Thursday, February 28, 2008

Democracy on the March

This is what you do when caring administrators decide to place the early (democrat) polling booth seven miles from your school: walk to it (and block a highway just to underscore the point)

Says one commenter of the green and scaly variety:
"Get a life , you democrat whiners"

I think they have!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2020Summit: Comments Please!

This entry is simply a placeholder for comment arising from my little thinking spot at the 2020 summit wiki.

I do not currently allow other people edit access to that site (no fine control on what you can access!), but I am happy to discuss anything here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Whimsical Pledge

Following on from the last piece, wouldn't this make an interesting addition to the pledgebank?

"I, Kevin Rudd, will commit my government to policies intended to make Australia a net carbon neutral emitter by 2050, but only if the leaders of nations whose combined GDP exceed five times that of Australia will agree to do so as well."
Why five? It worked for me once before!

Maybe I'll suggest it to the 2020 summit?

Oh well, one can hope!
(Update: there is another wiki where one may contribute such things: 2020 summit
Take your pick)


The Awful Arithmetic

"We do have to recognise the awful arithmetic; if targets like that 450 [parts per million] are to remain viable, in the end we will have to do significantly more than that."
So said the Australian government's climate advisor, Professor Ross Garnaut, on the government re-stating its commitment to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

In his just-released progress report that paints a future for Australia that is even more bleak than the IPCC's assessments, he advocates a 90% reduction and, to be fair, the government hasn't ruled that target out (and may be awaiting the final report before changing their stance). Possibly if other nations also commit to a similar goal?

Meanwhile, the longer we dawdle, the worse it gets.

Speaking from a US perspective, Alex Steffen likens the situation to parties committing to get from A to B, when they are being told to get from A to I and, in fact, they need to get from A to Q. (Presumably, the final, awful realisation will be that the essential goal was A-Z !)

The dynamics of climate change is a complex issue and, when faced with the unknown, the common tendency is to do nothing: the status quo has worked in the past; it may or may not be better to stick with it until we know more.

The harsh fact is, we do know more: in this case, the status quo will kill you.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Censorship: Damage to be Re-routed Around

From the BBC:

Whistle-blower site taken offline

A controversial website that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents has been taken offline in the US.*, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says.

Since when did California tell me what I could access?

The net is being censored...*sigh* the net responds: re-routing...

*Since the injunction, it has become known as


Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Sorrow

Yesterday, a few long needed words were said in the Australian parliament (full text here)

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

The structure of Rudd's apology to one culture reflects old customs from another:
Three times:
the curse is done,
the witness borne,
and the past laid down.
It was a cathartic moment for many, a moment spoiled somewhat by the opposition leader's rambling, defensive, and seemingly sullen response.

Looking at the full text of Nelson's speech, I think his sin was in structure rather than intent. It lacked a point and rambled. Lacking focus, his listeners were quickly distracted and annoyed by perceived slights in what he did say. (Ironically, it was Nelson who had to endure the slow clapping that Andrew Bolt, the increasingly shrill culture warrior of the Herald-Sun, demanded should be directed at Rudd)

I think the problem the Liberal party has always had in confronting the stolen generations is that it has never been able to separate the burden of admission from the burden of blame. The stance has been that to say sorry is to admit that something which happened long before many of the parliamentary leaders were born is somehow their fault. Yes, there is also the matter of being liable for compensation if you admit guilt, and yes, there have been individual claims that have been successfully pursued in various states (notably Tasmania and South Australia) .

But this is a product of adversarial thinking and fear of reprisal. When dealing with old hurts people, as a rule, are more interested in closure than vengeance. Australian Aborigines are not a vindictive people.

Still, if Nelson feels that an apology needs to be for something more personal, then he could have referred to these things:
  • sorrow that the people who enacted the forcible removal of children from their parents could not apologise in person.
  • sorrow that his party had acted out of fear of reprisal and a tidal wave of compensation claims.
  • sorrow that the day of reconciliation was so long in coming.
Said three times, then the curse is done and the burden laid down.

The future will happen as it will but, with fewer burdens, it has more scope to happen well.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Man Love Rules, OK?

It's official:

Image is from Daniel Pipes. I don't where he got it from!
(For the record, I consider it perfectly innocuous!)

Monday, February 04, 2008

The 2020 Summit

In Australia, there is evidence that the 'decade of the patronising bastard' has ended':

"ONE thousand of the nation's "best and brightest brains" will be invited to an "Australia 2020 summit" in a bold attempt to reshape the country's future."

What a good idea! (Well, I think it is. A number of others seem to think Rudd should 'just get on and govern'!)

The full transcript of this proposal is here.

One could feel a sense of anticipation at the prospect of putting forward one's solutions to a receptive and critical audience... if one had the slightest chance of being invited to this funfest.

Still, there's no reason to give up on that account, is there? After all, this is the era of blog activism! I can always put down my thoughts on webpage, and let the delegates use or ignore as they see fit.

So, that's what I'm going to do here