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Showing posts from September, 2008

Newcastle: The Nanny State

We're constantly hearing about the epidemic of violent drunken behaviour of today's youth. No one could deny that the problem was especially bad in Newcastle. So the authortities have taken drastic action - and the cure is worse than the disease.

There's been demands for a curfew for years - I had my first letter to the Newcastle Herald arguing against the idea printed in 2002. But in recent years, more retirees are moving in to the city and the violence has worsened. Something Had To Be Done. so the authorities have gone for the most drastic course of action, and subsequently destroyed a whole drinking culture.

The culture was this: in Newcastle, because there are a great many drinking establishments close together, people tended not to stay in one place all night, but rather move between several venues through the night. Of course, having drunk people on the streets can cause problems, but 90% of the people out never caused any trouble.

Anyway, all that is over now. The new…

Blame The Woman

In the early days of the "Iguanagate scandal", I remember hearing from a Labor party insider that "John Della Bosca is actually a lovely man. It's her [Belinda Neal] who's the bully; she's the awful one".

It may be true. Watching Australian Story last night really didn't make up my mind one way or the other. Or it may just be the latest example of Adam and Eve syndrome - that there's a bad woman behind the downfall of every good man.

There's a certain type of man who is threatened by the powerful woman. Woman was responsible for orignial sin, and therefore, for all the corruption in the Universe. Throughout history, we have couples where the female partner is blamed for the downfall of the man - Samson and Delilah, Caesar and Cleopatra, Nicholas and Alexandra, Hillary and Bill. (Who can forget those hilarious 90s bumper stickers "IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT - AND HER HUSBAND TOO!").

Now there's John and Belinda. Does anyone really belie…

Faulting City Rail, and Other Foibles

Earlier in the week, I went over to the CityRail website to check on upcoming trackwork. The website was down. Sure, it happens to the best of sites, but the failure message advised me to "Contact the site administrator and notify them of anything you may have done to cause the problem" (italics mine).

It's CityRail policy that there is no excuse for travelling without a valid ticket. It doesn't matter if the ticket machine at the station is out of order due to poor maintenance and there's a twenty minute queue at the ticket window; it's your fault for not getting to the station twenty minutes early. If there's no ticket window at all and you don't have change for the machine, it's your fault. And apparently if the website is down, that's your fault too.

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Apparently, a hacker was able to break in to Sarah Palin's web based email accounts by guessing the answers to her password prompt questions, such as where did she meet her husband (hig…

In Praise of Stupidity

When I return home at night from a hard day being Australia's most incompetent ad exec and shoddiest centre-left blogger, I like to relax. Some days I'll watch the 7:30 Report and give serious thought to the issues of the day. Other times, I might play Vivaldi's Four Seasons, or perhaps Pachbel's Canon, whilst dabbling in a little Chinese brush painting.

But then there are the evenings when all I want to do is order a pizza and watch sheer escapist nonsense...like Today Tonight and 20 to 1.

It's a confusing, scary world out there at the moment. The world's financial markets are collapsing, our state is a disaster, the U.S. may elect yet another incompetent, dangerous pair of lunatics to the White House.

There is a place for stupidity in this world. Not willfull ignorance - that should never be accepted. But when you've spent 10 hours battling recalcitrant clients, difficult issues and looming deadlines, who would'nt want to sit down in a state of semi-cata…

Government Madness

I'm sorry I let democracy down, but I didn't vote in the NSW local government elections on Saturday. But I have a good excuse, I swear. See, I've never bothered to change my electoral enrollment after moving 13 months ago. There's no absentee voting at local government elections, so in order to vote I would have had to travel out of my way to a suburb with no train station. "Screw that", I thought, "I'm having lunch in the City".

Actually, come to think of it, I've never voted in a local government election. I don't know why; I just haven't. Maybe it's been a subconcious protest against local government?

Local government is the pinnacle of evidence that Australia is over-governed. My current local government area covers an area of just 8km2, and has a population of 40,000. And it's still further divided into four wards. On Saturday, voters went to the polls to elect councillors who would be representing, in effect, a handfull o…

The Search for True Rememberance

What with yesterday being the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I got to thinking about public memorials. Especially after reading that a U.S. Congressman blocked $10 million in Federal funding for building a memorial for the victims of Flight 93.

That may seem unnecessarily frugal, even cruel (the man is, after all, a Republican), but then think about it for a minute. $10 million?

And that's not the half of it. Consider the still-growing costs of building the WTC memorial. Is the school of thought that the extent of the memorial must be used to show the depth of grief? Just look at the Columbine memorial, which brings to mind a Greek amphitheatre. It seems to be a peculiarly American phenomenon, with some exceptions, such as the Princess Diana memorial fountain, which resembles nothing so much as a concrete drainage ditch.

To me a memorial has always seemed like it should be a quiet place of reflection, not an elaborate monument. What's most important at a memorial is what the ob…

Gone Baby Gone

Well, it's official...the nightmare is over. Sort of. NSW has a new premier. (Wait a second, didn't I just post about this?).

Anyway, amid tears (from the man himself), Morris Iemma has been ousted as NSW Premier, and Costa is gone too. In step Nathan Rees and Carmel Tebbutt as Premier and Deputy, respectively. Now, I know little about Rees at this stage, but his background as a garbageman should stand him in good stead for dealing with the state Labor right faction.

Though as Faust said in reply to my excited SMS telling him the news:
"Let's think about this for a minute...Carr... Iemma... things don't look good.
If the trend continues, there will be a rock-melon sitting in that chair pretty soon.
Although I am bloody glad to hear it... Carr was a fuckwit. Iemma was just flat out stupid." I can't argue the logic.

There a certain delicious irony, or maybe it's simply absurdity, at the fact it was the now-exonerated John Della Bosca who made the big announce…

Go Morris Iemma! Just Go.

Update - Iemma has resigned. More as it comes to hand

Twenty four hours may be a long time in politics, but it flies by too fast to be a blogger's friend.

Yesterday I started off a post on the hopeless state of NSW politics, and the hopeless state of NSW generally - the economy here is actually shrinking. I vaguely found myself wishing this wasn't a democracy; the instead of waiting till 2011 for the election to get rid of the hopeless Iemma government, we could just have a revolution now. Anyway, work ran away from me, and I didn't have time to finish the thing.

Now everything has changed. Costa has been sacked, Watkins has resigned, Carmel Tebbutt has become Deputy Premier, and there's even talk of an exit strategy for Morris Iemma.

Of course, what we need is the whole pack of Iemma's gang gone, but this is a good start. Once we're free of those criminally incompetent clowns, maybe we can relegate our horror stories of train cancellations, surgery waiting lists, …

Fun Facts About Sarah Palin!

In case you've got the warm and fuzzies that the Republicans have selected a woman as the Vice Presidential candidate, consider these Fun Facts about Sarah Palin...

As captain of her high school basketball team, her nickname was "Sarah Barracuda" due to her intense play and leader of the prayer sessions before games.
Runner up in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant.
She named her children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig. (Sounds like kinds of tree fungus).
She has said that she is a "firm supporter of abstinence-only education in schools." "Explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support", Palin has said.
Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant. This is only a fact about Sarah Palin herself in light of the above, and her failure to give her daughter a purity ring. Or, even more usefully, a talk about sexual health and condom use.
Wants to have polar bears taken off the endangered species list so as to open up the Artic National Wildlife Preserve to oil dril…