Daily Archives: September 27, 2008

Watching the first Obama/McCain debate…

Yes, it’s live here in Sydney right now, and a bouquet to our US friends: they do this kind of thing much better than we do, in my opinion. I am sure Thomas, and others, will have a lot more to say than I propose.

For my money Obama is winning.

It is, for me, a matter of paradigm. The only one of the two that really offers an alternative to the entrenched idiocy — sorry about that — which has been US “normality” for decades is Obama. It’s time for a new paradigm in the USA. We here in Australia, and the rest of the world, beg the USA to turn away from so much that has appalled us for years and years about the way you do government and business. Only Obama offers that possibility.

For the sake of the world, and for your own sakes, get over that really really dangerous anti-“liberal” virus that has so bedevilled thinking over there — I would call it anti-reason, anti-common sense, anti-moderate, and anti just about every best interest of your own people. US conservatism, so much of it, is so wrong-headed, so hopeless, so narrow! In short, if you want to find the root of your problems just look at just about every reactionary “pundit” you have ever had over there.

It’s time for a fresh look. McCain won’t give it to you. And Palin? You are joking… You must be! 😦

Yes, I know I am generalising…

UPDATE 12.15 our time:

On the to and fro about Iran, compare Kissinger: Open direct Iran talks with what both candidates said:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says the United States should begin direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.
Kissinger, speaking Monday at George Washington University along with four other former U.S. State Department secretaries, said the next president should initiate high-level discussions with Iran “without conditions,” ABC News reported.

The opinion of the former secretary of state for Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford differs sharply with that of the current GOP administration, which has maintained a strict policy of not negotiating directly with governments deemed to sponsor international terrorism. The Bush administration has demanded that Iran dismantle its nuclear program as a precondition for any direct talks…

BTW, if you want to comment, be constructive as far as you can; I know what I have said may be provocative.


Posted by on September 27, 2008 in America, USA


Shanghai’s amazing twenty years

Jim Belshaw has a great picture of the Pudong area taken from his hotel room just a week or so ago: Visiting China 4 – out with the old, in with the new. M is in Shanghai at the moment visiting family; he left the city in 1989. He has been back several times.

To capture Shanghai as it was when M left one can do worse than watch one of my favourite movies, Empire of the Sun (1987). Little had changed in Shanghai up to 1987, so Spielberg was able to film Shanghai 1987 as Shanghai in 1937/1941 with just a few cosmetic changes and much cooperation from the city authorities and the People’s Liberation Army: “It was the first American film shot in Shanghai since the 1940s.”


M recalls seeing the movie being made. On the other hand, the luxurious houses of the British quarter had been so adapted for other purposes by then that Spielberg had to film those sequences in London where, according to J G Ballard who wrote the book based on his own childhood, there were houses exactly like those his family had known in Shanghai.

Those are long, but well worth seeing. It is a “Making of” documentary about Empire of the Sun; it is also on the DVD of the movie. Excellent. Includes much about Shanghai in 1987, and much of J G Ballard himself. The book has often been on the NSW HSC, and I always enjoyed teaching it.

Comments Off on Shanghai’s amazing twenty years

Posted by on September 27, 2008 in Chinese and China, Jim Belshaw, M, movies


Updates on my other blogs 2

No Saturday stats this week as the end of the month is coming up soon. I will bore you then! 😉

And yes, the comment thread problem has been fixed — except on pages. So this is the new Journalist!
I must thank the people at WordPress who have been very responsive about this. [UPDATE 30 September: just had an email from WordPress — pages are now fixed.]

New posts, added to as they happen

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Updates on my other blogs 2

Posted by on September 27, 2008 in blogging, site news