Friday 16th of April 2021

thing one and thing two


Bob Katter has an easy way out of the dilemma about which party to support – neither. Holding his hat over his heart, he can reasonably claim neither mob is worthy of his allegiance.

But – and here's the big but, the Katter flap for him to slip out of the way – in the interests of stable government he will guarantee not to block supply or support any frivolous no-confidence motion whoever's occupying the Treasury benches.

Conundrum of a basically conservative politician from a basically conservative electorate solved. True independence maintained and his relevance to the government guaranteed for the life of the Parliament.

By the nature of the current 74-73 vote and the Prime Minister having first dibs on the Governor-General, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott needs the independents' active support, while Julia Gillard only needs their passive acceptance.

If Rob Oakeshott can land his desired reform of an independent Speaker, the game certainly becomes stable enough to play.

The "father of independents", former North Sydney member Ted Mack, reckons the three amigos will go further than that, actively giving Labor the nod.

positive change for parliamentary democracy...

The independents - Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor - today held talks with Labor and the Coalition about a parliamentary overhaul.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Oakeshott said a deal had been reached.

Under the agreement, Question Time will be overhauled, with questions limited to 45 seconds and answers capped at four minutes. The replies must also be relevant.

Mr Oakeshott said the changes would give ordinary MPs more power and strip away some of the control from the executive.

"The Australian political system up until now has been overly dominated by the executive, and the Parliament has played a secondary role to the executive, the ministers," he said.

"In the last parliament we didn't even talk about the gang of four. That's going to change in this parliament, and I think that is a positive change for parliamentary democracy in Australia."

Kat amongst the pigeons...

Key independent MP Bob Katter has announced he will back the Coalition in a minority government.

The Queensland MP's decision to throw his support behind Opposition Leader Tony Abbott means the Coalition is now on equal footing with Labor on 74 seats.

But both sides are still two seats short of the majority needed to form government.


Obviously Katter fell for the crook budget figures of the coaliton, bought Tony's lies, yet he likes Labor's broadband network and the national energy grid... He still is a Country-Party boy under his ten gallon hat...

the kat in the hat was a rabbit...

From letters at SMH


Katter pulled all the clever moves

Who was the smartest politician to come out of this federal election? Bob Katter. He worked with the other two independents and got what he wanted. They take the heat by going with Labor, while he sides with the Coalition knowing full well it is going to be a Labor minority government.

He keeps peace with his electorate, gets the national broadband network and better health services and doesn't have to consider voting for the mining tax. He goes back to his electorate to say ''I did my best, stayed with the party you would have wanted'', even though they delivered nothing to his electorate when in power, ''and I also have a good friend in the government in Kevin Rudd''.

Can't do better than that.

Ken Pares Forster


Gus: I guessed that much... The Kat pulled a cat out of the hat unless it was a rabbit out of the bag. We can only hope he keeps the bilious bastards honest on his chosen side of the fence, where the weeds are greener...

katter supports the levy...

The Federal Government will introduce a bill for its flood levy into Parliament today, but is still working on winning the support it needs to have it passed.

The Government aims to use the levy and budget cuts to raise billions of dollars to help pay for the cost of flooding across the east coast and for the damage from Cyclone Yasi in north Queensland.

But it needs the support of crossbench MPs and senators to tax middle and high income earners for one year to help pay for the flood reconstruction.

It has won the support of the Queensland independent Bob Katter, who says the destruction caused by Cyclone Yasi leaves him little choice.

He says the Government could not fund reconstruction costs without a levy.

"They've got me boxed in haven't they? I mean, we've had colossal losses," he said.

"I haven't got that luxury because of what's happened with the cyclone in North Queensland."

Mr Katter says he would like to see a permanent disaster fund, but he will not push for it.

Sometimes Bob sees good sense in doing some things, reluctantly — even if it's only after having been punched in the guts by bad floods, then floored by a Yasi. Not much choice, is there?

