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Category Archives: amazing
ABC pic. Who’s the mad looking guy on the left? Left…???
One of them is the next leader of the Liberal Party
We all wait. Amusing bits in the Sydney Morning Herald.
- Gerard Henderson: “It is not clear why either Hockey or Turnbull or any other influential Liberals would seek advice on leadership issues from Howard. In fact, Howard is primarily responsible for the Liberal Party’s present leadership problems.”
- Minchin pleads for “compassion”: “IN ONE of the more ironic moments in the Liberal leadership saga, Nick Minchin, kingmaker and attack dog of the party’s right wing, addressed Coalition senators yesterday morning.There Minchin, with blood on the walls after a week’s intense infighting, urged them to keep things civil and to treat each with ‘tolerance, kindness and compassion’.”
Turn on TV… Guess what? All our UHF channels are down!
Go to ABC Internet Radio. Gerard Henderson and Antony Green.
UHF back on. And off…
Back to Internet Radio. The party room meeting is still going on…
No tweets or sms messages emerging from the party room. Must have had their Blackberries confiscated… Radio “filling in” with news of K Rudd and B Obama on Afghanistan.
Shit! Hockey was eliminated. TONY ABBOTT won by ONE vote on second round, 42-41! First vote Turnbull 26, Abbott 35 and Hockey 23. To the Right, quick march! Gerard Henderson notes the two sets of figures don’t add up…
Will the Senate Libs hold? Who knows: remember last night?
KERRY O’BRIEN: So, tell me now, how many Liberal senators do you believe feel strongly enough about this bill to vote for it?
IAN MACFARLANE: Well certainly more than nine or 10. It’s in that vicinity. There are 12 that have indicated to Malcolm that they will vote for the bill when it comes to a vote. So, I guess as I say, Malcolm is saying to them, "Well, the Liberal Party does not have a future without a climate change policy and we need to get this off the table and get back to the economy and to border protection."
ABC pic. Now we know…
I suspect Joe Hockey may well feel very relieved, mind you…
Here’s how Tony did it, by appearing thus on national TV.
Just watched the video here of Joe Hockey after the events. I am impressed.
While we all wait here in Oz to see how the Liberal Party’s three ring circus pans out – see entry above – I thought I’d mention a story I caught on BBC World Service last night. I went straight to the relevant site this morning.
Washington, DC – President Barack Obama and Ethel Kennedy presented Magodonga Mahlangu and her organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), with the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award this evening at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award annually honors courageous and innovative human rights defenders throughout the world who stand up against injustice, often at great personal risk.
“By her example, Magodonga has shown the women of WOZA and the people of Zimbabwe that they can undermine their oppressors’ power with their own power — that they can sap a dictator’s strength with their own. Her courage has inspired others to summon theirs. And the organization’s name, WOZA — which means “come forward” — has become its impact — its impact has been even more as people know of the violence that they face, and more people have come forward to join them,” said President Obama.
The event, sponsored by the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center), also included remarks by Kerry Kennedy and a tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, an RFK Center founding board member from 1968-2009. RFK Board Chair and former Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party Phil Johnston, introduced the President. Over 200 guests including First Lady Michelle Obama, Administration officials, Members of Congress and the Washington diplomatic community attended.
WOZA is a grassroots movement working to empower women from all walks of life to mobilize and take non-violent action against injustice. WOZA helps its members to stand up for human rights and speak up about the worsening economic, social and political conditions in Zimbabwe at great personal risk. Since its founding in December 2002, WOZA has staged hundreds of peaceful marches in support of democratic reform and women’s empowerment. The Government of Zimbabwe has jailed Ms. Mahlangu along with WOZA founder Jenni Williams over 30 times and thousands of WOZA members have spent time in police custody.
“Arrests do not deter us because WOZA has empowered us to believe that we deserve better. We deserve to have a roof over our head, food in our stomachs, our children in schools and the nation working”, said Ms. Mahlangu. “We deserve to live in dignity and free from fear; and it is our right to have our voices heard and respected. That is why I joined WOZA. While Mugabe boasts of having degrees in violence, I and 75,000 WOZA members who stand beside me, have degrees in non-violence.”
