Sunday, September 7, 2008

Flavoured Juice?

So I was just down at the supermarket to pick up some breakfast supplies. One of those supplies was juice. Wanting juice, and not a fruit juice drink (i.e., one that part juice but mostly added water), and not wanting any added sugar, I was checking the ingredient info on the labels of the various bottles. And I got quite a surprise.

Most of the juices have flavouring added (only the organics didn't). Huh? What the hell is up with that? Since when has fruit juice tasted so god awful that it needs to have flavouring added to appease our taste-buds?

Absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Choice That Never Was

That Bristol Palin, US Vice-Presidential Republican Candidate Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter, is pregnant (and, golly gosh!, unwed) is no secret. It's been out there in medialand for all to read and hear about. The Republicans have been telling the media to keep out of this private family business, and that's a fair enough request. After all, Bristol's pregancy really does have nothing to do with her mother's ability to fullfill the duties of the office of Vice-President of the United States.

Despite this request by the GOP to the media, they have been quick to make the point that Briston will continue with her pregnancy, and will also marry the boy with whom she 'had relations'. Along with the choice of Sarah Palin to continue with her last pregnacy when informed that the foetus, (the now baby Trig) would be born with Down Syndrome, the Palin family has been celebrated by the Right as an example to all that support a 'pro-life' position; that both mother and daughter chose not to abort their pregancies is evidence of the family's comitment to their principles. The media have been happy to dance to this song, and as much as they have made of this story, that is the story the media have been going with.

It is well and good that these two individuals have chosen to live according to their principles, but why is that a story? It would seem rather unremarkable that people would do that. I would think the story would be if either Sarah or Bristol had chosen an abortion in contravention of their 'pro-life' princple and allied rejection of abortion. But since that was not the case, there is no story as far as I can see.

I do have one question though: If abortion was never an option, why does the GOP make the point that both Sarah and Bristol chose to continue with their pregnancies? Why celebrate the choice they made? After all, according the principles of these two individuals, they never had a choice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Torture and McCain

Though the present US Administration declares that the US does not engage in torture, it is pretty obvious that treatment of people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere is torture.

I've been listening to some of the speeches at the Republican National Congress. One thing I have noticed in these speeches is reference to Senator McCain's experience as a POW in Viet Nam and the torture he endured. Speaking of this experience, Rudy Giuliani makes the following comment:

He was tortured in a POW camp. But he refused his captor's offer of early release, because this is a man who believes in serving a cause greater than self interest, and that cause is the United States of America. America comes first. He has proved his commitment with his blood.

McCain is being presented as a person of strength and courage; a person who will not bow down to the tyranny of others. This is a virtue to be honoured, a virtue that makes a person worthy of one's respect and admiration.

But let us take another look at that remark by Guiliani, but with a few words different.

He was tortured in Guantanamo. But he refused his captor's offer of early release, because this is a man who believes in serving a cause greater than self interest, and that cause is Islam. Islam comes first. He has proved his commitment with his blood.

Torture is a vile evil, and we ought condemn any person or nation that engages in its use. The use of torture by the US against those people it alleges to be members of al-Qa'ida is evil, and it is an evil that will haunt the West for decades to come. Just as the Republicans honor McCain and hold his example high, so too will Islamists honour those that the US has and are continuing to torture.

Spring!

Spring has arrived!

It's a beautiful and warm sunny day. Front and back doors are open to allow a breeze through the house. Lovely.

At least for one day so far. This is Melbourne!, and it's early in the season. But none the worry. Each day is its own, and today is a lovely day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Letter to my Local Representative in Support of the Abortion Law Reform Bill

Dear Ms. Maddigan,

With the scheduling of debate on the Abortion Law Reform Bill in the Legislative Assembly due to begin on 9 September I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of my support for the removal of abortion from the Crimes Act, and for the right of women to seek and obtain a legal and safe abortion.

I ask that you support the right of women to exercise and maintain autonomy over their body, and to support and vote in favour of the Bill.

