Sunday, 26 January 2014

Poetic interludes and other news and views for Sunday 26 January

Higher duties called on Friday so no postings on the blog but they did allow for a little bit of Australiana visiting which seemed appropriate on the approach to Australia Day. Called in at the birthplace of Henry Lawson who was born in a tent under a tree
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Here’s one of his more famous works:
Andy’s Gone with Cattle
Our Andy’s gone to battle now
‘Gainst Drought, the red marauder;
Our Andy’s gone with cattle now
Across the Queensland border.
He’s left us in dejection now,
Our thoughts with him are roving;
It’s dull on this selection now,
Since Andy went a-droving.
Who now shall wear the cheerful face
In times when things are slackest?
And who shall whistle round the place
When Fortune frowns her blackest?
Oh, who shall cheek the squatter now
When he comes round us snarling?
His tongue is growing hotter now
Since Andy crossed the Darling.
The gates are out of order now,
In storms the `riders’ rattle;
For far across the border now
Our Andy’s gone with cattle.
Poor Aunty’s looking thin and white;
And Uncle’s cross with worry;
And poor old Blucher howls all night
Since Andy left Macquarie.
Oh, may the showers in torrents fall,
And all the tanks run over;
And may the grass grow green and tall
In pathways of the drover;
And may good angels send the rain
On desert stretches sandy;
And when the summer comes again
God grant ’twill bring us Andy.
Another anniversary this weekend from the other side of the world.
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Remembering Under Milk Wood at 60 – “Sixty years ago this week, the actor Richard Burton starred in what many think the best radio play ever written – Under Milk Wood. In 1954 Burton was just starting a dazzling career as a movie star – but for the rest of his life he looked back on Under Milk Wood as one of his great achievements.”
Some other news and views noted along the way.
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  • How Vietnam became a coffee giant – “Think of coffee and you will probably think of Brazil, Colombia, or maybe Ethiopia. But the world’s second largest exporter today is Vietnam… Coffee production then grew by 20%-30% every year in the 1990s. The industry now employs about 2.6 million people, with beans grown on half a million smallholdings of two to three acres each. This has helped transform the Vietnamese economy. In 1994 some 60% of Vietnamese lived under the poverty line, now less than 10% do.”
  • Million sickness benefit applicants ‘fit for work’ – “Nearly a million people who applied for sickness benefit have been found fit for work, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions. The DWP claims 980,400 people – 32% of new applicants for Employment and Support Allowance – were judged capable of work between 2008 and March 2013. More than a million others withdrew their claims after interviews, it adds. But disability campaigners said the work tests were ‘ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair’.”
  • Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low
  • This Is President Obama’s Plan To Get The World On Board The Fight Against Climate Change
  • Is climate change a northern catastrophe or an Arctic opening?
  • Climate Change Could Melt the Winter Olympics – “Athletes are getting ready for a warm, soggy Winter Games in Sochi. But thanks to global warming, that could soon be the norm for the Winter Olympics. by mid-century, close to half of the previous host cities could likely be too warm for outdoor sports like Alpine skiing and snowboarding.”
  • Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding – “Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke about ending divisiveness in the party, which some call a civil war between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans. But Huckabee also stirred controversy when he spoke about winning the votes of women. ‘If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let us take that discussion all across America,’ Huckabee said. It didn’t exactly fit with the Republican Party’s rebranding effort, which began a year ago following the party’s poor showing in the 2012 elections. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus reacted cautiously to Huckabee. ‘I don’t know what he was talking about,’ Priebus said. ‘What I can tell you is that I think he was trying to make the comment that government can’t be involved in every part of everyone’s life.’ “
And another thought about global warming.
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