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07 September 2008 @ 03:18 am
Still not dead  
Though I did cough up half a lung last night and ended up sleeping on the sofa until 5pm, which is why I am bright and sparky at 3.53am ...

Here's hoping that all my English and Welsh flist are escaping the worst of the storm, and jadzialove  and others being menaced by the cyclone. And if anyone is in Liverpool, how are things going with the giant robot spider roaming the streets?

It's been a strange week for Australian politics. In good news Quentin Bryce is the new Governor General. This is the ceremonial role of the Queen's representative in Australia. Or at least, it's usually ceremonial. A GG once brought down an Australian government and no one's ever really forgotten it. But Quentin is lovely. She was one of the first women barristers in Queensland, and has a long and strong record on women's rights and indigenous issues without for a moment divorcing herself from the broader social issues that go into constructing the complex problems behind sexism and racism.

On Friday we thought that the New South Wales treasurer would be sacked. This was good news because he is ghastly and has massively screwed up infrastructure management within the state. As it turned out, he went and the premier went, too. Now we have a new premier who is so low-key that even I had barely heard of him. He's a relative cleanskin from the ALP centre left, which might even equate to not in thrall to developers or particular unions, give it a few months to wait and see. The Labor party here is so very curate's egg, parts of it are excellent, while the rest would be perfectly at home in the Chicago of the early 20th century.

(The conservative opposition is the same. The Liberal leader is wonderful and I would have him as premier in an instant, but of the rest of his party there are too many who are anti public schools and hospitals, and also too many religious nutters for me to feel comfortable with the lot of them.)

The new premier is a bit of a cardigan man; dull and diligent, formerly a gardener and a binman (I do not jest), who went off to uni and took a degree in English Literature because he thought he ought to. I approve of cardigan men; politicians who rely on flash and personality have me running for the hills.  For this reason I am very glad that I do not live in the US. I would actually explode if I had to work with journos who wrote almost wholly in terms of personality politics. Whether Sarah Palin is the perfect girl next door or the daughter of Satan is immaterial, the fact of the matter is that she lacks substantive experience and firmly believes in a set of policies that will see the alleged greatest nation in the world back in the scientific stone age. That and the incredible financial ineptitude of the Republicans over the last eight years have me boggling at commentators who are suggesting that the Democrats are now in trouble for November.

Let me put it this way: I think that if I knew John McCain, we would probably get on. As long as we didn't talk about Cindy, she scares me. I might even get on with Sarah Palin if we restricted out topics of conversation to why gays should have partner superannuation rights. But if it were my country, I would want it run by someone who has a plan for managing the massive looming Social Security disaster, who has an idea of providing health care for the millions who are doing without (because America, you're doing it wrong) and who comes from a party that has historically presided over the majority of periods of financial growth and prosperity. And so even though I think I would end up finding Barack Obama mentally exhausting if he was my next door neighbour, and do suspect Joe Biden is just a bit odd, I'd be voting for them if I was American. Because you should care whether or not you like your friends, not your politicians.

And if I was an American journalist, I would be writing stories that looked at the economy and asking very seriously whether it can survive another Republican president, rather than playing this schoolyard game of who's cooler that they've all been playing this week. Because all those savings that have kept the US from utter fiscal disaster in the last eight years, they're long gone and not on anything that will make money or protect against loss in the future.

But instead, the Washington Post's lead online politics story is on first lady fashions.

Makes the robot spider look like a good deal ...
makes me mellow right down to my soulfrances_veritas on September 6th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Um. Can you please be our president? :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 6th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
Not born in the US, I'm afraid. Also, atheist, and the day that the US elects one of those will be the day that I am genuinely and unambiguously surprised. XXX.
(no subject) - frances_veritas on September 6th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 6th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meredyth_13 on September 6th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
Voldemoo: miro mousefrantic_mice on September 6th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
The only peeps I find exhausting are judgmental peeps, I can't RLY cope with them. They have their eyes on ya to do something imperfect with the perfect confidence of someone who well knoes they be expecting something that is super easily deliverable.

As for Palin and that whole mess, I understand when people say, HANDS OFF about her family. BUT! She uses her family politically, AND she belongs to a party who totes gets up the nose of citizens while trying to manage their private liefs, their bodies, their orifices, who they can marry, who they can't and who berate working womens every day about not staying home with the kids. Who talk about single moms like they're a drain on the economy HOES but who shouldn't consider abortion. They're like, "Moms, if you want your kids to die, consider the christian way: Death Pentalty and War." That's what Jesus would do? Jesus would birch their bums off.

