Lurking by the Watercooler

It’s time to gather by the watercooler..!

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I don’t know about you but my watercooler’s nearly empty what with all this hot weather..

Interestingly, at least for me anyway, I’ve been trying lots of exotic tropical drinks. One is called Gana – half ginger ale, half ginger beer, bitters and a slice of lime. Very refreshing.

Another is hot ginger tea, made from freshly pounded ginger root, hot water and milk. Surprisingly cooling.

Anyway, let’s catch up on the latest gossip, or offload and issues or anything that’s got your goat up!

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Harvey Milk: fighting for their lives


Milk has been deservedly nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor. This conventional but gripping narrative covers the years of Harvey Milk’s ground-breaking political coming out. Sean Penn gives a masterly performance as the first openly gay elected official in the U.S. as we follow Milk from his arrival in San Fransisco in 1972 till his assassination in 1978. He is supported by a very strong cast.

Milk became, in the character’s words, “a gay with power”. His murder was the price he paid for exercising that power. He won many battles not just his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was instrumental in defeating John Briggs’ Proposition 6 referendum in 1978. Inspired by morals campaigner Anita Bryant and the religious right, it sought to ban gay and lesbian employment in state schools. Harvey gained the support of a diverse group including Ronald Reagan, then ex-governor of California, past President Gerald Ford and serving President Jimmy Carter. This was no mean feat given the recent passing by 52% of Proposition 8 banning same sex marriage in California.

Gus Van Sant has directed a fast moving story with an authentic atmosphere. The 70s are alive again for just a couple of hours. We could do with a lot more Harvey’s. His catchcry, “you have to give them hope”, could have been from the Obama campaign. Part biopic, part polemic: don’t miss it.

Kevin Rennie

Gay Pride

Seems a fitting follow-up to my Harvey Milk post yesterday (The cross post is coming). During the film Milk jokes that a death threat was probably sent by the police. We’ve come a long way in 20 years. Victoria’s Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, is to be congratulated for her support of and attendance at the Melbourne’s Pride March:

It was the second and final time Ms Nixon would lead a contingent of uniformed officers in the march, which is now in its 14th year and celebrates Victoria’s gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex community.

The first time she marched, in 2002, it drew controversy. This time, it was celebrated.
Nixon gets pride of place in gay parade (The Age 2 February 2009)

Another first was the naming of Johanna Sigurdardottir as the new Prime Minister of Iceland:

The 66-year-old’s appointment as interim leader – until elections in May – is seen by many as a milestone for the gay and lesbian movement, correspondents say.

Ms Sigurdardottir – who has never hidden her sexuality – is, nevetherless, very private about her personal life, never discussing it in public.

She married her companion Jonina Ledsdottir in 2002, according to AFP news agency.
First gay PM for Iceland cabinet

Kevin Rennie

Redundant Laws

It seems that those that are newly out of work as a result of the GFC are having a hard time getting the support that is required from the government.

THOUSANDS of newly retrenched workers are excluded from unemployment benefits and help from Job Network agencies due to punitive rules on savings and redundancy payments that are wrong for the times, a welfare advocacy group says.

I would have thought that in this economic climate, everything should be done to help get people back into work so that they can survive.

The Howard government halved the amount of savings an unemployed person could have to $2500 for a single and $5000 for a couple before waiting periods for benefits cut in. On top of the usual one-week wait for Newstart after lodging a claim, people face a further week’s wait for every $1000 in savings over the threshold.

Nice, eh?