all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

26 November, 2011

Naming Things Properly

Caroline Glick, in her latest column, “Calling things by their proper names”, provides this incisive conclusion:
There is a price to be paid for calling an enemy an enemy.  But there is an even greater price to be paid for failing to do so.

23 November, 2011

21 November, 2011

“Psychic” Fails to Predict Her Own Conviction for Fraud

A clairvoyant who failed to foresee a conviction for benefit fraud has been ordered to pay back every penny of £33,000 she illegally claimed.
Self-styled Tarot reader and fortune-teller Dawn Pearson, 50, was uncovered as a benefits cheat after investigators realised she was being paid to carry out psychic consultations over the phone, a court heard.
The telephone charges were costing a fortune for her customers at £1.53 per minute, while Pearson was claiming benefits for being too ill to work.
(Thanks to The Crack Emcee of the Macho Response.)

See also ‘“Psychics” on Television’.

UPDATE (22 July, 2012):  see “‘Psychic'’ who brainwashed young women into stripping naked to ‘help them contact the dead’ is jailed for two years”, by Suzannah Hills, in The Daily Mail.

Unserved Desserts

Bellaria faciunt, deserta appellant.

I sent this message to Hog’s Breath Cafe (Australia) Pty Ltd:
King Tantalus, an ancestor of Agamemnon and Menelaus, was punished, you may recall, for serving his dismembered and boiled son at a banquet for the gods.  In the underworld, he was condemned to stand, famished and parched, perpetually in a pool of cool, clear water beneath a fecund fruit tree of many low branches laden with ripe, succulent fruit; whenever he reached for the inviting food, however, the branches moved teasingly just beyond his grasp, and whenever he bent down to cup some refreshing water, it too would recede frustratingly beyond his reach.  From the punishment of Tantalus, we derive the verb tantalise—to torment someone with the sight or promise of something desirable but unobtainable.
In an advertisement on commercial television, you announce that Hog’s Breath Cafes feature “tantalising desserts”.  Now, I have never dined at one of your establishments, but the advertisements do not entice me to try my luck, because I don’t fancy having a trolley of appealing, tempting desserts wheeled before me only to be frustrated by my not being allowed to have one.  Your advertisements suggest a scene such as this:
Diner:  I’d like a nice slice now of Mississippi Mud Cake, please.
Waiter:  I’m sorry, but we’ve run out.
Diner:  But I can see a whole cake over there!
Waiter:  Ah, that’s off, I’m afraid.
Diner:  Oh, all right, I’ll have some of your creamy, calorific Strawberry & Chocolate Fondue, then.
Waiter:  It’s rather runny.
Diner:  I like it runny.
Waiter:  Sorry, the cat’s got into it.
Diner:  Some Pav?
Waiter:  We’ll have some on Tuesday. ...
What is your practice?  Do you wave delicious desserts under the noses of diners and then tell them that they can’t have any?  Perhaps, if you do provide real desserts, you could use a more appropriate adjective, such as enticing, appealing, tempting or even irresistiblebut not tantalising.
UPDATE I (25 November):  I have so far received no response to the e-mail I sent Monday, so I resubmitted the message by way of the Hog’s Breath Cafe “General Enquiry Form”.

UPDATE II (25 November):  I received today a condescending e-mail from Rodney Winkleman, Operations Director, Hog’s Breath Cafe (Australia) Pty Ltd:
Thank you for taking the time to email in with the following information.  I take your feedback on board and will make consideration to amendments when we next shoot a commercial.
UPDATE III (21 November, 2012):  a year later and the advertisements for Hog’s Breath Cafes still feature the silly claim that the deserts are tantalising.

Mr. Pickwick’s Wise Words on Mobs

From Chapter XIII, Some Account of Eatanswill; of the State of Parties therein; and of the Election of a Member to serve in Parliament for that ancient, loyal, and patriotic Borough”, of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Containing a Faithful Record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members, by Charles Dickens (London, 1837):
“Slumkey for ever!” roared the honest and independent.
“Slumkey for ever!” echoed Mr. Pickwick, taking off his hat.
“No Fizkin!” roared the crowd.
“Certainly not!” shouted Mr. Pickwick.
“Hurrah!”  And then there was another roaring, like that of a whole menagerie when the elephant has rung the bell for the cold meat.
“Who is Slumkey?” whispered Mr. Tupman.
“I don’t know,” replied Mr. Pickwick, in the same tone.  “Hush, don’t ask any questions.  It’s always best on these occasions to do what the mob do.”
“But suppose there are two mobs?” suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
“Shout with the loudest,” replied Mr. Pickwick.

