Darwin, NT News are indeed great:

Northern Territory News Editor Julian Ricci writes: Re. “Media briefs: Digital TV changeover explained… UK reporters to subedit own copy…” (Monday, item 23). Crikey wrote:

Interesting enough that NT News are seeking sub-editors at a time when subs are being laid off worldwide in large numbers, but some may take issue with their claims that they are the ‘greatest paper in the world, in the best city in the world’…

There is no doubt Darwin is the best city in the world. Research has proven it. As for the NT News being the “greatest paper in the world”, a snap poll has shown three out of four people believe this to be true. My partner said it definitely was (as long as I unloaded the dishwasher). My mum said: “Yes dear, of course it is’”, then, “Who is this? Is this one of those prank call thingies?” My neighbour said: “Absolutely … as long as you keep giving me your home delivery copy … and keep your bloody dog out of my azaleas.”

But my dad said he preferred the Tablelands Advertiser because he got his name in the lawn bowls results column every other week.

We accept your apology.

Airport security:

“Trav Eller” writes: Re. Monday’s editorial. Airport security! A joke! I am a very frequent flyer. Especially overseas. 10 days ago I boarded an American Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Chicago. In my jacket pocket I had a razor sharp cigar cutter which is three times larger than the “box cutters” used by the hijackers for 9/11. Obviously I did not realise what was in my pocket at the time and just put my jacket through the sophisticated x-ray machines with my shoes. No problem.

A few days later I then boarded a British Airways flight from Chicago to London. Before I handed over my jacket to the cabin attendant I checked my pockets for valuables and found the cigar cutter. I showed the cabin attendant and I commented then it was razor sharp and that I was amazed that the x-ray had not picked it up. I told her naively that it was OK because I was not a hijacker. I put it back in my pocket and gave the jacket to her.

I then carried the same jacket through airport security over the next few days through Bangkok to Singapore, Singapore to Bangkok and Bangkok to Sydney. I just forgot I had it in my jacket. So I ended up carrying the thing through Las Vegas, Chicago, London, Bangkok, Singapore, and Bangkok security checks. The razor sharp cutter was never picked up!

What is the x-ray machine doing guys? Security? You have to be joking. Please do not print my name as this will completely stuff up my future travels. Seriously.

John Mair writes: All the security at airports is about keeping these things off planes, not securing the actual airport. Proof: try to get one of those queue bollards used to murder the guy onto a plane. A gang of bikies can turn up anywhere and brawl. No-one can stop it.

However I do wonder why the crew on the plane didn’t have the cops there by the time the plane landed. (Not our problem once they are off the plane?) Right now I would be buying shares in a plastic bollard company.

Matthew Brennan writes: With due respect to Sandy Logie (yesterday, comments) I would assume an effective airport security system would involve security patrols, surveillance and communications systems, all hopefully coordinated and set up to elicit a rapid response to any disturbance, any where, within the airport.

That a group of individuals could start brawling when they got off a plane, continue brawling to the baggage collection area where one of them is then bashed to death, and the perpetrators then walk out the front doors, hail a cab and escape successfully (all over the space of 15 minutes in a crowded airport terminal!) can only lead me to conclude that the absence of any terrorist attack at Sydney Airport is primarily because no would be terrorist has so far bothered to try!

Bikies and drugs:

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Absurd anti-bikie laws do not stop bikies, but legalising drugs will” (yesterday, item 10). Greg Barns postulates that legalising drugs will end the bikies wars. Of Course! Legalising drugs will end lots of wars, save zillions of dollars, dramatically reduce violence and save us from any more Underbelly series. Frankly one has to wonder what bloody idiot decided to make all these drugs illegal in the first place. It’s as if we haven’t learnt from the prohibition era in the USA.

What is the case against legalisation? There is no case! Why should we continue to fill up our jails, export countless dollars across the seas and allow violence and crime gangs to flourish? Why indeed when, if it’s legal, we can tax the stuff.

Reuben Braithwaite writes: With the unfortunate failure of the Victorian government to support the “dob in a bikie” hotline the burden once again falls upon your publication to keep us safe at night.

Every day my street in inner northern Melbourne is terrorized by one of these mounted marauders. Nonchalant astride his bright red machine, brazenly displaying his gang colours and mounting the footpath at will, this lone rider gleefully grins with a deathly leer at all who dare look his way. I would encourage any upstanding member of society to report other sightings of this villain’s murderous crew.

The colours of his gang may easily be identified by a blood red circle with what appears to be a stylized “P” in its centre. Indeed, such is the impunity with which these hell bound ruffians roam the streets they have even had the temerity to install a metal box, their grizzly logo upon it, on the corner and I regularly see the good people of my neighbourhood depositing envelopes into it — “protection’ money no doubt.

Yours in anticipation of a safer world, Reuben.

Turnbull:

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Is Turnbull’s honeymoon over?” (Yesterday, item 4). “Otherwise, Peter Costello, a man without courage, capacity for hard work or policy substance, will obtain the leadership having done nothing but destabilise his party since November 2007. And Turnbull, one of the finest minds ever to grace an Australian Parliament, will be lost to public life, before he’s even had a chance to show what he’s capable of.”

