Let’s Eat Grandma

John Birmingham’s latest is a joy to the grammarnazis of the internetz. I hope y’all like it!

“Who gives a fuck about the Oxford Comma?” Vampire Weekend asked on their eponymous first album. The hard-working truck drivers of the Oakhurst Dairy company in the great state of Maine, that’s who. A dispute with their bosses over whether they should be paid overtime came down to the lack of an Oxford comma in the state’s law regulating who gets paid a little bit more for working extra hours.

What is the Oxford comma?

It’s the one that parks itself before ‘and’ in a series of three or more things. If, for instance, you are planning a private party in the Moscow Hilton and you sent a note to the concierge asking him to “invite the hookers, Trump and Putin,” he can rightly blame you when the only guests who show up are a couple of transsexual despot-cosplayers.

You should have invited “the hookers, Trump, and Putin”.

That one little comma makes all the diff.

If you work in the food biz in Maine you can’t get overtime for all sorts of things, including “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution.”

So basically, you can’t get overtime.

Except, as the word nerds in the truckers’ union argued, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals recently agreed, the lack of a comma after the word ‘shipment’ turned “packing for shipment or distribution,” into a single activity.

And since milk truck drivers are really fuckin’ hard characters who don’t mess with none of that unseemly, low status, packing bullshit—like those lazyass, broke-dick, cheese juggling fools from the dairy product packers union—they are legally entitled to, and totally gonna get, their overtime.

Because they only distribute. They don’t pack.

Circuit Judge Barron agreed.

“For the want of a comma,” he wrote in his judgment, “we have this case.”

And the drivers suddenly had millions of dollars owed them in unpaid overtime.

Vampire Weekend be damned, the Oxford comma is important, people. (And anyway, the bitey weekenders go on to sing “So if there’s any other way/To spell the word/It’s fine with me,” which confirms for me they have no idea what they’re talking about because their stupid song is supposed to be about grammar not spelling. 0 out of 10. Must try harder, emo-weenies.)

The comma itself was invented by Aldo Manuzio, a printer working in Venice, in the early 1500s. Aldo was a man ahead of his time, an intellectual property pirate when most pirates were still climbing over the gunwales of fat merchant galleons for a living. Aldo was bootlegging copies of the Greek classics which were chock full of lists of things; the different types of snakes in Medusa’s deadly wonder weave, all the things that Hercules punched, the forty-five times that Xerxes the so-called God-king was really just a dick. Aldo thought it would help his readers if he could separate Medusa’s snakes from Xerxes dick moments.

He was right.

But do you still need it? How many commas will you fire at the page or screen this week as you go about your work, post your Facebook updates, tweet your low opinion of the contestants on Married at First Sight? Are you likely to find yourself millions of dollars in debt to scary milk van drivers if you mess up?

Maybe not, but there’s two ways to come at this. Use commas for clarity, or cut them for flow.

My favourite comma story belong to the foundation editor of The New Yorker, Harold Ross, who insisted on the first comma in the sentence, “After dinner, the men went into the living-room.” When asked why, Ross answered that the comma gave the men in the story time to push their chairs back and stand up. This, and our Moscow hotel room party gone horribly wrong, are examples of using commas for clarity.

Removing them from the phrase “the old red white and blue,” demonstrates the flow that can be unleashed when all of Aldo Manuzio’s little grammar pebbles are swept out of the stream.

The bottom line?

Suit yourself. But if you don’t use the Oxford comma, get ready to pay off that overtime bill and those Russian trannies.

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306 thoughts on “Let’s Eat Grandma

  1. Reaping the whirlwind

    In an effort to contain the political damage from the decision to proceed on 18C, Turnbull made phone calls after question time to members of his Indigenous advisory group and to ethnic community leaders.

    I can see why he didn’t put it to the Reps first. Big risk of much floor-crossing.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/21/malcolm-turnbull-tries-to-contain-backlash-from-indigenous-and-ethnic-groups-over-18c

  2. On more important matters than sheep in cars –

    Today Doug Cameron moved a motion asking the Senate to express its opposition to cuts to penalty rates and the take home pay of Australian workers. Ir was negatived on the votes of the Coaltion, One Nation and Senator Hinch.

    So much for supporting the average Australian.

