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.

27 May, 2012

A Song for Thommo

Just Another*

Here come our member, who’s been beaten up rightly,
with a bad complexion, and some poor excuses;
see, there goes one who’s full of sleaze—
when you are a pollie you can do as you please…

That credit-cardster, he has Visa, Diners
and a MasterCard, plus the CabCharge vouchers;
he’ll say, “Someone stole my whole ID—
had to be a fraudster who must look just like me!”
Just another, unwise, corrupt MP.

He needs a kicking, with a steel-cap work-boot,
who spent too much money on expensive hookers;
he’ll say, “Some call-girls might lie for fee,
nonetheless I tell you that they’ve never met me!”
Just another, unmasked, corrupt MP.

He needs our pity for he’s feeling poorly,
he’s got spirochætes in his spinal column;
he got shakes and tremors in his knees—
look at this here X-ray, you can see the disease.
Just another, unclean, corrupt MP.

Oh, just another…  Yeah…

*  the tune is not completely dissimilar to that of “Come Together” (by John Lennon & Paul McCartney, from The Beatles’ album, Abbey Road).

24 May, 2012

Quotation in Context: Seneca

“Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune.  He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.”—Seneca
Thus is L. Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BCAD 65), also known as Seneca the younger, approvingly quoted on various websites.
The quotation is derived from Seneca’s tragedy, Hercules Œtaeus; therein a chorus of Oechalian maidens, suffering captivity in company with Iole (the daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia) whom Hercules has abducted, sing to the princess who’s been complaining, not unnaturally, of her lot:
Quid regna tui clara parentis
casusque* tuos respicis amens?
Fugiat vultus fortuna prior.
Felix quisquis novit famulum
regemque pati
vultusque suos variare potest.
Rapuit vires pondusque mali
casus animo qui tulit aequo. (225-32) 
[“Why consider thy father’s famous realm and thy calamities, mad one?  Former fortune should flee countenances.  Lucky whoever knows to endure as slave or king and can vary those respective miens.  He did seize the power and weight of evil who bore calamity with equal heart.”]
The scene then changes, so we have no record of what Iole’s reaction to her maidens’ motivational advice was.

*  a variant reading has proavosque, “and [thine] ancestors”, for casusque
, “and [thy] calamities”.

22 May, 2012

Keep It Simple, Thomson

In the first chapter of Uncle Dynamite (1948), by P.G. Wodehouse, Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, the fifth Earl of Ickenham, explains to his nephew, Pongo, the essential features of a well invented fib:
Simple, which is always good.  Impossible to disprove, which is better.
Craig Thomson MHR, however, in his strained, mendacious, deliberately misleading “explanation” in the House of Representatives yesterday, failed to keep his account simple and, though some details would assuredly be considered credible by partisan, gullible dupes, far too many were fancifully over-complicated, which is always bad, and too easily disproved, which is worse.
Mr. Thomson ought to have followed the advice which I companionably sent him.  I suggested that he choose one of two defences beloved of soapies, viz: (a) that he had suffered from amnesia, brought on by concussion, and could as yet remember nothing from early 1984 until he awoke in a strange bed in April, this year; or (b) that he has an evil twin brother, Bunbury, who has been the bane of blameless Craig’s existence since that bounder learned to forge his brother’s signature expertly, and to mimic his voice and mannerisms exactly, in the reprehensibly hedonistic pursuit of depraved pleasure at an irreproachable brother’s expense. 
Thomson will soon be proven to be a pornerastic cheat, a thief and a dreadful liar, and he will have to be forced from Parliament.  Sadly, it will take longer to force the removal of the present, incompetent and corrupt Government.

