13 August, 2016

A thought experiment

Two sentences:

1: He's rude, arrogant and doesn't know when to shut up.
2: He says what he thinks and he's not politically correct. 

Question:
Which one of these is a compliment and which is a criticism?

Before you answer, remember that both sentences mean exactly the same thing.

01 August, 2016

How oppression works

A certain US presidential candidate's in-no-way-racist comments in response to a veteran's parents pointing out the self-evident truth that he has never made sacrifices for his country the way they and their son have, prompted yet another tiresome discussion on a panel show regarding the oppressiveness of face coverings.

For those who need it spelled out for them, here goes:

Being forced to cover your face against your will is oppression.
Being forced to reveal your face against your will is also oppression.

Being forced to remain silent against your will is oppression.
Being forced to speak against your will is also oppression.

The key words here are FORCED and AGAINST YOUR WILL.

Do you get it yet?
If you're making assumptions about whether a woman's demeanour is by choice or by force, maybe you're the one being oppressive.

Mrs Kahn chose to respond to the talking wig's aspersions, but she should never have had to. She has been through enough and has the right to do or not do whatever she wants. Mr Thinskin McTanningbooth has even less shame than I thought.


08 July, 2016

I want to be wrong

I thought long and hard about whether to say this, because it’s going to be confronting and possibly seem opportunistic, but I’m going to say it because I want someone to tell me I’m wrong.

Within 24 hours of each other, two men were shot to death by police in part because they were carrying guns. Not wielding them or brandishing them in any way – just carrying them. And these two killings are really only notable because they were both captured on smartphone video.

Can we talk about gun control now? Please?

I’m not even going to ask for changes to US gun laws. That’s probably a lost cause by now. Can I just ask that the existing laws be applied equally?

Alton Sterling was carrying a gun when he was he was shot on the ground. It was not in his hand. It was in his pocket. He was not legally carrying because of his criminal record but the police officers had no way of knowing his record or that he was not licenced to carry a concealed firearm.

Philando Castile was licenced to carry a gun and informed police officers that he was carrying as he reached to get his ID. He did everything right.

We are told by defenders of the status quo on gun control that guns make people safer. But carrying a gun did not protect Mr Sterling and Mr Castile. Instead, it got them both killed.

We are also told that keeping and bearing arms is not just for personal protection but to protect the populace from a tyrannical government. Yet, Mr Sterling and Mr Castile were killed by officers of the government for carrying a gun.

So far, the NRA has had no comment.

This leads a reasonable person to wonder if there might be some unwritten nuance to the second amendment, and that the nuance is:

White man with a gun:
“He’s exercising his constitutional rights. What a patriot!”
Black man with a gun:
“HE’S GOT A GUN! SHOOT HIM!”

I know this may seem like an unfair characterisation. I know this may seem like an opportunistic cherry-picking of examples. That’s why I want someone to show me where I’m wrong.

I’m not asking as a “prove me wrong, then!” debating tactic. I truly want to be wrong. I have tried hard to avoid saying ‘racism’ but oops, there it is.

Please, please tell me I’m wrong!
  
 

05 July, 2016

Election coverage

You might have noticed a lack of election posts here. That's because I've been posting them all at Ausvotes2016. You can view them all HERE.

My latest post is a prediction of what might happen in a Turnbull government's second term - if they get one.
  

24 June, 2016

The hypocrisy of Brexit

I have to say it’s rather amusing to see Britain resentful of being told what to do by other countries. It seems they’re nostalgic for the days of when there was one rule for Britain and another for everyone else.

Let’s take just one, extremely selective example…

1915,
Britain: You there, Australia! Launch a doomed invasion of a country you have no quarrel with as part of our sorting out some personal differences between royal cousins.
Australia: Right you are, guv!

2016,
Europe: Britain, be a good chap and take some refugees fleeing conflicts that ultimately arose from a bunch of arbitrary lines you drew on the world over the last century, won’t you?
Britain: How dare you sir? Do you know who I am? I don’t have to be treated like this. I said Good day!


