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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Miss England is too fat?

I just cannot believe these idiots who run the modelling and fashion world. Despite the likes of supermodel, Tyra Banks, continuing to push for a role for 'plus-size' models and models who actually have curves, and the divine Ms Banks had and continues to have one heck of a set of curves, check out this lunacy.

Miss England 2008, Laura Coleman, has been told that she is too fat to be on the catwalk. Oh give me a bloody break. In this image from her wikipedia page, Ms Coleman is a size 8. The naughty girl let herself become a disgustingly obese size 10! Oh the shame of it all.

Coleman has done a healthy thing but the lunatics who run the modelling/fashion world have effectively condemned her for it. What happened to this idea that the fashion industry was supposed to be pushing for more realistic, healthy role models? Do we really have to have more aspiring models literally starve themselves to death before these idiots wake up to themselves?

I say 'good on ya' Laura. Not that I generally give a damn about the Miss World pageant (except of course when Jennifer Hawkins won, but as an Aussie I'm just slightly biased there), but I'll be quietly cheering you on in South Africa at the Miss World finals.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Are Australia Post conducting a scam?

The dramas over the Australia Post company, First Direct Solutions, continues.

I received the documentation in the post that required I furnish particular identification details before revealing who they have sold my details to. Stay tuned for details once I have a response to that.

I am still receiving letters from various bodies as personally addressed mail, begging for money. I have begun contacting them to get myself removed from their various databases. The Fred Hollows Foundation was one of them. I asked if they obtained my details from the Australia Post company, First Direct Solutions. No, they assured me, they had no dealings with that company, giving me the name and contact number for the company that they had purchased a mailing list from. Guess who it turned out to be. That's right, it was First Direct Solutions. I contacted the Hollows Foundation again and let them know. The operative I spoke to expressed considerable surprise that they had been dealing with FDS. Apparently there had been a name change in the past, but that apparently occurred before I had completed the Australia Post Lifestyles Survey.

Another charity referred me to yet another mail list distributor who they claim that they purchased their list from. I have telephoned that company several times but only get an answering machine. I have requested removal from their database and requested advice on where they obtained my details from. I am yet to receive any confirmation that they have removed my name from their database and no response to my request for information. I shall give them benefit of the doubt for another few days. Maybe they're just slack in that office.

So what actually happened? I received an email that encouraged me to take part in Australia Post's Australian Lifestyles Survey, offering the potential for large cash prizes as an incentive. Was I stupid enough to participate? Yes. Caveat emptor! But having reviewed the survey form yet again, it does not state that Australia Post are using it to create a database that they are then selling on to who knows who, only a bland statement that survey participants 'may' be contacted by other businesses. Australia Post is getting two bites at the cherry here. They sell the database and then charge the purchaser postage for all the letters sent out to the persons they select from the database. It is only when you start digging that you really find out what is going on.

I telephoned First Direct Solutions again, asking them how I went about purchasing a copy of the database and what restrictions there are on how I may use the database. I was referred to their website. I checked and am unable to find any such information other than an automated contact point. So I am no wiser as yet.

At the end of the day, I did let myself become blinded by the prospect of scoring some bucks for nothing. How stupid was that! However I wonder just how many other respondents to that survey (FDS claim to have over 400,000 entries in their database) are aware of just what they have actually done? Admittedly FDS did remove my name from the database, but as previously detailed, I had to raise hell on the telephone before they did.

I fail to see how Australia Post can justify acting in this manner. Apart from anything else, how many natural resources are wasted in the junk mail being generated from access to their database?

His Dishonour, Marcus Einfeld

Some months ago, I wrote about the lunacy surrounding former Australian federal judge, Marcus Einfeld, lying through his teeth merely in order to try and avoid a $77 speeding fine. The story reached a degree of conclusion on October 31st.

First, a recap.

On January 8, 2006, Einfield's car was clocked by a speed camera doing 60 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. Einfeld contested the fine, claiming that the vehicle was in the charge of his friend, Professor Theresa Brennan. However it later emerged that Brennan had in fact died in February 2003, almost three years earlier!

Einfeld continued to contest the case. His friend, Vivian Schenker, then entered the frame, giving a statement that she and Einfeld were not even in Sydney at the time, having driven to another town in his mother's car. However security footage later revealed that his mother's vehicle had not left her home on the day in question. Schenker was given immunity for her evidence. She recanted her story.

How on earth did Einfeld think he was going to get away with this insanity?

On October 14th, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal quashed five charges of perverting the course of justice against Einfeld. I fail to see how that was justified. Nonetheless, three charges of making false statements on oath and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice were upheld and to go to trial on November 3rd. However on October 31st, Einfeld finally rolled over, pleading guilty. As he should have as he lied. Deliberately. Repeatedly.

There was more and more lunacy to his increasingly ludicrous defence, all of which kept falling down as fast as he made it.

What makes this episode even more ridiculous is that when still sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court in 2000, Einfeld imprisoned a man for lying to the court.

"Lying on oath and importuning witnesses to give false evidence are not matters which can be regarded lightly or as credible," his dishonour stated. He referred to the offences as being of 'the most serious kind' and deserving 'significant punishment'. Einfeld went further, describing the actions as 'at best arrogant and at worst a complete rejection of law and order'. But apparently it is quite OK for a judge to do so in his opinion.

There is no possibility of Einfeld not being aware of the gravity of what he did. Yet he did it. And continued lying, even apparently conspiring with others to support his actions.

Einfeld's sentencing has been held over until February 2009. The charges carry maximum penalties of 10-14 years. Yet despite having pleaded guilty to such serious charges, Einfeld is allowed to retain his judge's pension, currently set at $184,200 pa, guaranteed for life. And why? Because when the legislation covering such pensions was enacted, it seemed inconceivable that a federal judge could ever be found guilty of crimes such as these.

I cannot help but wonder how just how high the price to the taxpayer this episode has been, given that Einfeld was so clearly guilty but kept dragging it on, getting deeper and deeper into the mire. Where's the real justice in this?

I will be looking forward with considerable interest to Einfeld's sentencing hearing.

What a lying piece of dirt. And all for the sake of a $77 speeding ticket!