UPDATE I:  What Thomson said in his maiden speech (from Hansard):
The support I received from the entire union movement but in particular from Unions New South Wales, the TWU, the CFMEU mining division, the PSA, and of course my own union, the Health Services Union, was phenomenal.  Michael Williamson, the HSU national president, was a marvel in relation to the long-term support he provided to me.  I would also like to acknowledge the support and friendship of my former state branch secretaries, but in particular, along with Michael, I would like to acknowledge Dan Hill, from Western Australia, Lloyd Williams, from Victoria and Chris Brown, from Tasmania.
What Thomson said yesterday (from Hansard):
[T]he Fair Work report’s allegations are largely based on allegations—I repeat, allegations—made by two people: Kathy Jackson and Michael Williamson.  […]
Later on, some years later, Michael Williamson said in front of a few witnesses, ‘This is the way we deal with people in the Health Services Union when we have problems.’  So we have the threat and, post facto, we have an admission.
UPDATE IIsee “Purge the cronies and rekindle Labor’s light”, by Miranda Devine, in The Telegraph:
For [Katrina] Hart and her equally appalled colleagues, Thomson’s melange of conspiracy theories, “cloned” phones, score-settling and accusations did nothing to rebut the damning findings from Fair Work Australia that he had spent $500,000 of HSU members’ money on prostitutes, ATM cash withdrawals, fine dining and election expenses when he was the union’s national secretary (which Thomson denies).
“That’s it, we’re out,” HSU members told Hart, as soon as Thomson finished.  […]
“A lot of them walked off in disgust,” says Hart.
“A lot said it was crap, it was staged, he didn’t address anything that was real.  It was always somebody else’s fault.  Who wrote that speech for him?  Who coached him?”
Hart, who also is an unpaid union official, president of the Randwick campus general sub-branch, and a supporter of whistle-blower Kathy Jackson, had managed to stop members quitting—until then.
But for the hospital workers she represents—cleaners, kitchen staff, porters, surgical dressers, clerks, the quintessential working poor—Thomson’s address was the final straw […].
UPDATE III (23 May)see Andrew Bolt’s  “Thomson’s Story Crumbles” and (also available therefrom) a downloadable PDF, “Reality Check”.

UPDATE IV (24 May):  listen to 2GB’s Ray Hadley and Grant Williams, Executive Producer of ACA, discuss the forthcoming interview with a former prostitute who has revelations to make anent Craig Thomson.

UPDATE V (30 May):  see Piers Akermann’s “Gillard endorses Thomson cover-up”, wherein he concludes:
Gillard told Caucus and Parliament the campaign against Thomson had descended in to one of “vicious and personal attack”.
Not so, but there is a crying demand for justice and that is just what Gillard does not want.
She thinks the nation is not interested in union rip-offs, she is wrong.
We deserve better than this.
UPDATE VI (3 June):  see, at Kangaroo Court of Australia, “Slater and Gordon Lawyers Nail Craig Thomson for Fraud. The Real Smoking Gun!

UPDATE VII (7 June):  a former prostitute whom ACA located has retracted her allegations—perhaps because of political pressure, perhaps from belated probity; accordingly, idiots in the media this morning are opining that Thomson, the pornerastic peculator, is (by fallacious reasoning) innocent and has a presumption of innocence.  That’s rubbish.  The presumption of innocence is a legal rule concerning the burden of proof in criminal trials.  It exists only within the context of a criminal trial, and need prevent none of us (within the constraints of defamation laws and the like, of course) from identifying proven liars as liars.  Thomson lied, and continues to lie, and misled Parliament.  I notice that the Government and its credulous apologists, in their various, serial, hysterical claims, have no problem with their denying various members of the Opposition a presumption of innocence.

21 May, 2012

A Prison Conversation

Sometime in the future, two inmates in a prison’s exercise yard are conversing surreptitiously.  At an adjacent, sunnier corner of the yard, a drowsy, armed guard leans against a wall.

88267:  What are you in for?
103552:  Coke: possession with intent.
88267:  Ah, they’ve really cracked down on that, I hear. 
103552:  Yeah, though it’s easier to get the stuff in here than outside now. 
88267:  How much? 
103552:  Ten bucks a can, or fifteen a bottle, for the sweet, calorific tooth-rotter— 
88267:  No, how much time you get? 
103552:  Five years.  First offence, y’know.
88267:  Five years for selling Coca Cola!  How much, I wonder, would you get for selling burgers? 
103552:  Lethal injection.  I had a friend who was caught selling happy meals, and he’s on death row as we speak.  What are you in for?
88267:  Pædophobia.  Twenty years. 
103552:  What the?  You’re a child-molester! 
88267:  No, pædophobia: the word, you’d think, would mean “an irrational dread of children”, but it’s used to mean “hater of pædophiles”. 
103552:  Wow!  Did you kill one, then?
88267:  No, I wrote on my website that I didn’t think old adults should be allowed to marry young minors. 
103552:  No wonder you’re in the protected section of the prison—
Guard:  Oy, you, Peddo.  Time’s up.  Stop talking to normal prisoners, and get your bigoted arse back in your cell. 
88267:  Ah, well, at least the heroin supplied by the canteen is good and cheap…