Print Story Java, Guantanamo Bay, Vietnam and Global Australian Electorates
Politics
By cam (Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 12:46:47 AM EST) (all tags)

Hackers and Java, the Australian Election date is set and some letters to the editor on the Australians at Guantanamo Bay. Vietnam in the US election cycle. Australia buys cruise missiles to offset the drop in punch when the F111's are retired. And re-enrolling with the Australian Electoral Commission when you are overseas.

Poll : Does Australia need overseas electorates to fully enfranchise all Australians?



Shorts

  • I can't swim this week, the pool at the fitness center I go to is down for maintenance all week. I have been running instead my knees have a limited half-life.
  • Taiwan is pissed off at Downer. Australia has adopted and followed the one-China, two-systems foreign policy toward China and Taiwan.
  • Went and saw a mates band on saturday night, they are Evenout. They are a tight band with good hard rock music. Very listenable. They have a distribution deal now and their CD is going to be out in record stores soon. Good luck to him. He is a nice fellow and deserves success.

Hackers and Java

It seems that article by Paul Graham stirred up some responses by Java devotees. Since I spend 90% of my time working in Java I reckon I might know a thing or two about it. First I am not a hacker, I am certainly not that uber-cool, I don't deliberately try l33t coding projects or anything of that nature. I am a software developer who creates business solutions. I am also good enough at what I do to have had patches accepted by opensource projects. I wouldn't know how to be a hacker anyway as I am not sure what being "a hacker" entails.

Why do I use Java? This is the answer. The business value inherent in that repository is awesome. One of our projects has 24 libraries in it, of those, only four are not jakarta projects. Those four are JDOM, Webtest, JFreeChart and junit. For web applications the servlet containers make it trivial to hook a java application to apache. Though this wasn't always the way, configuration of mod_webapp or mod_jk was painful in the Tomcat 3.x days.

The other reason is the number of mature frameworks such as turbine, tapestry ... etc, also the ORM libraries such as torque, spring, hibernate etc. Many of the java opensource projects directly attack issues that arise from large scale deployments. This has a tonne of benefit for the medium and smaller projects and deployments.

Australian Electoral Season

The phony electoral campaign has ended, Howard has called for an election on October 9th. There are many issues remaining but it seems Howard is running on "loyalty". Which is asinine. I have no idea why a polity is supposed to be loyal to a politician. They are pandering populists at their best and despots at their worst. One of the issues to be cleaned up and justified is Hicks and Habib. From SMH letters;

We read Helen Irving's piece on the sanctity of legal constitutions and justice ("Bali bombing convictions showed lack of constitutional fortitude", Herald, August 27), as we watch David Hicks being wheeled before a trumped-up tribunal.

We are reduced to the irony that much-maligned Indonesia - always patronised, always portrayed as corrupt, inept and fuzzy-headed - is actually upholding a higher standard of justice than that practised by the US and Australia for that matter.

It seems George Bush and John Howard have far more faith in their executive powers, and their ability to manipulate the institutions of constitutional democracy, than to trust those trumpeted institutions to dispense natural justice in their own right.

David Cumming, Mosman, August 27.

The arbitrariness of Executive power is rife. When executive power becomes arbitrary, it is tyranny. The prisoners being held without trial and without charge in Guantanamo Bay are feeling the tyrannical hand of the US Executive. Another writer to the editor laments the loss of the principle that Australian liberties don't end at the Australian shore. A topic that I have raised in past diaries;

As an Australian who has worked overseas I find it threatening and the sign of a weak Australian Government that our so-called leaders are no longer prepared to protect Australians abroad.

The Hicks and Habib cases being prepared for a US military court are ones that every Australian should be concerned about. Australians abroad should be concerned that our democratically elected Government, who relies upon our votes as a basis for their power, are not willing to support you should you get into trouble.

Hicks and Habib are extreme examples of Australians going abroad and getting into trouble. However, isn't this just an issue of scale?

I vote, pay my taxes and I want to live in a country where I know the Government will support me as an Australian citizen and will not sell me out for the benefit of appearances with another country.

Ted McDonnell, Jindabyne, August 27.

As an Australian overseas and under the jurisdiction of the US government, I too am concerned that the Howard government has shown no effort to hold the US to the standards of justice an Australian would receive in Australia. All it takes is for me to be wrongly accused of terrorism by the US government and I may find myself in the same situation as Hicks or Habib.

