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I'm watching every piece of tv footage there is on the election results and counting.

And I'm sorta trying to counsel myself through the idea of an Abbott-led Liberal minority government because this could be where we're at. I'm sad we didn't get more than 3 years rest from being infuriated at the Federal Government.

But ... as I stepped up to be ticked off the electoral role yesterday, the AEC volunteer apologised for my wait and I replied with - Hey, there were no militia outside, no roadside bombs going off, it's always a pleasure to vote in Australia. And he and the woman next to him broke out into wide grins and carried on with what they were doing.

I love the Australian Electoral process. I love voting. I never ever take for granted being able to wait in line, be on the electoral role, be crossed off and handed my papers and then to exercise my right to voice my opinion, put it in the box and for it be counted and be equal to any other vote within. Voting and being heard is a precious gift and I love it.

And with all that has gone on, I'm focusing on these - this was the first election that a woman ran for Prime Minister. This was the first time a member of the Greens party won a seat in the House of Representatives. And the highest polling for Greens across the board with 12%. This was the first time an Indigenous Australian (may have) won a seat in the House of Representatives (and will do so for the Liberal Party). And this election saw the youngest person to win a seat in the House of Representatives - a 20 year old.

For all the negatives, those are some pretty awesome firsts.

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Not quite the day I was expecting

I stayed up late last night watching Buffy cause I was looking forward to a good sleep in and relaxing day of doing not very much today. I had a very odd dream - not a nightmare exactly but very strong plot and dark mood. I think it came out of reading I was doing yesterday for 2011. Must go see just which one and buy it. I woke up to a boyfriend trying to find my (online and then almost on phone) to see where I was - I was sleeping! And then to a missed call of "you have missed your hairdressing appointment!" So I moved real quick and headed off to get my hair done. And then rushed back home to meet maelkann to let him pick something up he had left at my place and needed.

Whereupon we discovered that the doggie had eaten half a block of dark Lindt chocolate. Umming and ahhing resulted in a call to the vet - the dog had no symptoms - who decided we should induce vomiting just in case. So we raced down to the vet's and as Benji was being taken in, a poor little puppy was rushed in by a woman in tears - that puppy had been stung by a bee and was in anaphalactic shock. It was really awful being in the waiting room with her, I was quite emotional about what she was going through and also glad I had not hesitated with my puppy. What if that had been Benji? We'd opted to stay - inducing vomiting would take 30 mins - which was just as well when the emergency came in because I had to step in and watch Benji instead of one of the nurses doing it. I'm not sure what they would have done otherwise. So I had to take Benji out the back and watch him throw up. 12 times. There was a lot of chocolate. It was revolting but poor thing was feeling very unwell. And then it was finally over, he got a second injection and I took him home. And it was like the whole thing had not happened.

And then I rushed off to Karrinyup where my family were waiting - we'd organised to have lunch. They had lunch before I got there. And they watched me drink my coffee and finally have breakfast at 3pm. And then my sister and I went off to run errands. I grabbed some more stuff for Aussiecon4 that I need and also grabbed food, knowing there wouldn't be any here tonight (at the boy's). And then ... it happened to me - the very first time I had not enough hands and a crying baby. My sister rushed off to the toilet and left me with the bub whilst I did my own check out thing at Big W. I had two bags of shopping from Woolies, the pram with babe and was bagging about 3 or 4 more bags of shopping and the baby started crying. I was trying to pay and pack and calm her down. My sister came back just as I was wheeling out a pram full of bags and holding a teary little person and she says, "Why was *that* necessary?" And I thrust a small thing with overflowing eyes at her and she said, "Oh." Was seriously a challenging thing to get it all together and I could feel people's eyes behind me and their annoyance for me to just hurry up.

And then I drove down to R'ham to sit and watch the election.

Indeed.

What a day, but I'm so roiled up now with tension and anxiety that I have no idea how I will ever sleep.


Kerry nails it.

Taken from the transcript from interview with Tony Abbott today - is it just me who finds Abbott talks too slowly? I get quite anxious listening to him that he doesn't quite know where his sentence is going. And if you read this ... well ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But in what way have you changed. Are you saying you're more mature, more reliable and when did this change occur? When leadership was thrust upon you by a vote?

TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, I will - I'm not gonna pigeonhole myself. People like yourself are more than capable of passing judgment on me and I assume what you're saying to me is that you think I've grown in the job, and if that's what you're saying, I'm happy to accept the compliment.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What I'm intent on trying to do, Mr Abbott, is to cast light on your character, on the kind of Prime Minister you will be. And we have seen, we have seen comments in the past that have got you into trouble and you obviously have felt that you need to distance yourself from a number of things. Now, that's not just about growing and maturing, that's about being conscious that there are negatives that you need to take out of the minds of voters, isn't it?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, Kerry, as I said, I've put forward some very clear policies in this election campaign. Everything that I have been and done and said is all on the public record. You don't find out about my position on paid parental leave and on pension increases by Cabinet leaks. My position has always been upfront and on the record and I'll just let the people of Australia make their judgments.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, you talk about - I could say which position on paid parental leave. I'll just say to you - what about weathervane Tony, the man who once said, "Paid parental leave: over my dead body," the man who said in February this year "No new taxes" and one month later announced a new company tax to pay for paid parental leave. The man who supported his leader on emissions trading scheme then pulled the rug from under his leader and deposed him. What about the man who wrote a year ago he wanted to revisit workplace reforms a la WorkChoices, now says he won't ever, ever, ever again. Now those are - that is a string of contradictions and some of them in the very recent past.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, Kerry, look, I have been a very active participant in all of the debates of our time. On some issues, yes, I've changed my mind. On some issues, yes, I think I've grown and matured. On other issues, look, you've got to support your leader. You've got to try to make the leaders' life easier. And certainly, I tried to do that when I was supporting the former leader of our party.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you did more than that. You actually argued - you argued for the Emissions Trading Scheme, you argued for your party to have an emissions trading scheme. And it was more than just supporting Malcolm Turnbull and you know that; it was in 'Battlelines'.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, Kerry, you can put whatever construction you like on that ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But are you saying that's wrong?

