Thursday, February 21, 2008

On Shitting Ones Self

Priceless facial expressions of the petrified cyclist instalment uno.



My computer isn't working.

I've officially cracked it.

I don't know who's fault it is, but until somebody fixes the problem, I'm holding Bill Gates personally responsible.

As for the Garnaut report into climate change. I think it's clever politics from Labor. Set your target at 60%, then get someone to say it should be 70-90%- all of a sudden 60% doesn't sound to drastic.

Maybe I'm just being cynical- but it would appear to be quite handy.

The Green's will demand 90%, the conservatives will say 60% is too much- and all of a sudden you find yourself holding the middle ground.


Interestingly, Garnaut stated that "The challenge is to end the linkage between economic growth and emissions of greenhouse gases,"

People such as Clive Hamilton would argue that the challenge is to end the fetish for economic growth.

But what should we replace it with? What will be the new economic orthodoxy?

Brave new world here we come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What am I thinking about

Cruelty, humiliation, and human dignity.

Is it just me, or is the abuse of power the hidden current that runs through so many forms of oppression and discrimination.

be it racial, class, gender, rank etc etc.

Power imbalances seem so central to so many forms of discrimination, I guess because it is the powerful who can unleash their hidden (or not so hidden) prejudices on others.

In terms of combatting many forms of discrimination, maybe we should stop focusing on peoples inherent differences, but rather on power imbalances.

This would perhaps be a more helpful approach to promoting social justice, rather than getting mired in identity politics.

Whats more I think everyone can relate to the feeling of powerlessness, it is a universal theme that touchs most peoples lives -wherease being gay, black, transgedered etc may not.

Using a common language, and appelaing to common experience is potentially a much better technique than trying to get people to relate to what may be a very different experience of life.

We all know what it is like to get dudded by our boss, or stonewalled by an insurance company etc etc.

The abuse of power is something that everyone can relate to on some level.

Perhaps through focusing on a power narrative we can build empathy, and promote social justice more effectively.

Just a few idle thoughts.

As Jim Larkin said 'the great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise!'

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I wanted to post something...

But my brain hurts too much.

I could post about the weather in Melbourne- but that's all too predictable.

Argh Fuck it, nothing else is going on.

It was too hot too sleep last night, and then you wake up in the morning and it's pouring with rain all around you.

It was refreshing to ride in the rain though.

Large, cold drops.

I love summer rain.

But could do with some more summer.

Two thirty plus days in a row, and I can't help but feel that it was the last gasp of warm weather before fall.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stolen Generation Compensation Bill

With the new Government, there are many bills that have been tabled in the senate this week. I'm interested by the Peace and Non Violence Commission, tabled bu Senator Allision (Dems) and the Stolen Generation Compensation Bill tabled by Senator Bartlett (Dems).

In particular:

The amount of an ex gratia payment in respect of an applicant referred to in subsection 5(3), is an amount not exceeding $20,000 as common experience payment and $3,000 for each year of institutionalisation.

That's very reasonable. If you'll excuse the pun, i think it's conservatively low.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rats in the Ranks

I remember sitting next to him in law lectures.

He never spoke in class, asked a question or anything. I don't think he ever really talked to anyone else, I doubt he liked other people very much at all.

He always seemed to have an air of superiority about him. Like he knew everything there was to know, and didn't need to be told by anyone.

I'm sure it's this same sense of self confidence that brought about his downfall.

'I'm a genius, I know how the system works, I can't possibly be caught'.

Poor old Darren Ray

Half-baked wheeler dealer, scoundrel.


the apologetics' chance

come on guys, here's your BIG opportunity to stand up for the voiceless masses who agree with the sentiment, but cannot - for semantic reasons, naturally - agree with the current proposal.

think of the conservative kudos! the tory glory! you'll have shrines set up in country pubs, gushing news ltd column inches and young liberal facebook groups celebrating your willingness to stand/cross for your convictions despite the pressure of the poofy inner city types.

will alby I will never compromise my principles, honesty and integrity, no matter the cost shultz cross the floor?

we'll know in a week.


Monday, February 04, 2008

The resurgence of Liberalism, and the role of emotion in politics

I like this analysis from Michael Tomasky in the Guardian today:

‘Liberals around Washington, indeed around the country, are upbeat because it feels like it might be one of those moments. It feels like enough Americans are tired of conservatism, not just of incompetence. It feels like enough of them see that conservatism doesn't have good solutions to some of the new problems America confronts. Not that many Americans, still, are willing to call themselves liberal; just about one adult in five. And no one is hankering for a return to the 1970s or seized with a burning desire to pay higher taxes. But the current mood in the country seems to indicate that Americans are willing to give liberalism that second chance.

And if liberalism gets that chance and succeeds, the modern conservative movement will enter into a period of introspection and recrimination unlike any it's ever experienced. What in this context does "succeed" mean? As little as two things. If a Democratic president and Congress - and everyone expects that Congress will stay in Democratic control - can 1) pass healthcare and 2) articulate and implement a strategic foreign policy vision that defends America and charts a new course in the world, then Americans will embrace this new liberalism. Movement conservatism will be forced to transform itself so utterly as to be unrecognisable as its erstwhile self; which is another way of saying that, short of its 60th birthday, it will in essence perish.

That's all that's at stake.’

Whilst I hope he is right about a return to liberalism- I think he is being a tad idealistic too say the least.

I think people simply want a return to competence, above all else.
But I think the analysis in the article that is the most valid is that concerning the role of emotion in political contests.

Voters came back to Hillary in New Hampshire after she exhibited human emotion. I would argue that it was self pity, but emotion nonetheless.

And Tomasky rightfully points out that Obama’s campaign is based largely on emotion. I am told that his campaign has released position papers on certain issues, but Obama’s appeal to the electorate is essentially emotive, rather than reasoned.

He is not arguing policy positions, but rather emotional release from the torrid Bush years.

Super Tuesday, Australia 2020


We are on the verge of SUPER TUESDAY in the USA.

My tip is on a narrow victory for Obama in the Democratic primaries.

The other political story interesting me is Australia 2020, the Rudd 'hothouse gabfest' according to Barnaby Joyce.

It's good to see 'the vision thing' return to Australian politics. I hope the delegates chosen are drawn from a representative cross section of political views. There will be some interesting outcomes if the various topics of discussion are examined through the prism of all available points of view.

The opposition is resembling a complete and utter rabble over its response to the apology and Australia 2020. They can't collectively decide what to do in relation to these initiatives.

I think in these two issues we are seeing the advantages of incumbency for sitting governments, in that they have the ability to call the tune and dictate the agenda of the day. The opposition on the other hand must choose its response wisely. At the moment they appear to be freewheeling in quicksand, and completely losing traction with the electorate.