Friday, April 19, 2013

Adios! For A While Anyway

Hi there folks,

Long time no see. And for you, long time no read.

Yes, it’s been quite a while since the last instalment of Nah Seriously and there’s now a few tumbleweeds blowing down Main Street EDM.

Excuses? I have a few. Mainly around life getting in the way and leaving very little time for pondering, typing and disseminating. But the main reason would have to be a lack of inspiration and motivation due to most of the news both locally and beyond being so damn frustrating and angst-driven. Politics in Queensland and Federally have traditionally been a catalyst for a lot of my musings, but to be honest, so much in those spaces just pisses me off these days so I’ve decided to take a step back and bury my head in the proverbial sand for a while.

Life’s too short for a lot of that crap and I’m actually envious of people who choose to live in ignorance of it all as their lives seem so much easier and less complex. Ignorance is bliss and all that. And with a Federal Election looming that looks like being fought on the most basic level and to the depths of the lowest common denominator, well then, it might actually be a medical necessity for me to switch off and close my eyes to it all.

So with that, comes this announcement that I will not be blogging via Nah Seriously anymore. Yep, you heard it here first. Then again, where else would you hear it?

Perhaps ‘anymore’ is too strong a word though. More like ‘not in the conceivable future’ anyway. Because who knows what the future will bring and maybe I just need a good break to recharge the soul and rekindle some spirit. The basic premise of all this though, is that I won’t be blogging for a quite a while and your regular instalments of EDM are about to become not so regular. Or not at all.

Goodbye for now then. Hopefully catch you some other time but please don’t hold your breath. It’s a messed up world out there and I’m over trying to make some sense of it all. With some of things coming my way in the not too distant future, it’s time to focus on the real and discernible things that matter. You know, family and stuff.

So adios and take it easy my friends. Til next time maybe.  


PS – will still be twittering though. 140 characters much more manageable. Hit me up at @Every_Day_Man

Thursday, February 21, 2013

EDM Extract - Nepotism, Nonsense & Prisoner X

Well, it's been another big week in the big house of politics on all sorts of levels. State / Federal / International. Oversight / Breach / Punishment. Rumour / Speculation / Truth. Pretty much the whole gamut of the political discourse in this country.

State-side then, in Queensland anyway, the current Government has been busy in managing to appear in the news for all sorts of wrong reasons. It began last Friday when Minister Bates finally put us all out of our misery and resigned. The Minister who'd been on leave for nearly a third of her tenure had had enough and quit for personal reasons.

Of course the very next day we learnt more about the Minister's activities with revelations she'd appointed a personal friend, Kaye Martin, to a departmental position as well as a member of a government board. Much hilarity then ensued when Martin claimed to not be a friend of Bates and that she'd only met her a few times. Then came the news that Bates had thanked Martin for her friendship as part of her maiden speech to Parliament and that Martin had given a speech at Bates 50th birthday celebrations. Not bad for someone who'd only met Bates a few times. She obviously made quite the impression.

And no Bates story is complete without a mention of Michael Caltabiano, former Director-General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, who'd been on 'garden leave' pending the outcome of a CMC inquiry into the hiring of Bates' son to a high-level departmental position. Well, last Friday the Premier terminated Caltabiano's contract and the press release contained just two sentences, the second being 'No further comment will be made'. No explanation has been given since and just yesterday Caltabiano launched legal action claiming unfair dismissal.

All of which allowed various Government Ministers earlier today to say they can't explain the termination or comment further because the matter is now the subject of legal proceedings. How convenient. The gods must be smiling for such a scenairo to occur. It's almost like it was contrived. But that would be ridiculous. Surely...

Moving along to Federal politics and...ummm....well....oh shit. It's all too bloody hard. I just can't find any motivation at the moment when it comes to the national scene. The whole sorry saga is getting beyond me and even I'm starting to switch off a bit to save my sanity. I'm just too damn young to be a grumpy old man shaking my fist at the world just yet.

The gist of it though is that Labor is once again shooting itself in the foot with more leadership rumblings. The lunatics are running the asylum it seems with 'disgruntled backbenchers' plotting against the Prime Minister and the media giving Rudd plenty of spotlight to spruik his wares. Political reporters are loving it of course because they can lazily report the 'he-said-she-said' and not have to put any effort into analysis of the big picture issues.

One particularly bad poll for the Government then resulted in the media going into overdrive sounding like Jim Morrison with calls of 'This is the End!' and telling us the Prime Minister should be replaced. And how many people took part in this poll? 1400. Yep, the views of 1400 out of nearly 23 million people is apparently the determinant of how this nation should be governed. How very democratic.

But that's letting the Government off lightly. These few weeks since the election announcement have been very poor from them indeed. The Government has struggled to sell itself and its achievements at the best of times let alone when things like the mining tax are exposed as being toothless and all manner of leadership speculation takes hold. The inability to convince the electorate of anything is also making things difficult as some flimsy yet entrenched views just aren't being shifted.

