Portrait of a douchebag: How MediaWatch got used to grind an axe
Tuesday August 31st 2010, 9:39 pm

What a douchebag looks likeFairfax reporter Adam Turner made the grave error of referring to Tony the Abbott in rather foul terms while livetweeting the Mad Monk’s post-election speech- and found himself the subject of a segment on MediaWatch. This indiscretion got Turner reprimanded by his boss.

[Adam Turner] has received an official first and final warning.

— Statement from Paul Ramadge (Editor in Chief, The Age) to Media Watch, 26th August, 2010

Well, okay.

Doubtless, working journos damage their credibility when they make such crude commentary about politicians who are the subject of their reportage. Does nothing for the credibility of the reporter nor the news op they work for. Turner deserved to be upbraided.

Now… if the person who dobbed Turner in to MediaWatch had been Helen Lovejoy, who in pureness of heart and filled with innocent desires, both to improve the standard of Australian journalism and to protect the virgin eyes of her Twittering 9 year old daughter, alerted MW, that’d be one thing.

But the dobber wasn’t Helen Lovejoy.

The MediaWatch informant was one Robert Candelori, an out-n-proud right-wing nutjob who simply wanted to cause trouble for a journo who made an untoward comment about his favourite politician.

Candelori set about gloating and bragging about causing some grief for Turner:

Hahahaha – I reported @adam_turner to media watch, and they’re playing it! #mediawatch

Wow, how ’bout that.

Despite Candelori’s claim in this tweet

@guru_kscope I’ve got nothing to be afraid of because I’m not in the habit of using vulgar expletives to describe politicians or others.

…Candelori is about as squeaky clean as a dunny brush as regards his use of colourful language in political discussions:

RobertCandelori swears like a Scottish Comedian

Ranked: 174,376th worldwide Swears: 93 Score: 95 of 100

Consequently, Candelori’s complaint about the shocking, SHOCKING, I TELL YOU language used by Adam Turner stinks of utter partisan hypocrisy and mean high-school girl tattletale politics.

When called out, Candelori put on his very best nonchalant act

@renailemay @weezmgk I’m quite enjoying the wet lettuce twitspit #mediawatch

Before gloating over dobbing in Turner, Candelori’s Twitter profile proudly told us all about his ‘family biz,’ Candelori’s Ristorante + Bar on The Horseley Dr in Smithfield NSW:

But after Candelori was called on the carpet by Renai Lemay and myself, Big Rob’s Twitter profile suddenly changed:

Wow, where did the reference to the ‘family biz’ go? So much for that nonchalant act, eh? Maybe an elder Candelori advised young Rob that foul-mouthed bitchy political commentary isn’t so good for the ‘family biz.’

Huh, maybe it’s not just journalists who need to mind their civility in public political discourse.

Rob, let me tell you what you are: you’re a hypocritical bitch. You make Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan look positively macho. There’s a picture of you in the dictionary next to the definition for ‘catty.’

MediaWatch can’t necessarily be faulted for being used to drive some Liberal douchebag’s political agenda… but MW certainly should be mindful of the possibility. Moreover, at the end of the day, just how newsworthy was this little snit? Was it as good as David Marr’s keelhauling of Alan Jones and John Laws over ‘Cash for Comment’?

I don’t think there’s any Walkleys in this one, dearest MediaWatch.

You can do better.


Australian elections as viewed from Taiwan
Saturday August 21st 2010, 6:10 am

You can’t accuse the Taiwanese of a lack of a sense of humour.


(h/t to Angelica from Taiwan for this screamingly funny vid.)

The 500 crazies in Bennelong
Friday August 13th 2010, 5:55 pm

From the SMH:

Some 500 people have since signed a petition objecting to the tower and have put candidates on notice it will influence their decision come election day – a threat the major parties are not likely to ignore considering the seat is tipped to be decided by a handful of votes

Proof that there’s at least 500 nongs in the Bennelong electorate who haven’t got clue number one about science and the utter lack of hazard from mobile telephone towers.

How much do you want to bet that each one has a microwave oven? Microwave ovens are 1000-1200 watt radio transmitters which operate slightly above the frequency of mobile phones.  Mobile phones themselves max out at about 600mW (0.6W) and 3G base stations sear the sky with a blazing 3-10 watts.

There’s no scientific evidence that humans are in any way affected by radio signals, but the crazies are fearful anyway.

Why are there no petitions to ban microwave ovens?

The stupid… it burns.


Labor’s mandatory ISP level internet filtering: It’s dead, Jim
Friday August 06th 2010, 2:12 pm

Joe Hockey has announced that the Liberal Party will block Labor’s internet censorship scam.

The Greens had announced their opposition to Labor’s impossibly stupid internet censorship idea almost as soon as it was floated.

Family Fist’s Steve Fielding had indicated his support for the scheme (and also thinks global warming is a hoax). However, Fielding will almost certainly lose his seat to the Greens in the upcoming election. As such, the Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate… and Labor will not be able to assemble the numbers to push internet censorship through Parliament.

Conroy appears shocked- shocked, I tell you- that the Coalition have put the nail in the mandatory filter’s coffin.

Conroy has derided citizen filtering opponents as being pro-kiddie porn on numerous occasions. Anyone taking bets on how long it will take for Labor/Conroy to label the Coalition and the Greens as paedophiles as well?

However, the retort from the Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace regarding the death of the filter is probably the most astounding (if predictable):

Coalition ISP filter announcement incomprehensible

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) described as incomprehensible Joe Hockey’s announcement that the Coalition would do away with ISP level filtering of the internet.