20 November, 2011

One Occupier Beats Another with a Hammer

He Was Just Following Orders*

One occupier was sore and quite pained;
“Incessant drumming’s at fault”, he complained.
The lousy drummer, twinkling at his head,
then yelled commandingly: “Beat it!” he said. 

*  see “Occuhammer Time”, by Tim Blair

18 November, 2011

The Greatest Book on the Greatest President

A new book, Obama: the Greatest President in the History of Everything (Broadside, 2011; ISBN 978-0-06-213260-4) [16 pp.*], by Frank J. Fleming, is now available at  The price, according to a review at PJ Media (by a reviewer, coincidentally, who has the same name as the author), is an affordable $1.99, but the price I paid was an even more affordable $0.00; accordingly, Obama: the Greatest President in the history of Everything is infinitely cheaper, and far better value, than any other book I have bought from Amazon recently.
It’s hard to remember the dark days before 2008.  It was a time of hatred, racism, violence, obese children, war, untaxed rich people, and incandescent light bulbs—perhaps the worst days we had ever seen.  And at the heart of it all was a thuggish, thoughtless man, George W. Bush, who lashed out angrily at whatever he didn’t understand—and he understood so very little.  Then there was that laugh of his—that horrible snicker that mocked everything intelligent and nuanced.  Also, he looked like a chimp.
It seemed like the end for the United States of America.  We would crumble in the hands of vicious, superstitious dimwits determined to hunt “ter’ists” or other figments of Bush’s rotten mind.  There was nothing left to do but head to Whole Foods to prepare our organic, sustainable, fair-trade last meal as the country ended around us.  Despair had overtaken us, and we wondered aloud whether we could ever feel hope again.
And then a man emerged who firmly answered, “Yes we can!”
Oh, but Barack Obama was no mere man.  He was a paragon of intelligence and civilized society.  A saviour to the world’s depressed.  A lightbringer.  A genius thinking thoughts the common man could never hope to comprehend. And his words—his beautiful words read from crystal panes—reached down to our souls and told us all would be well.  With the simple act of casting a ballot for Barack Obama, we could make the world an immeasurably better place—a world of peace, of love, of understanding, of unicorns, of rainbows, of expanded entitlements.  This was his promise.  And now, having had him as president for more than two years, we can say without reservation that he has delivered all his promises and more and is the best president this country—or any country—has ever had or could even imagine to have.

The book is a magnificent opusculum.  I have, however, just one small quibble:  though some words and names of past presidents—if one may even mention previous presidents in the same sentence when considering the transcendent, glorious incumbent—are italicised, the paragraph on Chester A. Arthur uses underscores instead of italics for one word—“_more_”.
Apart from that one blemish, and the lack of really obsequious grovelling of the wonderful Commander in Chief, and too many mentions of his evil predecessor, and a dearth of praise for the beauteous First Lady of Grace and Style, the book is without fault.  Oh, and it’s too short.  Also, every now and again one begins to suspect that the author doesn’t really quite know how to describe his rightful esteem for His Magnificence, the Leader of Free Peoples Everywhere, with sufficient vim and vigour or humility; otherwise, the book is superlative, essential reading for every citizen of this or any other world.

[*  or more, depending on preferred format]

Meanwhile, in Other News

Yesterday, there were demonstrations to thank our generous government for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week.

15 November, 2011

Sad Writer’s Death

Eulogies Fly out the Window 

For a smart writer,
is forever linked.

One rather long word
will be his life’s legacy?
That’s so indistinct.

Well, he might have had
a little sentence instead
which would be succinct.

UPDATE I:  see Matt Hayden’s “Peter Roebuck the latest ‘tortured artist’ to die tragically”, wherein I posted this comment:
Roebuck was a far better writer than most journalists—but that’s not saying much.  He did write fluently and expressively, with perceptive judgements, but he also had stylistic faults (in the columns I’ve read, at least).  For example, he put too little effort into choosing his conjunctions: he used “and” too often to express a contrast or consequence, say, when “yet” or “so” would be more appropriate choices, and he would even use “and” as a subordinating conjunction.  He was also ill-served by his sub-editors: in the last paragraph of his last column, for instance, “ironically” and “however” need to be followed by commas (and “ironically” is used in a journalistic, catachrestic sense):
Ironically Johnson, a bowler, is the most likely player to be dropped.  However the team for the first Test against New Zealand has become harder to predict.  Mind you, a lot can happen in a week.  It just did.
The liberal praise of Roebuck as an awesome writer of sublime genius may indicate how poorly read his contemporaries are.
UPDATE II (18 November):  see also “Your sick acts humiliated me: Roebuck’s alleged victim speaks out”, by Hedley Thomas, in The Australian.

