Archive for May 15th, 2009

Fairfax Syndication Outage

Looks like the Fairfax Syndication operation is currently kaput. I noticed that Tim Webster’s show was unlistenable to due to satellite issues (partial words interspersed with odd noises and silence) and that 2CC fell back on the 2UE webstream. Currently they’re taking the rugby league off 2GB’s webstream as far as I can tell…sounds great, but it causes me to fiddle with delaying the television coverage to keep the commentary in sync (it’s roughly a 20 second delay).

Fairfax Syndication’s technical website is not very optimistic, having the current message:

15 May 2009 – 19:58:00

Please note the current system outage is more serious than first thought. Unfortunately we cannot give an estimate when normal services will resume. Please check this website. News is available from Digital Courier.

With Medispy currently off the air due to scheduled maintenance, I’m in the dark as to what other stations are doing…but one does have to wonder if Macquarie (2GB) News is being made available by Digital Courier, or just Fairfax News. 2GB do put Macquarie News on livenews.com.au at about twenty past the hour, but that’s not quite as useful as live (or thereabouts) news. That might explain why the 7pm Macquarie news did not contain any timecalls though.

Further updates as information comes to hand.

Update 8:43pm: The rugby league is back on the satellite with just the slightest hint of the dreaded underwater bubbling noises which so often are a part of the Fairfax failures. Once can only assume that other programming (AFL etc) is back as well…Friday night must be an awful time for such failures with all the live sport coverage. Fairfax’s website hasn’t noticed that services are online again.End Update

Update 9:11pm: Update from Fairfax:

Please note that 99% of services have been restored. You still may receive an occasional, minor audio glitch, but all programs are available. We will continue to work on the problem until service is restored to 100%.

End Update

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 08:14pm

Freedom of speech = removing others’ freedom of choice?

In the early hours of this morning I was reading through various forums that I frequent and came across a reply to a long-dormant thread that I was a part of. The thread in question was about whether Jumba (the host which keeps this website online) should take up various “green” initiatives such as carbon offsets etc.

The way it started, oh so long ago, was that a particular person under the name “Morgan” was interested in convincing Jumba to “go green”, and wanted to use the discussion to take numbers of interested people to Jumba, so that they could then decide on what, if any, plans may be viable:

I am interested in exploring the idea of making our hosting with Jumba a darker shade of green! Have been advised to guage interest from other users here on the forum… anyone interested? Am guessing we will need to take over one of the jumba servers and then offset the power usage of that machine. I have contacted Carbon Planet Australia to get an idea of the cost. Shoot me a message with an indication of the amount of domains you have with jumba… will come back with a price soon,
cheers,
Morgan

This whole thing placed me in a difficult position, because silence would indicate either a lack of interest or agreement, especially if the entire thread was filled with people supporting the idea, and no dissenting voices. On the other hand, butting in to the thread to say “no” would almost certainly drag the thread off-topic, with it devolving in to a discussion of global warming.

When there were three people in a row supporting the idea, I couldn’t remain silent on the issue as one of the reasons I am happy to deal with Jumba on an ongoing basis is that they (to the best of my knowledge) do not have any of these anti-global warming programs, and I needed to make sure that they knew there is not unanimous support for any “green” plans.

If I merely said “no, not interested” then it would have been inevitable that somebody would come back with a “you don’t want to save the planet?” response…so in the interests of keeping my contribution to a minimum and to give Morgan as much time and room as possible to gather their numbers, I decided to mention my unwillingness to be involved in any sort of “green” project that they may be considering, and a brief outline of my reasons:

Sorry, but no. I aim to avoid giving money to “green” companies, especially seeing as the planet’s temperature is trending downwards.

Not trying to start a debate, just pointing out that there are people such as me who will avoid this type of scheme for various reasons.

Succinct and, in theory at least, should have kept the “where’s your proof? Haven’t you seen the evidence?” brigade at bay. Alas, no…it seems that going against “green” anywhere requires a flame suit. One of the three aforementioned supporters of the idea was less than impressed:

Samuel,

1. How exactly is it that you are not starting a debate when you add a message to a discussion saying that you don’t believe what it is about?

