US politics: crying out for change

first_imgJohn Marshall comments on US politics. Hilary Clinton’s tearful episode a day before the New Hampshire democratic primary appears to have reignited her camp gain. With some pollsters putting principal adversary Barack Obama ahead by ten points this left many wondering exactly what had happened.Are Americans really that capricious? Despite the notorious unreliability of US opinion polls, this result implies a sea change in active popular sentiment. Large numbers said that they decided on the day. Although polls fairly accurately predicted Obama’s vote share, Clinton appeared to take the vote of every independent and some committed to third place candidate John Edwards.The dramatic shift of many independents to Clinton signals the success, but mostly the failings of current American politics. Voter interest in politics is unusually high – the American people seem to be responding to the rhetoric that America needs change. This turn will likely support more responsible and responsive government.However, serious questions must be asked when a tearful moment from a presidential candidate is credited with winning a potentially pivotal election. This moment is symptomatic of the prevailing image politics that has replaced substantive policy debate. Personally, it is Senator Edwards’ (poorly funded) vision that most significantly differentiates the candidates, yet focus among democrats centres upon the Clinton/ Obama battle. Both are ubiquitously surrounded by boards and signs containing ‘change’; while both Clinton and Obama proffer similar views on moral issues like abortion and gay marriage, the key issues of foreign and economic policy are a more fundamental concern. Characteristic of the post-2005 Democrats, their apparently separate visions for change are vague and predominantly negative in that they argue simply against Bush’s conduct on Iraq, Medicare, social security and the high income tax cuts. Against this backdrop, it is unsurpising that issues of competency and personal charisma take hold among voters in an age that can now relay images of Clinton near breakdown on televised, 24-hour news and internet sites within seconds. When we speak of more interest in this election, this is where it is directed.Considering the reality of the policy junctures concerning Iraq, Medicare and social security, the US needs to publicly discuss its direction. When a brief chink in Clinton’s usually controlled and austere image apparently causes an almighty electoral rupture, supporters of democratic politics must worry. Clinton’s dramatic New Hampshire success admits turnout approximately double the state’s primary average and serves to illuminate the extent of the recent national democratic deficit. Although all democrats should support increasing turnout, and the greater legitimacy that such results confer, nationwide US primary turnout hovers around ten percent. It will surprise nobody that those who do vote are not a representative bunch.Given the low levels of active participation, a pivotal moment such as the potential destruction of Clinton’s campaign or the long-awaited demonstration of ‘real’ emotion (depending on how you see it) mobilising a wave of support among a minority can induce drastic consequences. This seems to be what happened in New Hampshire where the influx of the undecided and habitual non-voters (suggested to comprise many single women) finally swayed by Clinton’s outpour rushed to the poll booths to give Clinton ten percentage points more than expected and thus secure the victory that now reinvigorates her campaign.The rising interest and participation in what may prove to be one of America’s most significant political years in recent memory is to be commended. But this should not conceal the threatening and thinly-veiled problems that lurk underneath.last_img read more

High on life on the hill

first_imgFor many parents of school aged children, and even those with children yet to come, it’s the fact that it’s in the school catchment zones of West End Primary and Brisbane State High schools. 4 bed 3 bath 3 car pool It took more than three years and a trip to the land court for Mr Lynch to get Council approval.“By the time you get to the back of the house it’s at least three storeys high and you talking about the days when they had a 7.5m (limit) and I was trying for a 11.5m high house print,” he said.“It’s on a 900sq m (876sq m) lot…but it’s only 10m wide, so when you’re trying to deal with Council on a 10m wide site, they treat you as if you’re on a small lot.”He said his brief, was like any city house brief – “full of contradictions”.“You’re trying to get light into your house, but you’re trying not see your neighbours,” he said.“You’re trying to get privacy, but as well as that you’re trying to get views.“It’s a 365sq m house internally, that’s without the garage, so you’re trying to get a large house on a small block, even that’s a contradiction isn’t it?”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours ago Owner Paul Lynch said while it might be a “happy accident” the suburb has turned out this way – you couldn’t argue that it was well connected – with taxis, buses, trains, scooters, ubers and even ferries.“My wife started scootering to work, and she’s worked out she can get to the CBD in 12 minutes on a Lime Scooter,” Mr Lynch said.A commercial architect by trade, this was the first house that he designed.“A lot of the finishes are commercial finishes, so they actually don’t date,” he said.“It’s got acoustic ceilings like you find in a hospital and it stops the echo when you’re having dinner parties.” Now that his boys were teenagers, it was time to opt for a low maintenance lifestyle.“The kids don’t use the backyard anymore,” he said.“It’s this little oasis in the middle of the city and it’s quite lovely, but… if the teenage boys aren’t kicking a soccer ball around in it, then there’s no point having it.” He said you needed a three-storey house in the city if you want to have some green space.“I think you need to always steal views, and I think this (house) does a good job of stealing views,” he said.“What you’re trying to do is use your backyard and your neighbour’s backyard as your view…that’s really important.”So important, that it was Mr Lynch’s most prized part of the home. “My favourite thing about the home is actually the view out the back,” he said.“I adore the fact that you can have a city house, with basically a bushland view, with possums and lorikeets and you can’t hear the city, you can’t hear the traffic.“There’ almost not a room in the house a city view or a bushland and suburban view.” PRICE ON APPLICATION Having fallen in love with the locale over the past 20 years, Mr Lynch said they would downsize to a four-bedroom apartment down the road. The opportunity exists to purchase this home on its own 438sq m block with the option to also buy the joining vacant land to make it 876sq m. For those with tertiary aged offspring, it’s just a ferry stop away from the University of Queensland.For the social butterflies, it’s within walking distance of West End’s Boundary St, South Bank and even Brisbane City. House of the Week: 155 Dornoch Tce, Highgate Hill.Location, location, location! It’s a catch phrase we’ve all heard too many times before – but it is the highlight of this beautiful home. That is a big call as the home in itself is a showstopper. AGENT/ Deb Maguire, 0427 246 279, Place Kangaroo Pointlast_img read more

