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Monthly Archives: November 2005

Ramona Koval interviews Nicholas Jose: Sunday 23/10/2005

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI am now reading Original Face, thanks to “Marcel Proust” who dropped in last Saturday and lent me his copy. I didn’t go the launching, by the way. I am enjoying it. Marcel emailed me earlier this month with some well-observed reservations about a few points. I may come back to these later. Marcel enjoyed the book too, despite those reservations. There are one or two hints and fragments of Chinese I have known through M, here and there, and of course I have known Nick for fifteen years now.

I began the novel in the waiting room at the gastroenterologist’s today.

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Posted by on November 28, 2005 in Australia and Australian, book reviews, Chinese and China, Crime and/or crime fiction, Fiction, health, Lord Malcolm, M, Marcel, OzLit, Top read

 

Endoscopy

I recovered from an anaesthetic just over two hours ago, so I trust today’s posts make sense. I do feel OK, and Lord Malcolm delivered me from Bondi to the Juice and Java Lounge in Surry Hills where I ate my first meal since last night’s excellent steak.

By the way, yesterday’s yum cha again: Sirdan did turn up, but not where we did! So some time in the near future we will make use of Ben’s gift.

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Posted by on November 28, 2005 in friends, health, local, Lord Malcolm, personal, Sirdan, Surry Hills

 

Is it Education Week in the papers this morning?

FIVE-YEAR-OLD children will be tested for basic reading skills twice a year under a national plan to help struggling students.

Describing the current state of early childhood and kindergarten education as “a mess”, Education Minister Brendan Nelson said the literacy tests would provide parents with results while their children were still identifying words and developing reading skills.

Pre-empting a national literacy report to be released soon, Dr Nelson backed the investigation’s recommendation of a national testing regime for under-8s.

“When a child comes into the system, you have got to have some idea of what their reading skills may be,” he told The Weekend Australian. “How is a teacher to know who to concentrate on? You worry about them all but you’ve surely got to identify the ones you have got to start from scratch on.”

This is insane stuff, really, and could only come out of the mouth of an anally retentive bureaucrat/politician with a mechanistic industrial model of education like Brendan Nelson. Mister Gradgrind, eat your heart out! It is also insulting to every early education teacher in Australia, who are trained and experienced to recognise what is happening with their charges and what their potential/problems might be in ways far more accurate and sensitive than any test Brendan-babe might think appropriate.

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Posted by on November 26, 2005 in Australia and Australian, Brendan Nelson, culture wars, current affairs, education, health, History, Indigenous Australians, linguistics and language, literacy, Multicultural, right wing politics, Salt Mine

 

Does the Bible Justify Violence? (Facets 2004)

Got this little number from Surry Hills Library: well worth a look, and only 32 pages. Can’t quarrel with his last sentences: “The Bible has contributed to violence in the world precisely because it has been taken to confer a degree of certitude that transcends human discussion and argumentation. Perhaps the most constructive thing a biblical critic can do toward lessening the contribution of the Bible to violence in the world is to show that such certitude is an illusion.”

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Posted by on November 24, 2005 in Bible, culture wars, faith and philosophy, fundamentalism and extremism, human rights, interfaith, Islam, Surry Hills

 

Kirby urges lawyers to stay true to the principle of justice

Source.

MICHAEL KIRBY: We have until now, cherished the belief that democratic governance is a temperate and moderate form of government with many checks and balances that save it from extremes.

A belief in the majoritarian parliamentary votes, sustained by nothing more than triennial visits of citizens to the ballot box, with uncontrolled power thereafter, is an infantile conception of a modern democracy.

KAREN BARLOW: Justice Kirby says lawyers have an intimate knowledge of the legal process and considerable sensitivity to injustice.

MICHAEL KIRBY: Lawyers have a special duty to raise their voices and act as they can whenever they believe that the fundamentals of the constitution are endangered by extreme laws or by governmental actions out of harmony with our liberty respecting traditions.

KAREN BARLOW: And so he says lawyers must speak up for civil liberties, even when other voices fall silent.

Justice Kirby has just been named NSW Australian of the Year 2006.

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Posted by on November 24, 2005 in Australia and Australian, culture wars, Gay and Lesbian, human rights, Political, terrorism

 

Yesterday

Yesterday I was meant to meet early in the morning with The Poet to talk him through how to use the site I set up for him (above) but the probably final illness of his mother-in-law prevented this happening. He is off to the USA shortly to visit his son as well, then moving to Victoria.

Later we were to have coffee with Phil Day; Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2005 in events, friends, local, Salt Mine

 

Real Authors of Iraq Dossier Blast Blair (2003)

Yesterday I wrote: “From a very different viewpoint, that thriller I have been reading — which is not bad but woefully proofread if at all — has one marvellous but of course unlikely trope, that the (unnamed) British Prime Minister depended on his teenage son’s web surfing to garner evidence on Saddam and WMD for his dossier on Iraq pre-invasion.”

I had forgotten the true story.
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Posted by on November 22, 2005 in British, current affairs, Iraq, Political, terrorism