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I really enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy, starting with ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ and I really enjoyed the Swedish film version. It was well acted, perfectly paced, and captured the atmosphere of the book brilliantly.

So news that Hollywood is planning on remaking the three films does not thrill me with anticipation. Rooney Mara is too prettty, but make-up can do wonders.

But Daniel Craig (in my view the best Bond ever) as Mikael Blomkvist is definitely off, a Hollywoodish choice. Craig is tough, a charismatic and manly action figure. Blomkvist is not particularly physical, a plodding and doubt-filled investigative journalist.

Sigh. Of course, I will go to see it, or at least rent it from the video store.

Occasionally Hollywood does do a remake better than the original. The Ring films, for example. The Hollywood versions were scarier and more atmospheric, with a more coherent storyline.

But the Millenium trilogy? I am not hopeful.

Naughty Wendy Francis. Doesn’t she know that expressing opinions contrary to those approved by the Federation of Angry Gays is not permitted?

Wendy is a Queensland senate candidate for the Family First Party.

She, or someone on her staff, tweeted that allowing the adoption of children by homosexual couples was equivalent to legalising child abuse.

She was not suggesting that children brought up in such relationships are more likely to suffer violence, neglect or sexual abuse.

Such an argument could be made, and perhaps should be considered, given the relative instability of homosexual relationships, the high rates of domestic violence, and the disproportionate amount of child sexual abuse committed by male homosexuals. But that is not what she was saying.

What she was saying is that research suggests that children do best when raised in a stable family headed by a male and a female. There are obviously times when that is not possible, when parents must do their best alone.

But for the state to put children into situations which are known to be less than optimal is not responsible. In matters of adoption, the children’s needs come first. Children are not fashion accessories, and having children is not a right.

The Courier-Mail reported that Wendy had ‘apologised unreservedly’ for the comment.

No she didn’t. She said she would have put the matter differently, and apologised if anyone was upset over the language used. But she continues to insist that allowing homosexual partners to adopt children is to make those children guinea pigs in an extraordinary social experiment that cannot be justified.

It is possible to argue that sufficient evidence exists now to be able to claim that children raised by homosexual couples show the same sexual, intellectual and physical development as other children. That is not that case – the research purportedly demonstrating this does not meet basic standards in terms of sample sizes, statistical analysis or reporting, and in almost every case was conducted by gay advocates.

Catholic Education’s Review Of Research On Homosexual Parenting, Adoption, And Foster Parenting is worth reading for some solid background on this issue, and comparison of outcomes for children raised by homosexual couples with children raised by male/female married parent families and other family types.

And the other apology? That was the absurd apology by Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell for Mark Latham’s questioning of PM Julia Gillard.

The PM was never in any danger (except of being embarrassed). Political journalists used to believe it was part of their job to ambush politicians with difficult questions.

So what the heck has happened to our media organisations when the CEO of a major TV network feels the need to apologise over a perfectly reasonable (if irrelevant to most voters) question?

Just read the last line of this obituary. I guess every little helps.

Bob sounds like he was a great guy, and I hope his family is going OK.

This is Shaznaz Bibi. A muslim women who was not sufficiently docile.

Shaznaz Bibi, Muslim Woman

An isolated incident? There are more photos in an article called Terrorism that’s Personal.

Since 1994, a Pakistani activist who founded the Progressive Women’s Association to help such women “has documented 7,800 cases of women who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted.”

The article makes the point that terrorism is not a distant political movement. It is real murder, mutilation, and horror for millions of men and women.

Today also brought news of a couple stoned to death in Afghanistan.

It is all very well to say that these events are not representative of Islam, which is a religion of peace, yada yada yada.

But religions are a reflection of those who founded them. Jesus was gentle, forgiving, truthful, giving, respectful in all his relationships.

Mohammed was a serial murderer and rapist, a torturer who had sex with a nine year old girl when he was fifty-four.

These comments from a Muslim website are typical of the veneration given to him by Muslims:

… we look to divine guidance in order to define for us good manners and character, exemplified by the Prophet, as God said:

“Surely, you (O Muhammad) are upon a high standard of moral character.” (Quran 68:4)

God also said:

“Indeed in the Messenger of God you have a beautiful example of conduct to follow…” (Quran 33:21)

Aisha, the wife of the noble Prophet, was asked about his character.  She replied:

“His character was that of the Quran.” (Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawud)

The Koran authorises violence against women, Mohammed exemplified violence against women, including the rape of women captured in war.