Tony Rattus-the-Second says it can be done with more cuts to the budget, though his idea is a bit like demolishing the perfect lounge room — because he does not like the wallpaper — to provide a few planks for the damaged kitchen... Rabid maniac. See toon at top.


a new pollie party...

Free-talking MP Bob Katter captured Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's attention and attracted a couple of rebel Queensland MPs but his new party has failed to garner any real support from major political players.

The federal independent is calling for candidates, volunteers and donations to get Katter's Australian Party off the ground.

But Mr Abbott on Monday called on the maverick member for the north Queensland seat of Kennedy to ditch Katter's Australian Party and join the Liberals.


Abbott sees greedy opportunism at every opportunity... But Abbott has nothing to offer but the glorious shifting sands of negativity in which soon he's going to be obliviated in (hopefully).

See toon at top...

under the hood...

Queensland MP Bob Katter has dressed up as the Grim Reaper outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest against the demise of Australia’s car industry.

Clad in black gown, the federal member for Kennedy held up a scythe and signs that read “Free Market = Aust’s car crash” and “Holden on to Aussie jobs” on Thursday morning as a parade of classic Holdens drove past.

His unusual protest came hours before he introduced a motion in the House of Representatives on Thursday calling for support for a revitalised car manufacturing industry with a majority Australian shareholding – and to ensure that all cars bought by the federal government are locally made.


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Sure... Electric cars!





Energy titan Trevor St Baker says the world's most polluting cars will end up in Australia if the government does not act to set vehicle emissions targets.

Emissions standards that mandate the average of all new cars sold pollute less carbon or noxious particles than a set target are in place in 80 per cent of the world's light vehicle market but not in Australia.

"The government must have a target for vehicle emissions," the 80-year-old founder of ERM Energy said. "The world's dirty cars will come here and the electric cars won't come here unless there is going to be a market. There won't be a market here unless we're establishing vehicle emission standards as good as the rest of the world."

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dog owners object to cat in the hat books...

Six Dr Seuss titles will be pulled from publication in response to ongoing backlash against racist and insensitive imagery in them.

Dr Seuss Enterprises, the company that protects and preserves the late author’s legacy, said today it would cease publication of six books – And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran The Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer.

The company made the decision after listening to feedback from teachers and academics, who have studied the children’s books and their potential impact on a diverse society.


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peppa pig is not kosher, nor halal...


David Matthews is a writer whose work has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday and the Observer, and on the BBC and Channel 4. He is the author of several books, including Voices of the Windrush Generation. Follow him on Twitter @mrdavematthews.

Is the cancellation of six Dr. Seuss books a legitimate step to address racism or cack-handed corporate virtue signalling? There are no easy answers when addressing what’s considered offensive and discriminatory in modern culture.

If, like me, you’re an information geek and a semi-hypochondriac, one of the most fascinating reads on the planet is the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer’s List of classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, IARC Monographs Volumes 1–128a.

While this intriguing little title doesn’t roll off the tongue, exactly, the pearls of wisdom and nuggets of informational gold contained within are priceless. For instance, who would’ve thunk that working nights can give you cancer? Or that carpentry and joinery are carcinogenic, or painting, for that matter? (I’m assuming the context here is decorating as opposed to water colours, but the detail is a little sketchy on this one.)

We all know that smoking, boozing and pretty much anything else that’s fun is bound to give you cancer; but banging the hell out of an Ikea flatpack or doing up the spare room can kill you? C’mon. However, the geeks at the WHO know their onions, so if they’ve calculated that there’s enough of a statistical probability of something nasty happening to you based on a given activity, you should take their word for it until someone else says otherwise. That’s how science works.

All of which makes me think that the WHO should publish a monograph along the lines of a “List of classifications by racist animations with sufficient or limited evidence in writers, illustrators and producers,” as it’s getting a little confusing as to which of my favourite cartoons are culturally toxic. Take Dr. Suess, for instance. 

