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Showing posts from July, 2008

Are the Olympics Worth It, China?

Here in Sydney, we all complained about loss of freedom caused by the government's crackdown in the lead up to World Youth Day. Well, we're mere whingers. Sure, what the NSW government tried to do was arrogant and unacceptable, but it was minor league stuff compared to what's going on in China in the lead up to the Olympics - and the bravery of those who stand up to the government there.

The foreign media are up in arms over revelations that the Chinese government will, in fact, censor their internet access whilst they are reporting on the Olympics.

There have been reports of one million security guards and police working at the Beijing Olympics. They're there to do more than just crack down on student protesters. People have lost their homes to developers and received no compensation; they've also lost the right to petition the government, one of the only recourses for justice in a country without a free press. Foreign Correspondent has the full story, which I highl…

Keeping Sonny Bill in Circulation

So, apparently when Sonny Bill Williams left the Bulldogs and the country, he left his entire family homeless, just days before he was due to donate bone marrow to his biggest fan...

Well, no. But you could be forgiven for thinking so, considering the public outcry. Some comments from the Daily Telegraph website*:

What a money hungry little puppet. Have a great time in France Money Bill, cause your never welcome back here in Australia.

What a dog act. He will never be able to repay the bulldogs in a thousand of years for what he has done. He has missed more games than he has played. I think he should go in the ring with Mason for a couple of more millions, so we can enjoy seeing him get belted for what he has done.

Well we all knew he was a dog when he cheated on his gorgeous girlfriend with that skank in toilet cubilce.

Never mind banning him from NRL for life, we should also ban him from ever coming back to Australia. We don't need such poor examples for our children.

I'm not sure…

The Truth Behind World Youth Day?

We at the Pod have been informed of a a possible real reason for the recent Sydney hosting of World Youth Day...

Morris Iemma and many of the members of the NSW Cabinet are Catholics. "True" Catholics are famously hostile to homosexuals. However, Sydney has successfully hosted the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for many years. This must stick in their craw.

So, in recent months Sydney has hosted both APEC and WYD. Both of these have caused massive disruption, but we've coped, sort of. Patience is however wearing thin. Perhaps by the time Mardi Gras rolls around again, the patience of the people of NSW with these huge events will finally snap, and we'll rise up against the Mardi Gras, ending it once and for all.

This being the intention of the state government all along! They've been luring these events here to turn us against them.

I'm not saying I necessarily believe this, but it is an interesting theory.

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Meanwhile, it's been said that every time there's…

Tuesday Debate - Parental Leave

In 2008, how much responsibility should be people be made to take in the workplace for their decision to have children? According to Elizabeth Broderick, Australia's current Sex Discrimination Commissioner, very little.

The idea of work-family balance is a noble one. But how far should it go? Ms Broderick states "If you have caring responsibilities and you want to get promoted then forget about it. The ideal worker is a male with no caring responsibilities". She would like to see employees able to, for example, leave work early a few afternoons a week to care for their children, with no detrimental effects on their career prospects.

But someone has to pick up the slack. The work the parent has left behind still needs to be done. Should bosses be required to reward and promote employees who aren't handling a full work load, simply because they have children? Should childless employees - once, say, over the age of 50 - be allowed to take 14 weeks of paid leave to compens…

So That's What I've Got

On this fine Friday, I'll leave you with one anecdote...

I was in the queue at Dymocks, when a woman approached the counter and asked "Do you have any books on Melanesia or Micronesia?"

The girl behind the counter replied, "Is that a health condition?"

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This gets better. I was standing in line at the time waiting to purchase a copy of Overheard in the Office, the book.

Which I was buying because, whilst idly browsing through the shelves I picked up a copy, and it fell open on the page featuring an anecdote I myself had sent in a few years ago, and had long since forgotten about (it's on page 86).

Serendipity in a crazy world. It must be my micronesia.

We Need Climate Pain

Kevin Rudd has promised that no one will be disadvantaged by the new Carbon Trading Scheme - there will be compensation for all. So then why would anyone actually reduce their carbon emissions?