UPDATE III (21 November):  and see Tim Blair’s “Unknown Roebuck”.

11 November, 2011

Part of Parliament Refuses to Be Part of Parliament

TWAKI has a post, “Governor General not interested in Australian democracy”, which quotes a letter from the Governor-General’s office:
Her Excellency has asked me to reply to you on her behalf.
I have taken note of your views.  However, in a parliamentary democracy, these are matters for the Parliament to resolve and it would be inappropriate for the Governor-General to intervene.
You may wish to bring your views to the attention of your elected representatives.
According the Australian Constitution, the Governor-General (representing the Queen) is an integral constituent of the Parliament:
1. The legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives, and which is herein-after called “The Parliament,” or “The Parliament of the Commonwealth.”
2. A Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty’s representative in the Commonwealth, and shall have and may exercise in the Commonwealth during the Queen’s pleasure, but subject to this Constitution, such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him. 
58. When a proposed law passed by both Houses of the Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent, he shall declare, according to his discretion, but subject to this Constitution, that he assents in the Queen’s name, or that he withholds assent, or that he reserves the law for the Queen’s pleasure.
The Governor-General may return to the house in which it originated any proposed law so presented to him, and may transmit therewith any amendments which he may recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation.
61. The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth.
The Governor-General, effectively, is bizarrely stating, “it would be inappropriate for the Governor-General to be involved in matters which the Governor-General, the Senate and the House of Representatives must resolve.
The Governor-General has a moral duty, just as Senators and Members of the House of Representatives each have a duty, to ensure that all proposed laws are just, enforceable, and in the national interest.  Unfortunately, the present, pretentious, partisan, pusillanimous Governor-General wants to enjoy all the perquisites of her position (and then some), apparently, without actually bothering with the hard task of checking whether legislation passed by the Senate and House of Representatives ought to receive royal assent.

See also “May the Governor-General Dissolve the House of Representatives?

UPDATE:  Some have unjustly censured our gracious sovereign for not attempting to stop our incompetent Government ruining the country further.  HM the Queen has quite rightly refused to intervene because all her powers, constitutionally, are vested in the Governor-General who does have the power (as I mention above)—as well as the moral duty—to intervene.  All the Queen may do under our Constitution, since the passage of the Australia Act in 1986, is appoint the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Armistice Day

On this day, Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, we commemorate the cessation of hostilities during World War I (but not the end of the war—at least between Germany and the Allied Powers—, which officially ended when The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June, 1919*).  In the US, Armistice Day—remembering peace as well as the sacrifice of soldiers—has become Veterans Day—remembering the service of soldiers.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday! (1973) Philboyd Studge writes:
When I was a boy [...] all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another.  I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute.  They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.  So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day.  Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder.  Armistice Day I will keep.  I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
*  alternatively, some may consider that the First World War ended last year, when Germany finally paid the last of its reparations.

10 November, 2011

Incredibly Challenging

Hard to Believe

Some women’s jobs are
incredibly challenging,
says our dear PM.

What exactly makes
family counselling, say,
incredibly hard?

What’s hard to believe
is how words confuse her; she
can’t understand them

(as anyone can tell
who’s had the misfortune
of hearing Gillard).

Her minders, then, should
avoid mentioning any
complex stratagem.

Unlucky, sad staff
complain, “Lexically, the
PM’s a retard.”

Our Dear Leader ponders the meaning of words.

From “150,000 of Australia’s lowest paid workers including 120,000 women are set for a pay rise”, by Patrick Lion: 
In Sydney, Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced that she would put a joint submission on equal pay with the Australian Services Union to Fair Work Australia.
Ms Gillard said the move was an important step to closing the long-standing pay gap between men and women and delivering fairness in the workplace.
The 150,000 workers affected includes 120,000 women working in sectors such as disability carers, family counselling, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
"Workers in this sector have been underpaid for too long because their work was viewed as women’s work. They work in incredibly challenging jobs," Ms Gillard said.
“Incredibly” joins a very long list of fairly simple words—including literally, no, carbon, tax, pollution and promise—which the Hon. Julia Gillard fails to comprehend. 

