Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Road Home, a sermon

Sometimes a great movie comes out of China. I don't feel it is the fault of the communists. It is nothing like a Hollywood film in direction. There is a gorgeous young woman in it, but you never see her naked or semi clothed. There is a storyline to it, but it isn't predictable. The ending is bitter sweet. A story about love and loss. No crime was committed. And no mention of God. Why would I give a sermon on a movie without a reference to God if it wasn't to put down the film?

Some see God in the Bible. And only in the Bible. They say it is a heresy to point to earthly things and say God resides there.

The movie begins with a young man returning home to his mountain country village in China. He has been doing some kind of engineering degree in the city and been separated from his parents. His teacher father has just died. His mother is grieving. There is to be a funeral. The son wants to quickly sort out affairs, but he feels his mother is being difficult. Father died in a distant village, and the body needs to be returned. The son wants it returned by car. But the mother wants the body to be carried in a traditional way, so that the spirit can find its way home. This is the name of the movie. The Road Home.

The Mother relates to the son an old story, how she came to marry that teacher. And the black and white movie bursts into colour as a flashback begins. Zhang Ziyi is the 19 yo actress who portrays the young mum. The prettiest girl in the village. She meets the new village school teacher who is installed there by the communists. His role is to make the school children do sums and read aloud.

The courtship is traditional. But without a father to do the negotiations, the Prettiest Girl in the Village needs to work hard to engineer meetings and to provide gifts for the teacher without going too far and causing a scandal.

They had overcome the obstacles, married and had a son. He was educated, but he hadn't chosen to be a teacher. The love story is epic and that result, a child not pursuing the parent's dream, is a tragedy. A particular tragedy of modern China and its one child policy. The Lord our God has instructed us to go forth and multiply. And here we have the fruit of love. Both sweet and bitter.

This is the story of my God. The communists may not have thought that was what the story was about, possibly thinking it was about tradition fighting modernism. Sentimentality and love in a small village, pushed aside in the big city. Those elements are there, but in being about love, this story is about God. And the direction, in not being about lust, is the direction that God takes. You see God loves you. A lot. He is handicapped a little by our little knowledge. We know a little, having tasted from that tree. But we haven't wisdom. Our God calls to us and begs us to see him. He has given us many many blessings. And even when we see the blessings, we don't always see Him.

A friend of mine posted an allegorical story recently

As you got up this morning, I watched you and hoped you would talk to me, even if it was just a few words, asking my opinion or thanking me for something good that happened in your life yesterday. However, I noticed you were too busy, trying to find the right outfit to wear.
When you ran around the house getting ready, I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello but you were too busy again. At one point, you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except to sit in a chair. Then, I saw you spring to your feet. I thought you wanted to talk to me but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip instead. I watched patiently all day long. With all our activities, I guess you were too busy to say anything to me.
I noticed that you looked around before lunch. Maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me and that is why you didn't bow your head. You glanced at three or four tables around you and you noticed some of your friends talking to me briefly before they ate but you didn't. That's okay. There is still more time left and I hope that you will talk to me yet.
You went home and it seems as if you had lots of things to do. After a few of them were done, you turned on the television. I don't know if you like television or not. Just about anything goes there and you spend a lot of time each day in front of it not thinking about anything and just enjoying the show. I waited patiently again as you watched the television program and ate your meal, but again you didn't talk to me.
I guess you felt too tired at bedtime. After you said goodnight to your family, you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time. That's okay because you may not realize that I am always there for you. I've got patience, more than you will ever know... I even want to teach you how to be patient with others as well.
I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, prayer or thought, or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation.
Well, you are getting up once again. Once again, I will wait with nothing but love for you. I hope that you will give me some time today. Have a nice day!
Your friend,God
The issue was driven home for me in recent years as I have pursued my love. Wanting to talk to her. Wanting to talk about her. I can boast of my love. She has wisdom and virtue, mightily blessed by the Lord. I pray, and talk to Him about her. I meet with pastors from time to time and they ask me things. But my mind is on her and I'm not really in a position to talk about it. I want to talk about my plans. I remember, sitting at a cafe once. And before I could get started, we are interrupted by a former student. I am a teacher by trade, and privy to things that others don't know. This former student had spent time in jail for nearly killing another student of mine. The other had been a little older and had minded his own business, but the younger one was ambitious and a gang leader. The younger one's mum was a prostitute and she and her friends had raised the boy. She would come to school dressed for the part .. her son even twigged to my being single and asked if I wanted a go. "People get lonely, sir." I had politely declined, which subsequent events would show was a course of wisdom. The older boy was accused of being interested in a girl liked by the younger one. So one day, after school, outside Canley Vale Railway station, in the park feeding into it, the older boy met the younger boy and his gang. The younger boy's gang subdued the other .. using a plank of wood. Everyone but the gang leader used the wood and the older boy got a damaged eye socket, nearly taking an eye, broken collar bone, several ribs, arms and legs. It was thought he would die, or be blinded. I understand he mostly recovered. Courts couldn't do much with the gang leader because he hadn't used the wood. He served some time in prison, and naturally was posted back to school .. the same one he came from. He walks up to the pastor and me and asks if I remember him. I'd wanted to talk about my love. I wanly wish him well, and briefly outline to the pastor who he was when he left. Pastor suggested we should invite him to join us. Pastor was right, but I didn't get to talk about her, whom I loved. And so, through no fault of the pastor, I felt I had missed an opportunity. 

