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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Ones You Love Always Hurt The Most

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If there's anyone out there who's been hanging around this trainwreck since the dark, early days of the Xander and Nico Pod, you may remember it was a recurring theme that I was sick all the time. Back in my early twenties, I smoked heavily, and drank, and dabbled in bad stuff, and reaped the benefits of such a lifestyle; an inability to digest food, exhaustion, fainting spells. As I got myself together later in my twenties I cut back on the booze, but still smoked, and was still pretty unwell. I met DH a few months before my 30th, and laughed at the irony at falling in love with a man who has never taken a drag on a cigarette, never tried any drugs whatsoever, and only been drunk a very handful of times in his life. I always meant to quit smoking of course, but struggled, until the night of May 4, 2009, when sitting outside my flat at Summer Hill having an evening cigarette, I started to cough, and coughed some more, and started coughing heavily, and coughed up blood.

 I remem…

Labor's Debt Problem

If there's one thing you'd think even the federal Labor government's most fervent opponents could grudgingly concede, it's that Labor did quite a good job steering us through the GFC. We've low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation, the economy has grown 9% since 2010. Instead of giving credit to the economic management of Gillard and Swan, however, the conservative line runs that they have achieved all this solely by running up massive debt - $200 billion is the figure often thrown around. It's an appalling number. But is it true? Where does it come from?
The closest I could find to a credible source for this figure was an article in The Australian which claims government borrowings in the form of commonwealth securities will reach $249.7bn within 4 years. $250 billion within 4 years! It's worse than we thought. Wait. Not debt. "Commonwealth securities". What are those exactly? Well, they're also known as treasury bonds. $250 billion…

The Rally Against T4

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Newcastle is built on coal and steel, but we've put much of that tradition behind us. Newcastle is losing it's reputation as a gritty, grimy industrial city and embracing a more cosmopolitan future. Yet for all that, Newcastle is still the world's biggest coal port. In the face of climate change, decreasing supplies of fossil fuels and new energy technologies, Newcastle continues to bring pollution to the world; every time Beijing suffers through unbreathable air, it's coal from Newcastle helping to poison Chinese citizens.. I hope one day that changes. So it seemed like insanity when I heard of T4, the proposed new fourth coal terminal for Newcastle harbour. T4 is not just another coal loader - it would more than double the existing capacity of the port. Twice as much coal. It's hard to imagine. I mean, we live less than 2km from the existing coal loaders - and 500 metres from the main rail line feeding them - and every surface in our house is covered in coal dust…