UPDATE I:  see bingbing’s “Why’s the PM have to make it a gender issue?” 

UPDATE II:  added the sixth stanza.

UPDATE III (25 November):  the picture above provoked the following verses.  (I wrote the slightly different, first version as a submission to bingbing’s call for captions.)

A Dream 

Between London Bridge
and the Tower of London
I saw Gillard’s head

on a spike. Tourists
gasped, “What is that horrid thing?”
“A traitress,” I said.

“She was a PM
who willfully sabotaged
the country she led.

“However, at last
the people had had enough
and, having seen red,

“tried her for treason.
They tried to bring back old laws
just for her. She fled

“to Britain which brought
back the old penalty too.
She’s exhibited

“as an example
to all. Thus, she now does more
for the country, dead,

“than she ever did
alive:  for good folk are aye
corrupt leaders’ dread.”

UPDATE III (29 November):  “We can face the confidence with future!”

UPDATE IV (7 December):  at university, unsurprisingly, Julia Gillard could not write well:

UPDATE V (27 March, 2012):  see “Unfit to Lead” and “The PM Lied”.

UPDATE VI (2 February, 2013):  in a media conference to announce that she knew twelve months ago that two ministers would now resign—really, honestly!—the PM thrice described the shoes of both Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans as incredibly big, and incredibly hard to fill.
In “The PM and Her People Agree”, see examples of the PM’s inadequate understanding of the world “literally”. 

UPDATE VII (6 April, 2013):  in a speech this week our Beloved Leader said, “Friends, nothing in our destiny is certain”.  Umm, if you’re going to believe in destiny it helps if you understand that the whole concept of destiny—from the Latin, destinare, “to determine”—is that it refers to complete certainty of future events. 

UPDATE VIII (20 April, 2013)in a speech today to the Victorian Labor Party Conference, our dear PM said:
Today, one in 12 Australian kids aren’t meeting minimum standards in reading, writing and maths.
That should be “One in twelve isn’t meeting minimum standards”, of course; one is singular.
She also said:
Today, four of the top five schooling systems in the world are in our region and we aren’t one of them.
We aren’t a schooling system?  Oh, no! 
It’s unlikely that merely giving more funding to schools will improve standards; after all, we pay the PM over $470,000 a year and her standards in reading, writing and maths have not improved.

08 November, 2011

What Sort of Quality?

