The ACMA debacle just gets worse

What the frak does online poker have to do with child pornography? Nothing. Nothing at all. This is just one example of how stupid, wrong and frakking disgraceful the whole blacklist exercise is.

As I told a couple of Labor Party stalwarts (including a former ALP MP) over lunch last week – Rudd was supposed to be the good guy. At least where the ACMA blacklist is concerned, he’s turning out to be more appalling than John Howard. I wouldn’t vote ALP in a pink fit after this experience (mind you, I’ve never voted ALP in my life) and I doubt many digital folks who voted for the ALP in 2007 will make the same mistake in the next Federal election.

clipped from
Less than a week after the federal government’s URL blacklist was leaked and caused a furore over the status of online betting company Betfair, Australia’s poker industry is now in the firing line over the number of legitimate poker sites that could be banned by the filter..
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G’DAY WORLD #229 – Sunshine and Dark Clouds

dark cloud

No guest today, just a bit of a chat about:

    1. Robert Rodriguez’s cooking show on the Sin City Recut DVD
    1. this report that less than 7% of Australians believe cosmetics advertising
    1. a review of “The Receipt” by Will Adamsdale and Chris Branch, currently showing in the Melbourne Comedy Festival

    1. ExxonSecrets, a site that helps you follow the money behind the climate change skeptics
    1. my review of George Romero’s 1985 classic “Day Of The Dead”
    1. my review of Danny Boyle’s current film “Sunshine” starring Aussie actress Rose Byrne and Cillian Murphy
    1. the spoof website MiningNSW which the Mining Council of NSW has been trying to shut down
    1. and then I finish with a little chat about my friend, the darkness, and what to do about it.
  • Don’t forget to make use of my new comments line – Aussies can dial into +613 9016 9699. The rest of you can either pay international charges (cmon, what price can you put on being on my show??) or just start begging me to set up an international number.

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    The G’Day World Theme Song is “Save Me” by The Napoleon Blown Aparts.

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    White House gagged scientist

    From the LA Times’ coverage of the Hansen case:

    James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, took particular issue with the administration’s rule that a government information officer listen in on his interviews with reporters and its refusal to allow him to be interviewed by National Public Radio.

    “This is the United States,” Hansen told the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. “We do have freedom of speech here.”

    But Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said it was reasonable for Hansen’s employer to ask him not to state views publicly that contradicted administration policy.

    Of course, the most shocking suggestion here is that the Bush administration has a policy? Who knew!?

    The suggestion that a senior scientist on the government payroll should not be able to talk openly about his scientific views because they might contradict administration policy is absurd. The dangerous theory here that Issa wants to sell is that the Government is a regular employer who should be able to determine what is said publicly by their “employees”. This theory fails to recognize that ALL Government employees and actually employees of the PEOPLE, paid for by THE PEOPLE, and their first (and only) duty is to fulfill their public responsibility, not to toe the line.

    By the way, know where the term “toe the line” comes from?

    According to the Grammar Tips site:

    The phrase “toe the line” is equivalent to “toe the mark,” both of which mean to conform to a rule or a standard. The Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002; ed. by Glynnis Chantrell) says, “The idiom toe the line from an athletics analogy originated in the early 19th century”.

    The specific sport referred to is foot-racing, where the competitors must keep their feet behind a “line” or on a “mark” at the start of the race–as in “On your mark, get set,

    So one who “toes the line” is one who does not allow his foot to stray over the line. In other words, one who does not stray beyond a rigidly defined boundary.

    Intelligent analysis of “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case

    Scenario: A student stands out the front of a high school with a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”.

    Question: Should he be allowed to? Can the school expel him on the grounds that his message is “pro-drug”? Or is that a violation of his freedom of speech? Can the student sue the Principal of the school for violating his free speech?

    This is a real case going on in Alaska at the moment. Education Week has great coverage here. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case and the justices are split.

    For my money, this should be clear-cut – this is about speech, not drugs. Our public institutions, such as schools, may have anti-drug policies, but TALKING about drugs isn’t DOING drugs. It’s back to my argument about Nitschke. Our freedom to talk about subjects, as offensive as those subjects might be considered by certain members of society, is fundamental to a free society. As soon as we relax our stance on this issue, we’re on a slippery slope.

    Your thoughts?