Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Everyone's laughing...

Everyone's laughing...


From Spell out succession, Howard warned
Those close to Mr Howard acknowledged talk about the leadership would not stop. His strategy was to minimise the potential for distraction, not overreact and continue to do his job.

What a laugh! The supreme opportunist will minimise distraction? Ho ho.

Howard is a nark, when it comes to sports that aren't on his preferred list, so he will keep on throwing out little hints during the AFL Final series, just to try and distract away from a winning code. It won't work.

Lord Lex, polishing his Texas Rangers badge, sees himself perched on a huge pile of yellow cake, flogging it off to the highest bidders, and making squillions in revenue. From Aust can stop 'irresponsible' Chinese uranium use: Downer
Mr Downer says the Government will ensure any uranium exported to China is not used to make weapons.

With statements like that, Lex is already glowing in the dark and is eminently qualified to be Treasurer in a Costello government.

Costello has invited a plane load of journos to accompany him on his majestic tour of south-east Asia's hot spots.  Who's paying for the arse-licking tourists, Peter? Not the taxpayer, we hope. From Asia the world's top arms importer
... the report found that Moscow appears focused on Southeast Asia, where it has had "some success in securing arms agreements with Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia".

You go, Pete! Those hungry, ambitious journos will fall over themselves to laugh at your jokes, and take care of your personal hygiene. Here is fertile ground for pontification on how a healthy arms trade is the foundation of a developing nation's infrastructure, and therefore we can ease back on our miniscule aid promises. Taxpayers will love you.

There's a clue for the shortening favourite, in Australia offers emergency team to US
Turnbull would be advised to dip into his own massive personal fortune, and send trusted allies off to the US, to examine how a government attempts to manage a huge disaster. If he wants to be PM, or Prez, he will have to get used to it.

A short hand-pass to Mal, on the flank, too far out from goal.

If Mal goes to LA ...

... he could come back with John Howard's return ticket from Iraq.

From Department of Homeland Screw-Up
Located only three hours from New Orleans is Fort Polk, home of the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry unit with about 3,000 soldiers. Also at Fort Polk is the Joint Readiness Training Center, which prepares military units to respond rapidly to crises abroad. The 4th Brigade has been training for duty in Afghanistan. Why was it also not ready to take on a local disaster scenario in hurricane season? Or at the least, once the National Hurricane Center predicted that the eye of Katrina would come close to New Orleans, couldn't DHS have deployed the military to help shore up the levees?
And in the event of a WMD attack, when there would likely be no warning at all, what is DHS's contingency plan for moving into position the army or the marines to restore order and sustain life? In the wake of Katrina and the breached levee, the answer seems to be not much of one. In the wake of 9/11, that is worse than incomprehensible. It is unforgivable.

From Lost in the Flood
... Race remains largely untouchable for TV because broadcasters sense that they can't make an error without destroying careers. That's a true pity. If the subject were a little less taboo, one of last night's anchors could have asked a reporter, "Can you explain to our viewers, who by now have surely noticed, why 99 percent of the New Orleans evacuees we're seeing are African-American? I suppose our viewers have noticed, too, that the provocative looting footage we're airing and re-airing seems to depict mostly African-Americans." If the reporter on the ground couldn't answer the questions, a researcher could have Nexised the New Orleans Times-Picayune five-parter from 2002, "Washing Away," which reported that the city's 100,000 residents without private transportation were likely to be stranded by a big storm. In other words, what's happening is what was expected to happen: The poor didn't get out in time. ...
... But we aren't one united race, we aren't one united class, and Katrina didn't hit all folks equally. By failing to acknowledge upfront that black New Orleanians—and perhaps black Mississippians—suffered more from Katrina than whites, the TV talkers may escape potential accusations that they're racist. But by ignoring race and class, they boot the journalistic opportunity to bring attention to the disenfranchisement of a whole definable segment of the population. What I wouldn't pay to hear a Fox anchor ask, "Say, Bob, why are these African-Americans so poor to begin with?"

The New York Times has been publishing detailed graphs, charts and diagrams that show exactly who are the people most affected, and their ethnicity and demographics.

Bush may be pressured, even to the point of gifting the Democrats with seats in the House in '06, and the presidency in '08, to abandon his plans to remake the Holy Land and environs. If he overcomes his Crawford-style inertia, and the venality of his lieutenants, to pull back from Iraq in order to secure the homeland, Howard will be out of Iraq in a flash. But if JWH is banking on a sign to prepare us for this shameful backdown, he needs exclusive insights from the entrails of Washington. He won't be the only one looking to make capital, though, so he will be extremely grateful for a nod and a wink, from a hometown ally.

Achilles Heel

The Greatest Country on Earth shows an Achilles Heel

Yes, America is showing the rest the world how not to do things. Big time

The handling of the New Orleans problem by the US authorities is not short of being scandalously inadequate. Sure, there is a massive problem, but what did they expect: a picnic? The looting, the despair, the racism, the anger in not just directed at the flood waters. All this is the result of a latent problem brewing within American society: the rich and the poor, the blacks and the whites, plus privileges versus nothing awaiting a shift of dynamics to push the problem forward. Katrina did that. It shows freedom to live or perish US style at it’s best. You’re with us or you die...

Most of the people in New Orleans are great people. But there are (were) too many ghettos, no-go zones and huge penal-concentration camps... All subcultures that can only survive by feeding on, or even stealing, the scraps of the affluent who on most occasion don’t give a toss...

Give this “Big un-Easy

re: Achilles heel

Now look, Gus, I don't want to spook you, but I am limping around these past few days with soreness of the achilles tendon in the right leg. It seemed to be on the improve, so I shuffled off to the bookshop. They are clearing out piles of stuff, and I picked up an art monograph on Marc Chagall. It has about 50 large colour plates, all for $12. I am tipping that the mere mention of Chagall brings a tiny tear to your eye. Since we are having a quiet chat in the corner, I confide that your writing on the dysfunctional aspects of US society (you are braver than me!) reminded me of 'I and the Village'.

Would an Oz city do any better? I hope we would be able to bring about a system of order, but that would be almost impossible while standing in a lake. Mind you, the authorities in the US have been pretty good at issuing guidance about preparedness for such emergencies. However, that sort of good advice depends for success on a lot of things. People who can't, or don't know how to, look after themselves, won't be searching government websites for information. Remind me to stock up on the canned food ...

Last week at the Melbourne Writers Festival, Bill Leak was on the platform being interviewed by Julian Burnside about his first novel (Heart Cancer) and a compilation of his political cartoons (Moments of truth). Bill talked about his methods while Julian projected some of the works on the big screen. One the questions from the audience was "Do you start your cartoons with the eyes?". (After a few days, I realised that was not such a dumb thing to ask.) When the cartoon that Mr Leak dedicated to Margaret Hassan went up, I almost blubbed. We all have our weakness.


Hell of a heel...

Hope the heel is getting better, T.G.... Yes the latest order is "shoot to kill" rather "save these people"... I know New Orleans quite well and my heart bleeds... Something on a massive scale needs to be done...Now.