One of the benefits to posterity from the political ascendancy and alliance of C. Julius Caesar, Cn. Pompeius Magnus and M. Licinius Crassus in the late, doomed Roman republic, was that M. Tullius Cicero, having his political ambitions and opportunities thwarted for a time by the triumvirate, and forced into exile by the Leges Clodiae, turned to translating and composing philosophical works.  The Latin language, however, though well-suited for citizen-soldiers and doughty farmers, and ideal for describing fighting, warring and killing, was not particularly rich in abstract terminology; whereas Greek (refined by one of the greatest prose-writers of all time, Plato, and by many other subtle writers of philosophy over several centuries) had an abundant metaphysical vocabulary, Latin was comparatively plain.
Cicero, finding Latin unequal to Greek in abstract terminology and deficient in nuance and versatility, perforce had to invent new terms; whereby, thanks to his efforts, many words—altered only slightly (or, sometimes, not at all)—now enrich our discourse: appetite, comprehension, definition, difference, element, essence, humanity, image, individual, induction, infinity, instance, moral, property, quantity, science, species, vacuum and many othersCicero, as Paul Lachlan MacKendrick puts it, “invented the Western World’s philosophical vocabulary.”*
In one philosophical work, Academica, Cicero attributes to the grammarian M. Terentius Varro these words:
I shall endeavour to speak Latin, except in using such words—philosophy, say, or rhetoric or physics or dialectic—which are now, like many others, customarily used as though they were Latin.   I have therefore given the name qualities to the things that Greeks call ποιότητας—though, even among Greeks, as in many cases, it is a word of philosophers and far from common. Truly, the words of dialecticians are not widespread, they use their own jargon; and, indeed, almost all the sciences share this feature: for either new names are to be coined for new things or terms must be transferred from other things.
So, to render the Ancient Greek word ποιότης (“whatness”), coined by Plato from ποῖος (“of what kind”), Cicero used an equivalent Latin interrogative qualis (“of what kind”) to coin the calque qualitas; rather than transliterating the Greek word, he translated the meaning with an isomerous derivation.
A quality of a thing, then—its distinctive attribute or characteristic—can, accordingly, be very good or very bad or something intermediate.  Yet Eric Beecher recently recommended the creation of a government-funded Press Council to regulate print and online media with purportedly rousing but hackneyed, nugatory words:  “Without quality journalism, a democratic society would lose its greatest source of independent scrutiny,” he asseverated piously.
Quality journalism?  If Eric Beecher want journalism of a surpassing standard he should say so; otherwise, by calling for “quality journalism”, all he’s advocating is journalism of some sort—which, regrettably, we already have, in spades.  Furthermore, if Beecher really thought eximious journalism by effective writers were a good idea, then surely we’d see some by now on at least one of his own sites; but does any impartial observer consider the journalistic offerings of, say, Crikey’s hacks to be of consistent excellence?
Take, for example, another of Beecher’s publications, The Power Index (please), which snidely, partially and poorly “examines who really runs Australia”—only one person, apparently—, and which invites correspondence:
So send us your suggestions, feedback, corrections and criticisms.  We’re always willing to listen.
Having read an article by Paul Barry which, inter alia, sledges Cardinal Pell for daring to oppose the alleged consensus that anthropogenic global warming dooms us all unless Australia alone destroy its economy with a ruinous tax, I sent the following message:
In “Cardinal Pell’s plea for scientific evidence” you refer to Christopher Monckton, third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, and an undoubted peer, as ‘“Lord” Cristopher Monckton’.  Why the scare quotes around Lord?  Do you doubt that he is the third Viscount and therefore entitled (so to speak) to be called Lord?
Why do you believe in the unproven pseudo-scientific conjecture of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?
Apart from his Christianity, why does Cardinal Pell’s call for a rational, scientific discussion offend you?
The Power Index’s “contact us” page features this claim:
Thank you for your submission! We will contact you as soon as possible.
 No-one from the Power Index, so far, has responded.

UPDATE I:  see also Prof. Bunyip on media regulation

UPDATE II:  Beecher’s scribblers—indubitably, quality journalists—often have difficulty writing English sentences; for instance, in a recent article on James Sutherland, Tom Cowie writes: “his capacity to act on the challenges now facing our national sport make him powerful.”  Is not “capacity”, the subject of the clause, a singular noun which therefore requires a singular verb, “makes”?  I asked The Power Index that question, but have not yet received a response. 

UPDATE III (9 November):  Beecher proves how unimaginative he is:
In questioning Crikey publisher Eric Beecher, [Chairman of the media enquiry, Ray] Finkelstein said he had thought of an alternative to government funding of the Australian Press Council, which had been proposed by Beecher.  “I see no alternative,” said Beecher.
See no alternative?  How about no funding at all?  How about demanding funds only from those rich fools who want to expand the powers of censors?  How about a lottery to fund the press council based on readers’ accurately guessing how often Beecher’s own publications make egregious errors, such as misspelling his name, each week?  How about making the press council an unpaid committee of the journalists’ union?  How about asking such sterling citizens as Marc Hendrickx of ABC News Watch to undertake the work for much less than the current cost of one stupid media inquiry?  How about insisting that the ignorant but overpaid layabouts of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency actually do some real, useful work for once?  How about some considered reflection for a change, Beecher, instead of your standard politically correct emesis?

UPDATE IV (9 November): earlier,  I submitted the first four questions of the previous update to Tim Blair’s post linked therein.

UPDATE V (9 November): talking of “quality journalism”, Jon Anderson, inBoxing great Joe Frazier never got the recognition he deserved”, reveals his inability to be professional:
I got the chance to interview him for [the Herald-Sun], the only stipulation being no mention was to be made of [Muhammad] Ali’s name.
Naturally that was too hard to resist but Joe was true to his word, politely ending the chat as soon as I raised his nemesis.
I interpret “raised his nemesis” as “mentioned Ali’s name”, and not as “summoned a spirit of implacable retribution”, but Anderson, I suppose, should be congratulated for trying to add a classical allusion to an otherwise mundane obituary.

