aesmael: (just people)

Episode of Nikita taking place in Hong Kong, person they are pursuing murders his girlfriend and calls the police to stymie them. Spy agency folk at their office describe it as there having been "a 911 call" placed, but in Hong Kong as in England the number is 999.

What bugs me is the prominence US media gives to their local emergency number. Not so much for it being a bad idea or thing to do in itself, but the knock-on effects of this tendency. Other nations don't give their local number such prominence in their media - I think this might be a mistake on their part. Where a British or Australian show would say "call the police", a US program would say "call 911".

Effective device for educating the populace on the number to call in case of emergency, but with the pervasive export of US media, leads to people living internationally thinking first of the foreign number to call instead of their own local number.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Forgot to say last night about the burden expansions to Australia's classification scheme would have on artists, who would have to submit their work for review and pay to have it rated. A similar situation recently threatened to stifle the app industry for smartphones in Australia, with the prospect of having to have those rated before sale. According to the current OFLC fee structure, geting a computer game rated costs $470 at cheapest.

If a similar fee structure is implemented for the fine arts, I wouldn't be surprised to see those disappear or go underground. The best case scenario would probably be sponsored exhibitions becoming more expensive to stage. Not that I know so much about these areas of the arts - maybe I am fortuitously mistaken?

On the related note of Australia's video game classification stopping at MA15+ [2] (meaning anything that would be restricted to adults only is instead refused classification unless an edited, less 'adult' version is produced [1]), I've been told that is largely due to South Australian Attorney-General vetoing every attempt to introduce an adult classification into the scheme. Mind, he retired in 2010 so hopefully there will be some action on this soon. Better that than new excuses.

[1] Or the title is released at a lower rating than it 'ought' to have, thereby destroying the minds of countless highschoolers.

[2] Since these posts pass through three sites, one of which so far as I am aware does not support LJ-style name links, I find myself avoiding referring to people by name. Should really resolve a policy for that.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

When I started applying Australia's film classification standards to stories I read I was a bit curious and a bit hoping to highlight some absurdity in the system. More than one of my favourite stories, it turns out, would be illegal to sell in this country if they were film rather than print, at least by my reading of the standards. Not, as many reading this will know, that that's hugely difficult to achieve. But now it looks like something similar is being seriously proposed - potentially to require art in Australia to be rated by a board and, if deemed unsuitable, according to a potentially contracting standard of suitability, to declare it unfit to be shown.

Hopefully this has no chance of being recommended by the actual review later this year, nor of going into effect. Hopefully this is only the news take an opportunity to stir up a flurry of panic and protest, but Australia already has a bad history of restrictive censorship.

The best word I have to describe the Australian government's position on matters of rating and access is infantilising. Really, what else would you call a proposal to censor the nation's internet of anything more risque than a 15-year-old can legally see in a movie theatre? Refusing classification to any film depicting full-frontal nudity would be another step to really, truly banning all Australians from any media conservative Christians think is unsuited for children.

I am rather fed up with people seeking authority to 'protect' everyone else from what they deem immoral. If it's a matter of religion, then that's down to the individual. If someone believes my soul is imperilled by nudity or violence or images of people enjoying sex, then that is between me and your fictitious god. If you think society overall is endangered by access to such material, then you need to first show compelling evidence that its availability prohibits the free and safe daily life of the people. Otherwise we've no business banning media unless mayhaps it was produced by the actual abuse of or harm to actual living persons[1].

[1] Hint: BDSM is not necessarily abuse.

["But the chief of staff of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Gavin, said there were dangers to children everywhere because of the failure of the classification scheme. ''Arguments against tighter classification measures and using technology will be mounted from the extreme left and the extreme right of politics,'' he told the inquiry. ''On the right, the nanny state argument will be applied against tougher measures and the use of filtering technology. On the left, it will be argued that adults should be able to see whatever they want, even claiming photos of naked children have artistic merit.''"

Hint 2: predicting your opponents' responses does not actually constitute a refutation of them]

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Did some quick checking about where women can serve in the ADF. According to The Australian (framed as a favourable comparison with Israel, because that's what I am given to understand The Australian does), the roles women are currently banned from are special forces, artillery, airfield defence, clearance diving, armour, and front line infantry.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Just saw Barnaby Joyce (leader of the National Party) on camera saying he would feel uncomfortable about shooting a woman. in context of potentially opening up all front-line positions in the ADF to women. But surely he is not planning to go to war with Australia, and if those the ADF does engage in combat with, surely this is to their advantage?

He also said he wouldn't want to see a lady shot, but those don't seem like very good arguments to me. Why should the military career paths of women be limited according to whether men are comfortable with their choices?

Nor do I agree with implicit putting of women on a pedestal to be protected. That sort of reasoning mainly benefits men and social conservatism, enabling the policing of whether women are sufficiently worthy of their pedestal and punishing those judged to fall short of the standards set for them by men.