“This announcement is incomprehensible on a number of levels”, said Mr Wallace. “Firstly to say it doesn’t work is to deny the trials that show it does. Secondly to have a system that orders takedown notices for Australian sites carrying Refused Classification (RC) material, but allow it to come in unhindered from overseas sites is simply illogical. And finally to imply that parents rather than the ISPs are best equipped to manage the technology by presumably introducing the discredited Net Nanny system, again simply defies technological reality.”

Mr Wallace said the anti-filter proponents have run a well funded scare campaign on the issue, beginning with claims it would slow down the internet by up to 87%, only to be proven it was less than 1/70th of the blink of an eye, and conspiracy theories that saw us all becoming like China and North Korea.

“On every level arguments against ISP level blocking of RC material have been disproved or shown to be illogical,” said Mr Wallace. “Even the much publicised statement by the US Ambassador that he was against it because he wanted to see the internet free “as the oceans have to be free”, conveniently overlooked the fact that the US blocks drugs been brought by boat from Central America to the US because of their harm to US society. ISP level filtering does the same with harmful internet product, and offends the freedom of the internet no more than the US does that of the sea in drug control,” he said.

Important to understand in the Government’s plan is that ISP filtering is only part of the solution to the problem of RC material on the internet, that it includes in particular additional funding of police efforts to intercept illegal peer to peer material and find the perpetrators of it.

“The Govt is absolutely right to retain its resolve on this issue,” said Mr Wallace, “and it is extremely disappointing to see the Coalition adopt a policy that, as the civil libertarians behind it intend, will establish a principle where this medium is beyond regulation – quite unlike the supposedly free seas.”

If Jim Wallace thinks the Liberals’ stance against mandatory ISP level filtering is incomprehensible, he is only indicating his limited ability to comprehend.

Joe Hockey gave a fully adequate and accurate description of why the Coalition opposes the filter, based in the results of the Enex test.

The Enex test did NOT indicate that the filter would work. It indicated that it could be circumvented by any 12-year-old, using web proxies, the Tor online anonymity program, peer-to-peer file sharing and VPNs- and ISPs can do nothing at all about circumvention. As such, the Enex test declared that the filter was a failure, right out of the box.

The ‘87% slowdown’ figure was also arrived at by the Enex test and describes the performance of the filter scheme that most correctly identified material to filter- yet even that filter would be easily circumventable.

The nut is that the filter would be ineffective, in any iteration. Filtering at the ISP level won’t stop children from accessing age-inappropriate material. Joe Hockey correctly observed that claiming the ineffective filtering regime would prevent children from accessing inappropriate material would deceive parents into thinking that children were actually insulated from net nasties, when this is demonstrably false.

Comparing the proposed- and now quite dead- internet filter to similar censorship regimes in totalitarian countries is not a conspiracy theory- it’s a wholly valid comparison. Conroy was asking for a filter that was based upon a secret, unappealable blacklist. Only in totalitarian nations is secret evidence, lack of transparency and lack of governmental accountability to the people considered normal. If that’s the sort of government Jim Wallace and the ACL find desirable, there’s nations in this world where they can get it- like China, Iran, North Korea and so on.

“1/70th of the blink of an eye” is not a scientific measurement. What is the SI standard measurement for an eye blink? This is the silliest excuse for evidence I have yet to see in the entire debate.

So, opposition to filtering is ‘well-funded?’ Really? By whom? Your evidence, please, Mr Wallace? Or is this just a conspiracy theory to explain that the Australian people, en masse, don’t want censorship?

Parents are indeed best placed to supervise and moderate their children’s internet use- not ISPs, not governments and DEFINITELY NOT the Australian Christian Lobby.

It’s indeed dead, Jim- and the ACL have cemented themselves to their irrelevancy. Will Labor choose to wear that cement overcoat going into the 21 August election?


Voting below the line? Of course you are. This makes it easy.
Monday August 02nd 2010, 7:23 pm

For the benefit of non-Australian readers, Australia has a preferential voting system, which facilitates participation of small and special interest parties. This arrangement has ups and downs. Read on.

There’s a couple of ways to vote on our ‘bedsheet’ ballots. You can vote above the line, for a party. Just a ‘1’ in the box for the party you choose. If that party doesn’t win, they can then allocate your vote according to the party’s preference.

If you don’t like the way any party has allocated preferences, you can vote below the line, numbering each individual candidate in your order of preference. In a Federal Election, this means sequentially numbering about 80 individual squares. If you make errors in your sequencing, your ballot can be declared ‘informal’ or invalid.

Few people can memorise everything about every candidate; It’s difficult to make an informed below-the-line vote while standing at the voting booth. Of course, this prompts a lot of voters to use the above-the-line method.

However, unprincipled preference distributions by parties have had unimaginably bad consequences on occasion, most notably with the election of Family Fist’s (no typo) Steve Fielding, who has been an enormous pain in the ass for the last three years. At very least, Fielding’s bigotry, buffoonery and gaffery has inspired some stellar parody and wit, notably from Twitter’s @FakeFielding.

A new website has been set up to help voters build their below-the-line preferences at home, when they’ve got time and easy access to the internet to research their choices. Naturally, it’s called belowtheline.org.au. It allows you to drag-n-drop candidates to tweak your vote and to print a copy of your selections to make voting day quick and easy.

Some good advice for Labor, who are now struggling in the polls: Dump the internet filtering policy– BEFORE 21 August. I’ll put Labor dead last if you don’t. Please don’t help Tony Abbott drive us to theocracy.