So how is disfigurement, rape and murder contrary to the ‘real teaching of Islam?’

If the Quran and the example of Mohammed are not the real teaching of Islam, what is?

And if this violence is wrong, a defaming of Islam, where are the protests and outrage from real Muslims at this misrepresentation of Islam, on a scale anything like the vengeful wrath expressed over the cartoons of Mohammed a few years ago?

I ended my post featuring Morgan Freeman with the suggestion: ‘if you don’t think race should make a difference, stop acting like race makes a difference.’

So I was interested to read in Qantas’ in flight magazine about how jolly well some of those indigenous football players are doing.

Qantas even has a program to help them along, poor dears. Because, you know, of the extra help they need.

The whole tenor of the article was ‘Oh. you’re black, and you’re good at something. Gosh. Well done!’

This is a perfect example of Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls ‘the racism of low expectations.’

It is promoted by race relations commissioners, social workers and the media. It is applied to Australia’s indigenous peoples and to non-white immigrants.

It is insidious, insulting and destructive.

I asked three random people (well it’s about as scientific as those polls in the Courier-Mail) some simple questions.

Do you believe the world is getting warmer as a result of human action? Two said yes, one no.

To the two who said yes: ‘What are we doing that is causing the world to get warmer?’

They both answered that we are making too much carbon dioxide, and this is trapping sunlight.

Next question: ‘If you had a box containg 10,000 air particles, how many of them would be carbon dioxide?’

One answer: Half?

The other answer: About 3,000?

My response. ‘Three.’

‘What, three thousand?’

‘Nope, three.’

‘You mean 300?’

Nope, three.’

‘That can’t be right.’

“Go and check it out.’

‘No that can’t be right.’

Ahh, the joyful bliss of ignorance.

Except that, in this case, and often, ignorance does not promote bliss, but uneccessary panic.

There is vastly more water vapour in the air than CO2, and water vapour is a more effective retainer of heat.

The minimal effect of that tiny amount of CO2 is simply swamped by other factors including water vapor.

The even more minimal additional amount of CO2 resulting from human activity causes so little change that it cannot even be measured.

Despite this, everywhere is getting hotter faster than everywhere else, and Mars is getting hotter fastest of all. And it’s all our fault. Except Mars.

Gol darn those irresponsible truck driving martians!

Of course, scientists keep saying we should stop panicking about climate because we can’t do anything about it anyway, and get on with solving real problems, but I still think those martians need to be taught a lesson.

Wow, that George Christensen is anti everything. Well of course he would be, he’s a liberal party candidate.

At least, that’s the impression you might get from this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Some of the comments quoted really are obnoxious. Only one of them is actually attributed to Christensen. The rest were in a magazine he edited.

All date from 1998, when he was a university student.

Sorry, when? 1998. Twelve years ago. Christensen was a teenager at the time.

There are a few things to note here. Firstly this was twelve years ago. Christensen was a teenager.

Secondly, some of the opinons expressed by Christensen as a teenager are simply sensible.

Is it really extreme, anti-gay, or anti-women to suggest there is something wrong with using tax-payer funds to pay for a sex change operation for a bloke who thinks he’d like to be a lesbian?

Thirdly, this was twelve years ago, and Christensen was a teenager at the time.

Fourthly, even the most extreme views expressed in the magazine edited by Christensen are no match for the personal attacks, obscenity and sheer nastiness exhibited on an ongoing basis by such left-wing luminaries as Marieke Hardy and Catherine Deveny, without so much as a disapproving murmur from the mainstream media.

Finally, if what you thought at university can safely be held to be what you think now, we are really in trouble with Ms Gillard, who is therefore still a ‘revolutionary leftist’ (her own words), committed to undermining capitalist society.

I feel much more confident that Christensen does not now hold the juvenile views he did twelve years ago than that Ms Gillard does not hold the radical views she did.

Christensen has acknowledged that some of what he said was inappropriate. He says those remarks were made in jest, or to generate discussion. They are not representative of his views now. And he has apologised unreservedly. 

