On my mind this Week Ending 10.09.08

On my mind this Week Ending 10.09.08

Have longer lasting sex

In Australia there where a series of tv and billboard adverts inviting the reader to enquire about how to have longer lasting sex.

When I first got to Australia I found this uite startling, however over the next three years, I got use to looking up from my book on the bus to and from work, and greeted by a big bright yellow billboard with “Have longer lasting SEX” emblazoned in red.

The tv adverts were a lot more subtle and on occasion quite amusing, with men playing complex piano pieces with their trousers down and both hands raised proudly in the air.

Over the past month I noticed that the tv adverts are no longer shown, and the billboard adverts have a large black “Censored” sticker over the word “sex”.

I did not mind the ads as they did not offend me, but they clearly offended somebody so the law stepped in.

However, in place of these ads are a series of work safety ads designed to shock the tv and billboard viewer into requesting safety instructions at work.

The tv advert shows a flustered woman on her first day in a bakery. She is asked by a customer to slice a loaf of bread and, being afraid to ask he boss how to use the machine, she proceeds to push the bread in with her hand. The result is inevitable, however as apposed to leaving an already well made point there, the adverts continues to show the distressed shop girl holding her blooded stumps while the camera zooms in on her severed fingers.

The billboard adverts are not much better, showing the severed arms, and scared faces of victims to improper work safely.

I find it amazing that the advertising standards board considered the sex ads to be offensive, but considers the blooded gore of workplace injuries to be acceptable.

The billboards are in prominent places and the tv adverts are shown at prime time, when children and blood sensitive people like me are still having their dinner.

I guess that the graphic picture on the bottom of cigarette packets was the slippery slop to the acceptable amounts of gore that we see on tv adverts in the name of public safety.

There are motorcycle adverts where a woman is in hospital having clothing picked out of her torn flesh after she has come off her motorbike without wearing protective clothing. Again this avert is shown just as I am eating my dinner.

The Australian advertising standards board can not consider some cheeky adverts offensive while allowing gratuitous adverts to be shown in the name of public safety.

They have not yet found a balance between a nanny state protecting sensibilities, and exposing the populous to the harsh realities of life.

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On my mind this Week Ending 10.09.08

The day that time collapsed

Three decades after it was conceived, the world’s most powerful physics experiment is ready to be powered up. Engineers will attempt to circulate a beam of particles around the 27km-long underground tunnel which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The £5bn machine is designed to smash particles together with cataclysmic force, revealing signs of new physics in the wreckage. This will re-create conditions in the Universe moments after the Big Bang.

But it has not been plain sailing; the project has been hit by cost overruns, equipment trouble and construction problems. The switch-on itself is two years late.

The collider is operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research – better known by its French acronym Cern. The vast circular tunnel – the “ring” – which runs under the French-Swiss border contains more than 1,000 cylindrical magnets arranged end-to-end.

The magnets are there to steer the beam – made up of particles called protons – around this 27km-long ring. Eventually, two proton beams will be steered in opposite directions around the LHC at close to the speed of light, completing about 11,000 laps each second.

At allotted points around the tunnel, the beams will cross paths, smashing together near four massive “detectors” that monitor the collisions for interesting events. Scientists are hoping that new sub-atomic particles will emerge, revealing fundamental insights into the nature of the cosmos.

“We will be able to see deeper into matter than ever before,” said Dr Tara Shears, a particle physicist at the University of Liverpool. “We will be looking at what the Universe was made of billionths of a second after the Big Bang. That is amazing, that really is fantastic.” The LHC should answer one very simple question: What is mass?

“We know the answer will be found at the LHC,” said Jim Virdee, a particle physicist at Imperial College London. The currently favoured model involves a particle called the Higgs boson – dubbed the “God Particle”. According to the theory, particles acquire their mass through interactions with an all-pervading field carried by the Higgs.

The latest astronomical observations suggest ordinary matter – such as the galaxies, gas, stars and planets – makes up just 4% of the Universe. The rest is dark matter (23%) and dark energy (73%). Physicists think the LHC could provide clues about the nature of this mysterious “stuff”.

