Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vote Early and Vote Often II

Before you vote on 21 August I suggest you read the following article penned by Mungo MacCallum in 2007 after John Howard was ousted:

The dubious legacy of John Winston Howard
Mungo MacCallum writes:
John Winston Howard was Australia’s second longest-serving Prime Minister, presiding almost unchallenged over the political landscape for well over a decade.

His time in government can not be dismissed lightly. However it can be dismissed heavily, so here goes.

Even on his political deathbed, Howard insisted that his government had delivered great economic reform. In fact in almost 12 years he implemented just three important changes, all of highly dubious merit.

The first was to move the responsibility for monetary policy from the elected government to the government-appointed Reserve Bank. This meant that he no longer had to take the blame for rises in interest rates, while of course continuing to demand the credit for falls. This early switch developed into a pattern: throughout his prime ministership, Howard steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for anything. Only on Saturday night, with nothing left to lose, was he prepared to own up.

Howard’s second legacy was the never-ever GST, a particularly nasty piece of regressive taxation whose only virtue is its universality; if a GST is absolutely comprehensive it is impossible to avoid. By compromising with Democrats to exempt some so-called essential items, Howard destroyed even this advantage. The GST remains an unfair and lazy way of collecting revenue, and has led to an immensely complicated series of benefits and hand outs to compensate for its ill effects. It is now entrenched as monument to Howard’s political dishonesty and economic incompetence.

The third innovation was, of course, WorkChoices. Unheralded and badly thought out, this grab-bag of ideological thuggery was thrust upon a startled electorate when an unexpected opportunity arose, and the results are now clear. Some of its worst features have already been quietly disposed of, and most of the rest will go as soon as the senate allows. What is left will indeed constitute reform of the industrial relations system; but it will not be the “reform” of which Howard boasted.

Howard’s other claim is that he leaves Australia a stronger, prouder and more prosperous country than he found it.

Stronger? Well, that it depends how you measure it. Howard huggers have always claimed that in international affairs, Australia now punches above its weight. What they actually mean is that Howard was duchessed by George W Bush, who found him a very amenable acolyte. The rest of the world saw us in that light. Stronger should mean more independent, and self-confident. The only bit of Australia in which those qualities are more obvious is the Australian cricket team.

Prouder, then? Certainly more arrogant, less tolerant – the pride that is counted among the seven deadly sins. But prouder of real and lasting achievement? What achievement?

And more prosperous – some people certainly are, much; and the country’s overall wealth has grown, although Howard has had very little to do with that. But we are also far, far deeper in debt, and less secure as a result. By an economist’s measure, our material wealth has grown; but if prosperity is seen as a wider indicator of quality of life, as genuine happiness, Howard failed us badly.

And if we are wealthier, at what cost? We are certainly not the people we were in 1996 when the government last changed.

For more than eleven years, John Howard led us on a voyage driven by greed and fear, into parochialism and paranoia, selfishness and racism, bigotry and corruption, and other dark places in the Australian psyche where we never should have gone. It was a mean and ugly trip, and it will take us all a long time to recover.

As he left the Wentworth hotel on Saturday night surrounded by his weeping and cheering entourage of orcs my main feeling was not of exultation or even euphoria, but of relief—the same sort of reaction I had to Cathy Freeman’s win at the Sydney Olympics, or at the moment, 17 years ago, when I stubbed out my last cigarette. The result was long-anticipated and entirely welcome, but how dreadful I, and many others, would have felt if it had not happened.

And on that note spare a thought for Labor’s patriarch, Gough Whitlam, who against
most expectations has survived to see another Labor government in Canberra. The final word should be his: a great quotation which he used in another context altogether, but which is utterly appropriate for November 24, 2007: E quindi uscimmo a reverder le stelle.

It is the last line of Dante’s Inferno, describing the poet’s return from hell, and it means: And thence we emerged, to see the stars again.

But if Howard was wrong about most things, he at least got Peter Costello right.
For eleven years the man sat there drooling, lusting after the leadership of his party, talking up a storm to his credulous colleagues, plotting with sycophants, sending out his dwarfish messenger Glenn Milne to relate improbable stories of his talent and support. He never actually had the guts to do anything about it, but by golly he let it be known that when the opportunity came, he would show us all.

And when his party was not only ready to offer him the prize, was indeed in real need of his services, Costello spat the dummy right out of the ground. Prime Minister, with all the trappings of office and all the resources of government, would be just fine; but leader of the opposition, the challenge Kevin Rudd took on at precisely Costello’s age before sweeping to victory in less than a year, looked just a little too much like hard work. Poor Petey-pie, too old at fifty, too lazy at any time.

When his colleagues are considering a farewell gift for him, they should pass over the gold watch and all chip in for an iron lung. This would at least remove any lingering doubt over whether Peter Costello would work in one.

I think what Howard stood for is aligned to what the Liberal Party want back.

Naughton's to be Nought?

I read today on The Age website that Naughton's will be closing this Friday:

Last drinks called at Naughton's
July 28, 2010

A PART of Melbourne dies on Friday - the Naughton's Hotel in Parkville is calling last drinks.

A mainstay to university students, political apparatchiks and Carlton footy teams, Naughton's - built in 1873 - was more than a pub, it was a part of Melbourne's fabric.

Now Melbourne's booming real estate sector may be the reason behind the hotel's demise.

Gee whiz. Who would have thought? Now I was not a frequent customer of Naughton's although i did once win 50 free pots on Grand Final day. Ohh what a day.

It was not my favourite pub in the Carlton area. Not by a long shot. I was more a Clyde man. When I was at Uni I felt that Naughton's was full of gits from the College's from that side of the Uni.

