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Throw another Greenie on the Barbie…

Ah those loveable Greenies have blood upon the hands once again as the stories of how they made hazard reduction burns for all intents and purposes impossible to  get at the time when they could have been carried out safely:

Mr Arnold applied in August 2011 for a permit to spring burn some of the build-up of weeds and scrub undergrowth beneath blue gums covering Steele’s Hill that runs the length of his now-blackened 1000ha property.

He said it would have been a nice and steady little fire after winter that slowly crept through the bush, destroying the high fuel load.

He was knocked back because Steele’s Hill and its blue gums contained a wedgetail eagle’s nest and was classed as foraging habitat for the endangered swift parrot.

“I took that to mean that the bird might call in for lunch occasionally,” a frustrated Mr Arnold said yesterday.

“But I look at the devastation there today and ask where the Greens are? But they are more concerned about the pattern on their cappuccino in Salamanca than what has happened here on our farms this week.”

Mr Arnold said he could not say for sure that if he had been allowed to burn off Steele’s Hill in the springs of 2011 and 2012, that the bushfire could have been stopped on his farm before it roared down into the small Connelly’s Marsh beach community destroying more than 15 homes.

click for source

Its a story that we have heard before in relation to the terrible fires in Victoria a couple of years ago and I expect the very same lily livered  counter arguments  this time as we that were so unconvincingly mouthed then . We live in a nation that is covered with very flammable eucalyptus trees and we very clearly have a price to pay if we don’t have a fire  management regime that acknowledges that the only way to keep our homes  and our lives safe in the burning time is to reduce the fuel loads when it is safe to do so.

Maybe the only way we can do this is to throw another Greenie on the barbecue so that they will know what the people on the fire-fronts  have experienced…. Hmm  what is the best barbecue  sauce for long pig again?

Cheers Comrades


Water woes in Melbourne

I suppose I should count my self lucky on a few counts with this issue, firstly I don’t live in Melbourne, secondly I don’t rely upon reticulated water and thirdly I am not going to have to pay for a useless Desal Plant for perpetuity even though it does not work and its hopelessly late coming on line.

click for source

What amazes me is that that this quango is even contemplating taking time to repay the money it owes its customers for the overcharging, The morally correct thing to do would be to just discount the next bill by the amount that each consumer has been overcharged previously, frankly I tend to think that Ted should just tell the builders of the Desal plant that They can take their energy hungry plant at Wonthaggi and stick it where the sun don’t shine and as they have failed to meet the terms of their contract that they will just have to wear the loss. Essentially the Victorian government should just wash their hands of the whole climate change inspired madness of drawing upon the sea as a source of potable water for Melbourne.

Cheers Comrades

Jo Chandler, the Catholic Church, paedophile priests and the suicide of the mentally ill

Sadly during my life I have lost one  good friend to suicide and helped prevent the same end for another person I cared about. Its never as simple as many want to suggest to prevent people taking their own lives. Nor is it easy to pinpoint the reasons that they develop the self-destructive ideation. The fact that mental illnesses like clinical depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have a high suicide rates and that these are all organic disorders of the brain should stop people seeking to  attribute  external triggers like sexual abuse all of the blame for the subsequent death of these unfortunate individuals. Don’t get me wrong I am not seeking to make excuses for or to downplay the pernicious evil any kind of sexual abuse but to use the suicide of the mentally ill as a tool to emphasise the gravity of the abuse is likely to ignore the fact that sexual predators do not choose their victims at random.

Thus I find the latest piece from the Age’s senior writer Jo Chandler both incredibly patronising and disingenuously misrepresenting the nature of mental illnesses like schizophrenia. (my bold in quote)

Jo Chandler Photo: Penny Stephens

It emerged he had been abused.

”And then he told me that if I told a soul he would kill himself.”

The roller-coaster of illness, madness, anger, absence and homecomings continued, punctuated by suicide attempts. Ms Watson gradually pieced together the story – it was not until very late that Peter confided the identity of his attacker – and tried to get psychiatric help for her son.

Then one day in March 1999 he was finally given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He told the medical staff he was just going to move his car. He was never seen again. He was 24.

”I never stopped looking,” Helen Watson says. For six years she was left wondering what became of him, though she was almost certain he was dead.

In fact his body was found hanging in a boat shed in Aspendale late in 1999. Police couldn’t put a name to it, and he was buried as a John Doe.

But the case preyed on one of the police officers, Rod Owen. When some new fingerprint technology arrived, he tried it out on the records from the body in the boatshed, and came up with a match. Ms Watson finally got the knock at the door she had wished for and dreaded.


