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Those who have been following this blog for sometime must have noticed my interest in the battle that we are all involved in between modern secular society and the medieval version of Islam that sadly too many young Muslims are so keen to kill and die for. So it should surprise none of you that the government has just announced that the threat level has been increased. Who could complain? in the last few days we have had arrests made of two men who have been charged with terrorism offenses not that far from Chez Hall in Logan (speaking from a global perspective), Obama has announced that there will be no rock that the Jihadists can hide under in Iraq or Syria and no day goes by with out some new Jihadi outrage hitting the airwaves. Personally I don’t feel any more concerned before the change to the threat level but then I have been more interested in this issue than many people for some time. I do however hope that the discussion helps those who have been either in denial about the nature of Islam or the sincerity of those who would kill for it realize the error of their ways before its too late.
Yesterday I had to visit my doctor for myself and to take my son as well so once we were finished visiting the sawbones I gave in to my son’s repeated pleading and we went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and you know what? I it wasn’t a bad movie at all it both engaged and entertained us both which isn’t too bad from where I was sitting:
Marvel Studios’ new superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy is a smart, funny, self-aware bubblegum movie; like the recent X-Men film Days of Future Past, it features a retro playlist indicating an increasing possibility that middle youth, as well as actual youth, is an important target audience.
Chris Pratt (from TV’s Parks and Recreation) plays the Han-Solo-ish intergalactic freebooter Peter Quill, whose cynicism masks an inner hurt: he was abducted from Earth as a little kid just after his mom had died of cancer – a classic touch of comic-book fantasy, alchemising pain into superheroism – and always carries around the old-fashioned Sony Walkman with a mixtape his mother made for him. (A very prominent British producer once told me pop soundtrack riches like these induce stunned awe in indie film-makers – only the big studios can pay the staggering copyright fees.)
Quill has found himself in possession of a mysterious orb that certain ruthlessly villainous parties would like to have, and this compels him to team up with a ragtag crew of space adventurers whose story takes place in surroundings made to look like classic photorealist sci-fi paperback covers. There is a huge Tolkienian creature in the shape of a tree called Groot (played in motion-capture by Vin Diesel), the enormous musclebound, oddly coloured hombre Drax (Dave Bautista), a strangely beautiful female alien with the off-puttingly biblical name of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Rocket, a cunning little talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, with hints of Nathan Lane’s Timon from The Lion King and the meerkat in the TV advert who says “simples”.
The makers of this film managed to get the right mix of outrageous action with believable and likable characters. Its not at all deep and meaningful, instead its a roller-coaster ride of colour and movement with a quite satisfactory conclusion. My boy loved the film almost as much as he loved having the bragging rights engendered by seeing it in the first day of its release. Me? Well at least I did not retreat to the land of nod as I did for the Lego Movie so I rate it as a good four on the five star Sandpit scale and that means you won’t regret paying yer money for the seat if you are accompanying a small person for a day out .
Some say that Qantas’s woes are due to global economic circumstances others will insist that its poor leadership from Alan Joyce as their CEO Personally I say that both factors are right up there along with my personal favourite , namely that the era of cheap air travel will not last or be at all enduring, it has only existed this long because so many governments have, for political reasons and a desire to enhance national prestige been propping up so many airlines. Essentially air travel has been heavily subsidised and no that this country has a government who won’t play the same game it hardly surprising that Qantas is in such a dire circumstance. With that in mind lets consider the Union response as reported in the Fairfax press.
Street marches? Digging their heels in? Do these dinosaurs understand nothing of reality? What it boils down to here is the simple reality that the choice is to have a far leaner Qantas or no Qantas at all and it would not matter a damn how many street marches they have the public are just no longer buying into this kind of stupid industrial campaign and no matter how much the usual suspects will insist that we should keep the jobs in Australia their rhetoric is not matched by their credit cards when it comes to their own air travel. Oh its easy to propagate a sort of aviation jingoism about Qantas but if the flying public don’t vote with their bums and chose Qantas above the other purveyors of high altitude near death experiences then the company won’t be able to make a quid and if the company can’t make a quid then the protesting unionists may was well move their protests to their nearest Centerlink office.
On a wing and a prayer Comrades
Now as the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 continues we have the revelation that at least two travellers on that flight were flying on stolen identities. Now while the report from the Guardian is very quick to down play the the possibility that the plane was deliberately brought down by an act of terrorism. personally I think that at this point in time its a better than evens chance that the loss of the aircraft is the result of an act of Jihad.
The Malaysia Airlines flight missing with 239 on board may have turned around just before it vanished from radar screens, the country’s air force chief said on Sunday as the government said it had contacted counter-terrorism agencies around the world following concerns over unidentified passengers.
Transport and defence minister Hishamuddin Hussein said officials were considering all possible explanations for the disappearance of flight MH370, adding: “We cannot jump the gun. Our focus now is to find the plane.”
The airline warned families to prepare for the worst as the search widened amid inconclusive reports that debris had been spotted floating in the sea between Vietnam and Malaysia.
At least two people on the plane were travelling together on stolen passports, fuelling concerns about the Boeing-777’s abrupt disappearance in the early hours of Saturday. However, experts said there were many possible reasons for why it vanished and for people to travel on false documents.
Malaysian officials said they were looking at four suspect identities and were examining the entire passenger manifest. Interpol confirmed that at least two passports were listed in its database as stolen and that it was examining other documents.
The international police agency’s secretary general, Ronald Noble, said it had spent years urging countries to screen all passports systematically. “Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists, while Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights,” he said.
The fact that Malaysia is an Islamic country may well have made its national carrier think that it would be very low on the possible targets list but with the very acrimonious schisms within Islam I don’t think that we canmake assumptions like that, besides which the next world superiority over this may have made the possible death of Muslims logistically acceptable.
Secondly despite my utter aversion to flying I do appreciate that modern planes do not just suddenly disappear off radar screens without some sort of communication to ground informing the air controllers that they have a problem. The there and then gone aspect of this disappearance suggest at the very least a sudden catastrophic failure of the aircraft. With a sudden disappearance AND two passengers using stolen documents to travel on the plane its not looking good for those who want to make excuses for the religion of peace.
Coincidentally My lovely wife organised for us to go on a date to the movies yesterday and the film she picked was , of all things “Non Stop” which is a film about terrorists on an airliner. Not a bad flick really with lots of twists and turns to the plot, every possible passenger stereotype from the virtuous Muslim doctor, a to the scared unaccompanied little girl, an off duty NYPD cop, a plucky stewardess. There was echoes of 911 in the reactions of the passengers and at the end a good exploitation of brinkmanship and, as you would expect from an American film an uplifting resolution of the plot. I could not help thinking about MH370 though and that happy endings are easier to find in the reel world. No matter what the reasons for this tragic loss may prove to be, the families and friends of the compliment of MH370 are going to be grief stricken. I for one hope that the cause is found sooner rather than later but I expect with the crash site as yet undiscovered its going to be a rather long wait for answers.
What we know so far
• Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has gone missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
• Boeing 777 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew
• About 160 passengers are believed to be Chinese nationals
• Plane left KL at 12.41am local time and lost contact with air traffic control about two hours later
Updated at 3.11am GMT
There is almost no chance at all that anyone has survived the crash of this plane, its just the simple truth that when an aircraft crashes its generally always fatal unlike cars there are almost no design features in aircraft to make crashes survivable. Cue the usual claims about the “safety” of air travel that is based upon how seldom they crash when the true measure of vehicle safety should be based upon your chances of walking away from a crash.
with respect for the dead Comrades