Being first

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Police found a container of accelerant near the body, as well as a liquid container inside a plastic container.

The accelerant was not believed to be spray paint…

…A cyclist, who would not give his name, said the area was popular for “train surfing” and there had been two other deaths from the practice at the same location. Police would not comment on the possibility of the man being a train surfer or vandal.

via Man's body found in Alma Park, St Kilda near Sandringham line gantry.

The problem with being first with the news is that so often reporting these days is just about being first with no solid information.

When in doubt, always print conjecture from a passing anonymous cyclist.

Understanding one’s mistake

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I would have thought in this country of ours that telling a few people where to get off occasionally was not a crime, but the sad thing is to see a once-great newspaper like the Herald buckle to the bullies.

Mike Carlton quoted in ‘Mike Carlton resigns from The Sydney Morning Herald‘.

Here’s the problem, Mike Carlton. Your responsibility is to improve the discourse in the country via the paper you write for. You chose to respond to emails in the way that you did, just like you chose to resign when you were only looking at a suspension (and possibly with pay).

For a journalist and commentator as practised as you to so misunderstand the potential consequences of one’s own actions should be shameful. Of course, that’s assuming you really don’t know what you were doing.

There’s an alternative possibility here. There’s the possibility that you know exactly what you were doing. That you published a purposefully antisemitic piece because you knew it would get coverage. There’s the possibility that you responded in a way that your employer deemed inappropriate because you were looking for an opportunity to become a martyr for some bigoted cause.

The language you used in your comments above imply a conspiracy: an outside force controlling the management and editorial decisions of the paper. That’s what you mean by “bullies”, isn’t it?

Either way you don’t look good. In one scenario you are weak and reactive and in the other you are dedicating yourself as an instrument of evil.

Also, in ‘this country of ours’ we used to tell people where to get off in imaginative plays on the English language. As a man of letters you should relish in that rather than resort to vulgarity. Go and read some of Paul Keating’s hansard entries and get back to me.

Quacks against the Machine

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There is so much I love about the following quote. It’s a comment by someone who calls themselves “oztronix”. They posted it on a video of a news article from NTDTV, a New York-based broadcaster trying to get non-censored material into China. The video is about Paul Hogan being held on tax evasion. The comment ends with some misguided call to nocturnal revolution. The person’s own youtube channel is filled with videos of ducklings.

And, the actor who promoted Australia overseas so well get prisoned, AS A THANKS FOR IT ? HAVE YOU NO SHAME ? ATO: SHAME ON YOU, AND YOU ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS ! YOU SHOULD PAY THIS MAN FOR HAVING YOU IN YOUR CHAIRS, AND KEEPING YOUR STUPID JOBS ! (ALL THAT MONEY HE BROUGHT TO AUSTRALIA, IN TOURISM ONLY !!!) HOW CAN YOU ? CRIMINALS ! PAYING TAXES IS VOLUNTARY, by the WAY !!! Trying to make an example of him ? BETTER DON’T TRY ! You own the day – WE OWN THE NIGHT !

The value of human life and words

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It doesn’t matter who dies. It doesn’t matter how many. What matters is that their lives – and especially their deaths – can be used in the service of the story they are so desperate to tell.

via MH17, Gaza and the value of human life by Waleed Aly.

Waleed Aly put into words here a more beautiful summary of the major problem of this week. Criticism of others is less about the subject than it is in service of the critic.

Nice feelings

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Unlike other podcasts I’ve listened to, Hookturn shows or maybe properties is a better word? seem designed in the sense that they are focussed with any extraneous parts removed. The first Hookturn show, The Nudge isn’t just about design, it’s about "being better designers". That’s a pretty important, and interesting, difference.

from “You should be listening to Hookturn.” in A Blog by Ben Kraal.

Sometimes people just get it, and when they do, it’s a really nice feeling.

Legitimate outrage

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In 2012, when Sri Lanka’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN, the Australian government told the Sri Lankan government to eliminate all cases of abuse, torture and mistreatment by police and security forces. Two years later, we are directly returning asylum seekers to those forces.

via “Sri Lanka is a refugee producing country. Here's why” by Emily Howie in theguardian.com.

At the very least, as a country we should not be handing people back to their oppressors. Either as a nation we value human life or we don’t. Either we are willing to help or we are not.

Of course there are nuances. There are ways to help and there are ways to not help.

What the government has done in this situation is the opposite of helping and so much worse than the absence of helping. We know that these people are likely to be harmed and we handed them over into that situation.

Our government has lost site of what it means to be human and to have humanity.

Humanity shouldn’t end at one’s borders (no matter how obscurely you define them, or migration zones or whatever boundaries you put on your country).

You can hear Emily Howie discuss this topic in greater detail on the first episode of Devil’s Avocado: ‘Regugees, Asylum Seekers and Boat People’