Another pastor meeting and he invites me back to Church. I want her to be there. I hadn't said that. I choose not to go back. I wonder. Was she there? Maybe I could have spoken with her. Another time, another invite. I go back .. she isn't there. She doesn't know. I haven't told her. I spend most of my waking life wanting to talk with her and hoping to please her. It is a story of love and when it is virtuous, it is like how God feels for anyone. 

All those blessings that the Lord gives us. And we often don't acknowledge them. I'm told some of the girls at my church feel they can get glimpses of the Lord when a suitor tries to show them their love. I want to give my love that glimpse. I want her to see through my eyes what I see. She has a heart for the Lord and that makes a person desirable. 

She might not choose me. I have to accept that. There is much that I dream that may not have what God wants for me. But what a dream! And so I have sympathy for the mum in this movie, who yearns for the blessing of having a child follow in the footsteps of that man she loved. 

What is it in life that makes a person Christian? Is it the cross on the gravestone and the chiseled statement? That punctuation mark? Or is it their devotion in life, their praise for the living God, whose very blessings make that life possible and prosperous? When I'm dead, I'll rest happy if medical students play with my kidneys and worms nibble my eyes. I want to be known as a Christian because I give my life for God. I serve God. I follow the Lord and I live for the Lord. And this is the Road Home. This is what the movie is about. It doesn't matter that the body comes home by car. The final resting place isn't the issue. It is the journey. The Road Home is the path of life. It is the life of devotion and love. It is fruitful. It is more than a memory or a label. It is the road home. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wed 27th Feb Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns David Bowles. You are behind a magnificent literacy project and I wish it every success. Read into that what you will, Tú eres el hombre escritor que puede cambiar el mundo. Paz, cerrando la brecha.







[edit]Holidays and observances


Dear Freedom Center Friend, 

With the reelection of Barack Obama, Israel's security has never been so threatened. And now with his assembling of a foreign policy team that includes John Kerry, John Brennan and Chuck Hagel, a message is being sent loud and clear:Israel, America no longer has your back. 

How bad are they? It was just revealed that Hagel coauthored a 2009 report on "A Last Chance for a Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement." What's in the report? A warning against "the Jewish-American and Christian Zionist groups that feel comfortable amplifying the positions of Israeli politicians hostile to hard compromise and painful concession." Yes, Chuck Hagel finds it imperative to warn us that the roadblock to peace are those irritating American Jews and Christians that love Israel. 

Hagel also makes it clear that Jerusalem must be divided into two capitals, and that the peace would be kept with a "U.S. – led multinational force" under a "UN mandate." One researcher has estimated that about 60,000 US/NATO troops and about 160 billion dollars over 10 years would be required. This is folly and any clear headed person knows this will only lead to the destruction of the Jewish State. 

John Brennan meanwhile, finds it critical that we work with the "moderates" in Hezbollah.Really? The moderates are the ones that only launch rockets on Northern Israel every other day! About the Islamists who kill innocents and want to impose Sharia Law and destroy Israel, Brennan says, "they are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle." The problem, of course, is that the "Jihadists" call themselves, Jihadists! Brennan's political correct nonsense is not only delusional; it is dangerous and has no place in our National Security mindset. 

But this is the mindset of the Obama second term. These are the men that mirror Obama's own worldview and more specifically, his view of Israel — she is an illegitimate, western colonial apartheid state in the middle of the Arab sea. 

How do we counter this Israel and Jewish-hating foreign policy? 

There are many battlegrounds in this war against Israel, but the Freedom Center's focus is on the college campuses. Our campuses have been overwhelmed by the Jew- hating, Israel-bashing Left wing in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood's offspring, the Muslim Students Association. Trust me, it is no longer safe on an American campus to be one of those Jewish-Americans and Christian Zionists that Chuck Hagel was so derisive of. 

The Freedom Center has just republished my pamphlet "Why Israel is the Victim" and I want you to have a copy. We have added a new forward, authored by FrontPage writer and Shillman Fellow, Daniel Greenfield. We plan to blanket American campuses with over a half million copies of this hard-hitting pamphlet. We are working with over 1,000 conservative and pro-Israel organizations and students that will help distribute this pamphlet, print campus ads and bring speakers to their campuses to tell the truth about Israel. 

But we urgently need your help to laumcht his effort. That's why I will send you a free copy of "Why Israel is the Victim" for your tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or more. 

Our young people must have the intellectual ammunition to counter the Israel haters and anti-Semites on our campuses. This is not the time for "interfaith" dialogue and fig leaves of friendship with those who want to destroy Israel and bring about the next holocaust. This is the time for the hard truth. 

