Friday, February 27, 2009

"somewhat inadequate"

I wonder if those words were used on the day?

Staff shortage 'led to Connex Oaks Day debacle'

Connex did not have enough staff to respond to a rail meltdown on Oaks Day last year that left tens of thousands of furious racegoers stranded, the state's rail safety chief has found.

Trains between Flemington and the city failed on the afternoon of November 6 last year, just as 90,000 people were spilling from the racetrack.

Overhead wires melted above one train stopped between North Melbourne and Newmarket. This knocked out power and halted all services in the area.

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded aboard one hot, airless and broken down train. The risked their lives by abandoning the train and walking on train lines to escape.

Tens of thousands more in the CBD had peak-hour trips home thrown into chaos by the fault.
Victoria's director of public transport safety Alan Osborne has today released his findings into the incident.

He found Connex's contingency plans for the emergency were "somewhat inadequate".
However, despite finding Connex did not have sufficient staff to manage the incident, it had complied with all safety procedures, Mr Osborne said.

Experienced rail maintenance staff at the time of meltdown told The Age it had occurred due to long-term neglect of Melbourne's rail system.

Note: go to the link if you feel like reading the whole article.

The Truth?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Concert at the G on 14th March

A lot of people and a lot of different groups have done their bit for the bushfire appeal. I think the concert athe MCG on the 14th of March could be huge.

Last time I cheered a funny looking bald guy there was in about 1995 when Mil Hanna was playing for Carlton. I am very much looking forward to the Federal Environment Minister belting out some classics with Midnight Oil.

Delay of the Day

Train line blocked in rail union stand-off

A stand-off between warring factions of the state's rail union last night saw a Belgrave line train stopped, blocking the path of other trains, for five hours on platform two at Flinders Street Station.

- Belgrave line blocked
- Dispute 'pretty similar'
- About 50 trains cancelled

Train drivers and train controllers - the two belong to separate factions of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union - were last night locked in an argument over the train, which was to run on the Belgrave/Lilydale line.
The train sat at Flinders Street Station's platform two from 6pm until about midnight, as train drivers and train controllers fought over what happen to the train, which had a failed intercom.
One train driver, who asked not to be named, told The Age last night it was train controllers causing the stand-off. "They are setting out to cause trouble," the driver said.
Train operator Connex is having serious trouble negotiating with its train drivers over how faults on trains are recorded, and drivers are now almost at open war with train controllers. Controllers have sided with Connex to retain the current system.
In dispute is how faults on trains are reported; train drivers want to change the system of fault reporting to give them more power, while train controllers want to keep the status quo.

Honestly, these guys are holding thousands of commuters to ransom over red tape. Surely they can sort this out? The politicla in-fighting within the union will not help anyone associated with the train system.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bolt and Fact go head to head

Andrew only Last Friday claimed:

Why is the Rudd Government running the biggest immigration program in our history just as the economy crashes?”
Citing his own article and a link to an article on The Australian website as proof.

Yet let us look at what is reported today:

Slowing economy forces immigration cut
February 23, 2009 - 1:51PM

Australia will cut its annual immigration intake for the first time in eight years due to the slowing economy and weakening demand for labour, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said today.
Fact 1 – Bolt 0

UPDATE: Bolt states today

It’s taken nearly a year, but the Rudd Government didn’t want to look completely stupid by changing its mind any sooner on an immigration program that was stupid even to start with

and nice to see in the comments the following gem:
Yeah and plenty of these migrants are Indian students who have come here to take up phoney cooking or hairdressing courses to enable them to apply to migrate and bring the whole village with them.A conversation with an Indian woman in a lift went something like this."There are a lot of Indians in Australia now"."Yes,it’s our turn to invade you now.”
nigel of richmond Tue
24 Feb 09 (09:27am)

Nice to see Andrew's no racist comments policy has lasted about 2 minutes.

