1. Trump hexed
- She scares them: Conservative Christians claim Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a witch guided by demons and leading an attack against President Donald Trump.
Frightened by a smart, articulate, attractive young woman, conservative Christians panic, worried that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is really a witch leading a demonic attack against President Trump.
They think Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is connected to “a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
So they are going to pray:
- against the demonic forces that are clustered in southern New York City” and “operating through the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
Only in America!
Meanwhile Trump has announced he is running for a second term, and people are starting to consider what a Trump win would mean for America and the world.
2. When too much sport is barely enough
At present there are any number of amazing sport stories going around. However, we need to celebrate the amazing journey of Ash Barty, who in 2016 was No. 623 in the world rankings. A couple of weeks ago she won the French Open, for the first time by an Australian woman since the great Margaret Court in 1973.
That made her No. 2 behind Naomi Osaka. However, Osaka has bombed out of the Edgbaston tournament in Birmingham. If Barty wins she’ll be numero uno. Overnight Barty disposed of Venus Williams in straight sets. Two to go.
The last time an Australian woman was No. 1 it was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.
Meanwhile on the men’s side, those three old blokes, Roger Federer (37, going on 38), Rafael Nadal (33) and Novak Đoković (32) are still cleaning up. The record shows that historically most male Grand Slam events are won by men in the age bracket 22-26.
Amazingly, beginning with Federer’s win at Wimbledon in 2003 there have been 64 grand slams, and those three gentlemen have won 53 on them. Odds on one of them will win Wimbledon this year, plus the US Open too.
A case can be made for each of them as the GOAT (Greatest of all time).
3. Petrified wood
Where I grew up petrified wood was a common phenomenon. There was a big lump outside the school door, and on the hill behind the school, where we took a short cut walking to school on wet days, there was a whole stump in plain site.
Last weekend my wife and I visited Carinya Hostel in Miles, where my sister is currently staying on respite care after a short stint in hospital. This is what you see on the right as you approach the front door:
Googling turned up this item in the Chinchilla Museum:
- Petrified wood dates back to the Jurassic Age when dinosaurs populated the Earth 140-180 million years ago.
Chinchilla petrified wood is regarded as being the best in Australia as to the colour and quality.
Lapidary enthusiasts from all over the world as well as Australia visit Chinchilla to procure specimens.
Types of trees petrified in Australia belong to the Araucaria family of conifers, tree ferns and cycads – all cone bearing or spore bearing trees.
Chinchilla was probably about 80 km away as the crow flies. I knew there was plenty around, but I was not aware of how exceptional and famous the district was for petrified wood.
Carinya was interesting as a nursing home. There are only 18 places for residents, and at least two carers are on duty 24/7. The staff were super friendly and competent. As a service provided by local government with support from higher levels of government, no-one has to make a dollar of profit. For such a small institution there was an impressive array of activities on offer, some by volunteers from the community.
In your room you can have your own TV, with Foxtel or whatever.
If such a facility were available in Ashgrove, I’d be happy to move in if and when the time came.
- An Australian Human Rights Commission report has found that offshore immigration detention centres are becoming harsher, more restrictive and prison-like.
It says the average length of stay in these conditions has increased to a record 500 days in some cases, which can cause physical and mental harm.
There is one word wrong in that summary of the ABC RN program. The AHRC were looking at onshore facilities, specifically the sample was Villawood, Brisbane, Melbourne and Yongah Hill. The full report is 88 pages long. I’ve only skimmed it, but it seems like a long lecture in polite language on the what changes need to be made in order to treat people with basic human decency.
The centres have been remodelled to look, and presumably function, like prisons, where the toilets are in the same room as the bed and ‘living’ space, under open surveillance. More internal physical barriers have been created within the centres.
The number of people in detention has stabilised, with the population remaining between 1,200 and 1,500 since mid-2016. However, the average stay a shocking 500 days. The inmates (we can call them that) seem to be predominantly visa over-stayers and some asylum seekers.
I haven’t had time to research how detention centre populations relate to asylum seeker arrivals who are flooding the system by the simple means of getting on a plane, which, unsurprisingly, people smugglers have found they can offer cheaper, faster and safer than leaky boats. Kristina Keneally told Patricia Karvelas that, through government cutbacks to immigration staff, the backlog of asylum seekers waiting to be processed has ballooned from 90,000 to over 200,000 on Peter Dutton’s watch. I gather that most of these are living in the community. I’m not sure what their entitlements are in access to schooling, medical care and work.
Of course, Peter Dutton did not expect that this would be his problem to deal with. Now it is, in a government which promised huge tax cuts and further ‘efficiencies’ in government services.