Hello Cruel World
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Some Online Photography; Local conflict/politics
The Photography Channel
The Digital Journalist - A Multimedia Magazine for Photojournalism in the Digital Age
Changing the Face of Power: Women in the U.S. Senate Gallery - The Digital Journalist
Angry Monkey Photography
and one of my favourites, as seen in the sidebar, from top left pixel, the Daily Dose of Imagery
Some Local Conflicts & PoliticsRolly Smallacombe wrote
... Local activists tried to stop the Harbour Bridge being built, they tried to stop the Opera House and so it goes.
I find this argument has very low validity.
(But firstly, how sure are you of the truth of those two statements? And how do you define "local activists"?)
I could also say "Local activists tried to stop the car park replacing the QVB" and
"Local activists tried to stop the Redfern Housing Commission Towers being built".
One campaign succeeded, one didn't, is the result of either better or worse for that?
Indeed, along the lines of Gerard Henderson's article last year about Hitler
having supported similar environmental ideals as the Green Party, I could
similarly point out that he was a strong supporter of traditional Christianity,
"Family Values", the protection of children from "degenerate social ideas", and
healthy physical exercise. How do you think he improved his approval from a
mere 30-odd percent in 1933 to a strong majority? It wasn't hate-speech and
terror all the way. Tilly Devine & other sly-groggers fed money and support
undercover to the temperance campaigners who kept 6-o'clock closing in force
for many years by appealing to similar ideals.
(And which were 'local activists' there?) Did that make the ideals wrong? Or the campaign right?
So what if different people had different ideas before, and there was discussion
of the best things to do? The point is whether the developments we are looking
at now are good in themselves and good for the rest of the city, its society,
and the supporting natural & artificial structures around it for the generations to come.
Not solely whether people of influence can take a good profit out of it, return
to *their* preferred residences, and leave the residents and future public good
and funds to suffer: Leave them to pick up the pieces of social disruption, to do the
extra maintenance and policing, and try to deal with all the problems as future
economic swings go up and down, energy use changes so tall buildings are less
viable, the methods of supplying and removing water and waste change, etc, etc, etc.
And of course there are very strongly held views on several sides of these
questions. I believe that there are good reasons to support my views on a
number of issues, and I support those who argue for them. For various reasons,
I've not been able to be very active in the community at all for a while now,
but I do what little I can, and try to support those I agree with.
On many other issues I have a fairly open mind, but try to apply my basic
ethical principles to all, which are apparently at variance with some others'.
(Luckily, for the moment, these differences can be safely discussed in
Australia. Long may they remain so.)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Excellent & Intelligent Post from Daily Kos
You can stop protecting me now
Mr. Bush, You Can Stop Protecting Me Now
Sat Jan 14, 2006 at 12:07:11 PM PDT
Bush Says Gitmo Is 'Necessary'
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2006
(CBS/AP) At a joint White House news conference, President Bush rejected a plea by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be shut down. He called the four-year-old camp "a necessary part of protecting the American people."
Mr. Bush, I've decided the price is too high for my conscience. If Gitmo - and the torture and denial of due process accompanying it - is a necessary part of protecting me, I hereby officially release you from the obligation. I'm opting out of this protection racket you've set up. Think of me as just one less tile on the human shield you've created, using the safety and fear of American citizens to hide behind while you seize more power.
After years of soul-searching, I've decided to take my chances in a risky and unpredictable world - one from which your administration can't fully insulate me anyway, even with the best of intentions - than to live my life duct-taped and "safe" in a wire-tapped American closet where I'm not free to tell you I think you're a nincompoop and a danger to humankind.
Besides, I've seen New Orleans on TV. Color me unimpressed with your ability to protect me while you strip away my rights. Even if I were willing to cower and cringe and hurl my notorious "freedoms" in your lap willynilly, you'd hardly be the "protector" first on my speed dial. (Don't believe me? Check out my calls in the bloated vacuum bag attached to your illegal NSA operations.)