TONY ABBOTT: The point I'm making is when Malcolm was the leader, I did my best to give him complete support. Circumstances changed pretty dramatically, obviously, in December last year, and I wanna pay tribute to Malcolm for the way he's dealt with all of that and the terrific team player that he's been over the last nine months. I'm now the leader, our policies are clear and as I keep saying, if you elect us, you know what you'll get: we'll end the waste, we'll pay back the debt, we'll stop the big, new taxes and we'll stop the boats.

TONY ABBOTT: And sitting in the background of this campaign is that smelly cat that emerged for you when we spoke back in May and you tried to excuse yourself for sometimes straying from the truth, that sometimes you speak the gospel truth and sometimes you don't. So how are voters supposed to know, now, in this campaign when you've been telling the gospel truth and when you haven't?

TONY ABBOTT: People can take all of the commitments that I have made extremely seriously. I will honour the commitments that I've made and I have been at pains in this election campaign only to make commitments which are prudent, responsible and deliverable.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And that's the gospel truth.

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The election

I'm so bored of this election campaign. I love politics but I'm tuning out. I'm sick and tired of the first words out of a politician's mouth in answering a question are why the other guy is crap. That is not the answer to "what is your policy on" and in fact it makes me think you're either lying, don't have one or that this is "not a core promise".

I know how I'm voting. There aren't going to be any election promise $$ thrown at me - I'm not a working family, I don't have kids or a husband so I tend not to count when it comes to elections. I am though really amused that around my way the internet is a major and deal making/breaking policy issue. And of course, most of where I am hanging out to talk and interact about that is on Twitter, which most of the pollies don't understand (it's interactive dudes, don't throw bullshit marketing tweets at me).

When it comes down to it, for me, I guess I am voting on three main, core issues. And for me all are of equal importance:

- I want access to contraception, the morning after pill and abortions. I want respect and freedom to exercise my rights to use any or all of these without the Christian church poking their nose into my personal business. I want to be treated like a responsible and good person who, if can be trusted to be left alone to be responsible to raise children, can probably be considered responsible enough to make decisions about my own body.
- I want action on climate change.
- I WANT the fastest internet possible and, as an adult, I want the right to google whatever the fuck I want. I don't need the government to be my daddy. I already have a daddy and he lets me read whatever I want. Always has done. He raised me right. And I know information is power. If I have to learn how to hack around filters, I will.

I also believe in same sex marriage and think it should be legalised.
I think this country needs to face up to the real problems of water shortages, reliance on nonrenewable energy.
And I'd like to see a country that was less racist - and that can deal with issues from less racist stances.

You see that no party, big or small, actually will deliver all my top three priorities. Which is why I have lost interest in this election.

I have to say though that women's rights, kinda way up there. And I NEEEEEEEEEEED my internet.

Ahhh ... gaffes, eh?

So, the Obama and the Senate have achieved health reform for the US. It's not perfect, it will need tinkering, hopefully it's not done. Speaking as someone who has always had access to the medical treatment I have needed, I feel very lucky to live in a country where the government and the people consider healthcare a basic need that everyone should have access to.

So, after all the "Obama hasn't done anything since he's gotten into Office" lamenting that has gone on, I lay back last night and thought about what a really big (fucking) deal passing this bill is. Like, it's a big (fucking) deal. Hopefully it won't be the only thing Obama does whilst in office and hopefully he will use it as his personal motivation - if he can do that, he can do anything.

And then I thought about Joe Biden. Cause how can you not? Don't you all think about Joe Biden when kicking back and relaxing after a tough day?



What I was thinking though was, what was Obama thinking? I couldn't find the exact moment captured on still camera with his expression after Biden leans in and says to him "This is a big fucking deal."

Was he thinking, "Dude! I'm micced!"
Was he thinking, "Man he has a potty mouth!"

No, I think he was thinking, "You think I didn't know?!"

Abbott and the women

Great blog article here by Kerryn Goldsworthy on Tony Abbott and women voters.

I've been wondering what the fuck, or why the fuck, I have seen Tony Abbott shirtless in more snaps and vid grabs since his election to party leader and more references to budgies and smugglers and him in speedoes than I have in total before this week. I'm a younger lass. I don't actually find any stirrings in my loins when I see a middle-aged-to-getting-a-bit-old-there-chap in his undies and I'm of the New Age - that much chest hair? Yuch. Dude, in this century, men tidy themselves up.

Now I understand that I am supposed to be attracted to some kind of indicators of some sort of virility? And that that, this stirring in my loins, will change the way I vote, miraculously! As though my voting hand is seduced by some kind of sexual prowess. Or some such.

See Tony Abbott's response on 7,30 Report to the question, "One voting demographic where the Liberal Party suffers badly is women, particularly younger women. Coming back to that hardline image of yours, you're not exactly a pin-up boy, are you, as a political leader?" which was "That might be the case," grinned the Liberal leader. "Notwithstanding the photos of last weekend... Speedos are compulsory if you're in the club swim at Queenscliff."
Quotes taken from: http://stilllifewithcat.blogspot.com/2009/12/abbott-and-women-some-thoughts.html

To which my response is - mental image from the news of big old hairy man and trying not to look at the speedoes! YUCH! (not as Tony would have me ... oooh sexy man I can haz votes for him)

But Kerry Goldsworth says it better:

Most Australian women are too young to remember what life was like when abortion was illegal, divorce was a protracted and vicious nightmare of compulsory demonisation, you couldn't get a prescription for the Pill unless you were married, and keeping your own surname after marriage was rendered bureaucratically impossible...

