Shirking responsibilities

One of the things I have been finding most irking of late is the frequency with which you hear variations on the phrase “We understand the importance of climate change, and fully support the carbon trading scheme, but…” coming from the mouths of industry lobby groups and company CEOs.

The bit that usually comes after the … is something like “we feel that <insert their personal industry or company here> should be exempt, because <insert some lame excuse here, usually along the lines of “we wont make as much money”>”.

No one it seems wants to acknowledge that the reason we’re in the global warming position we’re currently in is due to everyone taking a make-as-much-money-as-possible-and-damn-the-broader-consequences approach, and that the reason they’re having a carbon tax imposed on them is that they showed no willingness to show restraint or change by themselves. Yes it will cost them money. Yes the costs will be passed on to the consumer. Yes it may decrease Austraila’s competitiveness internationally. But it may just spur other countries to follow suit, and compared to the slight rise in cost of living, can you concieve how much it would cost to recover from the CBD’s of Sydney and Melbourne getting flooded when the sea level rises a foot or two?

As someone put it, if I’m right we’re going to be ahead of the game, if I’m wrong we will have created several thousand jobs in carbon minimisation research and implementation.


I’ve been watching the news and finding a disconcerting sense of deja vu associated with the current situation in Georgia (the Georgia in Europe, not the Georgia in the southern USA as reportedly mistaken by some Americans).

The current situation seems eerily similar to the plot of the first game in the Ghost Recon series: A resurgent Russia decides to start flexing it’s muscles and expanding into previously lost territory and begins by covertly backing and later openly moving in to support separatist forces in the Georgian provence of South Osettia.

The game goes on to have Russia try to invade western Europe. Hope the real life version doesn’t go that way.


We just went and saw Charlie Wilson’s War, which as written by Aaron Sorkin, the main guy behind the West Wing, and so I should have know that it would be funny, involving and cleverly political.

It was a damn funny piece of movie making (the opening scene has the protagonist sitting naked in a jacuzzi with another guy and 3 naked girls, trying to ask a guy who’s trashed on cocaine to turn the volume up on the TV so he can listen to something that’s just caught his eye) but the more you look at it the more you realise that it uses the humor of the social situations to mask the seriousness of the underlying story and it’s messages, giving them the chance to sneak into your brain while your guard is down.

Turns out it’s about America’s short sightedness (initially not wanting to fight the Russians because they didn’t want to seem too overt in their actions, and then having backed the Afghani’s in driving the Russians out, withdrawing all support and leaving the country to those who would eventually flood America with heroin, and blow up the world trade centers).
And how one man can change things, if only for a little while.

Juvenile political activism

The other day I stumbled upon a website about a New Hampshire mother who was using her state’s political significance as an opportunity to get photos of her baby with every candidate in the current US presidential race. Some of the photos are quite funny. Barak Obama seems to have the touch, but Rudy Guiliani just looks startled at the fact that the baby is crying. Possibly the best ones are of the baby with Chuck Norris and Mike Huckabee. Perhaps she was just having a good hair day or something.


We went grocery shopping today and after weeks of looking at all the election advertising, almost all of it was gone.

Apparently the industrious little candidates and their helpers had taken most of them down overnight.

The amusing thing however was that there were still a few Labour signs up and about, and I had to agree with Simone when she suggested that perhaps the reason for this was that all the labour camp were still recovering from the celebrations from last night.

Choice ’07

Last night was of course the election, and unsurprisingly Kevin Rudd won.

However for me the real conundrum was a lot greater than who to vote for (firstly because there really was no competition, and secondly because I couldn’t vote anyway), but rather what to watch while I waited for the election results to come in. TopGear or Empire Strikes Back.

Oh theĀ  tension. The indecision.

And in an amusing followup to my previous post, it appears that effort *does* win elections, because in our electorate the underdog Labour candidate (who you will recall has had minions and supporters out waving plackards all day every day) was elected after a 15% swing in favour of Labour. Huge!!

