Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"We are the people"

Internet rage!

Bloody hell! I've just spent about two hours fucking around with this bloody contraption to try and get the fuckin internet connecting. Kept getting this stupid Windows cryptic message that the connection was broken between the access point and the modem. WTF? Turned out it wasn't my problem at this end at all, but an outage mainly in New South Wales. The diagnostics were giving me completely the wrong information. Why couldn't it have just said the internet is off from the phone line FFS?

Eventually rang the ISP and got a message saying NSW was back on, but still couldn't connect. Despite madly rebooting the modem and router, nothing, just that same bloody stupid message. Talked to the tech people at the ISP and they eventually got the thing going after a lot of effort, was on the phone to them over half an hour at least. They even tried resetting the whole connection from their end, but still nothing. 

In the end it was changing some settings on the modem here, and pressing the tiny little reset button with a pen. 

Roll on the bloody National Broadband Network man.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Cat ladies take Australian Christian Lobby domain name

Ha ha ha...... What a laugh man. I'm not that good with the intricacies of the net, but for those who are this is really funny. Especially as it's about our arch enemy the Australian Christian Lobby.
THE Australian Christian Lobby says it has no plans to buy back its domain name despite a satire site launched under its moniker.

A trio of Melbourne feminists, calling themselves the Australian Cat Ladies, pounced on the domain name AustralianChristianLobby.org when the ACL, which only uses acl.org.au, failed to buy it.
Their site, called Australian Cat Ladies, says it stands for marriage equality, the rights of couples to abortion, an end to discrimination, sex education and responsible cat ownership. more
Turns out the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) didn't buy their domain name. Now it's been bought by another group; the Australian Cat Ladies (ACL). They have it seems come up with a new and improved ACL. This is the web address of the Australian Cat Ladies:
We stand against sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, religious discrimination, fatphobia, whorephobia, and all forms of injustice. We understand that cat ladies come in all shapes, sizes, genders, sexualities, backgrounds and ethnicities, and encourage ACL membership by anyone who identifies as a cat lady or a cat lady ally. more


"Someday Soon"

Sunday, 28 April 2013

How BP cleans up

Why is Australia so expensive?

Australians have long been ripped off from retailers. The distance factor is the big excuse. Well, until the internet came along and we started buying stuff overseas and getting it shipped here, all at a much lower price than what you could get in the local retail store.

But still even with internet competition things here are still very expensive in comparison to other countries. Ruth Williams in the SMH has another take apart from the distance factor:
But the higher wages mean that, in many cases, Australians can actually afford to pay the higher prices, Koukoulas says. 

Wages in Australia are about 50 per cent higher than in the US or New Zealand, and average weekly earnings have risen roughly 3.5 per cent a year for the past five years. Australian wages have outstripped inflation for more than a decade. 

''[It costs more here] to pay a person to sit in a retail shop or to operate a website or to distribute an item. It is not necessarily a bad thing but a high income, high cost country shows up in the prices that we pay,'' Koukoulas says. 

''If you want to pay the same as what Americans are paying, then accept American wages. You can't have the low prices without the low incomes.'' 
Saul Eslake, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia, says the Deutsche report would have been more useful had it compared prices of items as a proportion of earnings in each country. This would show how affordable or expensive each item was for a person earning the local currency. more
That's very interesting. So in reality we may be very expensive to someone who's worked in another country for less wages, but when considering our own wages we're not. It's also showing a reason why things bought online are cheaper, namely that where they're made has lower wages than here. Like someone in the US might work for whatever they do there (what about $10 an hour?) but here they work for much higher wages. I mean I was getting $26 an hour before the job ended.

Work for US wages? No fuckin way man.  

Shift work affects your health

As someone who did afternoon shift for many years in a row, I found these two articles very interesting. I should note here that after getting HIV I had to end shiftwork as I couldn't stay awake until 11pm at night. By about 8 or 9pm I was exhausted and couldn't function properly. Thankfully it's the law here that if the shiftwork hours are having an effect on your health then the boss has to come up with a solution; in my case going to the normal hours of day shift.

It can be I think the case of the employer forgetting about the status of the worker. It can be hard for a person to understand the full implications of being HIV+ when outwardly people look OK. David for instance was asked at work today if he could finish at 3, then come back at 11pm and do a graveyard shift. He asked me about it on the phone, and I gave my opinion as someone who'd done shiftwork; namely not to do it. Although it's double time for the shift without a ten hour break, it's just not worth the effect it would have on his health.

Co-incidentally, the union emailed a thing today about shift work.
In 2007 the World Health Organisation released a study which indicated that such shift work can have a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effect, primarily breast and prostate cancer. Further studies since the release of the initial report have concluded that, as well as the obvious dangers of cancer, shift-workers are also prone to many other negative effects.