There goes another pub off the pub crawl list i used to run.

Of the 14 on the list in 1993, almost all have changed hands and been renovated.

Here are some that come to mind have closed:

Station hotel Fitzroy;
Joker Bar/ Albion Hotel Carlton;
Hotel Canada Carlton;
Naughton's hotel Carlton;
Lemon Tree Carlton; and
Daicos Pub that later become known for where Benny V got shot in the gangland war.

here is a list from the time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vote Early and Vote Often

Now i hope you have all enrolled to vote? . . . Good.

Now please make sure your vote counts on the 21st of August. Because frankly my vote won't. Well my house of Reps vote won't count for much.

Why not? I hear you ask.. Well this is why:

Very Safe Labor 26.0%

Yep. It is the safest Labor seat in Australia. So when you look at what the good people of Eden-Monaro get in the sitting governement's bid to retain power it is amaznig compared to my little seat.

So unless about 10,000 of my neighbours agree to change the way they vote not much will change. Labor does not spend much money or effort there because they have it in the bag and the Liberals won't spend any because they wll never win the seat. All that can happen is if the seat goes a similar way as the seat of Melbourne and the Greens can shake them up a little.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ad Linking Gone Crazy

So I go to look at a video about how a real Hare got in the way of a Greyhound Race in Shep and look at the ad that pops up:

Gold. I love algorithms that link ads to story content.

Friday, July 9, 2010

WTF 35 - Jesus I am coming!

I think there is a lesson in here for all of us!

Sexual arousal led to nanny's death

A YOUNG woman died from a heart attack caused by sexual excitement while watching porn, an inquest heard.

Nicola Paginton, 30, a children's nanny, was found dead in bed last October with a vibrator by her side and an erotic movie playing on her laptop.

A Home Office pathologist told the inquest in Gloucester that Miss Paginton died from a sudden heart arrhythmia, probably brought on by her state of arousal.

Coroner Alan Crickmore ruled her "activity before death" contributed to the fatal cardiac arrest and recorded a verdict of natural causes.

The inquest heard Miss Paginton, of Cirencester, Gloucs, was found dead on October 15 2009.

Det Sgt Gavin Webb said police were called by her employer, Sarah Griffiths, after she did not turn up for work.

Mrs Griffiths had seen Miss Paginton the day before and said she had appeared to be fit and well.

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She went to her home, but when she couldn't get an answer at the door, she enlisted the help of a neighbour to break in.

Miss Paginton's GP Laura Patterson said she suffered fainting episode in 2007.

Pathologist Dr Richard Jones said there was no evidence of natural disease or trauma, but he said a fainting episode may indicate a possible heart problem.

He said: "There is nothing to explain why she died in this way but I suspect sudden cardiac death.

"In individuals who have this heart abnormality there is usually a trigger - something like an alarm bell or a telephone.

"In Nichola's case the increase in heart rate may be associated with physical arousal."

I wonder what Cardinal Pell would think about all of this?

WTF 34 - Speeding Lesbian Pensioner???

Seriously there are so many odd things about this story. Not the least Mildura for the weekend? And how does a Holden vectra do 164km/hr?

Elderly woman clocked at 164km/h says she was visiting young lover

A GRANNY hoon driver has vowed to keep getting behind the wheel - even if
her licence is revoked.

But police, who intercepted 81-year-old Judith Slade driving at 164km/h on Monday afternoon, will apply to have her grounded permanently.

Mrs Slade was pursued by Leading Sen-Constable Nik Probyn for four kilometres, with the lights on his police car blinking and sirens blaring, along the Murray Valley Hwy at Lake Boga until she pulled over.

Because of her age and her driving, police now want to see her licence cancelled.

But Mrs Slade said she had no choice but to continue driving because she would not be separated from her secret lover, with whom she spent the weekend in Mildura. Both were returning from Mildura in separate cars when Mrs Slade was pulled up.

"What difference would it make if they took my licence from me?" she said.

"I'll just buy more cars and they can take them away, too. I could buy another one now just to fight this and cruise past the police station, and say, 'Here I am'."

Mrs Slade admitted she knew she was speeding but blamed her Jack Russell, Aca.

"My friend, she was ahead, and I overtook her," she said.

"Aca then jumped on my leg and wanted to sit there, pushing down hard.

"I had to drag him off . . . and throw him on to the back seat.

"I realised I was going fast.

"I was passing another vehicle. What was I supposed to do?"

Mrs Slade had another explanation for continuing to drive as the unmarked police car pursued her Holden Vectra.

"I thought the police car, with its lights, was a wide-loader," she said. "Then I heard the siren and thought, 'Oh, it's a police car'. I thought they were blue and white."

Yesterday, with her car impounded for four days, and expecting hundreds of dollars in fines, Mrs Slade said she was being punished enough.

She said she could no longer afford a cruise to New Zealand with her friend.

"What I'm losing now, this is a lot," she said.

"My friend, she has been punished and so have I.

"Isn't that enough to make me feel sorry for what I did?

"I won't speed again, that's for sure.

"If they get nasty, I'll just think, what the hell does it matter -- I'll drive after dark."

For at least the past year, there has been a condition on her licence banning her from driving more than 30km from Heathcote.

Mrs Slade said nothing would stop her seeing her lover, who she said was almost half her age.

She is expected to be charged on summons with exceeding the speed limit, driving at a dangerous speed and failing to obey her licence conditions.

Sweet Jeebus I am glad I no longer live up that way. The roads near Lake Boga will be safer for it.