Posts Tagged ‘rsquo’
Good job on the new format, it’s great. now, back to Roodhouse. you know, when some folks’ first and only concern about school consolidation is about the fielding of the football team, things are pretty darn sad. do I really need to elaborate more? To the parents who wants to know where the so-called parents are. Their hands are tied, thanks to all the laws. A teenager can do whatever they want and there’s not much the parent can do. if you don’t believe me, ask any police officer and they will tell you the same thing. Habits become character. maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. Character gives worth to life. maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. if the president and all the other politicians are serious about creating jobs, then why don’t they bring to Washington the CEOs of Proctor & Gamble, Phillip Morris, Caterpillar, GE and all the other so-called American companies’ CEOs and tell them if they want to sell their products in this country then manufacture their products like washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, toothpaste, without lead in it, in this country. but no, Congress would rather go after baseball players. Guess who has the biggest eyesore and junkiest yard in Meredosia? A town board member, of course. That kid who was a page and says $5 million isn’t anything must have political ambitions. Love the new look of the online paper. if we want to instill in youngsters proper values and habits, we should have the courage of our ambiguities, inconsistencies and contradictions. People who use situations to get pity are sad. Especially when they use others situations and do all they can to let everybody know the circumstances. Self-pity is destructive. God bless the Navy SEALs and their families. Someone asked why the tavern was closed in Beardstown. That’s an easy answer, idiot: Because they were not open. Obammie is going to let us in on his plan for jobs and the economy after his taxpayer-funded campaign swing across America on the new taxpayer-funded monster bus and after his 11 day vacation at a 20-acre seaside resort at Martha’s Vineyard. The guy is a consistent hypocrite at least. Shouldn’t we ponder that a bit? Let’s really let our congressman know that we want to have the same gasoline prices that they have in Europe. down with big oil. you just can’t make this stuff up: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the Obama administration has a jobs program already in place, and it’s food stamps. When asked about new numbers that show one in every seven Americans now receiving food stamps from the federal government, Vilsack said that’s good news. Food stamps create jobs.Where did Obama get these people? please understand that the Dream Act does not give illegal aliens a free education. it allows them to compete for private scholarships and pay in-state tuition instead of out-of-state tuition, provided that they graduated from an Illinois high school. The “Girls gone Wild” bus was spotted between Nebo and Haypress. how many students are leaving Virginia school to go to another school? I hope our elected officials do the right thing and allow another ambulance company to come to town. I make over $20,000 and I work my butt off to get and keep my job. I lose half my pay in taxes now and fools like you and your Hitler party Democrats want more from my pay. Go to hell. I have a feeling that Obama and the Dumocrats are going to get stomped in the 2012 elections. Rick Perry will don his cowboy boots and will do the stomping. Don’t mess with Texas. Reload, and let’s roll. Everyone who is concerned about the job situation in our country should Google “Job Creators Alliance,” a national organization of employers who are trying to produce conditions that can lead to job creation. I agree with President Obama. He does need to drop his broken distributive politics, stop vilifying his opponents, and do what’s right for the country. He is absolutely responsible for this economy. in Wednesday’s New York Times, an article noted that those convicted of rioting in British cities several days ago are put into orange jumpsuits and made to clean up the wreckage and sweep up. this kind of creative sentencing gives the victims a chance to see the perps paying back to society, and it gives the perps a chance to earn their way back. we all hope to see this creative justice operating on the streets of Jacksonville before long. Someone wanted to know why restaurants that consistently earn scores from the health department in the 70s are allowed to stay in business. another question: why do some people still eat at such restaurants? The “Core Beliefs” page on the Webster of Job Creators Alliance should be read by everyone in business and government, and this organization’s list of speakers on the same page is very impressive. FutureGen 2.0 is moving forward. Work is progressing on the geologic characterization well pad site. The well will thoroughly evaluate the geology to confirm that the area is an excellent match for carbon dioxide storage. it may also serve as a monitoring well for decades to come. well drilling will start in the next few weeks and it will take about three months to complete the drilling and installation effort. No CO2 will ever be injected into the well, it is for characterization and monitoring only. Kids who start kindergarten knowing their colors, shapes, numbers, and have “please and thank you” habits, and are able to follow a sequence of instructions have a huge advantage in school over kids who have not learned these things. I am sensing a double-standard with the tattoo things and women. why is it when women do it, it’s not OK but it’s OK for men. That screams double-standard to me and I have nine tattoos and I don’t care if you see them or not. I cover them if I need to, otherwise I allow them to be seen. Get over yourself and find something more productive to argue about such as bringing the troops home, something worthwhile. When you redesigned the newspaper on here, why didn’t you leave out Open Line and if people want to make a comment, do it in a letter to the editor where they are required to sign their name, not hide behind a computer? Really? this nation is imploding and people are complaining about tattoos? why don’t we talk about how people can help each other? The government won’t help anyone but themselves. I’m wondering why the president and family didn’t go to Camp David, which is already paid for, rather than paying in the vicinity of $30,000 a week for a Cape Cod Martha’s Vineyard home. also, why was $1.2 million spent for two buses for them to travel on? That is just too much. Let’s be honest. if a bus tour looks like a campaign, sounds like a campaign, blasts the Congress like a campaign, makes more promises like a campaign, spends more tax payer money to the tune of millions of dollars, Mr. President, it’s a political campaign tour. I give up. I’ve been across the Meredosia bridge three or four times in the last three or four days. No one is working there but one lane is shut down on the west side. Can somebody please tell me what they’re doing? I think the Scott County commissioner should ask the county clerk to resign. Poor actions of a public official. if the politicians want to mess with pensions, why don’t they mess with their own? they only have to work a few years in order to earn a full pension. some of them are earning multiple pensions. Let’s cut them down to one, like the rest of us. some people don’t even get that. some people can be very cunning and use every situation they can to get pity from other people. It’s sad when they use family situations, post it all over the Internet just to get pity. All I have left out of the hope and change is the change. and I’m definitely scared to death that he’s going to tax me on that change. I think it’s a travesty when a local government official with low morals can even think about aspiring to a higher office. I’m sure there’s at least one person who agrees with the caller that President Clinton did a good job while in office: Monica Lewinsky. Obama has no plan with regard to withdrawal from Afghanistan. He’s going to walk out on those people and throw away everything we’ve invested there. I wonder what happened to the unity for the community prayer meeting? Thank God that one person doesn’t stop the knee mail, it goes faster than email. be blessed, we are praying for you. The paramedics at LifeStar Ambulance are the best, but the nursing staff at Passavant are very unprofessional, they need to take lessons from LifeStar people on manners. Kudos to the Moose Lodge for opening its doors to Brandon Perry’s family and friends in a time of need. The Moose Lodge is a caring, fraternal organization that has strength in numbers. I hope more people are willing to join this classy organization. would one of you liberals explain this: Obama is going to lay out his jobs plan, after his vacation. Republicans are the ones creating jobs. The corporation that bought ACH came from Florida, which is controlled by Republicans. this is right up there in the ‘top 10 Stupidest things Ever Printed in Open Line.’ Gov. Perry talks about the economy; Obama says “you’ve got to be a little more careful about what you say.” Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan says “Fort Hood shooter is not a terrorist, just a good Muslim who was driven crazy by the terrorist American soldiers who rape Muslim men, women and families.” Where is Obama’s response? oh, I forgot, he is on vacation. The call for civility is one-sided. Our “elected” representatives and officials have seen fit to have relaxed rules to allow illegals to circumvent the rules and regulations, which we must follow to the letter. Let’s show them in the next election how “we the People” feel about their actions. Does anyone know how much the proposed “shovel-ready” jobs project will cost the average American taxpayer? “Lincoln kids” can be bused all over town but my kid, who doesn’t go to Lincoln, can no longer be picked up outside our house. I hear it costs too much in gas for the school district. it sends our youth a fine message. those who can, do and those who can’t wait for everything to be handed to you. Who is this equal opportunity for anyway? I wonder how much money Michele Bachmann has gotten from the state for fostering 20 kids? I’ll bet it is in the hundred thousands. I wonder if it was a big heart or big checks that got her into fostering? I just love the Nazi thinking of you people on the Open Line who think we should take the entitlement programs away from those who need them. Once again, blaming the debt on entitlements instead of on the politicians who cannot balance a simple budget. stop the wars. we are not the world’s police, and if we are we should be the one’s being paid by other countries to do so. put the entitlement recipients out in the pasture like the Nazi Germans did and machine gun them to death if they aren’t college educated and making some righteous bucks and a contributing, able bodied citizen. Exterminate them. they have no reason to live if they are sucking off the system. I’d have to say some of you on here eugenists. recently I had the good fortune to read Open Line. but then I realized that there sure are a lot of idiots in Open Line online. Thank you for letting me be myself again. Illinois Girls Little League just won the Little League World Series. Can’t do much better than that. Can’t we all just get along? Shame on the Journal-Courier for making headlines of the Scott County clerk being arrested. maybe you should do your research and learn the facts before running such a headline. so, every time someone is arrested I want to see it highlighted and a separate article on the arrest. Get a life people. maybe you should get some real news. I just attended the school board meeting and was once again appalled at the antics of the board president. She is nasty at times when addressing others. during the open floor forum she continually winces, tosses her head and looks at her watch. this is in total disrespect of the attendees and she needs to be held accountable for her actions. after being elected to this position she should be attentive to each and every person that speaks at the meeting. Leonard Pitt’s comments concerning whites becoming a minority in America make me nauseous. His in your face gloating is way over the top. what a racist, white-hating jerk he is. The idiot talking about European gas prices should understand the price he is referring to is per liter, about a quart in this country. this means a comparable price for a gallon is four times the price quoted from Europe. this venue should be renamed to Idiot Line. it sounds like the Roodhouse aldermen have a lot more pressing problems than what is going on out at the campground, which by the way is doing very good now. this is the angry Taxpayer. I see that several people have commented on Open Line online about welfare recipients who abuse and take advantage of the health care system. It’s gratifying to see that I’m not alone in my views, and that there are lots of fellow angry taxpayers out there. welcome aboard, folks. Reload, and let’s roll. Obama is now going to police Syria. we will invade them, wait and see. He is way down in the polls so he needs another staged event, a crisis, to show he can still lead the country. so Hillary and him will send your youth off to fight yet another foreign war we should not be involved in. Bring the troops home and put them on our borders. Pardon my ignorance, but I’ve seen several references in Open Line concerning “tramp stamps.” Could someone kindly tell me, what is a tramp stamp? I’ve never heard of this term, although I gather it’s not complimentary. Editor’s note: It’s a derogatory name given to a tattoo a woman has on the small of her back. I knew without a doubt that the school board was going to vote to close the schools by the looks on their faces. they had already made up their minds before anyone said anything. one of the members was sitting there rolling her eyes. how sad. this is to the North Greene teacher at the Roodhouse council meeting Wednesday night. Outstanding job, hats off to you. not only did you save $8 a month in our trash pick up, you saved the city and us taxpayers $30,000 on trash pick up per year. I think you ought to consider running for office, maybe even mayor. Let’s get the old out and get some people in their with some sense. I hear that the college wants the ground that Turner is on. I’d sure like to know how much that played into the decision for them to close down these schools. The school board is doing very wrong and we’re just letting them. until the scores come up on best Buffet and El Rancherito, don’t eat there. Just because someone is elected to a position on the school board does not mean they know what’s best for the community. Way to go District 117. You’ve just closed the two best schools in the district. you were really thinking about our kids when you did that. if these people can’t play golf without liquor until noon then that’s a shame. also, if the school board can afford new schools, then why not use that money to fix up these great neighborhood schools.
‘Uaaahh! the man is running straight at me, his face contorted into a thousand agonies. his bare, heavily tattooed chest gleams with sweat. He screams at the sky, he vomits anger, but he’s rushing directly ahead.”
So begins Sacred Skin, an accessible introduction to Thailand’s booming yantric tattoo art, sak yant, which inspired partly by actress Angelina Jolie’s patronage has been drawing more and more international interest.
The opening refers to a man in a trance, taken over by his yantric tiger tattoo at Wat Bang Phra on a day to celebrate Wai Khru, when disciples with tattoos pay respects to their ajarn.
MYSTIC ROAR: Ajarn Thoy’s Tiger yant.
The master-disciple bond is integral to sak yant, as the book explains. when a master applies a tattoo, he also establishes a set of rules that his disciples must follow for the rest of their lives. Failure to follow the instructions will cause the sak yant to lose its power.
The yantric designs and writing have multiple origins and purposes. For many Thais, astrology and the supernatural are an integral part of their lives along with Buddhism, and this spiritual mix finds a welcome outlet in sak yant.
”The ancient Khmer writing system used for the magic spells looks like a language from a lost world and stretches from the lucid to the illegible, from the poetic into the anarchic,” writes author Tom Vater. ”Yet there is more to this than the written word. It goes deeper.”
The tattoos are ”lines of ancient squiggles and magic spells” winding around disciples’ necks, front torsos and backs, written in ancient Khmer script but spoken in Pali. the order of the Khmer letters is also often changed, making the script unreadable even to devotees and ensuring the designs are difficult to copy.
Some tattooists use industrial ink but most have their own secret ink recipes that include oils and herbs blessed with mantras and might contain blood or bile.
Hanuman, tigers, dragons, birds, snakes, lizards, hermits and eels are all common, and infusions of Indian mythology, Buddhism, Brahmanism, animism and common superstition make for a colourful mix that ”may challenge the more formalised approach to celebrating the spiritual life and occasionally enrages Buddhist conservatives”, as the text points out. ”But the world of the sak yant exists through such a bizarre clash of circumstances, of faith and history, of order and chaos, of seekers and charlatans, of humility and machismo, that it has a life all of its own and is unlikely to fade any time soon.”
Sak yant are often associated with gangsters and hit men, sex workers and street children, boy racers and vocational school students, but as the book explains, the sak yant ”appear to be the calling card for bad guys, but many bad guys actually become good guys once they acquire a sacred tattoo”.
SACRED SKIN: THAILAND’S SPIRIT TATTOOS: By Tom Vater and Aroon Thaewchatturat, 200pp, 2011 Visionary World. Available from all good bookshops for 956 baht.
The reason for this is that the tattoos come with a number of rules that vary from ajarn to ajarn. the first yant controls the subsequent ones, and they establish the spiritual contract between master and devotee. the first five Buddhist precepts _ don’t harm living beings, don’t steal, don’t engage in sexual misconduct, don’t lie, and don’t consume intoxicating drink and drugs _ are the yants’ most important fixtures.
Rather than being a simple superstition, Vater argues that faith in sak yant is not so far removed from major religion: ”To this day, our established religions peddle the most outlandish truths to their followers. in this context, the belief that a 2,000-year-old, mystical diagram etched onto human skin might protect its wearer is hardly exotic.”
Barely 12,000 words, much of it in captions and profiles, the text can be read in one sitting, though the photos will command repeated perusals as the designs make an impression both immediate and lingering. Aroon Thaewchatturat’s extraordinary pictures do more than capture the tattoos, they capture their wearers’ dhpersonalities, and perhaps even the energy invested in them by the designs.