19 June, 2016

The Best of the Best-Ofs: Paul McCartney
(revised and updated)

For someone so prolific, Paul McCartney has released very few compilations, averaging less than one per decade. Pure McCartney is only the fourth – far less than contemporaries such as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Elton John and even John Lennon, who was only given ten years for a solo career and spent five of those in semi-retirement.

And of these four compilations, the new release is the only one to include his entire post-Beatles career. Here, I will compare it to the others from a previous post in this occasional series.

Pure McCartney - 2016
Firstly, the title is perfect. Shying away from a hits or best-of per-se, the sleeve notes and promotional material state that the album was compiled “with nothing else in mind other than having something fun to listen to.” All the hits you’d expect are here and the remainder of the 4-disc set is evidently made up of Paul’s personal favourites from what I believe the young’uns these days call “deep cuts.” Of these album tracks, many are finally getting the recognition they deserve such as Arrow Through Me and Don’t Let It Bring You Down, while others have already enjoyed a recent resurgence such as Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five and… um… Temporary Secretary.

As you might expect, it does lean a little heavily on the most recent album New but apart from that, it covers pretty much all phases of Paul’s career equally. About time too! Only two regular albums are not represented here; Driving Rain, which is understandable given the painful phase of Paul’s life that it represented, and more oddly, Flowers in the Dirt. Perhaps this is because the latter is being given a deluxe reissue later this year.

There will be minor quibbles. For instance, I think The Song We Were Singing would have made a perfect opening track, and I don’t think anyone would have minded if Bip Bop and Press were bumped for, say, London Town and C’mon People, but did I change the face of 20th century music? No, I did not. This does contain the only CD release of Hope for the Future. It also includes the 2015 remix of Say Say Say, which features more Michael Jackson vocals than the original. It might have been nice to include some other recent non-album singles like Vanilla Sky and (I Want To) Come Home but again, these are minor quibbles.

Despite jumping several decades in places, the sequencing works well providing good flow and contrast across some very different songs. New masters of the tracks are used where available but unfortunately the tracks from Memory Almost Full (ironically, the McCartney album in most dire need of a remaster) are still “brickwalled.”

Predictably, the more reasonably priced 2-disc version preferences the radio songs more but still has an excellent overview of McCartney’s work.

For: Career-spanning, personal, only album release of Hope for the Future
Against: 4-disc version is expensive
Band on the Run from Pure McCartney

Wings Greatest – 1978
Does exactly what it says on the cover. Wings only made one more album after Wings Greatest, the excellent but hit-free Back to the Egg so it can still be considered the definitive Wings collection. It does stretch the definition just a little by including two tracks originally credited to Paul & Linda McCartney, but no-one could possibly begrudge that. It includes five non-album singles but for reasons of space, leaves out Listen to What the Man Said. Wings Greatest was the only album until Pure McCartney to contain the full version of Junior’s Farm.

For: Succinct
Against: These days, represents a comparatively short phase of McCartney’s career.
Band on the Run from Wings Greatet

All the Best – 1987
Originally released as a double-LP All the Best contains nine tracks that were also released on Wings Greatest and add the hits from the 80s. It includes the first album releases of C Moon, We All Stand Together and Goodnight Tonight, although the latter was not included on the single CD. Contains one new song, Once Upon a Long Ago.

The US version of All the Best had a slightly different tracklisting, and includes the live version of Coming Up, (which was the A-side of the single in the US) rather than the album version.

For: Great artwork, Only album release of Once Upon a Long Ago
Against: CD version drops three tracks.
Band on the Run from All the Best

Wingspan – 2001
Released alongside the television documentary and book of the same name, Wingspan is sensibly divided into two themed discs, Hits and History. The collection does employ a rather curious definition of Wings’ career. While it’s fair enough to include pre-Wings tracks from McCartney and Ram, it also covers part of Paul’s post-Wings careers, but suddenly stops in 1984.
On the Hits side, it’s all the usual suspects – ten tracks previously included on Wings Greatest and fourteen that had been on All the Best. The History side delves deeper and does a good job of being a true best-of, including underrated tracks like Heart of the Country, Take It Away and Rockestra Theme. It also includes an early demo of Bip Bop/Hey Diddle, which was previously unreleased and should have remained so. Where available, radio edits included which may be interesting for completists but does an injustice to a beautiful song like Waterfalls, and wasn’t Junior’s Farm already short enough? Again, Coming Up is replaced with the live version on the US version. The smarter thing to do would have been to include it on the History disc, since the live version has never been available on CD outside the US.