The University of Queensland conducted a study to follow up on these results and, as well as the carcinogenic effects, found that shift-workers had more adverse lifestyle behaviours, poor nutritional intake and an increased likelihood of being overweight and/or smoking. The most recent survey by the ABS in 2010 determined that up to 16% of the workforce is shift-workers – and there’s a chance that number will increase.
It’s a subject that isn’t to be taken lightly, and in countries like Denmark compensation payments have already been made to shift-workers who worked for decades in their positions and developed breast cancer. While the science was debated as tenuous, payouts were only made in instances where “no other significant factors”, such as family history, could have resulted in the development of cancer. more
And they linked to this at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Back in 2007, for example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) outlined the carcinogenic consequences of the graveyard shift. Carcinogens are elements known to cause cancer. In the case of shift workers, studies have shown the breast is the primary area of affliction for women while for men it’s the prostate. 

After the release of the WHO findings, the carcinogenic link was deemed to be so strong that in Denmark the government started paying compensation to female night-shift workers who developed breast cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a subsidiary of WHO, even deemed the effect of shift work to be similar to the effect of industrial chemicals. 

These results demonstrate the stress placed on the body when people work unnatural hours. But even more evidence exists to support this position. 

An analysis by the University of Queensland on over a dozen studies found shift workers are more likely to snack on bad foods and spend less time exercising, the combination of which damages their health. It’s not surprising, then, that extensive research published in the British Medical Journal last year concluded shift workers were 41 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. more
Over the years too I noticed how incredibly isolating shift work is. Being as I was on permanent afternoon shift, it was like living in another time zone. Always at work at night, there was little chance for the usual socialising that people do.

"Rainbow Labor"

I'm confused :s...... OK, so Gillard, PM and captain of the Labor ship, is against same sex marriage (for I think factional reasons). Locally, Labor actively opposed MP Peter Garrett from voting yes to marriage equality in the federal parliament (he voted yes anyway). Yet Labor has a "platform" endorsing same sex marriage. I just don't get it.

But anyway, now I read about another thing that for me just adds more confusion, being "Rainbow Labor". Their Facebook page is here. Well, as confused as I am I guess this must be a good thing. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

CSG warning from US farmers

Interesting little mini-doco. About the gas industry and CSG that's been so controversial here in Australia. The multi-national companies reckon it's safe, but the doco people travelled to see what had happened to farmers in the US. Certainly a dire warning to all here about the dangers involved in this. There's more coming in parts 2-4. Here's the site, "Well of Truth".

"Tease me"

 photo 4173.gif photo hop.gif photo 4173.gif photo sheep-1.gif photo 4173.gif  photo bliss.gif

New teeth

The dentist went well yesterday, and there was no pain whilst the other three teeth were pulled. The new four teeth/partial plate look pretty good.

The guy that made them is very well known in Sydney the Dentist told me, and is only a few doors down from the dentist. I actually remember him from years ago, when my wife needed new false teeth. He was recommended to her as being very good at it and at a reasonable price.

As they were fitted just after the teeth were pulled it's likely I'll have to go back after a few weeks to get them re-aligned. Suppose that'll cost a bit more. Am happy with the price so far though, thought it was going to be much more than the $1,000 at the dentist. Some dentists charge like bloody wounded bulls.

They also passed the kiss test with flying colours. They have a couple of clips at the back as well that hold onto the back teeth and help to keep it stable.

David moving in next week

It's been over 6 months since we met. The lease is finishing at his place and the leaseholder (his ex) is moving, so he's moving in with me. We may get our own place after that, but at the moment he just needs to get out of where he is. Is constantly arguing with his ex, who's still a schizophrenic, still doesn't take his pills, and still drinks like a fish. Everything his ex says seems to be loaded with some sort of barbed innuendo.

Said to David I was worried, his ex being schizophrenic, that he could get violent. That or he'd push David so far in some argument that David would lose it as well. The whole relationship, whatever it was in the past, is now completely toxic to both of them.

So it's going to be a rather strange sort of household. Two gay guys, my daughter and her boyfriend (he seems to live here most of the time), and three cats. Daughter's boy cat only a year old, and David's two cats of 10 and 17. Daughter's freaked out that they're going to fight with each other, but the two girls are very docile and friendly. One's been a mother so we're predicting some interest with her and the boy cat.

Think David and I are both a bit nervous about the move, certainly a big step for David. But I spend so much time around his place we're just about living together anyway. 

And despite all the nerves, it's a chance we both want to take. 


Friday, 26 April 2013

Dentist nerves

Got the second appt with the dentist today. Am getting the other three front teeth removed that are loose, and the partial plate fitted. Don't mind saying I'm feeling a bit scared. The other very loose tooth was nothing and came out on it's own, but I've never had three teeth pulled out in one go before. In fact I've never had any teeth pulled out before.

Of course they know I have HIV so that isn't a problem. Hope I don't bleed a lot anyway. And of course these days dentists are very good with pain control.

Still a bit mystified as to exactly why they got so loose. The dentist reckons eventually more in the back are going to get loose too. The dental hospital told me it was because of gum disease, and this one pointed out the bone loss around the teeth roots as well. Perhaps it's just being 50, I mean I haven't done too badly to have still had all my teeth at 50.