“We are not fighting a revolution in Zimbabwe, we are leading an evolution. And civic education is our tool to evolve the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans to build a strong, new, African democracy where respect, tolerance and accountability are key”, said Jenni Williams, who accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Williams added, “Mr. President you know how invaluable community mobilizing can be. We have learnt that knocking on doors, talking with and listening to people is the way we can rebuild our nation. We call on you, to support community mobilizers who are organized to empower Zimbabweans to deliver change from the ground up.”…
For more inspiration go to BBC and read about the writer Petina Gappah.
You’d think I would be commenting on the extraordinary behaviour of the Liberal Party in Canberra, wouldn’t you? But no, I was attracted instead by this – though perhaps Wilson Bloody Tuckey has something in common with it.
There are fears in Japan that a potentially deadly Australian invader is beginning to close in on some of the country’s most crowded urban areas.
It is believed redback spiders originally hitched a ride in a container ship, possibly one carrying woodchips.
A few months ago a six-year-old boy from Osaka was bitten by a redback in the first case where anti-venom was used in Japan.
His case is just one of a dozen this year in which Japanese have been nipped by this Australian arachnid, which is spinning its silk web from Nagoya to Fukuoka, to Osaka.
In fact the Environment Ministry says redbacks have now been reported in 16 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. And in Osaka prefecture alone this year, 12 people have been bitten.
The managing director of the Aichi Prefecture Pest Control Association, Takesada Ohashi, is concerned by the trend.
"If redback numbers keep increasing and they spread throughout Osaka city, then I’ll be very worried that more people could be bitten," he said.
He says the big fear is they may even be bitten without knowing…
Wait until the funnel-webs hear of this!
Floating Life attracted via the contact form this rather amazing variant on the “give me your money” scam – not Nigeria for a change. I have not corrected anything.
Dearest In The Lord
May the peace of almighty God be with you and your family,I am Mrs Hanan Solomon from Isreal but now undergoing medical treatment in the oesophageal hospital in capital city here in abidjan. am married to late Dr Jackson Solomon , who worked with Isreal Embassy for Eleven years before he died in the year 2004,after a brief illness that lasted for only Two month.
We were married for Eighteen years without any child. After the death of my husband i vowed to use our wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in our society. Recently, My Doctor told me that I may not last for the next one months due to cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Haven known my condition i decided to Serve God with our wealth.
When my late husband was alive we kept the sum of ($2.800.000.00 Million)Two million eight hundred thousand dorllars with one Bank, Having known my condition I decided to Give out this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this fund the way I am going to instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this fund to provide help to the community’s need and christian poor and indigent persons, orphanages, widows around him and Schools etc.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact where the money was deposited also issue you the documents that will prove you the present beneficiary of this fund. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose, always be prayerful all through your life. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein. Hope to receive your reply soon. Because i have come to find out that wealth Acquisition without Christ is Vanity upon vanity,
Thank you and may the Almighty God bless you.
Mrs Hanan Solomon.
The accompanying email return address is in China.
I can’t help but be bemused from the safe distance of Sydney Australia at our American friends sometimes. Take the heat that has apparently been generated by the President’s coming address to school students. To be fair, the same bewilderment is shared by many Americans — for example Does President Obama Want to Brainwash Our Kids? on God’s Politics, an evangelical site.
I suppose I’m asking for trouble by going here, but could someone explain to me the current controversy surrounding President Obama’s speech to American public school students on Tuesday? I’m serious. At first I thought the whole thing was just a minor stink, but as I’ve been reading posts on the Web and around the blogosphere, I’m realizing that this is major stuff. And as I look at some of the conversations happening among my friends and acquaintances on Facebook, I’m a little taken aback to find that some folks are actually afraid that their children will somehow be brainwashed or corrupted by whatever “hidden socialist messages” Obama will be delivering during his pep talk on the importance of education.
