Monthly Archives: July 2008

Chinese authorities’ broken promises threaten Olympic legacy | Amnesty International

I thought I would help friends in China out by drawing attention to Amnesty International, particularly to the recent report on the eve of the Beijing Olympics — which I do hope go as well as can be expected.

I further am helping out by tagging certain entries on this blog China forbidden topic. Now that will save the censors over there quite a lot of trouble, won’t it? So kind of me.

Finally, over the fold you will find your very own copy of the Amnesty Report. Can’t be more generous than that, can I?

The day that there are no Five Forbidden Topics will be the day China will have really stood up! 1949 was an interesting start and much good and bad has happened since. I like China and Chinese people, I really do; I mean that.

But there is a goal to aim for… No more Forbidden Topics!

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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in challenge, Chinese and China, Olympics 2008



Any of you watching Q&A at the moment?

It’s not too bad — but why, why, why are people still trotting out that absolute PIFFLE about the supposed petitions signed allegedly by a zillion scientists who do not support the human impact on the environment, global warming, etc…

When the topic appeared on the same show on 10 July I posted:

the highlight so far has been Andrew Bolt grappling with a REAL SCIENTIST and making a total goose of himself, on the matter of the amount of ice in the world, for example, and what is happening in Antarctica… See also Real Climate on Skeptics. Seems to believe in the so-called Global Warming Petition Project with its much touted “31,072 American scientists have signed this petition.” He quotes this as if it had some real weight. However, see Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey on the background and the shonkiness of this, and also see Sourcewatch. Andrew Bolt on this one may as well admit to believing in fairies…

For God’s sake!!!

Fortunately there is a very sensible representative of business on the show. Let’s stop debating, she says, and grasp the opportunities this gives us. So true…

On the other hand, I really do think we should have a more sensible attitude to nuclear power, especially given the changes that have happened there in the past ten to twenty years. I do see though some merit in our relying on the resources and infrastructures we already have, suitably modified in the light of climate change… Yes, there is an issue there.

But climate change scepticism? You have to be joking… Flat earthism, that’s all it is now. See also the sidebar on the front page.

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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in climate change, environment, TV


Channel 4 – Faith and belief – Opus Dei and the Da Vinci Code

I watched this documentary on DVD last night, courtesy of Surry Hills Library and our dead TV antenna: Opus Dei and the Da Vinci Code. There is little evidence of this doco on YouTube; the item I have posted in the VodPod today is from a “friendly source.”

I borrowed the doco with World Youth Week in mind; it is most enlightening. Perhaps the best aspect of the DVD is the two hours of uncut interviews packaged with it, which cover a range of viewpoints for and against this controversial organisation. Undoubtedly backward-looking in theology, Opus Dei is on the other hand travestied in The Da Vinci Code, most of which is nonsense on the subject. For example, there are no monks, albino or otherwise, in Opus Dei. However, I do suspect there are some Australian journalists in its orbit, if not in its ranks. It is at one level a holiness movement, and a lay movement, not totally unlike some of the holiness or revival movements in Protestant churches in the past, Methodism in its early days being an example.

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Posted by on July 31, 2008 in Christianity, dvd, faith, faith and philosophy, fundamentalism and extremism, religion, TV


China blocks internet access for foreign media

Just in from Radio Australia: China blocks internet access for foreign media.

Bright of them, isn’t it?

Despite everything I am determined, if I can, to enjoy these Olympic Games as I usually do… And I am sure they will be spectacular, and I perfectly understand the ordinary Shanghainese or Beijinger being really proud and upbeat. However, that Chinese Government. Oh dear yes… The wind can be fickle in Beijing.

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Losses grind 61 Starbucks stores | The Australian

This try-hard headline follows events that have certainly been in the US blogosphere all this month, as the real issue is the US economy, not the efficiency or otherwise of the Starbucks stores in Australia.

Now I have no wish to dance on the lost jobs here, but the truth is Starbucks has been The Great Unnecessary on the Australian scene. We already had far better coffee in much more congenial coffee shops, and without the bullshit. Mind you, I am not so jaundiced as to have avoided Starbucks; the coffee isn’t bad. It’s just that Juice & Java right here in Surry Hills pisses on it… As do so many others.

