his own prejudice or not. Actions speak louder than words, and so far they've said "It's mostly black people, right? Let them starve for a bit, then we'll go shoot them."

There are so many things I could link to with regards to this issue. I am essentially plucking one at random from the stream, which does say a lot (certainly not everything that needs saying): Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans? - New York Times: But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us 'Sin City,' and turned your backs.

(via a Billion Suns | Anne Rice on New Orleans)

around the traps

  • Subaru's new nose - Top Stories - CARSguide storypage. Subaru is taking an interesting approach... ignore what everyone says based on photos, in the hope that everyone will change their mind when they see the car for real. Bold new challenge or just another bugeyed impreza? Time will tell. Update: time certainly told for me, since I ended up buying one! Impreza 2.0R that is.
  • This is Not the Title of This Essay. I'll admit I get lost in the mathematics, but the discussion of paradox is still interesting. I would tend to say no matter what, humans are paradoxical creatures and will introduce paradox into any system they attempt to create.
  • Boing Boing: Future of DIY drugs. Basic idea: in 35 years time the war on drugs will simply be gone, because the drugs we currently know will disappear. The prediction is a growth of super-specific designer drugs, some possibly manufactured by the users. More general drugs will most likely created in local labs, ending large scale production and trafficking. Not sure I think it will come to pass, but it makes for interesting reading.

victory not vengeance

And fighting time so hard I pray
that this moment lasts forever.
and will the world stay standing still at least for me.

two vnv tshirts, signed vnv setlist, vnv crew pass, tycho brahe setlist

Anyone in Sydney or Melbourne who hasn't got tickets for VNV Nation yet, get up right now, RIGHT NOW, and go and get tickets (you better not still be reading - move!).

VNV Nation rocked the fuck out of Brisbane last night. You hear people talk about "intimate gigs" and most of the time it's bullshit. Last night was the real thing. The band were close enough to make eye contact and the crowd was utterly enthused. The band and the crowd bounced off each other the entire show with some of the best energy I've ever seen at a gig.

By VNV's standards it must have been a small gig, only a couple of hundred people; but Ronan and Mark certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. I've rarely been at a gig where the band had bigger grins than the fans :)

L and I got there late after a pre-gig food disaster (damn you, poorly stored nightowl cheese!) requiring a last-minute takeaway mission. Danced for half of the last song in Tycho Brahe's set - damn! Will have to catch them tonight at Ric's :)

Slid, sqeaked and creaked my way to the gig in my new shiny pants (black with a double white stripe up the sides). Never worn PVC pants before, but even drunk people in the street were telling me how good they looked so yay! ;) L looked fabulous in her new clothes (slashed neckline top and a rivetted, strappy, zipped, clippy industrial skirt [i think that's a fair description, btw :)]). Forgot to get Angus to take a shot of me/everyone though. Oh well :)

Mental note: I really must remember to scan my tickets before I go to the next gig. Seems you don't get to keep tickets anymore - the door staff just take the whole ticket, rather than ripping off the end and giving you the stub. Anyway.

Many many old faces in the crowd, many hugs and lots of yells of "you're here!?!". Secured tshirts shortly after arrival (big thanks goes out to Amaya for keeping them behind the desk so people didn't have to carry them around all night). Much joy amongst the girls when they discovered the best design was printed on the girlie sized shirts, apparently this is unusual. In any case I got one of both designs for myself (yay for being a skinny bastard who fits into the girlie sized shirts ;)) and L got a girlie tee.

Novakill worried me by being rather good. The fabric of reality was thin - a gig where both support bands were good? I must be dreaming. Plus Novakill's singer gets the "best tshirt ever" award for his BIG FAT CUNT shirt.

Things moved quickly and before we knew it, the lights dimmed and VNV's intro started. Everyone found their space and threw themselves into the gig. Within a couple of songs Ronan paused to comment you're an eager bunch, aren't you! and Mark enjoyed himself way too much goading the crowd into getting their arms in the air.

While my wish of seeing Fearless wasn't destined to come true last night, we certainly can't complain about a 16-song set including two encores. Had to laugh when I noticed Ken & Georgina from Tycho more or less conducting the crowd from the wings during the calls for encore. Meanwhile Andy (from Tycho) and I are leaping around up front, Andy remembering halfway that he had a Tycho setlist for me :)

A metric shitload of crowd interaction, chats and shake hands with the people up front... ahhhh what can I say? Last night's show was something special. Plus the band said they'd had so much fun they had to come back and do it again. GLEE!

At the end of the set, the band announced they'd be doing a signing and meet the fans... a scramble ensued as people tried to find things to get signed :) By this stage L and I were fading (damn my poor health and L's massive workload this week) and I was becoming resigned to having to leave without autographs. Then a gleefull Georgina ran up and asked whether a signed setlist sounded good. I managed to get a "yes" out and next thing I know Ken is handing me.....:

vnv nation setlist: Intro, Honour 2003, Epicentre, Chrome, Entropy, Legion, Standing, Homeward, Joy, Darkangel, Perpetual; Further, Distant/Rubicon, Solitary; Beloved, Electronaut (brisbane 2005.09.01)

Call me a happy fan. I couldn't quite believe it :) Then to really cap it off, as I was leaving someone ran up to me and thrust "a present" into my hands. Turns out one of the crew had dumped their pass and a quick thinker had nabbed it! So although I didn't get to chat with the band, I certainly got some fantastic mementos :)

Crawled out of bed this morning to take L to work. Very glad I booked rec leave, a great pity L couldn't get out of work. I'm certainly paying the price today for all the bouncing around last night, but shit - it was worth it :)