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In this case, marriage.

Inevitable disclaimer: I like some gay people, OK?

I like about the same proportion of  gay people I know as straight people I know. My brother is gay. My brother in law is gay. The best man at my wedding, my best friend at the time, was gay.

I absolutely believe homosexual men and women should be protected by the law from any form of discrimination on the basis of their sexuality. I believe the law has no place in people’s bedrooms, provided what happens there is between consenting adults. I think homosexual domestic partnerships should be recognised and given some protection, for example in matters of life insurance and superannuation.

However, I do not approve of homosexual behaviour. I believe it is harmful for those who indulge in it. Accepting that it happens, loving some people who do it, does not mean I have to believe it is a good thing.

States should not be pressured into calling homosexual domestic partnerships ‘marriages.’ They are not marriages.

Some non-religious reasons for this view are discussed on Secular Right.

That the meaning of words should not be arbitrarily stretched to the point of emptiness for political purposes is just one reason. Here’s an excerpt:

There really is a slippery slope here. Once marriage has been redefined to include homosexual pairings, what grounds will there be to oppose futher redefinition — to encompass people who want to marry their ponies, their sisters, or their soccer team? Are all private contractual relations for cohabitation to be rendered equal, or are some to be privileged over others, as has been customary in all times and places? If the latter, what is wrong with heterosexual pairing as the privileged status, sanctified as it is by custom and popular feeling?

Paul Kelly makes some typically clear and concise remarks about the budget, and the options now open to both Labor and Liberal leaders.

Budget details often obscure the bigger picture, but Australia is heading into a serious downturn followed by a grim recovery. Swan’s budget shows a $77 billion turnaround for next year leading to a $58 billion deficit and projects government debt to peak at $188 billion by 2012-13 compared with the $96 billion debt that John Howard inherited in 1996 and took a decade to eliminate. ..

Malcolm Turnbull sounded effective when he put the brand of “higher debt, higher unemployment and higher deficits” on Labor, and asked: “How many years, how many decades will it take us to pay off hundreds of billions of dollars of Rudd Labor debt?”

But Kelly loses the plot completely when it comes to how he believes the Liberals should respond to Rudd’s beyond crazy Emission Trading Scheme and other climate control measures.

The Liberals need to retreat from their madness in threatening to block the carbon emission scheme bills, a manifest act of political suicide. This will become the decisive test of Turnbull’s leadership; he must carry the party on this path towards responsibility based on a recognition that the true interests of the Liberal Party are a full-term parliament with an election on the economy at the end.

Kelly’s concern is that blocking the ETS scheme could be used to justify a double dissolution. This would mean an early election, one Kelly believes the Liberals could not win, in part because Labor would then paint them as a bunch of ignorant climate change sceptics.

If the Liberals were able to block the ETS, Labor might indeed use this as an excuse for a double dissolution. They would certainly then paint the Liberals as a bunch of ignorant climate sceptics.

But blocking the ETS is the right thing to do. The scheme has no basis in science.

It tries to stop human induced global warming. Global warming stopped ten years ago. There was never any evidence whatever that the modest rise in average temperature of less than one degree over the last 100 years was any other than entirely natural.

The ETS tries to stop this imaginary bogeyman at an appalling cost to industry and energy production, and consequently to the well-being of every Australian.

Kelly is right about this: it is a decisive test of Turnbull’s leadership. Will he do what is right, and do everything he can to stop the most damaging legislation ever introduced into Australian parliament?  Or will he take the easy way, and go with the flow?

I fear it could be the latter. But if Turnbull does take a stand on this, I doubt very much it will be the political suicide Kelly suggests. More and more well known scientists are publicly saying they believe global warming is junk science, and more and more of the public agree with them.

Give voters real information about the fraud of global warming ‘science,’ and the costs of the ETS and other nonsensical schemes, and this could be one time when doing the right thing is rewarded at the ballot box.

Oh sorry. That should read, Pelosi lied, some very nasty people were made a bit uncomfortable, and even scared with caterpillars.

An interesting result in a Washington Post online poll: Do you believe the CIA lied to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the use of controversial interrogation techniques?

So far 91% of voters say no, the CIA did not lie to Nancy Pelosi. That is, 91% of people believe Nancy Pelosi is lying to congress and the american people.

