venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
I haven't been following politics very closely these past six months or so (brainfog+politics=much confusion) but I am cackling with glee over Prime Minister Julia Gillard's speech in response to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott:

"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. And the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever. The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the house of representatives, he needs a mirror."

Oh, you go, Julia!!!

The leader of the Greens, Christine Milne, later made very good comments on the double standards in politics; Abbott whined about Labor playing the 'gender card'.

This comes after shock jock Alan Jones was finally sat on for making nasty comments - he was giving a speech to a Liberal Party lunch and joked that Gillard's father, who had died a few weeks earlier, must have died of shame. People laughed. Now advertisers have pulled out of his program and Jones is whinging that he's a victim of 'cyber-bullying'. I do not think that term means what you think it means, you nasty bit of work who is finally being called on your nastiness.

Oh, did I mention that Abbott claimed that the government should have 'died of shame' already? This had no relation to Jones' remark, no relation at all. You utter twit.
venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
Just watched John Pilger's new film, The War You Don't See, which includes footage from the Gaza flotilla raid, an interview with Julian Assange and a statement from former U.S. soldier Ethan McCord on the 2007 Apache attack which left two Iraqi children badly injured (very distressing.)

At the end of the film, Pilger calls on fellow journalists to 'be the voice of people not power.'

I always thought it was the job of the journalist to ask the awkward questions. Apparently not (Fox News does not count as journalism, as far as I know.) I wish we had more journalists like Pilger.


venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

I have twelve Dreamwidth invite codes! Comment if you'd like one.

*
My local Borders was supposed to be the only one closed down. Now the other three within driving distance (aka less than an hour away) are all being closed.

I AM NOT HAPPY.

“Through these progressive restructures we are moving the business towards a more sustainable model,”  administrator Steve Sherman said.

And 500 people will be out of work. Wonder if he's ever read Weasel Words.

Apart from the book exchange, this leaves me with one little Dymocks and possibly one Angus & Robertson (who are screwed right along with Borders, so we'll see about that one.) And I hardly ever go to those stores anyway. Why? Because all they have are the well-publicised new releases and bestsellers, which are rarely the books I want to read. There is a QBD store about half-an-hour away ... they're small and mostly have bestsellers but they have some fairly random stuff, as well.

Congratulations, Book Depository! You're likely to get the majority of my book-buying business from now on.

*

In relation to the welfare wank of last week, I bring you an encouraging letter, showing some understanding of disability. I don't have a disabled parking permit (for various reasons it's irrelevant for me) but I really appreciated the overall message here.

April 4, 2011

Nosy parkers

Ross Langford-Smith makes a common mistake concerning disabled parking permits (Letters, April 2-3). He assumes he is qualified to assess holders of the permit just by looking at them.

Looking at a person does not tell you if they have a heart condition, a brain aneurysm, diabetes and a multitude of other medical issues. Mr Langford-Smith also reveals a prejudice against young people as if they don't get sick or disabled.

There is no logic in this thinking. It leads many people to become self-appointed parking police bailing up young people with health problems. They demand to know private details of their medical condition expecting answers and explanations.

Often they can be aggressive in their demands. Yet if the same private medical details were demanded of them by complete strangers they would be horrified.

I agree that the system should be monitored but what should we do with all the people with no medical training who assail people with permits.

We need to look after disabled people, especially the young ones. They have a long life of pain and suffering ahead of them. They deserve better than constant demands to justify holding a permit by complete strangers.

Gail Suttor Hornsby

You mean you can't tell if someone's disabled just by looking at them?! *gaspshockhorror* Lies, lies, I say!

I'm sure the medical profession would be fascinated to meet these people who can diagnose disabilities of all kinds (or lack thereof) with a single glance. All those years of education, all that expensive equipment, and there are times when they still have to admit defeat ... they just needed a know-all!

There was a comment on one of the 'welfare reform' articles last week (I can't find the specific one) with a comment that made me want to facepalm repeatedly. I may not have the exact wording correct but it's pretty close:

I see young people who are on disability pensions walking around like there's nothing wrong with them!

Yeah, I leave you to contemplate the epic stupidity of that comment.

But as the above letter shows, not everyone is an idiot. Nice to know.