Bike Path Spending

As reported in The Age today:

NEW bicycle commuter routes and the inclusion of special lanes in all large-scale road projects are expected to be part of the first major bicycle plan for Melbourne since the early 1980s.

The Government has been working on its bicycle strategy for several months, but delayed its release because of the bushfires.

In the strategy, now to be launched next month, $18 million a year will be spent over the next six years, with a renewed focus on priority routes into the city centre.
Bicycle lanes on William Street and La Trobe Street will be bolstered as part of the plan, to make cycling in the CBD safer.

Excellent news I say. There has been a large increase in the number of bike commuters in Melbourne over the last few years as a result of several factors. Lots of employers and workplaces are trying to encourage employees to ride as well through installing lockers and showers.

The key to the funding is that the bike lanes need to be commuter based. That is they need to be fast. Experienced bike riders will run the risk of riding amongst traffic if the alternative bike path is too slow.

Another interesting point in the report is:

The plan will also mandate for the first time construction of bicycle lanes into
the state's $2 billion road-building program.

A letter from Roads Minister Tim Pallas to cycle lobby group Bicycle Victoria sent late last year stressed that the strategy would focus on making bicycle lanes an integral part of all new road building.

This makes sense in urban areas as long as the paths are linked. I doubt 2km of path in the middle of the Goulburn Valley Highway would be that popular.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Delay of the Day Pt II - The Follow Up

Could anyone who uses the Sandy line honestly say this is a good enough reason?

rail delay caused by red tape mixup
February 20, 2009 12:00am
A TRAIN that blocked the Sandringham line for more than eight hours this week was not faulty.
The Herald Sun believes a thorough check of the train by manufacturer Siemens failed to detect a significant fault.

A failure to report suspicions of a fault according to procedure led to Wednesday's standoff that stranded thousands of commuters.

Sources said a junior train driver was uncertain about whether his train had a fault about 9am that day and he had sought advice from his supervisor.

The supervisor, instead of the driver, reported the matter to train controllers, but this was contrary to Connex policy and the controllers refused to accept the report.

The controllers also refused to give the train a green signal to move on, keeping it at the station for more than eight hours until the row was resolved.

Connex yesterday took the matter to the Industrial Relations Commission and it will return there next Wednesday.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the disruption to commuters had been outrageous.

"I don't want to go into a blame game, but the behaviour was completely unacceptable," she said.
Procedures for fault reporting are at the centre of the dispute between Connex and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union's locomotive division.

The company believes that reporting faults through driver supervisors, instead of train controllers, is less safe.

Continuing rows between the RTBU's locomotive and operations divisions have fuelled speculation of a split.

Friday Funny Foto

I know I shouldn't but sometimes we need a laugh.

SO i ask you: Is Monika Lewinsky back?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bolt vs Bolt Part III - Each way bets

For those who did not know the guys from Blait Bolt watch have moved to Below is my first tip off for them.

Posted at Crikey:

Global warming is a load of crap. Or not
February 19, 2009 – 10:00 am, by Scott Bridges

Andrew Bolt is a strident critic of the AGW theory (I don’t need to provide any links for that, do I?), so what is it with this post about the irony of global warming combating global warming?
Global warming may cut the very emissions we’re told cause global warming:

GLOBAL warming may be a worry to low-lying lands but Russia’s top weatherman
said that warmer temperatures would help to cut heating bills in one of the
world’s coldest countries. “The heating season will be reduced and this is a
positive factor for us as it will allow us to economise on fuel,” Alexander
Bedritsky, head of Russia’s state weather centre, said.

Which is it, Bolta? Warmening or no warmening?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Delay of the Day

Is it the weather? no
Is it the air con? no
Is it the union? ahh yesss

Broken-down train blocks line at Richmond

Commuters can expect further delays on the Sandringham train line this afternoon because of a stand-off between warring factions of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union over a train stuck at Richmond station.

