Oh my, you did, didn’t you?

Well, America, you certainly did it. How could you do this to all of us?

 

I have always laughed at those preppers with their millions cans of beans and bottled water, but I am starting to feel like I should start putting my shoulder to the shovel to dig a fall-out shelter into the side of our hill. One thing for sure, I have promised myself to stop following the political media and much of the news for my own health and sanity.

 

I just can’t believe it – Trump? Really, that was the best you could do?

 

Ever since Bush2 dragged Australia into his global fights I have argued for Australia to stop following so meek and mildly into every American bully fest. The time is overdue for us to cut some ties now. Australia needs to stop trying to punch above its weight on America’s soiled coat tails.

 

Perhaps young middle class women don’t realise how hard the fight was to get them the freedom they trashed yesterday by voting for Trump. We, mothers, have failed to instil in our daughters how easy privileges and rights can be taken away.

 

My argument has been for a while now, that there has been too much change in our generations and many people just can’t keep up with the momentum. They are frightened and exhausted. A demigod who promises a return to what they think were “the good old times” is a salve to their dispirited world view.

 

I just can’t believe all this is happening

 

 

totally corrupted by NASA

A crazy politician, who has been able to enter the Australia senate with just 77 votes due to the Prime Minister calling a double dissolution of both houses of parliament, was on a televised panel discussion show. Pollie is a climate denier who says he will only believe when the “empirical evidence” proves it. Professor Brian Cox was on the panel also and produced the empirical evidence, but Pollie said he couldn’t believe it as all climate science has been “corrupted by NASA”. Good one NASA. Power to ya!

I love the “corrupted by NASA” claim. It has become my new go-to excuse. My day is ruined because it was corrupted by NASA. The dinner is late because my cooking was corrupted by NASA. I am late because I was corrupted by NASA. I love NASA. I think they should have their budget increased.

Actually, they should increase their budget, and then put Pollie and the other closed minded, racist, fear mongering, deniers of everything, into a space ship and shoot it to the moon. No, not the moon, into the sun. Trump can go too. It’s the least NASA can do after corrupting my day.

 

And how a pollie gets in with just 77 votes is also a mystery to most of the voting Australian public too. The good old Westminster system; irritating one day, completely baffling the next.

our hearts should gently weep.

lights

An Australian television investigation has brought to public awareness practices within the Northern Territory juvenile justice system that rival Guantanamo Bay at its worst. Youths, mainly indigenous, aged between 10 and 17 have been kept in solitary confinement, stripped naked, thrown about their cells by adult males, hit, sprayed with capsicum spray, and strapped to chairs with spit hoods over their heads when they threaten self-harm. No doubt worse has happened. This has been occurring for years, and politicians and other authorities have been aware. It was only when they television report aired on national television that any action has been taken – the calling of a Royal Commission.

A royal commission is an investigation. At the end of a long series of investigations, testimonies and millions of dollars spent, a series of recommendations will be made that may or may not be enacted.

Once again, I am ashamed to be Australia. We consider ourselves, civilised, higher order thinkers. The depths we plummet to, so routinely, continue to astound me. “Man’s inhumanity to man” expands unrestrained.

These aren’t children who have murdered or raped. They are children from dysfunctional homes who have stolen cars for joy rides or broken into homes for money. Yes, they need to face consequences, but not the total annihilation of their human rights! How could any person think that beatings and fear would ever rehabilitate these children?

Why is it a wrong only when someone else knows about it, though?

All the politicians knew, many of them voted for restraint chairs and hoods, and they thought that was the correct way to treat a child? Now that the general public is aware they are all back paddling as fast as they can and denying they knew, or only half knew, even when there is documentary evidence that they did!

So, between Pauline Hanson with her racist discrimination, and politicians who disregard human rights, Australia is falling itself as a nation. This is not good enough. We need to look within and reflect upon our roles in our nation’s direction. Remember also, that choosing to take no action is a decision to allow things to continue. Think globally, act locally. Do something.

germs, politics, buffoons and general disillusion

red

I’ve been absent, not only from my blog, but from my life for several weeks now. This winter my immune system has taken quite a hit, and I have suffered from a series of upper respiratory infections that have brought me low, physically and mentally. This last weekend I closed the door, dosed myself with everything in the medicine cabinet and slept as much as I could. Today, Monday, I feel a little closer to “me”.

A colleague commented that I have been walking around looking close to death for weeks (true) and that she wondered if she needed to put a heart defibrillator on me, to jump start things again! She also said that she knows when I am back to normal because “you get louder!” I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt on that last comment. I know I can be loud; I am loud when I am happy. I am a loud person. Vocally. Flamingo Loud Dancer. Just don’t say it to my face and expect to survive the experience.

I have one of those year 7 classes (28 students) that are dreadfully immature, and answer every question with “I would kill them,” or “I would punch him in the face,” or “Superman would stop them!” They also think they have the right to chatter all the way through class, even when I am speaking. So, I have been sending streams of students to the Responsible Thinking Classroom to reflect on their behaviour and to write plans for their re-entry to our classroom.