It's actually been rather a laugh over the last week and a half with a missing front tooth. Was at the pub waiting to get a beer at the bar other day and when they asked who's next the bloke next to me pointed at me and said "The good looking one there", at which time I laughed and smiled at him. He and the barman both laughed in surprise at the gaping hole in my mouth, ha ha.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Australian Marriage Equality campaign

The AME organisation is ramping it up, creating a campaign to make gay marriage an issue at the coming federal election.
AME is running a high profile campaign in the 2013 federal election.

We intend to make marriage equality a central issue in the campaign. With a focus on key electorates, there will be important community events and a national survey of all candidates.
Our goal is to achieve a Coalition conscience vote and to encourage as many Labor candidates as possible to support reform. AME site
Here's the new add. Enough I reckon to send the Australian Christian Lobby into a bigoted hissy fit :)

Progressive Christians welcome gay marriage

In contrast to the violence of anti-gay thugs in France, and the homophobic rhetoric here of the Australian Christian Lobby, there are a group of Christians in Australia who support gay marriage. They're called a "Progressive Christian Voice (Australia)".

This may come as a shock to some, but there's many gay people who consider themselves Christians. That's their business if they want to believe in sky fairies (I don't) but the point is that they don't consider being gay a sin. Therefore Christianity can apply to them just as much as straight people.
“More and more we are seeing the quality of the relationships that GLBTI people are forming and are coming to see them to be a good thing,” Catt said. 

“Opening marriage to allow committed same-sex couples to express their commitment is an important way of increasing social cohesion. To have one’s relationship legitimized by the society in which one lives is both encouraging and life-giving.” 

PCVA issued a statement saying traditional Christian teachings put gay people “outside the gate”. 

“LGBT people are ‘othered’ thoroughly by Catholic teachings that they are ‘inclined towards moral evil’ or ‘intrinsically disordered’. 

“Similarly, evangelical doctrine sees being gay as sinful and a rejection of God. These teachings do great violence not only to the many hundreds of thousands of gay Christian people throughout the world and their families, but also to gay people of other faiths and gay people of no faith.” 
Catt also released a PCVA discussion paper on GBLTI issues by Dr Stuart Edser, author of Being Gay, Being Christian, calling on churches “to re-visit their understanding of human sexuality in the light of modern scholarship informed by the sciences and Biblical Studies and theology”. more
So are these people making representation to our political leaders, like that homophobic Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby? Do these people protest when he craps on like the ignorant bigot he is? Well at least somebody in the Christian world is aware of the church inspired hatred that exists towards gays, and are going about trying to fix it.

Personally I reject all religion, but that's just me.

Violence erupts in Paris after marriage vote

I absolutely cannot believe what I'm seeing here. WTF is wrong with these people? All this over two people who love each other being able to be legally married? Fuck man these people should get a bloody life.

A very sad day for France, in that the ugly underbelly of gay hate in the society is on display for all the world to see. Pathetic, just fuckin pathetic.
Despite the requests of organizers that marchers disperse peacefully, a hard core group of around 500 refused to leave the Invalides. 

Their anger soon boiled over as bottles and firecrackers were hurled at the riot police, who had blocked off a street leading to the parliament. 

One officer was taken to hospital with a head wound after being hit by a brick. “The clashes were extremely violent,” one officer told French media. 

Police, who responded with tear gas, made 12 arrests. The protesters also turned their ire on journalists in the vicinity, shouting “scumbags" and “collaborators” at the members of the press. At one point a mob of masked protesters chased a group of journalists down the street and a photographer from AFP was sprayed with tear gas. more
Gays didn't behave like that in the decades where they were suppressed and beaten, with no rights for even a civil union. These people aren't even going to be affected by the new marriage laws, they just want to impose their own bigoted view on everyone. That view apparently includes using violence and intimidation to get their way.

How about proesting over something worthwhile? Like having this happen to you because of your sexuality:

Greenpeace boards coal ship

What was I saying the other day about people not finding representation in the political system here in Australia of late? That unions, and organisations like GetUp, people are finding an accurate representation of their views? Well I think we should add Greenpeace to that list.

Frustrated at the continued expansion of coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef and gov assurances that aren't worth anything, Greenpeace has protested in a peaceful but spectacular way; by boarding a coal ship leaving Abbott Point on the way to South Korea.

Whether you agree with their actions or not, this shit looks really dangerous man. These are certainly some dedicated people.


You can add your voice of protest here if you so desire.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

NZ MP to appear on Ellen

The other day from the NZ parliament, remember this bloke?

Maurice Williamson, who made this funny speech, has been invited to appear on the Ellen show, after his speech has now clocked up over 1 million views on YouTube.
NEW Zealand MP turned gay marriage champion and internet sensation Maurice Williamson could soon add "Hollywood talkshow guest" to his resume after he was given approval to appear on the Ellen Degeneres show.

The 62-year-old National MP, whose staid portfolios include building and construction, customs, statistics and land information, lit up parliament last week when describing why he supported marriage equality legislation, which passed its final reading by 77 conscience votes to 44.

"The most enormous big gay rainbow" rose over his Auckland electorate that morning and he had taken it as a sign to back the change, despite critics writing to him warning he would burn in hell, he said.