But Professor Virdee told BBC News: “Nature can surprise us… we have to be ready to detect anything it throws at us.”

Engineers injected the first low-intensity proton beams into the LHC in August. But they did not go all the way around the ring. Now they will attempt to pass a proton beam around the full circumference of the LHC tunnel. Superconducting magnets are cooled down using liquid helium

Engineers will be on the lookout for any potential problems: “There are on the order of 2,000 magnetic circuits in the machine. This means there are 2,000 power supplies which generate the current which flows in the coils of the magnets,” he told BBC News.

“If any single one of them has got the wrong polarity, or has the wrong calibration constant, or whatever, then the beam will not go round. “If, in any of the channels [in the magnets], there is any piece of debris – it is a very small channel – then the beam will not go round.”

Mr Myers has experience of the latter problem. While working on the LHC’s predecessor, a machine called the Large-Electron Positron Collider, engineers found two beer bottles wedged into the beam pipe – a deliberate, one-off act of sabotage. The culprits – who were drinking a particular brand which advertising once claimed would “refresh the parts other beers cannot reach” – were never found.

After Wednesday’s test, engineers will need to get two beams running in opposite directions around the LHC. They can then carry out collisions by smashing them together.  Source BBC website

This will collapse the fabric of time and space, and we will all be sucked into oblivion, if not instantaneously, then over a period of time. In fact, we may already be dead, and our minds are recalling its last moments. Enjoy the last echoes of your mind.

Where is ‘The Doctor’ when you need him.

I’m not xenophobic, I just prefer Catholics

Moves to build a Catholic school in Camden, in Sydney’s south-west, have been welcomed by the same community group which vocally opposed plans for a Muslim school. The president of the Camden/Macarthur Residents Group, Emil Sremchevich, told Fairfax the Catholic plan “ticks all the right boxes”, even though he was yet to see its development application.

“Catholics are part of our community so we should be supporting it on this basis alone,” Mr Sremchevich told Fairfax. “To become part of the community, you need to live in the community. You can’t just turn up.” Mr Sremchevich said he was not being racist.

“Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice? If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “It’s very simple: people like some things but don’t like other things … some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens.”

The Quranic Society has launched an appeal after its plan to develop a 1200-student Islamic school was rejected by the Camden Council in May on planning grounds. The council’s rejection followed series of protest rallies. The Wollongong Catholic Education Office now wants to expand an existing 150-student facility at Camden to accommodate up to 1200 students.

Quranic Society spokesman Issam Obeid said it was a clear case of double standards. “Everyone can see there is a double standard … no one knows anything about the Catholic school and they say ‘yeah, give it a tick already’.”

Okay, a couple of things here, he said “To become part of the community, you need to live in the community. You can’t just turn up.” Well actually you can, as the act of “becoming” a member of the community is ongoing, otherwise how do you become a member of the community?

Secondly, and I am shortening his to spare you the reader, he said “Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice. If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast”. Well that is pretty much the definition of xenophobia, not liking people because they are different. The problem in Camden is that xenophobia is not one person’s demon to be managed, it has a voice and authority, it can hurt others.

Hugging Palin

The American presidential election is receiving a lot of exposure from the press all over the world, however recently there has been a debate over the McClain-Palin ticket.

It seems that there is some debate over the etiquette of touch. McCain has been noted twice hugging his running mate and this has raised questions on how this is perceived.

The previous co-ed ticket contained Ms Ferreo, and there was absolutely no touching during the election for fear of how it would be perceived.

The debate now is not one of impropriety, but one of power. Should McCain instigate the hug as the senior in the hierarchy, and by doing so does he detract from Palin’s own authority?

The thing that I have noticed is that since the announcement, she has stopped wearing her wedding ring. If the pundits are short on things to talk about, talk about that.

Mind you, the media probably do not know what to write about next with the amount of clangers coming out of her wardrobe.

The thirty three million dollar bridge that she claimed to have vetoed to save her state money was actually championed by her during her election campaign. It was only vetoed by her after she got into the senate.