It’s a fine line, because many in the class have ADS and so find being quiet difficult, but at the same time, they can’t interfere with my teaching or the learning of others. It’s not just the ADS students going to RTC, it is a plethora of mainstream students too. I have to be firm to maintain control, but in the meantime I am perceived as a meanie. I don’t think they have got the message yet, and so the stream of exits will continue until they do.

One lesson I kept them outside the classroom for 20 minutes as we went through checking that everyone had their laptop, pencils and paper, and then for everyone to calm down and wait quietly to enter the classroom. We had to wait so long that one student uttered, “But Miss, we want to learn our RE (religion).” No one wants to learn RE. which is most of the problem! So, finally I allowed them through the door, but a couple of boys misbehaved on their walk to a desk, so I pulled the entire class out and started the process again. I explained it to Mr FD as akin to breaking in a horse – you have to whisper to them to bend the spirit a little to maintain control. I don’t yell, scream, nag. I just stand patiently, explaining what behaviour is required until they listen. It’s going to be a very long term with this class.

Peppercorn and her parents are flying to Spain for a month, shortly. I wish they weren’t, due to all the turmoil in Europe right now. I know, we can’t live our lives in fear, but when I think of Peppercorn, who will only be eight months, well, it just makes me terrified. I know also that most of the terrorist attacks have been in France and Germany, as well as Turkey, but that doesn’t mean it will remain so. I want them to have a great time, even though Peppercorn will remember none of the adventure, but at the same time, I want them to remain safe. I just hope the time they are away passes very, very quickly. I shall have to keep busy in their absence. I shall just pretend that they are home in Perth and not across the other side of the world. We are not a very nice world at the moment.

Speaking of which – Donald Trump? Really, America, Donald Trump? He is the best you have right now? He’s a dangerous buffoon at the very least. I wouldn’t put it beyond him to get bored half way through a Presidency, if God forbid he should win, and just walk away from it all; or try to hire consultants to run things in his absence.

We have a dangerous buffoon in Australia. Her name is Pauline Hanson. She preaches hate, racism, bigotry, and all that is evil and she has just been elected to our Senate. For the next 6 years she has a platform to spread hatred. My reasoning is that the Liberal National Coalition (equal to the Republican Party in USA) have tried to control people by spreading fear. They have been so successful in creating fear in the electorate that now we fear anyone and anything that is different. Also, that there has been so much technological change that many people are finding it difficult to cope and this compounded with their general feelings of fear, have caused them to turn to these false “I will fix everything! prophets” Yes, we can all list things that are wrong, but how often do they come up with a sensible, workable solution? Rarely, if ever.

Pauline Hanson makes me ashamed to be Australian. Our previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott did also. Not that his replacement is much better. This is not the Australia I want my grandchildren to grow up in. I don’t want them growing up in a world where there is a President Trump either, so I will light a candle and hope for Hillary. Social justice is what the world needs now, for the common good. Solidarity people, please.

 

education shouldn’t be about the next election, or how to peck teachers to death

00907_Black-Green-Office-Desk-4_RF_DSC00244

Today is a public holiday in our ever warm state of Queensland. It is May Day, or Labour Day. Last year it was moved to November, because of the political machinations of the previous anti-worker state government. New government and it has been moved back to its rightful place, but the Queen’s Birthday holiday which was in June (despite her birthday being in April) has been moved to November. I gather it was Business who wanted the change as we have all our public holidays in the first half of the year and none in the second half.

Australia is facing a federal election in the next few weeks, so education and teachers are being  used as a political football, as usual. If only the politicians would leave education alone. I am becoming so angry that I feel like becoming an activist, but I have no intention of ruining my own life! Everyone has an opinion about education, but as Professor John Hattie argues, everything works to a degree, even what politicians suggest, but it doesn’t all work with the students or the teachers for the long term good.

Politicians don’t listen to educators, they are just running with the media, and the parents they have panicked, or miseducated in the first place. Teachers want the best for their students, leave education to the experts not the politicians. I know, they won’t listen – never have, never will.

The issue is, no one will want to be in education if everyone keeps picking on the teachers. Stop bullying teachers! Performance pay when you can’t select the students you teach? As though students should have a dollar value over the heads! Teachers forced to teach a curriculum they know is too crowded and too shallow for real learning, that doesn’t equip students for the world they will be living in, and yet we are to be punished if everything fails. No wonder the average career in education is five years (this is my 7th!).

I guess, I am asking that when we hear about testing and standards and performance pay, that we stop and think, and wonder what type of world we want for our children. I don’t think it is this one, and we all need to let our politicians know this. If the “little people” don’t speak up, then they will continue – it is up to us to state our needs and wants, and not let the politicians tell us what we want.

Of course, you could always let me tell you want you need or want!

The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

happy dancing

A new Prime Minister is worth a second post, today. I detested Tony Abbott, as the astute amongst you may have noticed. Newbie, Malcolm Turnbull has a sense of social justice, is a great communicator and intelligent. Also, not a career politician. Still a Liberal party member, sadly, but a big improvement on Abbott.