For: Comprehensive, separate Hits and History discs, remastered.
Against: Edited versions, weird time period.
Band on the Run from Wingspan

If you had to choose one, choose...
Pure McCartney, 2-disc version. Go for the 4-disc if you want. Wingspan goes into more detail between 1970 and 1984 but Pure McCartney is just that – the first collection including live albums that doesn’t sell half his career short.

See also,

The Greatest - 1998
https://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Paul-McCartney/dp/B0000087OZ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1466313230&sr=8-9&keywords=paul+mccartney+the+greatest&linkCode=ll1&tag=billablog-20&linkId=f6aff2f513a03b658c6b0552dc3b75a8
Japan-only release that is interesting for including My Brave Face and Hope of Deliverance, but bloody expensive. For collectors only. 





Never Stop Doing What You Love – 2005
This collection was issued as part of a sponsorship deal with and investment company. Although never commercially released, it has been available online from certain sellers. It’s mostly a predictable collection of hits, but also includes Put It There, The World Tonight and Calico Skies.



18 June, 2016

Thinking of linking

What I've been reading recently...

Australia:
Solving homelessness should be a priority for government

Political correctness gone right-wing

The art dealer offended by books: Businessman who wants to close a quaint store in his Melbourne street because of the 'visual impact' on the area

Melbourne mother angry girl can't wear pants as part of school uniform

Malcolm Turnbull will lose if he doesn't win back the Liberal base

Private training provider Careers Australia to pay back $44m to Government, consumer watchdog says

Election 2016: Sophie Mirabella suspects Liberal HQ leaking against her in fight for Indi

This Man Was Deported From Australia Despite Living And Working Here For Twenty Years

How Australia stood up to minister's 'illiterate migrants' comments

Labor NBN raids: Prime Minister deflects Labor accusations over AFP's election campaign investigation

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce faces the reality of climate change - some people just have to learn the hard way.

'Ungovernable'? No, Australia changes leaders because they lose their nerve

Turnbull looking for fireworks in long election campaign

Election 2016: Labor has George Christensen and Peter Dutton in its sights

'Growth and jobs': the numbers that debunk a company tax cut

Vulgar, racist Facebook rants return to haunt Midland Liberal candidate Daniel Parasiliti

Silly silly Woy Woy has week spot for king of the absurd

Australia: A town called Woy Woy

Great Barrier Reef stays on UN watch list

Great Barrier Reef doomed but our dome will save us

It's time to ask, 'Could Trump happen here?'

World's widest web? Flood-hit spiders find higher ground

David Koch quits government role on air, tells Fiona Nash to 'get a backbone'

Why is the CFA fighting the UFU?

Victorian firefighters dispute: The burning questions

Pay dispute pits Victoria's volunteer firefighters against professionals

Federal election 2016: Shock poll result for Kelly O'Dwyer. Is Higgins the 'Indi of 2016'?

View from the Street: Mathias Cormann pledges to stop the journalists

Federal election 2016: Mystery deepens over Parakeelia as Cormann ducks question

Election 2016: Barnaby Joyce tells constituent to 'piss off' during heated pub exchange

Tony Abbott's office floated sending Australian troops into Ukraine conflict, defence expert claims

New research: Abbott and Turnbull the worst economic managers since Menzies

The best economic plan: live in a marginal seat

Public servants told it's Armidale or find new jobs

Election 2016: Where do the parties stand on animal welfare?

Bill Shorten’s surprising victory in Leaders’ debate - um, surprising to whom?

