Sunday, October 31, 2004

Homophobes Stole My Mailbox

OK, so it's not my own work.
But this link of an Oregon blogger is worth forwarding if only as an example illustrating why mail ballots are shit, and how crazy things get on the fringe of politics.

Research

I'd like to take this
offer
up. First I just have to finish my research degree, get
snapped up by an overseas university interested in Australian history,
and then I'll be able to be magnanimous upon my return to the Arts end
of the world.

Geddit, arts end? Sigh.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Go the dogs

Cute.

There's hope for Footscray yet.

You can take a researcher out of the country, but...

I'd like to take this offer up. First I just have to finish my research degree, get snapped up by an overseas university interested in Australian history, and then I'll be able to be magnanimous upon my return to the Arts end of the world.

Geddit, arts end? Sigh.
If you want to make a whole bunch of young Australians into criminals, not to mention give a huge boost to the growing/manufacturing/selling illicit drugs industry, then I reckon this is an excellent idea.

Labor in crisis, blah blah blah

When I first saw those Labor TV ads about Peter Costello I thought they were a waste of money. I figured that the national secretariat must have had some kind of polling to justify them. Turns out, unfortunately, I was right after all. I guess if I was a right-wing salaried columnist and not a student I'd be banging on right now about the 'crisis of Labor'.

Well here's my 5ยข on this matter. Stay with me.

Labor's always been in crisis. That's part of its function. Labor in power has never been a solution or a final answer to the problems of the world. Our first crises were when the trade unionists who set up the Party realised that knocking over Parliaments wasn't going to end poverty or injustice.

We've always been a stop-gap, half-arsed, jury-rigged Party constantly terrified that if we stop manically examining ourselves for signs of failure, then somebody else will do it--and discover that there's just a tissue of professionalism covering a profound social and spiritual emptiness. We're a party of huge individual talent. We're also a Party of huge collective ignorance and incompetence.

Labor's always been in crisis. The pledge, conscription, the socialist clauses, Lang, sectarianism, Whitlam's social programme, the divides go on and on. Apparently these days it's the elites versus the non-elites, whoever they are. We're constantly written off as out-of-touch, ridden with timeserving, incapable of governing, and so on.

We never have been a party of class. We never have been a party united. We never have had a single programme.

We have always shared our Party between rich and poor, educated and life-taught, idealist and ruthless, self-serving and self-sacrificing. So now after losing (again) there should be no need to obsessively, anxiously, theorise about how out of touch we are. A Party as free from collective identity as Labor is can never ever truly be in touch. When we've succeeded in the past it's been through offering our own interpretations of voters' hopes, anxieties and assumptions.

Fears, anxieties and assumptions determine governments, but need not determine policy. Prevailing resentment of foreigners and refugees needn't come out in repressive policy. These things are there for engagement, not obedience. Curtin's social welfare responded to post-Depression anxieties. Whitlam's programmes delivered much needed change in a stagnant national political culture. Hawke's Accord delivered stability after industrial insanity under Fraser.

Latham can still deliver egalitarian and class-based policy to an electorate demanding individualism and private wealth. Individualism is a symptom of overwhelming insecurity. This is the genuine crisis of class. It just demands a bit of confidence and fewer stupid-arse scare campaigns about Peter Costello.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Go the doggies

Cute.

There's hope for Footscray yet.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Indymedias of Australia

Why are the Indymedias of Australia so terrible? Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne at least are all populated by the crazy of the world, the sectarians, the paranoid and
the hateful.

Sydney indy gets the anti-semitic crap. Brisbane gets student politicians heaping crap on each other (and various shades of offensive pictures). That's not to go into its own factional bunfights. Melbourne is the best of those three but it still can't get rid of the
trolls.

Can anyone give an answer to why such a good idea has been such a
practical failure?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Internet Nihilism--And Can I Mention That Marking Sucks Arse?

I know I prefer reading others' blogs which depend on a bit of research
and have some kind of commentary to give. The point of Cut Price
Commentary was so that I could have a go as well.

When you go to the top right hand corner of blogspot blogs and go to
somebody's random page it's often sad to see the sheer sadness of what
people write. There must be thousands of depressed American (and for
some reason, Singaporean and Malaysian) teenagers out there whingeing
about their families and their lives. Every now and then you get
something worthwhile but far more often the product of your mouse click
is entry into someone's despair.

Try it for yourself! If after a few 'next blog' clicks you don't find
somebody's nihilistic and frankly alarming thoughts, come back, comment,
and prove me wrong. I hope you do.

These bloggers are using the service to get out their antisocial and
otherwise inexpressible thoughts. Hate your folks? Exams looming larger
than you've planned to study? Boys in your class are a bunch of
fuckheads? Doing too much dope for your own health? Stick it on the
internet and hope somebody cares.

Despite commentary exhorting blogging as a radical and revolutionary
form of communication, it seems to be used quite often by depressed
young men and women too young even to have been upset by Kurt Cobain's
choice of violent death.

But I digress. Despite my principled objection to whingey self obsessive
blogs, I'd just like to say this.

Marking essays sucks arse.

I'd be happy to drink effluent

When we start talking about piping water from the Shoalhaven to Sydney, it's getting a bit silly.

I can tell this is a desperate plan from watching John Della Bosca on Stateline last night. Every time the interviewer mentioned recycling water he'd get this narky look and say something like 'well 85% of people surveyed are against recycled effluent as drinking water'.

Well yeah, if you put it like that. I can just imagine it.

"I'm ringing on behalf of Acme Market Research and the NSW Government. Would you be in favour of a) drinking your own piss, or b) would you prefer us to pipe water from the Illawarra so you can wash your car?" I'm surprised they got 15% in favour.

How about some other solutions--such as restricting excessive water use in industry, which is currently unrestricted? Or educating people to get used to water restrictions?

Here's the 2007 election slogan: vote Labor so you won't have to drink other people's effluent. Just swallow the usual bullshit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Greens preferences

Those of you interested might have noticed how poorly the Greens did in the last federal elections. You might also have heard the arguments
used by the Greens blaming Labor, the Democrats, and anyone else for their poor showing, depending on the State.

Let's put this one to bed right now. Seven percent of the vote does not a Senator make. I'm as narky as anyone that Family First got in (but then I wasn't ever that chuffed about Brian Harradine being there either). If a Party depends on preferences to deliver outcomes then they really can't complain about not winning their seats.

The Greens' arguments do tend to point to their appeal for members and supporters. The Australian Greens can never be wrong, never be defeated, never cease to grow, never concede ground. Even if they actually don't do that well, no Green who knows anything about the reasons for their Party's existence will admit it.

Imagine Labor making a similar argument: that we lost out on Senators because too few of the minor parties preferenced us, and because the Greens only got seven percent. That'd be hypocrisy, wouldn't it?

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's Time To Get Cheap And Nasty

There comes a time in every internet time-waster's life when they have to get productive. In this case I've been spurred into action by Rob Corr's challenge. Here are my promises to you, reader.

This blog will shy away from no strange political argument. This blog will not respect commonsense, democracy or ideas of so-called 'quality journalism'. This blog will bring you points of view with which you will disagree, and for which I will deserve mocking. This will make no difference. After all, this is the internet, and we've got Howard and Carr governments. Anything goes.

Comrades, it's time to get cheap and nasty.