  3. Meanwhile, here in Melbourne we have approx 90% humidity and it’s not even raining.

    This afternoon in Kew we had 14ml in 10 minutes. The water was running down the INSIDE of the north-facing windows in the old kitchen and laundry, flooding under the back door, and leaking through various well-known (to me) dubious places in the ceiling.

    The other day I was thinking of putting the pedestal fan in my bedroom into “winter” storage; not quite yet, methinks.

    • The humidity here was 90+ all weekend, with a lot of rain as well. The nights over the last week have been hot and humid and uncomfortable. Not good. After a few cool and pleasant nights I thought I could pack my bedroom fan away too. Just as well I didn’t.

  4. Also on Hanson – today she changed her mind again on the Omnibus Bill and announced she and her senators would vote against it. Her reson was some incoherent mumbling about the bill being too big and tax avoiders blah … blah …. blah ….

    The usual suspects are now gushing about Hanson killing the bill, even though it was already doomed to fail no matter how One Nation voted.

    Remember a couple if weeks ago Hanson was ranting about voting in favour of the bill to stop single mums popping out babies for the money, and saying she didn’t get any of these payments when she was a single mum so why should anyone else get them?

    Now she has backflipped. She needs some positive press after the WA debacle, I suppose. Shame about her support for penalty rates cuts though.

  5. “He was stopped with ihe engine off.”

    If he said that then he was most probably lying.

    If you look closely at that picture you will notice that the traffic controller has his sign on “SLOW” which could only mean that the line of traffic was either moving or about to move in moments where the drongos car was positioned.

    He bloody well deserved to get nabbed and the Premier should have sacked the clot

  6. I’m a bit slow in catching up with comments this evening.

    BK’s links & watching QT and the MPI and then switching over to the Senate used up most of my day.

    😉

  7. Just on the big issue of the night –
    I want to clear up some stuff.

    First – remember this, from December 2015?
    Bill Shorten reports himself to police for using mobile phone while driving
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-reports-himself-to-police-for-driving-while-using-mobile-phone-20151211-gll6q6.html

    There was no defence of Shorten here, not a word. I checked. BK said Shorten was an idiot or wtte. So that kills the ‘if it was a Labor pollie you’d be defending them’ thing.

    Second – I don’t expect the Minister for Police to know every section of the NSW Crimes Act, but everyone, no matter who they are, should know the road rules for their state and should stick to them. I might be guilty of needing a refresher on some of the NSW rules, but I do know the rules for mobiles. I’d expect any NSW politician to know the road rules too.

    Third – Grant knew he had been an idiot and just like Shorten turned himself in and copped the fine. Shorten did it because someone took a photo (with a mobile, while driving, most likely) and it went public. Grant did it for much the same reason i would think, admitting a mistake before the media got onto it.

  8. Senator Hanson and her One Nation colleagues walked across the chamber to vote with the Libs to support penalty rate cuts

    I think that comment meant, “went crawling” across the chamber hoping to harvest Liberal & National preferences at the next 2 State and Federal elections! 😉

  9. leonetwo’

    Just on the big issue of the night –

    He probably might have had a case & got away with it if the sign was still reading “STOP” even with the hard markers of public opinion.

    But I can’t see how he had any right to looking at the circumstances of that picture & the fact he is an ex cop. Besides, he’s a grubby Lib anyway.

    An awful lot of us have photographed a funny sign or funny number-plate of the car in front when waiting at traffic lights. not when it had turned green.

    I know I have & even e-mailed both of them to Fiona to post on the Blog. Which she probably wisely hasn’t done to date. 😉

  10. Who wouldn’t, is stationary in traffic, take a pic of a sheep in the back seat of a car?

    Turn yourself in and cop a fine?.
    Totally worth it!