I know that there was initially concern about the wording of some classroom activities that the Obama administration was encouraging educators to use with their students during and after the speech, but my understanding is that the administration corrected the problem areas and that it will even post the speech at the White House Web site on Monday so parents and teachers can read it beforehand. Nevertheless, some parents and school districts are still making noise. The Valley View School District here in Illinois, where my two children are students, announced on Thursday that it would not allow its kids to watch the speech, and other districts are leaving it to individual teachers to make the call. Personally, I would’ve loved for this to be a part of my kids’ classroom activities next Tuesday, and I would’ve looked forward to chatting with them that evening about what they heard…
That seems eminently sensible and even-handed to me. As one commenter says: “If parents or school officials are upset about the very fact that the President will address school kids then I think they have their Obama-sensitivity meters set a little to high. Recent presidents have all taken time to address school kids. It’s a piece of harmless, fluffy American tradition.” But then you have people who will tell you Obama is a fascist, a socialist, even the Antichrist. None of those particular bits of hyperbole seem terribly likely to me, whether one likes or loathes the man – a matter of opinion of course. And it is fair to say the left – or some of them – would also have been muttering or screaming if GWB had elected to do the same.
Seems to me that parents scared of their children being brainwashed by a pep talk have little faith in themselves or their children.
Kevin Rudd Twitters the kids, and others, on a daily basis. You’ll be pleased to know he enjoyed the footie on Friday night…
See also Silly Stuff posted by Len in Texas.
Len in Texas has followed up with Back to school remarks:
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
September 8, 2009
The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning…
Two interesting sites to “waste” time on…
1. Thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars may be found on Academic Earth. Don’t think I’ll bother with Linear Algebra personally, but there are some great options in English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Religion from places like Yale, Harvard and MIT.
2. If I hadn’t been such a duffer in Maths and had the kind of mind needed to cope with the minutiae of Science I may have fulfilled my childhood fantasy of going to university and becoming a zoologist. Failing that, I can marvel at Encyclopedia of Life and learn about – eventually – every living thing on the planet. It is a work in progress.
We and they are still getting used to the possibilities and pitfalls of Facebook and similar things. Today Five users sue Facebook for being too social a network.
A lawsuit filed Monday in a southern California court accuses Facebook of being a data-mining operation that does not deliver on promises to give users strict control of data uploaded to profile pages. Facebook has dismissed the lawsuit as being without merit and promised a legal battle. The suit asks for unspecified cash damages.
One of the parties to the suit is a woman who joinedFacebook in an early phase when membership was limited to the college crowd. Then-Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg foundedFacebook in 2004 as a way for college friends to remain connected as their lives grew apart. The suit accuses Facebook of betraying the woman by evolving into an open social network that now claims more than 250 million members worldwide.
Other plaintiffs named in the suit are identified as a photographer and an actress who contend Facebook is wrongly sharing pictures posted on their profile pages.
The remaining plaintiffs are young boys that the suit charges should not have been permitted by Facebook to join or post images or comments…
How do you monitor your Facebook, if you have one? What level of privacy do you choose? Apparently Facebook is going to further refine the possibilities there.
… I too was drawn by this sight in Belmore Park this afternoon. See the results at Joy in Belmore Park – 3.30 pm today.
Well, there you go! See the story on Yahoo7.
Costa Rica is the happiest place on Earth, and one of the most environmentally friendly, according to a new survey by a British non-governmental group, which puts Australia in third place.
The New Economics Foundation looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 per cent of the world’s population and devised an equation that weighs life expectancy and people’s happiness against their environmental impact.
By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.
Latin American countries did well in the survey, occupying nine of the top 10 spots.
Australia scored third place, but other major Western nations did poorly, with Britain coming in at 74th place and the United States at 114th…
For more see UK only 74th, but Costa Rica tops ‘Happy Planet Index’.
I have to admit this surprised me, so I will let you guess first. This is a quiz, not a poll.
When you’ve done check Prime Numbers: Soldiers of Misfortune in Foreign Policy May-June 2009.
Two good items from Monday’s Arts & Letters Daily.
