Posts by Rex Widerstrom

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  • 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 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 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill, in reply to Sacha,

    Sadly that's still regarded as being class traitors by some

    Good grief, castigated for debating the facts* "...rather than offering solidarity..."

    It's an aspect of the "Hitchens syndrome" ((c) me, since we're swinging that way now :-P)

    Cross to our side of the debate and you're an enlightened, open-minded hero. If only more of those phlegmatic, blind ideologues on t'other side had your majestic adherence to evidence-based conclusions, etc etc.

    Cross away from our side of the debate and you're a self-interested class traitor who has betrayed the principles of solidarity. Etc.

    Comes back to what I'm saying about political parties and their "you're either 100% with us or you're against us" atttitude to candidate selection and ranking.

    * I'm assuming, knowing PASers. I took no part in those debates because, frankly, I couldn't be arsed absorbing enough information on which to form a considered opinion.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The file-sharing bill, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Are there an PAS readers who would consider standing for parliament. We just have to do better than this.

    And into which box of fruit loops would we jump, exactly?

    Unless Russell's up for forming a PAS party, in which case I'm ready with my sub :-) Because there's a broad range of thought here, but the common thread is that it's intelligent and rarely, if ever, falls back on a cultish adherence to "party loyalty" at the expense of reason.

    I mean, I'm just reading about the work of Andrew Leigh a federal Labor MP. Did his PhD at Harvard under Robert Putnam (whose work on societal disconnect is worth reading, and tangenitally relevant to the whole file sharing topic, if anyone has time).

    Returned to Australia, became an economics professor at the Australian National University. Undertook an Australian study mirroring Putnam's work and published it as a book, Disconnected.

    I have no idea what Leigh's positions on issues are. I may disagree with all of them. But I suspect they'll be well thought out, factual and evidence based even if I dispute the conclusions he draws from that evidence. And I suspect they'll be concisely and intelligently expressed.

    Now I'm not saying the NZ Parliament ought to be stuffed with PhDs. But do we have even one person with the sort of academic track record Leigh has? Do we have a successful business person? (not a slippery derivatives trader, I'm talking about someone who's built up a business, employed people (and not just an occasional farm manager) and so on). Probably the closest we have is Steven Joyce!

    Yes, we must do better. But as I've said many times before, party selection procedures:
    a) require mindless adherence to the prevailing orthodoxy (which they see as "loyalty") rather than embodiment of certain principles but disparate opinions as to how to enact them; and
    b) a good dose of teh stupid, so as not to be too much of a risk of challenging the existing order.

    To do better, we need a better vehicle. the old ones are broken down and, for all that I admire the optimism and dedication of those who believe they can be fixed, I don't think they can.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

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