Will you help me today? In order to reach our goal in the printing and distributing of a half million of these pamphlets, to place ads and bring speakers to these campuses, we need to raise $225,000 in the next month. You have been so supportive of the Center and my work over these years and I call on you again to help in this effort. 

Please follow this link to donate $25, $50, $100 or more and I'll rush you a free copy of "Why Israel is the Victim." 

Israel is the canary in the coal mine. What they do there, they are sure to come and do here. This cannot happen. We must counter what the Obama Administration is doing to our great ally and friend. Thank you in advance for your support. 


David Horowitz
President & Founder 

P.S. The men Barack Obama has chosen to lead his foreign policy and national defense team confirm our worst fears: America no longer stands with Israel. That's why, once again, the Freedom Center is leading the efforts to defend Israel. Will you support our latest effort by making a tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or more today? In return for your donation of $25 or more, I'll rush you a copy of my pamphlet, "Why Israel is the Victim." Thanks—David 

The David Horowitz Freedom Center
P.O. Box 55089 
Sherman Oaks, CA 91499-1964

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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for February 26th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Government transparency quote of the day

“I won’t stop fighting to open up government” — Barack Obama, January 2010...

Reporters to Jay Carney: Is an Obama-supporting organization selling access to the president? Carney: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them

Late last week, the New York Times reported that Organizing for Action is basically selling access to President Obama for a cool half million...

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"Intelack" ... just glorious. Glorious.


Gillard won’t woo Westies

Piers Akerman – Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (4:33am)

IT is becoming a little pointless to ask Julia Gillard what she could possibly have been thinking after she came out with yet another boneheaded notion.
Like the carbon tax, like the longest election campaign in the nation’s history, like appointing Peter Slipper to be Speaker or like announcing that she proposes to spend five days in the Western Sydney suburb of Rooty Hill.
Not that there is anything wrong with Rooty Hill, an admirable address to be sure, but when one has the choice between a bed in Rooty Hill or at Kirribilli House there really is no choice.
Unless of course, one is campaigning and one has looked at the most recent polling which puts the Coalition in a comfortable Labor-smashing two-party-preferred lead of 55 per cent to the ALP’s 45 per cent.
But Gillard is not campaigning, right?
This is what she told the National Press Club on January 30 when she announced she intended to have an election on September 14: “And so, decisions have to be made about how we use our time this year.
“We must get on with the business of governing and an election must be held.
“In that order.
“Governing first, electioneering second.”
But of course, she was lying again. Gillard has done little governing since her announcement but she has been flat out campaigning.
The polls tell the story.
She has failed to get the votes she thought she would and Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister she declared had lost his way, is waiting to be carried back to reclaim his title.
In Western Sydney, Labor currently holds five seats on margins under 5 per cent. Another five electorates usually considered “safe”, are on margins between 6 and 10 per cent; Labor MPs know most of them could be lost in September on the current polling.
It is easy to draw up a list of battleground seats in NSW – Parramatta, Reid, Banks, Lindsay, Greenway and Macarthur, for starters. Only four of which would have to go with a mini-swing of 1.5 per cent to give the Coalition a lower house majority.
Other Western Sydney seats where informal votes put former safe Labor seats in play are Blaxland, Watson, Fowler, Chifley, McMahon, Werriwa and Barton.
Natural Labor voters in these electorates are over the Ranga.
They are not fans of illegal boat arrivals, they don’t favour homosexual marriage, they are concerned about perceived increases in crime rates and ramping up of gunplay in their neighbourhoods.
They are worried about the rising cost of living, the carbon tax and imported workers.
Like others, they want the sense of security they enjoyed when the Coalition was last in government.
Most of all they are tired of being treated like mugs and milked for votes by the Labor Party. That’s why so many of them deliberately voted informal at the 2010 federal election and again at the 2011 state election.
Appearing at the Rooty Hill RSL or the Penrith Panthers has helped many old rock stars boost their superannuation but Gillard will be there on the taxpayers’ dollar and she has a hefty payout awaiting her.
Unlike the cheers the oldtimers of rock and roll may expect, Gillard may find her audiences less sympathetic.
There is no jackpot awaiting Labor in the West.


Sexist Seth proves that women rule

Miranda Devine – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (7:37pm)

