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Essential Reading

Men at it again

extra-dopey age headlineFor a moment, just at a glance, the home pages of this  morning's Age and SMH seemed to confirm what the harpies who fill Fairfax's women's pages have been telling each other for some time: men are the enemy. Not that small minority of violent oafs who smack women around, but all specimens of humanity burdened with the chromosonal curse of an XY cocktail.

There is no word yet on the religious background of the "men" taken into custody.

When that information emerges, expect it to be downplayed or ignored altogether until columnist Ruby Hamad can put things in the correct perspective. Her latest exercise in the ludicrous can be read (for perverse entertainment, not enlightenment) via the link below.

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Je suis smug

doonesbury wideMuslims slaughter Christians, but it's all the fault of the US

The Australian is a good paper, perhaps the last genuine example of what all good newspapers once were -- crusading, factual, opinionated on its editorial pages but prepared to pursue stories in its news section that might be at odds with the leanings of many readers. What The Australian does is called journalism and there used to be a lot of it. No wonder then that Media Watch and the would-be enforcers of orthdoxy and "appropriate" -- don't you just hate that word? -- news coverage detest it. Every day that Rupert Murdoch draws breath and his commitment to a national broadsheet keeps The Australian alive and on the stands, The Age and SMH are diminished by its very existence.

Still, The Australian is not without fault. Every Saturday in the colour magazine, Phillip Adams is given a page to say little at great length and always, somehow, about himself. That Adams holds compromising photos of Murdoch is one possible explanation for his column's longevity, though a most unlikely one: were Adams ever to find a camera in his hands, only selfies would emerge in the darkroom.

Then there is Doonesbury, the cartoon strip that, as Mark Steyn writes,  is "like 'Blondie', but less edgy and with worse draftsmanship and drearier characters." That's how he begins his piece on Doonesbury's author, Garry Trudeau, who recently marked his award for "achievement in journalism" by slagging the Charlie Hebdo crew, who paid with their lives for having the genuine courage to continue offending the savages who eventually made good on their threat to kill them all.

Steyn's full blast can be read in full via the link below. Sadly, Doonesbury (and Adams) can still be read in The Australian

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God vs. Gaia


Ian Plimer re-casts Genesis:

In the beginning God floated the idea of creating Heaven and Earth. He was immediately served with an injunction by Greenpeace to prevent any creative activity whatsoever as He had not undertaken an environmental impact study and had no permit to work.

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It's all about Leigh Sales

abc biasOn Tuesday night, viewers watching the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme, 7.30, saw everything that is wrong with the organisation encapsulated in one excruciating interview. The moment came when presenter Leigh Sales was supposedly interrogating Defence Minister Kevin Andrews about the dispatch of a new joint Australian-New Zealand training contingent to Iraq.

The struggle to rebuild Iraq, to train its forces to expel Islamic State, in the maelstrom of religious and political forces competing for power and territory is a complex and important story.  Australia’s contribution is relevant, both for the Middle East, and our own domestic security.

Yet Leigh Sales thought it important -- and funny -- to reduce the interview to farce.

What exactly  was the purpose of suddenly asking the minister to name the head of ISIS?  If he had answered "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi", what would she have said next? The answers to those two questions are crucial to an understanding of what the ABC’s flagship 7.30 current affairs programme has become under the presentation of a narcissistic airhead.

The panting excitement, obvious as she awaited the exact moment to inject the irrelevancy of her gotcha, was eclipsed only by the look of unsuppressed triumph as her target failed to provide the correct answer.

Her beaming exultation at the successful springing of her trap produced the desired “look at me” reaction, effectively making Sales, rather than her subject, the focus of her interview.

That this was conceived more to impress her fellow workers and the fawning acolytes of the Sydney Morning Herald has been proven by the formers' rush to include the minister’s  "gaffe" in this morning's  radio news bulletins, and the SMH's splash in print and online.

Unfortunately, Ms Sales needs to be taught her proper role -- and her real station in life. A former reporter, competent, but of modest intellect and no  special expertise in anything, she now feels free to offend her audience by drawing attention to herself with bizarre and frequent changes in hair style, plus bullying questioning accompanied by exaggerated hand movements, which merely emphasise how badly she has phrased her sentences.

The role of the person in her chair is to draw relevant information from the subject, not to attempt self-aggrandisement.  Leigh Sales began in this role as shrewish, but for a time became almost professional.

Now, she reveals herself as a silly, spoiled little girl -- just how silly and spoiled can be observed via the link below

-- Geoffrey Luck

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Ready for her close-up

emma after 5

When you have a billion-plus dollars to spend every year, there will always be a few pennies to indulge fun topics. At the ABC, where few subjects are so interesting as those who work at the ABC, that means an exploration of what makes Lateline's Emma Alberici tick.  Her torments and terrors, ambivalent relationship with her mother, father's skills on the dance floor, sessions with her shrink and twice-a-year holidays in Italy -- it's all there.

"Emma Alberici is sharp. The suits she wears and the way she thinks are eerily similar - precise, striking, smart."

Julia Baird poses the hard questions. The Drum, a site nominally devoted to airing opinions, is the stage on which Ms Alberici's complexities are shared with the world


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The Ice Man Cometh

zeg ice smallOnce upon a time -- quite a few years ago, actually -- the climate was cold and the gift of a juicy loin of mammoth was the way to a cave maiden's heart. Now that things are somewhat warmer, well, tastes have changed.....

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