Showing posts from September, 2006

Prahran: Lib's Sustainable Planet Forum

Holding a public meeting in the midst of an election campaign is an exercise that can be frought with danger: it's hard to hide the vast swathes of empty seats that are a testament to public apathy, and the chances of an ambush by supporters of 'the other guy' are high. Local lib Clem Newton-Blog has done just that, and with an extra degree of difficulty to boot. Last Tuesday the Prahran Town Hall played host to the grandly titled Sustainable Planet Forum 2006. Okay, so in essence it was a campaign event for the Liberals, but there was a lot more than mere tub-thumping going on. The panel of seven included a few Libs ( David Davis , Greg Hunt), but also a few from left field, such as weatherman-cum-environmentalist Rob Gell , public transport guru Paul Mees, spokespeople from Environment Victoria and the Wilderness Society (they even had a table at the back of the room) and everyone's favourite Catholic funnyman, Father Bob Maguire . As with most public meetings

Review: Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear, & the Selling of American Empire

The fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001 has spawned the release of a plethora of films and documentaries about that fatal day. In United 93 and World Trade Centre we are exposed to the detail - sometimes excruciatingly so - of the disaster, from the death of innocents to the stories of heroism and the noble struggle of good against evil. These films, however, are a-historical, in that they make no attempt to locate the events they portray in a broader context or historical narrative. Instead they are disaster films in the classic sense: a freak, unexplained events disrupts the otherwise ordinary lives of the antagonists. Hijacking Catastrophe takes a different approach. A compelling documentary, it posits September 11 not as a climax, nor a freak event, but as an enabling act, one that allowed the otherwise thwarted ambitions of a clique of foreign policy wonks to become reality. Read the rest at The Program.

Vale, Alexander Sharp

Last Friday my grandfather passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 81. His funeral was on Monday, and I was invited to give the eulogy. My grandfather was a special man - and an occasional reader of this blog - and as a tribute to him, I've decided to republish my eulogy for him. I'll miss you, Zaida. A Eulogy for Alexander Sharp (1924-2006) Every person has just one life, and they owe it to themselves to make the most of it. My Zaida certainly did that. I saw my Zaida through a grandchild’s eyes, watching him in awe as a larger than life figure and the source of all wisdom. He was a man who received so much naches in the achievements of his children and grandchildren, that it was as if he had achieved all these things himself. Zaida was the patriarch of a family, a role that I know he was proud to play, with his three children and nine grandchildren carrying on his legacy. Sorting through my grandfather’s personal papers since his death, I came across a f

Loony left and Israel

I had this one all set to go last week, complete with a cute-but-cocky EXCLUSIVE tag at the top. The violent radicalism of socialist anti-Zionism on campus has come to the fore this past month in the context of protests against Israel's war against Hezbollah. Then The Age went and published the story : The Socialist Alternative tactics are outlined in an in-house publication. Discussing an incident at Melbourne, when a socialist stall was overturned, Daniel L. says the best response is to "immediately make a huge fuss — denounce them loudly, screaming ‘you're a murderer, you support George Bush's war, you support killing innocent people in the Middle East, you're fascist scum' and so forth. When we did this it had a huge polarising effect with people coming up afterwards to show their support. Often this was from the point of view of freedom of speech, rather than a willingness to support fighting Israel. But that doesn't change the fact that it is e