“Australian Prime Minister John Howard is at the centre of a growing row over using unsolicited e-mails, or spam, to promote his election campaign.
Mr Howard hired his son’s firm to send e-mails to voters in his Sydney seat of Bennelong ahead of national elections expected in the coming weeks.” (BBC)

If you stopped buying Converse when they were bought by Nike, consider the ‘ethical, worker-friendly, environmentally friendly’ blackspot sneakers/trainers instead.
In other news, I’ve booked the flights to go to Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Romania at the end of September, arriving back in London just in time to hang out with my friend Cat.
Oh, and they’ve called the election in Australia, so we can look forward to lots of flying bullshit.

James sent me this link to a
‘letter to the editor’ generator. I think that’s kinda cheating, so I’ve used the form to send this letter:
“Dear editor,
there is an automatic letter generator at http://www.georgewbush.com/Economy/WriteNewspapers.aspx?AgendaID=2. This generator is allowing people to spam your letters page without the courtesy of thinking about the issues and your editorial content themselves.
You might like to visit this page and take note of the generated paragraphs so you can avoid publishing letters with this content.”
I used a San Francisco postcode, and it was sent off to the San Francisco Chronicle, The Independent, the San Jose Mercury News, S F Weekly and The Urban Latino News.

Go Bob!
“In a lengthy speech delivered at Sydney University, Mr Hawke claimed Australia’s reputation had suffered as a result of the Government’s willingness to blindly follow US foreign policy.
It was a far cry from the days when Australia had taken a more uncomprising view of international relations, Mr Hawke said.
“It is sensible to have a relationship with the United States, but where we did not agree with the United States, we said, ‘Get stuffed’,” he said.
“Are we going to get back to that position, or are we, if we re-elect Howard, simply going to be in effect signing up to being the 52nd state of the US.” (news.com.au)

Howard rejects ‘serial liar’ tag
“It follows the weekend release by Labor of a document titled Truth Overboard in which it outlined 27 cases when Mr Howard allegedly lied or misled the Australian public.”
“He said Mr Howard had come up with a new term – core and non-core guarantees – to account for the government’s failure to honour its promises.” (Age)
“The Federal Government was warned repeatedly by intelligence analysts before the Iraq war that the conflict would harm the war on terrorism by fanning Islamic extremism and spurring terrorist recruiting.
An investigation by the Herald, which has included interviews with several serving and retired intelligence figures, has uncovered that John Howard and his senior colleagues were briefed on the dangers, verbally and in written reports.
Yet the Prime Minister told Australians on the eve of the conflict that the war would lessen the terrorist threat, contradicting his intelligence advice.

The sources also said the Government was told there was no operational link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and the Iraq war could not be seen as part of the broader global war on terrorism.” (Age)
I think I’m going to stop reading the Age and SMH because I can’t expect everyone to register to read their articles.

“British mockery of the Australian accent and vernacular has boiled over into outright hostility with new regulations demanding that Australians submit to English language tests before taking out British citizenship.
Home Secretary David Blunkett has decreed that applications for a British passport must be supported by certificates of proficiency in English, supplied by designated English teachers or consular officials.” (Age) I think ‘outright hostility’ is putting it a little strongly, but it does seem excessive.

Nothing to blog. Maybe I’m too depressed to read the news after the whole gay marriage ban in Australia. And with elections all over the place, the news is too full of lies and bullshit to blog them all.
So, some gossip instead. I’m going to see Bent and Mylo at Cargo tonight, and Paul Kelly on Sunday. Gig-a-licious.
And last weekend I went to a lovely BBQ, and had a lovely relaxed day at the Jazz Cafe Picnic where I saw 2 banks of 4 (not for me, I think), Lampchop, the Matthew Herbert Big Band, Nitin Sawhney and Zero 7 (all excellent).
Brighton Pride (two weekends ago now) was also lots of fun and not nearly as trashy as last year. I think I’m getting old.

Gay marriage ban passes parliament (Age)
“Senator Greig said it was deeply offensive for anti-gay campaigners to argue that love and commitment between gay people was less or different to that between people of the opposite sex.
Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett came to the verge of tears as he spoke of the high rate of suicide by young gay people who were vilified by such laws.

Greens leader Bob Brown said the government had successfully wedged Labor on an issue that not even President George Bush could get through Congress because it breached the US constitution.”
Thank you, Liberal and Labor politicians of Australia. I love being a second-class citizen and a political pawn.
Also, a “ban on gay marriages has been given priority over new terrorism laws, sparking claims that the Howard Government is “soft on terror but hard on homosexuals”.
Asked yesterday whether this meant the Government considered gay couples more of a threat to Australia than terrorists, Prime Minister John Howard demurred.

Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett accused the Coalition of being “soft on terror but hard on homosexuals” and of “shelving its ‘war on terror’ propaganda legislation for its ‘war on homosexuals’ marriage bill”.” (Age)