For businesses, details of the scheme include such allowances as receiving 90% of their (tradable) carbon permits for free if they emit more than 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per million dollars of revenue. So we could actually see businesses increase their emissions levels over the next two years, in order to secure permits they can later sell. Meanwhile, motorists are hardly likely to reduce their reliance on cars if they believe they won't face increased petrol costs to compensate for the damage they're doing to the planet for at least five years. Has anyone actually thought this through?

The point of the carbon trading scheme is to discourage carbon emissions by putting a cost on them. The Rudd government though, has given Australia a scheme that doesn't involve anyone having …

WYD - It Begins

World Youth Day finally kicks off today. Your opinion on the issue is apparently based on what newspaper you read. The Australian is fervently behind the event, and taking potshots at the SMH for knocking it. (NewsLtd, publisher of The Australian, is a major WYD sponsor, but that's probably just a coincidence)

I do wonder how Australia ended up hosting the thing. We have to be amongst the least religious nations on Earth. Apparently two thirds of people still claim to be Christian. But that's because people refer to themselves as Christian on the Census more from habit than faith - the donkey vote of religions.

It is a terrifying thing to witness in action. I've just returned from a walk around the CBD, where I was almost anhilated by a group of hundreds of chanting, banner waving Catholics walking in the other direction (could this be divine retribution?). The pilgrims are everywhere, thousands of them in their bright jackets and national flags, generally making life jolly …

You Wanted Us All to Watch? I Don't Think So

It is with mixed feelings that I learned of the demise of Big Brother - much as one would feel on hearing of the death of a former spouse. Sure, things had been over between you for a long time, but there were once warm feelings, and you think "I never wanted them to die".

I was once a Big Brother fan, and yes I've heard all the stereotypes. Actually, I never missed an episode if I could possibly help it. Just the sound of the theme music at the start of a new season was enough to get my heart pumping. Everyone knew never, ever to call me when the show was on. I collected favourites along the way: Nathan and Alex and Kieran, Dan, Chrissie and Leah, Tim Brunero.

So what changed? Partly it's a simple age thing. In the first BB, all the housemates were older than me execept Ben and Blair. By this year, only the token aged houemates are older. I also stopped drinking every day, which severely hampered my enjoyment of the show. And - let's face it - it has gotten dumber…

Follying All Over Friday

Drastic measures are now being undertaken to improve Beijing's air quality ahead of the Olympics. There were fears that the air pollution would harm the visiting athletes. Apparently, there are no similar fears about the health of Beijing residents. Thank goodness visitors would never be deemed more important than residents here.

After all the hype, World Youth "Day" finally kicks off on Monday. There is much to find creepy about the whole thing, nothing less so than the body of the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati being brought to Sydney and displayed at St Mary's Cathedral for the duration. Forget Resquiat in Pace - devote your life to your faith and you can spend eternity as a travelling exhibition!

I read somewhere that if the current growth in the number of Elvis impersonators continues, by 2019 a third of the Earth's population will be Elvis impersonators. Just think about that for a minute. Imagine going to the supermarket, and every third person you pass being…

Rudd at the Gate

In a momentous day for the nation, Kevin Rudd will be speaking at the G8 summit today. Apparently his speech is being limited to six minutes. The people who organised this know what they're doing; it will be the first time Rudd has spoken so briefly in his life.

I was suprised when I heard Rudd was even going to the G8 summit. Surely, if Australia had become one of the world's top eight industrial nations, someone would have said something. But no, Rudd is just going as a guest speaker, on climate change presumably. Brendan Nelson has said Rudd needs to be a "human blowtorch" and "apply pressure" to oil producing nation, which would dramatically increase extremely localised global warming if nothing else (I didn't know blowtorches produced pressure).

Back home, the Grim Wowser is rearing their ugly head again. Now, whilst I believe government intervention can be a good, even civilisation-enhancing thing, I'm a libertarian when it comes to getting load…

Disposable as Kleenex

Heartwarming news from our bestest friend in the whole wide world. Apparently, the U.S. planned to test nerve gas on Australian soldiers during the Cold War.

