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Category Archives: Current affairs

Reckoning: The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

Here are some extracts from a  Joseph E. Stiglitz article published in Vanity Fair two days ago.

When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 26, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, News and Current Affairs

 

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8.30pm: ABC computer delivers government to Kevin Rudd

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Posted by on November 24, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Events, Kevin Rudd, News and Current Affairs, Politics

 

Polling Day in Surry Hills

Just past 8am and the polling booths will have just opened for today’s election. There will be no surprises in Surry Hills where Labor is 100% sure to win. But nation-wide? There were those at last night’s meeting still saying “landslide to Labor” but it does seem it will be a very close thing.

I have to say I thought Noel Pearson’s dummy spit yesterday was impolitic. He could have saved that for after the election. I really wonder too whether he bothered to look beyond the campaigning hype (on both sides) at actual ALP policy on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs, particularly Constitutional Recognition Of Indigenous Australians. All he has done is tarnish his own reputation for a degree of balance and originality — for which I have up to now tended to respect him — and made life difficult for himself if Labor gets elected.

Here in Surry Hills it is a grey morning and the sound of crows fills the air. Is this ominous? If so, for whom? I go coaching in Chinatown shortly and will vote either on the way there or on the way home, depending on the crowds. Meanwhile I note, if this relates to anything, the relative readership figures for the past 21 hours on my blogs here at WP:
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Pre-election: Politics in the Pub at Surry Hills

So I went down to The Gaelic Club this evening for Politics in the Pub; Sirdan was meant to come too but he must have been working. I do get to see him Sunday so I guess I’ll find out what happened.

I had a bit of a connection with this event, as these entries explain. Some nice things were said about my story in the introductory talk, and then we heard from the ABC’s Mark Willacy. He is an interesting speaker. We also heard from Noah Bassil, Deputy Director, Middle East Centre, Macquarie University. There have been some interesting talks at Politics in the Pub over the years as you will see if you visit that link; a few of them have transcriptions. You may see tonight’s talks on UHF 31 Thursday 2.30 pm and Sunday 10.30 pm.

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Posted by on November 23, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Events, Personal, Politics, Surry Hills

 

What is really surprising is that this is obvious…

One of the top posts on WordPress today is Let’s get this straight: America is not a Christian Nation. Read it. It really shouldn’t be news. The people who have a problem, who are flying in the face of the historical facts, are those who claim the US is a Christian nation, in any but a very general sense. See also It’s a free country, not a Christian nation by Ed Buchner, and John Meacham:

The only acknowledgment of God in the original Constitution is a utilitarian one: the document is dated “in the year of our Lord 1787.” Even the religion clause of the First Amendment is framed dryly and without reference to any particular faith. The Connecticut ratifying convention debated rewriting the preamble to take note of God’s authority, but the effort failed…
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Posted by on November 17, 2007 in Current affairs, Faith and philosophy, Religion

 

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Welcome to our nightmare

 Orpheus Lost by Janette Turner Hospital (Australia May 2007; USA Canada October 2007):   orpheus_covers

I’ve always been intensely interested in examining ordinary human beings, people without political agendas, who are suddenly caught up in the fist of history and crisis. If someone happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, what happens to their lives from that point onwards? How do they negotiate life, history, politics thereafter?

I suppose I can trace the birth of this intense interest to something that happened to me when we were living in a village in South India in 1977. I was with my two young children in an exceedingly ramshackle taxi heading from the village to the city market in Trivandrum. It was a time of political upheaval in India. Riots broke out, and suddenly our taxi was surrounded by a mob waving the banners of the Communist Party of South India. The taxi could not move forward. Our taxi driver was very frightened and was trembling violently. The rioters were drumming on the taxi roof and windows. The children and I were in the back seat and I felt that weird and absolute calm which is actually shock. I had an arm around each child and can still vividly remember the two dominant thoughts in my head: 1) I must make the children feel safe with me and 2) No one will ever know what happened to us. In fact, the tense situation only lasted a few minutes and then the crowd let the taxi move slowly forward. Since then, I’ve been aware of how suddenly and how randomly political events of which one is only dimly aware can disrupt a life.

This has to be in my top three best reads of 2007! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2007 in Aussie interest, Cultural and other, Current affairs, Faith and philosophy, Multiculturalism and diversity, OzLit, Reading, Religion

 

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Beth Yahp

I greatly admired Beth Yahp’s The Crocodile Fury (1992). I was interested to see Beth Yahp: Open letter to Abdullah Badawi is a top WordPress post today.

Dear Prime Minister Abdullah,

26 September 2007 saw two thousand lawyers “Walk for Justice” to defend the good name and protest the sliding standards of their profession. “When lawyers march,” said Ambiga Sreenevasan, President of the Bar Council, “something must be wrong.”
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Posted by on November 13, 2007 in Current affairs, News and Current Affairs, Reading

 

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