Dennis Prager has some questions for the left about their stand on torture /discomfort /caterpillars.

There has been some criticism of his first question – If you are morally committed to stamping out torture everywhere, how much consideration did you give to Saddam Hussein’s extensive use of torture when you objected to the US’s removing him from office? – on the basis that use of torture was not among the reasons given at the time for the war in Iraq.

It is true that the brutal torture and mutilation of large numbers of his own people was not among the reasons originally given for Saddam’ removal from office. But once the horror of Saddam’s torturous regime became known, on what basis could anyone who cares about human rights continue to oppose his removal?

The Foundation For The Defense Of Democracies has four videos of Saddam era torture. They are vile, horrifying. Not to be viewed at work, or anywhere children can see them. They are graphic and distressing. In order, they show:

1. Beatings
2. Limbs being broken or amputated

3. Executions – including young men being blown up, and beheadings
4. The mass murder of the Kurds

The files are quite large, so I suggest you right click and download before viewing. 

One of my concerns about the use of the word ‘torture’ for the interrogation techniques used in the US is that using the word in that way stretches its meaning so much that it almost ceases to have any meaning at all.

About the methods used by Saddam Hussein there is no doubt whatever.

I am not suggesting that because our opponents use methods that are vile and immoral, that justifies our doing so – even if we think our methods are less vile and immoral than theirs.

We must do what is right. And we must insist our governments do what is right.

The question in relation to waterboarding and other methods used by the CIA is not ‘Were they justified?’ but ‘Were they right?’

A woman invites a group of footballers back to her room.  According to Matthew Johns “She encouraged the players to come forward, she actually says ‘Someone come forward and have sex with me.’ One player said he would, she said ‘No, no, anyone but you,’ and pointed to me, at which point I declined.”

During an interview on the ABC’s Four Corners, the woman said she had felt under pressure, and that the experience left her feeling degraded and suicidal.

But workmate Tanya Boyd has told Channel Nine tonight that the woman openly boasted about the incident with fellow employees. “I was disgusted that a woman can all of a sudden change her story from having a great time to turning it into a terrible crime,” she said.

Matthew Johns’ career is ruined, and an embarrassing moment of weakness and stupidity is public knowlegde. Johns has apologised to the woman. A rape counsellor says his apology is not good enough.

I am not sure he should have apologised at all. He had sex with the woman at her invitation.

She then invited other players to have sex with her. For them to do so was stupid, and unfair to their wives and girlfriends.

In as far as the word has any meaning any more, what they did was immoral.

So was what she did.

I am not surprised that after a few days and some reflection the woman felt ashamed of what she had done, and regretted her decision. But it was as much her decision as it was that of the footballers who accepted her invitation.

It is hard to have any respect either for her or for the footballers. But I would have a great deal more if she had accepted that even if she now regretted her choice to act the way she did,  it was nonetheless her choice.

The woman was an adult. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your own decisions. Matthew Johns seems to have done that. She does not.

It is not respectful of women to treat them as children who are incapable of making reasoned choices, who have to be mollycoddled, and others blamed, when they make choices they later regret.

He certainly looked nervous, confused and sweaty. As if he thought that pesky rabbit might pop up any minute.

As Wayne Swan was telling the Australian Parliament, and the Australian people, that the $59 billion deficit, and the $300 billion borrowing debt that the government intended, was a “temporary stimulus measure”…  there was Elmer Fudd, in the bath, pulling out the plug. The bath water (the nation’s treasure), was gurgling down the plug-hole, and all Elmer could say was that it was “only temporary” and the bath would be full again by 2015.

Except that Elmer Swan didn’t say either ‘deficit’ or ‘billion,’ those words being too scary for the general populace. And by golly, we should be scared:

Australians will be paying nearly $9 billion per year in interest alone to service this, more than is spent on housing and infrastructure combined. Even at this rate, every man, woman and child will be burdened with a debt of more than $9000 until the borrowings are paid off by (perhaps) our grandchildren.

In many rich countries electricity use by appliances which had previously accounted for most usage – white goods such as refrigerators and clothes washers – is falling.

But the growth in use of electronic devices such as iPods, games consoles, TVs and computers has more than offset those falls.

Keep those iPods blasting, I say. Keep that CO2 pumping.  Cover the Arctic with soot.

No, seriously.