But let me make my stand crystal clear: This "protection release" is not a matter of your documented incompetence, it's a matter of principle. Stop using me. Stop trying to terrorize me with Islamic boogeymen. Stop trying to convince me that if I just never, ever criticize you or question you, I will never, ever die. That might work with your Christian fundamentalist fellow travelers (who for all their professed and righteous belief in a blessed afterlife seem awfully averse to actually getting there), but I'm not buying it. Unlike an apparent majority of American voters, I don't think membership in our national cult of exceptionalism has automatically exempted me from personal death. The fact that I was born on a certain continent in a certain era does not automatically signal to me that nothing bad - especially dying - will befall me.
I can live with the fact that someday I will die, no matter how many of my "freedoms" you take away. Please, direct your future energies toward protecting those who think denial of death and bargaining away the raucous, electrically vivid and unpredictable present moment is a wonderful way to live a life. Count me out.
And another word to the wise .... I noticed the following passage from the same article:Mr. Bush said the prison camp would remain open "so long as the war on terror goes on, and so long as there's a threat."
Psssst. It's time to crack open those history books you were too busy partying to delve into at Yale. Human beings and their self-constructed civilizations have been terrorizing each other since we crept out of the amniotic pre-historical seas (and yes, we did crawl out, despite the histrionics of your faith-based friends - and I suspect you know it). Hell, my neighbors terrorize me and mine when they drive too fast down the street, an immediate threat of the first order. I doubt I'm going to get around any time soon to constructing a prison on my block and picking up the speedsters - and whatever innocent walks by - for permanent incarceration.
See? I live with risk and terror and threat every day without resorting to illegalities. I suggest you try doing the same.
I'd like to think you're simply ignorant that you've effectively declared "Forever War," but I'm convinced you - or at least your speechwriters and advisors - are not.
On a final note, please tell me the following quote from you - ostensibly about Iran - is an example of that Texas humor I confess to not getting:"It's very important for non-transparent societies to not have the capacity to blackmail free societies," Mr. Bush asserted.
Secret prisons. Surveillance. American citizens held and tortured for four years without charges. Pacifist groups being spied on by the DOD.
Please assure me this "non-transparent society" statement is a gag, kinda like looking under that table for WMD's or joking about your binge drinking in New Orleans while bodies floated face downward in the streets. You know, tasteless but funny in Dallas, yet leaving the rest of the nation appalled.
Because if you're not joking, I'm really terrified. And no matter how many rights you take away from me, you can't protect me from my biggest fear: You.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The last few years of drought seem to have turned the corner, at least for a while, and Sydney has had substantial periods of rain, moving back into a typical near-subtropical rainy summer.
Returning home at night by ferry, the breeze of our passage eases the still air. Looking down the length of the harbour, I can see the grey haze of humidity overlying the lights of the city, but above are stars glittering in the warm dark.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Kubrick in Melbourne
From the short descriptions of films being shown related to the Kubrick exhibition : "Paths of Glory demonstrated Stanley Kubrick's capacity for extolling great emotion with acute precision,"
What do you think they actually meant to say?
(NOTE that they can actually use the [Shift] key if their concentration slips and they slide back into 'normal' typing.)
inside the mind of a visionary filmmaker
Friday 25 November - Sunday 29 January
Screen Gallery, Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Tickets > Full $12 Concession $8
Exhibition open daily (except Christmas Day):
Mon to Fri 10am-5pm,
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 10am-6pm
A landmark international exhibition featuring over 1000 objects from Kubrick's archives, including props, costumes and models from 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining.
An exhibition of the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, and Christiane Kubrick/Stanley Kubrick Estate.
focus on stanley kubrick
ACMI celebrates the films of the master director.
A comprehensive retrospective of Kubrick's works, presented to coincide with the acclaimed exhibition Stanley Kubrick: Inside the mind of a visionary filmmaker, featuring specially imported 35mm prints and rarely screened early documentaries.
