Hope? coming to cinema near you

Via Delia at biddyjournal, news of a movie called Hope, which tells the stories of Siev-x. Screening very soon !! At the Nova in Melbourne, and around the whole of Australia.

i referred to an article in New Matilda a while back, and they've since changed all their links: Tony Kevin wrote on the seventh anniversary of the tragedy, describing the heartfelt compassion in the Canberra memorial that so many people struggled to create.

"Each pole represents compassion, love and acceptance of the stranger Australian values that were in little evidence in Australia during the 2001 election campaign"

353 people on the boat .. only 7 made it to Australia.

(image from wikipedia, thanks :{

from desert to oasis

Time for some good news. i've just been reading Pitchfork Design .. where Sam talks of a new project up near Swan Hill; and her inspiration is this amazing tale of greening the desert in Jordan.

This video is so worth watching, from desert to fruit trees and oasis: "You can solve the problems of the world in a garden," says Geoff Lawton the permaculture artist behind the project.

.. and read up on Sam's projects too, she's doing amazing work rebuilding the gardens in schools around Victoria. go Sam!

Coked up aeroplane

Via Sydney Indymedia, news of a plane crashing with 3-6 tonnes of cocaine. Several people seem to believe that this plane "belonged" to the CIA; and also that the same plane had been frequently used to transport enemy combatants to Guantanamera Bay.

(Whole story was reported in 'daily Kos')

Can you imagine what the CIA would be doing with that much coke? When you follow the discussion, you find that a number of people are taken by the idea that the US govt is actually in charge of the illegal drug market. And that major banks are laundering cash from the whole thing.

Bizarre! i'm aghast and flobbergosted. Who would believe such things. Does this mean we can't trust our governments here in the West? But i thought we lived in a civil society, a democracy. Surely this is just paranoid ranting?

The government, that runs a war on drugs, supports a covert drug smuggling operation? But wouldn't that be hippo-critical ..?

don't tase me bro (remix)

One of the lowlights of '007 was the "don't tase me bro'' incident, which was converted into a brilliant remix (check in video); and plenty of re-remixes on the tube. Some commentators said he was an attention-seeking git; i prefer the term performance artist.

If only that dead Canadian guy had heard the song, he might have been able to rap out a quick defensive beatbox.

You have to be ready when they come to get you. And you too could make the most memorable phrase of the year. So what's
your catchphrase gonna be? And what kind of incident would you like to make the news?

Marching Powder - a ripsnorting read

Finally i've read a book that has nothing to do with terrorism or international politics. My very good friend Shanny lent me an extraordinary tale called "Marching Powder", the true story of an Englishman inside a Bolivian prison.

Ooh yeah, a true story. We love it.

So Thomas McFadden became famous because he started giving tours, and became the unofficial tour guide of San Pedro prison, in La Paz; Lonely Planet had the prison listed as a must-see destination mainly because of this guy's charming demeanour (and cocaine parties).

But it's not only tourists who pay their way into the prison .. the prisoners themselves have to pay an entrance fee into San Pedro - after they are sentenced. They then have to buy their own cell through the internal real-estate system!

.. there are restaurants and shops set up so that people can survive;
.. prisoners' families stay inside the prison because they can't live in the ruined outside economy without their breadwinner.
.. And the best cocaine laboratories are hidden away inside the prison.

It's plainly written, and very enjoyable, although painful and frightening in places. There's a lot you find hard to believe, and corruption drips off the page. i'd give it a big 8 star rating.

Apparently Brad Pitt is producing the film, due this year.
(more info:

gazillions of gigalitres

Just before new year, i was listening to the heaviest rain i'd heard in melbourne for years. Such a delicious sound. i revelled in the delights of pounding water.

But of course, most of that water was going down many drains into the bay, because we don't have a huge embedded system to catch, keep and recycle storm water.

The smart guys at the top of town want to throw billions of dollars at private companies, to build a desalination plant which is going to use coal-fired electricity, add pollution and greenhouse gases, and line the pockets of those private investors for years to come

.. when research shows you're so much better off catching what falls out of the sky.

(um, evidence, michael? Well, Bob Brown and the Greens say so. Average households receive 8 times the water they consume, apparently.)

Here's Bob talking to a rally against desalination.

Bill Mollison once said that all the solutions are there already. It's just the political will, and getting past the stakeholders.

One of my dreams for '08 is that the people of Victoria will demand intelligently innovative, sensible and truly sustainable solutions to the water crises, and that we'll be rewarded with the best new system in the world.

And i reckon that means we collect and recycle storm water.

Oh look, here's a bunch of sane and clear-thinking locals investigating the whole DeSal/PPP setup (or maybe they're commie free radicals?). Apparently we pay for the desalinated water even if it turns out we don't need it.

(The weirdest thing .. the herald sun editorial agreed with me.)

1953 Coup d'Iran

i'm sure you know already that the uk/us partnership interceded in 1953 to overthrow an Iranian democracy. However, many people in the US do not know; so there's a group called Just Foreign Policy who are touring the states in an attempt to educate fools and eradicate ignorance.

They put together a video explaining how the 1953 oil coup happened. Definitely worth watching for the background info.

Those wretched jumped-up baton-twirlers and lever-twisters in the White House of Bush aren't thinking of invading another sovereign nation, are they? Surely not .. are they completely moronosic (sic) ?

cruelly insane irony

This is so cruelly insane it's almost not funny
"nelson waits for apology" - i say keep him waiting, ooh, eleven years?

Clearly mr half-nelson has a case for compensation.