I used to love reading my children The Cat In The Hat at bedtime or watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas with them. Part of the appeal of such books or films was their use of anthropomorphised characters, and their apparent lack of discernible racial, if not human, identity. Just like Winnie the Pooh, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, The Teletubbies or Shaun the Sheep, Dr. Seuss’s myriad titles trade on a core psychological trick of the trade: characters that are silly, cuddly and often animalistic, but have human traits, are easier for children to identify with emotionally, while said characters’ lack of ethnocentrism means, for publishers, producers and merchandisers, the world is their oyster. 

Basically, it’s far easier to hawk kids’ cartoons to a global audience using talking fluffy bunnies and jabbering space aliens with luminous green faces than dark brown ones. Even Peppa Pig is popular in territories where you’d think she’d be haram because pigs are race neutral. Well, sort of...

The trouble with Dr. Seuss, however, is that behind all the wonderfully wacky weirdness and furry fun, there’s evidently a dark side to Theodor Seuss Geisel, creator of the eponymous publishing empire. 

“In Dr. Seuss’ books, we have a kind of sensibility which is oriented toward centering the white child and decentring everyone else,” said Ebony Thomas, a professor of children’s and young adult literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Speaking to NBC, the author of The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games effectively supported Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ (DSE) decision to cancel six of its six books, published between the 1930s and the late 1970s.

“Dr. Seuss was shaped by a completely immersive white supremacist culture,” Thomas told NBC. “Even during that time, our ancestors and elders were protesting racist works and producing alternative stories for our children. How do we decide what endures and what doesn’t endure? It’s our responsibility to decide what kind of books to put in front of kids.

DSE has of course self-flagellated over the offending books, confessing that they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” But as philosopher and cultural critic Dr. Isabel Millar pointed out, “All these little gestures don’t really change the power structures – they just make white people feel good about themselves for noticing [racism].”

Indeed. Such corporate virtue signalling is a small price to pay and will barely, if at all dent DSE’s healthy bottom line. As Forbes reported in 2019, “With books sold into 110+ countries in 45 languages as well as braille, and over $1 billion lifetime sales and 650 million books sold worldwide, DSE continues to expand the Dr. Seuss brand across a myriad of industries, creating new products for all ages to enjoy.”

One can see how young, impressionable minds do need protecting from the likes of Dr. Evil – sorry, Dr. Seuss – and his racist buffoonery. But what about Chris Rock’s jive talking zebra, ‘Marty’ in Madagascar or Eddie Murphy’s ‘Donkey’ in Shrek? Many have argued that, despite being voiced by black actors, these stars’ performances are racial stereotypes bordering on minstrelsy.

Murphy has, to his credit, played with minstrelsy in a clever way. Back in 1984, his Saturday Night Live sketch, “White Like Me” saw the comedian don ‘whiteface’ for a mockumentary on racism in America. Everywhere he looked he found racism because… hey, it’s America, stupid! One of the few genuinely funny moments in SNL’s 45-year hit and miss history, Murphy’s whiteface, which he reprised four years later in Coming to America raised serious questions regarding ‘cultural copyright’ and who has the ‘right’ to lampoon who – questions that go right back to early 19th century minstrelsy. 

While those on the woke-right, such as Piers Morgan, have criticised the likes of Murphy, the Wayans brothers and even Uncle Lenny Henry for ‘whiting up’, unsurprisingly, he doesn’t get the irony, nor the historic context behind the woke-left’s desire to strike off Dr. Seuss. Look closely enough at the dodgy doc’s Cat in The Hat – or Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny or Felix the Cat – and you’ll find minstrel tropes, such as white gloves, hiding in plain sight. Otto Messmer, creator of Felix the Cat, was one of few cartoonists to actually admit that his fiendish feline was based on a minstrel character.

Having grown up in the ‘70s and ‘80s on a diet of big black mamas in Tom and Jerry, ‘Jim Crow’ in Dumbo and a plethora of politically incorrect and occasionally racist Disney, Hanna Barbera and Looney Toons flicks, maybe I’ve become too cynical about the degree to which American popular culture is merely a reflection of American society. Which is why it’s now a bit rich for a ’90s and noughties generation reared on The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy to have suddenly found a conscience about the minstrelsy in those shows. Or have these woketards been too busy staring at their mobiles to notice?