There is no doubt that many people who are abused carry the scars for the rest of their lives and I for one thank God that I am an atheist who will never let the God-botherers anywhere near my children not because I am worried about sexual abuse but because I don’t want my children to develop an irrational belief in the supernatural. that said I have my doubts that the recently announced inquiry into priestly abuse of children in Victoria will achieve anything of substance. Of course there are those like our regular commentator Craigy who will both welcome the piece of political show and tell and denounce its impotence. My problems with any of this sort of thing is the inherent  difficulty in proving the relevant allegations because they essentially boil down to verbal conflict  between the accuser and the accused with almost no evidence other than the competing testimonies. A legal can of worms in other words. Add to that the time between the alleged abuse and those crimes being reported (if they have been reported at all) and any possibility  of justice seen to be done becomes rather remote.

Of course none of this matters to the author of this rather dull attempt at pulling the heat strings of the Age’s readers. Jo Chandler clearly does not care about those with self-destructive mental illness who would be just as likely to self harm even if every priest was taken out and made to emulate the fate of their saviour and every building and church entity were reduced to rubble. The underlying subtext here is just the same as  that which were evident in Chandler’s sneering piece about Mary Mckillop Ah well it makes a change from the last few pieces from the Sandpit’s favourite senior writer at the Age where she has just rehashed the opinions of Fuzzy Wuzzy bloggers about their dysfunctional democracy. Still it makes me wonder just why she keeps her job at the Age and what qualifies anyone to be a “senior” writer for Fairfax.

Cheers Comrades

Death of a vile anonymous attack blog, a victory to be celebrated and “moving forward”

This is a joint post by Iain Hall & Ray Dixon:

Ray Dixon: As many of you would be aware, Iain and I have been the subjects of a vicious on-line campaign conducted by certain anonymous cretins at an anonymously authored ‘hate-blog’ going by the name of ‘Stalk Watch’.

The SW blog, which has run continuously from late 2009 with literally thousands of often disgusting, untrue & defamatory comments, sanctimoniously claimed – without a hint of irony – to be dedicated to the eradication of Internet “scumbags” & “stalkers”,

HOWEVER, by its very nature and existence, the SW blog was effectively nothing more than a shady vehicle for pissants and cowards to stalk their perceived enemies on the flimsiest pretext of doing the Internet a ‘service’. Give …me … a … break.

The blog masthead depicting Robert De Niro’s Taxi Driver movie character ‘Travis Bickle’ (which name was also the blog author’s alias) with gun pointing, a support cast of creepy characters all using aliases (and many being the same person) and the nature of the commentary, were clearly designed to threaten & intimidate as well as inciting hatred and even violence. They actually made occasional death threats, or at least calls to violence, although were forced by the host WordPress to remove the worst of them. Thank you WP for the smallest of mercies.

You have to wonder what sort of insecure and malcontent people would go to the trouble of setting up and participating in such a hate-blog for the sole purpose of slagging the real life reputations of others. Repeatedly. To follow (i.e. stalk) their every comment and hang shit on their character, their families and businesses with outright defamation and crude insinuations.

There is no noble intent or justification in haranguing and harassing in this manner. The aim of the blog was clearly to do damage to our personal and/or business lives. As much as they could. To lie, embellish, denigrate and demean in a way that was ridiculously and absurdly out of proportion to whatever ‘sins’ they claimed (usually falsely) that we had committed.

Of course, not one of the people who participated in the herd mentality at that cesspit of a blog had the guts to write under their own name. Not one. Ironically and hypocritically, they claimed the reason for using anonymity was to guard against any repercussions on their real lives, which has to be the biggest bullshit defence ever written. In effect they were saying it was all okay and above-board for them to maximise the damage done to us, but not okay for us to seek to defend ourselves.

Their premise is the one of very weak individuals who have no self-esteem and, consequently, no respect for others or appreciation of their actions. It is the sociopathic profile of the classic stalker – a weak and insecure person, socially inept and under-achieving. Or, even if achieving somewhat, not entirely happy with their lot in life. That is why they love to bring others down to their level – because they are about as low as anyone gets … and they know it.

In short, the scum behind that blog are representative of life’s real losers, self loathers and pessimists. They hate. They hate themselves. They hate everyone else and the only thing that makes them feel the slightest bit better is to stick it to those who they see as easy targets.

All. From. The. Coward’s. Position. Of. Anonymity … of course.

Anyway, to cut a really long story into just a long one, earlier this month Iain & I decided that enough was enough and that the only way to bring these f*ckers to a heel was to take them on – full frontal. Which we did on a little-known and obscure side-blog of Iain’s that hardly anyone read. Well, anyone but the handful of twisted obsessives behind Stalk Watch.

From that small bastion of independence we hammered their credibility daily and drew their attention to their own hypocrisies, lies and poor behaviour. We stood firm and returned a lot better than we got; make no mistake, this was full-on ‘blog wars’. It soon became apparent that we had them rattled so we turned up the heat.