Generations of doctor-turned-politicians, their brains and hearts stolen by ignorance; .. cruelly spurned by the staffers of inconsiderate party leaders whose compassion extends primarily to the underprivileged.

oh the hurt, the indignity, the suffering!
(irony, nay sarcasm, fully intended)

Why do people of reasonable intelligence have to behave like blithering idiots?

i wobble with anger and confusion.
Thank you Kevin for your compassion and good grace.

i refuse to let the petty, mean-spirited, blindingly incompetent opposition party ruin such a beautiful day. i say hold on to the power of truth, grace and love.

Just ignore the idiots. Rise above the fear and ignorance. Yah.

(says me who vented in a blog post. honest to blog! Contradiction?)

mmmm Sorry at Last

Thank you Kevin for having the guts to use the S words - Sorry and Stolen.

Thank you to the authors of "Bringing them Home", the 1997 report which received such a stony and stubborn silence for so long.

Thank you to all the people who have cared about justice for the Stolen Generations.

Everyone i spoke to cried yesterday. i had tears welling up all day.

Yes, there are problems our nation must face; yes there are people who continue to weasel their way around the facts, or who stare into the face of pain and refuse to see it. Of course, there's no chance of short-term solutions. But at last, the whole freaking parliament has begun to open up to the reality of what happened in our past.

I'm staying focussed on the positive, me. Nothing can spoil such a day. Pauline's gone, Jeanette's fossil-brained hero is out of the Lodge, and Kevin is at the helm. Go Kev.

What about this? A man who leads his opponents into compassion, rather than into fear or abusing them! Kevin pulls out the understandascope:

Mr Rudd acknowledged that some Australians were still opposed to saying sorry.

"I say to non-indigenous Australians -- imagine for a moment if this had happened to you," he said.

My favourite moment was when he spoke about Nungala Fejo, and had asked what she would like him to say.
A sombre Mr Rudd told an emotional story about an Aboriginal woman, Nungala Fejo, who was taken from her family outside Tennant Creek in 1930s and never saw her mother again.

"I asked Nanna Fejo what she would have me say today about her story. She thought for a few moments, then said that what I should say was that all mothers are important.

"And she added: 'Families -- keeping them together is very important. It's a good thing that you are surrounded by love and that love is passed down the generations. That's what gives you happiness'."

How long since a leader of the nation used the word love on the floor of parliament?

mmmmmm, sweet honest compassion is such a joy and a relief.

Much better than mean-spirited wrangling with words and evasion etc ..

Lots of people writing about this one ..

mmm, i enjoyed reading all these people and more

(Full Text over at The Age, plus some extended videos on youTube, and the abc has plenty)

music video from UK

Here's a song i think you'll like.
From the xxteens (via imageyenation), a warning. With a funky beat.
It's called "How to avoid becoming a terror victim".

The accompanying video (below) could be hilarious, unless you are Easily Scared, or on the lookout for Seditious Material; in which case it would be Terrifyingly Insulting to your Sensitivities. Beware: attempted humour and satire.

And this is how i felt after watching the video.

I feel a bit nervous
I feel a bit mad
I feel like a good time that's never been had
I feel a bit fragile
I feel a bit low
Like I learned the right lines
But I'm on the wrong show
(I'm Living in the Sensitivities.)

Best lines in the xxteens lyric?

"store a decent amount of cash someplace in case ATM's malfunction"
"try to fly on wide-bodied planes, terrorists often avoid hijacking them"

But they sound better in the song than they look in text.

Hope your whole week goes really well.
i'm staying indoors.

Next up, we need a song called "How to avoid becoming a terror suspect". Any ideas?

Billy Bragg keeping the faith

It was a joy to hear Billy Bragg on 3RRR this morning as i drove to work. His new songs are moving and poignant, heartfelt as always, although he's mildly smoothed out his rough accent for the singing. (Interview podcasted via libsyn, and playable right here:

He had some words of encouragement for people who are expecting a lot of the New Rudd Labo(u)r experience. In twelve months, you will all be disappointed. You will say things like, "Rudd's no different from Howard". He's seen it before, when they finally kicked out Thatcher, and were lumped with the oh-so-promising Tony B.

But do not give up hope, and do not become cynical.

i don't know why people are expecting much, remember Bob Hawke, anyone?
What a let-down. People thought the world would change overnight, even Bob did.
.. and it hurt so much when they chose to govern from the centre(right).
But you'd rather Keating to Howard in retrospect, wouldn't you!! Well i would.

Jude reminded me the other day of a joke doing the rounds back in 1996. People were saying, "Oh there's no difference between Keating and Howard."

The response goes: "Well yes, you've got a small bucket of sick (Keating), versus a whole swimming pool full of the stuff."

Billy also urged us not to bucket Peter G too much, because he has crossed the line from activist to politician. That's what happens when you make this choice. Political change is a slow game, and politics is the art of compromise. "You've just got to make sure that the compromise is on your terms."

His strongest point? Cynicism is the real enemy. Do not spend all your energy carping about how bad the new government is. Get Active, and Do Something. He said. Hold firmly onto your belief in the possibilities of change. Yeah!

Interviewer's most embarrassing moment: "Have you played here since your first tour in 1984?"
Billy: "Ah, yes i've come here for every album."
Interviewer backtrack: "Of course, of course."

One of those classic questions that pops out and you instantly regret it.
"Of course, i was at that concert."
Oh boy was she blushing.

While i'm waiting for the 3RRR podcast to emerge (fingers crossed), here's the man talking about the need for a British Bill of Rights (quick comment).
(Interview podcasted via libsyn)

.. and the well-meant "All you fascists (are bound to lose)" .. a bit repetitive but catchy.