For 90% of the last million years, the Earth has been in an ice age. The last ice age started instantaneously about 114,000 years ago, and lasted till about 12,000 years ago. We are due for another one. Now.

Politicians are falling over themselves trying to stop a minor and natural warming, which has stopped anyway and amounted to less than one degree over the last century.

If they had any regard for science and history, they would be preparing us for inevitable, and far more dire for health and production, catastrophic cooling.

OK, she put them on her MySpace page so her boyfriend could see them. Anyone else who was a MySpace ‘friend’ could also see them.

She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. But child pornography charges?

Given she’s 14 years old, the photos were of herself, and the serious consequences such charges could have for the rest of her life, you’d have to say the police were either malicious, or a sausage short of a hot dog themselves.

Well, no.

I don’t think he’s a closet muslim either. Nor is he the messiah, although perhaps he’d like to be:

Obama The Messiah

Obama The Messiah

He is certainly a socialist. He has some very unpleasant friends. He has little understanding of Christian doctrine and morality. He is charismatic and convincing. But he is not the anti-christ.

Of course, some people have a different view.  Warning! Wackiness ahead.

Some people just need to cool down and get a grip.

The CeBit Australian IT business exhibition is on in Sydney. Australian domain services retailer NetRegistry dressed its staff as doctors and nurses for the event.

It was a way to have a bit of fun, and draw some extra attention to their exhibit. They certainly got the extra attention.

IT worker Kate Carruthers said NetRegistry’s depiction of women at a trade show was unacceptable. “I was there and didn’t like what I saw,” Ms Carruthers, who is a member of Females in the Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Shades of something nasty in the wood shed. The blokes were dressed up too, Kate.

NetRegistry chief Larry Bloch defended his company against claims the stunt was distasteful.

“I think there are some people out there that just need to relax,” he said. “It was a bit of harmless fun.”

Mr Bloch admitted the IT industry was challenging for women, but offered no apology for his marketing department’s strategy.

It sounds like the whole concept of humour is a bit challenging for some people as well.

A couple of busy days, lots of catching up to do, plus a headache today, have meant that I have not had an opportunity to post today.

A couple of beers and an early night should help.

In the meantime:

 Donald Trump says Carrie can keep her crown. Well done Don!

Andrew Bolt has a good selection of journalistic comment on the Australian Federal budget. Pretty much as expected. Some minor spending cuts outweighed by vast spending, to produce a record deficit. No good news at all for anyone who works or has any entrepreneurial ambitions. If you want to start a business, move to South Korea.

President Obama is also spending other people’s money like there is no tomorrow.

Readers are happy to pay for quality news content on the web.  Readers are not willing to pay for news content on the web. Depends on the quality of the reporting, I guess. There are some news sites I don’t read even though they are free, and others I already pay for, so things will pretty much go on as normal for me.

The Catlin Ice Survey team has quit, after discovering that the Arctic is still a bit chilly. While they were getting frostbite trying to prove how warm things were and how thin the ice was, a sophisticated aerial survey was gathering evidence showing the ice was twice as thick as expected.

In a move guaranteed to win him sympathy, holocaust denier Frederick Toben has been sentenced to jail for continuing to publish material questioning the nature and extent of the holocaust. If freedom of speech does not include the freedom to say things that are offensive, what does it mean? I don’t know who’s more stupid, Toben or the judge.

Now, where’s that beer?

Last year a time machine was listed for sale on Trademe, the very successful New Zealand competitor to Ebay.

That link will open a PDF file of the listing (now closed). Read the comments.

Wonderful!

I would really like to believe that Samson and Delilah, a new Australian film produced on a very low budget with inexperienced actors, is the masterpiece some reviewers claim it is.

But I am not hopeful.

A friend who saw it told me that it was dull in the extreme, and that the only reason the critics are enthusiastic is that its central characters are aboriginal, and that the whiteys are pretty much all bad guys.

That Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton both gave it five out of five is another reason to be suspicious.

It gives audiences a ‘no holds barred look at the problems facing remote Indigenous communities – violence, substance abuse and poverty.’  Oh dear.

I wonder if it continues the trendy line of blaming the white establishment for these problems. A line that disempowers aboriginal people by pretending they are so victimised there is nothing they can do to improve their circumstances.

Or if it gives indigenous people hope, empowering hope, by suggesting that they have the answers, that things could change for them if they were willing to change.

