Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Friday, January 27, 2012

Freedom from information

This afternoon spent in conference in VCAT on one of my FOI claims. DHS had rejected it on the grounds that it was voluminous and too much work; I said that the same request had been met twice in the past, in the early 80s and the early 90s, and why not today?

I may add the detailed argument later, but first the ball by ball;

I eventually agreed to confine my inquiries to 'Departmental policy on" my issues and "the material the department had available to in in reaching such policies" - that is, the upper level papers and the files they drew on. This may well get me all the papers I need (though it's still open to the Department to say yes they have them but they're exempt) and certainly will be much faster than waiting for a hearing, so in practical terms it's more or less satisfactory, but it suffers from the general failing of civil law; it's centred on settling the individual dispute rather than on the interests of society at large, which in this case are best met by having the Tribunal beat the FOI section around the head and shoulders with a silver-headed cane until they agree to change their utterly improper policies and their fundamental attitudes to transparency - the latter well illustrated by a straightforwardly mulish refusal to admit at any point that the Department held any files that weren't individual client files (policy files, for example, or issue-based files).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


A packet of Vegetarian Fried Rice, from China;

"put it into the micro-wave, heat with conflagration..."

and, even more oddly, the ingredients:
"Rice, Water, Cabbage, Carrot, Sweet corn, Pea, Scallion, Onions, Vegetable oil, Salt, Tuner Knob."

Perhaps Sally can explain the idiom.

Can the zebra change his spots?

Gingrich is (very successfully) defending himself (among his religious base) by saying that he shouldn't be marked down for cheating on his wives serially because he has now been forgiven by god.

That may be, but as a matter of dogmatic theology (as opposed to a political calculation) I can't see that being enough. Jesus can forgive you your sins, but he can't change your personality, and what the stories about Newt are saying is that the man is an utter arsehole.

The which, mind you, I have to in all conscience admit that I am debarred from objecting to : see Sydney Smith.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If accurate

A quote from Mitt Romney seems to have scaled new heights of fatuity:

“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."

However, all reports of the quote seem to be traceable back to an article by Mark Steyn, who is not in any way to be trusted; so I shall wait for confirmation before waving it about.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What, no Palin?

They have Rick Perry, Herman Cain (and playmate) and Michelle Bachmann action figures on sale, I see. Only Perry with sound, though, and not wonderful likenesses. I think I'll pass.

Monday, January 02, 2012

For Coffee Lovers

I gave Rose an Aeropress for xmas, and coffee lovers in the family seem satisfied that it makes something comparable to bought espresso.

Got mine at the coffee shop at the Vic market.


Have I - surely impossible - discovered a flaw in the scansion of, of all people, Hilaire Belloc?
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!

The line "Encouraging her to obtain" only scans if 'Encouraging' is given its full four syllables, which is very difficult indeed to do; if you say it as the word is pronounced today there's an unpleasant dissonance.

It must have been sayable once, but I'm finding it hard to reconstruct just how.

I'm on the fence

We're watching Paradise Lost (Christmas present), a documentary on the West Memphis Three, convicted of satanic cult murders in Arkansas in 1993; part of the evidence being the words in the journal of one of them, Damien - "Life is but a walking shadow. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Well, we're on his side there.

Until he explains in the witnessbox "That's from A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare."

Nobody in the entire Arkansas judicial system, it seems, has ever read Macbeth. Presumably because of its tendency to induce satanism in teenagers.

Mind you, that wasn't all the evidence. The suspects also wore black clothing and doodled pentagrams on their exercise books.

The WM3 got out last year on their umpteenth appeal, by the way, and it was those reports that sparked our interest.

Our interest is also diverted by the horrified contemplation of what an unexampled shithole West Memphis is.

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