Sunday, December 31, 2006

And Saddam was hanged by the neck

When they found him in the bolt-hole they should have put a bullet in his head and buried him in the desert. There would be no pretense of lawful conduct, there would be a plea of extraordinary circumstances in a time of war. Be done with it, move on.

Instead they handed him to a poorly trained court. They allowed his lawyers to be assassinated one after the other. They charged him with international crimes while dangling a breach of international law over his head (and around his neck).

The self-styled hero of the Arabs was able to style himself a martyr, slain by the new administration that itself indulges in torture and extra-judicial killing. Thousands of idiot would-be terrorists, young, angry, open to suggestion, are given additional inspiration.

We kill him, Israel builds a new settlement. There is no progress towards peace.

Our inconsistency and hypocrisy are so brazen, so flagrant, that any hope those young angry men might consider peaceful campaigns based on human rights and the rule of international law is jettisoned.

Because we're going to get loud and righteous when those brats who tried to smuggle heroin are lined up for the same penalty. Death penalty is wrong, we'll say, belatedly adding "for this crime, which we don't think is so serious". Not for crimes where we endorse it.

Do as we say, not as we do.

UPDATE: His hangmen, Shiites, got to taunt him as they killed him. Just like Abu Ghraib but with gallows.

More than anything it brings to mind the scenes of Somalis dragging the bodies of Rangers through the streets of Mogadishu. There isn't a sniff of law or justice about it.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Missmuss Creme

It's been a while. Merry Christmas and a world-changing and left-leaning New Year to you all.

I got mentioned in a meme. Cristy, Paul, 3rd Pea; greetings to your wee family from sunny Melbourne. I was going to do the meme here as a way of stimulating the writing juices, but as it's all about Christmas, an overrated event that's well and truly passed, I think I'll just clump some thoughts together from the past few weeks...

It's nice to be wanted. I got a third job offer out of the process that largely took place several months ago. A brilliant job, one I never even thought I'd get an interview for, but one which involves moving to another city and taking a big pay cut, so I don't even have the luxury of weighing it up against my current role.

Work is fine. I'm getting over the manifest disappointment of finding out, contrary to at least some of my expectations, that there's almost as much oversight and duplication in the new role as in the previous one. While most people don't talk to each other at all, there are a couple prepared to say "good morning" and go for lunch once in a while. The actual law is interesting, the files challenging, so I'm not hating it yet despite some notable disappointments. Previous paragraph and all.

Enough. You'd rather hear about my little bear, I'm sure.

She kicks. She bum-butts. I sing to her and play with her tootsies. Her mum just laughs- Mrs Armagnac is holding up like a champion, having finished work and adopted a managing position on the big couch. My old bandmate is due around now, and in four or five weeks, just after us, other good friends will be joining the baby bonus club.

I want my little bear here now, I want to play.

I got an I-POD nano for Chrissie. I got beloved a leather bound journal to write about bear and a subscription to Who Weekly so she has a trashy distraction in the current months. The cats got lots of things that make noise to push all around the floor. Which they push all around the floor. Between lap-hopping and snarling at the black-and-white cat that comes up to the front window each evening.

Are you still out there, fellow blogaholics? What pressies did you give and receive?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

AIDS versus...


Circumcision can halve the risk of a man picking up the HIV infection which leads to Aids, scientists in the United States said last night. interim review of the data showed a halving of the risk of infection
among those circumcised.


The development of vaccines against the three most lethalinfectious conditions - HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which together kill seven million people each year - will rely on work involving non-human primates for the foreseeable future...

Vaccine development is particularly reliant on monkey studies, to assess candidates before they proceed to expensive human trials. Neuroscience requires primates because they are the only animals with brain circuitry remotely similar to that of humans. There is also a case for allowing primate research for investigating reproductive medicine.

Sometimes there may be a reason we started doing things.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

3 days too long

Out of town with work, being inducted (induced...?), away from beloved, away from nightly sessions singing to my unborn poppette with my hand on beloved's belly, away from my cats...

Dadst, howsit you can leaves us??
I don't like being away. I'm an old sook. It's good to be back.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Home sweet truckload of moolah

It was hot. We stood a few metres from the auctioneer. I launched bidding early, held my nerve until our limit. It kept going, 30 thousand more and it eventually sold.

I'm glad in some respects it went for that much; for a few moments there it looked like the bid after my last, a mere 5 grand higher, would be the winner, which for whatever irrational reason would be hard to swallow.

But given that the place was not outstanding to begin with, the market might be sending us a message.

Preston and Coburg suddenly look attractive.

Damn it was hot, still is. A day to blast any last drops of optimism out of our withered husks and force us to pick up our tents and head north, towards the distant pools of mud, hoping they don't turn out to be a mirage.

Sorry bub, daddy didn't get you somewhere to live today, I'll keep trying.