1. P J O’Rourke, The End of the Affair. Provocative and ironic as usual…
The phrase “bankrupt General Motors,” which we expect to hear uttered on Monday, leaves Americans my age in economic shock. The words are as melodramatic as “Mom’s nude photos.” And, indeed, if we want to understand what doomed the American automobile, we should give up on economics and turn to melodrama.
Politicians, journalists, financial analysts and other purveyors of banality have been looking at cars as if a convertible were a business. Fire the MBAs and hire a poet. The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of financial crisis, foreign competition, corporate greed, union intransigence, energy costs or measuring the shoe size of the footprints in the carbon. It’s a tragic romance—unleashed passions, titanic clashes, lost love and wild horses…
The American automobile is—that is, was—never a product of Japanese-style industrialism. America’s steel, coal, beer, beaver pelts and PCs may have come from our business plutocracy, but American cars have been manufactured mostly by romantic fools. David Buick, Ransom E. Olds, Louis Chevrolet, Robert and Louis Hupp of the Hupmobile, the Dodge brothers, the Studebaker brothers, the Packard brothers, the Duesenberg brothers, Charles W. Nash, E. L. Cord, John North Willys, Preston Tucker and William H. Murphy, whose Cadillac cars were designed by the young Henry Ford, all went broke making cars. The man who founded General Motors in 1908, William Crapo (really) Durant, went broke twice. Henry Ford, of course, did not go broke, nor was he a romantic, but judging by his opinions he certainly was a fool…
2. Jacques Leslie, The Last Empire: China’s Pollution Problem Goes Global.
…The emergence of China as a dominant economic power is an epochal event, as significant as the United States’ ascendancy after World War II. It is in many ways an astonishment, starting with the ideological about-face that enabled it, the throwing over of Maoist values for plainly capitalist ones starting in the late 1970s. So thorough is the change that the 19-foot-tall portrait of a stolid, potato-faced Mao Zedong that still looms over traffic-choked, commerce-suffused Tiananmen Square looks paradoxical, even startling, in seeming need of an update in which Mao winks—or sobs—in blinking neon. Meanwhile, inside Beijing’s Forbidden City, the heart of old China, buildings with such intoxicating names as Hall of Preserved Harmony and Palace of Heavenly Purity bear signs reading, "Made Possible by the American Express Company."
The grander astonishment is the most massive and rapid redistribution of the earth’s resources in human history. In a mere two and a half decades, China has awakened from Maoist stagnancy to become the world’s manufacturer. Among the planet’s 193 nations, it is now first in production of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal; it produces half the world’s cameras and nearly a third of its TVs, and by 2015 may produce the most cars. It boasts factories that can accommodate 200,000 workers, and towns that make 60 percent of the world’s buttons, half the world’s silk neckties, and half the world’s fireworks, respectively.
China has also become a ravenous consumer. Its appetite for raw materials drives up international commodity prices and shipping rates while its middle class, projected to jump from fewer than 100 million people now to 700 million by 2020, is learning the gratifications of consumerism. China is by a wide margin the leading importer of a cornucopia of commodities, including iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel. It is the world’s biggest consumer of coal, refrigerators, grain, cell phones, fertilizer, and television sets. It not only leads the world in coal consumption, with 2.5 billion tons in 2006, but uses more than the next three highest-ranked nations—the United States, Russia, and India—combined. China uses half the world’s steel and concrete and will probably construct half the world’s new buildings over the next decade. So omnivorous is the Chinese appetite for imports that when the country ran short of scrap metal in early 2004, manhole covers disappeared from cities all over the world—Chicago lost 150 in a month. And the Chinese are not just vast consumers, but conspicuous ones, as evidenced by the presence in Beijing of dealers representing every luxury-car manufacturer in the world. Sales of Porsches, Ferraris, and Maseratis have flourished, even though their owners have no opportunity to test their finely tuned cars’ performance on the city’s clotted roads…
According to the Encarta Dictionary, a classic is:
1. work of highest quality: something created or made, especially a work of art, music, or literature, that is generally considered to be of the highest quality and of enduring value
The novel has become a 20th-century classic.
a design classic
So I begin by noting I have been reading Jane Eyre again lately. Most would call that a classic.