So a bit of happy dancing in my corner of the world. Won’t vote for them, but at least I don’t have to be embarrassed every time our Prime Minister opens his mouth. Malcolm is engaged with the new economies and won’t try to take us back to 1955 as Abbott wanted.

And this PM respects women! His wife, Lucy is the former mayor of Sydney – very much in the Hillary mode.

 

[Liberal Party is akin to the American Republican Party, just without guns in cold, dead hands].

Respect? Concern? Justice? Alien subjects!

teddy

There are times when I wish that my family was more self-sufficient, especially when I view the world’s chaos playing out on the television screen in our living room.

Not that I am expecting doomsday or armageddon. My desire is more to just remove myself from the craziness of globalisation and capitalism and the shallow media that is force fed us; day in, day out.

Why not just switch the media off and ignore it? I need to know that craziness. I am addicted to shaking my head in disbelief and shouting at the one dimensional figures on the screen.  My very own Catch-22 syndrome.

Also, I go out to teach each school day. You can’t live in a bubble if you are a teacher and a librarian. I have grandchildren, I have to care.

In Australia, we talk about the economy constantly. “It’s the economy, stupid” is almost the first sentence out of our mouths each morning. Watching a number of Greek citizens commenting about their “No” vote, their rhetoric focused on the themes of democracy and respect. I didn’t hear one Greek citizen discuss anything about their economy, jobs or budgets.

I don’t know which is the correct path. Perhaps the middle way, moderation in all things. It all makes me feel like an ever smaller cog in an ever expanding  machine, which is what I am in many ways. I don’t like it. I see shades of grey between the black and white of capitalism.

Our own method is to live simply and to be minimalist as much as possible. I need to declutter, declutter, declutter. It all needs motivation, time and energy and so many things and inertia just get in the way. Realistically, I am not going to achieve much while I teach full time, and new grand-babies are gifted to us. Little steps.

In the meantime, World, get your act together. Stop thinking “me” and start thinking “us”, then we might achieve concern, respect and justice.

G20 or how to empty a city in one day.

Brisbane

It is so hot today that when I walked outside moments ago the heat felt as though it was burning my nostrils as I inhaled. 12 noon and just over 40C already. Tomorrow is predicted to be even hotter.

Welcome to Australia, G20!

I think the delegates and their advance sherpas will be quite impressed by Brisbane. We emptied the entire central business district for them. Yes, almost the entire city got into their cars and drove the the beach for the weekend. If you were a terrorist looking for a crowd to hide in, you would be mighty lonely.

I feel sorry for the police and other security personnel in their full uniforms standing out in the heat. It is such a dry heat, it burns. I have been singing, “only mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun” a lot today.

Not only have we emptied a city for the G20 crowd, but they actually brought a freeway to a standstill at peak hour on Thursday afternoon to drive Obama’s EMPTY limos to his hotel.  They are called the “beast” the media reports and the request was made to demolish some road round about intersections to allow the car to pass. It was declined.

As I write, Obama is at the University of Queensland delivering a speech to 2000 invited guests. I was not invited, big mistake, big, big mistake. It has become quite fashionable for some local politicians to announce that they declined their invitation. I suspect as a cover for not being invited.

Earlier the man so many of us love to hate, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, delivered a rambling speech about domestic issues which had Putin not even pretending to listen.

The Russians have a couple of war ships off the Queensland coast in international waters. The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! declared all the conspiracy theorists this week. My personal theory is that a. it is so their communications people can tap into all the buzz happening and b. if a catastrophic event did take place, they would have Putin back on his own ship faster than the rest of us could take our last breath.

The majority of the event is taking place at the Brisbane Convention Centre where I have been for a couple of conferences this year, so Obama and Putin are in fact walking in my footprints. It doesn’t get much better than that, for them!

 

Now 41C= 105 Fahrenheit.

guess who is coming to town?

govt

The G20 is taking place in Brisbane, about an hour’s drive from our Village. All week military helicopters having been flying over our house, first as training exercises and later, I can only surmise, as the world’s leaders started arriving.

Jacob Zuma of South Africa was the first to arrive on Thursday. The news reel showed only one wife, perhaps his others were in the luggage compartment.

I was in the school library, 2o minutes west of Brisbane, on Wednesday when Obama’s helicopters made a sortie overhead. Obama was still attending APEC in China, so it was a training run. They were such big, heavy craft that the noise made us stop speaking as we couldn’t be heard, and the sound waves could be felt. It really did feel like an invasion.

I support leaders getting together, but does it have to be in my back yard?

 

peace

The events of recent weeks have brought the all too real threat of terrorism to the streets of our Australian cities. “That which was a plane ride away, is now a bus ride away.” Once again, we have learnt nothing, and a violent, ignorant minority who seek power because they feel powerless seek to dominate that which is not their’s to dominant.

Go home and love your family.