Friday, December 08, 2006

'Greg Sheridan: Lacking any clue'

Finally, the Australian figures it out. Truth in subediting.

Sherro kicks off:

The situation is so bad in Iraq that any new ideas from anywhere are welcome.

Here's an idea- you were wrong, we were right, resign and start writing about the scallop industry or trends in trouser pleating.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hairing, Staring and Cloning

Not a great start, some senseless God Bothering:

The victory followed a visibly pensive Mr Howard and an emotional Mr Rudd telling Parliament they could not support laws allowing embryos to be created and then destroyed for research purposes.

Better, better:

Mr Rudd's cut-through leadership style has already antagonised a number of influential union bosses. Last night, the head of the Australian Workers Union, Bill Ludwig, lashed out at the re-election of Dr Emerson.

The faceless man who previously had Dr Emerson demoted loses non-existent face.

It is understood the head of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, Joe de Bruyn, is also upset at the demotion of Senator Hurley, who is aligned with the SDA in South Australia.

Most right wing member of Labor party contemplates joining the DLP. We'd be teary eyed.

Don't know Chris Bowen but the other members of the "must have four" are worthy- good to see hardworking Bob McMullan back. And it should be noted that factional co-operation allowed Rudd to have his way, recalcitrant union leaders notwithstanding.

On women and double standards, Matt Price has a bit of fun (though I must admit the hair really was extraordinary; the media might even have picked on a man for that sudden seismic shift!) running with the all hair approach to critiques of Julia's entrence into shadow vicehood:

Kevin Andrews rose to hammer Rudd on his slavishness to trade unions, but the unshiftability of his cut, matched with its downright preposterous blackness - more sable than raven - prompted widespread suspicions of a rug.

Marketed, curiously, as a "fresh" addition to Rudd's still evolving frontbench line-up, Bob McMullan raised a point of order. The best indication of McMullan's freshness is his distinctive comb-over, which officially went out of fashion in 1951.


And lastly, for both Kev and Jools, a gift in their first week with the news of the full sale of Medibank Private. Well, Alan Jones went off about it on Sunrise this morning, but as there's nothing on any of the major media sites yet I'll wait to see the details. But it sounded promising.

Punching along with lots of energy and some talent on the frontbench. 3 out of 5, would have been 4 but 1 off for the early God Bothering.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's wrong with doctor's wives?

In amongst the staw men and personal attacks the following comment, made in defence of a certain type of Green voter, cut right to the chase for me (with respect to the author, who was not at the ruder end of the thread):

"...sometimes people vote Green to make a point, thinking privately that they will never get into power anyway. In their heads, a vote for the Greens is a vote for caring for the environment. So by this logic, in voting Green, they are doing a "good thing" for society. "

Precisely. Follow the logic as these educated, well-off, well-read individuals (men and women, it can't be hard reading my last post to see I'm referring to both genders in the way chardonnay left refers to non-chardonnay drinkers) then cast their vote for:

Black bashing
Tampa and long term stays in detention centres
Anti-Muslim bigotry
Inciting racial violence
Guantanamo Bay and the Neocon war on everything
Anti-worker IR laws
Bans on gay marriage (gee, in all the Labor bashing on that topic how many people forgot whose laws and wedge attempt drove the damn issue)
Constant needling away at women's right to choose
Money flowing from the poorest schools to the richest
Your ABC becoming their ABC
Anti-diversity media laws
'Climate change, what climate change?'


...So, they are NOT doing a good thing for society, not where you equate good thing with left thing.

No ifs. No buts.

I'm not gonna get any nastier than that, I have a couple of friends who fit this category. Generally, nice people. Politically, a waste of space.

In case it wasn't obvious I was not in the previous post or this one ridiculing people who vote Green who also know which side, broadly speaking, their bread is buttered on.

If you aren't defending the people I've described above, save me the breathless moral indignation.

** Initial snappiness edited back for irrelevancy. It'd be nice to debate the issue at hand, a little at least. **

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A walk in the light Greens?

Now I'm more a Labor man myself, taken to an extreme this evening when I rocked up to Ashtanga Yoga in Fitzroy with my Eureka bluey on, but, despite the phenomenal vitriol that's been flying from Green supporters since their so-so effort in Victoria, I see the value in taking a peek at their future options.

Dark or light? That's a relevant question when you polled strongly in blue-blooded Liberal seats where money talks and tradies through the rear entrance. The Doctors' Wives club take a keen interest in the Greens that doesn't extend to Labor, mostly due to a strong aversion to unions.

Problem is, the Doctors' Wives haven't raised their Gucci monacles and examined the Greens' own IR policy in much detail, and when they do they may sniffle back to Petrou. But then again they may not, and the Greens' high primary votes in the inner city may keep climbing. What might they do to achieve this?