Again, to cut to the quick, it all culminated with this post I wrote yesterday directed squarely at the blog owner “Bickle”, letting him know that I had ‘his number’ (i.e. his full identity, employment, etc) and that I was ready to act on it. I wrote:

Bickle, I’m going to tell you something. Sit down, shut up, listen and think:

There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into harassment.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into defamation.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into bullying.
There is a point where ‘mockery’ crosses the line into criminal stalking.

You and your blog have crossed those lines a long time ago.
You continue to cross them.
You are in breach of several laws – civil & criminal.
You could be hunted down, arrested, charged, convicted and jailed.

That would do a lot of damage to YOUR reputation, not to mention your liberty.
You’d be stuffed. No one would listen to your advice. Ever. Again.
You are not so well off that you can afford for that to happen, are you?
You are not retired.
You rely on your ‘good name’.
All that will go if you are caught out for this activity.
You are risking everything here.
For what?
You are a fool.

Delete your blog before it’s too late.

And before you say, “Is that a threat”, I’ll give you the same answer as before:

Take it any way you like … just don’t take me lightly.

After a few hours the o-so-courageous “Bickle” put this tail-between-his-legs post up pathetically saying he was going to delete the blog (unless someone else took it over) on the grounds he no longer had the time to administer it:

Yeah, just like Senator Mark ‘Rat’ Arbib resigned for ‘family reasons’. Sure. So in the early hours of today I put this in the comments section of his filthy, stinking blog:

Then I had a shower (to wash the Stalk Watch scum away) and went to bed. Getting up this morning at 7.30 a.m. I switched on my computer and found this:


What a nice way to start the day. Cowards never win. Just remember XXXXXX XXXXXXXX, I know where the bodies are buried. Now it’s over to Iain.

Iain Hall: As of this morning “Stalkwatch” is no more,deleted and forever removed from the Internet.

Its tough writing under your own name sometimes especially if you start your blogging career by putting  out of joint the noses of some rather nasty and sanctimonious idiots who think that they both own the internet and that they get to set the rules of good online etiquette. You see when I naively made my first foray into the bloggosphere I did not know at all that some people so jealously guarded their true identities so that they could be uninhibited by the consequences of their bad behavior. I just thought that their anonymity was nothing of consequence. In the course of the last seven years I have discovered just how petty, nasty and venial some people can be when they have their masks dissolved and how they will stoop to any vilification to demonise the target of their bullying.

During the course of the last seven years I have had to learnt some handy self-defense skills, not in the martial arts sense mind you but in the sense of learning about precise way that the internet works and the way that we all leave electronic “paper trails” in our wake as we comment or publish our “words of wisdom”. Being ever on the lookout for the next underhanded attacker seeking to infiltrate my comment threads or to become my “friend” via email has made me rather too cynical about the new faces that turn up at my Sandpit and hopefully the demise of “Stalkwatch” will be a lesson to the rest of that deluded crew that neither Ray nor I are “easy marks” who will give in to bullying and piss-weak internet vigilantes who foolishly believe their own propaganda about their targets. Those who sought to punish Ray and I for some pretty venial sins have time and again made disproportionate responses because they were simply bullying boors who could not stand being out smarted or out lasted by an ordinary blokes from the back blocks of southern Queensland and eastern Victoria . They especially could not stand the fact that I have made a friendship and alliance with that  fellow blogger from eastern Victoria. The reason was of course that the alliance between Ray and I has shown then that the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts. They have thrown everything at us and “Stalkwatch” was just part of the story most of which is probably best kept private, not because the scum-bags who ran it and populated its comment threads deserve any mercy (they don’t) but because Ray and I are both sick and tired of the entire thing. Ray has his business to run and I have my  family to “do” for, projects to work on and well the bigger political picture is just so much more interesting than being obliged to do battle to defend our good names and reputations from the most vile smears and ongoing attempts at character assassination all made from behind the mask the  easy anonymity of the internet  .

So hopefully we can now move on and focus upon topics that will be far more interesting to the many casual readers of The Sandpit. Issues like the rise, fall and further fall of the Federal Labor Government. The most spectacular rise of the Newman administration up here comes to mind as well. The weird and wacky things that surface all the time and just beg for commentary. Heck I may even try to encourage Ray to increase the sporting and religious (AFL) content of the blog  as well. The world is , as it ever was, a wild and volatile place which offers plenty of opportunities to share and debate our opinions.  Old favorites like the loopy Greens and their religious faith in Climate change and their millenarian madness need much more attention and I for one am looking forward to giving these things and many more greater focus in the weeks months and yes, years ahead. I am very proud of the fact that here at The Sandpit we have a range of political views evident in the writing of its authors, it’s what sets us apart from other “group” blogs which can end up being too narrowly focused and too politically  incestuous. Anyway  on this beautiful day I’m lifting my coffee mug in salute to my friends and respected debating adversaries who make Blogging so rewarding and so much fun.

