Thursday, September 21, 2006

Like a Bull at a gait

Papal infallibility
deeply sorry
nun killed
church burning

You just knew that the recent wrangle between Pope Benedict XVI and angry Muslims (apparently a demographic as large as peaceful Quakers or contemplative Buddhists)was going to catch the interest of Touched By The Son:

A senior Anglican cleric commented on the Pope's relative newness to the job for the seeming gaffe in quoting ancient criticism of Islam's prophet. But this is a backhanded show of support as Roman Catholics are well aware of the real implications of the pontiff speaking ex cathedra - if a Pope with the subtlety of Prince Philip were to occupy the position, his pronouncements would still be infallible. But that is a belief that would ONLY be held by a Catholic and may be a moot point if the Pope wasn't speaking ex cathedra at the time. He was also not expressing a personal view on Mohammad - as he was at pains to point out - but quoting the views of a Christian scholar from the Middle Ages.

So are the Islam extremists who killed a charitable old nun because of what the Pope said, being reactionary dickwads? It may look that way but let's examine an equation that is known to hold true

[Perceived] Criticism of the Prophet = Muslims on the Rampage

and that's because the prophet put that booby trap in there; an endlessly recursive booby trap.

We can find fault with that "You will all do as I say and anyone that criticises me/your prophet will be dealt with" line but we also can't say we didn't see it dug deep in the sand. Danish cartoonists, Indian writers, German priests - no one can say a word against Mohammad. Is this fair when Muslims openly laugh at Hindu deities, every two bit scruff wants to start a band with a blasphemous reference to Jesus, Buddha is made to squat out in the garden with a couple of gnomes and a concrete dreamtime?.. Scientologists are quite litigious when it comes to taking L Ron Hubbard's name in vain but even they thankfully have not taken to chopping our heads off as an example to something, or of holding reporters hostage until they swear in an e-meter that they will go clear.
This is not to let any religion off the hook; tonight's Four Corners made abundantly clear the human cost of faith in a higher power. I am attacking the reasoning. And there's no small irony that the effigy burners in Pakistan, the brothers declaring that the spiritual leader of millions across the world should get down in supplication for his comments, confirm and attest to the text that Pope Benedict quoted in the first place.

Looked at logically, the booby trap backfires as the only convincing rebuttal to unjudicious comments never meant as Papal Bull, is to show by example that the Prophet shared wisdom rather than sowing discord.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cheap Shot

The real CPI: cars cheap, food a luxury

Matt Wade Economics Writer
September 18, 2006

IF YOU have a weakness for electronic gadgets or new cars it's been a tempting decade. Prices for TVs and computers have fallen 68 per cent, small electronic goods 14 per cent and vehicles 19 per cent since 1996. But it's a different story for many of life's basics.

Fruit and vegetables, health services, public transport, child care and even bread have been rising much more quickly than the overall rate of inflation.

During the past decade fruit prices are up 112 per cent, vegetables 70 per cent, health care 50 per cent, public transport 49 per cent and bread 48 per cent. Child care has risen an eye-popping 91 per cent since 1996.

In that time, however, the average increase for all 90 goods and services that make up the official inflation measure - the consumer price index or CPI - has been just 29.6 per cent.

A report, "Let them eat cake - How low-income earners are disavantaged by the consumer price index", claims the disparity in price changes between many essentials, like a loaf of bread, and many non-essentials, like plasma TVs, reveals shortcomings with the CPI.

The CPI is not an accurate guide to the cost of living and underestimates the impact of inflation on low-income families, including many retirees, it says.

"Families who spend relatively more than average on food have experienced a more rapid cost of living rise than suggested by the CPI while the cost of living for those families that spend heavily on new cars and electrical appliances has risen more slowly than indicated by the CPI," the report, commissioned by the Australian Greens, says.

The Greens' leader, Bob Brown, said the report highlighted the need for a new cost of living index to be developed to complement the CPI, which ignores the cost of interest rate payments and the land which houses are built on.

"The CPI has its uses, but the Bureau of Statistics is the first to concede that it is no longer a cost of living index. It is time that the Government funded the bureau to construct a proper cost of living index that includes the costs of mortgage interest, the cost of land, and focuses more on the costs of the essentials that low-income earners rely so heavily upon," he said.

The CPI has become the most closely watched economic indicator since the Reserve Bank was formally charged with managing interest rates to keep inflation between 2 and 3 per cent in 1996.

When the June quarter CPI showed inflation had reached a decade-high 4 per cent - excluding the one-off price spike following the introduction of the GST - the bank increased interest rates a week later. Many economists believe it will lift rates again in early November, soon after the next quarterly inflation figures are released in late October.

Since the bank's inflation target was introduced, the cost of mortgage interest was removed from the CPI to tailor it to the needs of managing interest rates.

Senator Brown said the CPI was masking how low-income earners were being hit by inflation.

"A major problem with relying on the CPI as a measure of the cost of living is that it averages out the differences in a wide range of costs. The Treasurer might think cheaper electrical appliances help balance out more expensive fruit and vegetables when he is talking about inflation, but struggling families are unlikely to substitute one for the other," he said.

Troublemaking Greens, why can't they leave the Howard voters feeling relaxed and comfortable.

and other rhetorical questions

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Testament to a well versed community

I guess I've been holding out on you guys because, while you've seen samples of my poetry, I haven't told you about this email community that I'm in. I've been a member for nigh on five years now and I've seen plenty of people come and go in that time.
The standard is high and the styles diverse. We've had our scuffles and our heartbreak but, over all, it is a fulfilling experience just being part of such a creative group.

From time to time the head honcho, Jim Bennett, announces competitions, which I particularly like as it is that one step further on from just writing whatever takes one's fancy. Anyway Jim recently ran a competition to write poems based on the Ten Commandments and the results were so satisfying that he chose instead to publish them as an ebook. You can view this right here along with a wealth of other things poetic. It is a very popular site and list.

(PS yes I have entries in the challenge that are included in the book)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

On Purpose

by Bishop Berk(eley)

If you've been marked by marketing or added to an ad want list, then a restatement of mission purpose might be timely. Or it might be the last thing you're looking for.

So instead of giving you a weighty dissertation I'll give you a flighty dispensation

Nevertheless, because philosophy remains the best way I know to peer at the amanuensis under analysis, I seek here to write On Purpose.

1. Regurgitating the regulatated and the regulatory
2. Revisiting the revisionist reevaluations
3. Rendering wrung renditions
4. Rote learning wrote teaching
5. Rites and wrongs

[He's kidding, right?!]

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ads subtract, divide and multiply

I don't mind ads too much. Mainly because, if I'm watching the commercial networks, I use the ad breaks to get a cup of tea, and I don't tend to listen to much commercial radio. I've got the Google Adsense thing going on this blog but haven't had enough hits to make any money out of it. It can be funny to see some message up there that I disagree with but that's the nature of the beast.

One shop on the highway near where I'm staying has a great message that they've managed to fit in the bit above the awning - tres impressive. "Don't tell me what's wrong with you, I will find out and let you know"

Yes, it's a Chinese herbalist and naturopath in case you were concerned.