Get over hating Labor, and have a thicker skin: if you want to dish it out, and make the wheeling and dealing that goes on at every election into a front and centre issue, then expect Labor to play hardball.

Any dickhead knows that when they're putting ideology first Labor will preference Greens before any conservatives and Greens will do likewise for Labor. Unless you make it your policy across the board to 'let the people decide their own preferences', random aberrations that have the potential to empower the Liberals (lest it be forgotten the sworn enemies of all remotely left wing people in this country) are nakedly transparent for what they are.

The Greens rightly caned Labor over its Fundy First deal last time around, we copped it and changed approach, so you cop it too and don't sleep with the dogs then try to crawl out of it with weasel words about letting people decide. You were covered in fleas.

OK, OK, I accept we will have a difference of opinion over this, and I also concede Labor played close to the wind. Move on; at least we haven't yet sent a foreign policy wonk over to sleep with your leader and convert him. And I reckon he'd find Ruddy rather cute, in a Harry Potter ofTweed Heads sort of way.

The big one is to aim high and develop and cost your policies as if you might actually win power. In this regard you would be distinguished from the Democrats, whose ambition never moved far beyond removing middle class expenses from the GST over a few glasses of Sherry. I believe most Greens actually do hold bigger picture ambitions, or at the least aim to form a coalition with Labor then pull policy in their direction.

However I do not see how the policies add up, fiscally. A big-spending honeymoon followed by years of darkness is not really the revolution progressive politics needs. Every major policy area is full of promises involving the spending of public money, but these are not subject to the same budget scrutiny that's applied to Labor and Liberals. Rein it back a little, differentiate yourselves from the Socialists. A bankrupt nation isn't going to be a green nation in the long run.

In other words, have you ditched the 'it's ok we'll just raise corporate taxes 30%' approach that so often underpins the striving of the far left?

And where, exactly, do you stand on the PETA wing of the animal rights movement? Are you more conservation and wilderness focused or do you share a pot with the people who stick fishing hooks into sandwiches? I think it's the former, but it's this sort of detail that will bring your policies in to the light green.

Or relegate them forever.

Speaking of conservation and furry animals (they're nearly always furry in PETA ads), one problem for the Greens is nomenclature and the perception that you are a one issue party. I noticed this on the hustings, I also noticed it in discussions with old school Labor types trying to understand their fellow lefty opponents- many people assume for example that where Green votes are highest this is because of conservation issues. As opposed to gay rights, probably the biggest winner in the lower parts of Northcote where the Greens polled well.

The Greens have to work extra hard to get over this, much the way Labor has to work that bit harder to convince people with no connection to unions that it will serve their economic interests as well.

All can be tackled, with will and the right people. And a bit of honest self-analysis.

It's not being talked about like the big upheavals in Labor or the Liberal-National tussles, but philosophically the Greens have some big decisions to make if they are to grow in influence and become an influential player in Australian politics.

Taking some responsibility for their lack of numbers and looking hard at policy would be a good starting point. In my humble submission. With peace, comrades.

Go Balls Out Kevin

As we'd say in Darwin. It is worth fighting until there's blood on the carpet over this issue:

"I intend to get new talent onto the frontbench of the Labor Party and I've already indicated that Peter Garrett will be part of that new, talented line-up," he said."There'll be others as well, I'm confident of that. "I'll be leading this show and when it comes to the outcomes I want I intend to get them."I don't particularly care if others have opposing views - that's what's going to happen."

Emmerson, Tanner, Garrett, fingers crossed for some promotion of talent for once.

Speaking of which, Laurie Ferguson again proves to be the sharpest tool in the box when he calls for Gillard to take Treasury.

Gillard should not take treasury. McMullen, Tanner or even Emmerson for that one. I agree with the talking head on telly this morning and would give Gillard IR, myself.

C'mon kids, get it right...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Gillard Conspiracy Theory

As predicted here, the Rove gaff was a bigger mistake than first perceived and has proven the catalyst for the end of Beazley. If Labor keeps the Bomber he is almost certainly doomed, because the narrow win will nonetheless act as a vote of no confidence.

Rudd is likely, though far from certain, to win this stoush (TM Liam 2005). But strategically why would he have wanted it? Hanging on until the next election was a win-win option for Ruddy. If Beazley won he would be foreign minister rather than a bleating opposition hack, and could set his sight on a 3 to 6 year timetable for the top job anyway.

But if Beazley lost, and it remains odds-on that Labor will lose regardless of who heads it, he, Rudd, would smoothly walk into the leadership and take with him some reformist clout and a mandate to run on some issue other than the twin IRs: relations and rates.

Now, if Rudd wins the challenge, it will be Julia Gillard who steps into the reserve spot, quietly fingering her partly-drawn dagger as she waits and watches his performance.

Is this her plan? Is it the plan of many of the unlikelies, such as Simon Crean, who are supporting the Rudd insurrection?