Minority governance hey. I do remember telling the wife in the days after the last Federal election that whoever took power and formed Government that they would lose the next election. But I'm no oracle on that I'm sure.

Finally, I just wish to bring to your attention the excellent Foreign Correspondent story from last week regarding the imprisonment of Ben Zygier, so-called Prisoner X, by the Israeli Government and his subsequent 'suicide'.

A few weeks ago no-one had even heard of Zygier and his story but since the program went to air it's prompted governments in both Australia and Israel to launch inquiries into how it all went down. Both nations' intelligence agencies have some questions to answer, but I'm guessing those answers won't be too forthcoming. National security and all that apparently. Anyway, check it out for yourself here.

That's the latest EDM Extract then of the days and weeks of late. Til next time,


Friday, February 8, 2013

EDM Extract - Peptides & Platitudes

"Pssst. Over here. Yeah you. Wanna buy some peptides? What are they? I dunno. But everyone's talking about them. They're all the rage."

Nah Seriously, what a few days it's been in Australian sport. Particularly the two main football codes in the AFL and the NRL with relevations on a daily basis of new-age drug, hormone and supplement taking with all sorts of blurred lines in regards to what is illegal and what is OK. To be honest, I've struggled to keep up with it all and haven't quite got my head around it yet, but here's a brief summary for your reading pleasure.

It all started on Tuesday when the Essendon Football Club announced they'd recently learnt that some of their sports science practices from alst year might not have been completely legal or ethical. It was an extraordinary press conference in that no details were offered up but there were plenty of platitudes along the lines of 'we'll cooperate fully with the investigation' and 'I had no idea at the time' from the Chairman, Senior Coach and Medical Officers.

We've since learnt players were often taken offsite by the club's sports scientists to be injected with 'supplements' and players were asked to sign waivers to offload any liability from the club despite the fact the club was telling them everything was kosher. Now of course I know nothing of the inner workings of the Essendon Football Club, but it seems extraordinary that the Senior Coach and Medical Officials in particular didn't know about this. And the idea of making players sign waiver forms certainly looks like a head office / legal area thing to do so the Chairman not knowing either is suprising.

Last year certainly was a rollercoaster ride for Essendon in 2012 on the playing field anyway. The players looked like they'd really bulked up over the offseason and they were at top of the ladder at 8-3 at the halfway mark of the season. It all fell apart after that though and they managed only three more wins to finish outside the finals. They suffered a horrific injury toll with players going down with soft tissue injuries on a weekly basis and it was widely thought that the weights-focus of the offseason was to blame for all the hammies, calf and groin tears that occurred. You know, Jake the Muss and all that. "Too much weights, not enough speedwork".

Anyway, other AFL Clubs in Geelong and Gold Coast have since been mentioned with the sports scientist in question having worked as a consultant with the Suns and the Cats coming out and saying they have some concerns about their own practices as well. Every other club was no doubt hurrying away and checking their procedures and asking some hard questions of their respective sports scientists.

The NRL wasn't immune either with Manly being put in the spotlight with the same sports scientist having worked with them during their premiership years under Des Hasler. We'd previously heard stories of players injected with calf blood and the like but apparently lactate-reducing concoctions and DNA testing of muscle fibres were also prevalent around the club at the time. And then today, we've heard of vials and needles being found stashed in the home dressing rooms of the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Stadium.

The legality of any and all of these practices is the big issue with no-one quite being sure what is illegal, what is legal and what the boundaries are. From what I've seen anyway. The thing is, all of this has come about with not one player testing positive for illegal use of a substance. That obviously brings into question the current list of banned substances, the current methods of testing players, and the current protocols that are meant to ensure the rules are being followed.

And all this was then wrapped up with the release of a Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report yesterday that found evidence of players taking performance enhancing drugs; criminals being involved in the trafficing of these drugs to players; players being fed quick-metabolising substances which are hard to detect; doctors writing scripts in false names for drugs to be supplied by compounding pharmacies; and anti-ageing clinics having links to criminal groups to obtain and distribute performance enhancing substances.

It's all very murky and there's obviously plenty of shocking relevations that need to be further investigated, reviewed and addressed. The links with criminal groups is a big concern obviously and all the sporting organisations need to work with the ACC to stamp it out. Players who knew they were taking banned substances and doctors / sports scientists who knew the substances they were pushing are banned need to face the appropriate consequences as well.

Both the AFL and NRL have acted pretty swiftly in response actually, with the AFL already having an Action Plan announced last night including a major beefing up of their integrity unit and NRL officials appointing a former judge to investigate and work with the ACC. But you have to be a little suspicious of any of this turning into multiple life bans or court appearances. Even the ACC, a crime enforcement entity with the powers of a standing Royal Commission, has refused to name names so they must have some concerns about the 'beyond reasonable doubt' nature of the evidence they've obtained.