The Bill of Rights is a remarkable piece of constitutional legislation. It pertains to all under the jurisdiction of the US government, not just citizens or when it is convenient to the White House. The Bill of Rights are protections against the arbitrariness of government and a bulwark against tyranny. If they are not being adhered to, the reality is the government is practicing tyranny.

Vietnam And the US Presidential Election

Enough of the Vietnam angle. I am sick of it, I consider it to have nothing to do with the election. Kerry obviously served with greater distinction than Bush so I don't see this as anything worthy of ongoing mass media scrutiny. I was born in 1971, nine months after my father came back from Vietnam. I am an agent orange baby who was fortunately born without any defects, but that is the limit of my involvement and interest in Vietnam.

Many of the angles that the op-ed writers have been taking on the Vietnam issue is that America is still divided over Vietnam, but anyone under the age of thirty five is too young to have been "divided" by Vietnam. It is hard not view the Swift Boat furore as baby boomers fighting over who has control of the remote at the old people's home.

Australia Buys Cruise Missiles

Australia is procuring cruise missiles that can be launched from F18 and P3C aircraft. This is to try and salvage some projection power that will be lost when the F111 is retired in 2010. Even with the extra 400 kilometres of distance the cruise missiles will add to Australia's punch it will still not make up for the F111's range and firepower.

Disenfranchised ?

It appears I may have dropped off the Australian electoral rolls and may not be able to get back on them until I live in Australia again. The rules to be put back on the electoral roll are;

  • You are 17 years of age or older; and
  • You are an Australian citizen, or a British subject who was on a Commonwealth Electoral Roll on 25 January 1984; and
  • You departed Australia within the last 3 years and intend to return within 6 years of your date of departure from Australia.

Voting is non-compulsory for Australians living overseas, and the last election I didn't vote as I wasn't aware enough of the situation in Australia to give an informed vote. It appears if you don't vote you can be removed from the electoral rolls. When I search on my name I don't appear in the electoral roll. An out appears to be if I claim to want to return to Australia within six years. I can fill out a form to be put back on the roll. From the AEC site;

There is no provision under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 for an "expatriate roll". Electors absent from Australia who intend to return within 6 years, may remain enrolled for the address for which they were last entitled to be enrolled. Similar provisions apply to electors who enrol from outside Australia.

Will send that form in pronto. It does raise the question on how out of date the 1918 legislation is. Currently the Australian Diaspora consists of 1 million Australians, or 5% of the population. This is a large number of Australians that are jammed into their old electorates from when they left. This is also a large number of Australians that do not have representatives directly representing their interests.

It is time to treat this rotating and amorphous diaspora as a separate political entity and give the diaspora its own electorates that are outside of the Australian continent. That way Australians in the diaspora can have representatives for North America, Europe, Britain, Greece, North Asia and South East Asia representing their interests in the Australian parliament. The definition of Australian does not need be simply those that have their boot heels on the Australian continent.

cam

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Java, Guantanamo Bay, Vietnam and Global Australian Electorates | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
The idea of diaspora by Metatone (6.00 / 1) #1 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 12:53:35 AM EST
constituencies appeals to me (having been a diaspora type at various points) but I think you'll find it deeply offends some people's sense of nationhood.

Nationhood by cam (6.00 / 1) #3 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:31:30 AM EST
but I think you'll find it deeply offends some people's sense of nationhood.

Enfranchisement is more important than the nation-state or nationalist policies. Since Australia has such a large percentage overseas it will be interesting if it can change the nature of enfranchisement.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Representation by cam (6.00 / 1) #4 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:33:16 AM EST
Another positive aspect of diaspora electorates would be they would feel it keenly if they didnt stand up for the rights of Australians overseas, ie Hicks and Habib. As it is now, there is noone in Australian government representing the diaspora in Australia.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Care to elaborate? by fritz the cat (6.00 / 1) #7 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:57:52 AM EST
it deeply offends some people's sense of nationhood.
Which people are you referring to?

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
The kind of people by cam (3.00 / 0) #8 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:09:06 AM EST
in the US who think the Bill of Rights only pertains to US citizens; the kind of people who say, "love it or leave it"; the kind of people in Australia who equate refugees to the quarantine issues of cats and dogs.

One of my mates was in the US recently. He is an exceptionally bright bloke with all the paper to prove it, he is also in a position of high responsibility. He was vehemently against there being electorates outside of Australia. And he isnt one of the "love it or leave it" type of people.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Well, I was trying to get some work done... by Metatone (6.00 / 1) #10 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:11:37 AM EST
but I'll get sucked in for a few moments...

