Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Irony Man's Sidekick: Back-flippant Barny

Barnaby Joyce's latest excuse for his foot-in-mouth disease is irony.

He wouldn't wipe his mouth with Productivity Commission reports apparently and made stupid remarks about both the insulation scheme and the Stimulus Package schools building projects.

More: Joyce backtracks on toilet paper quip (ABC Radio's AM program )

"It is a statement of irony. It is not a genuine belief that they are burning down houses to stimulate the economy, but they are definitely burning down houses," he said. 
Joyce defends toilet paper humour (ABC News)

He joins the super-boy heroes club as Tony Abbott's sidekick, Back-flippant Barny. His super power will involve both feet.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tony Abbott: Irony Man

Ironing Man, Iron Man. Tony Abbott is an enigma. I haven't read his book to see if there is any sub-text but there are bound to be hidden meanings. Buried deep, a bit like his policies.

His super-hero graphic novel would have be titled, Irony Man.

His X-ray eyes seem to work in reverse. You can usually see when he is spinning an answer in his head. To use an appropriate metaphor, the windows of his soul.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

New blog:Red Bluff

I've started a new blog, Red Bluff, to go with my new website. It will focus on current affairs, society and the invironment, plus share some personal experiences and special places.

Labor View will concentrate on party politics both here and overseas.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Tall Man Story Continues

It was pure coincidence that our book club was discussing Chloe Hooper’s award winning The Tall Man last week. It is the account of the 2004 death-in-police-custody of Cameron Doomadgee and the trial of Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurley. The Inquest into the death has just reopened on Queensland’s Palm Island:
An inquest into the death held in 2005 concluded that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley caused the fatal injuries.

He was found not guilty of manslaughter and assault in 2007.

Sergeant Hurley later appealed the original inquest findings and a district court judge ordered the inquest be reopened.
Doomadgee inquest reopens
Our club members are mostly in their thirties plus two baby boomers to add a bit of living history, sort of fiction fossils. In this case it's non-fiction. The general consensus was that Chloe has given a balanced account despite her closeness to the Doomadgee family and legal team.

Andrew Bartlett, former Australian Democrats Senator and current Green’s candidate, has followed the tragic events:
It is well over five years since Mulrunji Doomagee died in police custody on Palm Island, his ribs broken and his liver nearly sliced in two. Previous coronial inquests and trials have wound a tortuous path, with various assertions about the cause of death ranging from the consequences of a “complicated fall” to suggestions Mulrunji’s injuries were inflicted by a more direct methods.
Palm Island Inquest Resumes (again)
He links to Monique Bond’s blog about Palm Island, Monique's notes re Palm Island and other topics

She concludes her Background on the Mulrinji inquest 2006:
The Inquest cannot change the root causes of the problems on Palm Island. We can cooperate to improve the relationship between islanders and the police. However, unless the power balance changes so that the Islanders own the agenda and an attitude of mutual respect is insisted on, nothing will improve.
The background to this tragic story is very bleak:
  • the appalling treatment of indigenous people in Queensland by settlers, government and police;
  • the forced relocation of the unwanted and ‘undesirables’ to Palm Island’s virtual prison;
  • the continuing consequences of the stolen generations and separated families;
  • the culture of apathy and denial within the police, forensic pathologists and the justice system;
  • the code of coverup;
  • the ‘them and us’ attitudes of some in the Deep North towards their Southern cousins;
  • the legacy of Christian missions on indigenous beliefs and values;
  • the sorry state of reconciliation in parts of Australia.
It’s hard to come away from this confronting book with any optimism. The investigation was compromised by the casual clubbiness of the police involved. Two key aboriginal witnesses were not called to testify. One, according to Hooper, because of his 'drinking and inconsistencies', the other because ‘he was “more copper than blackfella”’. The acquittal took only 3 hours of jury deliberation including lunch. It has taken six years for Hurley to make any sort of apology to the family.

Too many aboriginal communities are dominated by whites who hold most of the important jobs and the real power. Even aboriginal community police hold little or no real authority.

Chloe Hooper’s frank verdict on the tall man:
Hurley had become a kind of folk hero. It was as if he’d been not so much acquitted as forgiven And in forgiving him, people forgave themselves.
It’s easy to feel that she was trying to nail him for the still unexplained violent death of Cameron Doomadgee. The book club members felt that she was more interested in exposing the way things are, in finding some kind of truth. Unfortunately the latest inquest is unlikely to nail the truth either.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Climate Change: Scientists Put Up

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have tabled more evidence in response to the climate contrarians recent offensive:

AUSTRALIA's two leading scientific agencies will release a report today showing Australia has warmed significantly over the past 50 years, and stating categorically that "climate change is real".

... The report states that temperature observations, among others indicators, "clearly demonstrate climate change is real", and says that CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology "will continue to provide observations and research so Australia's responses are underpinned by clear empirical data".
Climate change is real and it's here: report

You can download the report here.

Spread the word.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just a Minute on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Stare from Kevin Rennie on Vimeo.

Vimeo 1-minute-videos:
-Video must be exactly one minute long
-No camera movement (no panning, tilting, etc)
-No editing whatsoever
-Use original sound

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Talking Morocco for Global Voices

Moroccan blogger Hisham Khribchi of Talk Morocco talks about his writing as part of the BBC's SuperPower project. He is a regular on Global Voices.

I'm Attending Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Global Citizen Voices Spread the Word

Global Voices will hold its biennial Citizen Media Summit 2010 in early May in Santiago, Chile.

Currently GV is teaming up with the BBC's SuperPower project:

...over the next two weeks we'll be selecting from, and linking to, relevant posts from Global Voices' network of 200 bloggers and citizen journalists and we'll also be asking Global Voices editors to give their views on how the mainstream media handle the news.
SuperPower: BBC and Global Voices
Fittingly the first article highlights the work of GV author Silvia Vinas:
Chileans have been using Twitter to highlight articles from indigenous Mapuche blogs and websites that point to widespread devastation in rural areas since the earthquake on 27 February. Many complain that the desperate situation in indigenous communities has scarcely been mentioned in Chilean media.

On Global Voices, Silvia Vinas has translated Spanish-language blogs and Twitter messages that demonstrate how the indigenous community is making its situation known on the web.
Chile's indigenous Mapuche speak out online
From Silvia's post:
After the massive earthquake that hit Chile on February 27, the media and the government have faced strong criticism for their lack of coverage and support for the small communities closest to the epicenter. One of these communities is the Mapuche indigenous people, whose territory is found in central and southern Chile.
Chile: Mapuche Communities Affected by Earthquake
It's just one of several GV posts about the earthquake here.

For more please click the links.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

UN Climate Review Red Herring

The United Nations is to review IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) processes. The IAC (InterAcademy Council) has been charged with this task.

It is not a review of the Climate science itself. It's about "quality control":

  • Analyse the IPCC process, including links with other UN agencies
  • Review the use of non-peer reviewed sources, and quality control on data
  • Assess how procedures handle "the full range of scientific views"
  • Review how the IPCC communicates with the public and the media
Scientists to review climate body (BBC 10 March 2010)
Let's hope it restores public trust.

The report, due in August, is a red herring. It's time for action not this distraction.  Its results will be ignored or distorted by the climate contrarians.

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