Newly declassified Australian Defence Department and Prime Minister’s office files show that the United States was strongly pushing the Government for tests on Australian soil of two of the most deadly chemical weapons ever developed, VX and GB – Sarin - nerve gas.

The plan called for 200 mainly Australian combat troops to be aerially bombed and sprayed with the chemical weapons – with all but a handful of the soldiers to be kept in the dark about the "full details" of the tests. in fact, given the timing of the tests, some may well have been conscripts.

Kind of gives a new meaning to the words "cannon fodder". And we're supposed to be one of their closest allies. What do the Americans do to people they don't like? Kill them on their way to weddings, apparently.

Stop The Climate Change Lies!

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The Garnaut report on climate change is released today, no doubt to be closely followed by howls of protest from the usual suspects. I've noticed that a lot of climate change deniers also tend to be religious conservatives. Which is amusing really, as their argument against global warming is "there is no scientific evidence that climate change is caused by human activity!", yet they seem not to be concerned by a lack of scientific evidence for the existence of God.

When it comes to climate change, we all (as individuals, groups, corporations and governments) have one of four options:

Admit it's happening and make changes for the greater good;
Admit it's happening, do nothing and feel guilty;
Admit it's happening, do nothing and not care;
Deny it's happening. It will come as no suprise to regular readers that my old friend Piers Akerman is a climate change denier. So are Ann Coulter, Andrew Bolt, Rush Limbaugh and of course Alan Jones.

I think we can see a patter…

So Long and F**k Off

Today in Sydney, there's a purer light in the sky...and I feel more nourished. The beast is gone, for now, and the warmth has returned to our hearts.

Yes, the paragon of the Whingeing Westies, Alan Jones, has announced he'll be off air whilst he is treated for cancer. I don't usually wish ill on anyone, but...I like to think of my fellow Sydneysiders as open minded, tolerant people - so why do they listen to, and believe, radio hosts somewhere to the right of Ghengis Khan?

Jones shamelessly exploits the prejudices of his (mostly Sydney) audience, feeding on fear, ignorance and jealousy. Here's Jones in the lead up to the Cronulla riots:

My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive. The bikie gangs have been much maligned, but they do a lot of good things.

These Middle Eastern people must be treated be treated with a big stick, it’s the only thing they fear. They don’t fear fines and …

All Posting, All July

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As I was updating the wildly unpopular sidebar feature "These Days In Pod History", I realised that last year, I only posted twice during the entire month of July. This was 10% due to the stresses of a new job, 10% because of problems in my personal life, and 80% down to my own laziness.

But I shall make amends! This July, I'm going to try to post everyday, whether I've something to say or not. However, my enthusiasm was rather dampened when I learned that the good folk at Club Troppo won't be running the Missing Link Daily feature between now and July 21st.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who posts with an eye to getting a nod in Missing Link. I'm a poor judge of my own quality though - often the posts that got mentioned were posts I threw together in a hurry and didn't particularly care for, whilst posts I considered among my best (such as it is) were overlooked. For all that though, it was a little thrill to an attention seeker with low self esteem…

Beyond Annoying

Like everyone else in Sydney, my favourite past time at the moment is complaining about World Youth Day - the cost, the crowding, the diverted trains, the traffic. My particular gripe is that while it costs me $6.80 to travel to and from work everyday on the train, the commemorative WYD train tickets only cost $4. How is this even remotely fair? They even include unlimited travel within the CBD, which my daily ticket doesn't. Not only are taxpayers subsidising these visitors to choke up the city, many of them will be from overseas, and not pay any taxes at all towards the thing. As a woman just trying to make an honest living embezzling from her CBD company, this makes me furious. I can't even buy a WYD ticket in place of my normal one, as they're only valid for travel in off-peak times.

All theses are trifles though (except maybe for the part about the bill). Far more serious - and sinister - are the new police powers, which come into effect today, allowing police to arre…