He mocked those predicting a "gay onslaught".

"We are really struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like ... We don't know if it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops or whether it will be a gas that floats in over the electorate and locks us all in."

The speech has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube and drawn support from celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ronan Keating and Degeneres, who invited him on her US TV show. more
What's even more amazing is that he's one of NZ's hard core conservatives, being a part of the National Party.

France passes marriage equality

France has at last passed its marriage equality bill. With all the angst by those against it, I do hope the recent homophobia over there will settle down. And what are all these protesters going to do when French society doesn't collapse? When life goes on as always? When the sky doesn't fall? Those who organised all those massive protests in France recently are going to look pretty stupid pretty soon.

Aside from that it's perhaps an interesting look into the psyche of those so vehemently opposed. Have a look at this bullshit in the French parliament just before the vote was taken. Protesters angrily disrupting and yelling, with the bloke at the front calling them "enemies of democracy". Compare that to the vote in New Zealand the other day when they burst into song.

I mean WTF were they thinking? That it was possible to impose their views onto the vote by behaving like a mob about to storm the citadel? The French could have made the moment such an historic and special one. Instead they made themselves look stupid.

Despite what the Australian federal politicians are saying, there's now huge pressure on both major federal parties here to fuckin move on this issue. If Gillard and Abbott don't think this is going to be an election issue in September they're wrong.  
Here in Australia, activists hope France’s successful bill will increase the pressure on our local lawmakers to follow suit. 

“France’s message to Australia and the world is that the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity apply equally to same-sex couples,” says Australian Marriage Equality’s Rodney Croome. 

“The French vote, plus the recent vote in New Zealand, will ensure marriage equality is an issue at the Australian election in September, with many Australians taking their aspiration for marriage equality to the ballot box and voting for candidates who support reform.” more

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


I tend to pick up the odd funny thing here and there whilst on the net. Here's the latest little collection.


Has been a while since things have gotten to me.

Met David after work at the pub yesterday and was feeling quite ill. He asked what was wrong and I said it was just the usual sick feeling. Lunch was stuck in my stomach and a beer felt like it was burning along with the lunch. Then started crying a bit about it right out of the blue. Just a few tears no sobs or anything, but it surprised me. Said I was sick of feeling sick, and that I spend half my fuckin life battling against wanting to throw up. That I was just over it.

David was so understanding. He feels sick a lot in the mornings too so understood a lot about it. Was going to spend the night at mine but as I was upset he wanted me to stay with him.

Chrissy Amphlett dies

Australian Chrissy Amplett of the Divinyls has died at 53, after a long battle with breast cancer and MS. This was my favourite song of theirs.

Monday, 22 April 2013

"Rude Awakenings" - after a drone bomb

Meanwhile in wacko-ville.....

Here's the latest and greatest wacko church inspired accusation against gays. It's pretty funny. According to this I'm out to "destroy the family, destroy the state, to destroy capitalism and destroy the church". Yes darlings, it's all part of the gay master plan to destroy civilisation or some shit. Is it my imagination or are these accusations against us getting more extreme lately?

Hmmm....  I assume he has some Bible reference to back all this up? Oh right, he's gone a bit later to the French revolution. No Bible writings there. 

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Over-represented extremism

Questions are being asked in Australia now as to why the fuck we're bogged politically as far as gay marriage goes at the federal level. Unfortunately the news is not pretty, and looks like it fits in with the question I've been banging my head against the wall with for some time now; that being why the hell are politicians (both state and federal) so intent on giving that repulsive Australian Christian Lobby any time at all?

Whenever I talk to moderate Christians they're quick to point out that the ACL is a radical fringe group and not at all representative of mainstream Christianity in Australia. Then I see Jim Wallace of the ACL making direct representation to the Prime Minister herself, not to mention the QLD premier Campbell Newman. Aren't main stream Christians annoyed that they're being misrepresented then? Where are the howls of protest from moderate Christianity when he launches into his homophobic drivel? The silence is deafening. Or does mainstream Christianity actually like what he's on about, but won't admit it publicly? Unfortunately it seems to be the later.

Luke Mansillo has written an interesting opinion piece on this in Same Same.  In it he discusses what's going on in federal politics, and as I indicated in a previous post it does seem to be the electoral system here that has contributed to this bullshit situation we're in now; namely that 60-70% of Australians endorse gay marriage but aren't finding anywhere near that representation in parliament as both parties block marriage reform.
As an Australian gay man, I now have more rights in New Zealand than in Australia. This is my country’s shame.

In New Zealand, I have the right to abode, the right to work, and even the right to vote if I have permanent residency. All those rights are afforded to me in Australia, but in NZ I have one more: as a gay man I can wed someone if I love them.


There are 55 seats federally that are ‘marginal’ – a swing of 6% (or less) of the vote could change who holds that seat. There are about 100,000 voters in each electorate. Therefore for there to be a swing of 6% you need 6,000 votes.

