Archive for January 2003

At the risk of turning

January 27, 2003

At the risk of turning this into a Cricket Blog, Australian Tory has some comments on the supposed racism in Australian cricket, according to Malcolm Knox.

The inevitable comparison with the English team is an unfair one, in my opinion. England has long been the home of many migrants from the Indian sub-continent, the Carribean and Africa, which are traditional cricketing nations, due to the influence of the British Empire. It shouldn’t come as any suprise that players of African and Indian ethnicity would come to represent England, given the comparatively huge numbers of cricket-playing migrants there, compared to Australia.

The lack of Aboriginal cricketers at a high level (excepting Jason Gillespie) could be attributed to many factors, yet commentators always single out racism as the obvious cause. It should be noted that Australian Rules football plays a very significant role in this disparity, with many young sportsman faced with a choice between the two at age 14 or 15.

The AFL, with its salaries in excess of $200k+ a year, is a much more attractive proposition for any young sportsman faced with that choice. Shane Warne himself was forced into cricket, after unsuccessfully trying out at his beloved St. Kilda F.C. Luckily for Australian Cricket, the other fat kid trying out for Full Forward was Tony Lockett.

At the club level, Aboriginal cricketers are commonplace, as are those with Italian, Greek, and Eastern European heritage. A heartening sign is the increased participation of Asian players in the game – The best known being Richard Chee-Quee. Mark Wong, that lucky bastard, hit me for 57 from 8 overs 3 weeks ago. (It hasn’t all been bad news though – I’m second in the all-rounder table!).

The main hindrance to racial diversity in Australian cricket is a cultural one. A significant proportion of our migrants come from non-cricketing countries, and, as a general rule, do not take up cricket in the first generation. Racism obviously exists to some extent, but to suggest that players are being excluded from cricket teams on that basis is ridiculous in today’s times. In fact, I would suggest that the opposite is true, with many junior (and senior) coaches actively targetting minorities at a young age, to ensure that they aren’t lost to the competition.

Friendly note to Iraqi scientists:

January 27, 2003

Friendly note to Iraqi scientists: The war is going to happen anyway, no need to endanger your life by placing false trust in pathetic UN inspectors. Just keep quiet for the next few days or so, everything will be ok.

An American doctor has been

January 27, 2003

An American doctor has been accused of “branding” a patient’s uterus before performing a hysterectomy.

Tim Blair has been busy

January 27, 2003

Tim Blair has been busy over the weekend.

War in Iraq isn’t necessarily

January 22, 2003

War in Iraq isn’t necessarily all about oil, according to a prominent lefty. Apparently, there may be other factors involved after all, such as Saddam being a ruthless genocidal maniac.

Discussion continues on the Darren

January 22, 2003

Discussion continues on the Darren Lehmann racism case. Gary Sauer-Thompson gives his opinion, along with with links to Crikey’s take.

Lehmann is not only racist, but also misogynist, according to this poor, victimised woman. One can only wonder: Who would think of the poor, orphaned children if Lehmann had said “black bastards” instead?

WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?

“No country has ever profited

January 20, 2003

“No country has ever profited from prolonged warfare.”

~Sun Tzu
The Art of War

A very informative series covering the history of America’s war on drugs is showing on the ABC at 8:30 Mondays. Tonight’s episode covered the rise of the Columbian cocaine cartels in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Next week will deal with the rise of crack cocaine from the mid 1980’s. The series, by American “Frontline” makes no attempt to hide the utter failure of Reagan’s policy of “interdiction”.

Whacking Day present their case for legalisation of all drugs, based on the increasingly common argument that this a war that does more harm than good. I agree with those sentiments 100%.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt of the adverse affects of illegal drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy and even Marijuana. I have seen enough university and school friends lose all direction and energy due to excessive pot smoking to know that it is hardly benign. My support for legalisation is based on two fronts:

1. People should have the right to do whatever stupid shit they want to themselves, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else by doing it. This should be no different for illegal drugs like ecstasy, as it is for the legal ones like Alcohol, Tobacco, Poker Machines and Lotto. Most drug-related crime is a result of the prohibition, not the drugs themselves.

2. The obvious effect of banning drugs is to hand their control to criminals. In Western Australia, large scale drug rackets run by organised crime bring otherwise law-abiding young people into contact with the shit-filled dregs of society. Outlaw bikie gangs run speed and marijuana, and are beginning to set up more chemical labs around the state. Vietnamese gangs and John Kizon’s local thugs deal in Heroin, Cocaine and Ecstasy.