Julia is still to tell the truth about the extent of her involvement in communist groups.

I know who I’d trust first.

How do caring, intelligent people stop the race problem?

Race commissioners, equality commissars, etc, only have jobs as long as they keep finding racists under the bed, so they have a vested interest in keeping on finding them, and making the problem sound as bad as it can be made to sound.

There may be another way.

This Morgan Freeman talking about ‘Black History Month:’

via Brutally Honest

The moral of the story is, if you don’t think race should make a difference, stop acting like race makes a difference.

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said ‘Free Tibet.’

I thought, ‘Well, I’ll have it if no one else wants it.’

I just bought a copy of the Australian Women’s Monthly.

I didn’t want to, but the current edition hasn’t yet made it to the doctors’ surgery, or to the library.

Julia Gillard is made to look very attractive.

There has been a bit of photo-shopping. In the photos, this makes her look younger and softer. In the text, it makes her look more caring and trustworthy.

I asked a random sample of female friends what they thought of the article, and of Julia.

One answered that she was lovely, and it would be great for Australia to have a female Prime Minister, just like it is wonderful that America has a black President.

This respondent is obviously a complete dimwit.

I didn’t point out that Australia already has a female Prime Minister, or that voting for someone on the basis of race is, well, racism. And besides, that’s worked out just peachy for all concerned, hasn’t it?

My two other friends said the fact that Julia is a backstabbing schemer who may have broken up a marriage, isn’t able to solve any of the problems currently facing the government, and seems willing to promise anything with taxpayers’ money to stay in power, is more important to them than that she is a woman.

They weren’t impressed with her domestic arrangements either. How is her consort going to be introduced? Please welcome Mr Tim Mathieson, the guy who’s currently shagging the Prime Minister?

It may sound snobby, but most Australians won’t sit comfortably with the idea of the Prime Minister shacking up at the Lodge with her hairdresser boyfriend.

Is this fair? Should politicians’ personal lives be up for discussion?

Well, yes.

It is important that our leaders be intelligent, energetic, capable. Julia is all of those things. So was Kevin Rudd. So was Mussolini.

Those things alone don’t make good leaders.

People also want to know that the Prime Minister is stable, truthful, compassionate, willing to honour commitments.

If a politician is willing to deceive friends, betray colleagues, lie to partners, make promises he can’t keep, why should voters have confidence he will keep his promises to them?

If the Women’s Weekly really thinks that faithfulness, integrity, stability, and kindness are less important to its readers than having nice hair and a vagina, it has seriously underestimated the intelligence of Australian women.

There will be a break in proceedings for an indefinite period.

The last year has been an annus horribilus – Amanda’s accident and ongoing illness, struggles to get my business up and running despite absences caring for family members, and Bruce’s unexpected death.

To top everything off, last week we found that Kathy has cancer and will need major surgery.

At the moment I barely have the emotional energy to go to work and cope with the constant harrassment of running a computer business while still trying to be nice.

I need to give myself a bit of space, and reduce some of the pressure I put on myself to get things done.

I will be back.

Thanks.

Ben-Peter Terpstra points out that it is much easier to make up your own Jesus if you have no idea who the real Jesus was.

In fact, if you have never read the Bible at all, and you are talking to other people who have never read the Bible, and have no intention of doing so, you can say what you like without fear of contradiction. Or at least, confident that your worthless opinion has as good a claim to respectful consideration as anyone else’s worthless opinion.

A few years ago I was arguing (politely) with the wife of a Sydney clergyman about the real presence of Christ in the eucharist.

‘But that’s just your opinion,’ she said, meaning that her opinion, or that of anyone who agreed with her, had just as good a claim to truth.

My argument was that this was not just ‘my opinion’ but what the church had taught unanimously until the 16th century. I know the scriptures on this fairly well, and some of the early church fathers. I quoted from John, Paul, and a few 2nd century letters and sermons.

Her response was ‘Well, I don’t care. I know what’s right.’

That was the end of the discussion, of course.

But for liberals (I mean the Labor kind) it is diversity, discussion, the journey, that is important. More important than the truth. Actual objective facts get in the way.