Though the book has a few unnecessary commas and inconsistent spacings, it is informative, accessible and enthusiastic _ a great introduction to the art form.
Local interest in and acceptability of the art is rising as quickly as it is internationally. Cedric Arnold last month held a photographic exhibition at the Chulalongkorn Art Centre called ”Sacred Ink”, and Joe Cummings and Dan White have a book on sak yant, Sacred Tattoos of Thailand, that will be published soon.
No doubt there will be much more to come, but as a starting point, you can do no better than Sacred Skin.
Photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat
We caught up with the photographer of Sacred Skin, Aroon Thaewchatturat, to ask her about the inspirations and struggles behind the book.
What inspired you to start capturing this art form?
The mysteries of sak yant caught my interest when I was very little. My parents, my uncles and aunts had sak yant and they told me that the sacred tattoos served as protection, and that they respected the sak yant master. They told me that the sak yant wearer is protected from harm, for example sharp objects, bullets or black magic. that explanation was limited but it kept my interest alive and helped me embark on my sak yant photographic journey. What fascinated me as I got older was the fact that there are two components in sak yant, the art and the science. there is a gigantic pool of knowledge behind it. the sacred tattoo masters have that with them. I consider the masters as talking textbooks and living historians.
Are you surprised by the rise in international interest in sak yant?
Sak yant is a unique cultural practice in this region with a strong belief system attached. I’m surprised that people from Europe and North America would want to have sacred tattoos. I wonder whether they want the tattoos for aesthetic reasons. the sacred tattoos are not for fashion. Are they prepared to embrace a new faith after they lost the one at home? or are they just following the trend which started with Angelina Jolie getting sacred tattoos?
How did you find your subjects _ the teachers and disciples?
I started in a tattoo temple in Nakhon Chaisi district of Nakhon Pathom, called Wat Bang Phra. I captured the tattoo festival in Wat Bang Phra as a photo feature piece for my agency, OnAsia Images, in 2006, and I’ve gone back every year since. I thought this was the best place to start. I decided to write a letter asking for permission from the abbot of the temple, explaining that I wanted to produce a book on sak yant. since I got the green light, the resident monk tattooists and their devotees were happy to be photographed. the same process repeated itself with the civilian tattoo masters and their devotees. It is all a matter of trust.
And how did the partnership with Tom Vater for the book come about?
And how did the partnership with Tom Vater for the book come about?
Before capturing the tattoo festival, we collaborated on travel features, guidebooks and photo books on different destinations in Europe and North Africa as well as South and Southeast Asia. the photo feature of the tattoo festival in 2006 got me to work with Tom in Thailand. He wrote the text. He worked on the subject long before me.
Did you come across anything that didn’t make rational sense?
During the research for this book, I came across countless stories that are inexplicable. I watched a devotee clawing after he had a crocodile tattooed, while the master was chanting the mantra. He said afterwards that he wasn’t in control of his body as it moved like a reptile. Another devotee received a small oil-sacred tattoo when he was a teenager. one day he was on a public bus in Bangkok and heard ”click, click, click” six times; once he turned around, a pistol was pointing at the back of his head, but it hadn’t fired. He didn’t know the gunman. After that incident, he went to see his monk tattooist and added more tattoos.
Pho Kae, the hermit
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The president is now trying to place the blame for his failed economy on Congressional gridlock and they certainly share the blame. The truth is that the problem originates in the $137 million shadow government that has been set up in the White House. his appointed czars that continuously spew out job-killing regulations with no oversight represent the president’s agenda. they certainly don’t represent the people of this country. Congress should probably be blamed for not shutting this fiasco down. There is no constitutional basis for their existence. he has never installed a legitimate cabinet. how is it that the Morgan County Courthouse has so many rude and hateful employees? Is it because it starts at the top and sifts down? or is it a requirement to be employed there? Those people you are treating so badly are paying your salaries, you know. it is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes, a principle which if acted on, would save one-half the wars of the world … Thomas Jefferson. too bad Obammie doesn’t believe this. Now that they’ve struck down the healthcare mandate, all middle-class and working-class taxpayers that have private health insurance should drop it whether they can afford it or not. I get downright giddy at the thought of lying in a hospital bed or the ER knowing it’s going to cost Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton and all those other useless people that are rich and famous for no reason more on their healthcare premiums. I figure they owe the middle-class, we’ve been paying for their tax cuts for 12 years now they can pay for not only our healthcare but, also for all the illegals they’re always railing about. At least Obama required they pay something, this way they get away without paying a dime all the cost gets handed to the rich. this is way better than raising taxes on them, they have no choice but to pay. Obama’s mandate is ruled unconstitutional but Romneycare and car insurance isn’t. funny how that works, huh? OK, come on, everyone who bought raffle tickets for PAWS, if your check was returned, you were notified by your bank, please don’t make these folks who volunteered to sell tickets chase you, or even worse stiff them. we all deposited your checks and wrote one to PAWS. Scott County’s 911 service is paid by a surcharge of $350 a line. In recent years the declining number of land lines has reduced funding for emergency dispatch by thousands of dollars, prompting the need to make cuts. Wake up, Brown County. it was said this would not happen in Brown County. And why couldn’t it? to the person who is complaining about the troops fighting in the Middle East saying that he or she has never been threatened by those countries. The reason you haven’t been threatened is because we are there. we protect you from things you have no clue about, so instead of complaining about us why don’t you try and support us. oh yeah, and did you forget that it was the people from the Middle East that attacked this great country in 2001? my eyes are going crossed and I still have a headache from reading the rants of idiots in Open Line Online. “does anyone know where I can buy a season pass for the Virginia football season?” I realize you think that is a funny comment. but let me explain to you why it’s really not all that humorous. The spiteful and vindictive fools at A-C , opted out of the sports co-op with Virginia within a month of the consolidation vote earlier this year. they, of course, had every legal right to do so, but the honorable thing would have been for the A-C Board to notify Virginia that this would be the last year of the sports co-op and they would not renew it for next year. Now you have the WIVC football teams having to deal with one less game than they had originally scheduled for. yes, they will get a “forfeit” victory, but this may cause them problems come playoff selection time later on. like I said earlier, the decent thing would have been for A-C to have given Virginia a years’ notice that they intended to end the sports co-op, but instead in their childish act of “payback,” they have messed up this year’s WIVC football season. sorry, but I don’t think that is really very funny. Par for the course. Scott County should just dissolve and allow Pike, Morgan, and Greene to absorb it. they already handle the police calls now thanks to the worthless sheriff. John Boehner is going to be at the Aaron Schock fundraiser in Edwards, Ill. Isn’t that where the Aryan Nation’s compound is? The constitution does not call for separation of church and state. it actually states that the government can’t restrict or mandate the practice of religion. Atheism itself is a religion so it is actually a violation of the constitution for the government to mandate the removal of religious symbols or prohibit prayer in public venues. The first Amendment states that the government cannot prohibit. this to the guy who posted about his girlfriend almost hitting two children on bikes recently on Hardin Street: maybe she should also slow down number one, and number two, stop texting you if you’re not in the auto, and number three, if you’re in the auto, stop fooling around with you. she should be anticipating what these children are about to do and be watching them. Unions collect huge amounts of cash, pay no taxes, produce no product rather than a misplaced sense of entitlement to other people’s money. they are worse than any corporation. Has anyone ever audited a union to see where the funds really go? What gives? Spending all this money on the Morgan County courthouse and still have to enter it as second-class citizens through the basement door. another Jacksonville screw-up. Aren’t we, the citizens of America, entitled to the same gasoline prices that Europeans have, huh? The big oil companies are the only reason why we don’t enjoy the gasoline prices people in Europe enjoy. Manchester must have a tea party fire department, then. Something that is real nonsense and unacceptable is taking the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid away from the elderly and disabled before cutting aid to foreign nations and cutting the pensions, salaries, and healthcare for those politicians pushing this agenda. Anyone