 

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

Mmm, so I haven't posted for a few days which was partly due to headaches and trouble with sleeping but also because on Thursday, I read an article about the Opposition Leader's proposed welfare reforms for the long-term unemployed and the disabled. I was so enraged and upset I was almost in tears. I thought about posting with specific quotes from the article and why they were so utterly stupid but I couldn't write anything that didn't descend into a profanity-laden screed pretty quickly. Which is basically what those proposals deserve but I don't think anyone on my flist needs to read that.

Anyway, I thought I'd wait to see what the responses were and was pleasantly surprised. While there was a strong dose of 'BOOTSTRAPS!' (if you've ever witnessed welfare wank, you know what I mean) from the conservative corners, the majority of editorials and letters seemed to be a combination of:

"Just how stupid and short-sighted are you?"
"Oh for fuck's sake, not
again."
"Planning on kicking a few puppies and sending some widows and orphans to the workhouse, are you?"

That was rather refreshing.

I would dearly love to be able to work, to travel, to have relationships, to have a somewhat 'normal' life. Instead, I face the prospect of being disabled by chronic illness for years to come, possibly for the rest of my life. My efforts to force myself to act 'healthy' and to be a 'productive member of society' led to my worst relapse and today my overall health is lower than it was before said relapse. I could maybe, maybe do a couple of hours office work a couple of times a week (and you sure as hell can't live on that). That's if it was close to home, the weather was cooperating, I didn't get a cold, didn't have a bad night, etc, etc, etc. And this is why I don't do volunteer work, either. I am not reliable. That is not my choice but it is reality. And being insulted and sneered at by people who have no compassion and no fucking idea what it's like really doesn't help. At all.

I think my favourite letter (and there were some good ones) was this one:

It's a cheap shot to demonise those on sickness benefits

In my experience, avoiding the need to take up Centrelink sickness benefits or the disability pension requires a salary high enough before the illness or accident to bed down some decent savings, a family that will support you, take you in and cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and enough savvy regarding financial products to arrange appropriate health and income protection insurance (''Take dole away in boom areas, Abbott says'', March 31).

These circumstances apply to a very lucky few. We should be thankful that our society has a safety net for those who are not so lucky, even if it is a paltry $670.90 a fortnight.

Demonising those on benefits as ''untreated'' malingerers is unfair and, in my experience, wrong. Most would love a chance to work, increase their income and develop the sense of self that comes from working.

Christine Cupitt Hornsby

Thank you, Christine. 

This was a positively sedate post compared to what I've been writing in my head the last few days. I think I'm remembering how to breathe now.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

Voted today, not that my vote makes a damn bit of difference in this electorate which is highly conservative (we're a little out of place here. It's a good idea not to bring up politics or religion unless you know the person really well.) As expected the Coalition is winning by a landslide and Labor is fucked. And no wonder. I think Keneally is a decent sort but NSW Labor has been an utter mess for so long and people are sick of it. I don't think the Coalition are likely to be any better (and I certainly wouldn't vote for them) but maybe this will give Labor the kick in the pants they need to sort themselves out. Here's hoping.

*

Before going to vote, we headed out to a lingerie store that specialises in bras for difficult-to-fit sizes. I'd been there once before, seeking a strapless bra for my bridesmaid gown and wound up with a 8F which made me cringe. I put on a little weight after that and was able to stick with my favourite Fayreform bras in 10E ... but they are now in need of replacing, I've lost some weight, and I am now tiny in the torso again. But large in the breasts. *sigh* There was a Fayreform sale and I was hoping ... but the 10E is now too large, even at it's tightest and the style doesn't go to an 8. I now have a Panache bra in 8FF(!!!) which cost over $100. Looking at prices online for the other couple of bras that fit (which I could not afford to get) this seems to be the price I can expect from now on.

The fitting specialist was very helpful, particularly since I hadn't worn a bra other than Fayreform for quite a while and she did try to find something in my size that was on sale but there was nothing that fit.

I do strongly recommend getting a proper fitting from someone who really knows what they're doing, particularly if you're an unusual size. I found chain stores and department stores well enough when I was a more standard size but now, I really needed the specialist fitting. As she said, I could wear the 10E style that I liked and it would provide some support but when I tried on the bra that I later bought, I recognised the huge difference in support between the two. You get used to what you're wearing and forget what the right fit feels like.