  11. Section 2 . . .

    The Independent Australia says “Who would have thought that scarcely five weeks after Treasurer Scott Morrison paraded a chunk of coal in Parliament, planning for Australia’s energy needs would be dominated by renewables, batteries and hydro?”
    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/coal-versus-musk-no-contest,10130
    Paul Bongiorno says that even with a spring in its step after the latest NewsPoll the government is still on life support.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/03/20/tunbull-government-life-support/
    Poor Gerry Harvey. Our hearts bleed.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/gerry-harvey-says-people-are-just-making-things-up-20170321-gv2ulj.html
    The Fair Work Commission’s slashing of penalty rates exposes the powerlessness of Australia’s underclass: its casualised workforce.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/work/2017/03/21/penalty-rates-underclass/
    Has Dutton been working behind the scenes to get SSM legislation through this parliament?
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/peter-dutton-working-behind-the-scenes-to-legislate-samesex-marriage-before-ceo-spray-20170320-gv2lcq.html
    Peter Lewis says that people aren’t irritated about failing energy policy – they’re angry!
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/21/australians-arent-irritated-about-failing-energy-policy-theyre-angry
    Michael Gordon reckons Turnbull is going to lose out both ways over 18c.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/malcolm-turnbull-stands-to-lose-both-ways-on-18c-changes-20170321-gv35gp.html
    Laura Tingle writes that Arthur Sinodinos has likened denying the threat of climate change to the anti-vaccination lobby, saying the only credible response to these positions is “scientific fact” and that his responsibility is to promote the government’s commitment to science. Is this a good career move by Arthur? Google
    /news/politics/arthur-sinodinos-likens-climate-change-denial-to-antivaxxers-pushes-for-more-science-20170321-gv34sm
    “Last week was just another bad week for Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan. How many more bad weeks can he have before he resigns?”asks John Passant.
    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/should-the-commissioner-of-taxation-resign,10129
    The Guardian has revealed that the German bank that loaned $300m (£260m) to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/deutsche-bank-that-lent-300m-to-trump-linked-to-russian-money-laundering-scam

  12. Turnbull has really got himself into strife with his 18c changes. He has made indigenous and ethnic groups very, very angry. He was warned about this, he went ahead and did it anyway.

    Malcolm Turnbull tries to contain backlash from Indigenous and ethnic groups over 18C
    Groups representing Indigenous Australians and ethnicities say changes will validate and fuel racism against their communities
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/21/malcolm-turnbull-tries-to-contain-backlash-from-indigenous-and-ethnic-groups-over-18c

    Also – not getting much of a mention is the reason the government tacticians decided to introduce this bill to the Senate first. instead of doing the usual thing and taking it to the Reps first. It’s because the government knows this bill will be defeated in the Senate. By going there first the awful spectacle of government MPs crossing the floor in the Reps to help vote the bill down will be avoided. This tactic allows the government to blame the inevitable loss on Labor without the embarrassing contradiction of footage of government MPs voting against the bill.

  13. The government is now talking about splitting the omnibus bill because Birmo is desperate to get his childcare thing passed before parliament goes into the long pre-budget break. As things stand the Senate will kill it.

    That means a rush job concocting a new, smaller bill which will still include the welfare cuts needed to pay for the childcare funding changes. People are still going to be kicked to the kerb financially. Will Hanson and Xenophon fall for this? Probably. It was Hanson, yesterday, who whined about the bill being too big and then suddenly the government starts talking about making it smaller. Co-incidence? I don’t think so.

    What could possibly go wrong with a hastily-concocted new bill?

    Government looks to split childcare package and welfare cuts from omnibus savings bill
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-22/government-works-toward-passing-$1.6b-childcare-package/8374736

    Also in the ‘what could possibly go wrong’ department – hidden away in that ABC story is this.

    He said as well as boosting the subsidy paid to families, the changes included a new online payment system that would improve the way childcare providers operate.

    Senator Birmingham said the new IT system would reduce paperwork for childcare workers, which would mean they could spend more time with children and less on administration.

    “We will create a much better system for childcare operators, remove a whole lot of red tape and paperwork,” he said.
    “By doing so mean there’s an extra 100 hours that pretty much every childcare service across the country will be able to spend with children, helping them, caring for them, providing quality education

    Son of Robo-debt and Census-fail? Are we in for another government IT debacle?

  14. I spent the weekend hiking in the Beechworth area, yesterday our group ran into a homeless woman and adopted her for the day. Our leader who reminds me of Rimmer from Red Dwarf imagines himself as a life coach was keen to help. Anyway we offered her lunch, dinner, a shower, a bed and our company. Good thing she declined the bed because our leader reported her to the police.