If effort won elections…

In our electorate it seems that the Liberal candidate is going to beat the labour candidate on the day, however if effort counted for anything then it should be a raunaway labour landslide.

Pretty much every day now on the way to and from work there are people on the sides of the roads with “Your rights at work” shirts on waving campaign posters for Kevin Rudd, the local labour candidate, and union propoganda, I mean policies, in general.

What’s most noticeable however is that while the Labour guys are always there, I’ve never seen any of the other party’s candidates being supported in this fashion, and it makes you feel that perhaps no-one loves the other guys enough to make the effort of standing in the rain and shine waving their placards around for them. And if the labour followers are that enthusiastic then surely this guy must me amazingly inspirational and far more worth voting for than the others…

At the other end of the spectrum however has been poor John Howard, who has finally reached the point where he can’t think of anything compelling to say and so can only resort to the frankly pathetic “You should be afraid of change, so you should vote for me again (although I can’t think of a more convincing reason why you should otherwise do so at the moment…)”. Even Simone who’s a lot more Liberal party tolerant than I commented that it was pretty pathetic.

What was really like a drug were the drugs…

Today I had a “sick” day, to go and get a gastroscopy done (gastroscopy = camera down into stomach to look for problems).

This all results from me being married to a surgical registrar, who when I mentioned that I get reflux a couple of times a month started insisting that I should get a gastroscopy to make sure that there wasn’t anything like a huge ulcer in my stomach causing it all. Typical doctorish scaremongering really, but as is always the way in marriage eventually the poor meek husband gives in to the pestering of his domineering wife and does whatever she wants, and so I went and got the scope done.

Now the whole process involves an hour of amnesia (ie I have no memory of anything for about an hour after they put the drugs in) sandwiched in between 2 two hour blocks of unmitigated boredom (firstly waiting for the procedure in a waiting room with lowest common denominator breakfast television blasting loudly across it, and then sitting in the recovery area with nothing to do while they wait for the drugs to wear off to their satisfaction before they let you go).

The other downside was that while I was out to it on the good drugs John Howard was doing one of his “visit the rural hospital so you can pretend you care about the bush and sick children” things in the same hospital, about two rooms from where I was. If things had been planned a bit better they could have put me earlier on the scope list so that while I was recovering I could have filled in the time by giving old Johnny a frank and honest (not to mention vitriolic and possibly obscene) piece of my mind (and later I could do a Hollywood star job and call my own press conference to blame the whole thing on the prescription drugs that my doctor had just given me), but unfortunately it was not to be.

Anyway, no big holes found, and nothing that needs fixing at the moment. And in 5 years time I get to do it all again. I wonder if I can fit it in with the next election…


It’s election time and one of the things I’ve been watching with growing amusement is the growth in the population of campaign signage along the side of the road on my way to work.

First there was just the nationals, labour and liberal candidates, usually separately. Then there were the Kevin Rudd ones put up next to the labour candidate’s ones as if to reinforce the candidate’s legitimacy. Then there were the union and “your rights at work” and “John Howard has sold off your rights” ones that popped up next to the afore mentioned Rudd/local candidate pairing. Then a few independent candidates and minor parties (greens, One nation etc) started putting their own ones up.

Then came the really amusing development – Stratification. I started to see labour candidate signs appearing immediately in front of liberal and national signs (and vica versa), as if to try and block them out. Then a couple of days later another sign from the obscured candidate would appear in front of the obscuring sign – to reclaim the limelight, but perhaps the most bizarre part is that the originally obscured sign would still be there. You’d think they’d just pick the obscured sign up and move it back into visibility or move it back in front of the new obscuring sign (like some perverse and ridiculous game of electioneering leap frog) but no. Instead you just end up with these rows of signs alternating red-blue-red-blue… or red-green-red-green.. each trying to block out the view to the one before it. It is all just really rather amusing in it’s absurdity.