IF you take the world’s most popular artform as a snapshot of 21st century culture, then the 2013 Academy Awards tells you that something real is changing for women.
An abundance of macho facial hair and host Seth MacFarlane’s openly sexist patter - with his We Saw Your Boobs number and: “We have no idea what they’re saying, but we don’t care because they’re so attractive” lines - was more a rearguard action by defensive men than a resetting of the feminist clock.
It was men in dinner suits trying to retain power against the realisation that a new generation of women genuinely don’t need them; they are competition that can’t be neutralised with a throwaway kiss. For all the furore the next day about Sexist Seth, did the Hollywood ladies care? Not one bit. They were in on the joke.
After the girl-power Golden Globes last month, hosted with aplomb by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it was game on. MacFarlane, the deceptively clean-cut creator of Family Guy, is nothing if not clued into the zeitgeist. He even made a neurotic reference to his Golden Globe competitors: “Why don’t we just let Tina and Amy host the show?”
His show parodied old-fashioned chauvinism better than if the Rat Pack itself had been hosting.
What the Oscars now tells you about women is that they are no longer defined by men. So throw as many sexist slurs their way as you like.
And, by the way, see how elegantly they dress. Not baring maximum flesh like extras in a porn film but wearing Hollywood glamour gowns that leave plenty to the imagination, with hair in flowing Rumpelstiltskin curls. They don’t behave like the handmaidens of old, but wear their soft armour against being treated like meat.
Then there were the strong, chaste female characters up on screen, in the best year for movies I can remember, as proven by an all-time record box office haul.
Jessica Chastain as the CIA agent tracking down Osama bin Laden, in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, is tough and driven. There is little back story. No romantic frisson. “I’m not that girl that f ... s”, she says at one point, closing down that traditional avenue and making Maya interesting in her own right, not because of who she sleeps with. And sure enough, unlike practically every actress has had to be from time immemorial, she isn’t “that girl that f ... s”.
Not in this movie, produced by a woman, financed by a woman, directed by a woman and starring a woman.
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook begins as the girl that f ... s too much - after her husband dies she immediately has sex with 11 co-workers. This all happens before the movie starts.
The complication in this romantic comedy-drama is that Tiffany falls in love with Pat (Bradley Cooper), yet their relationship remains chaste. This keeps the suspense going in a way old Hollywood used to do with ease and modern life so often cannot.
In a way, the movie is an ode to long and respectful courtship as well as breaking down the stigma of mental illness.
In her Best Actress acceptance speech Lawrence pays tribute to “the women this year. You were so magnificent and so inspiring and not just those of you in my category. And it’s been so amazing getting to know you and you’ve just been so nice”.
So much for the cliche that women are envious and must pull each other down.
At 22, Lawrence is the quintessential Gen Y girl, powerful and unencumbered by her forerunners’ temptations to simper. And of course, her Katniss Everdeen in last year’s The Hunger Games was her generation’s first Boadicea, capable in combat with no need of a man to keep her safe.
So all the furore over Seth’s sexism misses the point. It was just an impotent backlash against the news that women have figured out there’s more power in being independent, covering up and saying no to the zipless f ...k. They know the false promise that indiscriminate sex empowers women has been feminism’s biggest disaster. No wonder men are annoyed.
As if to underline that theme with optimistic promise, Oscar 2013 also gave us a rare Hollywood paean to long marriages, with three of the loveliest tributes to wives from the night’s most successful men.
“My wife, Jane Lin, we’ll be married 30 years this summer. I love you,” said Best Director Ang Lee.
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis dedicated his win to his wife and “perfect companion” of 16 years.
And Best Picture winner Affleck told Jennifer Garner: “I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good. It is work but it’s the best kind of work and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”
And that, in 2013, is the rather healthy state of the battle of the sexes.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (7:03pm)

Background: last year former Monthly editor Ben Naparstek was appointed editor of Fairfax’s Good Weekend. He was replaced at the Monthly by Good Weekend writer John van Tiggelen.
Nice things were said at the time but the pair have since fallen out. This is an email recently sent by van Tiggelen to Naparstek: 
Dear Ben,
It’s probably time to put a few things down in writing. Till now I’ve cut your sense of professional ethics a lot of slack. After all, we were friendly; you helped me get this job; I couldn’t help but feel affection for you and your oddball ways. But I no longer find the latter quite so cute.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (2:55pm)

Previously, bank accounts left dormant for seven years defaulted to the government. That has now changed: 
After legislation was rushed through parliament, the government will from May 31 be able to transfer all money from accounts that have not been used for three years into their own revenues.
This will mean that accounts with anything from $1 upwards that have not had any deposit or withdrawals in the past three years will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The law is forecast to raise $109 million this year as inactive accounts for three years or more are raided by Treasury. 
Next up: federal couch inspections.



Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (1:42pm)

Mike Carlton emails John McTernan: 
There is allegedly some all-powerful communications and strategy operation in Gillard’s office, ruled by one John McTernan, an apparatchik from the British Labour Party, but heaven knows what it actually does. If anything. I emailed McTernan last Christmas suggesting a drink or lunch but he didn’t bother to reply. 
That’s because McTernan is too busy trying to meet 2GB’s Ray Hadley: 
My staff got a phone call this week from the PM’s Scottish spin doctor John McTernan wanting to know if I wanted to catch up for a beer. I rarely drink and if I do it’s with close mates and family, not someone trying to butter me up because he knows the government is dead and buried in western Sydney … 



Tim Blair – Wednesday, February 27, 2013 (1:36pm)

Just a reminder of Labor’s love:


And then it all went away.


Italy votes against the elites - and the hairshirt

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(12:28pm)

A big comeback in Italy’s election for Silvio Berlusconi, foe of Italy’s intelligentsia, and a massive blow for Euro bureaucracy and the technocrat they installed as Italy’s unelected Prime Minister. Plus, of course, chaos:
But the result this time around is a baroque one: Prime Minister Mario Monti relegated to a humiliating fourth place, Silvio Berlusconi once again rampant, and the overtly anti-political Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo coming from nowhere to become the biggest single party in the House of Deputies. If these extraordinary results do not shake Europe out of its apathy, nothing will.
Saddled with scandal, felled by the sovereign-debt crisis and deserted by his traditional allies, the 76-year-old Mr. Berlusconi was on his political deathbed only a few months ago when he pledged to quit politics “for the love of Italy.”
On Monday, Mr. Berlusconi silenced naysayers and stunned financial markets when his conservative coalition got enough votes to deny its main rival of the parliamentary the support it needs to form a stable government. In the key lower house of Parliament, Mr. Berlusconi came within a whisker of victory—a scenario that was deemed unthinkable just two months ago.
The outcome won’t propel him back into the prime minister’s office. However, Mr. Berlusconi has positioned himself—for the 19th year running—as a pivotal powerbroker in Italy’s political life…
It is far from clear whether Mr. Berlusconi and Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Democratic Party, could overcome their differences and rule the country together…
The flood of TV appearances by the perennially tanned former premier outraged his critics. But the blitz mobilized Mr. Berlusconi’s base—small-business owners and professionals—which had largely been planning to desert the voting booths until Mr. Berlusconi pushed back onto the scene.
“He returned to TV playing that guy everybody knows,” said Alessandro Campi, a professor of political science at the University of Perugia. “He’s planted a seed deep in the public imagination.”
Mr. Berlusconi is also adept at transforming perceived weaknesses into political strengths. Many economists and investors assumed he had been fully discredited in the eyes of the Italian public when, in late 2011, he was forced to hand power over to an emergency government run by Mario Monti.
However, Mr. Berlusconi responded to the ouster with an act of political judo, blaming Italy’s economic woes on the tax increases and pension cuts introduced by Mr. Monti’s government… Mr. Monti garnered 9.1% of the vote for the Senate and 10.5% for the Chamber.
First, 57 per cent of Italians voted for parties that explicitly oppose austerity, whether EU-mandated or otherwise.
Second, the Five-Star Movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo received over 25 per cent of the vote. Mario Monti, the outgoing prime minister – who was put in place to lead a Brussels-friendly, pro-reform government – mustered less than 10 per cent of votes in both houses. Think about that for a second. In practical terms, this means that a party – Grillo’s Five Star Movement, which has called for a referendum on whether the country should leave the single currency and whether Italy should default on some of its debt – will have roughly twice as many seats in Italy’s Lower House than the man hailed in Brussels and Berlin as Italy’s saviour . It also means that a former European Commissioner and adviser to Goldman Sachs just got completely hammered at the polls by a former comedian.
The Five Star Movement is likely to be studied as an example of innovative campaigning. It made much use of social media – recruiting its candidates primarily via YouTube, for example. The party is far more anti-establishment (and strongly anti-Berlusconi) than anti-Brussels. But still, though Italians remain staunchly pro-EU, this election is a major blow for the Brussels cash-for-austerity consensus.


One year on, the Coalition prepares for Rudd’s second challenge

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(12:23pm)

The Coalition clearly thinks it’s time to start preparing for Kevin Rudd, who, as I said a few weeks ago, is now the biggest obstacle to Tony Abbott become Prime Minister.


We saw your boobs

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(8:11am)

Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars marvellously punctured the “it’s art not porn” pretence.  Not that there’s anything wrong with bared breasts in the movies…


“Black” children stolen from white safety

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(7:40am)

 The "stolen generations"
Senator Trish Crossin is, tragically, not the only person to be sacked for not being Aboriginal. Here’s a much more serious example - one that also demonstrates again how the ”stolen generations” myth is hurting children:
Robert came to Audrey as a nine-week-old baby who had been born three months premature.
“There were drugs and alcohol involved with the parents, and also domestic abuse,” Audrey said.
After caring for Robert for more about seven months, Audrey - who has been a foster carer for more than three years, taking children in on a short-term basis - was asked if she would be willing to take Robert on as part of a fulltime arrangement… She said five days after agreeing to take Robert on permanently, everything changed.
“I was notified that an indigenous elder had stepped in and that Robert was to be removed from my care, and two weeks later he was gone.”
Audrey said she was told that she was no longer considered an acceptable full time carer for Robert as she was not indigenous.
“For me, the concern was Robert was very attached to me, he had bonded, he was healthy, he was thriving, and there was actually no need to remove him from my care… Robert is now in a family where there are seven other foster children under the age of eight… The last time I saw Robert, his health had deteriorated… After only a week in his new placement, he had severe nappy rash to the point where his bottom was bleeding. He had pale coloured stools, he had an ear infection, he was very untidily dressed.”
The apparent explanation:
According to the DCP’s website, the department tries wherever possible to place Aboriginal children within their families and local communities to “safeguard their identities.”
But which of their identities is to be safeguarded?
I had two columns banned by a Federal Court after trying to discuss this notion of identity, so will leave it to an Aborigine commenting on this case to raise my argument instead:
Craig Somerville, the head previous of Aboriginal Legal Services and Aboriginal community member said each case should be looked at individually.
“What is an Aboriginal family? My father was Scottish my children are half-Italian, it’s all about backgrounds that nurture us together, my kids, I’m not going to shove anything on them, they don’t have to wear a kilt or play a didgeridoo,” he said.
And why these absurd efforts to maintain an “identity” that can come with these results:
Aboriginal children make up about 45 per cent of all children in foster care in WA. While Aboriginal people only make up 3.8 per cent of WA’s population 1867 of the 3927 children in care in WA at the end of 2012 were Aboriginal.
DCP director general Terry Murphy told Radio 6PR that while there was a preference to place Aboriginal children with Aboriginal families, Audrey’s claims were not true…
Mr Murphy said the department was “very clear” that they were looking for a “relative placement or perhaps another Aboriginal family.”
“My advice is that no time, did we canvass with her on the prospect of the child staying with her until he was 18…
“We eventually found an Aboriginal placement.
Mr Murphy said an advantage of this placement was that Robert’s brother was also living here.
He rejected assertions that Robert was not doing well in the placement…
“Now we would be nervous about the placement with nine children, there’s no question about that, but it’s not too many years ago that lots of children had nine and ten and many more children and those kids have grown up terrifically well,” he said.
A placement with nine children? Many of them foster children? God spare the boy. 
(Thanks to reader Simon.) 