My observation from being part of a diaspora is that many of the people back home aren't all that happy about diaspora types voting at all, let alone having a constituency that really represents their views.

It's ironic because most of the time the prejudice we hear about is "If you're not born here then you're not a proper X" but there's some feeling in the other direction too it seems "If you're not living here, then you aren't a proper X..."

The most obvious chestnut to be raised will be that of taxation vs representation. If I'm paying taxes in my new country, shouldn't that be where my public policy affecting vote is cast?

[ Parent ]
Re: taxes by fritz the cat (6.00 / 1) #11 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:20:25 AM EST
I find it funny voting in the Italian elections and not the British, even though I pay taxes here and little of what the Italian government does affects me directly.

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
No taxation without representation by cam (6.00 / 1) #12 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:29:09 AM EST
The eureka stockade was fought over that principle. In the US, the federal, state, county and town governments all take a tax chunk out of me, but I cant vote in the US. There should be enfranchisement for all taxpayers. I would go further, since a government cant exist without consent (or the pretext of consent), anyone under the jurisdiction of that government should be able to vote. This is a more unifrom enfranchisement. That includes all the immigrants in Australia who often end up being the whipping pole of populist politicians.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
IAWTP by fritz the cat (6.00 / 1) #13 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:38:06 AM EST
Giving voting rights to immigrants is usually done by left wing parties who wants to boost their chances, and vice-versa.

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
Well, by ambrosen (6.00 / 1) #18 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 06:07:03 AM EST
You can vote in the local council elections, and the national elections in Wales and Scotland, just not for the Westminster government.

[ Parent ]
Senate stuff by sien (6.00 / 1) #2 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:12:17 AM EST
Malcolm Mackerras had an interesting article in the Fin Review on Monday about how, regardless of the outcome in the lower house, he was pretty sure that the coalition would get 38 seats in the senate. It said quite a bit about the timing of the election. Howard probably could have won an election called before Latham took over the ALP, but by waiting he has the chance to obtain control in the Senate.

The other news that got quite a bit of press down here was that Costello said he wouldn't challenge Howard in the next term. But of course that does not rule out Howard resigning and Costello taking over.

Howard's announcement was interesting too. He is emphasizing 'the team' quite a bit, which is clever. He appears to be trying to sow apprehension in the electorate about the ALP's team, which, as they haven't been in power for years has less experience.

Bummer about your voting rights, that's a bit stiff. Still, it'd be hard to raise as an election issue. Also, there are at least 150 000 Australians in the UK on a fairly short term basis, there may even be way more, so many in the Diaspora probably still do vote.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
Election by cam (3.00 / 0) #5 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:39:32 AM EST
Malcolm Mackerras had an interesting article in the Fin Review on Monday about how, regardless of the outcome in the lower house, he was pretty sure that the coalition would get 38 seats in the senate. It said quite a bit about the timing of the election.

Wasnt aware of that. Interesting information. How do the pundits in Australia think the Greens are goign to do in the Senate this time around? Better? Are they going to take Liberal or Labor senate positions?

I miss the Financial Review, it is the most indepth of the Australian papers. It is pay subscription only on the web unfortunately.

It will be interesting to see when Costello finally makes his power play. I think he has left it too late. He should have done it for this election and run on him revitalising the Liberals. When he finally gets in (if he does) the Liberals will be kaput and the electorate will have government fatigue. Same as what happened to Keating and Gorton.

Costello must not have the numbers to challenge Howard or I have to believe he would have done it before now.

He is emphasizing 'the team' quite a bit, which is clever.

Yeh, team and trust. Which is odd. Most people are very cynical of politicians anyway and trust is not a word that comes to mind when thinking of politicians. One of the reasons to increase the churn rate of governments is so that opposition parties arent so long out in the wilderness they forget how to govern. Otherwise every decade their will be a naive Whitlam like government with a big mandate and not the economic grounding to make it happen.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
MM, Greens and stuff by sien (3.00 / 0) #22 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 03:45:30 PM EST
Mackerras thinks the Greens will wind up with 6-8 senate spots, with the Democrats only getting 2. They will take Democrat spots on the whole, with ALP slots the second. The ALP has now a big weakness with the Greens. They probably won't be able to get stuff through the Senate in their own right for a long time. The Libs brutally crushed their wing, the ALP can't. But perhaps anything that is on the right they want to get through they can use the Libs for.

The Fin is indeed good. It sucks that they charge for subs.