So yeah, those people? I could NEVER be their friends, not the least because I actually live the kind of life that they somewhat approve of but in the life of my mind, where my loves and beliefs are, we could not be moar different. Yes, maybe they're smarter than me (smart and dumb means less to me because IMO IQ is about quality and kindness and not about points so I can be "self-depricatin" without actually) but BOY are they wrong.
Voldemoo: 1 eat micefrantic_mice on September 6th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
OMG! I got ranty mcrantypants about this. SRY. =/ My objectivity is this owl who just flew flew aways.
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 6th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 6th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frantic_mice on September 6th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mabonwitch on September 7th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
uminohikariuminohikari on September 6th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
The only reason I wouldn't fully support Obama is because of his VP--Biden had that whole plagiarism scandal..
(Anonymous) on September 7th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
Biden was accused of plagiarism his first year in law school and was cleared. It was a case of not knowing how to properly footnote and cite a law school paper properly. He failed the course; but was allowed to take it again. If it had been a case of deliberate cheating, he would have been expelled or forced to withdraw to avoid being expelled. Biden had no special connections back then. Obviously, he wasn't the best student in the world. Neither was Palin. Biden did earn a Bachelor's degree in four years from one college and a law degree in three years from one law school. It took Palin four colleges (some being community colleges) and six years to earn a Bachelor's degree. Biden is no Obama, president of Harvard Law Review, but then very few are. Obama is neither in his 70s nor has he ever had cancer.

Anyway the law school paper and the failed course became an issue in the 1988 primary where Biden had this habit of juxtaposing his situation with that of British polititian Neil Kinnock. In a speech, Kinnock brought up that both he and his wife were both the first in their families to attend University and pointing out that it was not because they were smarter than the rest of their family just that there was lack of opportunity. Biden basically said the same thing about himself and his wife and their families (not "word for word" as some chose to remember) because it was *also* true for them and he DID credit Kinnock many times when he did make this juxtoposition. Then, one time he didn't and the Dukakis campaign picked up on it and ran with it.
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
spark_of_chaos: book-oldspark_of_chaos on September 6th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
Because you should care whether or not you like your friends, not your politicians. ... But instead, the Washington Post's lead online politics story is on first lady fashions

Amen. If I ever wonder why I decided to friend you, or why I read every personal/rl post you make with even greater interest than the fandom ones, I will come back to this post and tell myself "See? This is why. Because she is a person to be honoured to know. Because she is fun and sharp-witted and knows about the world in width and depth I can only aspire to." I really haven't idea how you manage to follow what is going on where with such precision of opinion. Good thing we live on different continents, because I would totally stalk you! I'm not even joking.

I watched the acceptance speech of Palin with my father - she presented her spouse and kids by first name, occupation and favourite TV show, basically, and I turned and asked him, what were the kids of our President again? He raised an eyebrow and asked back - does it really matter?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
You and your father have the right of it. For as long as 'family values' can be glossed over as having children who are happy to be paraded around election time rather than doing things that are good for families, like good health and education systems and not constructing an entrenched underclass ... that's the same length of time that America will remain the richest third world nation on the planet.

And it makes me cranky, because Americans deserve better than that.

It was my job to be informed about everything, and before that it was my hobby, and even now that I am working on dumb magazines, I feel better knowing more. But it's just a wrap-up of sundry news outlets through the month. I still miss an awful lot.

Also, can Kimi take Spa from fourth on the grid? Can one of the lads stop Lewis or is it really his year this time? These questions truly exercise me!
drgaellon on September 6th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
Liberal leader is wonderful and I would have him as premier in an instant, but of the rest of his party there are too many who are anti public schools and hospitals, and also too many religious nutters for me to feel comfortable with the lot of them.
Interesting. Here in the States, the religious nutters are mostly in the more conservative (Republican) party, while the liberal (Democrat) party is more inclusive and vastly more pro-social-services.

American newsmedia are, by and large, controlled by one of six or seven large conglomerate corporations (among them Rupert Murdoch's NewsMedia and Disney). This makes them... less than honest in their reportage. CNN's Washington bureau chief has repeatedly been skewing coverage pro-McCain/Palin and anti-Obama/Biden, using weasel words he can't back up with quotes or statistics, and otherwise being everything a journalist shouldn't.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)
Ah, you've fallen into the commonest trap for young players with Australian politics, the Liberal party IS the conservative party here.

And there was a time when the Republican party was liberal, too [looks fondly into the mists of history].

Though the Labor party has its share of religious nutters, too, but they are generally kept in check by the rigid caucus structure of the party.

CNN has me gobsmacked at the moment, I still haven't got over their treatment of Matthew Mitcham. Thank goodness for the internet, or I would despair for all my American friends. It's a bit like China over there at the moment (Actually, if I think about the egregious arrests around the RNC, it's EXACTLY like China).
(no subject) - drgaellon on September 7th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Meredythmeredyth_13 on September 6th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor honey. Still? :(

I have to say that losing a lung and most of your sleep hasn't affected your ability to put very clever words together. And thank you for the Aus politics update - I live in a news free vacuum, it appears.