who supports ending these programs just may be a Nazi. to the teacher who says nobody who says if we use marijuana and other drugs we should have to pay for our own health issues if the use of these drugs caused our health problem. What about prescription drugs? I’ve used them for years and all drugs have side effects for your information and they aren’t always pleasant. should we, if prescribed by a doctor, also have to pay for the long-term use of these drugs? The biggest conspiracy theory of all is the U.S. government’s version of Sept. 11, 2001. Infowars.com because there is a war on for your mind. to the young teacher in the Open Line commenting about people not having an education: I got news for you Mr. I have an education and I can read and comprehend what I read. I also know what SIU Carbondale is like, and, as a matter of fact, all colleges except one, Bringham Young University, all are non-stop parties. you say you had two children just in time to receive the tax credit, wow. Now you kind of contradict yourself bashing the people on Open Line on welfare and being tired of paying into Social Security for disabled people. you sound like a real card, Mr. High and Mighty Teacher and you’re receiving money for children of yours and also money from the taxpayers plus you’re off work more than you work. I know what I did for a living and it was a dangerous job. Your job? oh, well maybe you’ll suffer a paper cut on the finger. You’re very lucky and you’re not right, all people do not have the chance you had. You’re young and you’re education ain’t so high and mighty. Mr. Teacher, got some news for you, you’re going to be learning hopefully the rest of your life. Anyone know why The Riverlook Tavern is closed in Beardstown? if you are fed up with high gas prices, write to your congressman and U.S. senators, tell them you are fed up with those prices, and demand that we have gas prices comparable to those of Europe. Frustration, anger, disappointment, and even a keen sense of betrayal well up from time to time in you and many others, but if it is any comfort please remember that you were not the only people who voted for President Obama. we are not just talking about closing a school and sending them together to one of the other remaining schools, we are talking about destroying a community and its sense of community in so doing. do not close Washington or Franklin schools. Can someone explain how taking money from someone who has a proven record of revenue, giving it to a government that has a proven record of inefficiency and mismanagement, who then give it to their cronies and people who have a proven record of being incapable of helping themselves, is a good idea? to the caller who didn’t know the difference between entitlements, investments or charity. The key is welfare is not charity and taxes are not charity. if taxes fund it, then it is welfare. Getting rid of their higher-paid employees and replacing them with lower-paid new hires is the Republicans’ idea of job creation. Farmers don’t receive an entitlement. they get a subsidy. Is there corruption involved? Of course there is. it comes from the government. People are seldom diligent when spending someone else’s money. Well said, Richard Nelson. it is sad to see my once-proud and respected GOP turn into what it has become. they now embrace the politics of fear and hatred toward all but the upper class. it seems the rants, raves and diatribes of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity carry more weight than compassion for their fellow man. do not close Washington nor Franklin Elementary Schools. The School Board should put an end to the destructive policies and rhetoric that have eroded confidence in our public schools, demoralized teachers, and put off the maintenance of our buildings that has already forced the closure of schools like Jefferson and Lafayette. So the teabaggers want to call themselves the Teapublicans. more fitting names are the “Teapukes” or the “Teahadists.” if you don’t know what the tea party’s terrorist actions were first with the threat of shutting down the government and then the debt ceiling crisis they created, then you are an idiot. There wouldn’t be any $25,000 meth labs to clean up if they could buy it legally. Is the Drug War worth it to the taxpayers? The person complaining about tattoos must be to big of a coward to get one. Tattoos are nothing more than artwork on flesh. Beautiful. let me get this straight. Joe Farmer has received over a million dollars in welfare and owns thousands of acres of land. no wonder we are in such a mess. The picture in the paper of the old elm tree being taken down on Valleyview does not coincide with the picture. someone might be missing a tree they didn’t know about. its upsetting that we would fly soldiers into a battlegrounds on an outdated Chinook helicopter that you can hear coming 10 miles away moves so slow and is so large. they were like sitting ducks. if we can’t afford updated equipment bring these courageous men and women home. we were at Walmart and saw boys and girls with tattoos all over their body and weren’t out of school yet. Wow, we wonder where they got all that money to pay to look like freaks. Hmmm. Are you kidding, Richard Nelson? did you not listen to the entire broadcast or just to MSNBC? did you not catch what happened after the next elections? Dream? For whom? I see that even with opposition, South Jacksonville pushed the zoning issue through. What happened to representing the public? to the person who thinks a public education system is essential to the future of anything should check out the Link cards, food stamps, public housing and the state of Illinois budget, the federal budget, Medicaid or any other thing a government touches. What has happen to people that all they want is a handout? “dear Liar Repuke” and I stopped reading because I knew I wouldn’t read anything intelligent, just the typical mud-slinging of a socialist liberal. Dick Nelson, you should be ashamed of yourself. you use your “intelligence” to spread fear and ignorance. you pretend to state one side fairly and then sell the other side short. all of your letters to the editor should be titled “Deconstructing education.” Here’s an idea: Close North, Washington and Franklin schools and build a state-of-the-art elementary school on the Turner property. Let’s tattoo a bar code on the people getting welfare, and that includes the farmers. Who are you kidding? The same idiot is making all these Obama comments. Twenty-five thousand dollars for a meth cleanup? I can do it for less than $5 with a gallon of gas and a match. before I moved to Jacksonville, the only place where I’d ever seen women with tattoos was in the freak show at the carnival. There are women with tattoos everywhere you look in Jacksonville. I think this town must be the tattooed woman capital of the world. sorry to say, but I think it makes these women, and the town itself, look trashy and low-class. Was that a debate last night or a new reality show called Send In The Clowns. I didn’t think it was possible but, they were even more stupid than the first time. it was hilarious. President Bachmann and first dudette — not in this lifetime. keep your stocks and bonds. Gold may or may not be a good investment. Credit cards are fine if you pay the full balance at the end of the month. if not, you are spending more than you are taking in and are part of the problem. you will soon get a personal lesson that debt is a problem. Those that pay in to entitlement programs through their taxes are entitled to the amount that they paid in. many are drawing from the programs that have not contributed. this is welfare, charity, handouts or bribes but they certainly are not entitled to it. The supercommittee that has been set up is one more step away from representative government and toward government by committee which worked so well for the USSR and chairman Mao. The poetic lines come from “The New Colossus,” a poem written by Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), an American Jewish poet born in New York City. she is best known for this sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1912. Her political views are unknown, since women couldn’t vote until the 1920s. if corporations aren’t people neither are unions, family planning, the American Red Cross, Acorn, etc. Dehumanizing an organization doesn’t give you the right to steal from it. maybe you should try to form a corporation and employ some people. I’ve held a union job for the past 30 years and I can honestly say I am better off today than I would have been had I not been a member of a union. Since the infrastructure in this country needs repair, maybe we can take the people drawing unemployment and let them lean on a shovel handle so that the union people could actually earn their pay. my niece with her nose piercing got just what she needed, another hole in her head. The Republican plan to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan certainly wouldn’t have included starting a third war in Libya without congressional consent that no one can explain the need for. The answer certainly isn’t to give our sovereignty to NATO. Why are all compact fluorescent light bulbs made in China? look into a mirror, and then think about tattoos. a mark for life. Yuck. For those who are tired of call centers not having American English-speaking operators: you can ask to speak to someone in the USA and they have to re-route your call, as they are legally obligated to do this. Wooho, yippe skippy. Nut job Bachmann won the irrelevant worthless Iowa straw poll. Proof they’re still a bunch of Idiots Out Wandering Around. I’ll bet her and Mr. Fancy Panties are dancing the hokey pokey tonight. she might want to change her stand on raising the debt ceiling. She’ll have to raise it a whole lot of times with the Ryan plan and all those extra tax breaks to her corporate sponsors. Minnesota said Iowa can keep her, forever. she won’t win any polls there. I see that Obama is going on tour this week. he will be reaching out to listen to the heartbeat of the people of the Midwest. In reality, this will be a taxpayer-funded campaign bus trip to three key swing states.