UPDATE VI (9 November):  at The Power Index, Paul Barry continues Eric Beecher’s anti-Murdoch campaign:
Meanwhile in Melbourne, Australia’s own media inquiry got under way yesterday, with a succession of witnesses, including Robert Manne, Stephen Mayne and Dr Martin Hirst of Deakin University, who took aim [took aim?] at the political bias of Murdoch’s The Australian.
But the one man who should have been there was absent.  Rupert was actually in Melbourne, as part of his annual Australian visit, but he was too busy lunching with business leaders and touring his newsroom to bother attending.
And unlike the House of Commons Select Committee, former Justice Ray Finkelstein has no power to compel witnesses to appear.
If Mr. Murdoch were under no compulsion to attend this little show-trial, wherefore should he “bother” to attend?  Tom Cowie also gets into the act:
The Gillard government’s controversial media inquiry was kicking off in Melbourne, with plenty of opposition to Murdoch’s control of the print media in Australia.
But the 80-year-old was nowhere to be seen, preferring to lunch with powerbrokers at the Herald & Weekly Times building.
By the way, “Murdoch’s control of the print media in Australia” refers to News§ Limited’s owning of 33% of Australian newspapers, with a circulation of over 70%.  Manifestly, and unfortunately, Australians are choosing to buy and read the wrong newspapers—we must stop the swinish multitude from making such incorrect decisions!  Let’s have an inquiry and thereafter grant greater powers of censorship to unelected, nannying wowsers!

Also at The Power Index is an article on Andrew Bolt’s column on Alan Joyce, “Andrew Bolt’s queer take on the Qantas dispute”.  Tee hee!  See what some witty “quality journalist” did there?  Alan Joyce is homosexual, so Andrew Bolt’s column praising the Qantas CEO, seemingly odd, is described as “queer”—an adjective also used (offensively, some say) to refer to homosexual men!  So amusing! 

UPDATE VII (10 November):  at the ABC, play “count the errors”:
Prof. Manne, with an e, is not now the editor of Quadrant, which did not publish his recent article.

UPDATE VIII (11 November):  at The Power Index, in “Nil-nil: ‘Mafia boss’ Murdoch convinces no one”, Paul Barry continues to sledge the Murdochs relentlessly but ineptly:
James Murdoch utterly failed to convince British MPs last night that he is telling the truth about the News of the World phone hacking scandal.  But neither did he run up the white flag, accept he'd lied to parliament or admit he’d been caught red-handed.
UPDATE IX (16 November):  at The Power Index, “quality journalist” Matthew Knott, whilst misrepresenting Andrew Bolt’s opinion (either deliberately and maliciously or accidentally and incompetently), says Peter Roebuck was convicted of caning four boys:
Andrew Bolt thinks that the testimonials written by Roebuck’s former colleagues should have mentioned Roebuck’s former conviction for caning four South African boys.
Roebuck was guilty of assaulting three youths, all aged 19, under his care.

UPDATE X (21 November):  on Lord Monckton’s correct description of his membership of the House of Lords, see “Don’t mock the Monck” at Watts Up With That.

