What do you think should have won the 2010 Eurovision song contest?
Archive for May, 2010
I think that Bicycle Victoria is an excellent organisation that does some fantastic and effective lobbying work and generally does a very good job of encouraging cycling in Victoria.
However, they are an inherently conservative organisation – they have to be – and I think that increasingly it is time there was an alternative, more radical voice.
This morning The Age reported that fines for cyclists went up in November quite dramatically. Frankly, I think that is utter bullshit and symptomatic of a nanny state (I need to find another phrase for that) that is hooked on the revenue gleamed from fines. Australia must have one of the most punitive fining regimes in the world.
I’ve no problem with it being illegal to ride a bike without a helmet, but a $149 fine is utter utter bullshit and it is time that we had a more radical voice for cyclists out there.
What alarms me is that BV are supportive of this move:
But the lobby group … says it is right that cyclists now face serious fines.
I’m a big believer in democracy and that there must be many voices in a society clamouring to be heard. What we need is a more radical bicycle lobby group that works hard to get a high profile and advocate for a relaxing of the laws for cyclists.
Many of my cyclist brothers and sisters out there will disagree with me. I think that’s a good thing. What we’re lacking at the moment is alternative voices, ones saying that a $292 fine for going past a tram at walking speed is utter crap, that there needs to be some flexibility in the law. Of course cyclists shouldn’t be going past trams at 30km/h – most cyclists are very pro-public transport – but to interpret the law so dogmatically is going too far.
So cyclists, let’s radicalise! Let’s build a city that is genuinely pro-cycling.
…I’ll build the website for you.
I’m a Hawthorn Football Club faithful. I was born that way and these days I’m a proud, passionate and paid-up member of the club.
I used to love Dermott Brereton so much. The 1989 Grand Final is one of the all time greats and Dermott’s effort that day (playing with a broken rib) galvanised the fighting spirit of Hawthorn.
But please Dermott, shut up. You haven’t said anything constructive for some time.
First there was the insider account of the Brendan Fevola/Lara Bingle affair where he felt compelled to let the media know that Bingle knew Fev was married during their affair (something Bingle denied knowing). The woman had just had some pretty compromising photos splashed all over the papers that she was obviously pretty upset about, and comments like this only added to her humiliation.
Then, just when the Hawks are looking like their season couldn’t get any worse and are obviously suffering from a serious lack of morale, he comes out with some shit about how Hodge should be captain, not Mitchell and that there is a big rift in the club.
Is that in anyway helpful?
Honestly Dermy, are you just a bit upset because no one listens to you anymore?
So for blurting out far too much meaningless crap of late, you are: Jerk of the Week.
I am one of the growing number of people completely disillusioned with the Australian Labor Party at both state and federal levels. The reasons for this are many but perhaps top of the list has been the gradual decent into management politics. This is the politics of branch stacking, focus groups and a profound a lack of leadership.
By management politics, I mean a political style that is gear towards managing the electorate to ensure that you are re-elected. It’s about politics for the sake of staying in power, rather than to improve the state or nation. It leads to popularism and a lack of leadership or conviction and panders to the lowest common denominator. It’s a politics where Government doesn’t bother having the debate and convincing the electorate, it just rolls over. The Federal Government’s rollover on asylum seekers is one example, the Victorian Government’s ban on suspended sentences is another.
There doesn’t seem to have been a lot of talk in the media about the Victorian Government essentially adopting the Opposition’s policy on the banning of suspended sentences which is disappointing. It’s a difficult and complex issues that is easily made highly emotive by victim’s groups and knee-jerk reactions lead to poor assumptions.
John Champion has an opinion piece in The Age today:
It needs to be clearly understood that sentencing is more often than not an extremely complex process. Judicial officers are expected to impose sentences that properly reflect the gravity of the offending by providing appropriate punishment and denunciation of the offender, deterrence to the offender from future offending, or towards other like-minded potential offenders, while providing opportunities for the offender’s rehabilitation. The process that involves the synthesis of these and other factors must be reasoned, totally transparent, and capable of standing up to scrutiny and a sense of satisfaction from many different sources, not least of which is the victim and his or her family and friends, the offender, the community, and relevant courts of appeal. Judges and magistrates often say sentencing is the most gruelling and heart-rending part of the job they do.
The characterisation of judges as ‘soft’ on criminals is just wrong and to legislate a judge’s discretion away is to pander to reactionary attitudes rather than stopping and having the discussion about the merits of suspended sentencing.
The greatest victims of crime are often criminals themselves. If we are to have any chance of rehabilitating people so that they don’t offend again, then gaol is the worst place for them.
Gaols are criminalgenic – few people leave gaol and become law abiding citizens. Whilst I accept that prison is occasionally the only real option for someone, we should be doing all we can to keep people out of prison. Our prisons are expensive to run and already over crowded.
The Brumby Government needs to show some leadership on this issue and have the debate. They need to make sure that the population understands that a suspended sentence isn’t a ‘soft’ approach at all, but a carefully measured one that ensures that the needs of all parties, including the victim’s, are met.
So Conroy’s proposed ISP level filter of the Internet just won’t work for a range of technical reasons. Whether or not it is effective in blocking websites, it will not stop one person getting access to child pornography so is therefore an awful waste of money. And that’s just the practical problem with it. The principled problem with it is that, inevitability, the filter’s scope will be broadened at some stage one way or another as history has shown us for just about every other breach of a population’s civil liberties. Civil Liberties are called that because they protect you from government so it is always dangerous to compromise.
But there is no doubt that the proliferation and normalisation of pornography is directly linked to it being available through the Internet. I think pornography is damaging to both women and men. It is even more damaging when it becomes normalised and is no longer challenged the way it should be.
Many opponents to the filter are saying that this money would be more effectively spent on educational initiatives. Teach ‘the kids’ how to avoid this sort of material. Increasingly I think that idea is also laughable. Young people are intuitively better at using computers and the internet than older people because they have always had it and just ‘get’ it.
What needs to be taught is respect for women and respect for yourself. Young people need to understand that pornography is not healthy and need to be given the tools to negotiate the mountains of contradictory and confusing emotions and responses they are experiencing. They need to be given guidance on how to deal with these feelings and thoughts and how to channel them in a healthy, constructive way which includes an intimate awareness of the role gender plays.
Sure, the Internet has made pornography freely and easily available. But it’s not the Internet’s fault, the internet is inherently neutral. It’s the patriarchy that is to blame and needs to be challenged and no amount of filtering the internet will do that.