It hasn't stopped the opinion-makers though and we've had no shortage of cheap headlines proclaiming it all as the blackest days in Australian sport ever and the football codes as being in crisis with their integrity in shreds as a result. There's also been some pious rants about the nature of modern sport and all the money involved ruining everything. Like we could go back to the grand old amateur days where apparently all was well with the world and our heroes were pure as the driven snow.

All in all, it's been a pretty big few days for sport in this country. Understatement of the century perhaps. It's certainly been the strangest off-season period I've ever seen for the football codes with all sorts of coverage, not just this latest drugs drama, being front-page news and not even a footy has been kicked in anger yet to commence the 2013 seasons.

It might prompt the AFL and NRL to bring those seasons forward and kick them off next weekend the way things are going. Just to get the actual playing of football in the news. At least there's no worries about my AFL team, Melbourne, being involved in all this. Whatever they were taking last year, it certainly wasn't performance enhancing.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EDM Extract - The Election Announcement & All Manner Of Stupid

"All told, I think the last 20 hours is the Australian media's worst performance since the 2010 campaign." 

Crikey's Bernard Keane the day after the Prime Minister announced the election date. And the eight days since haven't been much better.

Yes, it was historic for Gillard to announce the actual election date seven months in advance. It was a bold move and time will tell if it will pay off. One thing it did do though is it completely wrong-footed the Canberra Press Gallery who like to think they know every little nuance of this Government and its office-holders. Basically, they were left scratching their heads saying "but no-one leaked it to us". "No-one ran it passed us first".

Yes, Gillard did it for strategic reasons of her own, like every Australian Prime Minister has since Federation. That's the go with non-fixed terms. The leader of the day has the prerogative to call it when he/she sees fit. And the strategy seems to be about catching the Opposition off guard and trying to force Abbott and the Opposition to announce some costed policies, any costed policies, before the election.

And yes, the early election call did prompt the resignation of two of her Ministers. But they were going to quit anyway, as they told the PM last year, and they merely thought it best to step down now rather than create instability later on and closer to the election. Common sense really.

But according to our nation's media, the Canberra Press Gallery in particular, Gillard did it to distract from the immiment arrest of Craig Thomson. She did it to ward off a future challenge from Kevin Rudd. Her Government is in disarray and chaos because of the two Ministerial resignations. Her Government disrespects Jews by having the election on the date of Yom Kippur. Julia just wanted to show off her new flashy glasses.

FFS! There's so much stupid in all that I don't even know where to start. The Craig Thomson one stands out the most though. Just why the hell would Gillard want to start day one of her election campaign knowing full well the papers would be leading with a scandal about Thomson. Nonsensical. And one for the conspiracy theorists in long coats and wearing aluminium hats rather than those who are meant to be preeminent political journalists.

The Rudd thing is pretty damn stupid also as even the man himself has categorically denied any interest in a leadership spill before the election. If you'd seen his reaction yesterday morning to such a question you'd see how genuine that is. Only Kevin knows what Kevin plans on doing, but you'd think he has a better chance of being Prime Minister again by holding fire and perhaps rolling Abbott in three years time. Rather than bringing on another messy leadership challenge before the election that would no doubt bring down the Government that he might potentially lead for a mere few months.

Not a lot of sense behind the Yom Kippur/Jewish claims either seeing every election is held on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and the concepts of pre-poll votes, postal votes and absentee votes are long established. But that didn't stop coming up with this disgraceful picture of the PM doing a 'Sieg Heil' with its Nazi connotations (thanks to Mr Denmore).

And finally, the new glasses. Again, FFS! When this nation's media can actually concentrate on what the PM is saying and doing rather than how she is looking than I'll raise a toast once again to journalistic integrity. But to be honest, I'm not expecting that to occur anytime soon. Especially during this election campaign. And if we are going to go down that track, why hasn't there been any mainstream media mention of Abbott's very own 'makeover' when he attended his recent Press Gallery lunch.

There is a major concern that some of this coverage is rooted down in bias, particularly with a lot of it coming from News Ltd ("Hello, Rupert calling"). But I actually think its more rooted down in lazy journalism, incompetence and failures to distinguish between opinion and analysis. Quite simply, political journalism in this country is failing us and our democracy, and is trapped in a narrative of "he-said, she-said" whether its Gillard vs Abbott or Gillard vs Rudd or the truth vs a spectacle.

By all means, get stuck into the Government and demand answers/solutions on real policy issues and their vision and plan for Australia. That's what the fourth estate should be doing and that is why a fourth estate is so important in a democracy. But what we're getting isn't policy reporting and policy analysis. It's gossip, and rumour, and innuendo, and spin.

It's going to be a long seven months then if we're served up this drivel the whole time. This country needs more than ever a real election with a mature debate on the issues and the policies. Especially after everyone's performance during the last one; the politicians, the parties, the media, and even us the people.

But god help me if we don't get that. Because I better warn you now that I'll take no responsibility for my actions. It'll be the medication's fault. The stuff I'll need to be on to get through it all.