IT was a giddy Canberra evening in the treacherous summer season of swords and spills.
Labor’s Gen Y advisers were at their end-of-session drinks at Parliament House in early December 2009. a second term in government had just become more certain after the kneecapping that week of Malcolm Turnbull and the surprise elevation to the Liberal leadership of Tony Abbott. Extreme. Risky. Unelectable. Labor believed they had the “mad monk” pegged.
Kevin Rudd would soon be off to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. a Christmas break. Sunshine. Alcopops. Rainbows and Newspolls. Then the slog of an election year. Stick that in your smartphones. In a rollicking spray about his opponents, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, a country-pub orator breaking out of a suburban spiv’s suit, told the jubilant gathering the Coalition was “completely f..ked”.
Six months later, in the exact spot where Albo’s triumphalism had sloshed around the courtyard, Julia Gillard was soothing those same advisers through gentle touch and talk therapy. These men and women, raw and overworked, were in shock after Rudd’s swift and historic fall: fearful about their jobs, trying to figure out what would happen to Labor. who was rooted?
“the Prime Minister put a metaphoric arm around us,” says one ministerial adviser about Gillard’s address. “she has great empathy and knew exactly the right thing to say to provide comfort and to steel us for the challenge ahead. Unlike Rudd, who would demand hard work and tell us about the privilege we had in our jobs.”
Gillard had once been in their shoes. On that “bloody freezing night”, she instinctively knew how to reach out. “most of them are young people who bring a pretty idealistic sense to doing it and they do it because they believe in something greater than that day’s work or that day’s decision, they actually believe in the cause of Labor,” says the nation’s 27th Prime Minister.
Rudd had been slain by factional bosses, the nation had its first female leader, and in the capital there were sparks of euphoria, confusion and dread; a day-long sugar-surge for reporters who now had stories they’d tweet and tell forever. still, the Canberra winter and the urgency of repairing a government that was “losing its way” were creeping into the bones of older Labor folk.
On June 24 last year, Labor hit the reset button. Gillard got the shortest love-in imaginable as she raced to the polls. Voters did not yet have a fix on the new leader, well known only for her red hair and voice. Perhaps they could detect her competence and calm. if some had heard of her negotiating prowess and zest in slaying WorkChoices, many more would come to see her as a wheeler-dealer, the slayer of Kevin07.
Labor had a near-death experience at last August’s stalemate election. Yet it did not lose. Gillard is in power after brokering support for her minority government through charm and savvy deal-making. Many in politics believe only she could have achieved it; now only she can keep it together. “It’s a tough gig,” says Greens leader Bob Brown. “But she is up to it. On a one-to-one basis, she’s got a remarkable inner strength.”
A year on, how much do we really know about the Prime Minister? the cartoonists sure have her framed: Julia the pointy-beaked emu, round bottom protruding ever farther. We certainly sense she is in deep trouble. Gillard has made bad calls and is registering the sort of poll numbers that triggered the powerbrokers’ bloodlust to kill Kevin.
Gillard may be a skilled and disciplined communicator, but she isn’t cutting through; her values at times out of step with her image, her policies at odds with her word. Then there’s the political cage-match with Abbott; no rules, no mercy, a lot less flirting. Abbott respects his long-time rival’s tenacity but not her record. “Julia Gillard is not a bad person but she has been a bad prime minister,” he says. “This is not a personal judgment, it’s a professional one.”
As she labours on a proposed carbon tax and the offshore processing of asylum seekers, Gillard appears neither competent nor persuasive. Voters aren’t convinced she believes in what she is doing. On these two hot-button issues, Gillard has surrendered authority because of contradictions and a sense she is motivated by expediency. she is haunted by her advice last year to Rudd to dump an emissions trading scheme and the “no-yes” shuffle on a carbon tax; East Timor and Malaysia are bywords for haste, inexperience, recklessness. In the harsh political milieu in which she has thrived, Gillard has exposed herself to the charge of being a phoney.
Opponents say voters have stopped listening and hearts are hardening against her. Labor’s strategists don’t believe that, even if the knees of some MPs are wobbly. Gillard urges her caucus to play the long game and share her confidence: she is making this new beast of a parliament work. with ambitions of being a “navigator to the future”, like one of her heroes, she is determined to break on through to the other side.
Leaders are made in these circumstances and Gillard, not yet 50, is a work-in-progress. she is softer than you’d think, harder than sometimes necessary; overly confident where doubt would be prudent; a meticulous lawyer but not a creative thinker; a traditionalist who does not live that way. Gillard is a non-believer who knows her Bible stories, an unmarried republican fresh from the will and Kate extravaganza, a one-time leftie trying to win over business people.
It’s little wonder ordinary people are finding it hard to recognise in Gillard a conviction politician, an Australian original, in the manner of Bob Hawke or Paul Keating. Perhaps she’ll emerge as a Centre-Left Margaret Thatcher, the prototype “Iron Lady”, or carve out another leadership model which will inspire the public. regardless of the odds against her, Gillard has supreme confidence and a goal to change the country irrevocably: fairer, stronger, richer, cleaner, smarter.
What she wants to extract from the resources boom is monumental. In her own words, Gillard is attempting “to remake how we experience what it is to be Australian.” No one gets left behind, no one will be idle. “This window in our history means we can reshape how we distribute opportunity in this society,” she says. “and we should, and we can, and I believe we will.”
So she sets her alarm clock early, works efficiently and collaboratively in true Westminster fashion. But time is pressing in. Approaching two milestones, a political anniversary and a big birthday, Gillard is also trying to build trust and deepen her relationship with the Australian people. all the while she is seeking to establish authority and an attractive persona that combines the pragmatic, political killer that has brought her this far and the best of the private, essential Julia, that only people who have shared a purpose, taken her hand or looked closely into her eyes can tell you about.The LodgerOn a recent Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister is in the front parlour of the Lodge, cup of tea in hand, trying to take in the warmth from the fire. It’s another work day, with advisers coming and going, ministers constantly on the phone. anyone else might think it’s the perfect Canberra day to put on the ugg boots, trackie pants and Doggies jumper and stay close to the hearth with partner Tim Mathieson, the “first bloke”. a local restaurateur reckons “Julia always looks tired.” Not today.
Gillard acknowledges people are still getting used to the formal image, the “here is the Prime Minister walking to the lectern” mode. “I think it takes the nation a bit of time to get used to a new prime minister and it takes a new prime minister a bit of time to get used to projecting that to the nation,” she says. “if you look back on John Howard’s first year there was endless amounts of carry on about how stiff and awkward he was and why didn’t he get something done about those eyebrows… the reality is, he grew a bit into the job and we as a nation grew into a recognition of him as prime minister.
“We’re still in that settling phase if you like, and then of course, I’m the first time people have ever looked at their TV screens and saw a woman come out and do that, so it’s not surprising to me we’re still, as a nation, kind of settling the image of female leadership in our mind and that’s not meant as a criticism of people, it’s just different.”