(At least when buying the bra, I knew I was achieving something.)

*

Now have massive post-exertion headache, despite taking care. Lack of sleep last night due to filthy headache. This one feels worse. I don't wanna try to sleep feeling like this. I don't want to stay up either. Feh.

*

Woolworths is stocking quinoa again, three colours. We have the black and the white so I bought the red, haven't tried that before. Also bought some baking supplies and if headache eases, I am considering baking tomorrow. What, I do not yet know.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
The Conservative Assault on the Homeless by Johann Hari

I felt sick while reading this article. Westminster council (one of the wealthiest in Britain) wants to make it an offence to sleep on the streets or to give out food for free. At the same time, there are massive funding cuts across the country to programs for the homeless. From the first article:

None of this is happening out of financial necessity. All of these cuts to services for the homeless could have been stopped if Cameron had moved one figure on a spreadsheet: if he had taken the £1bn in taxpayers' money paid in bonuses to Royal bank of Scotland bankers, and ringfenced it for the homeless instead.

What is happening to Western society? Have we completely lost the capacity for empathy or imagination? I've never even come close to being homeless but I can imagine how easily it could happen to me if a few key elements in my life were different. What is wrong with these politicians?

And yet just a couple weeks ago, I was reading an article about Project 40, an Australian program inspired by the Housing First idea from the US. They aim to get people into permanent housing as soon as possible and then help them stay there, rather than making them jump through hoops to prove themselves 'worthy' of a real home.

Sometimes I want to give up on humanity altogether. Then I remember that there are truly amazing, generous people in the world. Humanity is a strange beast.

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
I am in awe of [personal profile] blamebrampton. She has manged to render Australian politics in an almost intelligible and utterly hilarious fashion.

Presenting [personal profile] blamebrampton's Australian politics: a Harry Potter primer

Now with Dramatis Personae from Australian Politics: a Harry Potter Primer

I was in love from  'In New South Wales, a state that has all the organisational sophistication of a rabid Hungarian Horntail in heat ...'

Yes! That is my state government to a T!

When reading this excellent and hilarious posts, keep [personal profile] blamebrampton's comment in mind ... 

Aussie politics do make sense if you remember that everyone
* knows everyone else,
* may well be drunk, and
* knows that there will be a heatwave before any kind of revolution can be organised anyway, so it doesn't matter what you do, as long as there is still ice and beer. (Not ice IN the beer, of course!)


*gurgles* Yes, this is all very true. And I suspect I will be in dire need of alcohol on election day ... stupid alcohol intolerance.



 
venetia_sassy: (Default)

I have got to stop doing this. A few days of feeling lousy and suddenly I haven't posted for months. Oops? Ah well. I'm feeling ... okay at the moment. Liking the cooler weather (liking is putting it mildly) and I feel a bit steadier, a bit more stable, health-wise. Until I do just a bit too much and then I feel like hell and my routine goes to pieces and I really have to remember that Pacing Is Important. Pacing Is Not Optional. Not if I want to feel vaguely human anyway.

But have you heard our exciting news? We have a female Prime Minister for the first time! Suddenly. Very suddenly.

I like Gillard fairly well but I have mixed feelings about the whole business. I was thrilled when Rudd won the election - no more dear Johnny Howard! - but I've been quite disappointed in him the last year or so. Too many broken promises and the proposed internet filter still has me seeing red. I was seriously reluctant to vote Labor this time around but there is no way I'd vote Coalition so I'm hoping Gillard will turn things around ... but I don't like how sudden the change was and his own party turning on him. Factions. Too many factions. But we'll see how things go. And with regards to the immensely stupid net filter, the proposal has been shelved until after the election. Hopefully Conroy will be voted out which will give Labor the excuse to quietly dispose of an immensely unpopular idea that industry experts keep telling them won't work. And then they can put the money towards actually catching pedophiles instead of blacklisting dentists and school canteen websites.

I believe my main point in all this is that while I am delighted Australia has its first female Prime Minister, I wish it had happened under better circumstances. And since so many of our politicians seem to be utter morons, maybe Julia will actually be an improvement. Here's hoping!
 

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