In many of these electorates there are Christian voters who rank retention of their idea of marriage in their voting preferences before broadband infrastructure, taxation, the economy or any other policy when they vote. Those conservative Christians are not evenly distributed – they happen to be in suburbs where the marginal electorates are, so their voting effect is magnified in those critical hotspots.

In the suburb of Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s West there is the Hillsong mega-church. 21,000 people attend every Sunday. This is one church of hundreds in Western Sydney and in the marginal electorates all over the country. That’s a significant number of voters that can make a difference at an election time. If just the Hillsong church was counted, those people were drawn from four electorates there is a potential of a 4.2% against the Labor Party. Remember this is one single church; there are many churches in the country.

I would estimate 3,000 out of 100,000 voters would swing from the ALP to the Liberal Party if they were to approve of marriage equality. This would very roughly translate to a 15 to 20 seat loss for the Labor Party, meaning they would lose government.

This is why we do not have marriage equality in Australia. Our electoral system is currently blocking a policy the majority of Australians and the ideologies of both major parties fundamentally want to achieve in government. more
That's really fucked up. You can just about feel the frustration in his introduction. Whether his estimate of 3,000 out of 100,000 is correct or not I dunno, but he's certainly describing a legitimate phenomenon. 

So this seems to be the current situation. Labor is shit scared of losing government this coming election, and the conservative Liberal party is shit scared of losing prospective votes. As Christians are in marginal seats neither of them wants to offend their glass jaw sensibilities. Hence, the Prime Minister gives an ear to wacko fundie Jim Wallace, of the extremist fringe group the Australian Christian Lobby. Um, I guess "dog whistle" comes to mind here......  

What a pathetic state of affairs for any democracy to be in. A gov making legislative decisions based on an extremist minority who want to control the majority, even if the majority disagrees with them. Sound familiar? Yep, it's ironic that they use that very argument against gay marriage when it's exactly what they're doing themselves. In any case, it's hardly an example of democracy.

Perhaps Australia could take a look at the New Zealand system of proportional representation? Instead of a party having to win each individual seat to get into parliament, they're allocated seats according to the percentage of votes gained overall. The current Australian situation couldn't happen in New Zealand. I can't see electoral reform happening anytime soon here though.

"Speak Love"

Sunday, 21 April 2013

NSW premier announces gay marriage support

Forgive my obsession of late darlings regarding marriage equality, but it's looking like now is a particularly historic moment in regards to Australian marriage equality, as the dominoes continue to fall from New Zealand's success on the issue.

All states apart from Queensland have marriage equality bills coming up at some stage. Now the conservative premier of New South Wales (the state closest to NZ and I'd guess the state where there's the most exchange of people between the two countries), Barry O'Farrell, has come out in support of gay marriage. Hmmm.... something to do with all that money about to head across the Tasman as gays marry in NZ? Well, whatever the reason, it's looking pretty promising that marriage equality is going to get up in the NSW parliament.
NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell has added his support for equal marriage, as calls for equality in Australia grow more strident in the wake of New Zealand passing same-sex marriage legislation this week. 

"As a Liberal who believes that commitment and family units are one of the best ways in which society is organised, I support the concept of same-sex marriage,” O’Farrell said. 

O’Farrell said governments should be encouraging commitment. “Because, ultimately, people caring for each other works side by side with governments to create better communities.” 

The NSW Premier said equal marriage should be a federal change: "Let’s do it in the nation's parliament, and let’s catch up with New Zealand again," he said.


"NSW now has the same political setting that lead to the successful NZ vote, with both leaders supporting the reform, all parties having a conscience vote, and all sides of politics working together to progress the reform.” 

NSW Greens MP and gender and sexuality spokesperson Cate Faehrmann praised O'Farrell for his "evolution" on the issue of marriage equality, saying he was an example for Abbott and Gillard to follow. 

"Premier Barry O'Farrell has put Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard to shame on their lack of leadership to end discrimination and support marriage equality," Faehrmann said. 
"Barry is now on the right side of history. We can't underestimate what this leadership from the Premier means. If the Commonwealth fails to act, I'm confident that the NSW Parliament will. The work of the cross party marriage equality group will ensure that.” more
Meanwhile the Canberra dinosaurs politicians appear to finally be waking from their insular slumber and realising that Australians actually do care about this issue, and why the fuck haven't they addressed it like the people want them too? I'd say there's a bit of Aussie/Kiwi rivalry going on as well, being beaten hands down on this issue by NZ doesn't go down well in Australia. 

"Fear Not" to the homophobes

This French guy gives a very well thought out and delivered message to the homophobes over gay marriage. It has English captions by clicking "captions" at the bottom.


Independent thinking

This was so funny. An opinion piece from New Zealand after marriage equality went through parliament. It's written in such a way as to delicately annihilate the so called arguments against equality.
Today is a day of celebration, not only for the gay and lesbian communities but for us all. Today New Zealanders can be proud that common sense, fairness and just good old basic humanity has won out over, what I can only describe as "people who just feel deeply weirded out about the whole thing, mostly because of God but can't really articulate any reasonable justification for it". 