What Australian women need to understand about the ascent of Abbott is that all this other stuff about Speedos and personalities and icky feminists is, compared to the real thing, smoke. The real thing, the thing that must be recognised and fought every inch of the way, is nothing less than an assault by stealth on your own body. It is not about annoyance or startlement. It is not about the ten-ferret pelt and the displays thereof. It is not about behaving like a bully-boy and standover merchant, which is the main thing that women disliked and distrusted about Mark Latham. It is not about a willingness to do anything that will disrupt or demean any woman standing up to him ... or even any woman standing up with him, as Julie Bishop discovered immediately after he became her new leader when he gave her a cuddle and a pat for the cameras and called her a 'loyal girl'.

No, the real, crucial, immediately dangerous area for Australian women is the place where biology meets the budget or the law. No matter what fluff or snark you read in the Op Ed pages, what coy, snide, smarmy or foam-flecked references to the skittishness of easily-startled women or the hatefulness of not-easily-startled women, it's not about the mysteries of the female vote; it's not about Abbott's personality; it's not about anyone's behaviour; it's not, for the moment, about whether something is or is not perceived to be a 'women's issue'; it's not even -- again for the moment -- about the way this brand of conservatism seeks to diminish and control the place of women in society.

Here and now, in the immediate future, it's about that stick you pee on and what colour it turns. It's about the red dot on the calendar and how worried you are about it. It's about the condoms that have passed their use-by date unnoticed, or the contraceptive drugs that are not quite 100% effective. It's about stuff that every girl and woman of childbearing age has to think about, today and tomorrow and next week and the week and month and year after that...

It's about bodies, medical procedures, drugs, laws and money: Gardasil, RU486, abortion, IVF, stem cell research, no-fault divorce, access to health services without being nagged by fundies, and whether you, as a woman, want to choose between living a life of celibacy and taking the chance (and if you think this is unlikely, look around you) of various worst-case scenarios: living below the poverty line; looking after at least one unintentionally conceived child by yourself until the kid is 18 and probably much longer than that; forgoing any proper career in work that you love, any decent income, any role in public life, any power at all. It's about your own daily life-in-the-body: its dignity and its freedom.


(emphasis mine)

I'm actually, believe it or not, a swing voter. I vote on issues. I sit in a Federal seat that is a swinging seat and traditionally how we vote in our seat is seen as an indicator of how the whole thing will go down. And I will quite clearly and categorically state that I will never ever vote for a party that has Tony Abbott leading it. No matter what he might say or how he might smooth things over and try to start anew and no matter what issues come up between now and then. My memory is long. And I remember RU486. No man, woman, religion or government has the right to make decisions over my body. And I will never ever vote in any way that may diminish the control I have over my body in the future.


And so it begins

I hate Tony Abbott.

Tony Abbott has addressed parliament for the first time as opposition leader - and declared he will now have to stop flirting with Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/978288/tony-abbott-to-end-flirting-with-julia-gillard

There are many reasons to hate this man - he is narrow minded, misogynistic, wants to enforce his religion and preferred way of life on the rest of us. It would be cool if when he said as leader he gets to start anew, that he, like, actually, you know, started over, took feedback on board and STOPPED BEING A SEXIST ARSEHOLE!

You know when he should have stopped flirting with Acting Prime Minister? Long before he took the role of Opposition Leader.

But that's ok. Abbott will never be our Prime Minister. And for that, we can be thankful.


From Get Up

After four years in immigration detention, Masoud was granted a temporary visa. Then he was hit with a $264,000 bill for his "accommodation" in Baxter Detention Centre. There are hundreds more like him - experiencing unimaginable trauma only to then be slugged with an enormous bill for the privilege.

Thanks to the efforts of caring Australians, like yourself, the bill to abolish detention debt passed just moments ago in the Senate.

In an historic move, Liberal Senator Troeth, who met with a GetUp delegation of those affected by this policy, abandoned her party's position and crossed the floor to support the bill. She was joined, at the last minute, by Senator Fielding - whose support we will need on other refugee reform bills in the coming months.

So often we criticise politicians for not standing up and speaking out. Now it is our responsibility to thank them for doing the right thing. With other key refugee and asylum seeker reform bills up for debate shortly, it's important that we take a moment to thank Senator Troeth and Senator Fielding who took the courageous move of voting on moral rather than party lines.


Click here to send these Senators a message of thanks


Julie Bishop Quits as Shadow Treasurer

Yeah - I'm not remotely surprised. The giveaway for me was the bit where she confused how taxes work with the stimulus package. It was a bit embarrassing actually.

EMBATTLED Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop has quit as Opposition Treasury spokesperson after only four months in the job.

Ms Bishop said she will remain as the deputy Opposition leader and take over the foreign affairs portfolio.

Disquiet about Ms Bishop's failure to cut through on economic issues boiled over last week as some Opposition MPs campaigned for her removal.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25060547-29277,00.html

She sucked in the Science and Education (as Minister), she's sucked in the Treasury so *now* they move her to Foreigh Affairs?

You know I just don't like Robot Woman. I hate everything that comes out of her mouth. And what annoys me is that I think she got this position (Deputy Leader) in order to balance out Gillard's. Gillard though, really is up to the job whilst I'm still yet to be impressed by anything Bishop says and does.


Israeli ground troops in Gaza

So the war advances. I don't actually have much opinion on it, to be honest. I haven't been following the news for about two weeks.