Gillard has been visibly moved at military funerals, “overwhelmed by people’s courage”. she was bizarrely criticised for being “wooden” during the Queensland floods crisis. the public has seen the foreign policy novice addressing the United States Congress, mixing it with Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, visiting soldiers in Afghanistan. Not a moment to stop for breath. she still has the same stiff-legged walk. Yet a noticeable shift has occurred. There is greater dignity and poise these past few months. her voice more often hits lower registers.
She’d been in the job for three months before taking residence in this old house. Some read it as a sign of insecurity. In truth, it was guided by tradition and propriety. she wanted to win the people’s assent at an election before moving to the official residence. the decision was made instantaneously in response to a reporter’s question on that day of tumult last year. “It wasn’t the preferred answer of the people who do security, it caused all these practical consequences, but it was just an instinctive sense of what felt right.”
What’s not right, she says, are some of the media descriptions of her. “when I came into Parliament there was a label put on my head that I was, you know, single, woman, lawyer from the Victorian left. Right, you don’t need to know any more about her…we can now predict every attitude and every position she’ll take in politics.”
Gillard has, at times, been difficult to predict. she fought and split with the Left on border protection when she had carriage of the immigration portfolio following the 2001 Tampa election. Yet some in Labor see her as the mother of the softer policy that evolved into the untenable stand taken by the Rudd government. On gay marriage, she’s holding hands with Abbott.
Unlike Labor contemporaries such as Lindsay Tanner or mark Latham, her public output on policy ideas or political philosophy during the lean years of opposition was superficial; she is seen as a careerist rather than a deep thinker by those who wrote books and gave speeches but did not reach the summit. Education and workplace issues have been her causes, a natural fit given her student activism and industrial advocacy; she has as many detractors in these fields as supporters.
She identifies as a cultural traditionalist: thrift, duty, respect, fortitude, politeness, modesty and discipline are her bywords. They fit easily with her life story, up to a point, and her utilitarian bearing. Values meet politics in her labour. Work is central to her self-image, her friendships. It’s been the organising principle of her passions, private and political. “I am Work” was the secret motto of Essington Lewis, BHP iron and steel supremo, another South Australian. if there is such a thing as Gillardism, perhaps those three words will show up as indelible marks made in tattoo parlours from St Kilda to Kings Cross.
According to Families Minister Jenny Macklin, Gillard’s leadership has been centred on work and opportunity. she cites the participation and ¬welfare reforms at the heart of May’s budget. It’s a joint mission for which Macklin and Treasurer Wayne Swan “have carried a torch” over many years. “the Prime Minister really wants this to be at the centre of who she is as a prime minister,” says Macklin. “she doesn’t want people to miss out.
“I do think the way in which she was brought up, the place of her parents’ values, you can really hear that come through in so much of what she says and does. her own work ethic is extraordinary. She’s seen what that’s meant to her parents and what aspiration meant to them for her and her sister.”
Gillard wants to use the resources boom “to fundamentally change the way opportunity works in this country. That, I think, is the big thing that lies in front of us, making sure we use this as a time where we spread the benefits of work to people who have been locked out of it, where we change our culture about work, where we change our education system, we change our perception that poor kids get left at the back of the class and no one can fix that.”
In political circles, she has earned acclaim as a negotiator, a fixer, a seeker of consensus. But her reputation has been enhanced in the dire situation, little appreciated beyond capital hill, of a hung parliament. In the 17-day contest to form government last year, the Labor leader knocked out her opponent. after a remarkably disciplined election campaign, Abbott faltered; the wrong body language to persuade, a temperament fit for a landslide got him nowhere.
Gillard scraped together a majority with the support of new Greens MP Adam Bandt and Independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor. Windsor says his decision was based on a belief Gillard could deliver stability and a National Broadband Network, as well as other regional spending commitments. But he’d also been impressed with her courteous manner years before when she was manager of opposition business in the House.
On the Prime Minister’s recent tour of Windsor’s northern NSW electorate, including the mainland NBN launch, Windsor says she was feted as a “rock star”, winning over school kids and diehard Nationals. “I’ve never seen her ruffled,” says Windsor, who also speaks of her candour and humility. “she never seems in a hurry or gives you the sense she is trying to push you out the door. she must be paddling furiously under water, but she is always calm. You don’t see that in many people.”
“She’s got a lot of balls in the air,” says Senator Brown of Gillard’s dealings with the Greens and independents. “as well as the job of Prime Minister of the country where, as ever, she’s got big issues on her plate. That’s an unprecedented ask for a prime minister in an age when, because of the nature of technology, all MPs are under greater scrutiny than ever before, and there’s also less respect for the office.”
Brown lays blame for many of Gillard’s woes at the door of “just say no” Abbott and the Murdoch press. still, as he is happy to speak to an emissary from the “hate media”, it’s instructive to hear what the Crown Prince of love Politics, this veteran conviction politician, has to say about Gillard. For Brown, she is both business partner in an anti-carbon crusade and electoral foe, but rock solid and honest: “She’s got mettle, she’s got determination and grit. a lot to be said for that.”
“Julia Gillard is not anybody’s second fiddle,” he says. “For the person she is, the question is will a vision unfold over time that’s going to make Australians feel they know where the country is going under a Gillard Government, and curiously enough it may be that the Greens help provide that through a carbon price agreement.”
Brown is convinced Gillard did not change her position on a carbon tax merely to get the Greens on side. “It’s clear now that she said ‘yes’ meaning it,” argues Brown. “she accepted that ‘if the price of me being Prime Minister is to establish a committee to work this through and to come up with a carbon price in mid-term, I am going to carry through with that’, and she has been totally true. It would have been so easy for her to put the Greens in the invidious position of saying, ‘well, I’m going to renege on that, it’s just too difficult, times are tough.’ Whatever, and to have reneged on that and to have said, ‘your alternative now is to have Tony Abbott’. she hasn’t done that. That is the nascent sign of a statesperson.” The “real” JuliaOne of the worst moves in recent political campaigns was Labor’s idea to promote the “real Julia” in 2010, to unshackle a natural from the factory-made candidate spouting “moving forward.” It immediately attracted ridicule and invited Abbott to riff on the existence of a “fake Julia”. “I didn’t feel comfortable with a lot of the strictures of modern campaigning and I wanted to move away from those strictures into a more direct engagement with people,” she says of the move.
But the slogan has stuck, eating into Gillard’s crafted image. This annoys friends and supporters, who see continuity in her beliefs and personality. “We might run into each other at the footy or at some event,” says Michael Gurr, a former colleague and old friend. “But what I see on TV is no different from the woman I worked with. There’s the weight of office, of course, you can see that, but more importantly, I see someone who knows what politics is for.”
According to friends and aides, Gillard’s motivation and values are grounded in her Welsh-migrant parents, John and Moira. They worked in aged care and mental health and a young Julia would have seen the conditions in those facilities, the toil of working people. “when she talks about her parents there is a deep respect for their tirelessness, for the sheer effort they put in for their family,” says Gurr.
“her parents are bright, but they did not get the opportunity to study at university,” says friend Terry Bracks, who managed Gillard’s 1998 campaign for the seat of Lalor in Melbourne’s western suburbs. “Julia sees bright kids just like them and she wants to make sure they get a chance.”
Bracks, whose husband Steve was Victorian premier from 1999 to 2007, has observed politicians for many years. she worked in Gillard’s Werribee electorate office and accompanied her to many events, from schools to factories. “You watch her with people,” she says. “she likes to get up close. she is a very tactile person, resting her arm on a shoulder or just touching someone’s arm. Julia wants to make people feel comfortable. She’s present. There’s a great lightness about her, especially with kids.” Gillard used to babysit the three Bracks children, the youngest now finishing high school. she still sees them.