I for one, am most pleased with this outcome. If this current change to the marriage legislation upsets you and makes you feel grumpy, then please know that I personally derive great measures of enjoyment from said unhappiness. Suffer in your jocks, basically. Neener, neener, neener, big fat raspberries and other childishness. 

No offence to anyone who is part of a civil union, but I always felt that this "marriage in everything but name" was something of a compromise designed to not freak out the fuddy-duddies too much. To which I have always been of the opinion, "freak them out for pity's sake, they clearly need it!" 

The leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, would be one such person. If his tweet this morning "The day of reckoning is still to come" is anything to go by, Colin is not a happy bunny today. I can't help imagining him cowering, perhaps in a blanket fort in the den, occasionally taking a peek out a window to see if the street is yet filled with legions of gay men in pink PVC hotpants wielding chainsaws with which they will carve up the fabric of society as we know it. 

The inability of anyone to explain the exact nature of how society will be worse now that marriages can legally take place between two men and two women has always been something of an achilles heel within the "marriage equality is bad" argument. It may be that PVC hotpants aren't what anyone is really worried about, but this was never really clear and it's a mental image I find quite pleasing so I'm going to go with that. more
Think us Kiwi's have a bit of a way with words. We've always been very independent people, I'd guess growing up in such isolation has a lot to do with it. We have a history of thinking outside the square, as the long-standing nuclear warships ban will attest (of which the US was so annoyed about that they chucked us out of the ANZUS alliance). We seem to miss much of the hysteria on issues overseas, scratch our heads at WTF they're on about, and just go on in our own way. 

"Define Me"

Saturday, 20 April 2013

New Zealand civilised, France a basket case

Been wondering a bit last week or so, about the difference in peoples behaviour in France and New Zealand regarding same sex marriage. There were those incredible scenes not so long ago of protesters against it in France turning violent on police, which I must say left me scratching my head. Compare that to New Zealand and the people singing that lovely Maori love song after the law was passed.

I thought France was supposed to be some kind of sophisticated society, and we colonials were the ones with non-sophisticated roughness. Yet NZ peacefully passed this progressive law with none of the angst as seen in France. There is perhaps some explanation for this, in the form of foreign interference in French politics by those opposed to gay marriage.

The National Organisation for Marriage, is Washington based, and recently invented the rather dubious International Organisation for Marriage. Now the head of the Washington NOM has been caught out, after sending a letter from the US addressed to those who oppose same sex marriage. You can see the French version here if you wish, along with the English translation which I've also posted below:
Dear French resistant to denaturation of marriage

It is with great admiration that I address you from the United States, this message of support and encouragement.

I saw in Paris with my own eyes, on January 23, the quiet power of your engagement and I did not fail to report it to the American Friends of the National Organization for Marriage, which is fighting on this side of the Atlantic since 2007, against revisionist marriage. We have had victories, we have experienced losses. But neither do we, we let go of anything! We know, like you, that noble fight will take time and sacrifice.

Defense of Marriage is not an American or French case. This is a global issue. It is a matter of civilization. And I am proud to share with so many French resistance that great battle for civilization.

You are the people who invented the Gothic art and launched skyward these wonderful cathedrals which the whole civilized world was inspired. Your cathedrals still defy time, but they were built of stone. The new cathedral that you are to build our eyes is composed of living stones: you, dear French Resistance, youth and adults, men and women, boys and girls!

Nothing will overcome your engagement and determination because you are on the side of truth and reason.

I repeat to you with all my heart and with emotion my admiration and gratitude.

Long live marriage! Vive la France!

Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage more
Aha! Could this interference be what's behind the at times violent protests against same sex marriage? I mean we're talking US style mass marketing techniques via NOM, backed up by the Catholic Church who's organised it all:
We knew that our french opponents went to the US during winter 2012, but we had no formal clue of the benefits they got from their trip. 

But we now know that they use technology from OpusFidelis in direct marketing, quite common for you in the US I suppose (mass postcards mailings), but new here. 

And although the opponents here say they are non-political and non-religious, we know for sure, and have proofs, that the Catholic Church has organized everything and is behind the fight. more
Lovely. The Catholic church stirring up violent protests. Very Christian of them..... Same old bloody story too; the churches are the ones who have opposed gay rights every step of the way. I thought France, of all places, would be beyond the clutches of a corrupt church still stuck in the middle ages. Evidently not. It is the case I suggest, that us colonials are acting way more mature and civilised than the French.

Which brings me back to New Zealand. I note that the sky hasn't fallen over there. There haven't been any more Christchurch like earthquakes since the decision, and civilisation over there looks a lot more robust and intact than the basket case France is turning itself into.

And to the President of NOM, Brian Brown, what right to you have to appoint yourself the defender of civilisation, apart from in your own psychotic world? I'm sure I'd be right in responding as many Kiwi's do when confronted by snoty nosed twits from the northern hemisphere who think they know best for us down here: Fuck off.  (*to be read in a colonial voice*).

Just bought Star Trek tickets! OMG, OMG.....