What is of interest to me is that the Israeli Defense Force has gone all 21st century, which I spose of all the armies in the world, you'd think they'd be the first to, and have their own You Tube Channel where they are uploading all kinds of their own footage of the action. It's quite interesting really. It's another example of how the world is going online and of how power is more and more devolving down to the individual. I'm not really much into video games so the footage is not that useful to me and I'm mostly wondering what I am looking at and so on - but I'm like that with the footage the news normally shows - it's all shadows and green and moving at odd angles and ... I dunno.

But I guess this is another example of how media is changing and I think we were talking about it here before where journalists are less and less bringing us the facts and more and more editorialising or talking around it. Because at the point at which the Palestinians do the same, and upload footage to their own You Tube channel, why would you bother waiting for the 6pm news? Unless you wanted to hear someone else's commentary on it?

Interestingly, the IDF have disabled the comment function on the videos :-) I wonder why :-)


Israel

So apparently my mother is more in the know than the online news, she having just sent me a text (followed up with a phone call cause I haven't yet received said text) that ground troops have just crossed into Gaza.

I'm oddly amused that my mother knows and has texted me but the Israeli Newspaper Ha'aretz is still reporting that the IDF is awaiting approval from the Govt and they are supposedly deciding whether they will go ahead with a 48 hour ceasefire.

I've not been following the news at all in the last week or so. It turns out that my stress levels are much reduced as a result and I might look at that in the new year. Of course, I still read lj and there have been posts on various flister's blogs and I have rss feeds to a bunch of newspapers. So I was vaguely aware of bombing and then some time yesterday they started referring to it as a "war".

They are calling up the reserve army which means many of my cousins and friends will now be on duty. And that's very worrying. And two of my cousins from here have just arrived in Israel - one cousin who made Aliyah last week and her brother who I think went for a wedding (he managed to be in Israel for the Lebanon War too).

Reading a couple of articles, I can't help but wonder if the point of this is to destabalise the hold of Hamas and somehow bring forward Fatah as the greater power. In any case, it's not a happy situation and not a way to start a new year.

My wish is for peace and for a rapid end to this.


Rudd Disappoints - AGAIN

THE Federal Government has ruled out a deep cut to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions before 2020, believing the world will not get its act together on climate change soon.

The Government has set an absolute maximum cut to emissions of 15 per cent by 2020 - if the world signs an effective climate pact - in its greenhouse plan released today.

If no pact is signed, Australia will go with an unconditional 5 per cent cut in emissions.

These targets fly in the face of calls from scientists for countries to slash their emissions by 25 to 40 per cent to avert catastrophic climate change.

The Government says it's unlikely the world can forge a strong greenhouse agreement so its targets are realistic.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24801264-2,00.html

So, even though he campaigned strongly on this issue, the best he is offering is less than what is needed to avert catastrophic change. And then ... IF the rest of the world doesn't play, he is taking that deal off the table and offering 5%. Surely the point is to lead by example. Yet again the Australian PM is a disappointment. Where do we get these guys?! I want a refund!

Australian Politics

"Look I have nothing against gay people. This story has been set up by a
few extreme feminists who hate our guts,'' he told The Australian Online."


http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24710485-2702,00.html

"If you are asking me if I hate homosexuals, I just think that's ridiculous," he said.

"People don't have to be... they can change. We've got a document we've put together with former gays and lesbians.

"But I am very passionate about marriage. Some of them were people who have come to us after that lifestyle."

He suggested lesbians may be women who are sexually abused by men and suffer a "gender wound" that triggers homosexuality.


This is from Mr Williams, president of the Lone Fathers Association, Kevin Rudd's men's health ambassador.

Marsh's group has a website <http://www.gendermatters.org.au/home.html> where it has brought together people "who believe in the natural biological family. The best way to protect children is for children to be brought up by a loving mother and father who are married." On the site, you'll find a quite loathsome document <http://www.gendermatters.org.au/home_files/21%20reasons%20why%20gender%20matters%28low%20res%29.pdf> called "21 Reasons Why Gender Matters".

The above is taken from an email sent to me from a Crikey article.

The more Kevin Rudd acts as Prime Minister the less I feel comfortable with the decisions and choices he makes. Yes, I know he is better than what we voted out but he is becoming more and more to be the Howard Lite to me. And it makes me sad.

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Shameless plug

Palin puts faith in God for 2012

Me too, Sarah, me too.




2012 including postage




 

FAIL!

Julie Bishop on Big News Week.


oops!

Am watching the 7.30 Report and I think Rudd just referred to Penny Wong as a "bloke" - "we're a bunch of sensible blokes here in the Government." Why does he sound less and less like the person I voted for, the longer he is in power?


Whilst it is somewhat reminiscent of Bill Clinton's first year of his Presidency in which the focus was on the $500 haircuts that Hilary was having, I must admit that Palin's hair and makeup and outfits are very nice indeed. She does look the part - serious and intelligent, whilst just a tad sexy. Things we look for in Presidents. heh! Sorry, more Bill Clinton references! hahahaha!!

Today, this from news.com.au
THE Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $US150,000 ($221,500) on clothes for vice presidential pick Sarah Palin.

The Republicans' main campaign and fundraising organ spent tens of thousands at high-end stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York and Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, the Politico website said.

The committee also spent $US4716 ($6964) on hair and makeup through September, Politico said.

Those kinds of expenditures did not appear in the RNC's financial disclosure records before the Alaska governor was named to John McCain's ticket in August, it said.

Politico said it reviewed the RNC's September monthly financial disclosure report and found a new category, "campaign accessories", included in the report of "itemised co-ordinated expenditures".


heh - AWESOME!! I'm gonna put that down on my tax return next year - itemised co-ordinated expenditure!! LOVE IT!

The McCain-Palin campaign issued a statement shortly after the report appeared online.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

"It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."


Because as we *know* what homeless and poor women need, to protect them from the harsh elements of a cold winter, are beautifully coordinated pantsuits.