Terry Bracks says her friend has a rare ability to find the quirk in a person to break the ice, to put them at ease. “she zeroes in, not in a demeaning way, but to nurture with humour, to draw that person closer to her.” the Treasurer speaks of Gillard’s razor-sharp wit: “she knows how to have a laugh, which is so important given the breathless aggression in parts of the media and political debate at the moment.”
Her time as an industrial lawyer in Melbourne at Slater & Gordon involved seeing hundreds of workers at moments of great crisis. James Higgins, a practice group leader at the firm and former Labor adviser, believes there’s nothing like dozens of back-to-back appointments with traumatised workers to “sear into one’s make up the importance of jobs and job security.”
Melbourne playwright Gurr worked with Gillard for then Opposition leader John Brumby in the “dark days of 1996”. “Some days the pessimism in that office was so bad you wanted to throw yourself under a tram,” says Gurr, who was employed as a speechwriter. “It was Julia who kept that office together and interested – and laughing. she kept us sane. she took the long view and didn’t get wound up by the day-to-day skirmishes in the press, and she actually listened to people. That sounds like no big thing, but I can count on one hand the pollies I’ve met who do actually listen. Smart people know that they don’t have all the answers, they know that you can take ¬little slices of good ideas from everyone in the room and build them into something whole. Steve Bracks knew how to do that. Julia does it. It takes confidence.”
Gillard is not an inventive policymaker, more a methodical executive. Advisers speak about her decisiveness. Gillard is quick to find the holes in a proposal or get the essence of an idea. “she works her way through an issue,” says one adviser who has worked with her on a key current policy area. “Then she says, ‘This will happen, then that and that. and we’ll do this and this and this’. she makes her decision and then we move on to the next thing.” In the Prime Minister’s Office it’s called “war gaming” or, as Gillard says, “playing Devil’s advocate against yourself”.
“before you make a big decisions, I think it’s always good to get people in the room and do the rounds of the ‘what ifs’,” she says. “That’s the best use I can make of the very fine minds I have access to, whether it’s my cabinet colleagues or public servants, people from the military, people from my own staff, people from the outside who have a broader sense of perspective than you do when you are right in the crucible of it.”
Politics dominates her life. she bears witness to a Byzantine realm of union stoushes, factions and traditions. her mastery of it, coupled with a hunger to climb, have made her unstoppable. She’s obsessive and ruthless in this micro-climate. Friends say Gillard’s relationship with Mathieson works so well because he is not of that domain; they relax easily at home and find great joy in each other.
“I hadn’t heard from Julia for a while,” recalls Gurr. “I answered the phone and the word “Maaaate” came down the line like a seagull. she said that since we’d been out of touch I might need a dose of the Labor Party password to get re-acquainted.” Gillard once took him “through the complex and, let’s face it, boring structures of the Victorian ALP. what made it entertaining was I got a running commentary from her on who was who. It was revealing that even though some of the commentary was pretty acid, it was also affectionate. she loved this stuff. Tracing how a decision worked its way through the party, a mind that loved both the detail and the bigger shape.”Queen of AltonaAbdul is hooked up to an iPhone, directing some great enterprise with lots of moving parts in a mix of Arabic and bogan slang. We’re in a taxi, cruising around the vast industrial flatlands of Melbourne. “You want to go to Altona,” says the father of seven children, aged 2 to 16. “I’m the King of Altona”. We twice pass the Prime Minister’s neat cottage. “You want to buy that house? how do you know it’s for sale?”
As we pass dozens of homes recently converted via subsidy to be solar mini-power plants, Abdul finally works out the owner of that house: the most famous woman in Altona. “I’m Labor, but I didn’t vote for her last time because of what she did to Kevin Rudd. That’s not right, mate.” His phone rings, that annoyingly triumphant Collingwood song. He’s side by side with Kevin in Julia Land. “I don’t like her boyfriend.” Why? “I don’t know. I’ve never met him. I shouldn’t judge someone if there’s no reason,” he says, chastened, as we head though the coffee central that is Pier Street. “OK, but I don’t like the carbon tax. Why did she say no carbon tax before the election and then change her mind afterwards?”
That decision is killing Gillard’s standing in the heartland. Abdul doesn’t care about a hung parliament, he hasn’t heard Labor’s sales pitch, he’s confused about how he will pay the tax, he has no idea about the compensation to families and factory businesses, of which there are many in Footscray that have seen better days, Abdul points out, on the way back to town.
Gillard knows she has the harder case to argue, overcoming not only community anxieties and her opponent’s attacks, but dealing with her switcheroo. she says the Rudd government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme provides a telling lesson. “We didn’t take that argument out into the community the way we should have and we didn’t argue out in the community as consistently as we needed to.”
Some in Gillard’s circle fear the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against her; that she is carrying too much of the load. Labor’s caucus is rattled by miserable polls and not functioning to help her through. and Rudd is chirpy again. “until recently he couldn’t even bring himself to look at Gillard in small meetings,” says a well-placed observer. “It didn’t bother her. Rudd is now more engaged and relaxed in her presence.” still, senior public servants can’t remember a time when ministers appeared so immobilised, the country in drift. “what if she can’t cut though?” asks a friend, worried that Gillard’s determination and capacity might not be enough to succeed on “capital P” policy issues or lift her popularity. Leaders like Simon Crean and Brumby were more decent and likable than their public personas. “She’ll chip away at it, but it’s bloody tough,” says the friend.
How to trumpet her successes? says Slater & Gordon’s Higgins, a political communications expert: “Ultimately the framing of her initial leadership in terms of the three issues (refugees, mining tax and carbon pricing) probably means that until those matters are bedded down, clear air will remain hard to find.”
Bob Hawke, a Gillard role model, intuitively knew how to establish credibility. “I communicate with the public; even though they may disagree with me, they believe me,” Hawke, then ACTU chief told writer Craig McGregor in 1977, six years before he won his first election. “Politics is doing things, and making people understand what you are doing, and why.”
On this reading of leadership, this basic characterisation of the purpose of politics, Gillard is floundering. a lot of people – by no means all – simply don’t believe that what she says is in her heart, rather than what will gain her advantage. “well you’d have to ask the members of the great Australian public about that and I suspect you’d get a variety of answers and a variety of views,” the PM responds, her mood as even as ever.
“Carbon pricing, they obviously look and say, ‘well she didn’t say exactly the same thing in the election campaign. Where’s this going? What’s this mean?’ I hope I will be able to explain to people as we keep explaining it and I keep explaining it that the underlying thing here is: Always thought climate change was real, always thought we needed to tackle it, always thought we best tackled it by pricing carbon.”Busy handsAccording to Hawke’s biographer Blanche d’Alpuget, when the pressure was on, Bob’s hands got busy. off he went in a flurry of theatrical gestures, emphasising this, pointing to that. Gillard, too, is revealing and expressive in this way, an elegant hand ballerina. In the Prime Minister’s courtyard the other day, those fine fingers were turning blue, as Gillard announced the new commanders of the Australian Defence Force. Later that day, at the despatch box in the House, fronting up as the industrial advocate she once was, she cups and curls her right hand to match the tempo of her answers; a palm comes out to thwart the jeers of the other side. “Let’s-be-clear,” comes with a customary, martial arts chop-chop-chop.
Here she is now, serenely drawing patterns with her index finger on the upholstery of the stuffed chair she is occupying in the parlour of the Lodge, explaining how she will remake the country. Keating would have commandeered a notebook and scribbled his vision splendid. ¬Gillard’s ambitions, she reveals, are no less grand than her Labor predecessors’. again, she wants “to remake how we experience what it is to be Australian.” That’s Whitlam-big, a colossal undertaking. Is she, is anyone, up to it?