Since it's getting advertised now I thought I'd look up the IMAX theatre in the city. David and I are both mad Trekies. Bought tickets for the 10th May. Worlds biggest IMAX 3D screen. Here's the IMAX trailer.

OMG I think I'm going to blow captain!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Recognise NZ gay marriages here - Greens

The fallout in Australia continues, after New Zealand lead the way in the Asia Pacific yesterday by legalising same sex marriage. I wonder how long it's going to be before the NSW state gov realises how much money NSW is losing by gays crossing the Tasman to be married? Especially from Sydney it's only a short flight. In fact Perth is much further away than NZ.

There's more than that though, as the dominoes seem to be lined up and falling. Now Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens are about the only sane ones in Canberra) is to push for those foreign marriages in NZ to be recognised here in Australia.
GAY and lesbian Australians who fly to New Zealand to get married could have their unions recognised at home if a bill to be put forward by the Greens is passed in parliament. 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said this morning she would introduce a bill in the Senate as soon as possible when parliament returned on May 14 that would allow international same-sex marriages to be recognised under Australian law. 

"Australian same-sex couples are now lining up to get married in New Zealand and the sad thing is they are not going to be recognised here,” Senator Hanson-Young told ABC News 24. 

"They shouldn’t have to leave their marriage at the customs gate. 

"Let’s recognise overseas marriage here in Australia.” more  
This looks like a rather sticky situation for the Canberra fossils politicians. If someone is legally married in NZ, then how can you not recognise that legal marriage here? Particularly with our countries so tied economically and politically? 

The fact is the polls for marriage equality are the same here as in NZ; about 60-70% support. New Zealand got it IMO because their political system is more representative of voters views. Here in Australia it feels like the pollies are being dragged kicking and screaming to it.

Unions take on mining industry

The CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) has bought out a new add. Perhaps with the election in mind later this year? I suppose it's aimed at Tony Abbott and his mob, but the Gillard gov has failed abysmally anyway with their so called mining tax that produced not one cent in revenue for the first period measured. So I guess it'll fall largely on deaf ears in Canberra.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that people are turning to others outside the main elected political parties to have their views represented. Unions took up the cause over WorkChoices when Howard was booted out. GetUp has taken off like a rocket with ground root support from people like me frustrated with the unrepresentative swill in the Capital. At least you get listened to by these people. You talk to the politicians and all you get is spin and bullshit as they tow the party line. 

A NEW TV commercial has turned the Minerals Council of Australia’s own words back against it in the latest move by unions to hit back at attempts by the mining industry to throw its weight around and reduce its obligations to workers and the community. 

With the Federal Election in September and the Federal Budget next month, the Minerals Council of Australia has gone into lobbying overdrive to undermine any attempts to have big miners put back a greater share of the mining boom into the Australian community. 

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s cheeky ad — featuring snippets from the MCA’s latest television commercial — calls out the MCA as corporate bullies who use insults and threats to get their way, leaving ordinary Australians as the losers. more

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Australia embarrassed by NZ success

I'm a dual citizen of both New Zealand and Australia, so I can get a bit confused sometimes. Both countries have a long history of friendly rivalry. However when New Zealand beats Australia at something (generally the Rugby Union) I always support New Zealand. I was born and grew up there, and those years will always be a part of me.

So in this latest NZ success, getting marriage equality before Australia I suspect will be the subject of some gloating on my part. Like, Ha! We won! All good natured of course....

It does seem though that the implications of the NZ marriage equality go beyond a bit of Kiwi gloating. Quite apart from the fact that the Australian Marriage Equality people find themselves "deeply embarrassed" by the Kiwi success, it appears that that success will also have financial effects on Australia as gay people fly across the Tasman and get married in New Zealand.
AME blamed Australia's political leaders for failing to support gay marriage and said the effect of New Zealand passing legislation first will mean that 'the world's attention will be on New Zealand's achievement, and Australia's corresponding failure'. 

The Australian campaign group also ran a survey to see how many Australian same-sex couples were planning to go to New Zealand to marry and found that 1,000 couples said they would. 

'Australia will lose a proportion of the estimated $700 million same-sex couples plan to spend on their weddings, as these couples spend their money in New Zealand instead,' said a statement from AME. more
To be honest, I've been losing interest in Australia's political leadership. They're so far out of kilter from being representative of our views on marriage equality, amongst other things. I'm starting to think the whole two party system here is the cause of this, maybe I'm wrong. New Zealand has proportional representation unlike Australia, and it's certainly served them well as far as this goes.

New Star Trek trailer

OMG, this looks utterly orgasmic man. 


New Zealand passes marriage equality bill

Today I am one very proud Kiwi. Last night the New Zealand Parliament passed the marriage equality bill, making it the 13th country in the world to do so, and the first country in the Asia Pacific region. The numbers were a thumping success to those in favour of gay marriage, defeating those against it 77-44.

This is very close to home for Australia now. NZ is just across the Tasman, only about a two and a half to three hour flight from Sydney (depending if you get a head wind or not). Both major parties in Australia have been caught with their pants down on the wrong side of history. Gillard and Abbott both look like unrepresentative fossils now. I wonder how much longer politicians here will stand in the way of what people want.

