Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Letter To The ACLU About The Camp Pendleton 8.

Dear ACLU,

I’m an American living in Australia, and I like to keep abreast of what is happening on the other side of the world.

I am particularly concerned at the way the prison system seems to be headed, with the lack of rights available for those incarcerated.

To that end, is there likely to be any action undertaken against the unlawful detention of the 7 marines and 1 sailor currently imprisoned at Camp Pendleton? Everything I’ve seen about this disgraceful situation highlights the dreadful conditions prisoners face around our great country. Solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, arms and legs shackled when the men so confined are out of their cells, and not one charge has been laid.

I would be more than happy to participate in an action to bring attention to this miscarriage of justice, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any on the ACLU horizon.

Please let me know what you guys are planning regarding this situation, as I know that you have the welfare of ALL prisoners of American (in)justice at heart.

Thanks in advance,


I was going to wait a bit longer to blog on this, as I prefer to wait 7 days for a response. However, I noticed over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rotti that the shackles have been stricken.

And about bloody time, too.

Somehow, I doubt that my literary skills have persuaded the ACLU to get involved, and I'm more than sure I won't get a response.

In any case, God be with these marines and sailor and whatever the outcome, may they be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. They are in my prayers.

As for the lefties who so love to bleat on about Gitmo and Abu Graibh, why are they so silent now?

In my opinion, it is incredibly unlikely that these men will get anything resembling a fair trial. They are, after all, members of the US military and were over in Iraq. Heaven forbid that something occurred in the theatre of war that was unpleasant and/or fatal for a non-US military person.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Bloody Immigrants.

Well, actually, not quite. It could happen, though.

Today's Hun carries a story about a group petitioning for the import of...... bumblebees!


Apparently, there is a school of thought that thinks that bumblebees would be good for pollinating crops, and therefore a Great Idea.

Okay, let's have a look at some of these other Great Ideas in Introducing New Species.

(note to lefties, this is not about European Man and his deleterious effect on the Indigenous Aboriginal)

Hmm. Off the top of my head, we have:
Cane toads
Indian mynahs
Prickly pear
European wasps
Fire ants

That's without thinking.

How about a littl bit of googling?

We can add deer, goats, feral bees, plague minnows, carp, water buffalo, black striped mussel, asian green mussel, northern pacific seastar, donkeys, starlings, rock doves (aka pigeons), rainbow trout, brown trout, crown of thorns starfish....

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

For those not in Australia, generally, these introduced species range from bloody nuisance to outright menace on the desirable neighbour scale.

With the amount of money spent trying to control these vermin we could keep the hospitals in shape and still afford Chairman Bracks' advertising budget.

Perhaps the simpletons who came up with this bright idea of importing yet another foreign animal should stop smoking cane toads and start getting inventive about ways to increase pollination success. Blue banded bees, for example are native, and have also been shown to be of use in agriculture.

And they look good, too.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The TMI Files. Minor Adjustments.

So I've been in the new job for 3 weeks now, and loving it. There has been some excellent training, and next week the real stuff begins. I'm doing consultancy stuff as a contractor, and as such am not on a wage. I'm operating on gasp!horror! commission. (Cue dramatic theme.)

While I'm thoroughly enjoying myself, Magilla is doing it a bit tough.

She's in care now for 5 days a week, and I will have to go out for work the occasional weeknight, but the longterm gains will eventually outweigh the shortterm pain.

And painful it is for her at the moment.

She is snarky in the mornings - when I finally get her into the WWE, her name will be The Procrastinato, but she'll make bucketloads of moola. She's that good and finding excuses. Either that or she'll be a lawyer. Nobody can find and exploit a loophole faster than Magilla.

She's also cranky in the arvo when I collect her from care. Enough so that when we got home yesterday, she was sent to her room to settle down.

Didn't happen.

Instead, she sat on her bed and just cried and cried.

So I went and sat down with her, and opened my arms. She crawled into my lap and kept crying.

When she finally stopped, we had a little chat about what was going on.

I asked if she was missing being with me (yes, she nodded)
I told her that I was missing her, too, and she nodded in response to that.
I explained again that I need to go to work, and she needed to stay with Mrs Carer, and she agreed with that. I got no complaints, which was unexpected.

We snuggled a bit more, then got back to the usual program of bath, dinner and bedtime.