A Labor state cools on Gonski, too

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(7:25am)

Even Tasmania now questions the great, unfocussed cash splash known as the Gonski “reform”:
Until now Labor states such as South Australia have been supportive of the government’s education reforms…
But in a submission sent by Tasmanian Department of Education secretary Colin Pettit to the parliamentary inquiry into the Gonski bill, and written by Education Minister Nick McKim, one of two Greens ministers in Labor Premier Lara Giddings’s cabinet, the government expresses serious concerns about the legislation.
“Tasmania questions the need for the bill in its current form,” Mr McKim writes. “The reform directions are too detailed and not based on any agreement with states and do not recognise the role of states as system managers.
“(It) represents unknown costs to state governments and may have industrial relations implications."…
“There is an over-emphasis on engaging with Asia in the bill compared with the importance of school improvement and the provisions of needs-based funding,” Mr McKim says.


Global warming is good for democracy

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(6:52am)

Global warming is not all doom and gloom:
Please join the Center for American Progress, the Center for Climate & Security, and the Stimson Center on Thursday, February 28, for the release of a new volume on “Climate Change and the Arab Spring."… The volume outlines the complex pressures exerted by the effects of climate change on the convulsions which swept through the Middle East in 2010 and 2011, exploring the long-term trends in precipitation, agriculture, food prices, and migration which contributed to the social instability and violence which has transformed the region, and offering solutions for progress.
Personally, I think the Center for American Progress missed a fine opportunity for scaremongering. It could have argued instead that global warming helps Islamists.
One problem with the above analysis, of course, is that there’s no sign at all of global warming hurting agriculture and food prices. The very opposite, in fact, to judge from production levels of the world’s main food crops:
(Thanks to reader David.)


Monckton attacks

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(6:46am)

Lord Monckton is rightly unhappy at being misrepresented by a University of Tasmania academic who tried to wave away the fact the world has not warmed for 16 years.
It would be useful to the public if the University answered the charges in his letter.
(Thanks to reader fulchrum.)


Gillard could hand Labor to the Left

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(5:59am)

Cassandra Wilkinson warns that Labor’s looming election debacle could remake the party for the worse: 
The expected losses in NSW are interesting not only for their likely severity but for the ideological distribution. If polls don’t improve many of NSW Labor’s best younger MPs will lose their seats, including Michelle Rowland, Jason Clare, Chris Bowen, David Bradbury and possibly Tony Burke, all in the Right. The safer seats will be held by Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese and Stephen Jones. The Liberals will win the country but the socialists will win control of Labor in NSW.
FORMER NSW premier Morris Iemma has told senior Labor figures that he will not be nominating for preselection to contest the federal seat of Barton at the next election.
It is believed that a desire to spend time with his family and Labor’s poor standing in opinion polls, reaffirmed yesterday by the latest Newspoll, are behind Mr Iemma’s decision not to seek to replace outgoing Labor MP Robert McClelland.
There is no contest for first prize. Julia Gillard’s political misjudgments are rivalled only by her policy mistakes… Add to the list the alliance with the Greens; reneging on her “no carbon tax” promise; installing Peter Slipper as Speaker; dumping a pokies deal with independent Andrew Wilkie; standing by the sexting Slipper; promising a surplus, only to dump that promise too; the clumsy “captain’s pick” for the Senate; and announcing a September 14 election.
The policy mistakes? We know them well....
Second place is also a no-brainer. Step up Wayne Swan…
Third place goes to Rudd… But the former PM set the wheel in motion for the Labor train wreck…
Coming in at fourth spot is Bill Shorten. The Workplace Relations Minister allowed the government to look like the lackey for the union movement when the stench of union corruption grew more pungent…
As Labor is the party of collectives, fifth place goes to a group of female MPs best known as the misogyny maidens. Tanya Plibersek, Nicola Roxon, Penny Wong, Jenny Macklin and, of course, the PM - who earns two places in the top five - debased the serious issue of misogyny with cheap politics. And nothing is more certain to offend Australians than the finger-wagging culture of these trendy inner-city MPs whom the French would call “gauche caviar”.


Another $860m of Labor waste

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(5:52am)

AN $860 million stretch of elevated highway in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, funded with $500m in federal stimulus grants, was built almost 20m high to allow double-stacked trains that are unlikely to use the rail line to pass underneath.
The 5km road, of which 2.8km is elevated, was announced by Kevin Rudd and then South Australian premier Mike Rann in October 2009 as a “visionary” project that would help stimulate the construction sector during the global financial crisis…
“The longer-term plan is that the track is not required (to go under the superway),” SA Freight Council chief executive Neil Murphy said.
So what did all that stimulus spending give us? 
- overpriced school halls/
- an “Education Revolution” that saw student standards go backwards.
- home insulation that had to be ripped out.
- an elevated train track we don’t actually need.
- cash splashes to the dead
(Thanks to reader Michelle2.)


The ABC’s anonymous sources are different

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(5:29am)

This must be a classic – Media Watch using anonymous sources to condemn anonymous sources.


Bill’s new besties

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(5:24am)

Shorten has an odd sense of priorities:
WORKPLACE Relations Minister Bill Shorten has publicly aligned himself with the militant Maritime Union of Australia, ... [telling] MUA members in Western Australia yesterday that ”there’s no other place I’d rather be today anywhere in Australia, and I mean this with all my heart, than here with you”.
Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray ...  noted the strong growth of the branch and the rise in numbers for the union as a whole… “We’ve all but doubled our membership because we are a militant fighting union. ...” 
WA Branch Secretary Chris Cain, speaking in his usual straightforward and strong militant views, told the delegates: “Laws need to be broken, you’re going to get locked up. Because if you want equality in this country, you need to take action,” said Cain.
Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the UK Rail Maritime and Transport Union, gave a rousing talk about the importance of seeing the trade union work as a 24-7 community operation… “Capitalism has failed mankind.”
Mr Cain led conference delegates in a chant accusing mining magnate Gina Rinehart of exploiting workers, “with the entire crowd joining in”.
Nowhere else in Australia that Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, the face of modern Labor and son-in-law of the Governor-General, would rather be.


Gillard’s expedition to Rooty Hill will cost her

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY272013(5:09am)

At least this time Julia Gillard is paying for her mistake:
The Prime Minister will be forced to pick up the tab herself for her stay in Rooty Hill because she already has a residence at Kirribilli House and is not entitled to a travel allowance.
Her Sydney-based staff, who stay with her at the hotel, will also be required to pay for their own accommodation… The ALP is not footing the bill for the western Sydney stay.
CHRIS UHLMANN: But in this straw poll taken today in the marginal seat of Greenway, most approached were not fans of Julia Gillard.
VOX POP IV: She struggles to relate to normal people. She’s a lawyer.
VOX POP V: I think she lost us when she did lie about the carbon tax.
VOX POP VI: She doesn’t tell the truth all the time.
VOX POP VII: She’ll be replaced by Kevin Rudd. I believe it’s the only chance the Labor Party have.
VOX POP: When she talks, she talks like a car dealers.
JOURNALIST: Like a car dealer?
VOX POP IV: Yeah. She want to rip you off.


Would you 'Like' a Hug Mug? Max Brenner


The only consistent goals I've had in my life: 1. Be a host on Play School 2. Appear as a guest on The Love Boat and 3. Learn to time travel - Community Channel



Scientists have built a robot that mimics the wing shape and motions of the lesser dog-faced fruit bat, which could aid in the design of novel flapping aircraft.

Yesterdays MX. My new iPhone app acts like a ‘direct line to the Batphone.’ Glad MX thought the app was a good idea

Finally finished my first tiger drawing. It was definitely challenging but fun to do! :) Joey Duong

Haphazard sale: $680 inclusive or enquire about individual items - Aprille Love
- glass desk
- 6 piece sony surround sound system
- brother inkjet printer
- samsung laser printer
- tv cabinet 

Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Grable - How to Marry a Millionaire, 1953

I wonder if PM Gillard will visit Hughes to apolgise to locals for increasing their electricity bills with her broken promise on the Carbon Tax and her failure to return the budget to surplus ?

Published on May 9, 2012
What is true repentance? Is it being mindful of your sins, and beating yourself over them with much remorse and sorrow? Join Joseph Prince in this must-hear message as he shows you what true repentance is in the new covenant. See for yourself from the Scriptures how genuine, new covenant repentance comes and how it effects victory over sin in your life. This revelation-packed message will correct all legalistic and erroneous notions of repentance, unveil the infinite goodness of your Father's heart and set you on the path to live a glorious life for Him.

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Western Sydney prepares reception for Gillard.

From Matt Granz
For my non-visual effects wizard (muggle) friends. Here's what the green profile pics are all about....

Life of Pi won the Oscar for Visual Effects, Cinematography and Director last night. Good for all, and well deserved in each category.

