Terror of Modern Policing

 You could almost feel sorry for NSW Police. Like their brother cops in the U.S., they've been granted all this military grade equipment, but our thin blue line lacks even the excuse of an armed citizenry to use it against.  This could give a lesser police justice system pause for reflection on the origins of policing and their application in the modern world. Ask themselves questions like who is targeted by police? Why is there a focus on the crimes of disadvantage, but a systemic failure to investigate and prosecute corporate crime? Why are there armed police officers roaming public transport to inspect tickets, whilst so many reported cases of people doing serious harm to children go without follow up because there aren't enough child protection officers - and why for that matter is the starting salary of a probationary constable $80,733, a figure that can rapidly increase through overtime, whilst a new child protection caseworker is paid $79,032 and receives no overtime pa

What God wants twelve year old priests?

Gnocchi Nico I prepared earlier Last night, after Mr G and I finished another sublime dinner (I know - I cooked it) he rose to take the plates into the kitchen, and I said while you're in there, after you rinse and stack can you wipe the benches.  He emerged a few minutes later and wiped down the table where we'd just eaten. I said thanks, the table needed that, but can you also wipe the benches. I think he nodded.  Some time later I went into the kitchen and saw the benches were wilfully, obstinately unwiped; the jars of salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne, and the 83 other herbs and spices I put into every meal were still out, and there was a glob of olive oil, a couple of bits of broken spaghetti, an unwashed knife, and various other detritus one would expect from an enthusiastic but imprecise cook still on the bench. I try to clean up as I go, but I also like listening to podcasts and loud music while I cook and sometimes things get away from me. And in any case, I had delegated f

Sort of book review - The Death of a President and the pre-history of childhood

The Death of a President , William Manchester's semi-official account of the Kennedy assasination,  had a turbulent journey to publication . In the wake of JFK's death, the Kennedy family, realising a deluge of books about the assassination was surely on the way, commissioned Manchester, a journalist who knew and liked Kennedy and whose work the family approved of, to write the official account of the events. Manchester duly spent three years researching and writing the book, interviewing all the key players including Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy. But as publication approached, the Kennedys, deciding the book was unflattering to them, and furious Manchester had sold the serialisation rights, attempted to block publication. They were unsuccessful in this endeavour, allowing us 60 years on to read this sanitised and simpering account of the days leading up to and immediately after Kennedy's death, as seen in the mores of the time. I can't even remember what motivated me

Where the NRL failed (apart from in Las Vegas)

America said no. The NRL managed to achieve one thing with their grand experiment in wowing Americans by playing two opening round matches in Las Vegas: flying more people across the planet to report on a footy match than actually watched the matches on TV locally. Well, not quite, but the NRL must have forked out what economists refer to as a shitload of money to fly half of the Australian media to Vegas to drum up hype for the league double header that managed to score just 61,000 TV viewers at best. The NRL can try to put a positive spin on this or debate where their marketing strategies failed, but if the aim was to get Americans excited about rugby league ("it's like the NFL, but no helmets and without play stopping every time someone touches the ball"), their big mistake was going to Las Vegas at all. Sure, it did get the cashed up young league players away from the toxic gambling culture of NSW for a bit, but Las Vegas is the absolute worst place* to attract a

Screw the disabled! Labor shows its true colours. Again.

 Amazingly, there are still people who believe the traditional red of the ALP is that of their hearts bleeding for people experiencing hardship and disadvantage. And whilst some of these people are talkback radio hosts egging their audience on to a fury of be-spittled rage, some are actually Labor supporters who believe their party is on the side of the right and good.  Meanwhile, Labor politicians continue to yell the quiet part for everyone to hear. NSW Premier Chris Minns - who looks like the guy who reads the weekend news on summer TV whilst the regular hosts are on holidays - is determined that NSW will not be the loser in a fight with the Federal government over NDIS funding. In particular, NDIS minister Bill Shorten wants the states to take over more supports for children with  early developmental disorders and mild autism. The state premiers are angry. Not about whether children will receive the best possible supports, but about money. Here's Chris Minns:  If Bill Shorten w

New York: so good I went there twice - Sikamikanico in America, Part IV

I should have realised sooner that I wouldn’t gasp when I first saw New York.  New York was the real goal of my trip and in the day dreams that took the place of proper planning, I’d imagined flying into the city at night, staring out the window, gasping and squeaking with awed delight. But there was none of that, and not just because by the time I first saw New York I was tired from a day of travel from New Orleans via Dulles International Airport in D.C., packed as it was on a Friday evening with government staffers heading home for the weekend, and with my connecting flight delayed for three hours. It was because at moments of intense emotion, I tend to draw into myself, needing time to process what’s happening in my head before I react to it. I’m a lot more expressive than in the days when I averaged eight words and two facial expressions a week, but if anyone’s planning to propose, you probably shouldn’t expect much of a reaction straight off. And flying into New York was a moment

Screw you Pay Pal

I thought The Onion's feature on Kafka International Airport was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Then I started living in a Kafkaesque nightmare, and it's not so funny anymore.  My Dell laptop is coming to the end of its useful life, so back on July 24 I ordered a new one directly from the Dell Australia website. For a largish purchase like this, I figured the safest and easiest way to pay would be to use Pay Pal.  Oh, what an innocent creature I was back then. By 31 July my computer hadn't arrived and there were no updates to the order status, so I contacted Dell. They told me the payment was showing as Pay Pal decline. Odd, I thought, there had been enough money to cover the transaction in my account the whole time, but whatever. My Pay Pal account showed the payment as pending confirmation by the merchant, so I figured I'd cancel the order with Dell, get my money back in a few days surely, and order the laptop anew.  And so the nightmare began. The De