Ben-Peter writes of the Bible:

And that’s why Labor hacks despise it. Don’t teach the New Testament – and the next thing you know Jesus is a vegetarian feminist, driving a hybrid with a pro-gay marriage sticker. Or the Old Testament is just a mean patriarchal manifesto.

If you can make Jesus in your own image, you can claim him (or her, after all, who really knows) for your cause.

So the last thing you want is people reading the Bible, and finding that far from being enlistable in the latest cause de jour, Jesus’ life and words, with their claim to be eternal and objective, demand a response of repentance, a life of serving His cause.

Of course you can always pretend to read the Bible, and talk about ‘the trajectory of the Scriptures,’ which means that Jesus seems to have been an all right sort of bloke, so we can be confident that if he had known what we know, and been as clever we are, he would have thought the things we do.

But once we have allowed ourselves to encounter the real Jesus, making him in our own image is no longer an option. The choice we have is to remake ourselves in His.

If you are interested in US politics, the Town Hall website is worth visiting regularly.

Today there is an article by Michael Medved which asks why big lotto winnings are more acceptable than big executive bonuses. A couple of excerpts:

Why do huge Wall Street bonuses provoke so much more public indignation than similarly gigantic lottery jackpots?

At least financial tycoons can try to argue that their payoffs stem from their own wise decisions or productive hard work. But Powerball winners get rewarded for patently stupid behavior: wasting a few dollars (usually on a regular basis) on addictive games of chance with only the remotest possibility of success.

All studies of government-sponsored games of chance show that they draw their dollars disproportionately from the most disadvantaged members of society. … Lottery losses of just five dollars a week (a common pattern in the nations poorest neighborhoods) could otherwise yield life-changing results (like a compound-interest portfolio that will likely exceed five figures within 20 years) if that money were saved and invested.

Americans can accept a winner of Megamillions who collects $340 million simply because he’s luckier than we are, but we wince at the idea of bankers drawing a similar amount because they’re better connected, smarter, more sophisticated or even more productive.

And Debra Saunders notes that there is pretty good evidence that using a mobile phone while driving, even a hand-held phone, is no more risky than turning on the windcreen wipers:

Last week, an insurance industry report found that bans on using hand-held cell-phones while driving in California, New York, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut did not reduce the number of car crashes. To the contrary, crashes went up in Connecticut and New York, and slightly in California, after the bans took effect.

Insurers are the most risk-averse, nag-happy, fun-killing folks in the private sector. If ever there was an industry that loved nanny-state laws and had nothing to gain in raising information that does not support them, that would be the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

But its report found that the crash statistics simply aren’t there.

I doubt that will stop the legislators.

No s%#t, Sherlock.

Businesses are not charities. Loyalty schemes are designed to make more money. They make more money by encouraging people to buy from a particular store or chain.

Choice magazine found that consumers need to spend $100 to earn $1 dollar in rewards in loyalty programmes like Flybuys.

You could save that much by walking down the road and buying a single bottle of Coke on special, rather than paying full price at your loyalty card issuer’s store.

Research …  shows to earn a $50 voucher, using FlyBuys and Woolworths Everyday Rewards schemes, customers must spend almost $11,000 at Woolworths and more than $15,700 at Coles.

The findings are based on Roy Morgan Research figures that show in the year to last June, the average Australian shopper spent $156 a week in supermarkets. It would take seven years to gain enough points for a Virgin Blue flight from Sydney to Melbourne using the FlyBuys system, the report claims.

And since points expire after three years, all that loyal shopping and swiping your Flybuys card is not going to earn you anything.

Even if you don’t use a loyalty card, and shop for specials wherever you find them, you are still paying for loyalty schemes, because extra staff time, stationery and other costs of administering the scheme have to be built into store pricing.

Phew!

It has been a long couple of days – back from Bruce’s funeral, trying to catch up at work. It’s good to be busy, but this is getting ridiculous.

Anyway, a couple of totally tasteless ads from the 11 Points blog:

Rectal Christmas Fun

Nothing says Christmas fun like a rectal suppository!

Valentine Funeral Planning

Nothing captures the spirit of Valentine’s Day like ‘Let’s plan your funeral.’

Taxidermy Cheese Store

Try our Gorgonzola while we stuff your pet goat.