The zinger that won the debate for Bill Shorten

Private vocational courses cost taxpayers seven times as much as TAFE, analysis finds

AFP release report into who leaked top secret report on Iraq War to Andrew Bolt

US:
Why Trump’s fake publicist act matters: It proves he’s exactly the weirdo and liar we all suspected he was

Trump's Team: The Bigoted, Unhinged Conspiracy Theorists Benefiting From Donald Trump's Campaign

John Oliver buys and forgives $15 million of debt

Talk grows of replacing Trump at GOP convention

Brock Turner's statement blames sexual assault on Stanford ‘party culture’

Why Conservatives Should Just Say ‘No’ to Trump - The most hilariously wrong way of accidently being right

Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

Pugilist-poet Ali's race legacy still packs a punch

College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed

July 4th Flotilla 2016 on Bayou St. John to crown Chewbacchus leaders

Five things people should stop saying about Bernie Sanders

Our Worst Presidents Came In With A Lot Of Experience

Donald Trump Picked the Wrong News Editor to F*ck With

Brock Turner and Cory Batey, two college athletes who raped unconscious women, show how race and privilege affect sentences

Donald Trump wanted Moammar Gaddafi’s money

The Concert Across America to end gun violence

[name redacted] was taken off a terrorist watch list, but keeping him on it wouldn't have stopped him from buying guns

Seth Meyers Just Banned Donald Trump From Appearing On His Show – It’s Absolutely Amazing

Orlando shooting: thoughts and prayers from hypocrites do nothing to help

Filmmaker Ken Burns Delivers Blistering Takedown Of Donald Trump At Stanford

Orlando shooting brings hate to its natural conclusion

Pet Alliance to Shelter Victims Pets

McCain: Obama is 'directly responsible' for Orlando attack - Go home, John. It's over.

A history of America doing nothing in response to mass shootings

An Open Letter to [name redacted] from a Survivor of the Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Hillary Clinton Is About to Clean Donald Trump’s Clock

I Am An AR-15 Owner And I’ve Had Enough

Top GOP Consultant Unleashes Epic #NeverTrump Tweetstorm

Boston's Sidewalks Are Covered In Secret Poems

UK:
Bob Geldof and Nigel Farage face off in Brexit boat battle down London's River Thames

Jo Cox MP dead after shooting attack

The mood is ugly, and an MP is dead

World:
Associating elbowgate with violence against women is an insult to victims

((( How Twitter Is Teaming Up to Mess With the Nazis )))

In South Sudan, It’s Hard to Tell the Soldiers From the Criminals


Music:
Women guitar makers scratched from Gibson history

Moby: ‘There were bags of drugs, I was having sex with a stranger’

9 Things Guitarists Hate…

Ingenious: this is how you correct the audience when they're clapping on the wrong beat

Mastertapes: Paul McCartney

Former Wings guitarist and Northern Ireland music legend Henry McCullough has died

Paul McCartney Talks Summer Tour, New 'Pure McCartney' Comp

Mandatory Fun: “Weird Al” Preps Career-Spanning “Squeeze Box”

Star Wars Hologram Vinyl

Media:
Morley Safer, veteran '60 Minutes' newsman, dies at 84

Duncan Storrar: 'A line has been crossed' by media, say community leaders

Owen Jones: Journalist walks out of Sky News show after hosts 'downplay' homophobia of Orlando shooting

No holding back from networks on Rogerson but Alan Jones lies low

Culture:
Whatever happened to the Sandman?

Capaldi wants classic ‘Doctor Who’ companion back: ‘Susan’s story wasn’t finished’

Ferris Bueller’s missing soundtrack: Why we shouldn’t mourn what we never had

REVEALED: There really was a creepy fifth housemate lurking in cult British TV show The Young Ones

Tech:
Time for Twitter to grow up

How Yahoo derailed Tumblr

Photos: Nodes Behaving Badly (when FTTN placement goes wrong)

History:
China: (not) talking about a revolution


Mental Health:
6 Signs You’re Actually An Outgoing Introvert, Because Yes, Those Exist - Finally I have a definition

Late sleepers are tired of being discriminated against. And science has their back.

Science:
What Does a Dog See in a Mirror?

Language:
How The Wrong Verb Meant The Texas GOP Called Most Texans Gay

The least boring photo on my camera roll: