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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hillary for President? (some thoughts from Stephen)

I just finished reading Hillary's memoirs.

I developed a real liking for the lady in the first half of the book, but felt myself asking questions after reading the second half. The Keneth Star sham investigations of the Whitewater affair that goes on and on dominates the book. The Clinton's bought into a property development well before their presidency and it went horrably wrong due to the manager of the development being shifty (he ended up doing time for his sins). The Republican's got good mileage out of it though and kept the focus off the main game.

The mediaid (medicare like) concept she tried to get up with Bill in the first 100 days also fell over due to the dominance of capitalism in the US - too many doctors and insurers stood to loose too much money if there was a govt run health fund. Their lobby power was imense. The Republican's did everything except shoot Bill Clinton (perhaps that shows some development on their collective part).

Hillary and Chelsea got to do a heap of overseas travel and meet lots of interesting people. I love a quote from Nelson Mandella on p480 talking about the down times in peoples lives. ""If our expectations, if our fondest prayers and dreams are not realised" he said "then we should all bear in mind that the greatest glory of living lies not in never falling (failing) but in rising every time you fall (fail). The parenthesis is my add.

If we measured the success of a president on the running of the country and not on his personal (?) affectations, team Clinton was a success. Jobs up, interest rates down, productivity up, aid up, debt way down...

Personally I think Hillary knows what she is in for and will weather the Republican storm better than a green Obarma who is young and has a family to care for. But Hillary also needs to get herself some humility. The book seems to have a lot of bragging in it.

I also feel for the people who went to jail for the Clintons by remaining silent under Star's witch hunt. Such was their belief in the democrat ways and not wanting the loss of their Democrat president.

Now to read more about Obarma.

Although I would have thought the Republicans had no chance after the way Bush (shrub) has run the place, my US friends tell me McCain can still get up - it will all depend on who he takes as his running mate. He just needs someone from the South that the fundies will vote for.

Apparently when Johnson gave American black people the vote in 1965 with the voter rights bill, the Republicans still held the senate. LBJs democrats expected the vote to be tight and did a lot of swooning of the soft Republican senators. When the bill went through with only 2 southern senators against, LBJ worked out that he had been diddled. His aids came into the oval office to tell him the good news only to find him crying on his desk. He said he had just given the South to the Republicans for the next 50 years. So strong was the anti black sentament in the South that Southern Democtaric voters turned Republican. Anything can Happen in the US of A.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ross56 writes on Memory

I sit here with furrowed brow, pondering the gift of being a parent. Whilst allowing my mind to wonder over memories, both recent and those long past, I quizzically cock my head to one side as I come to observe that some of these memories are pictured within my mind as dusty, whilst others are quite clean. Thinking in visualisation form has no worth of revelation for me, but the idea that I have begun to age my memories, with deposits of dust disturbs me greatly, as I have just now sat bolt upright.

The ramifications are clearly disturbing. Think about it, does this indicate that as I mature, my memories could become grainer mind flicks? As the years pass by, the earliest of my memories may descend to silent movies! With the later ones being talkies, then black and white leading on to colour, and maybe, if I’m lucky, even wide-screen LCD in the end.

I have now become conscious of painful discomfort as I am typing, and my train of thought about inviting my mates around to remember football on my new wide-screen high tech recollections has been abruptly broken. The evident reason for the pain is my extra furrowed brow, the unbalancing head cock, and the spinal distortions of the bolt upright position.

Now, post pain, I can resume the previous train of thought. Parenting, children, gifts, and memories. Therefore I will continue be saying that my children do, and will, have their own memories. What I find concerning, is the way that they may remember, because of my frustration with the issues of visual memory I have mentioned. In-fact the element of frustration in it’s-self, does increase the profoundness of ones memories. We discover something in our memories, and if it really cheeses us off, then it seems to me that it is much more vivid.

I remember frustration as a child quite vividly. While I suspect many people back then were wrestling with understanding far reaching issues that required great study and wisdom such as concepts of the human condition. I on the other hand, suspected that our family where human, and our condition was clearly poverty. Therefore, I wanted the simple contradictions of life answered. You know, the one’s that crapped all of us off, and will continue to crap us off until the time arrives when we must all leave this world.

We come to understand that these things have no answers, because at some time in all our lives the contradictions that we all collectively have become aware of, yet by way of some kind of unspoken rule, we refuse to acknowledge.

You know what they are, be honest, we all do. This list of “irritating-stuff ups” will be laid out for you later, but so you can understand my feelings you have to understand how this element of irritation developed within me at an early age.

