Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Greens propose legalising cannabis

The Greens have proposed legalising cannabis for recreational use, becoming the largest political party in Australia to support drug legalisation. In a statement, leader Richard Di Natale said “the war on drugs has failed” and that “the ‘tough on drugs’ approach causes enormous harm”. The policy would establish an Australian Cannabis Agency to regulate the production and sale of cannabis and enforce restrictions, direct tax revenue from cannabis sales toward the public health system, and allow people to grow cannabis at home. Australian Medical Association vice-president Tony Bartone criticised the proposal, saying the AMA had “considerable concerns about the risk for the young brain and the possibility of bringing on psychosis, especially in the younger age group”.

In the United States, former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey has accused President Donald Trump of being “morally unfit to be president”. In a five-hour interview with US television network ABC to promote his new book, A Higher Loyalty, Comey said Trump “talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat”, “lies constantly about matters big and small” and “will stain everyone around him”. Comey said he believed it was “possible” Trump was compromised by the Russian government, and that Trump showed no interest on being told of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also recalled Trump trying to discredit unverified allegations he engaged the services of sex workers in a Moscow hotel room in 2013. Comey quoted Trump as saying “I’m a germaphobe, there’s no way I’d let people pee on each other around me”, and “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?”.

The royal commission into the banking and finance sectors has heard three major financial institutions made payments to financial advisers in contravention of Future of Financial Advice laws. Speaking on Monday, counsel assisting the commission, Rowena Orr, said Westpac, National Australia Bank and AMP had recently admitted to paying kickbacks to advisers, months after commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s deadline for institutions to provide details of possible misconduct. Orr criticised AMP for submitting a spreadsheet of its breaches “after 9.30 last night”, saying “we have not been able to review it”. The commission will focus on wrongdoing in the financial services industry over coming weeks.

And Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell has been named as the new Chief of the Australian Defence Force, replacing Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin. Campbell rose to prominence in 2013 as the face of Operation Sovereign Borders, the Abbott government’s anti-people smuggling program. Campbell appeared in Australian Border Force videos as part of the campaign, telling would-be asylum seekers “there is no way you will ever make Australia home” if they attempted to travel to Australia by boat. Opposition leader Bill Shorten praised the appointment, saying “I don’t hold the defence force responsible for the decisions of the government of the day” and that “Labor will always support the professionalism of our Australian defence forces”. Campbell’s promotion takes effect in July.

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Open Quotemarks

I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013.

Close Quotemarks
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY PUTS IN A STRONG SHOWING FOR BRIEFING QUOTE OF THE YEAR
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The scientific paper is obsolete

“The more sophisticated science becomes, the harder it is to communicate results. Papers today are longer than ever and full of jargon and symbols. They depend on chains of computer programs that generate data, and clean up data, and plot data, and run statistical models on data. These programs tend to be both so sloppily written and so central to the results that it’s contributed to a failure of the paper to perform its most basic task: to report what you’ve actually discovered, clearly enough that someone else can discover it for themselves.” the atlantic

This must be David Byrne

“The final Talking Heads album, ‘Naked’, came out 30 years ago. Byrne has spent those 30 years carving a second-act arc that feels impressively NEVER FOR MONEY–ish, zigzagging in pursuit of interests that only very occasionally line up with where the rest of pop music is headed at any given moment ... A line like Our president's crazy, did you hear what he said? jumps out of ‘Making Flippy Floppy’ like never before. ‘Life During Wartime’, a dispatch from a country militarised against itself, feels less and less like metaphor.” gq

Writing behind my countrys back

“I have no exact memory of my first realisation that I live in a censored world. It is hard to be aware that a thing you have never seen is missing. But I imagine it had something to do with watching choppy programs on state TV, and seeing one scene blink into a totally different one with no semblance of transition. Maybe I’d wondered what happened after the man and woman leaned their faces together, eyes closed, or what it was that transpired after the villain lunged with a knife at his victim.”electric lit

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Q. 

Does Australia exist?

“The signs were there the whole time: in what country is the only thing more poisonous than the snakes the spiders? How did we ever believe that kangaroos were a thing? This discovery, believed by some to be a joke or a conspiracy theory, has been circulating on social media in recent weeks after being formulated on Reddit in early 2017. Except it turns out not to be the only theory of its kind: through the years, online sleuths have found that all sorts of places don’t exist.”  guardian australia

A. 

Of course it does! We’re not ‘New Zealand’.

“Imagine being from a country that mapmakers routinely pretend does not exist. They sit down to design their next cartographical masterpiece and decide, nope, that nation doesn’t belong in this particular representation of the earth. If you’re from New Zealand, you don’t have to imagine at all.”  22 words (from 2014)

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and finally:

Ground control to major vom

“If an astronaut throws up during a spacewalk, their helmet becomes a ‘fishbowl’ filled with stomach acid. The vomit doesn’t go to the bottom, but floats around, getting into the astronaut’s eyes, nose and mouth and disrupting the space suit’s functioning. ‘It would be like putting a balloon on your head and then throwing up and staying in it for eight hours’, says Chris Hadfield. ‘It is definitely something you don’t want to do.’ ” the medical republic

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor, and a former editor of Junkee.