Did nobody vet this woman before she was put on McCain’s ticket?

On my mind this Week Ending 22.08.08

Munters should mine for love

The mayor of a remote Australian mining town has come under fire after saying that female “ugly ducklings” might benefit from its shortage of women. John Molony told a newspaper last week that “with five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa”. The council has since been swamped with complaints from both men and women.

But Mr Molony has refused to apologise for the remarks, saying he was “telling it like it is” in the Queensland town. Located 1,829km (1,136 miles) from Brisbane, Mount Isa is home to one of the world’s biggest underground mines. In 2006, there were just 819 women aged 20-24 living there out of a total population of 21,421, according to the most recent census.

In an interview with the Townsville Bulletin last week, Mr Molony proposed a novel solution to Mount Isa’s shortage of eligible women. “Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness,” he said. “Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits. Really, beauty is only skin deep. Isn’t there a fairy tale about an ugly duckling that evolves into a beautiful swan,” he added.

A fellow councillor, Jean Ferris, said the invitation to “beauty-disadvantaged women” had caused consternation among both sexes. “It’s an absolute disgrace,” she told the Courier Mail. “It’s not council’s view and it’s not mine. It’s hard when you’ve got to defend something someone else has said. We’re definitely appalled.”

Mr Molony has since refused to retract his marks and insisted he is “a bloke who respects women”.

I would love to berate Mr Molony over the ignorance of his ill thought out comment. His failure to understand the complexities of the human heart, as well as the socio-economic forces that are at work in this town, and may like it across Australia, makes me laugh. Not to mention the social impact of these new-comer women that will now be seen as fodder for the male dominant population.  However I think that Mr Molony has done all the hard work for me.

No Glitter going home

Former pop star Gary Glitter has refused to board a flight to the UK, saying he was having a heart attack. He was earlier deported from Vietnam after spending almost three years in jail for sexually abusing two girls.

Glitter, 64, real name Paul Francis Gadd, had arrived at Bangkok in Thailand, where he was to change planes and fly back to the UK. But he refused to leave the airport, demanding to be allowed to stay in Thailand or another Asian country.

He had been met at Bangkok airport by immigration officials to ensure he caught his connecting flight. But BBC correspondent Jonathan Head said the British policeman accompanying Glitter had been unable to persuade him to board the plane to the UK. Glitter has been refused entry to Thailand, despite a plea for medical treatment there. Glitter was stuck at the airport, unwilling to face the reception in the UK, but unable to go anywhere else.

As far as I am aware, and I may be corrected, Gadd has never shown any remorse for his crime. He certainly wishes that he had not got caught and served three years in jail, and this makes him potentially dangerous.

Punishment should also be about rehabilitation, and once rehabilitated, a person should be given a second chance. It is the lack of rehabilitation part that makes Gadd a continued threat.
Also read my thoughts on the Australian Olympic attitude in the article ‘Olympic Soar grapes’ found under ‘Rant

And quiet thoughts at a quiet time of night in ‘Deafening silence’ found under ‘My views on…

On my mind this Week Ending 15.08.08

Child singer, Fake

Lin Miaoke, 9, the Chinese girl in the red dress who sang solo during the Olympic opening ceremony, is the hottest child star on the planet. However, the voice the world heard singing was not Lin’s. It was a pre-recording of another child, Yang Peiyi, 7, who was dropped from the opening ceremony at the last minute in the “national interest”. The switch happened at the behest of a member of China’s politburo.

The general music designer of the opening ceremony, Chen Qigang, told Beijing Radio he owed the nation an explanation and he wanted to ensure Yang’s contribution was recognised.

The reason given for the last minute switch was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression. Mr Chen said Lin may not have realised she was not singing, as her voice was similar to Yang’s.

A ‘netizen’ who posted Yang’s picture and her comment on an official Chinese online forum wrote: “Every child, when he or she comes into the world, is hand-led by God. There is no ugly child.”

Meanwhile, Lin’s father a photojournalist for Beijing’s Legal Evening News, told local media he found out his daughter would be singing the lead only 15 minutes before the opening ceremony. The China Daily had quoted the “nine-year-old songbird” Lin as saying she was thrilled mostly “because I felt so beautiful in my red dress”.