    Our leader has taken an interest in a homeless fellow in the local shopping centre, listening to his stories, finding money for medication roping us in to supplying unwanted household goods for the housing commission flat he will move into _ just as soon as it is repainted and recarpeted

    For an old scotch boy who ran the family business into decline interacting with this homeless person is a quite an eye opener. I wish he would just give the homeless fellow money to spend as he saw fit.

    I sin binned when I tossed out trays of poorly cooked rice (my fault) and glugged up pasta(my fault again) what a drama over 90 cents of rice, and 89 cents of pasta and who knows how much electricity. What waste – better to leave it growing mould in the fridge,

    • Billie,

      That old scotch boy wouldn’t be from a family that once made the best woolen blankets in Australia, would he?

  15. Jennifer Wilson –

    Liberal senator admits 18C changes are designed to win back PHON voters

    In case you did not suspect that Malcolm Turnbull’s explosion of piss and wind on Section 18C yesterday was entirely self-serving, this morning on Radio National Breakfast news, Liberal Senator James Paterson confirmed that the exercise was part of a suite of measures designed to win back votes from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

    Oh look! A Liberal can speak the truth!

    https://noplaceforsheep.com/2017/03/22/liberal-senator-admits-18c-changes-are-designed-to-win-back-phon-voters/

  16. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/laws-of-gravity.html

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2017/03/initial-analysis-of-preferences-at-the-2017-western-australian-election.html

  17. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    When is Turnbull going to realise that he is totally stuffed until he can nobble the right wing rump?
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-reassures-ethnic-leaders-in-bid-to-contain-18c-fallout-20170321-gv33vr.html
    Mark Kenny is singularly unimpressed by the 18c moves and their motives.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/racehate-law-changes-gesture-politics-from-the-people-who-claim-to-be-above-it-20170321-gv2vri.html
    Katherine Murphy attempts to explain the inexplicable when it comes to the government’s moves on 18c. She gives The Australian and Fox Lite (aka night time on Sky News) a good serve.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/deutsche-bank-that-lent-300m-to-trump-linked-to-russian-money-laundering-scam
    Michelle Grattan nails it as she writes “Malcolm Turnbull is now, it seems, wholly owned by the conservatives in the Liberal Party and their strident media allies. His capitulation to them over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has been as revealing as it has been dramatic”.
    https://theconversation.com/conservatives-have-captured-turnbull-for-culture-war-crusade-74954
    Counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly, Australia’s first female Muslim MP, has warned that watering down race hate laws could have an impact on national security as the Turnbull government proposes changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/03/21/anne-aly-18c-racial-discrimination-act/
    The SMH editorialises that we should all be concerned at the sustained push by the complementary medicine industry for advertising self-regulation. If anything, the current rules do not have enough bite. The TGA and ACCC’s role in regulating the advertising of complementary medicines should be strengthened with greater penalties for non-compliance.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-editorial/strong-regulation-is-healthy-for-complementary-medicines-20170321-gv2v7t.html
    Ross Gittins examines the future for full time jobs.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/fulltime-work-is-going-to-the-dogs–and-itll-keep-getting-worse-20170320-gv2mph.html
    Public servants at the pesticides authority are hoping they can leave their makeshift office at MacDonald’s Armidale behind, launching a search for a real office in the northern NSW town where they are being forced to move. It’s an abject farce!
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/byebye-wifi-as-apvma-public-servants-leave-maccas-20170320-gv2ons.html
    Adele Ferguson, with some glee, writes that come tomorrow a royal commission or commission of inquiry into the scandal-ridden banking sector will be a genuine live issue in the Federal Parliament. From that point, the sword of Damocles will dangle precariously over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s head, waiting for the right moment to fall.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/sword-of-damocles-hangs-over-pm-turnbull-20170321-gv37qa.html

  18. Section 3 . . .

    Cadbury’s has been forced to slap down furious complaints from misinformed customers that its Easter eggs are Halal-certified.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/21/cadburys-slaps-down-racist-morons-over-halal-easter-eggs_a_21904094/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage
    The CA Royal Commission has been hearing that not all of the Church of England dioceses can agree on a national sexual abuse policy.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/anglican-dioceses-fail-to-agree-on-national-sex-abuse-policy-royal-commission-hears-20170320-gv2ly0.html
    More rampant nepotism from Trump.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/20/new-reports-raise-questions-about-ivanka-trumps-white-house-rol_a_21903729/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage
    Stephen Koukoulas wonders why Shorten and Labor seem to be scared to run on the economy.
    https://thekouk.com/item/476-why-are-bill-shorten-and-labor-scared-to-run-on-the-economy.html
    Five things one shouldn’t say to a friend going through a divorce.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/four-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-a-friend-going-through-divorce-20170320-gv2jbn.html
    The Defence Force’s much-hyped Joint Strike Fighter would struggle to hit a moderately slow moving target such as a car used by Islamic State ¬for a suicide bomb attack. From The Australian of all places. Google.
    /national-affairs/defence/17bn-joint-strike-fighters-couldnt-hit-a-moving-car/news-story/23b728e0a69a290fbbac563e289f231e
    Tom Ballard writes that the abolition of the gay panic defence proves that if we try, our political action can change things for the better and explains the role he played in it.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/i-stood-sidebyside-with-a-catholic-priest-to-overturn-queenslands-homophobic-law-20170321-gv3dcb.html
    Jeff Kennett lauds Julia Gillard’s appointment to head up BeyondBlue. Google.
    /news/opinion/jeff-kennett-gillard-ideal-for-beyondblues-next-chapter/news-story/c6288966e4fa7c6feecd1f57a9b49d30
    A new count of no votes found that even with Trump lobbying Republicans, he still lacks the votes to get the health care bill passed in the House.
    http://www.politicususa.com/2017/03/21/republicans-total-free-fall-trump-votes-pass-health-care-bill.html

  19. A comment from the grauniad –

    itcatip 6h ago

    41
    42
    Australians all let us rejoice
    For we are white and free
    Our laws let us offend all those
    Whose skin ain’t European
    This government of racist twats
    Lacks any decency
    In history’s page they won’t erase
    Our stained humanity
    Harass non-whites repeatedly
    With our new 18C

  20. I can’t remember a government being as idiotic, as chaotic and as generally useless as the current rabble.

    They came up with a reasonable plan to revamp childcare funding, a plan that parents think is a good idea, a plan that would win the government a lot of brownie points. So what did they do? Did they put the enabling bill to parliament ASAP so the new policy could go into action? No, they did not. They decided to play silly buggers with it. They decided to combine it with a raft of nasty new welfare cuts plus the rotting zombie corpses from the 2014 budget. The money saved by these cuts would pay for the increased childcare funding, they said. They assumed that doing this would force Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbench to vote for it all.

    Instead the general reaction was ‘get stuffed’.

    So they announced the money (allegedly) saved by the nasties – after the childcare funding had been paid – would go to the NDIS, assuming this threat would convince those senators to vote for it.

    Again the general reaction was “youse can get stuffed” accompanied by a lot of hissing about making the NDIS dependent on zombie measures already rejected by the Senate.

    Finally, when Hanson backflipped and announced yesterday One Nation senators would not support the omnibus bill, killing it stone cold dead before it had even reached the Senate (or possibly, by arrangement, giving the government the excuse they needed to split the bill) the government went into panic mode and came up with a brilliant idea.

    “How about we split the bill?” they said. FFS! Months of huffing, pufffing, threatening, cajoling, faffing around and telling the world this bill will pass and it all comes down to what they should have done in the first place. Separate bills.

    We now have two bills up for debate.
    Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2016
    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_LEGislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5696
    Rammed through the REps this morning, befgore Labor had even seen the bill. Destined to be rammed through the Senate over the next two days.

    And –
    Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017
    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:%22legislation/billhome/s1064%22
    Currently being debated in the Senate. Xenophon has already announced his team will support this bill with its $2.4 billion worth of welfare cuts. Hanson will no doubt support it too, to stop single mums popping out babies for money.

    Just to make everything that bit more of a farce – it all has to be passed right now. The Senate now has to stay until it’s done. More threats. “You are all going to be kept in until we get this passed”. Hours have been extended until midnight tonight and tomorrow night, with senators to sit on Friday as well instead of flying home for the weekend tomorrow night. We will have to pay for another night’s accommodation for the lot of them. All because Birmingham, Turnbull and Scummp want this legislation passed yesterday. They need a poll boost desperately. Flinging money at parents with kids in childcare might, they hope, achieve this.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/21/senate-hours-extended-as-government-hopes-to-push-through-1-6-b_a_21904848/

    “We are practical government. We will just get on with it” said Scummo today, neatly overlooking the bleeding obvious. The measures in both these bills have been in limbo for two years now while this bunch of clowns cavorted about trying and failing to get two senates to pass them.