Costello may be relatively happy. He may even hope that the ALP get in and out and then he can challenge. The example of Keating must be pretty strong in his mind.

The trust thing is amazing. It looks like that is already backfiring.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
[ Parent ]
Believing by cam (3.00 / 0) #23 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 10:59:46 PM EST
They will take Democrat spots on the whole, with ALP slots the second.

Interesting, that contradicts that article that conservatives are leaving the Libs for the Greens as the Greens are a values based party.

They probably won't be able to get stuff through the Senate in their own right for a long time.

That is a good thing. It keeps the Senate as a genuine house of review.

Costello may be relatively happy. He may even hope that the ALP get in and out and then he can challenge. The example of Keating must be pretty strong in his mind.

The Keating/Costello thing is exactly the same in my mind. I am surprised that Costello didnt challenge during this term and try to squeeze another term for the Liberals. Maybe he though Crean to weak and Howard would make a mess of him. Then again those type of things didnt seem to bother Keating when he challenged. Keating just thought it time.

The trust thing is amazing. It looks like that is already backfiring.

Yeh you wonder if the politicians are so ego-centric that they believe their own bullshit.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Liberal to Green? by sien (6.00 / 1) #25 Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 01:31:17 AM EST
The Greens are a values based party, any party that isn't near the centre is more values based, as it defines itself with beliefs that define it's actions.

I'd be surprised if many people went from the Libs to the Greens, it's such a big shift. The Greens are  pretty left wing.

Different shades of pragmatism are what the ALP and the Libs are all about.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
[ Parent ]
btw that electoral vote thingy by cam (3.00 / 0) #17 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 03:44:30 AM EST
.. is getting scary lately. I cannot fathom why people would even contemplate voting for Bush. I see nothing in the last four years that has been other than incompetence and indifference.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
But by sien (3.00 / 0) #21 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 03:40:54 PM EST
Kerry is a big fat liar! He didn't not serve in the National Guard with honour. He stole his medals.

The one thing is that the next presidency of the US may be a poisoned chalice. Seriously.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
[ Parent ]
Next Presidency by cam (3.00 / 0) #24 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 11:02:41 PM EST
The one thing is that the next presidency of the US may be a poisoned chalice. Seriously.

I read an article the other day, cant recall if it was in the Washington Post or online somewhere that if Bush gets in, it may give the Democrats the presidency for several terms to come. Bush will get in by a whisper and cause a civil war in the republican party, while democrats will regroup, wonder how they lost to such an idiot and then change their whole approach to elections. The article used the rise of new labor under Blair as the example and the uselessness of the John Major government that sneaked through.

I see what you mean about the presidency being a poisoined chalice no matter who gets it. Bit of a hiding to nowhere.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Not just Bush's stupidity by sien (6.00 / 1) #26 Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 01:39:02 AM EST
How can the US extricate itself from their mess in the Middle East. Kerry shows no tendency to actually try and be an honest broker with Israel and Palestine. That has to be dealt with before hatred of the US goes down. Hypocrisy is hard to sell.

The US economy doesn't look like it's going to perk up either. The Economist has been writing for months about how the US economy is in serious trouble. Buttonwood's latest  column is the latest. They said similar things from mid 99 onwards about the tech boom. They called the crash early but they were right.

Is there a proposal to deal with Social Security coming under threat? By 2007 that will be an issue that is almost upon the government. Can Kerry actually balance the budget?

If there is another dip and potentially another recession, which the US may well be close to entering now things will not look pretty. Global growth is dependent on US credit cards and home loan refinancing. It is not sustainable.

It's like you have Vietnam AND stagflation at the same time.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
[ Parent ]
OOoops by sien (6.00 / 1) #27 Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 01:54:40 AM EST
Sorry, wrong Buttonwood, the previous one was about America's imbalances and was in the pay bit.

Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
[ Parent ]
anyone under the age of thirty five by wiredog (6.00 / 1) #6 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 01:48:39 AM EST
Is unlikely to vote. In the US, the older you are, the likelier you are to vote. If the 18-25 crowd (who would be drafted if the draft was brought back) turned out to vote, and got involved, the way the 55+ crowd does it would radically change US politics.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

young people not voting by cam (3.00 / 0) #9 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:10:40 AM EST
In Australia they have to vote, but in the US I think it reflects that government is really a property protection system. People dont accrue much in the way of property and wealth until they are in their mid-thirties. That is about the same time as people become politically aware. That has been true for me as well.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
The voting arc by monkeymind (6.00 / 2) #28 Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 10:59:26 AM EST
Mine has gone along this route. Passion, Caring, Anger, Disgust, Apathy. Now I am at the "Mark Twain" point, "You may not be able to find someone to vote for, but you can certainly find someone to vote against".