Before we go any further with this, be warned that the following memory is in black and white. Do not try to adjust your perception.

Growing up poor was all right in the early days. We had nothing and therefore, we had nothing to suffer the loss of. Everything that I personally believed was necessary for life; at the time, were simple things, given to us all.

For example, long sweet smelling spring grass that buzzes with life if you lay ear deep in it, on your back, and listen carefully. A brown dog that lay at your feet, being both centennial and friend, and the roast chicken that you got to eat only at Christmas time. Then some guy invented the television, and everything changed.

The Malone family lived next door to our family, and they were the first ones in our town to get television. After dinner on hot summer nights, I can clearly remember asking dad if I can leave the table and go outside. Once I had received his persuasive nod of approval, I would gather up my plate and cup, in one swift move, and begin to run towards the backdoor whilst dropping my dishes over the sink to begin my nocturnal education.

Shinnying up the scarred wooden corner-post of our back veranda, I would pull myself onto the rusted iron veranda roof, and bound across its red blemished corrugation, to find the special spot where I would sit.

There it was. Apart from looking through the clutter of the old fat peach tree, the view was perfect. The only television in town. The Malone family lounged before it, taking in its splendour, with the knowledge that they had become the elite.

Little did they know that another was perched above them all, stealing their private wonder.

Beneath the deep purple night sky. In absolute stillness, caused by the wonder of the vision before me, I began to see the world play out beneath me. I could not hear any story sound, but I saw a new magical world. Shows like, the Andy Griffith show, and I love Lucy, leave it to beaver, and my very own favourite, superman.

My own hero superman was the first to let me down, and thus the contradictions of life began to clutter my young mind. I promised you a list of the contradictions we all know but will not acknowledge, so I will start with him.

I was in my usual balcony seat, watching the Malone television. It was an episode of superman. I had taken my pop gun up onto the roof to help my hero by repeatedly popping the guns cork in rapid-fire style at the bad guy’s.

Superman stood there as shot after shot from the gangsters revolver bounced off superman’s powerful chest with a display of an outpouring of sparks. Whilst my mind raced with visions of, “more powerful than a locomotive.” I laughed aloud. The bad guy used all his bullets up. In frustration he hurls the empty gun at superman. Superman’s eyes widen as if surprised, then a quick duck under the flying gun, “boy that was close.”

What the…? Had I just seen my hero blindly allow bullets to bounce off his chest, with a smirk on his face. However, he panicked and ducked because an empty gun was thrown at him. My young mind, spinning in turmoil, trying to understand what had just been seen. Nevertheless, I could not comprehend any rational explanation for superman’s unintelligent action.

I had overlooked the obvious contradictions like, he had underpants over his stretchy suite, and the fact that the people he worked with were clueless fools, because all he had to do was put on a cheap pair of glasses, with the lenses missing, and none of them could recognise him. Yes, I had let all of those little faux pas slide, but this one, I could not! I never watched superman again… In all truthfulness, I did watch superman, but I was determined, in my young anger, that I would refuse to smile at any point during the show.

for the rest of this story, click here
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Friday, February 01, 2008

Mother Rectoress on the need to Limit Choices for Children

I definately feel as parents, we have an obligation to limit choice in a society that says more choice is better. There is comfort in structure and children can certainly do without the pressure of making the right choice. Try it with a toddler, they just can't do it. Nor should they. Just because you can get it (what ever it may be - the latest and greatest) does not necessarily mean you need it and the one you did choose does not have to be the may be just what you did need.

I was chatting with my mum today about diet. When I went to school we had half a sandwich for recess and a full one with the same filling for problem. No lollies, snacks, treats, nothing. To drink, we had water and more water. As adults, both my brother and I love the basics, good vegetables, fruit and meat. Neither of us go for dessert. Teaching our kids to accept limited choices, allows them to practice limits and later live comfortably with them. This does not mean depriving for the sake of a lesson learned. It's simplifying for the happiness of all.

In a similar vein, choice is connected with distraction. Simplify life, cut out the distraction and perhaps you'll reflect and ponder a little more...notice a little more. We are so trained at distraction through radio, tv, shopping, work and activity, we don't allow ourselves ever to get bored, disatisfied, and so don't look for new and creative ways to see and do things.

When I was in America I could not order a salad sandwich without being offerred a choice of breads, butters and dressing. When I asked for just a "normal"/ plain salad sandwich they were befuddled.