Legalised drugs would take the profits out of the hands of organised crime, and into government coffers, just like tobacco and alcohol. Money could then be spent on health care and education, or “harm minimisation” as drug activists call it. A huge amount is wasted, every year, on drug law enforcement which has virtually zero effect on the problem. In fact, drugs are more prevalent in society with each passing year.

It is my guess that most of our politicians privately agree, but drug reform has always been something that is unsellable to the general public. Demand for drugs is the proverbial irresistable force, while drug enforcement is hardly an immovable object. This is a war that we lose a little more each year, it’s time we surrendered.

WA farmers could be growing

January 20, 2003

WA farmers could be growing Genetically Modified salt-tolerant wheat within this decade, The Countryman reports:

The wheat, believed to be able to withstand salt concentrations up to a third the level of sea water, is being developed Grain Biotechnology Australia, at Murdoch University. It may also be tolerant of frost.

Scientists in the eastern states have been experimenting with interbreeding of the traditional hard Durum wheat with primitive varieties from the mediterranean.

They found one ancient variety, from what is today Iran, which fitted the bill and then crossed it with modern durum wheat over four generations to get a new salt-tolerant variety.

Ravaged by drought and salinity, Australia imported grain today for the first time in nearly a decade, only to be met by idiotic anti-GM protestors.

Welcome Darren Lehmann fans! Lehmann

January 18, 2003

Welcome Darren Lehmann fans!

Lehmann hits have been my main traffic for most of today and yesterday, so here is what I know of the Lehmann case.

1. After being dismissed, Lehmann indulged in the obligatory bat-throwing and cursing tirade in the dressing rooms, ending with “Fucking Black Cunts”.

2. The racial slur was heard by members of the Sri Lankan touring party, not by the actual players.

3. After the incident, Lehmann apologised for the remarks to the Sri Lankan team, who accepted his apology, asking for leniency in the matter. Clive Lloyd agreed, and gave him a reprimand.

4. Malcolm Speed picked up the ball and insisted Lehmann face the ICC tribunal for a level 3 offence.

5. Lehmann has been suspended for 5 games, which will make him ineligible for the first round of the world cup assuming that the VB series finals finish in 2 games (which is likely)

The first thing to note in this event is that Lehmann didn’t directly vilify anyone. His comments were not directed at any member of the Sri Lankan team, rather all of them as a group. This doesn’t excuse his behaviour, but I think most people can agree that running past Sanath Jayasuriya and calling him a “Black Monkey” directly would be a much more serious offense than what actually happened. Especially given that there were no actual team members present, and his comments were simply overheard (presumably because he shouted them from the dressing room).

A reprimand may have been too light of a sentence, but I think 5 games is way too heavy. The heaviest penalty that could be applied for racial vilification is 8 matches, and Lehmann got 5 for what is really a pretty tame case. I could imagine much more serious offenses of a similar nature, and indeed many more serious have occurred in the past. Giving Lehmann such a severe penalty for a relatively tame incident really leaves them nowhere to go in future cases.

The upside of this affair though, is the inclusion of Michael Clarke at Lehmann’s expense. Clarke is young and very exciting batsman, a former member of Australia’s under 19 world cup side. Watching him in the next matches will be extremely entertaining. If you haven’t seen Clarke play, think Dean Jones without the zinc cream, and you will be pretty close.

On a related tangent, It is physically impossible to spin the ball from Leg to Off, with an Off-Spin action, without bending the arm in order to snap the wrist. The ICC has made it illegal to no-ball players during a game, instead the umpires are required to report the action after the fact.

This has to beg the question, probably from our friends in New Zealand: What is to stop Ricky Ponting from taking the ball, in the final over of the world cup final, and pitching baseball-style for the entire over? The umpire cannot no-ball him, no matter how diabolical his action is. This is, quite simply, stupid. Muralitharan is great to watch, and Sri Lanka couldn’t compete without him, but he’s a cheat.

Disclaimer: This article was written while under the influence of cheap pre-mixed spirits. I will correct any spelling/link errors in the morning.

UN inspectors find chemical warheads

January 17, 2003

UN inspectors find chemical warheads in Iraq. Other top stories today: Leading scientists present “Round Earth Theory