Stretching the term to blogs, I would regard Stuff White People Like as a classic of its kind on the grounds of quality of writing, intelligence and satirical edge – the latter because of rather than despite its surgical skill on quite a few attitudes I myself uphold. It seems the author not only holds up a mirror in which I sometimes see myself; he is skewered too, and knows it. But mirrors can be good. There is nothing mean about this satirical blog, however; it is genuinely amusing. I have been following it for some time and it is in my Google Reader collection. That items now appear less frequently is a mark of the author’s success. Not bad for a WordPress.com blog, eh!
The author, Christian Lander, is in Sydney at the moment. See There’s a lot to like if you’re a middle-class leftie.
CHRISTIAN Lander is living an internet-age fairytale. In January last year, the 30-year-old PhD dropout was working as an advertising copywriter in Los Angeles. He started a blog, Stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, to amuse a couple of friends. In March, with up to 1 million people a day visiting the site, he scored a book deal and by July Stuff White People Like was on The New York Times best-sellers list. He’s in Sydney on his third book tour, while a sitcom based on the idea is in development.
"Six months from idea to best-seller," he says. "2008 was a pretty awesome year."
Lander’s blog skewers the sacred cows of white, leftist, middle-class culture. Lander’s own culture, that is.
"Truth is such a huge part of good comedy," he says. "I write from this Lonely Planet type distance, but realistically I’m just trashing myself over and over again. I wrote an entry which was Knowing What’s Best For Poor People. It was the worst indictment of me because I really believed it."…
Have fun going through his back entries.
Also here in Sydney, Rugby League generally and the Cronulla Sharks in particular have been a PR nightmare. My grand-nephew, a Sharks supporter, has even invited me on Facebook to join a group called “Save the Sharks!” Well, they do need saving, as even more strange revelations, not all of them about group sex – though not as far as I know with each other, continue to surface. Mind you, these days, despite spending my first 26 years in The Shire, I rather support South Sydney at the moment. Of late they have been doing rather well, and are jealous of their image too.
All this brings me to my third classic. If ever someone produces a slim volume of the Classic Columns of Miranda Devine today’s effort would merit inclusion: Natural men scolded into timidity. I think Miranda would well understand Jane Eyre’s adherence to Mr Rochester, though there have been columns that might lead one to think she may have preferred St John Rivers – but then he is, after all, a Calvinist. Today she tackles the real men of Rugby League in a manner more than defensive of the sweaty jockstrap.
As the mother of two junior rugby forwards, the wife of a former prop and daughter of a one-time flanker, it is time for me to come to the defence of violent sports and the men who play them.
The attacks on former Footy Show star Matthew Johns, rugby league and men in general – branding them as dangerous predatory brutes who need to be chained, scolded and nagged into submission – have gone too far.
The initial criticism of Johns was warranted, after revelations last week that he and his Cronulla Sharks teammates, during a 2002 tour of New Zealand, engaged in a gang bang with a naive 19-year-old woman, who in the ensuing years became so distressed about her degradation she tried to kill herself.
But since then, Johns has been crucified, with demands he name his teammates, sponsors threatening to pull out of rugby league, a school principal banning NRL players from visiting classes and mothers stopping their sons playing the game.
You always know when zealotry creeps into a story there is another agenda at work – and that is that the Johns case is a beachhead in the war against masculinity, waged by those who think the only difference between men and women is cultural.
This notion of a socially constructed "gender" has been the central idea of the women’s studies movement since it began in the 1960s, with its aim to produce an androgynous utopia. But the culture has changed and there are still men who refuse to act like women – damn them – even if they do have smooth, hairless chests…
Well, I agree that Matthew Johns has been crucified, but you can see where Miranda starts on another agenda of her own. That’s “objectivity” in the Devine world, no doubt, but the column is truly a classic in its own way. Unlike “Stuff White People Like” it isn’t satire, though it unintentionally comes close.