After six hours, the train remains at a standstill at Richmond station, and has already caused delays to this afternoon's peak hour services.

The Age understands the train remains parked at the station because of a union dispute.
Connex would not comment, saying it was working to get the train moved so that services on the Sandringham line could run as normal this afternoon.

Trains are not running in either direction on the line. Commuters leaving the city are being asked to catch the route 67 tram to Elsternwick.

Buses are running between Elsternwick and Sandringham stations in both directions.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure people get where they need to be," a Connex spokeswoman said.

"We're working to resolve the issue as we speak and at Richmond and South Yarra stations we've got the flexibility of moving people off the trains and on to other platforms to catch other trains to the city."

Earlier this morning, the spokeswoman said the faulty train was expected to be removed "very soon".

The problems on the Sandringham line are not the first this week. On Tuesday there were 52 of the day's 1977 train services cancelled because of faults with trains and a disagreement between train drivers and train controllers.

There have been 28 train services cancelled across the Connex network today. Many more are expected this afternoon as a result of the problems on the Sandringham line.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WTF 13

TV star chimp shot dead after running amok, four injured

February 17, 2009 03:50pm
A FORMER TV star chimpanzee was shot dead by US police after it went on an unexplained rampage, seriously injuring a woman.
Travis, a 15-year-old chimpanzee who has appeared in TV commercials and a talk show, badly injured a woman and attacked the police before an officer cornered in his car was forced to shoot the simian, the Associated Press reports.
The woman, who is in a serious condition in hospital, was visiting Sandra Herold at her Stamford, Connecticut home when long-time family pet Travis lept on her as soon as she emerged from the car and made a savage attack to the face.
Ms Herold ran inside to call police and fetch a weapon after she failed to wrestle the chimpanzee off her friend.
"She retrieved a large butcher knife and stabbed her longtime pet numerous times in an effort to save her friend, who was really being brutally attacked," Stamford police Lieutenant Richard Conklin said.
Travis finally retreated but was still on the Herold property when police arrived and surrounded the woman so medics could treat her.
The enraged chimpanzee charged at officers who retreated to their cars.
Two police officers are reported to have unspecifed injuries.
Travis opened the door to one of the police vehicles forcing the cornered officer to shoot several times. Leaving a trail of blood Travis ran off to his quarters, where he died.
Travis had appeared in TV ads for Old Navy clothing stores and Coca-Cola. He had also been a guest on the Maury Povich talk show and performed in TV pilot, The Advocate. Though he has previously run away and obstinately refused to lured back, until the violent outburst Travis was mostly a docile pet.
Travis was well known locally for riding in trucks belonging to his Herolds' towing company. "He's been raised almost like a child by this family," Lt Conklin told AP. "He rides in a car every day, he opens doors, he's a very unique animal in that aspect. We have no indication of what provoked this behaviour at all."
There is speculation a recent bout of Lyme disease could have affected the chimpanzee's temperament. His owners have previously told police that Travis was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own baths, ate at the table, brushed his teeth and drank from a wineglass, AP reported.
He also used a remote control to watch TV and could log onto a computer to look at pictures.

Was Travis made to go around the bend by looking at Monkey porn on the net?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Bingle Effect

Now this one has been a theory of mine for a little while now and recent events are starting to make it all come together... let us begin:

Case One - Australian Tourism.

The advertisements that are put on television screens around the world showing off our fine land to those cashed up travellers can be quirky "i'll throw another shrimp on the barbie" (who eats shrimp anyway? They're Prawns!);

or can be odd "You are not the woman i married" (then who is she? your wife's evil twin sister who poisened your wife, chopped her up into little bits just with the pretext to get a trip to Oz?)

But, there has been one notable failure "Where the blood hell are you?" - answer: sitting on my fat American Arse watching TV.

Case Two - CarltonFootball Club.

Who can forget Lara sinking her teeth into Carlton goal kicker Brendan "Fev" Fevola?

before Lara:

after Lara:

Case Three - Australian Cricket.