However, I am concerned that the Bill reflects Model B of the Victorian Law Reform Commission's report on abortion law. I support Model C of the VLRC's report, and further ask that you support amendments to the Bill that reflect Model C. This would bring Victorian law in line with that of the ACT. I also ask that you reject any amendments that would delay or deny women access to abortion. Such amendments may include the imposition of unnecessary regulations on abortion providers and mandating referrals, "cooling off" periods and counselling, all in the name of "protecting" women. I believe that such amendments would be proposed by those that do not support the right of women to seek abortion, and wish to hinder women's autonomy and choice by treating women as unable to make rational decisions for their own well-being and in need of paternalistic care and "protection". Such attitudes are anathema to a society that respects women.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely Yours,

Stephen Moore
[address]

PS I am the author of the blog Holocene Hominoid (http://holocenehominoid.blogspot.com/). I have posted this letter to the blog as part of my advocacy of this issue. I ask permission to allow me to publish any reply to this letter you may write me on my blog.

~*~

Update: Ms. Madiggan has replied to my email to her. She supports the Bill, and believes Model C does not have enough support to pass the Legislative Council.

Speaking of Bat-Shit Insane...

It appears we've been lied to. The melting of the polar ice-caps has nothing to do with increases in greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere by human industrial and agricultural activity. It's not even due to the natural oscillations of average global temperature that occurs over the centuries and millennial. No, no, not at all.

It's all due to the axial tilt of Earth. To wit:

When God sent the rain on this Earth for 40 days and nights, all this water had to go someplace so the Earth would be dry again.

Remember, God is the Creator and controls the universe.

God tilted the Earth from its original position and caused all the excess water to rush to the poles, and there he instantly froze the water into the ice formations that exist today.

Time is ticking down on God’s time clock. With all the nuclear bombs that are made and stored for the fast-emerging last battle, this Earth would burn up when these nuclear bombs are set off.

We are not creating global warming – God is tipping the Earth back to its original position on its axis and thus getting all this ice to get ready to move and extinguish the nuclear destructive fires man will create.
One would hope that the expression of such an opinion would be a joke - someone's attempt at a Poe. [sigh] Sadly, there really are people out there that believe this kind of thing.

I think the chorus of the following song is apropos, though I'm not sure to whom it applies: me or believers of opinions like the one above.

Large Hadron Rap

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Didgeridoo Threat to Women's Health

Are you aware that the didgeridoo poses a grave threat to the health of women everywhere? I wasn't, until I read a story posted to the front page of ABC News. According to an expert on the matter, though the effects vary, the least of these grave outcomes for a member of the female sex merely touching this musical instrument is infertility. Yes, you read that right: any female who so much as lays her pinkie finger on a didgeridoo is at risk of becoming infertile.

Why had we not been informed of this danger before? Why has such a grave threat to women's health not been subject to Parliamentary Inquiries and legislation restricting the sale and use of such a dangerous object? Have studies been conducted to determine if infertility clusters are the result of inappropriate didgeridoo use?

Probably because they would be bat-shit crazy responses to a bat-shit crazy idea. But that's just a guess. I could be wrong. There are plenty of bat-shit crazy ideas out there - like the one that states that a piece of bread is really the flesh of a 2000 year old corpse but eating said bread doesn't make you a cannibal. Insist that it really is just a piece of bread and people go mental. But I digress.

That anyone would seriously assert that a female touching a musical instrument is at risk of becoming infertile because it's a man's musical instrument is mind-boggling. That such a person would be treated with respect and be granted the gravitas of the title of 'expert' is just plain fucking ridiculous.

Fucking idiots, the lot of them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nappies

I just saw the neighbour exiting her vehicle with her young child and it got me to thinking about my own spawn that will (hopefully) exist one day. In imaginary land the first born spawn of my partner happened to be triplets. This got me to thinking about nappies, and in particular cloth vs. disposable, and their relative environmental impact.

I'm not all that aware of the relative environmental impacts of each type of nappy, not really having had cause to investigate the issue, but it is my limited understanding that for long term ecological concerns, cloth nappies have a far less impact upon the environment than do disposable nappies. In that regard, cloth nappies win.

But what of short term concerns?

Cloth nappies need to be washed in order to be used again. In a land of water plenty, that is perhaps none too great a concern. Australia though, for most of the continental land mass, is not a land of water plenty. Indeed, Melbourne's dams are below 35% capacity, and the city is still experiencing Stage 3a water restrictions.

What choice for the environmentally concerned parent? Cloth nappies, with their lower long term environmental impact but higher short term cost to water resources, or disposable nappies with their short term convenience and lower water cost but higher long term ecological impact?

I wonder, what did parents in water scarce areas of Australia do before disposable nappies were available? Surely there must have been some approach that allowed cloth nappies to be cleaned but that still saved precious water resources. I don't know, but am curious to find out.