A good speech from Kim Beazley to the 'Sustaining Prosperity Conference, Melbourne Institute - 1st April 2005. Kim is a pragmatist (or so he tells us) and is 'framing' the Howard Government as lazy on economic reform and obsessed with the 'culture wars'. He specifically says that John Howard is obsessed with turning back the clock, through his attacks on Australian institutions such as the ABC. It hit a strong note with me. Maybe I have just bought the 'spin' but really I have never favoured John Howard since he clearly declared his vision for Australia was for us all to be 'relaxed and comfortable'. I don't think he ever put across a specific plan to achieve this - instead we have seen some particularly devisive efforts and a weak government papering over its cracks with the help of massive public funding of government advertising - such as the $20M to tell us how wonderful the unsustainable Medicare safety net was in the lead up to last year's elections.
When I draw breath and get out of ranting mode (I don't normally rant in polite company) I guess I am just seriously disappointed with John Howard. He has had many opportunities to 'Advance Australia Fair' but has been inconsistent. There have been some good points - the GST (a wise move economically but could have been better implemented), the restrictions on firearms post the Port Arthur tragedy and the generousity of the aid to Indonesia post the 2004 Tsunami. Sadly these have been overshadowed by the invasion of Iraq, detention centres and the cynical manipulation of the electoral process and citizens (eg Children overboard). The last is probably as much directed against the 'system' as the Howard Government.
If you like to have a musical accompaniment for everything you do in life, this waterproof overcoat for your iPod should appeal. Made by a company called, fittingly, H2O Audio, this SV imini Waterproof iPod mini case should protect your music player down to 3m (10ft). It's available on pre-order for $149.95 (out 25th March). This seems fairly pricey to us, but waterproof cases usually are, and you get a waterproof headset with silicone earplugs included in the pack. Neoprene armbands to attach it to your muscular and shapely swimmer's arms can be bought seperately.
Bono, lead singer of U2, has been increasing his efforts to raise awareness on the plight of Africa - he founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) in 2002, specifically with the purpose of "obtaining equality and justice for Africa through debt relief, adjusting trade rules which burden Africa, eliminating the African AIDS epidemic, strengthening democracy, more accountability by the wealthiest nations and African leaders and transparency towards the people".
Bono is not alone in pointing out that every week in Africa there is a loss of life through preventable disease on a level similar to the lives lost in Asian Tsunami of December 2004. While that saw a humanitarian response on a huge scale, Africa's plight is virtually ignored by most of the world.
Africa is a continent in flames and, deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We're standing around with watering cans, when what we really need is the fire brigade, and that's what I'm trying to do tonight, really. That's why I'm speaking to you. I'm trying to call the fire brigade. I'm asking for your help.
I'm an Irish rock star in America. I love this country. I know my way around, but I really need help here. This stuff isn't even on the news. You see, it's not as dramatic as the tsunami. It's crazy, really, when you think about it. Does stuff have to look like an action movie these days to exist in the front of our brain? The slow extinguishing of countless lives is just not dramatic enough, it would appear. Catastrophes that we can avert are not as interesting as ones we could avert. Funny that.
As a winner of the Ted Prize, Bono gets three wishes and US$100,000 to go towards his achieving his wishes.
Check out his practical, earth changing wishes. Consider what you can do to help.
(Belatedly) introducing The Whitlams - a friend put me on to this great Aussie band. As always I discover music late in the history of bands - though of course that does allow the sifting of time to separate the great from the ordinary. Of course I had heard one or two Whitlam's tunes but hadn't connected them to a specific band.
There's no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth beauty and a picture of you<