I love the song, this is a great version, and the impression of the rising storm using hands and feet is amazing.
Day: June 22, 2009
I am not sure that some of the criticism directed at President Barack Obama over his reticence to comment on the Iran election is entirely fair.
He can reasonably comment on the brutal suppression of dissent, and he has recently done so.
But given the lack of clarity about the election result, and the West’s history of poor understanding of popular feeling in Iran, it seems wisest to restrain (as Obama has done) from making any public statements questioning the way the election was run, or its result.
Some organisations have claimed there is evidence the election was fixed. They might be right. But without clear evidence, claims that this is so by governments are likely to do more harm than good.
Whether we like it or not, Imanutjob is a popular figure in Iran, not least because he is percieved to have stood up to the US. For the US to interfere, even to make public comment, is as likely to strengthen conservative elements in Iran as to give comfort to the protestors and others who want a more liberal regime.
Meanwhile, violence continues, and Iran makes progress towards the development of nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, Obama deserves far more criticism than he has so far received for the sacking of Inspector General Gerald Walpin.
Inspectors General have wide powers to investigate corruption, and are supposed to be free from the threat of politcally based dismissal. The president is obliged to give an IG 30 days notice, and to advise Congress of specific reasons for a dismissal. Obama did neither of those things.
Gerald Walpin was investigating possible misue of charity funds by a major Obama campaign donor. He was doing his job. He was fired. As far as I can tell, this story, which broke a week ago, has only appeared on Fox News and on right-wing blogs. Why?
Kathy and I cared for foster children over a number of years, including babies and toddlers.
I well understand the diffculties of blending work and the responsibilities of caring for children. There are a number of worksplaces and public facilties which are not supportive of people with children. Whether it is appropriate to expect that they should be or need to be is another question.
The Australian Federal Parliament is not a child-unfriendly place.
The work that senators do is serious. They review legislation which potentially affects the lives and well-being of every Australian. They are paid well to do so. Parliament is set up so they can do their work in an atmosphere free from distactions and unnecessary annoyances.
Senators come from all walks of life. I am glad that amongst the business men and women, unionists and career politicians, there are some people with young children.
As well as personal staff, members of parliament have access to tax-payer funded child care services, and quiet rooms where they be with their children without disrupting discussion in the house, where they can hear any debate, and from where their vote can be recorded.
So with all this support, and other options available, why did Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young insist on taking her two year old daughter Kora into the Senate chamber?
As Wendy Hargreaves pointed out in yesterday’s Herald Sun:
Infantile screaming is nothing new to our Federal Parliament. Political bawlers come in all ages and political colours.
But this week’s wah-wah effort by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young takes political mewling to an all-time low …
It’s not enough that they make us feel guilty for turning on a heater. Now they’re sending the Senate into a guilt trip for refusing infants.
This isn’t a play centre. This is the Upper House of Australia’s Federal Parliament.
Australian parents know the difficulty and the cost of arranging child care, and the pain of leaving a child to be looked after by someone else. They do it day after day without complaining.
By all means let Senator Hanson-Young take her daughter to Canberra. And to parliament if she cannot organise anything else.
But please Senator, don’t tell us you are hard done by if you don’t follow the rules, and won’t use the resources we pay for to help you do your job.
Senator Steve Fielding says he believes it would be irresponsible for any member of parliament to vote for the Australian Federal Government’s carbon emission trading scheme, given that it will cause substantial damage to the economy, and that the environment minister and her chief scientific advisor are unable to answer simple questions about the causes and extent of climate change, and the effect on climate of the proposed legislation.
In related news, local councils are saying that a carbon tax of $20 per ton will add $344 million per year to their operating costs. If that money cannot be raised from rate-payers or additional government grants, there will be drastic reductions in council services.
That will bite hard. Local government is the level of government in which most people are least interested, but which arguably has the greatest impact on day to day life – provision of local roads, community facilities, parks, street lighting, libraries, etc.
This Cap and Tax Maze from the Carbon Sense Coalition illustrates the questions that would need to be answered before the legislation could responsibly be enacted:
Added to all this is the fact the proposed legislation won’t even come into effect until 2011. There is plenty of time to do more research, to ask more questions, to consider the costs of the scheme and other options more carefully.
So why is the government in such a rush to ram it through before the end of this week?
I seriously doubt it.
This article in today’s Australian points to a 159% increase in the number of women facing dometic violence charges over the last eight years as an indicator that women are becoming more violent.
It is more likely simply that police and care groups are beginning to take complaints made by men about domestic violence more seriously.
For a long time I have been concerned about campaigns which say something like ‘To violence against women, Australia says no.’ Why single out women in particular? Is violence against everyone else OK?
Such campaigns are based on the assumption that violence aginst women needs to be targeted because women are more frequently the victims of violence. But this is simply untrue. Outside the home, men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women.
But what about inside the home?
There is a vast body of research to show that women are just as likely as men to be perpetrators of domestic violence as men. There is a substantial online bibliography collected by Martin Fiebert of the Department of Psychology at California State University. Some research suggests that women are more likely to be the initiators of violence, and are more likely than men to use a weapon against their partner or children.
Erin Pizzey, the pioneer of shelters for victims of domestic abuse, points out that research suggests violence is a learned behaviour. When children see adults using violence as a means to resolve disagreements they learn those behaviours, whether the violence is used by male or female or both.
Women’s violence against men has frequently been treated as joke, both in entertainment (see the film ‘Stakeout’ for example, in which the character played by Richard Dreyfuss is viciously assaulted by his partner in what is meant to be, and to female members of the audience clearly was, a vastly amusing scene) and in real life, where male victims of domestic violence who report such violence to police are belittled or told to be a man and stop complaining.
If feminists and policy-makers are serious about ending domestic violence, they must take violence against men and children as seriously as they do violence against women.
In domestic violence, just as in economic and foreign policy, effective action must be based on facts, not on ideology.
The ABC (pleasant surprise!) has just posted a remarkably fair article on this story, with some interesting comment by Sue Price, co-director of the Men’s Right’s Agency.
The last few days have been the longest break without a post since I began this blog.
There used to be two IT businesses on Kangaroo Island. Two weeks ago my only competitor closed down. I am glad to have the extra business, but it means less time for other things. I think I have always been reasonably good at time managment, but I am going to have to find some new strategies!
Also, as regular readers would know, my sister Amanda has been unwell. She was flown over to Adelaide by the flying doctor just over a week ago. Kathy and I were able to travel to Adelaide and visit her this last Saturday and Sunday. That meant that time we would normally have spent doing other things – work around the house, sleeping, taking the dogs for a walk, doing research for the blog, playing WoW – didn’t get done.
Lots of catching up to do!