Lara and Australian vice captain Michael Clarke are now engaged:

All I can say is:

Is this the future of Australian Cricket?

And what next for Lara? Lleyton Hewitt's personal trainer? I cannot wait to see what she ruins next.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Got to admit Richard Branson is a dirty bastard:

But they do a good ad. Click on the picture to look at this one for the 25th anniversary of Virgin Atlantic:

WTF 12

RESIDENTS in a rural area of Darwin have renamed their street "Dildo
Boulevard" after 30 sex toys were found lying in front of a house on Friday

Robert Johns and Laurelle Bates discovered the mysterious toys as they left
for work in the morning.

"It's a real mystery. We have no idea where they came from," Ms Bates told The Northern Territory

"I know they aren't new. They look used."

Mr Johns said he counted the sex toys on Friday morning, and the number had
decreased within 24 hours."Yeah, some of the bigger ones are gone," he

Many of the devices are still lying outside the Osbeck
home - most crushed under the wheels of passing cars.

Within hours of the sex toys appearing, a resident replaced the street sign
- changing it to "Dildo Boulevard".
Slippery when wet? Does Dildo Boulevard have two points of entry?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bolt vs Bolt Pt II - The return of the Knob

I was going to put together a post outlining the low levels Andrew Bolt would go to try and create some bullshit columns in the Herlad Sun.

But alas Scott at Grodscorp has done a much better job of it. His post is also on

WTF 11

A bit of a different WTF today. try this one out:

grab it, drag it, change the size. very realistic.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I am having real trouble with putting words together to relate to the bush fires that have created so much havoc over the weekend. How can I relate to the absolute trauma that families and loved ones are going through on such a massive scale?

For those who know I grew up in Myrtleford and my parents are still there. The town has not come under direct attack but the surrounding areas have. Beechworth and Mt Stanley and particularly the locations of Barwidgee and Mudgegonga have been hit and hit hard.

No doubt n the next while I will hear stories from friends and family who are with teh CFA and DSE fire crews. I hope they are all safe.

My Uncle's family farm is in Barwidgee and he was able to save the house and live stock. Everything else is gone. he was lucky. He descirbed to my parents that before the fire the steel farm gates were too hot to touch with bare skin and the fire was like looking at a fireball. It moved with a speed and intensity that he had never seen before. Faster and more intense than ash wednesday or the alpine fires in 2003. Again he was lucky.

Up the Yackandandah Road about 2km from him, a couple in their newly completed dream home were not so lucky. They lost the fight for their home and lost their lives in the process. My father played golf with them and knew them since they were kids. He is pretty cut up about it.

For how tragic that sounds I can only think of the nightmare in the towns like King Lake and just how scary the situation was. It is a very sad day in the history of Victoria. Let's hope it makes us stronger and wiser for next time.. because there will always be a next time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

WTF 10

What is with the Daily Tele and breasts?? more importantly why do they keep on re-reporting from the London Sun?

Sheyla Hershey has nine ops to have biggest fake breasts

February 05, 2009 12:00am
A US housewife has undergone nine breast enlargement operations to become the proud owner of the biggest fake breasts in the world.

Blonde Sheyla Hershey will appear on British television tonight after boosting her breasts to 38KKK.

Medics warned the 28-year-old that her breasts are in danger of exploding but that did not stop Sheyla going under the knife for the record breaking surgery.

Sheyla, from Houston, Texas, said: "To me, big is beautiful. I don't think I have anything to worry about."

US doctors had refused to carry out any more ops on Sheyla when her breasts were already a staggering 34FFF.

But Sheyla was determined to get in the record books and jetted off to Brazil where there are no limits on implant sizes.

Her British ex-boyfriend started paying for her plastic surgery, but she left him after he begged her to stop.

Read the full story in the London Sun

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How is THAT for public opinion?