[ Parent ]
Paul Graham and Java by jacob (6.00 / 3) #14 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:47:05 AM EST
I think the critique you link to is totally off-base and ironically reinforces what Paul Graham was saying in his article. I find most criticisms of his articles really boil down to "I hate Lisp" or "Java is good!" and rarely ever address what he was actually saying (see the responses to the "Java's Cover" article for the best example of this). Once you get past Graham's deliberately inflammatory style in the "Great Hackers" article, I think what he's saying is "good programmers know lots and lots of languages and are always trying to learn more because they want to really understand the tools they're using; bad programmers find one or two languages and never want to peek out of the turtle shell." (Okay, maybe that's still pretty inflammatory :]) Looking at the linked response in that light, a couple points really jump out:

* Java has considerably fewer surprises and prefers not to add complexity to the language for rarely used features

Compared to what? Certainly that's a good defense of Java versus C++, but Graham wasn't comparing the language to C++. Java definitely doesn't own the market in the "minimal surprise" category and anyway it's a strawman to suggest that's why people don't like it.

And a little later:

* Java is a strongly typed language therefore you have to tell the compiler exactly what you intend to use

This item pretty much makes Graham's argument for him. First of all, the premise does not entail the consequent, and in fact there are plenty of languages in which the compiler figures it out on its own. This makes the reader suspect that maybe the author doesn't know that much about what's possible with a type system. Then the author completely groundlessly dismisses the notion that languages that aren't statically typed could be useful; is he aware that this is a giant debate that's been going on for decades? And really, the problem with Java's type system isn't that it exists but that it's not good enough; I'm a fan of well-done type systems but you've got to give me some bang for the buck or it's not worth it, especially if I have to pay in ugly syntactic overhead. Standard ML, which gives me type inference, universal types, and functors, is worth it; Java, wherein a well-typed program could still have lots of greivous errors (miscasts, null pointer exceptions, etc) just doesn't do enough for me. The only real argument for Java's type system is that it's well within the comfort zone of C++ programmers; and that's an argument that plays right into Graham's.

The thing about Graham's articles is that they tend to provoke voluminous but rather dull rebuttals. Maybe that's what he's after: getting his ideological opponents so worked up that they don't really address his criticisms head-on, but instead shout "JAVA NO BAD!!" and make him look like the reasonable one. If so, he does a good job of it :)

As for your reasons for using Java, I'm sure you don't need my approval but FWIW I think they're right on. There's no shame in playing to a language's strengths and the ones you mention are pretty big strengths.

--

America is still divided over Vietnam by duxup (6.00 / 1) #15 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 03:05:08 AM EST
That is kind of an odd line.  I think for the most part Americans agree Vietnam sucked in a lot of ways, and we moved on.  There's not much division there.

The whole ruckus now isn't about Vietnam, it's about some nimrods who put out a stupid commercial that happens to be about Vietnam.

____

The nimrods extend to social commentators by cam (3.00 / 0) #16 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 03:18:35 AM EST
as well it seems, from what I have been reading in op-eds and the Outlook in the Washington Post. Which is why it seems like old people fighting over what gets to be on tv. .... now listen to me sonny, when I was a lad, we had to have our heads blown off to get a purple heart, and I have four of them ....

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Election issues by sven (6.00 / 1) #19 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:30:22 PM EST
There are many issues remaining but it seems Howard is running on "loyalty".

I haven't heard any mention of loyalty, but there's been lots of talk about "trust". On Triple J yesterday morning they mentioned some statistics about the opening two days of the election campaign. In the first two days, Howard said "trust" 68 times, and Latham said "ladder of opportunity" 29 times. I guess we're in for a long and repetitive campaign.

Today's big news was a Liberal senator who called Howard a "lying rodent".

--
harshbutfair // you know it makes sense

Brandis by cam (3.00 / 0) #20 Tue Aug 31, 2004 at 02:46:23 PM EST
Yeh read that. Brandis was the same Howard attack dog that did a job on the Greens equating them to Nazi's in a speech. I recall Hewson saying that many libs didnt like the tight and disciplined way Howard ran the party. So wouldnt be surprised if there are a lot of slurs like that which have been uttered under the breath.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Java, Guantanamo Bay, Vietnam and Global Australian Electorates | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback