Archive for the ‘current affairs’ Category
This video keeps disappearing from YouTube, but given its inevitable place in popular culture, modern history, media studies, the news cycle, and the fact that it was first broadcast free-to-air and that no money is being made by reposting it here, its hosting is justified, imho. Sorry for the fact that it’s not smooth playing, I think it’s about 1FPS. It’s a shame to not see his full facial expressions, but it’s worthwhile for the audio and to know what was actually said, rather than just what was reported, again, imho.
Have been trying to upload actual video but WordPress wants paid upgrade before allowing any video to be part of the 3GB upload limit. Oh well. That sucks.
You’ll just have to check out the hyperlink before it gets taken down there as well.
Happy creepy viewing.
Got to admit that I quite enjoyed Germaine Greer’s overtly pragmatic epitaph for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. As a virulent pissing contest engulfed Australian and global semi-celebria, with each successive politician and MTV host proclaiming greater and greater love and admiration for a bloke that many thought of as a bit of a dickhead, albeit a freshly dead one, Greer was the sole voice stating the obvious, namely
What Irwin never seemed to understand was that animals need space. The one lesson any conservationist must labour to drive home is that habitat loss is the principal cause of species loss. There was no habitat, no matter how fragile or finely balanced, that Irwin hesitated to barge into, trumpeting his wonder and amazement to the skies. There was not an animal he was not prepared to manhandle. Every creature he brandished at the camera was in distress.
Which is why it is baffling that she should now display a brilliant lack of intelligence, proclaiming that the highly fatal and destructive bushfires still tormenting Victoria were caused by authorities failing to burn off and a lack of bush clearing.
The simple fact is that the Victorian authority supposedly responsible for forest management, the ironically named Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), are all about support for unsustainable forest practices. They more or less prostitute their taxpayer-funded services to the woodchip industry, which does nothing but clear bush – old bush, new bush, sick bush, healthy bush.
The DSE are in fact such vigorous fans of the hazard reduction techniques known as back-burning that it is barely eight years since ‘controlled burns’ they were overseeing (supposedly) did what fires do in the face of 30-knot winds, destroying roughly a million hectares of native forest. As a result, logging lobbyists secured a commitment from the Victorian government, enabling them to access massive stands of ancient forest, to make up for the volume of wood no longer able to be cut down for the simple reason that it had been turned to charcoal.
Far from adding what is usually a dissenting and radical voice to this particular discussion, Greer is simply, and ignorantly, piping the same shrill chorus soon to be sung by all the usual idiot lobbyists like Barry Chipman and anybody from Timber Communities Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Liberal and National Parties, etc. Namely – that this tragedy wouldn’t have happened if conservationists hadn’t interfered with sound forest management practices.
Obviously, bushfires wouldn’t happen if humans could fight back by cutting down every bloody tree and killing every bloody native animal – a far cry from Greer’s anti-Irwin argument. Bloody human-hating Greenies f%&$ed us all again, they proclaim.
But the simple fact is that nature and forests can quite perfectly manage themselves, if just left alone long enough to functionally exist. The remaining areas of Victoria’s old growth forest – concentrated in and arounf the Otways and East Gippsland – still retain enough moisture to function not only as massive biodiversity store-houses, but as difficult-to-ignite fire buffers. Less human intervention, through irresponsible land clearing and corporate logging, is the answer, not the problem.
Greer would do better to understand this before firing one off on such a mishandled issue. She has done herself, myriad species, and all natural environments, not to mention the dead and damaged, a massive disservice with this fresh strand of vomit.
Better she had shut her mouth rather than emit it.
This is copied from The Guardian, Roy’s piece is entitled Mumbai was not our 9/11. It’s 5000 words of essential reading, so grab coffee/yerba/chai and strap in. All that follows is a powerful op ed from one of the world’s most valuable living writers.