Last year, actor Hank Azaria revealed that he would no longer voice The Simpsons’ Kwik-E-Mart clerk Apu after the character was quietly shown the backdoor in 2017. As Asian characters go, Apu was about as subtle as Peter Sellers’ Indian Dr. Ahmed el Kabir in The Millionairess,or Spike Milligan’s Pakistani factory worker Kevin O’Grady in ITV’s short-lived sitcom Curry and Chips. In his documentary The Problem With Apu, comedian Hari Kondabolu had slated Apu for being a racist stereotype of Indian-Americans. Fallout from the doc led to Azaria receiving “a wave of criticism” and, despite putting in a 30-year shift voicing Apu and many other Simpsons characters, it was time for Azaria to clock out.

No sooner had Azaria quit than black actor Arif Zahir took over the role of Cleveland Brown from white actor Mike Henry. Brown is a black character who is Family Guy star Peter Griffin's friend and neighbour. Henry tweeted last June that he would be stepping down from the role he’d voiced since Family Guy debuted in 1999, and its spin-off The Cleveland Show, which he’d voiced from 2009 to 2013 stating, “persons of color should play characters of color.”

It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role. 

— Mike Henry (mikehenrybro) June 26, 2020


White actors Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell appeared to have got the same memo having given up their respective roles on Big Mouth and Central Park saying it was “inappropriate” to voice biracial cartoon characters.

In a recent BBC interview, Simpsons’ creator Matt Groenig admitted, “Times change but I actually didn't have a problem with the way we were doing it. All of our actors play dozens of characters each, it was never designed to exclude anyone.” 

This is easy for Groenig to say. But in a country where 45 million people are black, even if finding animators, illustrators, showrunners or Hollywood Foreign Press Association members ‘of colour’ is ‘challenging’, surely finding black people who can speak into a microphone isn’t that hard. South Park managed it with Isaac Hayes and ‘Chef’ for multiple seasons; and my current favourite (culturally white) animated series F Is For Family has a number of black characters voiced by, you guessed it, black actors.

One of F’s many gems is the sardonic Smokey Greenwood, voiced by Michael Kenneth Williams who has played, among other intriguing characters, Omar Little in The Wire. I’d like to think that the show’s creator, comedian Bill Burr, managed to authenticate his characters’ voices thanks to his own wit and not the influence of his wife, Nia Renee Hill, as that would be cheating seeing as she’s a sista. But while The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Cleveland Show stumble over whose turn it is to black or brown up, F Is For Family plays it ‘straight’ thanks to its faultless casting. As Smokey tells his new delivery job skivvy, and the show’s white working class hero, Frank Murphy, after he gets cute with an impromptu one-liner: “Don’t improvise. This ain’t jazz motherf****r!


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Oh dear...

rearranging the human zoo...

Hypocrisy is coming to define the woke world as books that tout violence and sexual perversities, like Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’, remain on the shelves, while alleged racially offensive kids’ works attract the censors.

It seems like just yesterday that the Western world was preaching to one billion Muslims that nothing would stop its cartoonists from scribbling caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, even though such an act is strictly forbidden by the Koran.

“Freedom of speech” was the battle cry heard throughout the land, soon to be replaced by “Je suis Charlie,”following a deadly attack at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that published the forbidden caricatures.

Today, those very same Western defenders of artistic expression and free thought have cowered before the insane woke posse, declaring six Dr. Seuss illustration books guilty of “portray[ing] people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” according to the website of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Curious as to what the latest fuss was about, I decided to watch an audio version of one of these racist tracts, entitled If I Ran the Zoo (1950), after the children had gone to bed, of course. Without giving away the plot – especially since Dr. Seuss books are now selling like hotcakes, the predictable consequence of censorship – the story is centered on young Gerald McGrew who dreams of ways he would change the zoo.


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