And, let's be honest, it's not like she's going to need them to wear to foreign policy or financial crisis meetings after the campaign, is she?!


More on the political divide

For years I've heard people make fun of the show The View. So much so that when I got cable, it was one of the first shows I had to check out. And I must comfess... I love it! I'm addicted and it makes me happy. At first I liked it because there are the three Democrats (okay, sometimes Barbara Walters pretends to be an unbiased journalist) who smack down on the tiny, blonde Republican. Plus, I really like Rosie O'Donnell.

But now, since reading Don't Think of an Elephant (as discussed in a previous entry), the show is giving me a whole new level of fascination. Where better to learn about framing and how it is applied and argued in politics than here, where 4 women of different ages, backgrounds and political pursuasions duke it out? I think that Rosie is very effective in communicating where she stands and why on many issues but Elizabeth, our token Republican is very rarely swayed. Last night was fascinating - they were discussing first the bill that a politician in California is trying to get up to make it illegal to hit/spank/smack children under 3 and then Elizabeth was arguing that a parent who commits adultery cannot be a good parent (because they cannot lead by example).

In his book, Larkoff presents two different and opposite frameworks that operate in the home. He calls them the Strict Father Model - where the father is the head of the house, it is his duty to protect his family from the evil in the world, children are wrong and must be physically punished to pull them into line and when you are finished raising your kids they must be independent and successful (rewarded) or have failed and you do not step in and interfere with adults. The opposing frame, Larkoff argues, is the Nurturing Parent Model. Here, children are good and can be encouraged to be better, the world is not scary and evil and values such as freedom, opportunity, fairness, open communication and so on are at the core. And he the then attributes one model to one side of the political spectrum and the other to the opposing.

In light of this, I found Elizabeth's positions on The View last night to be fascinating. Regardless of who thought what about smacking thier children, she pipes up with "I'm a fair believer in consequences for actions the first time - you do something wrong, bam, there's a consequence". And my mind reeled. I did get hit in the house I grew up in but to be honest I can count the number of times on my hand. Imagine though, living with a parent who didn't warn you when you stepped over the line - didn't set up the boundaries ahead of time but hit you or punished you when you crossed them. Imagine the kind of trepidation and fear you'd live with not knowing when the next "consequences" would be delivered. Next... compare this to Bush's reaction in Iraq. It's not working, there is no way you can argue the US is winning, dragging this on has no other outcome other than more death and destruction on all sides ... his reaction, being the Strict Father, is to bolster up troops to have a bit more "bam, here's the consequence". For those in the Strict Father Model, there is no other route.

In this framework, you can then see her perspective on adultery. It threatens the Strict Father model if it's the mother who is cheating, if it's the father then he is absent from the home where he should be, you know, being strict. No matter how hard Rosie tried to get her to see that your relationship with your child and that with your partner are separate, she refused to see that perspective. To her, it is all the same thing. To her, being a parent is inherent in every other aspect of your life and who you are. Admittedly, she is the youngest woman on the panel and the other 3 are much older than her and have seen and experienced life far more so. I would like to have seen the same discussion with an older woman in order to be able to differentiate between life experience and political/family framework. It was still very interesting to observe. I can see how important it is to understand - how the other side sees things - before even remotely trying to take them on.

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Yaknow?!

From news.com.au

POLAR bears might be facing extinction and should be on the US endangered species list, the Bush administration said today, in a move that could see a change in US attitudes on global warming.

Um, hello?! Is this thing on?!@?@?@ What the fuck did the stupid Bush adminstration think we were on about then?

Next they will be shocked that all coral reefs will be dead within the next 15 years.

Oy gevalt!

From http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20302726-401,00.html

IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday challenged US President George W. Bush to a live television debate on world issues.

The challenge came two days before a UN deadline for Iran to halt sensitive atomic work.

"I suggest we talk with Mr Bush, the president of the US, in a live television debate about world issues and ways out of these standoffs. We would voice our opinions and they would too," he said in a news conference.


I was going to say this is not something we want to see but actually, on second thuoght .. maybe it would be entertaining. Bush off the cuff is *always* entertaining - but in this case, he could start something a wee bit serious so, maybe not. Secondly, ever seen the Iranian President interviewed? if you don't believe his ideology, he won't engage in discussion. This begs the question - what the hell kinda debate would this be?

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Dude!

I spose its only fair - I'nm skeptical about his predictions abotu the future too.

Still, I got science to fall back on. What's he got?

From news.com.au
PRIME Minister John Howard says he is sceptical of the more gloomy predictions about human-induced climate change, sparking claims he is not taking the issue seriously enough.

Mr Howard told ABC TV's Four Corners program, to be screened tonight, that he accepts that climate change is a challenge.

"I accept the broad theory about global warming. I am sceptical about a lot of the more gloomy predictions," he said.

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The West Australian

.. has gotten all political of late. When it attacks my department it's kinda funny cause usually most of the facts and the way things work are totally wrong. Like why we don't yet have an opinion on something and yet the proposal has been given the go ahead to prepare a .... proposal for a project, which we'd then have an opinion of once it gets, like, in the system. But when it's other things it's mighty amusing - like Education. But yesterday the front page was all blank except for one tiny paragraph in the middle. It said something along the lines of being the whitewash that is the government on not investigating the death of a child who was allowed to continue being in the custody of a known violent man.

No opinion on the case and the government's role, I just liked how political the paper got. I think editor has his own agenda that he's aggressively pursuing, possibly tryin to bring down the government, but it's kinda fun to watch.

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interesting

Taken from news.com.au

For what it's worth, I find the "Captain Catholic" tag uncomfortable because I'm no less prone to the deadly sins than anyone else. I just take the church and its teaching seriously in a way that was almost universal scarcely a generation back.