    If the dorks responsible for this shemozzle had used what little brains they have months or years ago and created just a childcare funding bill there would have been no need for a crazed rush to get legislation enacted now, just a week before parliament takes a break until budget day. There would have been time for proper scrutiny of the legislation, instead of a mad scramble to cobble something together and get it passed before anyone has time to properly study it.

    It’s all going to fall into a heap sooner rather than later. There will be flaws in the new bills and they will have unpleasant effects. Let’s hope most of those effects are at the ballot box come the next election.

    • “Instead the general reaction was ‘get stuffed’. ”

      Those who refuse to learn from history …

      Do they think the Senators are idiots?

      I think what someone said the other day is right: they just do not understand why not everybody bows down to those born to rule.

  21. Thought I might as well put this up here:

    It lays out quite neatly Turnbull’s failure as a PM. He thinks like a lawyer. He has this idea that as long as you don’t technically go back on your word, it’s perfectly fine to intentionally mislead. He doesn’t even make a pretense of sticking to his word. He just says, “No, no, no, I only led you to believe I wasn’t going to change it; it’s your fault for not picking up my little trick.” And then chastises the journalist for not playing along.

    He’s in no position to do that. He has credibility issues, big ones. And unlike a lawyer, he’s not trying to sneak this stuff past a judge; it’s the Australian public, voters, who he’s addressing here. They won’t just go, “Awwww, you got me there, I guess I’ll have to vote for you…”

    • Anyone who reads “Today we have no plans to…” as anything but “Tomorrow we WILL have plans” needs their head read.

    • Turnbull has backflipped and then backflipped again and then backflipped some more on 18c.

      When Abbott was PM and first proposed the change Turnbull was against it. This was just a ploy to have a point oif difference with Abbott, of course.
      Then Abbott went cold on the idea and dropped his changes.
      When Turnbull was about to knife Abbott he promised he would bring back Abbott’s dropped change.
      After he became leader he backflipped again and in the 2016 election campaign he promised there would be no changes to 18c. At least, that’s what voters thought he meant when he said there were no plans to change 18c.
      Not long after that election he broke that promise and resumed debate on the change.
      Now he denies he ever made that 2016 promise. He never said nuffin, he never promised anything, he just said ‘no plans’.

      What the big fool doesn’t understand is this – we are not all former lawyers. If someone makes us a promise we expect them to keep it. We don’t expect a smarmy lecture on the importance of using weasel words to get around a broken promise.

      Turnbull can keep iit up if he likes, he can keep being sneaky and lose with the truth. He already has quite the reputation for being a snake oil salesman. He’s just adding to that perception every time he opens his mouth.

    • BB – that is true. But the issue here is Turnbull’s credibility, of which he has none left. He can’t afford to play stupid semantic games in order to justify being bent over by his party’s right wing.

      He needs to find a more sophisticated way of wriggling out of things, because lawyer talk isn’t doing it for him.

  22. JWH was a master at it. It became a game for me. Listen to what he sounded like he was saying and then look at it word by word to see how it could mean something very different to the first impression.

  23. It must be National Be Kind to Realos Day today.

    This morning before noon, I spoke to 4 real estate agents in our area, all cold calls. All in the one morning, after a month of no contact from anyone.

    Part of me was hoping some of them would give up., after 3 weeks of rain and misery. But now it seems I still have to pick a winner for the gig of selling our house. It’s an embarrassment of choice.

    Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this? They’re all nice people, and they are practically begging for the listing.

    Can I pick more than one? Or does that look naff?

    Genuine question.

  24. I get your point Aguirre, but the CPG never seems to twig.

    Good point about the “lawyerly” attitude, though. Fancy the Spiv In Chief trying that one on. It’s supposed to be understood, not trotted out as an actual serious excuse.

  25. Plans ? Heavens no. Schemes, plots, desires, wishes,intentions ? Si senor by the truck load.

  26. The next time Turnbull say, ‘We have no plans to…’, Labor will say, ‘just like you had no plans to….’

    Turnbull is an idiot.