It seems all about what men are comfortable with as a debate, and what men decide on behalf of women, rather than what women might decide or want for themselves, or see themselves as capable of. But I suppose that is what it is about, getting men to realise and accept women as equal partners in all areas of life, rather than possessions or unhuman idols to guard.

Whether an opposition politician would feel personally comfortable shooting a woman should have no bearing on whether women are barred from work they are willing and capable of doing.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

This past weekend, a state election. Everyone knew the approximate outcome in advance: after 16 years of Labor, historic landslide Liberal / National coalition victory. I had hoped voter antipathy might mitigate that somewhat, I know I wasn't the only one thinking perhaps a recapitulation of last year's national might be a good thing. But it didn't turn out that way at all, and I didn't vote for either of the major parties because I don't trust them, although since we end up with them I try to hope.

Walking to the polls, one of the folks handing out party 'how to vote' pamphlets recognised me as working at the library, and it didn't seem an appropriate moment to explain that being a volunteer rather than someone who receives income from the library in recompense for the work done there, I maybe can't quite claim to be 'someone who works there' (even though I go there and perform work for some hours each week). Apart from his being there on behalf of the Christian Democrats and thus The Enemy, that was a bit heartwarming and left me wondering why couldn't it have been someone else.

They, by the way- It was not so prominently covered on what I saw of the election night, but from a few days later it appears control of the state's upper house may no longer lie with the Greens, and instead could be in the hands of the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers party.

That worries me more than the lower house result, which had been all but foregone the past four years.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

It is being federal election season in Australia. Really, the very end of the season as we vote tomorrow.

I have not said much about this time around at all, except on IM. For anyone who does want an idea of what is going on in Australian politics, an excellent summation of the affair in terms of Harry Potter characters can be found hereabouts.

Meanwhile, I shall continue about my business of researching which of the senate-running parties suite me and which I shall ward off with silver.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

On the subject of healthcare and insurance in the US, ajay has this to say: "Or, if you want an entirely government-funded health care system there's always the VA. Join the Federal Service! Service guarantees healthcare!
Do you want to know more?"

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

...about the idea sex education alone should be the province of parents to teach their children, is wondering where those parents will be getting their education on sex, and into future generations. Is the goal to develop dynastic traditions of misinformation and rumour?

aesmael: (tricicat)
I don't agree with many things the Labor government is doing.

The Liberal / National coalition is pretty consistently worse on those matters.

If I vote Green like usual they will probably lose and the preferences default back to Labor.

If I do not vote I will be fined.

This situation could be more encouraging.
aesmael: (haircut)
It has long confused and bothered me that in the question of how to respond to climate change one of the major governmental concerns appears to be "How can we ensure that industries like coal remain profitable?" As concerns go it seems almost nonsensical, since in order to respond effectively to the problem the coal and other industries need to cease existing in their present form - an effective response cannot I think include 'energy producing industries continue to exist profitably as they are'. If they do want to keep existing as companies they probably should be investing in changing what they do and how.

Perhaps this is because 'growing less than fast is a sign of a bad economy' has never made sense to me as a goal either. It seems like a whole lot of people pretending the planet's resources are infinite and putting off any problems to be dealt with in some indefinite 'later'. Any economic focus other than a sustainable, non-destructive one has always struck me as misguided.

I was watching Lateline earlier tonight and the businessperson interviewed seemed much more charismatic than the politicians and political analysts. Maybe that explains this.
aesmael: (haircut)
Perhaps I should moderate myself more. I read things people say which inspire me to polemical writing and the result, being caught up in rhetorical acts, is often something I would not be willing to say in direct conversation. This suggests to me either I should be interpersonally bolder, more rhetorically muted, or make clearer the distance between the words which inspire mine and the more generalised directions I tend to mean them.

In other news, it bothers me when people describe conservative religious leaders or leaders who invoke religion as 'probably faking belief to manipulate the masses'. It makes me think the speakers hold religion so in contempt they do not think believers are capable of such popular or effective leadership. I wonder if these people, often atheists, realise what they are saying sounds a lot like "I think much of what is worst in society is due to atheists cynically manipulating religious belief to their personal benefit". But I see no reason why these leaders couldn't mean what they say. Their followers appear to, mostly.
aesmael: (nervous)
Reading about this news earlier today I wanted to provide some recent context, if I were to say anything about it. I couldn't think how to express that, so put it down as a matter to gather dates and details for before posting. Then there was this post from Idiot/Savant at Larvatus Prodeo which I think sums the situation up well enough:

The ACT Legislative Assembly has just passed a civil union law, amending its existing civil partnerships legislation to permit public ceremonies. There’s some history here – in 2006 and 2007 civil union laws were repeatedly vetoed by the Howard Government on the basis that allowing public ceremonies (rather than filling out a form and making a declaration in a registry office) would “mimic marriage”. The message was clear: gay couples should stay in the legislative closet, and keep out of sight (and out of mind) of decent straight folk.