UPDATE XI (23 November):  see “Ammo: Churnalism – Churning the Environment”, by Katabasis:
The so called “quality press” are the worst offenders for churning Environment Agency press releases—whilst there were many entries from the tabloids and local papers, their cutting and pasting was less egregarious than the “quality press”.
The BBC is by far and away the worst offender for simply repeating whatever the Environment Agency claimed in its press releases.  Out of the 393 articles where “significant” churn had taken place, the BBC were responsible for 44%.  Likewise for the forty-nine articles that had “major” churn (meaning in most cases they were almost complete cut and pastes of the press releases), the BBC was responsible for 30.6%.
UPDATE XII (10 January, 2012):  see “Shackle the free press? Crikey, it just doesn't bear thinking about”, by Gerard Henderson, in the SMH:
In his submission to the independent media inquiry, headed by Ray Finkelstein, QC, Beecher declared that there was not enough focus on “quality journalism” in Australia, which he regards as central to “civilised society”.
All well and good.  Except for the fact Beecher’s Crikey newsletter is not the embodiment of quality journalism.  For starters, it does not engage a fact-checker.  Indeed, the online publication actually proclaims the fact it publishes undocumented “tips and rumours”. Crikey also, on occasions, publishes the home addresses of people who are targets of its occasional contributors.
Last month, Crikey reported on my (alleged) poor behaviour while attending an ABC TV pre-record function in Sydney.   I was in Washington DC at the time.  On another occasion, Crikey published an article by Mark Latham containing my home address.  Both pieces were followed by after-the-event apologies.  Neither would have got through in the first instance if Crikey had proper editorial checking.  Yet Beecher sees fit to call for more government regulation of the print media and to lecture-at-large about quality journalism.
UPDATE XIII (22 February, 2013)on another aspect of “quality journalism”, it would seem, sometimes, that journalists of the popular press have not quite come to terms with the ease of using internet search engines; see, for example, Hollywood is calling chef to the stars Marco Pierre White”, by Amy Harris of The Daily Telegraph:
“It’s obviously really exciting and Marco is thrilled,” said a film insider, who added that the idea for a film based on White Heat has swirled since the book’s release 23 years ago.
“His book really set the tone for the whole celebrity chef era.
“It was one of the most influential books on cooking ever released and made him a huge presence on the international food scene.”
Having developed a cult following, White Heat is now in limited release and commands hundreds of dollars per copy on eBay and online second-hand book stores.
By spending only a couple of minutes on the web, I learned that White’s autobiography, White Slave, is still in print, and readily available, and that the most recent edition of his cookbook/memoir, White Heat (a slim volume of 126 pages, with recipes and many photographs as well as autobiographical reminiscences), is also still in print:  it’s available (postage-free!) for $21.50.  It is true that some copies of the first edition of White Heat are for sale for hundreds of dollars, but, in a simple search on, I found in seconds a first edition of White Heat, in good condition, “commanding” US$75.95.

UPDATE XIV (27 April):  the ABC’s “Media Watch” is, according to its own description:
Australia’s leading forum for media analysis and comment.
Conflicts of interest, bank backflips, deceit, misrepresentation, manipulation, plagiarism, abuse of power, technical lies and straight out fraud:  Media Watch has built an unrivalled record of exposing media shenanigans since it first went to air in 1989.
Unfortunately, Media Watch is not above its own misrepresentations; for example, last Monday, Jonathan Holmes asserted that Sen. Cory Bernardi was:
forced to resign from the Coalition front bench, after linking gay marriage to bestiality[.]
Sen. Cory did not link “gay marriage” to bestiality; he claimed that some “creepy people” approve of bestiality and wondered aloud whether theriogamous or zoogamous marriages might not be the inevitable consequence of any redefinition of marriage made merely to suit a fashion of the day.  The ABC’s Simon Cullen, in “Bernardi resigns after bestiality comment”, made the same, silly claim last year, but his article at least included Sen. Bernard’s own words, which shew that he was misrepresented:
During a Senate debate last night Senator Bernardi said the push for same-sex marriage was coming from “radicals” who were determined to overturn the social fabric of Australian society.
And he questioned where the campaign would end, if society was prepared to redefine marriage based on the “latest criterion” that it should be allowed irrespective of gender.
“The next step, quite frankly, is having three people or four people that love each other being able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society – or any other type of relationship,” Senator Bernardi said.
“There are even some creepy people out there... [who] say it is OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals.
“Will that be a future step?  In the future will we say, ‘These two creatures love each other and maybe they should be able to be joined in a union’.
“I think that these things are the next step.”
Former senator Nick Minchin rightly defended Sen. Bernardi:
“His remarks have been quite mischievously and deviously conflated and misrepresented, and I think any fair and objective reading of what he was actually saying would lead the reasonable person to conclude that his was a perfectly proper defence of the traditional definition of marriage,” Mr Minchin told ABC Radio.
The Roman Mind at Work (Princeton, 1958), p. 64.
†  enitar ut Latine loquar, nisi in huiusce modi verbis ut philosophiam aut rhetoricam aut physicam aut dialecticam appellem, quibus ut aliis multis consuetudo iam utitur pro Latinis.  Qualitates igitur appellavi quas ποιότητας Graeci vocant, quod ipsum apud Graecos non est vulgi verbum sed philosophorum, atque id in multis; dialecticorum vero verba nulla sunt publica, suis utuntur.  Et id quidem commune omnium fere est artium; aut enim nova sunt rerum novarum facienda nomina aut ex aliis transferenda. (I. vii) 
‡  an alternative Ionic form, κοῖος, better reveals the relationship between the the Greek and the Latin interrogatives.
§  News Limited was renamed News Corp Australia on 1 July, 2013 (UPDATE XV, 1 August, 2013).

02 November, 2011