  27. Yep, that’s the other point, Puffy. Turnbull’s just called himself out. As BB says, you’ve got to play the game with your tactics, not go around pointing the tactics out.

  28. As long as headlines like this…

    Analysis and Comment
    National Science Statement a positive gesture but lacks policy solutions: experts

    … keep appearing, that pathetic excuse for a “Science based” rag, The Conversation, “positive gestures” will remain complete and utter bullshit.

    Why does there seem to be a need to seek out the good (no matter how meager and half-arsed) in what Turnbull says?

    As long as he can get away with issuing motherhood statements that mean nothing and signify even less – but get quoted as being “positive” (or even “at least positive”) – he’ll hang on in a job for which he is spectacularly unsuited.To OUR detriment, and that of science.

    What kind of spell has this idiot woven, that so many still have such blind faith in him?

    https://theconversation.com/national-science-statement-a-positive-gesture-but-lacks-policy-solutions-experts-74987

  29. If class were judged he would be nowhere

    “Kohli has slipped below team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara in the latest table released by the ICC.”

    He has no right to be anywhere in any good rankings and should be sacked as captain of his national team.

    What got me was his coming out of his dressing room to celebrate that Australia had lost its last appeal to a review.

    I don’t think you’ll find it on the web now but it was ugly.

  30. I thought ‘The Coversation’ was supposed to give academics a forum to discuss issues , because the MSM ignored them. I must have got a wrong impression somewhere.

    • Since Grattan went there, almost every article is about national politics. “Science” stories are either treated in the context of whether Malcolm Turnbull will save the day, or more increasingly as quirkycolor pieces buried inside the “Technology” section.

      It used to be quite readable and (dareI say) interesting.Now it’s just a wannabee cross between The New Daily and the SMH, with not enough of either to make it readable.

  31. Geezus this ABC mob are something aren’t they.

    They just ran a full speech by Turnbull at an Immigration Awards Ceremony (I bet he didn’t write a word of that speech which he read off a laptop) and had the hide to announce that they will run segments of Bill Shorten’s speech a bit later, “maybe”!

    Howard’s move to get total control of what the ABC present to the Australian public is now complete. The main problem with it is that it is not the Coalition that control what they broadcast, but Murdoch and the IPA.

    Gord help this country. This mob are so intent in ensuring that they will control government on a permanent basis that there is now virtually nothing that they are prepared to do to fulfill that ambition.

    Turnbull is another case again. It is clearly apparent now that he is so engrossed in ensuring that he can last as long as possible in the destiny that his long departed Mum believed was his that nobody should doubt now that there is nothing he is prepared to do to remain in that position.

    Poor fellow my country be damned as far as Turnbull is concerned. Blimey, I am starting to dislike that man and the political rabble that so far remains his power base that little Johnny Howard is almost looking half decent.

    Just kidding. Howard, the Lying Rodent takes a lot of beating as far as a proper grub goes!

    • And now we have Turnbull’s long-tine buddy Justin Milne as chairman of the ABC. Their friendship goes way back to when they were both working at Ozemail.

      Used to be with NBN Co. Turnbull put him on the board there in 2013. That should tell you all you need to know about Turnbull’s plans for the ABC.

  32. Backyard Worlds: The Search For Planet 9

    Is there a large planet at the fringes of our solar system awaiting discovery, a world astronomers call Planet Nine? We’re looking for this planet and for new brown dwarfs in the backyard of the solar system using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. But we need your help! Finding these dim objects requires combing through the images by eye to distinguish moving celestial bodies from ghosts and other artifacts. There are too many images for us to search through by ourselves. So come join the search, and you might find a rogue world that’s nearer to the Sun than Proxima Centauri—or even the elusive Planet Nine.

    https://www.backyardworlds.org

  33. Blimey! Bill Shorten Knows how to present a speech and knows how to take advantage of his opponents weakness when he delivers it.

    Turnbull & his puppet masters will be spewing if they have the stomach to take in Bill’s whole speech.

    If you missed it, try and find a link to watch it in full. The PPG & MSM are eventually going to have to give him far more reasonable coverage than they have so far,which will have the effect of educating the public that the persona that the media have been presenting defining the Opposition Leader is far from the truth.

    He is a smart, caring and very competent political identity that makes his Coalition opponent look totally incompetent in comparison.

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