Posts by Rex Widerstrom

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  • Hard News: The witless on the pitiless, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    even murderous religious fascists deserve a fair trial

    Coming very late to this debate, but having read the very many well considered opinions I come back to NRT's as the one which best encapsulates my own. We caught someone whose ranking on the 'evil scale' is up there with Stalin and Pol Pot - yay!! We shot him in the face when he was unarmed - y... wait, what?

    Francis Bacon's essay "On Revenge" is, IMHO, still a touchstone in these situations:

    Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out...

    The most tolerable sort of revenge, is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed, the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one.

    We have laws capable of taking our revenge, even for genocide in the name of bigotry. Abandoning them emboldens our enemies and dispirits those who would otherwise cheer the accomplishment without reservation.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Doing battle alone, in reply to Steve Withers,

    Dismissing facts as opinions is one of the existential problems with the modern conservative movement.

    Arrrgh, yes! I'm so used to actually debating people with views opposing my own that I become quite flummoxed by this approach (which is, of course, what it's designed to do).

    Here in delightful Western Australia ("We loved the 1950s so much we decided to stay there") the Attorney General is fond of saying "I don't accept that". The speaker can be some looney liberal civil libertarian like myself or some clearly no-nonsense prison officer with several decades of experience under her belt, who both challenged him at the same meeting, and that's the stock answer.

    That and "show me the statistics". That worked for about a year, as we all laboured to do peer-reviewed research. Then he'd look at the quantitative data and say, you guessed it, "I don't accept that".

    He's also a habitual user of "air quotes" when talking about those whose views differ from his own. He recently addressed a conference I was MCing (wearing my professional hat, so I had to STFU) and referred to a prominent critic as "the (airquote) ee-con-o-mist (airquote)..." The fact that the man he was belittling is a well-respected professor and has been since the AG was in short pants didn't, of course, matter.

    "I don't accept that the smell of smoke and brimstone means we're all going to hell in a handbasket. And that (airquote) dev-vil (airquote) has yet to present any credible statistics as to our pending damnation" is, sadly, quite an effective debating technique, as it leaves your opponent homicidal with rage but struggling to appear just as calm and reasonable as you look. Or that might just be me, I don't know.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: For the kids, if nothing else, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    there are common decencies that are not negotiable. Like not treating human bodies like trash

    I wonder how much of the moral basis of that comes from religious tradition, even for the non-religious?

    Since I don't believe any part of me is headed for rencarnation, floating about playing a harp, communing with 72 virgins or anything else, I'd quite like my body to be treated like trash.

    That is to say, recycled where possible (I'm a donor) and then run through one of those tree shredders, or something, and used for compost. The Swedes do it already though not in quite that way.

    I don't go so far as the environmentalists who want Soylent Green to become a reality, but driving past a cemetery yesterday, all I could think was "what a terrible waste of a beautiful public open space". And cremation's a waste... even sprinkling the ashes provides no real plant nutrients.

    (I get that your point is about the indignity of the way this partcular matter was handled, but just sayin'...)

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: For the kids, if nothing else,

    Most of the assorted "late night" hosts I find cringingly unfunny, aside from the slightly demented Craig Ferguson. But they've managed to come out with some decent one-liners on this topic so, in the interests of making light of slaughter...

    Jay Leno:

    Osama bin Laden was apparently shot twice in the face. It looks like Dick Cheney may have been involved.

    For their honeymoon, the royal couple wants to go somewhere they can have complete privacy and no one in the country will give away their location. I think they’re going to Pakistan.

    Conan O'Brien:

    Osama bin Laden is dead, which means the No. 1 threat to America is now the KFC Double Down.

    The news of bin Laden’s death interrupted this week’s episode of [Donald Trump's] “Celebrity Apprentice.” Which begs the question, how do we kill bin Laden again next Sunday?

    David Letterman:

    There’s already been some trouble for Osama bin Laden in the afterlife. There was a mix up and he was greeted by 72 vegans.

    Craig Ferguson:

    Dick Cheney said he hasn’t been this happy since he saw the YouTube video of the girl throwing puppies into the river.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: You know what ...,

    @Graeme Edgeler:

    It's already a meme!

    @Russell Brown:

    From my admittedly limited knowledge the government of Pakistan does what it has to do to keep from annoying the US to the extent that it would come back to bite them. So if they're directy requested to do something the west can monitor, like "can we use your airspace?" they'll do it, and make a big show of doing so.

    But if it's something harder to track, like, "you'll tell us if you see bin Laden, right?", you might as well be asking the guy who's dating your teenage daughter to behave like a gentleman.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: You know what ...,

    Okay then... from what I gather he was found in Pakistan, living reasonably openly and in relative luxury - e.g. not that hard to find if you're the ISI and actually bother to look.

    For some time now the elephant in the room when people chat nervously about "radical Isamists" has been Pakistan. The focus always falls on various Arab countries, not that frequently on Pakistan. And when it does, they seem to get a much easier ride (cf the blunt accusations of the Sauds directly funding Wahidists etc).

    Osama was one of many, as the jihadist message boards are already reminding us. If the west is serious about minimising the capacity of his followers to wreak further tragedy, isn't it about time we called Pakistan on it's tacit support for terrorism and started imposing some consequences?

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Any excuse for a party,

    So The Chaser lads gave up, sadly. Instead we got repeats of their "War On Everything" which relied for its funniness on the events covered being current. Jokes about John Howard... in 2011?

    Sandwiched between, though, were the pre-records they'd done to drop into the dull(er) bits of the ceremony, so we get a glimpse of what might have been, like Prince Phillip's speech:

    and "The Consummation"... apparently the bride must be checked to see she doesn't have an "anus horribilis":

    Check the "related videos" for more.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Visions, in reply to DeepRed,

    So Steinman performed all the songs himself

    Superiorly, too. *genuflects reverently*

    Air Supply... meh... I almost couldn't forgive him for that. But still, considering what he got out of Bonnie Tyler, previously famous for a droning country pop number called "It's a heartache", for Air Supply to have worked with Steinman and only managed "Making Love" shows just how crap they were.

    *sigh*... Now I'm yearning to put the cans back on and go back to being a music station rock jock.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Visions, in reply to Sacha,

    it reinforced again how utterly crap most commercial 80s music was

    Look, nobody disses Jim Steinman and no one gets hurt, okay?

    There's something... compelling... about it all. And to go straight from an overture that wouldn't be out of place in something by Wagner to the spoken word intro that just goes.... whack...

    Pure genius. And I will brook no debate.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill,

    @Deep Red:

    Ah, didn't know that about Cunliffe. I knew there had to be some reason I didn't skim past his utterances chortling to myself though. Thanks.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

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