Facebook fury over Turnbull 'no' to cash splash
Larissa Ham
February 5, 2009 - 4:33PM

Australians planning to spend Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's promised $950 bonus on holidays, new drum kits, Wii games, tattoos and weekend-long benders have flooded into a new Facebook group.

The group 'Come on Turnbull, don't take away my $950 bucks!,' was formed after Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull signalled his intention to block the $42 billion economic stimulus package announced this week.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged the Coalition's stance wouldn't be popular but that it was "the right decision".

He said he was standing up for "fiscal discipline" and staggering levels of debt should not be imposed on future generations.

Almost 9000 people are now members of the Facebook group.

Creator Matt Dixon said the group had attracted more than 5000 members in its first 24 hours, and aimed to hit the 12,000 mark by 10pm tonight.

"Join this group in solidarity against a man who has probably got enough money to fund his own stimulus package," Mr Dixon says on the group's Facebook page.

More than 70 members on the site have shared how they would spend the one-off bonus, which if passed, would be available to millions of Australians including eligible families, single workers, students, drought-affected farmers and others earning $100,000 or less.

Low and middle-income families would also receive a $950 back-to-school bonus per child, and those outside the workforce who return to study would get a $950 training and learning bonus.
While many Facebook members have already allocated the cash to holidays, handbag shopping or rent, others said they would spend it to pay off their debts.

"I was planning to give it to my ex-husband, because I owe him money. I am sure he will stimulate the economy on my behalf," wrote Venie.

"Paying off some of the credit card bill, which has already stimulated the economy," wrote Karen.

Some said they would spend the $950 on furniture, gifts or household items, while Nathan, of Perth, is taking a different approach.

"$600 for marijuana...the rest will probably be turned into snacks," he wrote.

The economic stimulus package passed the House of Representatives this morning, but must still get through the Senate.

A Senate inquiry into the package will begin today and an upper house vote is not likely until next week.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Frozen chicken chucker charged over NSW break-in bid

February 04, 2009 12:25pm

NEW South Wales police reckon they have seen it all after nabbing a man for allegedly trying to smash his way into a cafe using a frozen chicken.

But the man, who police say swiped the chook during an earlier break and enter at a butcher's shop, came off second best.

As far as tools of the crime trade go, it seems frozen chickens don't rate. The alleged thief was forced to call emergency services after he was injured using the chook and some rocks to try to get into the cafe in Macksville, in the state's north.

"Police will allege that the man smashed the shopfront window using a frozen chicken stolen from the butcher and a number of rocks,'' police said.

"In the process the man suffered a minor injury to his wrist.''

The 20-year-old was nabbed early today after he called authorities seeking help for his injury. He has been charged with break and enter offences and is due to face Kempsey Local Court later today.

The CV of Andrew Bolt

Today in Andrew Bolt's column he states:
I'm not an economist

Yep. Still that does not stop him going off on odd tangents trying to undermine Rudd and the labour government. But hey since he is stating what he isn't, what else should be added to the list?

I can think of a few including:
  • water engineer
  • transport planner
  • journalist
  • lawyer

got any others?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Latest BoM Data

Here is the latest BoM data on rainfall and temperature. Hot off the press.

I have included the average temperature anomaly for the last 12 months:
Max temp anomaly for the last month:
Percentage of average rainfall for the last 12 months:

and percentage of January average rainfall:

So, what does it all mean?
Well here in South East Oz it has been hot and dry... derr no doubting that. What the main concern is that this dryness has been combined with aboe average temperatures for a few years now. The result? From a wate rpoint of view it means much less water flowing into rivers and dams, more evaporation from the land and an increasing water deficiet across what is the foodbowl of Australia.
Ignoring if climate change is occuring, the continual reduction of water that is available to boththe environment and humans shows that alternative sources are required. It is no use having a dam if it is empty!
Hopefully some of the rain that has been falling in Northern Queesnland makes it's way south soon.