What's at work here is not just journalists' lack of understanding of the Christian culture that underpins our society, including its pluralism and separation of church and state, but their reluctance to extend a fair go to what's unfashionable.

Australian journalism needs to be more intellectually curious and less implicitly judgmental.

This is an edited extract from Tony Abbott's remarks to a media conference at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government in Melbourne on Monday.


This piece is interesting for a couple of reasons. It seems funny that for a government that supposedly pushes diversity, multiculturalism (although less so than it used to) and tolerance, for a leading politician to be surprised that the media, and public, today "no longer take the church and its teaching seriously in a way that was almost universal a generation back".

But notice his point in the second para - "Christian culture that underpins our society". These two things are at a cross-roads - it can't underpin our society if not everyone takes it seriously, yet the government, or maybe just Abbott, want(s) to continue law making that way. Still, I've said over and over it's a Christian country and feels that way to those not Christian - I for one want to be able to buy liquor on Sundays and Christmas Day.

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On History

Not sure where this is going, it might end up a ramble.

Last week I got into a discussion with benpeekon the Holocaust. Not wishing to go into the specifics of that (cause they aren't important here), what I took away and mulled on was the idea of justice - for whom and what is it? and when do you say enough is enough? For me, I can't put it aside and say it happened more than 60 years ago get over it. For me, it's not something that can be gotten over and put aside. I can't let it go. Let me leave this here for a minute.

Sunday night I had my parents over for dinner and the bf also invited a very good friend of his. We got into a really interesting discussion. The bf's friend is Noongyar and is quite active in his community and has worked a lot with helping kids get back on their feet after doing time and so on. My mother asked him how we can get past what has happened and how can be solve the problems in our society. And at the core of his answer was the Stolen Generation. He often goes back there and I think ... "always back there". But then as we discussed it, really discussed it, I realised why. He can't move on just like I can't move on. Because when something truly horrific happens to you or your family, you need certain things to be able to move on. And one of the things you need is for those around you to *acknowledge* these things happened. At the core of it, you need someone to look in your face and say "this happened to you and you are worthy of feeling destroyed about it. It was wrong". But beyond that, you need something, you need justice, to happen to follow through on that statement and make it more than hollow words. For the very first time, as he sat there are recounted some of his family's history and that of others that he knew, I realised how exactly the same the events surrounding the Stolen Generation were to those of the Holocaust. Yes the Holocaust killed more people, it was systematic and cruel. But the events surrounding the Stolen Generation were just as decimating because the size of the population was smaller and the people had less power (by this I mean that some people ie those of us from there who are still alive managed to escape Nazi Europe because they had money and influence). Many of the incidents he described were no less cruel or systematic. And oddly, when I expressed how I often wonder how *I* will know when it's time to pack up my bags and escape - because both sides of my family have done so in reaction to different and separate events of persecution - the Cossacks in Russia and the Nazis some 30 years later - he looked at me and knew what I meant. He was a fellow survivor who did not believe that the future will be better and that all persecution and hatred of the different was over.

And as we sat there and discussed it we mentioned how there have been studies done of Holocaust survivors that have shown their children to share common (and odd) traits and again in the children of the children - Third generation Holocaust survivors. I'm not really one because my grandfather escaped before hand (my father's parents were both born here as was my mother's mother). But because my grandfather lost his wife and two children, I would argue that we do display some of these. If you've met me and my mother you've probably seen some of these. I always have to tell her exactly where I am going and have a contact number of where I will be and a back up plan if something goes wrong. That kind of thing. In other words, we are marked by this event even though we personally didn't actually experience it. Aboriginal children were taken from their parents up until the 1960s. So much of the youth of today are second generation only. It's very easy for me now to see why the bf's friend always comes back to this period - how can he not? And how can there be solutions until we admit the real problem here? Many people are still in a lot of pain. Sitting there and looking him in the face was the best history lesson of all.

What will be in Howard's history curriculum?

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first some politics

Yesterday's newspaper out these parts had a rather amusing (or sad, you choose) headline - something along the lines of "don't bother learning it, google it" as a quote by the State Minister for Education in her reply to the Prime Minister as to whether history ought to be compulsory for all Year 9 and 10 students. Now... she went on to say that people don't need to learn dates, they can google for the answer and she herself didn't know the significance of the year 1788 and tried to sidestep it by not commenting. I think this in itself is the strongest argument *for* compulsor history since the MINISTER for EDUCATION has no idea what the discipline of history actually is.

Seems off for an engineer to argue the value of learning history. I myself did not know of this till I start a couple of collaboration projects with a postgrad in history. She taught me a lot about thinking in a different way to that I had learned in the pure sciences. And she taught me about context and motives and the reason why my state functions the way it does now. In fact, never ever did we deal with dates when we worked on our projects. I learned a lot and I feel that without any real history learning in my formal education, I have missed out.

Of course, if they do teach history in schools - what version and who's will they teach?

But something else the Minister for Education mentioned has really been bothering me - it goes with all her stooopid outcomes based education crap - something about needing to engage the student and teach them want they want to learn. How do you know what you want to learn till it's presented to you? It sounds to me a lot like furry speech - lets feed kids what they want to eat and let them do what they want to do. When you do that, you get fat kids who lie on the couch playing video games all day long.

All I know is that I got a better education 15 years ago (and lets note the bf went through 4 years before me and is better read on the 1001 books list due to the English curriculum, not English Lit) than kids are getting today and I feel like *I* was short changed. It does not bode well.

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Political? Me?!

So there are calls within Indonesian parliament to retract their ambassador again from Australia because we didn't pass That Bill. That Bill, by the way, that would go against international law and mean we could no longer film those movies where all the protagonist has to do is *make it to Australian soil and claim asylum* and her husband/drug lord/ex army dude will get off her back.

There is another way - they could, you know, stop persecuting people. That'd work.