Mr Chen said that the girl may not have known that she was not singing. What!! If you open your mouth to sing and the words come out over the PA system before you sing them, you know you are not singing

Fireworks, Fake

Organisers revealed yesterday that the 29 footprint firework display at the heart of Friday’s opening ceremony contained a fair whack of special effects, and that much of the fireworks section outside the stadium was in fact a digitally enhanced video which was superimposed onto live footage of the event.

Gao Xiaolong, head of the visual effects team, told the Beijing Times it had taken almost a year to create the 55-second sequence. He said actual fireworks could be seen outside the stadium but it was logistically impossible to film them by helicopter, so the decision was made to recreate the effect digitally.

The ruse even extended to getting the weather forecast right so as to simulate the same smog as on the night, and adding camera shake to simulate filming from a helicopter.

“Seeing how it worked out, it was still a bit too bright compared to the actual fireworks. But most of the audience thought it was filmed live – so that was mission accomplished,” said Mr Gao. And there I was, frantically trying to work out how they did that.

I have to say, and I know it sounds unbelievable, but I thought that some of the fireworks were fake when I was watching it at the time.

There is a particular fifteen second tracking shot where the camera pans from the outskirts of the city to the dome, with fireworks going off left and right of centre shot.

US Minority

White people are projected to no longer be in the majority in the United States by the year 2042 – eight years sooner than previous projections.

The US Census Bureau’s latest figures – based on birth, death and immigration rates – suggest that minorities will soon make up 55% of the population.

Hispanics who now make up about 15% will, it says, account for 30% by 2050. It is projected that black people will make up 15%, a small increase, while Asians will grow from 4% to 9%. White non-Hispanics currently make up about two-thirds of the population, but only 55% of those younger than five.

It is just like ‘Public Enemy’ predicted in the title of one of their best albums, ‘Fear of a Black Planet’.

It is this very fear that has fuelled Australia’s all white policy as recently as the early Nineties. It is the platform upon which racist Pauline Hanson won a parliamentary seat and subsequent tv show.

Hopefully we will not have to wait until 2042 and a racially balanced superpower to reflect a change in their foreign policies.

Where is my change?

An Ohio man with a hatred of paper money slapped down $8,000 in coins at a car dealership to buy a Chevrolet pick-up – then paid the rest by cheque. James Jones, 70, produced 16 coffee cans full of coins to buy his new Chevrolet Silverado in Cincinnati and staff spent 90 minutes counting it. But his coin hoard only covered half of the $16,000 (£8,500) price tag.

As far back as he could remember, Dennis Jones told the Cincinnati Enquirer, his father had always had coins. “He gave me lunch money in coins and each time he ever gave me money it was in coins,” he recalled. “Paper money will burn, but it is hard to damage coins,” the retired engineer pointed out.

I know a guy just like this. He is probably reading this right now wondering whether he could reinforce his pockets to take the extra weight.

On my Mind this week ending 08.08.08

Russian War

A delegation of European and US envoys is heading to Georgia as its conflict with Russia over the breakaway South Ossetia region deepens. The envoys hope to broker a truce after three days of fighting which are said to have killed or injured hundreds, and sent thousands fleeing. Russian jets have bombed several towns, including Gori in central Georgia.

Russia says it wants Georgian forces to withdraw to the positions they held outside South Ossetia before Thursday. In the absence of independent verification, there are conflicting figures about the casualties suffered on both sides but the numbers appeared to rise sharply on Saturday.

Based on Russian and South Ossetian estimates, the death toll on the South Ossetian side was at least 1,400. According to Moscow, all but a few of the dead were civilians. Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of around 130 dead. A Russian air strike on Gori, a Georgian town near South Ossetia, left 60 people dead, many of them civilians, Georgia says.

Based on information supplied by both sides, the UN refugee agency believes that about 2,400 people have fled South Ossetia to other parts of Georgia while between 4,000 and 5,000 have crossed the border into Russia.