This morning, there was more snark, followed closely by more clinging and crying.

When I look back at the past 3 weeks through her eyes, it is difficult.

Week 1: 5 days in care, then 2 days away from Mum due to a film shoot that she couldn't be a part of.
Week 2: 5 days in care, then the weekend with me.
Week 3: 5 days in care, then the weekend with me.

When you consider that previously she had 3 days in care, and 4 days with Mum (with the occasional break courtesy of visits away or a shoot she couldn't be there for) it's a bloody big change in a little person's life.

I'm anticipating more tears and tantrums over the next few months, but once we get into the swing of things, we'll adjust nicely.

Especially since I'm intending to buy her a dog for christmas.

Maybe a German Shepherd. Something that can be trained up with a small primate.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The TMI Files. Dumb Decisions and 20/20 Vision.

A couple of years back, going through a bit of a rough time, I was speaking with a friend of 15 years or so, and she commented to me:"Have you ever thought of looking over your shoulder at what you've contributed to the situation?"

As I replied to her, "Only every day."

Needless to say, I've not spoken to her since. It's a shame, because I felt we had a very good friendship, but obviously not as good as I thought.

So we move onwards to today......

Any close personal friend of mine will tell you I am waaaay too analytical, with the emphasis on anal. They will also tell you that I take things too personally at times, but so do we all.

They won't tell you that I have made some incredibly stupid decisions in my life. They are far to wonderful and diplomatic for that, and would only suggest that I've perhaps chosen the more challenging pathways.

That's only one reason why I love them :)

When I look at Magilla, and the upheaval that her existence has ensured for far more people than would be expected from some girl getting knocked up, I am amazed at how it's all worked out.

There has been the canyon in my relationship with my father; the friendships shattered because they could not bear the weight of my choices; the penury; the post-natal depression combining with a breakdown; the isolation, frustration and at times a crippling sense of abandonment from people I had mistakenly thought supported me.

And throughout it all, has been the struggle to raise my daughter as I saw fit. Without interference from all of those well-meaning people who've been there, done that, and therefore know better than you what is best for your child.

The cone of silence that parents labour under is heavy, and it's only through my closest friends that I've realised that the frustration, isolation, guilt and often anger towards your child and your life is normal.

So when I look back at the last few years, I can safely say that getting pregnant, having a child and then raising that child as a single parent is probably the dumbest of some seriously stupid decisions I've ever made.

And you know what?

It's also the best.

For all of the heartache and hardship we've been through (and will no doubt keep on going through), I'd do it all again the same way.


Because nothing beats the love of your child or for your child.

Nothing beats the lots of cuddles but no kisses ("I don't like kisses!")
The screeching of 'brakes' from the back seat as we drive around corners or the assistance in mashing potatoes, which often ensures twice the cleaning and half the food.
The smiles, the tantrums and sulking fits. The silly jokes (she's just discovered 'tricking') and the evolving conversational skills.

Hopefully logic and critical thinking won't be too far behind!

The pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days straight because she is refusing anything else, and ten litres of milk a week.

The black eye from a set-to with the cat with caused much consternation at the shops. No consternation for me, of course, but a little tacker with a shiner gets a lot of sideways looks. Especially when upon being asked about it I rolled my eyes and volunteered the information that the kid had been giving me the gyp lately and it was just one of those things.

That was a most politically incorrect thing to do, but sod it - I'm not interested in checkout chicks implying I beat my child up. Magilla has only ever has the occasional smack on the backside or the back of the hand. Never anywhere else.

In any case, she is so grounded and warm and funny and loving, not to mention fearless and spunk, that nobody would ever consider her a victim of anything except too much leeway.

So, yeah, I know my dad and a few others wouldn't be happy for me to do it over, but I would.

Without hesitation.

My nana's middle name is Grace, and I have innumerable cousins on that side of the family. Some of whom have the name Grace in there somewhere. Nana thinks that Magilla's middle name is Grace after her.

It's not, although I would never tell Nana that.

Grace is a gift from God. It is something we are given that we do not deserve, which is tempered with the Mercy we are shown whereby we do not receive what we justly merit.

She is my gift.

Friday, June 02, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Refugee boy in custody
Mark Dunn

A NINE-year-old refugee in need of urgent surgery is being held by Australian immigration authorities under guard and may be sent to Nauru or back to Papua New Guinea.