Amanda Vanstone was funny - with her hopping on the news for those 6 (6!!!) people who made it to Ashmore reef - and got sent onto Nauru - and saying "now if they'd made i to mainland .... " but they didn't and they got treated as she would have it. They got sent to an island run by like 5 people and who's biggest export is bird poo. It'd be really awful you know if the Bird Flu pandemic stems from Nauru.

So, I read in the West Australian that Indonesia are going to punish us by sending over more illegal immigrants.

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Heh

See, this is what happens when as a country you think that just because someone is really good at sport, that they'll be really good at other things. Nope, they were good at *sport*.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20056714-2,00.html
FORMER Test batsman Dean Jones has been sacked from his job as a TV commentator, after referring to South Africa's Muslim batsman, Hashim Amla, as a "terrorist".

Jones, who admitted making the comment and apologised, was on a commentary team covering the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo.

According to a statement issued by Cricket South Africa, viewers heard Jones say, "the terrorist has got another wicket" when Amla took the catch that dismissed Kumar Sangakkara

Heh, that's unbelievably *wrong*.

----
Other stuff. How come the tax cuts that have now been eaten up by mortgage rate rises and rising fuel prices were *good* because otherwise it ould be *more* expensive now but they can't cut the excise on fuel because it won't help when the price continues to rise later? There's something wrong with pegging the excise to the price.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20057367-2,00.html
PRIME Minister John Howard has urged dissenting backbenchers to abstain from voting on tough new immigration laws rather than cross the floor of Parliament.

During a heated joint parties meeting this morning, Mr Howard ruled out making any more changes to the laws, which would send all asylum seekers to island detention centres for processing.

At least four backbenchers told the meeting they could not support the draft laws, party room sources said.

Ehud Olmert speech in Maariv, July 31

This was spoken in response to the Qana incident - the IDF do not deny the incident occurred. Much effort has gone on both sides to show the incident as a hoax and then a conspiracy on those that said it's a conspiracy. The Red Cross count the dead at 28.

I admit that I wanted it to be a hoax. It's not nice to think that innocent children were killed in their sleep. Just like its not nice to think that rockets and suicide bombers kill children on their way to school or dancing in disco on a regular Saturday night. I wanted it to be a hoax because ... why? Why is it worse when Jews kill civilians in a war? By accident or otherwise? Why do I hold us up to need to be better than everyone else, and why does the world? I've put most of the piece behind the cut.


Speech of Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, published
in Maariv on Monday, July 31, 2006.

Read more...Collapse ) Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children. I don't remember you being so enraged then. Maybe that happened because we did not allow TV close-ups of the dismembered body parts of the Israeli youngsters at the Dolphinarium? Or of the shattered lives of the people butchered while celebrating the Passover seder at the Park Hotel in
Netanya?

What can you do - that's the way we are. We don't wave body parts at the camera. We grieve quietly. We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret. That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies. Now they
have risen up against us. Tomorrow they will rise up against you. You are already familiar with the murderous taste of this terror. And you will taste more.
Read more...Collapse )
So today, here and now, I am putting an end to this parade of hypocrisy. I don't recall such a wave of reaction in the face of the 100 citizens killed every single day in Iraq. Sunnis kill Shiites who kill Sunnis, and all of them kill Americans - and the world remains silent. And I am hard pressed to recall a similar reaction when the Russians destroyed entire villages and burned down large cities in order to repress the revolt in Chechnya. And when NATO bombed Kosovo for almost three months and crushed the civilian population - then you also kept silent.>

What is it about us, the Jews, the minority, the persecuted, that arouses this cosmic sense of justice in you? What do we have that all the others don't? In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize. I will not capitulate. I will not whine. This is a battle for our freedom. For our humanity. For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders. It is also your battle. I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it
later, when it's too late.


--------

And I think there ends my commentary on the Middle East.

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PR and the media train

I got caught up in a discussion last week elsewhere in blog world about the PR and how you need to read and watch media coming out of the Middle East carefully. I wasn't really going to talk much about this anymore, cause in truth it is all rather useless.

But since then, my mother was telling me how she'd received some links in an email concerning the Qana incident that perhaps it was a hoax. I've been doing a bit of surfing round to look for links and authenticity and have found some things but haven't enough to put it together in a succinct post yet. What I have found is that the Red Cross put the dead at half the number the Lebanese told the media - at 26 (not the 50+ that has been circulating). I have also been looking through a series of graphic photos of the bodies taken out from the building. The claim is that the roof was intact and the explosion came from inside the building (which would make sense if the building was as the IDF claim, being used as a Hizbollah rocket launch site). The other claim is that the bodies were not from the building collapse - many of the bodies show rigor mortis longer than they should, the building collapsed some 8 hours after air raids and only one of the bodies (referred to in the second incident below) actually looked like it had been pulled from building rubble - none of the other bodies showed injuries you'd expect from a building collapse and there was no evidence of dust and rubble on them.

Here though is something extra from Reuters:
http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=13095418&src=rss/topNews
Read more...Collapse )

The reference to photographs being "staged" is an important one. Israel often claims that photos and incidents are staged for the outside media. The best one is that of bodies being carried through the streets on stretches in funeral marches which fall off and then climb back on and carry on.

As to what has been doctored and what hasn't and what is true and what isn't, my only point is to say, not to believe everything you read, on both sides.

Here are some of the arguments questioning the authenticity of the Qana incident:
Read more...Collapse )

I haven't checked out all the links myself yet. But .. um "a dead-child parader" = aren't you glad you lived long enough to hear that term?