Apart from finishing a sentence on a preposition Mr Keane’s moistening of Mr Turnbull’s pockets with an outburst of man-love and affection is embarrassing for all of us having to watch.

Bernard please, you and Malcolm should get a room.

State politics:

David Lenihan writes: Re. Peter Lloyd (yesterday, comments) who wrote: “Each state is desperate to be rid of their stale and dodgy Labor governments…”

Oh, then of course last Saturday’s Queensland election was merely a figment of our imagination and Labor wasn’t returned with a majority of something like 15 seats. Obviously the majority of that state were not desperate to rid themselves of a Labor Government. Both the ACT and Nth Territory returned Labor Governments, but of course they are not States. In reality the only “State” that appears to be close to a change of Government is NSW and the Liberal Party there is probably in a worse “state” than the Queensland conglomeration was.

No Peter perhaps it is merely wishful thinking on your part, I wasn’t aware there was a frenzied desire among your mates in Tassie to get rid of that nice Labor Government, all seems love and peace down there. Incidentally you observe the Libs in Tasmania are controlled by booze, religion and Forestry. Substitute Forestry for big business and you have the Libs in all States and Territories.

Incidentally it appears all is not well in the Liberal/National camp in WA, murmurings and rumblings between the two partners are becoming louder. It seems not all marriages are made in Heaven and the Nats are becoming a reluctant bride.

Pollster Gary Morgan writes: Re. “Brent vs Possum: on accumulating accuracy” (yesterday, item 11). As with so many recent elections Galaxy and Newspoll have not always been as accurate as they claim. There are two reasons:

  1. Their estimate of the vote for each party has been out a lot — both were very wrong in their estimate of the Brisbane vote for each party (check it yourself), and;
  2. It is for this reason that they both wrongly said the Queensland election would be close — it was never going to be close — the ALP fooled the media “sheep”, as they do so often.

Peter Brent is “right” — both the final week surveys indicated huge swings to the LNP in and around Brisbane and modest ones (in aggregate) elsewhere in the State — unfortunately WRONG!

Correction:

Four Corners Executive Producer Sue Spencer writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (yesterday, item 15). I have no idea where Glenn Dyer gets his information but he certainly has not checked it with Four Corners. Marcus Einfeld was not “wired up when he was walking into court in the Four Corners story.”

The sound collected was from a trusty boom microphone operated by one of the ABC’s excellent sound recordists, who was waiting with the numerous other media in the immediate vicinity of the court.

This is an important point as there should be no suggestion that Marcus Einfeld was wearing a microphone into the court.

The F/A-18 Hornet:

Justin Templer writes: If Vincent Burke (yesterday, comments) is correct when he tells us an RAAF F/A-18 Hornet hovered over the crowd at a V8 car race in Adelaide we should all keep very quiet about it — if the Yanks find out that we’ve modified an FA-18 to hover they’ll want one too.

Steven McKiernan writes: Sorry Vincent Burke, RAAF fan of Adelaide, F/A-18 Hornets do not have an internal bomb bay, I can only assume he was looking at the open recesses for the landing gear.

Gaza:

Sonia Morris writes: Re. “IDF testimonials tell frightening version of Gaza war” (Monday, item 6). As a Jewish woman and a Zionist, obviously I would defend Israel rather than the Palestinians, but I must take you to task on your rabidly unfair articles regarding the ongoing conflict. Why do you always take the Palestinians viewpoint without ever putting forward the Israeli side? Have you forgotten the rockets from Gaza in to Sderot for example? Or the Israeli children killed by the rockets from Gaza.

I could continue in the same vein, but I don’t see the need, as Crikey never sees the conflict as being anything other than Israel’s fault. You can at least attempt to see the other side, but you won’t, will you?

ACMA:

Verity Pravda writes: Mark Newton (yesterday, comments) incorrectly states that I suggest the IIA was involved in the leak of the ACMA list. But he does agree the list was leaked from the existing process and the existing legislation — which is the framework the IIA supports. He asks how long the list for the ISP filter would take to leak, and the answer, as I wrote, is that it doesn’t matter — as with a filter in place the average Joe-blow at home isn’t going to be accessing the sites.

I think the issue about whether the list released is or isn’t the “ACMA” list is a little weird. Even the first list seemed likely to at least include the ACMA list. But, to repeat, the leak came from a nine-year-old process of distributing the list to filter providers who embedded it in software for further distribution. Can we all agree that that is a dumb idea? And, by the way, if we plan the filter right we only need to install it on the transit links out of the country rather than in every ISP – that is a lot more efficient and a lot more controlled.

And it really does become possible to institute a process for review of the sites listed on the list. Finally it is strange that Stilgherrian can be dredging up the “Conroy’s Big Brother” line (which is matched in the chat forums with claims that the Rudd government is totalitarian) in the same Crikey issue as John Faulkner’s review of FOI laws is reported.

Mel Richardson writes: Re. “It certainly looks like the ACMA blacklist, eh Senator Conroy?” (Yesterday, item 13). Is it just me or are other people getting a tad bored with “Stilgherrian” and his/her constant rants on the proposed net filter. I know that Crikey has, on a few occasions provided another point of view on this but Stilgherrian seems to have a daily platform for essentially the same opinion, over and over. We got the point.

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Peter Fray

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