A video of when the vote was taken, and the story:

There were tears, hugs, and cheers of jubilation as politicians voted to legalise same-sex marriage last night.

Labour MP Louisa Wall’s bill passed its third reading 77 votes to 44 in front of a packed house. Those gathered broke into a waiata as the numbers were read out.

An extra screening room was set up in Parliament with people queuing outside hours before the debate even began.

MPs shared the time allotted for speeches and around the country people gathered around to watch Parliament TV as the historical vote took place.

The few opponents of the bill present last night, some who were praying during the speeches, left quietly once the final result was read.

Supporters headed out to party.

Green MP Kevin Hague was almost lost for words but said this was the culmination of 27 years of work since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1986. more
This add was in the campaign lead up to the vote, very well done I thought. 


See everyone, that's  how you do it!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

New Zealand about to pass gay marriage

I haven't been following this very closely and so didn't know how close the marriage bill over there was to becoming law. It seems though that New Zealand will become the first country in our region to legalise same sex marriage. Am feeling pretty good about that being a New Zealander myself.
New Zealand is expected to become the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage this evening as a bill to amend marriage law comes before Parliament for its final hurdle.

MPs will debate the biggest change to gay and transgender rights since homosexual law reform 25 years ago, with a historic vote on the third reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill scheduled for around 9pm.

Parliament is likely to back it into law by a wide margin, making New Zealand the first Asia-Pacific country to permit same-sex weddings. more

It's OK to be you

Boston Bombing - some perspective

It's indeed tragic what's happened in Boston, and all those affected deserve our sympathies and thoughts.

Aside from the actual tragedy, there's something else that I find disturbing about it all. Perhaps it's because it was a bomb that there's been given so much attention to the tragedy in our media here? I dunno. I've been pretty amazed however with the media saturation of the event here in Australia. Yes we're a very close US ally, and yes lots of US news comes our way because of the close ties we have with the US. But cripes, a bomb killing three people and injuring over 150 on the other side of the world is perhaps not deserving of some of the over the top media coverage?

Turns out I'm not the only one to ask this question. It's also being asked within the US itself. This is Andrea Ayers-Deets in Chicago, a very well written piece:
As news of the Boston Marathon explosions broke most, if not all, of our media coverage was disrupted as they broadcast live developments. As news trickled in and a clearer picture was available we were able to call it what it is, a bombing. Three people have lost their lives and over 150 people were injured, many seriously. We mourn this loss of life. This morning, I read of another bombing. Thirty-three people killed, 160 wounded in a series of morning explosions that went off in numerous cities. This too happened on April 15, but there was significantly limited coverage of this story. Why? Because these bombings happened in Iraq. more 
In fact I've seen nothing at all in the media here about the Iraq bombs, although I've not been digging. Instead the online main stream media screams headline after headline from the screen about the Boston bombings. So much so that I found it a bit strange. I mean we have a very multi-cultural society here in Australia, it's not like Middle East people living here wouldn't be interested.

He goes on:
Intolerance, violence, and hatred is perpetuated by the differences we create. How many degrees of separation can I put in between myself and everyone else? If I remove myself far enough from someone, do they cease to matter as much, or at all? As we mourn the loss of life in Boston and the terrible carnage that only a intolerance and hatred can breed, we must too mourn the loss of life that is caused by hatred and intolerance everywhere. Every time it happens, if I do not feel a significant sense of loss or sadness, what does that actually end up saying about me—about all of us? I don’t know. I would hate to think that it meant I was becoming used to seeing this carnage—used to seeing the horrific look on faces just because they didn’t resemble my own.

The Boston Marathon bombing brings us closer to the reality that so many experience every single day. Now is the time to reject violence everywhere. Now is the time to reject intolerance everywhere. We are all finite beings. We must see that the death of an eight-year-old little boy is a tragedy in Iraq, in America—anywhere.

Is this too idealist for the way the real world works? I don't know. Does that matter? Does that mean we shouldn't at least try to better understand one another? Isn't that what people who commit acts of violence prey upon? Our continued willingness to view one another with skepticism because they might look, think, act differently? Well, I reject that notion, and so should you because we can do more. We can certainly do better than this. more
Yes I totally agree. 

Perhaps I should add that the most stark contrast is with Pakistan. Where US drones fly into Pakistan airspace and kill people in an undeclared war. There's virtually no media coverage of that at all.
In public statements, the US states that there have been “no” or “single digit” civilian casualties.”[2] It is difficult to obtain data on strike casualties because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability, compounded by the obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan. The best currently available public aggregate data on drone strikes are provided by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), an independent journalist organization. TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children.[3] TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals. Where media accounts do report civilian casualties, rarely is any information provided about the victims or the communities they leave behind. This report includes the harrowing narratives of many survivors, witnesses, and family members who provided evidence of civilian injuries and deaths in drone strikes to our research team. It also presents detailed accounts of three separate strikes, for which there is evidence of civilian deaths and injuries, including a March 2011 strike on a meeting of tribal elders that killed some 40 individuals. more