I did comment on a recent post Fray put up about this - because she spoke of it from such a personal viewpoint. I try not to comment on US or other international politics (and a lot of that is because I know I'd sound like an ignorant pillock) but while I don't particularly care what either McCain or Palin are like as people, I am absolutely terrified of their positions on topics that are pretty important to me. The US has a very unfortunate capacity to impact dramatically on how the rest of the world functions, and along with the financial implications of another Republican term, both domestically and internationally, the international politics and social damage that could be done terrifies me.


I like the robot spider. Then again, I haven't been able to keep track of Brit Prime Ministers since Blair. I admit it, I fail majorly at world affairs.

I am wishing your germs away. Rikodeine is your friend, in case I haven't mentioned this before. *hugs and worries about you*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
They booted Sartor today, too! And he was all "Why??? Nathan, why?????"

To which I could hear the state saying "Because you sold us out to developers, Frank, that's why!"

Still manky, but improving. And yes, Obama/Biden is less likely to lead the rest of us into disaster than McCain/Palin.
(no subject) - meredyth_13 on September 7th, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
acromantularacromantular on September 7th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
The Labor party here is so very curate's egg,

Could you explain curate's egg?
Dedicated Escape Artist: Purple flowersjadzialove on September 7th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
Curate's egg is something that has a bit of good and a bit of bad, and as a result is, as a whole, undesirable.
(no subject) - acromantular on September 7th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jadzialove on September 7th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
Dedicated Escape Artist: Coffee Timejadzialove on September 7th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
The cyclone was not quite all it was hyped up to be, thank goodness.

while the rest would be perfectly at home in the Chicago of the early 20th century.

I can't tell you how much I love the diplomacy you used in that description. Fantastic. *giggles* Is it okay if I'm now picturing corrupt Australian politicians carrying violin cases and using names like 'Nicky the Nose'?

I have no comments regarding American politics, because I agree with you wholly, except to say that Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me. Not only for her politcs, but because McCain looks horrible and he's 72 and has had cancer 4 times and there's a very real chance that he wouldn't make it through his entire term. Please have a room ready for me if this entire mess comes to that, would you?

Edited at 2008-09-07 03:03 am (UTC)
Meredythmeredyth_13 on September 7th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Is it okay if I'm now picturing corrupt Australian politicians carrying violin cases and using names like 'Nicky the Nose'?

Ah, I see you've met our state and federal front-benchers. :D
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jadzialove on September 7th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on September 7th, 2008 08:57 am (UTC)
On of our city commissioners who has met Obama stated "He is usually the smartest person in the room. And why wouldn't you want the smartest person in the room to lead your country?"

Just wait until November arrives to see if the Democrats are in trouble. McCain did get a slight post-convention "bounce" in the overall national polls which was expected but what ultimately matters in the US is this:


And even though there was narrowing of Obama's lead in the nationals this week, Minnosota (the site of the RNC) went from gray to baby blue this week and Indiana went from pink to grey this week! Plus none of these polls count all the new voters we are registering.

drgaellon on September 7th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
On of our city commissioners who has met Obama stated "He is usually the smartest person in the room. And why wouldn't you want the smartest person in the room to lead your country?"
Because way too many Americans DISTRUST smart people. How the blue blazes do you think we elected the Shrub over Al Gore? (Well, okay, the SCOTUS did that for us, but even so...)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - drgaellon on September 7th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
violetagevioletage on September 7th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
It is often refreshing to get a viewpoint from someone not sitting here in the US, especially when that viewpoint tallies so nicely with my own.

Lovely post.

Hope you feel better soon this drech simply lasts for ever!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 7th, 2008 12:34 pm (UTC)
It's been 10 days! I just want a good night's sleep!

And I do worry about American politics. In my lifetime (and I'm not even as old as Sarah Palin), ideas of policy and ability have been swept aside in favour of appearance and flash. We have supermodels to look good, not politicians. Sigh.
trichinopoly ashaldehyde on September 8th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
my bf showed me the giant spider news article on bbc.com the other day and i was kinda scared. why a spider of all things! :(
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 8th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
It is rather beautiful, though I imagine not to people who don't like spiders ...
(no subject) - aldehyde on September 8th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
madchemist36madchemist36 on September 8th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
I always love hearing your opinion of American politics (as sadly they are the only ones I know intimately enough to enjoy). The past eight years have been a living nightmare. Honestly I have stated only half jokingly that the only reason I haven't left the country yet is that I'm afraid my new home will be the next target. The only thing worse than living in a totalitarian state is living in the state of its enemy. The military arsenal is of course also a factor.

Sarah Palin, Ugh.

I have only had the "my mother is a lesbian" talk when I have been on my best behavior. Of course "best" behavior is totally subjective and changes as my audience changes. ;-D Thus I have probably had that particular conversation with hundreds of people. The only difference is that generally, when my audience involves men, they are properly appreciative of my upbringing and wish to come round for dinner some night. Hooray living in good l' liberal New England, where the weather is wonky but our concepts of human rights are not.