2. Looking at the page you referenced, of what is visible, the upper, later half of the cycle of the smooth is much higher than the lower part – indicating increasing average temperature over the top of the smooth. Looks to me like the smooth won’t cycle to as low as that of ’87-’89. Conclusion: upwards trend. Also, the person who wrote the site you reference agrees that there has been an increase in temperature over the last 100 years, but disagrees as to the cause. You should get you references straight.

3. Human society has existed for about 10,000 years – basically since the Earth’s temperatures settled in a temperature range which allowed us to grow crops. If we can’t grow crops, it’s back to the trees and the savannahs – no cars, no internet. Even if it is only a remote possibility, from whatever cause, but overwhelmingly acknowledged to be caused by us, would you wish that on future generations?

Karl

Whether Karl was legitimately asking the questions, or just trying to make me drag the thread off-topic, I don’t know, but I replied briefly.

Because I’ve been in this position before. If I don’t briefly explain why I won’t send money the way of green companies, then people speculate about my reasons.

If you want answers to the rest of your questions, PM me, I’m not dragging this thread off-topic.

The thread then went back on-topic, and I never heard from Karl…until a couple days ago. The replies to the thread had long since died off, but months later Karl decided that now would be a good time to revive it by provoking me…he must have known which buttons to press because loony arguments are good way to interest me in a debate:

Samuel and lonely,

Nobody is requiring you to do anything. I happen to want the energy that I use to be from non-polluting sources. Many, many others do as well (I think the majority of people, but that is not for discussion here). This has no effect on you – you can choose where your energy comes from.

Nobody in this discussion has said that you should be using any particular form of energy. You have freedom of choice and my desire to obtain non-polluting energy does not impinge in any way on your ability to choose polluting energy.

In fact, what you are doing by disrupting this thread with you nay-saying is removing mine and others’ freedom of choice. This is hypocritical.

Your comments may be well-placed in discussions where people dispute the effects of pollution or where people are requiring the use of non-polluting energy. Neither is happening here. Your comments are neither relevant nor welcome.

I ask that you remove yourselves from this thread.

Karl

Uh huh. “This is a place for believers of the warming faith only…we don’t want your numbers included in any tally because, let’s face facts, you’re ignorant unbelievers who should be banished from the planet for your evil polluting and warming ways.”

A reply from me, once I read it and got myself a coffee this morning, was inevitable:

  • Originally Posted by kgg
    Samuel and lonely,

    Nobody is requiring you to do anything.

Except to say whether I’m interested in “greening” my association with my hosting provider, so that the OP can take numbers to said hosting provider.

  • Originally Posted by kgg
    I happen to want the energy that I use to be from non-polluting sources.

As is your choice.

  • Originally Posted by kgg
    In fact, what you are doing by disrupting this thread with you nay-saying is removing mine and others’ freedom of choice. This is hypocritical.

Wrong. Suppose that I, and people with similar views to me, stay silent, and a large number of people with your views respond…Jumba might just decide that carbon offsets or some other green plan should become part of their mandatory plan pricing, which would cause me to move hosting provider in order to maintain my “freedom of choice”.

By replying in this thread, I am not removing your freedom of choice, I am simply making it known that not every Jumba customer supports this idea. My aim is not to prevent Jumba from going down this path, merely to make carbon offsets etc “optional extras” for those who do want to use them.

I am completely in favour of freedom of choice.

Some days it’s therapeutic to demolish a loony argument. Now I’ll wait and see if he responds again. If he does, I will politely inform him that the argument is off-topic (but a clever way to draw attention to the thread) and I will reply by private message.

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 04:22pm

Watch for the next NewsPoll

My household received a call from NewsPoll yesterday, about two hours before Malcolm Turnbull delivered his budget reply. The call contained the standard questions about who you would vote for if there was an election today, your preferred prime minister, etc, and then moved on to the federal budget. Whilst there were questions about Wayne Swan’s budget, there were no questions about Malcolm Turnbull’s reply (thankfully).

Keep an eye out for the next NewsPoll. If they claim that the preferred prime minister figures and the like have anything to do with the budget reply, then you know they’re lieing.

Oh, and I didn’t receive the call, I was just listening in.