The new law gives the finger to that idea, reinstating public ceremonies and establishing a seperate system of civil partnership notaries. Oddly, however, the ceremonies are limited solely to same-sex couples – ensuring same- and opposite-sex couples use different laws apparently being a cornerstone of Australian bigot politics. Even this may not be enough to avoid a federal veto – the Australian Labour Party voted just three months ago to uphold Howard’s ban on gay marriage, and Kevin Rudd personally opposes equality. its unclear yet whether there will be a veto – but given the hostility of the ALP to gay rights, I would not be surprised.

There are plenty of links in the original, and argument in the comments that the ALP can't fairly be called 'actively hostile' because in the past they made sodomy no longer criminal. That's as may be, but in the present they do seem grudgingly hostile at best.
aesmael: (just people)
Obama lifts the ban on US aid money going to any organisation that provides abortions and the US House of Representatives goes and passes a similar ban on their own people.

It's absurd. Federal money banned from paying for a particular class of medical procedures. Why? It's not illegal, so why is a government being barring itself from funding legal medical procedures? Because a subset of the population has a religious prejudice against it, seems like mainly. Which isn't a very secular way to run a government. Unfair too; no government is making laws based on my religious beliefs, or even- well.

How come? we would ask. How come laws are made on the basis of the views of some sects of a religion but not the views of others? Especially the ones which outlaw personal choices, ones we would expect people who hold a belief in their immorality not to choose.

If this becomes law the lives of many people, particularly poor women and children, will be materially disadvantaged compared to if this does not become law. The gain, meanwhile, is that members of some Christian sects can feel pleased others are being forced to live by their morality, while members of other Christian sects will be frustrated that their morality has been prohibited.

Their are anti-choice non-religious atheists and members of other religions, but let's not pretend this was done to suit their desires.

[Link up top, very worth reading. Post content is different to what I wrote here]
It seems Obama is doing what I feared and not what I hoped. I wish I could at least be surprised or feel betrayed, rather than merely disappointed.
aesmael: (just people)

(Restricted to adults 18 years and over*)
*Available only for sale or hire in the ACT and Northern Territory.

Note: This classification category applies only to films. This classification is a special and
legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. That is material
which contains real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between
consenting adults.

No depiction of violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence or coercion is allowed in the
category. It does not allow sexually assaultive language. Nor does it allow consensual
depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of

Fetishes such as body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax,
‘golden showers’, bondage, spanking or fisting are not permitted.

As the category is restricted to activity between consenting adults, it does not permit any
depictions of non-adult persons, including those aged 16 or 17, nor of adult persons who look
like they are under 18 years. Nor does it permit persons 18 years of age or over to be
portrayed as minors.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Agreement maybe?
aesmael: (tricicat)
when government or other organisational members speak of wishing to block 'child pornography' online what they mean is 'pornography from being viewed by people under the age of 18' (and in at least this context, everyone else too, as well as a whole lot of other material).

Edit: To follow up the above, under the proposed scheme everything rated MA15+ or above would be subject to mandatory blocking from everyone in Australia using the internet. You can see what that means here or look at the classification guidelines directly here. For easy reference, it is similar to prohibiting everyone from being able to access material with a US 'R' rating.
Probably a bad thing that Senator Barnaby Joyce is reminding me of nothing so much as the impressions of Tony Blair on Dead Ringers.
aesmael: (haircut)
(18:33:21) Trice AshFeather:
Y'know, I think he is not pleased.

(18:35:21) Pazi AshFeather: I am uncertain.
(18:35:23) Pazi AshFeather: He may be.
(18:35:32) ***Pazi AshFeather feels rather similarly
(18:35:38) Trice AshFeather: Yes.
(18:35:58) Trice AshFeather: I want there to be a scourging and a casting of light, a thorough repudiation.
(18:36:02) Trice AshFeather: But I dare not hope.
(18:36:25) Trice AshFeather: I believe it will not happen. I believe they will go free, without even legal charge.
(18:36:55) Trice AshFeather: Because this isn't the story we read to feel better.
(18:37:29) Pazi AshFeather: *nodding, strained look*
(18:37:45) Pazi AshFeather: I hate feeling like any serious attempt to take them to task would be doomed to failure.
(18:38:49) Trice AshFeather: It would succeed, if the people who were in a position to do it were willing.
(18:39:03) Trice AshFeather: That's what bothers me. No one who can cares enough to do.
(18:39:48) Pazi AshFeather: *nod*
(18:39:55) Pazi AshFeather: I don't quite dare hope.
(18:40:33) Pazi AshFeather: I get to live with this scourge on the name of my national identity as seen by others.



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