This news story rated second in the Australian Age newspaper after the story about one American dying in China. So one American was more newsworthy that one thousand six hundred Georgians being massacred by Russians. Still, this is better than The Australian newspaper where the story did not even rate as front page in the Australian newspaper.

Bad Australian reporting aside, it is hard to believe that Russia is being allowed to posture in this manner on the world stage. Is this Putin punishment for Georga’s insubordination to break away from Russia under his Presidency?

Maybe his is Putin is carrying out as Prime Minister what he could not do as President.

No Blacks or Mongolians

Tom Miller of the South China Morning Post reported today that bars in central Beijing have been instructed to not serve blacks or Mongolians during the Olympics:

Beijing authorities are secretly planning to ban black people and others it considers social undesirables from entering the city’s bars during the Olympic Games, a move that would contradict the official slogan, “One World, One Dream”.

Bar owners near the Workers’ Stadium in central Beijing say they have been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges agreeing not to let black people enter their premises….

Security officials are targeting Sanlitun, which Olympic organisers expect to be a key destination for foreign tourists looking for a party during the Games.

The pledges that Sanlitun bar owners had been instructed to sign agreed to stop a variety of activities in their establishments, including dancing and serving customers with black skin, they said.

The owners of five bars that cater to an international clientele in the Sanlitun area separately told me today that they had not been contacted by police recently about enforcing such a ban or signing a related pledge, though one said he had been asked several months ago to not serve blacks. Miller also writes, “A few months ago, police launched a violent sting on black men drinking in the Sanlitun bar district…”

I sent two months travelling through China to get to Australia, and I even before then I have long admired the Chinese culture, however with all this in mind there is no doubt that there are large amounts of racism in China.

A lot of this is through lack of exposure to different cultures and negative stereotypes portrayed in few western films and tv programmes shown on Chinese tv.

For example Chinese women who date black men are considered whores, and there are a number of skin bleaching products and cosmetics on the Asian market for lightening the skin to white.

I believe that like every country before it, once the people are exposed to other culture, and once their children start to mix with other races in schools and playgrounds, there prejudices will be broken down and common sense will prevail.

However until then we must continue to expose instances of racism wherever it is encountered. Fight the power.

Burgeroo

Switching from beef to kangaroo burgers could significantly help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says an Australian scientist. The methane gas produced by sheep and cows through belching and flatulence is more potent than carbon dioxide in the damage it can cause to the environment. But kangaroos produce virtually no methane because their digestive systems are different.

Dr George Wilson, of the Australian Wildlife Services, urges farming them. He says they have a different set of micro-organisms in their guts to cows and sheep. Sheep and cattle account for 11% of Australia’s carbon footprint and over the years, there have been various proposals to deal with the problem.

There is only one small problem with this culinary switch to Kangaroo, and that is that Kangaroos fight back. They are not the placid creatures that you see on the tv, they flee at an amazing rate, and when confronted they have a rapture style claw in their feet that can disembowel a person in on kick.

This is literally “fighting food” or “food that fights back”

It would certainly solve the world’s obesity problems as farmers may find it safer to harvest vegetables.

On my Mind this week ending 05.08.08

And here is the news

I have just spent the last two weeks in England and France. In that time I have had more exposure to world news than three years in Australia.

I was truly astonished by the marked difference between the standard of news in Britain/France and Australia.

The BBC came first with comprehensive and in-depth world news. They reported on the events and interviewed informed guests for commentary.

Channel Four and ITV came next. They also reported the news, and interviewed guests, however they also gave their own editorial interpretation on the news item. On the whole this is good, however it is dangerous as there is potential for their interpretation to become the news. This was clearly visible in Channel Five’s news.

Channel Five interpreted the news and commented on the news without reporting a lot of fact.

There was a story about the law being changed to ensure that tips went to waiters, channel Five made the news about them, claiming hat they were solely responsible for this law being changed, where as the better news channel report the before and after position and analysed the effects of the change.

Channel five’s coverage was self indulgent and full of people thanking channel Five for their assistance.

The Channel Five coverage reminded me a lot of the Australian news coverage. They would give teasers of the news then make you wait for that news item, it is the news, not a game show.

It is one thing to write editorial commentary on the news, reader will note that I do this all the time, however I am not reporting the new. My articles are sole source of information of thousands of people.

In order to obtain my news I go online to the BBC , The Times, and The Age websites. In addition I try to only watch the ABC and SBS news when in Australia as I am constantly disappointed by anything else.

Coloureds not welcome

I noticed that last week in the Age, and widely report in other Australian press that a story was reported that an off-licence in Adelaide sent out an email to all its staff, stating that they were not to serve coloureds, and if they did that coloureds were to be escorted around the off-licence until they made the purchase, then escorted off the premises.

The off-licence tried to offer an explanation but the explanation was lame and unconvincing.

It is outrageous that this sort of behaviour still occurs in Australia, and disturbing that anyone in this day and age believes that this sort of discrimination is so acceptable that they gladly put it into an email.

On my Mind this week ending 18.07.08

The Pope is in Sydney this week for the world youth day.

Is it just me, or has the irony not been lost on others, that the Pope is leading world youth day, when in his own youth he was a member of the Hitler Youth.

He must be having a chuckle about that about now. Thousands of youths all excited and waiting to hear the word of their German leader. A leader that until now has not admitted that his over zealous staff have done anything wrong to young boys and girls in their charge.

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Did you know that the Australian government have passed a law specifically for the Pope’s visit. This in itself is not unusual, except that the wording of the law is that the police have the right to arrest anyone who is considered ‘annoying’

It gets better, the law relates to whom so ever the police find annoying.

Can you imagine the potential abuse of that law by bored police officers?

“Excuse me sir, you are under arrest, as I find that jumper you are wearing quite annoying”.

I would use it to arrest to the youths that wear their trousers around their butt cheeks.

“Alright son, you are under arrest, I find our fashion sense annoying.”

On my mind this week ending 11.08.08.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have returned

It has been six months since my last confession. Well when I say confession, I mean it has been six months since I have stood on my soap box an delivered my judgment on the political madness and social injustices of the world, all from the comfort of my onyx tower.

It has been a busy six months both for me personally as work and extra studies have kept me from you my public, and in the wider world.

Let us recap

The government of Australia changed hands, moving from the antiquated attitudes of the liberal co-elision to the optimistic hands of the Labor (not spelt incorrectly – that is how they spell it here) party. There is a feeling of new hope and change in the air, let us hope that the new government can deliver the goods they promised they promised a nation.

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In America, the democrats have chosen a new leader, and the world seems to only want to focus on the fact that he is black.

Now I am not going to sit here and claim that it is not mention worthy. Clinton could have been the first female president before her elimination, McCain could be the oldest incoming president, and Obama may be the first black president, but that is not what the public should be focused upon.

Perhaps they public should be focused on the policies of the candidate. Perhaps the public should be listening to the two remaining candidates and hearing what they have to offer. One is offering change, the other is threatening more of the same.

One candidate is sharp, articulate, fresh, young, open-minded, quick thinking and considered. The other is a war veteran, who believes in war and the preserving the enforced might of the USA upon the rest of the world.

I read somewhere recently that the USA is at the end of its term as the world’s super power, in the same way that the UK relinquished it’s title after the second world war.

The UK bowed out of the title by the slow disbandment of it’s empire, ensuring that it’s subjects were well cared before finally releasing it’s grip. How with the USA turn over its badge to the obvious incumbents, the Chinese.

Perhaps Obama is the right person to oversee a more caring, giving USA. Perhaps Obama will be the president that allows the USA to take it’s place along side the UK as the elder statesman of the world, and help to guide China in assuming their predicted role in a twenty first century world.

To a large degree the state of the world again lies in the hands of he American voter come September.

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In a momentous speech, the PM of Australia apologized to the aboriginal people of Australia for the injustices inflicted upon them by white Australia.

It was a warm, heartfelt, sincere speech that was devoid of politics and sound bites. It did not seek to justify the behaviour of the of those that had come before but promised to do better in the generations that followed.

This was in complete contrast to the speech made by the Liberal opposition leader who embarrassed himself and his party to the point that the majority of Australia adopted the aboriginal show of contempt, and turned their backs to the minister, the television screens, and radios when he was speaking.

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These are just a sample of the events of during the past six months that have had me chomping at the bit to publish my own distinct brand of social commentary.

But enough of the past, and onto the present

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Scapelle Corby left the seclusion of her hospital ward for some pampering at a beauty salon yesterday. Twelve days after being admitted to Sanglah Hospital suffering severe depression Corby looked brighter and better, and doctors said she was on the mend.

The 30-year-old spent about three hours inside the Gardenia beauty salon in the grounds of the hospital not far from the international wing where she is being treated. It is understood Corby had a pedicure and hair straightening. The treatments cost the equivalent of less than $15. Hospital sources say Corby has also left her room this week to go to the mini-mart next to the salon accompanied by a police guard.

It is the first time in almost four years, since her arrest on drug smuggling charges, that Corby has enjoyed the kind of pampering that a professional beauty salon can offer and the sort of treatments which she herself was trained to do. Corby made no comment about how she was feeling as she left the salon, wearing a cap and trying to shield her face from the media.

Psychiatrists treating her say that Corby’s condition is improving, but they still have no firm idea how much longer she will need to remain in hospital. Head of the psychiatry team at Sanglah Hospital, Dr Nyoman Ratep, said she needed at least a few more days in hospital before any decision was made to transfer her back to her cell at Kerobokan Jail.

So let me get this straight, this convicted drug mule claims that she is depressed and she gets to go the a health spar. Of course she is depressed, she as caught smuggling drugs into a country that already has an abundance of the stuff. Not only that but last week her defence lawyer admitted to the press that her defence was a complete fabrication, and that they blamed the baggage handlers as a ruse to get off.

But now after spending the last four years in prison she is depressed, surely that is the point. She has committed a crime and she is paying her debt to society. You should not be entitled to a break from your punishment, that is why it is called punishment.

I wonder if the thousands of people on death rows around the world get a few days out of prison to get a facial and a pedicure, after all, they are going to be put to death.

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A STORM has erupted over plans by ex-heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, to come to Melbourne to play poker. Crime victims have called for the ex-con, who once bit a boxing opponent’s ear off in the ring, to be banned from entering Australia. Tyson, 42 — who’s playing poker with spin king Shane Warne in Las Vegas this week — says he plans to head to Melbourne in January for the $10 million.

You’re joking me right. Apart from the obvious irony of a country that is founded on convicts complaining that a convict that has already paid his debt to society entering the country to play poker, let us look at the unknown Australians that have been convicted of crimes all over the world that are still afforded the liberty of travel.

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The White House has apologised to Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi for a briefing describing him as a political “amateur” who is “hated by many”. The “insulting” biography was included in a press kit distributed to reporters travelling with President George W Bush to a meeting of world leaders in Japan.

He was “one of the most controversial leaders” of a country “known for governmental corruption and vice”. Only last month, Mr Bush visited his old ally, calling him a “good friend”.

The four-page description of Mr Berlusconi had been taken from the Encyclopedia of World Biography. It refers to the Italian prime minister as a man “hated by many but respected by all at least for his bella figura (personal style) and the sheer force of his will”.

It says Mr Berlusconi was said to be “regarded by many as a political dilettante (amateur) who gained his high office only through use of his considerable influence on the national media”. Acknowledging the error, White House spokesman Tony Fratto issued an apology.

“A biography of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi included in the press package used language that is insulting both to Prime Minister Berlusconi and to the Italian people,” Mr Fratto said in a statement. “We apologise to Italy and to the prime minister for this very unfortunate mistake.

Now, I refuse to believe that nobody in he American research team picked this up. We have all watched West Wing and know how it works. The Americans had something to y about he corruption of the Italian government but could not be seen saying it themselves so they used a reportable source to speak for them. And we were saying that Bush was stupid. I wonder how Oliver Stone’s new film ‘W’ will portray him.

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~ by jeditopcat on 29 October, 2008.

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