Also just in, from an email circulated inside the NYC shule mailing list, very similar to the above, also note some similar website references:
Read more...Collapse )

This is the link to the IDF taking responsibily for the incident.
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2006/Completion+of+inquiry+into+July+30+incident+in+Qana+2-Aug-2006.htm

Some links that call the hoax a hoax, still citing an incorrect body count and not actually addressing the points above.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/2006/08/the_qana_conspiracy_theory.html
http://kabobfest.blogspot.com/2006/08/qana-conspiracies-continue.html
This is probably the best (but see comments for a whole series of links)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/745185.html
- The IDF provided no explanation for the second explosion, and it is not clear whether the bomb was moved, or whether Hezbollah ammunition stored in the building caused the explosion.


Confused yet? I know I am. Although it's meant I've read a bit of the Geneva Conventions which was interesting.

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Lebanon

There are 70,000 foreigners trying to get the fuck out of Lebanon right now. It doesn't bode well for how long they think this is going to continue. But I guess if you want to leave, now is better than later since there will be no exit routes out of the country at all once all the foreign military evacs have finished.

It's quite clear that Alexander Downer cannot organise himself out of a paper bag. I don't want to hear the whys and hows, we all know this is a "war-type" situation. By the way, what the fuck is "war-type"? When does it become a "war" situation? The thing is, like, his job is totally *this* - sorting our emergencies. I don't want to hear about how hard an emergency is to sort out, that's like a paramedic complaining it was life and death - its *implied*. And it occurred to me that someone like my Mum or the bf's Mum would do a better job than this. Heck, even I would. And how does it feel that the Canadian PM *himself* has rocked up for the evacuation of the Canadian-Lebanese. Talk about being out done! Oh yeah, you ask me how I know I would have done better? I have a bit of Middle East experience, having been there myself and all - I know that a deal is never a deal till its been delivered (all sides, everyone, trust no one) - I mean heck, if a deal was a deal, we like, wouldn't *actually* be in a "war type" situation at all. Truces, withdrawals and the like. *Of course* if the ferry was offered more money all deals are off. That's what it's like over there. I would have booked the ferry and hung out there to make sure it went where it was supposed to and when. But you gotta be diddled first hand in the Middle East to know this. [1] It's a "war type situation" there *all* the time.

And what of those trying to get out? I saw a lady on the news last night waving her Australian passport. She was very upset because her husband and daughter were allowed to get out (at that stage they still thought a ferry was coming) but her passport had expired 3 weeks prior and she was not allowed to go. I had several reactions to this. Firstly, she wasn't holidaying in Lebanon since her passport wasn't current. Secondly, she had been there for longer than 6 months cause you can't travel with less than that on a valid Australian passport. So she was hedging her bets - she was living in Lebanon and now wanted to be Australian so she could get out and was furious because we were being all strict on the having a valid passport thing. Thirdly, boy does she have a shock coming - she's been out the country so long she doesn't know what pricks we are to refugees and immigrants.

If it was me? I'd try anything I damn well could to get the fuck out.

[1] yes I got me a bag load of those stories - how to become streetwise real fast.

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Yeah so

Stuff's happening in the world and it seems odd to me that the media isn't really covering it. When the trains blew up in London, we went to Sky News on all channels for at least a day. Trains blow up in Mumbai and that doesn't even headline the news - instead we get Costello whining about whether or not Howard made and broke a promise 12 years ago to him. Is it me or if you aren't white or Australian, you're not that important?

And then ... like, the Middle East. That's um making me a bit scared. First there was this craziness between Gaza and Israel. Neither side behaving like an actual country dealing with another country. This doesn't bode well for the future where they ideally would be two neighbouring countries. But for some reason, Lebanon has decided to get involved and now there are airplanes bombing Lebanon airport as a reprisal for acts of war by Hezbollah.

Um .. this kinda sounds serious. I'm a little worried we're about to see another war.

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Liberal Party D Day

It's so good it actually hurts.

Am awaiting the exit of the Liberal party from their cabinet meeting. The showdown between Costello and Howard.

I just, is it wrong to be enjoying the whole, "what you mean Howard made a promise and then he didn't keep it? No! Surely you jest?! "

And this morning on Sunrise they had Browyn Bishop on (is she not sooooo over already?) and she said that obviously a deal hadn't been made because you dont make a deal that you can't deliver on. And I'm like, um? WTF? You been paying attention to the Liberal party these here last 10 years girl?

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From news.com.au

BIG Brother evictee Michael "John" Bric has attacked his treatment by the show since he was evicted from the house last week.

Bric, 21, told the Herald Sun he felt like he had been used by the producers, especially as Channel 10 announced yesterday two male replacement housemates would enter the house tomorrow.
"I think it's a joke," Bric said.

"I think it is ratings driven when they put in replacements for me and Ash, and it makes me think I was a publicity stunt for more viewers.


Over the weekend I was thinking .. you know, those two guys were actually quite boring. What if BB just decided that they weren't contributing and needed replacing? What if the Turkey Slap was justa convenient excuse - I mean, did anyone actually *see* it until the Ejection? What if it was a convenient way to put two different people in the house? And then ... they are putting two different people in the house this week .. in BB language, these will be Replacement Housemates.

But the bit that amuses me the most about Australian Big Brother is the idea that you can get annoyed by someone in the house playing the game. Its like being annoyed that someone studied for an exam, or trained for a swimming event. There's this idea in Australian Big Brother that the prize money is an aside and people just go in to, like, you know, like, meet people. For frigs sake, if you wanna make new friends, why don't you just go down to your local and buy someone a drink? If you enter a game, why be annoyed because other people who entered it are playing it?

So following on from that, if you enter a game, why be surprised when you get played like a pawn?


---------


In other news, I'm enjoying the two terms debacle between Howard and Costello. I reckon, since I am learning to be even more suspicious and cynical, that this is a ploy from the Costello camp some how. I mean we all love the underdog and we all know what it feels like to be fucked up the arse by Howard and his "non core promises".

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