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 01:27pm

The history of political correctness

2UE’s Jim Ball came across an interesting little video from The Free Congress Foundation about the history of political correctness, and its base in statism (that is, the political systems which believe that power should be centralised in a governing body (the state) rather than distributed amongst the people).

In introducing the video, Jim quotes from “Political Correctness Must Die” by James Hudnall:

Marxists have murdered many times more people than the Nazis. They have destroyed the livelihoods of people the world over and imprisoned many millions in gulags and work camps. The last thing we want to do is let them win here or anywhere else.

While it may seem communism is dead, communism, socialism, fascism are all part of a many headed hydra called statism. These are political systems which are all about empowering the state as much as possible. The name they go under now is “progressive.” Many progressives on the ground think they are fighting for equal rights and social justice. The progressive elites know better. They want power and control over people’s lives. Political correctness is a tool to accomplish these goals.

The video goes for 22 minutes, but it is well worth finding some time over the weekend to sit down and watch it.

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 01:05pm

Minimal change at Gitmo = the right decision

After months of silence, we finally hear that Obama isn’t going to kill off Gitmo in the way he planned to during his campaign:

President Obama is expected to announce the administration’s decision to restart Bush-era military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees Friday, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Obama suspended the tribunals within hours of taking office in January, ordering a review but stopping short of abandoning President George W. Bush’s strategy of prosecuting suspected terrorists.

An administration official familiar with Obama’s decision said between 10 and 20 of the 241 detainees currently at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be tried by military commissions.

Thirteen other detainees — including five charged with helping orchestrate the Sept. 11 attacks — already have been moved into the system and are expected to be tried there, FOX News has confirmed.

The rest of the detainees would either be released, transferred to other nations or tried by civilian prosecutors in U.S. federal courts, an official said. It’s also possible that some could continue to be held indefinitely as prisoners of war with full Geneva Conventions protections, according to another senior U.S. official.
[..]
Obama’s decision to resume the tribunals is certain to face criticism from liberal groups, already stung by his decision Wednesday to block the court-ordered release of photos showing U.S. troops abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan — a reversal of his earlier stand on making the photos public.
[..]
In February 2008, during his presidential campaign, Obama described the Guantanamo trials as “a flawed military commission system that has failed to convict any one of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and that has been embroiled in legal challenges.” Critics, including many Democrats, cited the tribunals in assailing Bush, who had pushed Congress to create the system. They accused him of violating U.S. law by limiting the detainees’ legal rights.

The new decision will delay the trials for several more months, the officials said. Obama is adding some changes to the commissions before they are restarted, including expanding the detainees’ legal protections by restricting hearsay evidence that can be used against them, according to two officials.

The delay would give the administration time to adjust the system and allow Congress to review any rule changes or pass legislation altering the military commission law.
[..]
Obama’s decision also amounts to an admission that delivering on his promise to close Guantanamo is easier said than done. Since he ordered the prison closed, Republicans have focused on the issue of where the detainees would go — and the new Democratic administration’s lack of a plan to deal with them.

On Capitol Hill Thursday, the House approved war-funding legislation that says detainees from Guantanamo must not be released on U.S. soil — though it would allow some of the prisoners to be transferred to the United States to stand trial or serve their sentences.

It’s funny how much changes when you take the reigns and realise just how unworkable your plans are, and just how close to being right the plans of your opponents were.

I’m pleased to see Obama coming to a correct decision despite pressure from his own side of the political divide to do the opposite, however I am disappointed at the amount of time we have had to waste on making minimal changes to an almost correct system.

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 10:59am

The hamster must be on holidays…

…so I suppose that I’ll have to peddle instead if I want this blog to keep ticking over.

Actually I’ve just been “under the weather” for the last few days. I’m not back to 100% health just yet, but I am getting there. Annoyingly I’ve barely heard a word about the federal budget, so it will probably take me a little while to get up to speed on it.

The one thing which I can confirm now though is that I will be leaving Canberra on Sunday morning and making use of two buses and a train to get to Deniliquin, and I shall be returning via the same method (albeit through Albury) on Saturday the 23rd.

I’m not thrilled about this method of transport, but it’s too late to start walking.

Samuel

May 15th, 2009 at 04:41am


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