If you want things to be different, do something different.

So convinced of its value is first time director Warwick Thornton that he says ‘I want mainstream to see it, I want the whole of Australia to see it. If it doesn’t appeal to them, well I’ll jam it down their throat.’  Oh dear.

Most of the story is told without dialogue; a natural fit for a story of teenage love, says Thornton.  Oh dear.

You can almost guarantee Samson and Delilah will be required viewing at Australian high schools for years to come. And probably an official year twelve ‘text.’ Students will be bored out of their brains, and even more resentful than they are already.

I’ll see it. I make a habit of seeing new Australian films. I’m used to disappointment.

Actually, I don’t think she’s made any. Apart from some very mild topless photos with not a nipple in view anywhere.

Miss Rhode Island – Alysha Castonguay – also had some semi-semi nude shots taken. But no one has a problem with those.

Alysha says she believes the problem is not with the barely bare photos Carrie had taken a couple of years ago, but with Carrie’s opinions.

Donald Trump, who is co-owner of the Miss Universe organisation, which includes the Miss USA pageant, is going to announce his decision tonight about whether Carrie will remain Miss California and runner-up Miss USA. He’d be dumb to fire her.

Given that Australian Erin McNaught was still allowed to compete in 2006 despite having posed topless for ‘Zoo Weekly’ in 2004, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Alysha is right, and that Carrie is being punished for her opinions, not for past photographic indiscretions.

The Miss California directors have blasted Carrie and her views and anyone who shares them. All in the name of ‘diversity’ of course.

They are so much in favour of diversity they cannot bear anyone speaking a view which diverges from their own. Free speech is fine, diversity is great. But if you disagree with anything we say, we will publicly humiliate you and call you an idiot.

And, for heaven’s sake, it is not as if she volunteered her opinion. She was asked. By one of the hosts. As part of the pageant.

I have been running the Windows 7 beta on my home computer for the last month. Last night I updated my main work computer from Vista Business to the release candidate of Windows 7.

It is not possible to upgrade from the beta to the RC – that is annoying.

But the upgrade from Vista Business to Windows 7 went almost without a hitch.

The upgrade will not proceed if there are incompatible programmes installed on your computer. In my case the only problem was Raxco Perfect Disk – in my opinion the best defragmentation utility available for Windows systems.

Unfortunately, the Perfect Disk uninstall programme leaves a number of files behind, so that even after you have uninstalled Perfect Disk, Windows sees programme files on your hard drive and will not permit the Windows 7 upgrade.

To overcome this (this may work for other programmes as well), uninstall Perfect Disk from the Control Panel and restart the computer.

Then go to My Computer, C Drive, Program Files and look for the Raxco folder (or other folder if it is another programme which is causing the problem). Delete the entire folder. Make sure you only delete the folder of the programme you have already uninstalled from the Control Panel! Then restart the computer again.

Or use a programme like Perfect Uninstaller, which checks for left over registry keys, programme files and settings.

You should now be able to proceed with the Windows 7 upgrade.

Once I got past that little hiccup, Windows 7 installed quickly and smoothly, and kept all settings and shortcuts in place. It was the easiest upgrade I have ever done.

Hawaii has no Christianity Day, no Judaism Day, no Buddhism Day. But it is going to have an Islam Day.

Well, fair enough, maybe. Most major public holidays are based around Christian holy days, so I have no problem in principle with having a public holiday for major feast days of other religious groups.

If, and I think this is a reasonable if, that religious group is present in sufficient numbers for those holy days to be considered an important part of the identity of the community as a whole.

According to these figures from the Honolulu Star Bulletin, Muslims are approximately one half of one percent of the population of Hawaii:

Religious Groups in Hawaii as a Proportion of Population

Religious Groups in Hawaii as a Proportion of Population

Half of one percent might be stretching things a little. If I lived in Thailand, where there are about the same proportion of Christians as there are Muslims in Hawaii, I would not expect the government to set aside Christian feast days as public holidays.

But Hawaii wants to have an Islam Day. OK.

What day to choose? An Islamic feast day? A day commemorating some event in the life of Mohammed?

The day chosen is Gregorian date September 24th. This day corresponds to no holiday in the Islamic calendar.  But in the Julian calendar it is September 11.

For more detail, see  this article from Canada Free Press.