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‘Pacific solution’ to thank for relaxed detention rules: Ruddock – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The legalistic Dickensian voice of The Cadaver, who I guess now must be The Living Dead, has uttered the words one might expect: ‘Pacific solution’ to thank for relaxed detention rules.

This is an issue I ranted about at some length, my position being that what the then government was really doing was pandering to xenophobia, a ploy that proved even more effective, for a while, as an election winner than it may or may not have as a reasonable and ethical — especially ethical — approach to refugee issues. There were noble voices on the government’s own side opposing the policy all along the line; those voices were amply vindicated, in my view, and deserve honour. There was little honour at the top on the Howard government side, from the Gnome himself down through The Cadaver to the last occupant of The Cadaver’s portfolio, the Po-Faced (Dr Haneef is Eeeevill and I know it but can’t say why) Plonker, whose name I have temporarily forgotten…

Now my collected rant on this is a page over on Floating Life 04/06 ~ 11/07: Rants and raves — 1: “Massaging the Asylum Seekers” — Howard government and border protection.

As for what The Cadaver is saying now, the first comment on the ABC story linked in paragraph one sums up my feelings pretty well.

The sad thing is that Phillip Ruddock seems to actually believe the nonsense that comes out of his mouth. Hitler and Stalin probably thought they did a good job of “solving” ethnic migration issues too (a long term historic view suggests their bloody efforts did not achieve their original goals, however).
Like it or not, we live in a globalized world nowadays, and that should mean that national borders everywhere become more porous. Anyone who has traveled to Europe in the past few decades will know what I am talking about: not only do EU citizens travel freely from one member state to another, but citizens from northern Africa, the Middle East and other non-EU countries are increasingly represented.
Sure, this creates some social tensions and even economic challenges. But you cannot have free movement of trade without free movement of people, and the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Kevin Rudd’s decision to issue special work visas for Pacific Islanders is a step in the right direction. When we get similar deals in place with Indonesia, Malaysia and other northern neighbours, our economy will benefit and we’ll have no excuse not to slash the bloated “Defense” budget.

— Gary Lord

Though the Hitler/Stalin comparison is a cliche, and possibly offensive, and is not one I would resort to.

As even The Oz opines today, it is well and truly time the policy changed, and one would hope the Senate would put no obstacles in the way of such necessary reform. To me it is a matter of national honour. Mind you, The Oz gives the Gnome, The Cadaver, and The Plonker more credit than I would.

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Some blogs to note: just three among many…

gse_multipart7234 Before I start two things. The last two days I attended a mandatory UN security training. The first day we had theory about mines, hostage situations, moving in a convoy and more. And yesterday we had some pratical “exercises”. During which I got beaten by some “rebels”. Played by soldiers from? Rwanda. Members of the UN contingent…


Yesterday I was flown out of Darfur. I am now in Khartoum and we will see what is happening in the next few days. UN has raised the security level in Sudan. And staff in Darfur has to be reduced to “essential” staff. Given my age (am I old?), I was told to relocate. This is in the aftermath of last week’s attack on peacekeeping troops in North Darfur leaving 7 death and 22 wounded…

Opening paragraphs from two recent entries by Swiss blogger Worldman. I think you may see why this is a blog to note.

In the often sad world of US political blogging much of which would incline one to despair — especially the “conservative” side — here is a bit of a treasure: Political Realm. (And I really like their template!)

Political Realm launched in February 2007, providing analysis of the important headlines, original political commentary, and insight into races across the country. Our work has been featured on Reuters, USA Today, CNN, Fox News, and several other political news and opinion sites. We do not claim to be nonpartisan, but we do hope that our coverage is fair, astute, and interesting. Political Realm is not associated with any candidate or campaign.

I (Andy) created this site as an outlet for my political interest. I see it as a way to inform my own opinion, while perhaps influencing, educating, and entertaining readers as well. My own politics are left of center, but I am not owned by any party or ideology. I strive to keep my writing here fair and honest. I currently live in Omaha, Nebraska, and have been happily married for several years. I am a big sports fan, most obsessively following the Oakland A’s. My favorite book is Cat’s Cradle, written by the late, great Kurt Vonnegut. Other passions include movies, art, and history.

Finally, in keeping perhaps with my previous entry:


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Posted by on July 29, 2008 in blogging, humanity, inspiration, other blogs