However, the visual effects company and artists that created the tiger, the ocean, the ship, the skies, etc... is now in bankruptcy, unable to pay its artists' payroll and back wages. Many of them have been let go with no compensation or benefits for them or their families. This company, Rhythm & Hues, is no sweatshop either. They are/were one of the good guys... a facility created by artists for artists to do what we all love to do. It's a coin flip whether they survive.

Talented people, from artists, coordinators and programmers to the software and hardware that are required to fulfill a director like Ang Lee's vision, are not cheap and a lot of people are required. It is a complex and highly technical mix of artistry and innovation that requires years of experience. Visual effects are so necessary for complex and never-before-seen story telling that 48 of the top 50 box office films are considered visual effects films. But the visual effects community has never been on shakier ground.

The reality today is that Hollywood studios demand more, faster and cheaper for their films. They drive this "competition" through unfair bidding competing against work from countries with illegal tax subsidies and incentives. This practice has created a race to the bottom price-wise and we are reaching a point where talented people are walking away from the industry after suffering long hours, broken families, migrant worker status as they move from country to country following work as the studios chase the latest tax subsidies. We are reaching a point where companies like R&H, Cafe FX, Digital Domain cannot survive the slightest rough patch.

Comments by Ang Lee in the weeks leading up to the Oscars lamenting that "he wishes VFX could be cheaper" were a shot across the bow of the VFX community as many of the Life of Pi crew already sat home out of work. Ang Lee has not discussed how actors' salaries could be cheaper, or how director or producer's percentages could be limited. Yet it is valid to argue that visual effect played an equal if not greater role in making the movie Ang wanted to make.

Life of Pi was a perfect VFX storm. A book that people said could not be brought to the screen. You can't shoot on the ocean, you can't put a tiger in the boat with an actor. Credit Ang Lee's direction and the screenplay by David Magee. But the technical, visual execution of that film was a real achievement and the Visual effects team at Rhythm and Hues deserves the credit for that.

Now flashback to last night's Oscars... and wear a cup.

Neither Ang nor his winning cinematographer, Claudio Miranda felt they needed to thank or even mention the VFX artists who made the sky, the ocean, the ship, the island, the meerkats and oh yeah... the tiger. Ang thanked the crew, the actors, his agent, his lawyer and the entire country of Taiwan right down to the team that built the wave-pool on the soundstage where Pi was shot. But failed to mention 100's of artists who made, not only the main character of the tiger, but replaced that pool, making it look like a real ocean for 80% of his movie.

And the final salt in the wound to our community... when VFX supervisor, Bill Westenhofer (one of our own) was accepting his well-earned Oscar for Best Visual Effects, he attempted to shine a light on the bankruptcy of Rhythm and Hues and the current paradoxical state of our industry, but was promptly given the hook and had his mic cut by the same Hollywood powers that demand lower prices for the very skills that make their tent-pole movies and profits possible.

So thank you Ang Lee. Thank you for not thanking us and for letting us all know where we stand. Our industry is the only non-organized part of the movie making business. I am afraid that may need to change.

Nearly 40 years after Star Wars, but don't forget special effects predate it and are as old as film. Babylon 5 was made on time and on budget, the first time such a graphic intensive program ever was. But the weakness of the lobby is that they didn't let it happen again. Reality tv is cheaper and the studios are better vectored to profit from it because the studios outsourced VFX and so don't profit from it. - ed

The serenity of Yosemite mid afternoon on a winter's day — at Half Dome.

Years ago I saw a pic of horsetail falls with what looked like a river of fire pouring off of it's face and I thought "I have to take a pic like that someday!"

Well, then over the years I saw at least a thousand more… each one pretty much the same as the last, and my wish to document this event wound up waining.

This year brought me to the event because of my association with the Aperture Academy. We took a bunch of our students to a nice meadow and shot this event that lasts only for a week twice a year.

The only trouble is that everything needs to line up properly for this shot to work. You need clear skies, decent amount of snowfall in the previous days before, warm weather to melt the snow, and only during a week in February or November.

Well, we had some of the requirements but not all. The waterfall was running well in the early pre-noon hour but as sunset descended the waters froze back up.

Still, even without the waterfall running it makes a nice image.
 — at Yosemite National Park.


Who's the BBQ Ninja at your shindigs? Get tagging! 

Each and every training session is an opportunity for us to put ourselves to the test. Whether we push past our limits or take it easy depends entirely upon us! #team9lives #9livesparkour #fairfield #training

Beloved, the Bible tells us in Psalm 23:1 that the Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want. As you meditate on this simple verse, begin to realize that the Lord IS (present tense) your shepherd.

A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them and protects them. In the same way, Jesus your shepherd provides for you, feeds you, and protects you from every evil.

What is it that you are faced with today? Is it wisdom, favor or provision that you need? Rest assured that Jesus, your shepherd, will surely supply it, and you shall not be in want for anything.


Jesus: Life Is Much More Than Obeying Rules:

Jesus died and rose again to be our High Priest who daily showers us with blessings! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all!

Stare at this intently for a full minute…now…wipe the drool from your keyboard