At the moment, Gillard has three parts to her forward workbook. There’s the stuff she inherited from Rudd (carbon and the mining tax); issues that have come up or changed in the past 12 months (refugees and Afghanistan); and, finally, her agenda (skills and participation). According to senior government sources, Labor’s next phase will centre on laying out the building blocks of economic reform, based on the idea of a “world in transition”. Gillard speaks about a country where some parts “are going to be leaping ahead and others are at risk of being left behind and suffering dislocation as a result of that”. Traditional thinking on welfare policy was about getting payments right to the unemployed or single parents. That no longer works. Reform involves changing behaviour and institutions to “lessen the likelihood of people getting trapped generation after generation in lives of quiet despair”.
Her deputy recalls the private speech Gillard made last month on budget night, standing on a table in front of a crowd of “utterly knackered staff and officials”. Wayne Swan says she spoke from her heart “about being steeled by those teenage mums in western Sydney trying to break out of generational unemployment and the backbreaking work put in by officials and staff and ministers to translate that opportunity into skills and jobs for people who’ve been up against it from the get-go”. “It was one of those moments in politics where you double-take and think, ‘this is why we are here, why we are getting up at 5am every day’,” says Swan. “her capacity to really lift people up with the strength of her belief, and carry them through some pretty tough times, is really compelling. Julia strengthens people’s convictions – that we’re doing the things that must be done, we’re reaching the people who’ve not been reached before.”
Then there’s the new terrain of parliament. Here Gillard claims she would have brought her moderating tendencies “even if the numbers in Parliament didn’t require it”. “They’re circumstances that not only I can work with, but in some ways they work for me,” she says. “They work with the style that I want to bring with this job: knowing where you are trying to get to, being very clear and determined about it but also wanting to take people with you and being genuinely prepared to listen to their views as you keep driving towards that goal.”
Brown believes the big test for all prime ministers is “to implement measures which are unpopular for the long-term good of the nation”. the Tasmanian Green says it’s been “a baptism by fire”. “I think she’s done nothing in her first year to foreclose on her ability in the next year to show an authority which she inherently has the capability of showing.”
We’ve had the Little Digger, Ming and Black Jack. Later on, the Silver Bodgie, the Bankstown Brawler, Honest John and Kevin 24/7. Now comes perhaps the most audacious one since Emperor Gough: Oprah-tunity Gillard and her national makeover. Perhaps tags like Ju-liar, Gill-hard Left, Red Julia and La Gillardine will fade. We shall see. Like the nation, Gillard is a work in progress. Confident but still learning, striving despite a vulnerability to crashes, fair in spirit with opportunity for all and ever hopeful our best days lie ahead.
Two weeks ago I went to my FAVORITE gay night out that I’ve been to in LA. It was called MUG SHOT and it was held at the Alexandria Hotel Downtown.
It was awesome for many reasons, the first being that it was five minutes away from my house. Also, since it was on the East Side, it attracted a different (and in my opinion more fun) crowd than many of the West Hollywood events. It was much less uptight and cliquey and there were actually people dancing. When I walked in and saw one of the hired dancers doing aerobics moves from the ‘80s, I knew I would fit right in (since those are the only dance moves I know).
Plus, since it was an East Side event, the girls were wearing more fun clothes, had cooler hairstyles often involving shaving their head asymmetrically yet still looking amazing, and were generally more tatted up than the West Hollywood girls. even though I myself am somewhat uptight about clothing and don’t have any tattoos*, I’m very appreciative of them on others.
*as in I wear boat shoes on a regular basis and don’t often show much cleavage. and as far as the tattoos there are a few obvious major problems. first, I pass out when needles are stuck in me. I don’t know when this started happening because when I was younger shots didn’t really bother me. However now, seeing blood in conjunction with any kind of needle (every blood test) causes me to lose consciousness unless I’m lying on my back with my eyes shut. Plus, you know, I’m Jewish, and there’s this whole thing where you can’t get buried in a cemetery with other Jews if you mar your body or whatnot. I think this is stupid. However, my father, a very sweet elderly Jewish man named Bruce, might have a stroke and I really don’t want to kill him because I like him.
In fact, it kind of felt like I was back in San Francisco. which was fantastic. While I’m not super into the overcast weather, I have had an AMAZING experience every time I’ve gone out there, and the gay scene there is pretty much the best. as well, there is a general non-judgmental attitude which I really appreciate. People come as they are and as they want to be, not how they feel they should be dressing. There’s a level of comfort there that doesn’t usually exist in other places.
This is a pretty cool thing. Not only because it’s such a supportive environment, but because, in a completely selfish way, the people watching is fantastic.
It’s kind of like when you go to Folsom Street fair or Dore Alley (for those of you who haven’t heard of them, these are fetish and bondage fairs that take place on the streets of San Francisco) and part of the reason you go is to support people’s interest and right to be involved in what most of society considers non-normative (or worse) sexual preferences, and the other part is because it’s entertaining to see bears (big hairy gay men) get dressed up in leather domination outfits and smack each other with feathered crops.
And MUG SHOT had a little bit of that going on, though certainly not to the same level as Folsom or Dore Alley.
At one point during my night at the Alexandria, a friend of mine pointed out a woman wearing head-to-toe leather and spiked six-inch heels. She didn’t stand out, and I wasn’t particularly interested in looking at her until the friend mentioned that she was a professional dominatrix.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! Did you know that is a profession? How Crazy/beautiful is it that people would pay this chick to dominate them? or that someone can actually make a living that way?
More on next page…
They’re among the most well-known tattoo designs in the entire world, and although they have become so mainstream, folks around the world are still buying into the conventional tribal tattoo style.
Tribal tattoos are totally fascinating. There are a lot of distinct types that it’s difficult to say anything bad about the style in general. You will find so many various individuals and tribes throughout culture and history who have practiced this standard tattoo. To call a tattoo tribal simply signifies being of a tribe, but the design hasn’t been taken from one particular group of people. instead it’s characteristic of striking, solid black designs similar for the styles of Polynesia and the Pacific.
Tribal tattoo designs are renowned for their sweeping curves and sharp points that work together to form patterns. The tribal design can easily be a part of any kind of image and can depict almost something at all.
The tribal tattoo was not actually intended to become something that looked cool. The primary intent for your tattoo was power, in that the Samoans believed a system suit of tattoos was a fantastic step toward becoming a man. American Indians utilized the style of system art to guard themselves whilst in battle, and Burmese villagers believed that tattooing a style over the heart will protect the area with the system from bullets. Tribal tattoos aren’t meant for looks, but a lot more for the extreme symbolism saturated within the style.
Tribal tattoos were once considerable only to Pacific Islanders and Africans, but now are 1 of the most popular throughout the whole planet. Within the Maori culture of new Zealand, tribal tattoo symbolism can be a large component of their lives. Several believe the Moko design of tattoo, in which the tribal tattoos are drawn on a face, believed being a necessity within the afterlife. The Maori people believed tribal tattoos helped spirits discover and identify dead Maoris.
The Maori people utilized little chisel-shaped pieces of bone when making their tribal tattoos. The bone was tipped with pigment, and then struck with a mallet to produce the grooves and characteristics from the desired tattoo. But when creating the Moko tattoo, artists needed for the bone to penetrate deep into the skin and cuts were often so deep that they went straight through the cheek. But the pride of the Maori warriors caused them to continue the fascinating system art.
The decorative art of the tribal tattoo was said in earlier times to indicate their character as well as the fierceness of their nature. Even if the ancient warrior was killed by their enemy, the untattooed entire body will be kicked aside, although the tattooed will be treated with regard.
These days tribal tattoos are so rarely looked upon for their symbolism, but a lot more for that beauty with the design inside itself and what it indicates for the individual person holding the fine art.