Trojans finish 11th at NCAA championships

first_imgThe No. 13 USC men’s swimming and diving team finished 11th overall at the NCAA championships at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, topping off its season with strong improvements both as a team and as individual members.Group effort · Sophomore James White teamed up with senior Zoltan Povazsay, junior Emmett Walling and sophomore Jeff Daniels to finish this weekend’s 400-yard freestyle relay in 2:54.88, good enough to place 12th overall. The foursome nearly set a school record in the preliminaries. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan “While we fell a bit short of our goal of top 10 this season for the men, we clearly are making inroads toward breaking into the top 10 with an eye on the top five soon,” said USC coach Dave Salo.The competition’s start was delayed 24 hours, as 18 student-athletes and one coach were being treated at Ohio State for a possible gastrointestinal illness Tuesday and Wednesday.When the event kicked off Friday, junior Clement Lefert led the team by finishing third in the 500-yard freestyle with a 4:13.77. Lefert had a comfortable lead throughout the race until the final 50 yards, where he was overtaken by Conor Dwyer of Florida (4:13.64) and Jean Basson of Arizona (4:13.65); a mere .13 seconds separated the top-three finishers. This marked USC’s best performance in the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships since Olympic medalist Larsen Jensen won the event in 2007.“Clement did his thing and almost won the 500,” USC assistant coach Jeremy Kipp said. “But he also gained incredible experience that will help him contend next season for the 500 title.”Junior Richard Charlesworth made the consolation final in the 500-yard freestyle and came in eighth in his race with a time of 4:23.88 (16th overall). That time was, however, four seconds slower than his preliminary performance (4:19.09).Sophomore diver Harrison Jones just missed qualification for the 1-meter springboard final after finishing ninth in the preliminaries (364.20). He went on to finish tied for seventh in the consolation final with a score of 355.15, to tie for 15th overall. Jones also just missed out on making the final in platform but ended up winning the consolation final and finishing ninth overall with 376.40 points.“Despite illness into the last day of competition, Harrison Jones came away with an outstanding result in the platform event,” Salo said.On Saturday, the Trojans came in sixth in the 800-yard freestyle relay (6:20.87). The Trojans won this event at the 2010 Pac-10 championships but this time used a different team with regulars Lefert, senior Zoltan Povazsay, sophomore co-captain Patrick White and freshmen Nick Karpov replacing senior co-captain James Martin. Texas won the race in 6:12.77.Lefert and White both missed qualifying for the final of the 200-yard freestyle, taking ninth (1:34.11) and 15th (1:35.02) in the preliminaries, respectively. Lefert won the consolation final (1:33.84), finishing ninth overall with a time that would have placed him sixth in the A-final. White came in third in the same consolation final, finishing 11th overall with a time of 1:34.69.Sophomore Dillon Connolly and junior Emmett Walling both swam in the consolation final of the 100-yard breaststroke, where Connolly took fifth (13th overall) in 53.35 while Walling came in eighth (16th overall) in 54.02.Sunday’s competition saw Charlesworth become the sixth-fastest miler in USC history; he posted a season best of 14:54.51 and came ninth overall, touching just 0.80 seconds out of top eight.Lefert scored in his third individual event of the competition in the 200-yard butterfly where he finished in 1:44.15.“Clement Lefert was clearly our standout performer,” Salo said.The Trojan 400-yard freestyle relay of Walling, White Povazsay and sophomore Jeff Daniels finished 12th with a time of 2:54.88.USC finished with 116.5 points at the NCAA championships, which marked the team’s final collegiate competition of the season.“We did well, but the coaches are already looking forward to next season,” Kipp said.last_img read more