My 2.2 cents (GST Inc.)

It is a real prick when your opinions are taxed. Australia least powerful political blog. (Plus any other crap I want to talk about.)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Going up the country, going to get away

As Canned Heat sung in 1969, I am going up the country and going to get away. I will be back sometime next week. As I am going to be in the bush I am not sure if the two tin cans and the string which serves as the phoneline (thanks Telstra) is going to let me post up there, so I might not post for a while.

Whilst watching Morning TV today, I heard the dumbest line in one of those Ads made to look like a news article. The claim was a certain wrinkle treatment "reduces wrinkle appearence by 44%, that is almost 50%". It shows what the average IQ of the people who buy such products is if they can't work out that 44% is almost 50%.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Abbott and Son

Tony Abbott has found his first born. Personally, I am happy for him. But do we really need to know about this? Is it in the public interest? And why has this come out now? As nothing happens in a vacuum, what purpose does this serve? Is something being covered up or are they just trying to make Abbott look human?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Football at 29C

I went to the first match of the pre-season wizard cup and saw my team Richmond lose to Collingwood (As I had expected them to). I came away from the match with a few interesting points:
1. The Super Goal adds an extra level of complexity to the game.
2. The new tribunal system sounds as if it was created by the same person as came up with the Duckworth-Lewis system for cricket.
3. Richo is going to be the same useless piece of crap as per normal. And the white shorts make his arse look big.
4. Collingwood fans really are as stupid as the stereotype would have them. I would have said the pack around us had about a dozen teeth amongst them.
5. Pre-season competitions really don't matter. And I am not just saying that cause we lost.
6. The grey jumpers looked shit.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Time for an open border policy?

In an age where capitial, goods and ideas are all freely able to cross borders, the only thing which is restricted from entering and exiting is people. We have multinationals that are companies, so why can't we have multinational people? (And I am not talk about dual citizenship which I know many of people have, including me).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My post on the Kyoto Agreement

It is sad that we managed to not sign sometime everyone else did, except our friends in Jesusland (otherwise known as the Home of the Brave). Anyway, I am not sure of the extent of climate change and doubt it will as bad as some people reckon. Certainly, every period of wild weather is not caused by Climate Change: Storms, droughts, floods and large gusts of winds are all recorded in history. Yet, something does need to done about the amounts of Greenhouse gases we put into the atomsphere, if only because they are made from non-renewalable resources.
Anyway, it has given me a chance to post about my favourite renewalable power project. If this ever gets built it will also make the worlds largest sundial.

Full Employment: I think not

We now have unemployment sitting at 5.1%. This is very close to official full employment. But that does really mean shit. The number of unemployed who have been shifted to disability penisions to get them off the dole is quiet large.
Then there are people like myself who have casual jobs but really want full time work. Some weeks I work a full time week and others I don't get any work at all. I am going to earn about $25000 this year and will have worked only about 25 hours per week on average.
But what does full employment mean: Higher wages is one thing. Even hospitiality workers are now demanding more. This leads to inflation and higher interest rates. That'll be fun.
Plus we are going to struggle to find people to clean the toilets and do the other shit jobs. They cannot find people to pick grapes at the moment and want to import guest workers from China. I seem to remember that they tried something like this with pacfic islanders in Queensland in the late 1800's. I am not sure that it is a place Australia should go.
I am not saying that full employment is bad but it will be a challenge to manage well. The government have done well when things were easy. Now things get a little harder.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Had busy weekend

I just realised I worked about 18 hours over the weekend when I expected none. The primary reason was for all this extra work was Chinese New Year and increased traffic in the city.
Crown Casino was also busy because it is good fortune to gamble at New Year. I don't know how this works, Why is it good fortune to give your money to Mr Packer?

Iraqi Election Results are in

There is nothing I love more than an election and its results. I think watching election coverage as a kid started my interest in politics. Anyway enough about me on to the Iraqi election results and what they mean.
The good news was that 8.4 Million people voted which was a turn out of around about 58% which is a little lower than the figures that were floating around two weeks ago. It is still a half decent figure considering the threats of violence (and the few instances of actual violence). Yet, the problem is that most of these people were Shittes and Kurds. The Sunnis didn't vote in the numbers that were reported a week ago.
The Unitied Iraqi List got 48.1% of the vote and will almost have a majority. Despite the reports that it is a Shitte party, it does contain sunni members. Also, it means that Ahmed Chalabi will live to fight another day (and perhaps give misinformation to someone else).
The Kurds did better than expected. They got around 25% of the vote. So we may see independence in the cards as they have enough of a say to almost block any changes.
The big loser was Iyad Allawi. His Iraqi list came in a distant third with a mere 15%. Thus it shows that if hang around with the Americans too much your not going to come out on top. Considering that it was expected that his groups vote would be at least double what they got, he can not be happy with the result and is unlikely remain PM for too much longer.
Anyone willing to guess how long it will be before the Americans are told to leave by UIL is free to do so.

Friday, February 11, 2005

FOX News - Eat your heart out

I have found the best source of news on the web in the world. A source that is in no way biased and only reports the hard hitting news of the day. I am of course talking about Korean Central News Agency the offical arm of DPRK, otherwise known as the proganada arm of the most forward looking nation on earth. Surprisingly, I think it is the only news agency not to report the upcoming royal wedding.(I don't know what they are think, same deal with J-Lo's and Ben Afflick's break up.)
The site is hosted in Japan and is clearly a translation of Korean into English via Japanese. I know things can be a little confusing and get lost in translation but the suggestion to governments in the Indian ocean that "would eradicate the aftermath of the natural disaster" on 30th December 2004 is just a little creepy. (The next day, the messages to a few other nations has the words "clean up" instead.)

Drawing a long bow

Prince Charles is now going to marry his former mistress. The problem with this was the Church of England is not going to conduct the wedding, because they don't believe in marrying people who 's relationship has lead to the end of other marriages. So it is to be a civil wedding. However, now the church is willing to accept that this two people want to be together even if they don't accept the way they have come together.
So say two other people want to get together and marry but certain religious groups don't approve. Certain religious groups don't approve of mix racial marriages but the law does not stop them. However, the Howard government here has brought in laws that says that only people of the opposite sex should allowed to marry. This is almost as stupid as it is religious groups that object the most. Anyway that is me drawing a long bow.
Any way it was better than posting about how we should a republic.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

One day we'll get serious with Security

After reading about the installation of Speed Bumps in Canberra to protect Parliament House in Crikey's mailout, I am being to wonder if Australia is ever going to get serious about anti-terrorist security. A couple of weeks ago I was walking by the Treasury Buildings in Melbourne at night when I noticed something: The bollards out the front are about 8 metres apart and are about a foot high. That is not going to stop a determine terrorist with a truck or car bomb.
Another thing I have noticed is that Car Parks are still being placed under new buildings. If you want to bring a building down you attack the foundations which are easily access from the car park. I know it will cost more but build the car park next to the building, not under it. And it is not like terrorists are stupid (they are misguided) and they can work these things out themselves.
I can't see another Sept. 11 style attack because the risks of failure is too high. To hijack a plane nowdays is going to take a lot more than a knife. If some terrorist was going to try, they would have little old ladies even trying to take them on. Yet, most of the spending has been on upgrading airport security to stop another Sept 11 attempt. I think Osama Bin Laden even figured the tactic could only be used once, that is why he tried it on four planes at the same time (even then on 3 worked).
So hopefully one day we will get serious about security, otherwise the consequences are not worth thinking about.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Stupidity on "A Current Affair"

For some reason, the TV was on channel Nine at 6.30 tonight. And the first story was about the hazards of Botox treatment. It was a rehashed American story but I found it very funny when the story finished and they went back to Ray Martin who clearly has had botox treatment.

Hicks deal seems to be in the Wind

The case of David Hicks seems to be heading towards a conclusion. The best evidence of this was the sacking of Stephen Kenny, the Australian part of the legal team. The reason given by the US side of legal team was that Mr Kenny may not have had Hicks best interests at heart as he was just protesting Hicks detention and not trying organise a deal. More likely is that a deal is about to be done and Kenny would have been an speedhump on the way to get the deal.
My personal feelings on Hicks is that is he is very dumb and was probably caught up in something that was bigger than he expected. My feelings that he is not real smart is caused by the fact he attempted to claim to be Malayasian when first captured in Afghanistan. The local Afghans might have believed this but anyone who has any idea of the racial make up of Malayasia who not buy that for a minute. I don't think he would have much use to the terrorists except as a human bomb.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The New Petty Cash Cards: The Mobile Phone

I was sitting at work the other day, reading the industry rag "Traffic and Parking". This is a delightful read if one is extremely lonely and needs to go to sleep (One of my co-workers described it as the opposite of porn). Anyway, it had an article about the new parking meters in North Sydney where you can pay for your parking by using your mobile phone. I thought this was actually pretty cool. This goes along with these new drink machines where you send a text message to get a drink.
For years credit card companies have been trying to create away of creating a system to replace small cash transactions. It looks as if all those pretty cash cards are not really going to take hold. Instead, the not-so-humble mobile phone is set to become a credit card for small scale purchases. Thus mobile phone companies are set to be moving into the same market place that Visa, Mastercard and Amex are to be found. This I feel is something that I don't think has been discussed much in the general public.

Interest Rates: Up, up and away

It looks as if the Reserve Bank of Australia may need to raise interest rates in the next couple of months. Being one of the few Australians who has no debt I at least will not be affected. I don't even have a credit card. How people who are using 80% of their income to service their debts cope is yet to seen? Clearly some people are going to struggle. Debt is like food, it needs to be used in moderation.
One thing which I have noticed watching daytime TV recently, is the number of short term credit places that are advertising at the moment. Some are clearly having trouble already, so I don't know what will occur.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

N-Word

I have been away, working at the Golf at Royal Melbourne. As I have been getting up at 5.30 AM and home late, I haven't had time to blog. Anyway, I will post again soon. (Plus I am really sun burnt).
But I might as well ask a question of the handful of readers I sometimes have. Today at work one of the guys I was working with used the N-word (although not in a directly racist context) and was shouted down by me and the other two guys I was working with. I said the N-word is probably worse today than the C-Word (except in historical context). I was wonder what my readers think?