The boy was found with his parents on the excised territory of Saibai Island and has no automatic access to Australian legal assistance.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs yesterday said the boy would get medical treatment before being sent out of Australia.

But refugee advocates said the child had been moved to an undisclosed location after being held under guard at Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital on Sunday night.

The Afghan family, believed to be members of the Hazara community, left Port Moresby in an attempt to reach Australia and were found on Saibai in the Torres Strait about a week ago.

"The parents set off on this perilous journey in a tiny little boat precisely for this medical help," Asylum Seeker Resource Centre co-ordinator Pamela Curr said.

Ms Curr said Amnesty International and a Hazara community representative were denied access to the family at the Brisbane hospital.

She questioned DIMA's claim the family did not want to speak to human rights groups.

"What is happening to this family is the result of the legislation which makes it possible for the Government to refuse legal advice or representation to persons who arrive on Australian islands which have been excised," Ms Curr said.

"We remind DIMA that they are still human beings."

A DIMA spokesman said the boy had left hospital pending further treatment.

"The family will remain in alternative detention arrangements in Queensland while this further treatment is organised."

The emphasis is mine.

I must be missing the point of a country being a sovereign nation. Somehow, I doubt that if a family made their way to a country not run along our amazingly open and liberal lines, apparently in order to take advantage of our medical system, they would be permitted to land. Let alone be provided with free medical treatment and sustenance.

Of course, this is what makes Australia such a dreadful, discriminatory place.

We don't let them talk to refugee advocates!

Shame, Australia! Shame!

For The Currency Lad: A Papal Picture For Your Pleasure.

Earlier this week, I promised the Currency Lad my favourite photo of Pope John Paul the 2nd, taken on his tour of Australia back in 1986.

This was way before I realised that there is actually a God, but I've always loved this picture.

As an anecdotal aside, I can't recall the date, but I do recall I was late to work courtesy of JP2. He was trundling down Collins Street in his Popemobile and everything had slowed down to a nearly comatose pace. There were also people lining the streets waiting.

I waited too, got to wave to the Pope, and preceded on my way. It was also a beautiful day.

As for the picture above, I'm not very technologically minded, and I don't have photoshop. On the offchance that the text is illegible, here 'tis:
ABOVE: A papal wish comes true when Pope John Paul sees a kangaroo outside the Adelaide Festival Centre.

(From The Sun,Monday, December 1, 1986)

Cheers and I hope you enjoy this one!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The TMI Files. Food Fight At The Bogan Hotel. (Well, almost)

Today being thursday, I was feeling too lazy to cook, so after collecting Magilla suggested that old standby, Fish And Chips.

After receiving an enthusiastic affirmative, we went to the shop, ordered our cuisine (1 piece grilled flake, 1 piece of fried flake, minimum of chips), then proceeded home for a picnic on the loungeroom floor.

The fun all starts when we unwrap the food.

The Fat Cat has a liking for people food, so of course she gets to eat some of the fish. Of the other cats, they've tended to avoid fish and chips.

Not for much longer.

(Slight digression for you: the boys have nicknames due to their personalities and markings, so rather than just calling them M and P, they will henceforth be referred to as Keanu and Alex. M is good looking and somewhat dopey, just like Keanu's regular roles. P has a patch over his right eye that is eerily reminiscent of Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange. He's a bit strange, too, at times.)

On this occasion, Alex was outside, and the FatCat was waiting patiently for the food to get divided. Keanu was camped next to the heater, not quite sure what was going on. He is a bit slow, after all.

When he realised it was all about food, he had to join in the picnic, so around the paper on the floor were myself, the FatCat, Keanu and Magilla in that order.

The FatCat always gets some fish to eat, but she also likes to wait for it to cool down first. Since she wasn't eating her fish straight away, Keanu decided to help himself.

FatCat was fine with that - just don't try it when she's got roo in front her. That's a hanging offence.

Magilla was quite upset with Keanu pilfering the FatCat's food, so she had to supply more fish to the FatCat. I anticipated a blue between the cats, but it didn't eventuate.

I also didn't get much fish. I don't think Magilla did, either, but the cats are pretty happy with the result.

I'm just glad that there weren't three cats in at the time.