Thursday 5 January - Sunday 29 January 2006
Full $13 Concession $10
Six session pass: Full $60 Concession $48
rare kubrick shorts
Three rarely screened Stanley Kubrick documentaries, including his first film, Day of the Fight; the tale of a 'flying' priest, in Flying Padre; and a documentary on the men and women working the ships in New York City in the '50s, in The Seafarers.
Stanley Kubrick's noir thriller follows a tired boxer, Davy (Jamie Smith), whose life is set adrift when he falls for a dancehall dame working for a ruthless and obsessive boss.
Based on the novel Clean Break, this taut crime thriller centres on an icy ex-con (Sterling Hayden), who schemes to rob a horse track on race day with a gang of petty criminals and willing ring-ins.
paths of glory
dr. strangelove or: how i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb
2001: a space odyssey -- 70mm print
a clockwork orange
full metal jacket
eyes wide shut
artificial intelligence: ai
Monday, January 02, 2006
Health Care Horror
This is an updated address for this page. It's a particularly pertinent horror story for me, and a reason to resist several so-called "reforms" to the Australian health-care system.
This story is also mentioned as one of the examples in
Making a Killing
HMOs and the Threat to Your Health
Getting Away With Murder
Why You Can't Sue Your HMO
PATIENT STORYOld URL Address links: www.consumerwatchdog.org/ healthcare/ st/ st000308.php3
Patient Told To Reuse Colostomy Bag For 5 Days
Michelle Leasure - Baltimore, MD
As told by Michelle Leasure:
I am a disability advocate and work for an agency that not only serves the disability community, but is staffed by people with disabilities. I have several disabilities, one of which is an incontinent ostomy. I do not have control over my bowels, and must wear a colostomy bag to contain my waste. Under Maryland law, ostomy supplies are 100% covered by insurance agencies.
When my employer changed insurance providers on September 1, 1997, I could no longer get the supplies I required to live. I have had my ostomy for three years and this was the first time I had ever had problems. I fought with my insurer for two months before I received any supplies, and at that time the supplies were incomplete. Many of the doctor-prescribed items were denied as unneeded, so I was forced to purchase them myself.
At the time, my salary was $500 a year above the poverty level and I soon found myself in financial trouble as a result. When the few supplies I got at that time ran out, my co-workers and myself went back to battle with my insurer, and it was January before I received more supplies, again not all that I needed.
I was told by my insurer that I was expected to use disposable bags for five days each. Now pardon me for being so graphic, but it's necessary. I work in the public arena, and I was expected to (and this is verbatim) "wash the bags out in the public restrooms that I frequent, walk (I use a wheelchair) to the sink with my ostomy exposed, and finish washing the feces out into the sink, then reattach it to my flange." It would be the same thing as asking a mother to empty a diaper, rinse it out in the sink and reapply it to her baby for five days.
I have systemic lupus, so I also have a compromised immune system. To even ask anyone, let alone a person with immune problems, to use public restrooms in such a fashion, is sheer and absolute insanity.
In mid-April, I finally received a full month supply of ostomy products, but I had been out from work for 2 1/2 months, living in my bathtub, because I had not had the supplies for that long. I even spent a week in a nursing home as a result of this and had another stroke, requiring a hospital stay, because of the stress from this battle.
I am a person who could get the medical benefits I require from Medical Assistance if I were to quit work and go on welfare. The bizarre thing is, I want to work — and I am paying into the system, but cannot get the services I'm entitled to and work so hard for.
I was supposed to have corrective surgery to fix the bilateral spinal implants that "fell out" of their socket and are currently free-floating in my right side. I actually have to push them back inside my body several times a day and night. My insurer has only one doctor they will allow me to see that can do the work on the implants and he is unavailable to see me until the end of May. That is just to see him — I have no idea if he will be able to schedule the surgery then, or if I will have to wait another six months. I cannot stand the discomfort much longer.
I have been told that because of the ERISA loophole my insurer is protected from legal liability for delaying and denying the medical care that I so badly need. I am convinced that if I were able to hold my insurer legally accountable I would be getting more attentive care.
www.consumerwatchdog.org/ healthcare/ st/ ?postId=1032
This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.