Cheers Comrades

Air Australia, the death of an airline is a portent for the future


I know that its going to upset the latte sipping class but there is one thing that I’m certain of and that is the simple truth that we are facing the end of “cheap” mass air travel, as the cost of the fuel that powers the planes keeps increasing there is just no way that we won’t see the prices of those tickets to any destination remain affordable to the ordinary people. Companies that try to keep their planes in the air will either have to substantially increase their ticket prices of run the risk  of going out just like Air Australia when they can’t afford to fill their planes:

With this and the news that Qantas is doing even more cost cutting in its maintenance facilities in this country which has seen the premiers of both Queensland and Victoria publicly grovelling in their attempts to see the other have to wear the loss of jobs that will result from this “downsizing”. Its hardly a dignified example of the politician’s role but I reckon that it is something that we are going to see a great deal more of over the next few years as the Air industry declines in the face of ever increasing fuel and wage costs.

There is an upside though and it is this, all of our global warming true believers will be able to avoid the charge of hypocrisy because they won’t be able to afford those expensive and emission heavy overseas holidays instead they will have to enjoy sojourning in places closer to home during their vacations, its not like we lack enough natural wonders or delightful accommodation  in this country to please even the most jaded Latte sipper now is it?

I have seen the future and in it there are far fewer aircraft are flying…

Cheers Comrades


Abos’ revenge on Batman & Robin?

I am not a racist.

I am a fare man and I reckon the aborigine tribe that sold Melbourne to Batman for a few trinckets & blankets got ripped off big time.

But no-one made them sell it did they?

Its’ not like Batman and Robin held gun’s to their heads as they put their X’s to a peice of paper that gave title to: a parcell of real estate that now houses the Melbournes CBD conservatively valued at about $500 trillion.

So why do we need a permanent remindering  of that peace of skullduggary?

New face of Melbourne rises 32 storeys

A 32-storey apartment block at the Carlton end of Swanston Street will feature – in an architectural world first – the image of indigenous leader William Barak across its 100-metre-high, sculpted facade.

When complete in 2014, Barak’s image on the Portrait building, on the former Carlton & United Brewery site, will be in direct line of site of the Shrine of Remembrance, nearly three kilometres away.

William Barak was an elder of Melbourne’s Wurundjeri tribe and was instrumental in bridging the gulf between black and white cultures.

Wurundjeri elder and Barak descendant Doreen Garvey-Wandin said it was time her great-great-grandfather was recognised in Wurundjeri territory. ”We’re quite privileged to have his facial features looking over Melbourne, keeping an eye on us.”

Yeah well that gulf might start to open up again – This will scare small children!!

Two equals one in Labor’s classroom

Julia Gillard with students from Essendon East Keilor District College yesterday.

Julia Gillard with students from Essendon East Keilor District College yesterday. Photo: Simon Schluter

THE Federal Government appears to be backing away from its election promise to provide a computer for every senior secondary student, with Education Minister Julia Gillard now conceding the plan is a “long-term vision” that might not be achieved in Labor’s first term.

The Government is also facing questions over its claim that the neediest schools will be the first to benefit, after it emerged that two well-resourced government schools in Victoria had been big winners in the first round of funding.

The two, Bendigo Senior Secondary College and Balwyn High School, were among almost 900 schools named by the Government yesterday as recipients of funding for computers under Labor’s so-called “digital education revolution”.

As it announced the first allocations for 116,000 computers, the Government appeared to be distancing itself from its election pledge to give every student from years 9 to 12 access to a computer, with yesterday’s recipients getting enough funding to eventually provide one computer for every two students.

ALP policy documents state that: “A Rudd Labor Government will revolutionise classroom education by putting a computer on the desk of every upper secondary student.” However, Ms Gillard said yesterday “an effective ratio of one-to-one” was a “long-term vision” for which $1.2 billion had been budgeted over the next five years, prompting questions as to whether it would be achieved.

The Age

Well who would have thought that the Rudd governments plan to give “every” high school student would so soon be whittled back to giving every student half of a computer?

I had my doubts about the wisdom of Labor’s scheme in the first place but this story that they are now aiming for every child to have a half share of a computer just seems so silly I thought that the point of each child having their own lap top was so that they could do their individual work on then how is this to be achieved if they have to share a machine?

And another thought that occurs to me concerns which operating system will be installed on these machines? One would hope that it is not Microsoft’s dreaded Vista which has such poor computability to so many common software applications that many people are going back to the XP operating systems.

What is the bet though that the mainstream media quickly soft peddle this very obvious back down on one of Labor’s key election promises?

Two to one odds Comrades


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