Mumbai was not our 9/11
We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11”. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara – one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects, both Hindu and Muslim, all Indian nationals, it obviously indicates that something’s going very badly wrong in this country. Read the rest of this entry »
The Sydney Morning Herald has reached a desperate new low today, and it is anybody’s guess why. This paper is on one hand trying to promote itself as cool and edgy, with colourful stroboscopic TV ads soundtracked by a theme plagiaristically close to Rage Against the Machine’s ‘I won’t do whatcha tell me!’ On the other hand, it also frequently runs conservative snootiness masquerading as irony and continues to question and even deny the very actual reality of devastating climate change.
So when they try to associate Barack Obama with crack cocaine is it because they think destructive drug references are edgy and cool (which they aren’t), or because their increasingly conservative editorial agenda finds something satisfying in making a racist slur against the new US President-elect?
What? Crack cocaine use is much more common amongst lower income brackets in America. Blacks in America are still more likely than white Americans to be economically disadvantaged. And American courts treat crack much more harshly than cocaine, which is generally used by people with a much higher disposable income.
Odds are that if you’re in America and your problem is crack, you’re black, and you’re going to get a harsher sentence than Wall Street when he gets caught with uncut Peruvian coming back from his Obama inauguration party. Statistically speaking.
The New York Times has been running this story for the past couple of days: Lose the Blackberry? Yes he can, maybe. It’s a very interesting article about how the US President is, in a way, locked in the watchtower. When Obama takes office on Jan. 20, he may well be denied his mobile phone and even email access because of laws relating to communications from the President of the United States.
Today (timely, as always) the Sydney Morning Herald is running exactly the same story, and the are attributing it to The New York Times. Except that they have changed the title to
and inexplicably altered the line
For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry.
to instead read
For years, like legions of other on-the-move professionals, Mr Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry – or CrackBerrys as they are sometimes called for exactly that reason..
As you can see, the sloppy Herald insert is evident by the appearance of two fullstops.
Now – and I’m just guessing here – writers in New York have seen a lot of the social problems and devastation of crack addiction across poorer areas of their city. They have seen that many black communities have been deeply affected by it in an almost cancerous manner. And they have seen a number of other American media outlets repeatedly tie black skin to crack addiction and drug abuse generally in a pervasive and decidedly racebaiting manner. So it would never even occur to them to use the term “Crackberry” in writing about anybody, let alone their President-elect.
The Sydney Morning Herald, on the other hand – just what the f#$% are they trying to say?
A very special edition of the New York Times was freely distributed to 1.2 million Americans as they raced to or from work today, in commemoration of an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Web traffic for the special edition has been so high that a number of pages have been forced offline, but the special issue is certainly worth visiting, for the stirring cover art alone.
Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out
that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had
come to an end.
If, that is, they happened to read a “special edition” of today’s New
In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million
papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged
pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass
them out on the street.
Articles in the paper announce dozens of new initiatives including the
establishment of national health care, the abolition of corporate
lobbying, a maximum wage for C.E.O.s, and, of course, the end of the
The paper, an exact replica of The New York Times, includes
International, National, New York, and Business sections, as well as
editorials, corrections, and a number of advertisements, including a
recall notice for all cars that run on gasoline. There is also a
timeline describing the gains brought about by eight months of
progressive support and pressure, culminating in President Obama’s “Yes
we REALLY can” speech. (The paper is post-dated July 4, 2009.)
“It’s all about how at this point, we need to push harder than ever,”
said Bertha Suttner, one of the newspaper’s writers. “We’ve got to make
sure Obama and all the other Democrats do what we elected them to do.
After eight, or maybe twenty-eight years of hell, we need to start
Not all readers reacted favorably. “The thing I disagree with is how
they did it,” said Stuart Carlyle, who received a paper in Grand
Central Station while commuting to his Wall Street brokerage. “I’m all
for freedom of speech, but they should have started their own paper.”
Some people just don’t get it….
updated reports here