Category Archives: General Musings

Swan song

Say something nice about the budget?

It is Swan’s last.                Peter Van Onselen

Swan has just handed Abbott a problem because who in Australia believes anything Swan said last night.  Most of his budget wont come to fruition as the chances are he will be unemployed come September.  Who believes his forward estimates…a surplus in 2015-16 – yeah…right!. Gillard and Swan are putting a case to set up their legacy of Gonski and Disability Care at the Coalition’s expense.

Even in their last dying gasp they overspend.  If you don’t genuflect at the altar of Gonski and Disabilitycare then you are a bastard but can we pause, dry our tears and get the funding right? The Gillard/Swan modus operandi of plucking feel-good policies out of the air and announcing them without a thought to serious funding has become a trademark.

Look how compassionate we are…look at me crying in the House over the poor disabled – lets all just wish it so.  After five years of throwing money out the door and spending way over income they want us to remember them as progressives with bold policy changes that change society.

They are effectively demanding the Coalition pay for their legacy.  Gillard sees her time as Prime Minister being written up in history as the woman who saved the disabled and every kid in the nation.

A cut-price legacy if ever there was one.

Boat people aren’t new

Interested in the boat people debate?  Do you wonder why the Left support the boat people and the Conservatives don’t?

Do you remember the Vietnamese boat people and the ALP’s hatred of them?

Gough Whitlam said

 I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us” 

It should be noted that the Vietnamese didn’t hate us, as in ordinary Australians but they did hate communism (for very good reasons) and that is where Whitlam and the unions were coming from.  Those that couldn’t flee the retribution in South Vietnam died in their millions as the communists did what they do best – slaughter and/or send to reeducation camps those who had the temerity to fight for freedom.

The Vietnamese were fleeing a communist state and the ALP of the time and the union leaders were very clearly pro-communists or anti-US which is the same thing.   The same people today reason that Iraqis and Afghans are fleeing US influenced regions and are therefore welcome.  The left wing Tamils, inventors of the suicide bomber’s vests are likewise welcomed for the same reason – their left wing politics

I lived through those days when Australia was governed by a socialist government with very clear connections with the communists of the world. Our service in South Vietnam was denigrated by the Left, Communists Generals were dined out by Jim Cairns, one-time Deputy PM and life under Whitlam reminded us every day of how the world had changed.  Communism was the new ‘way to go’ and wearing the uniform of your country was frowned upon.

It was humiliating and it looked like we had lost the Cold War which I enthusiastically contributed to for 13 months of my life but within a decade reason had prevailed.  Whitlam was a nightmare memory and President Reagan correctly identified the ‘Evil Empire’ and proceeded to flog them until the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

If you are interested at all in the truth then you do need to read this report by Hal G.P. Colebatch 

 

Rolf Harris in trouble?

AN Australian man has been arrested by officers from a taskforce investigating possible widespread abuse following the Jimmy Savile sex scandal.

The 82-year-old man from Berkshire in south England was arrested on Thursday in Britain and bailed until May pending further police inquiries.

This report in The Australian doesn’t name the man but according to this link it is Rolf Harris

I then  Googled “Rolf Harris arrested” and got a mob of hits.

I’m devastated – I grew up in West Australia when Rolf was starting out there and thought of him as a quaint old fashioned entertainer.  Now I might be forced to accept that I was wrong.

I hope not but it doesn’t look good.

 

Kloppers’ demise due to setting standards

News.com seem to think Kloppers’ demise is due to an authourative set of rules that the company issued 2 years ago.

Staff at BHP were outraged when the company under Mr Kloppers issued an incredible 11-page missive banning office staff from eating smelly lunches at their desks, sticking post-it notes on their monitors and keyboards and placing jackets on chairs.

Many employees were outraged by the elaborate dossier, which stated:

  • Food must not be eaten at workstations
  • No food emitting strong odours are allowed
  • Mobile phone ring tones must be kept at low volumes
  • Post-it notes are to be removed from monitors and keyboards at the end of the day
  • Workers are warned to watch the tone and volume of their voices
  • In meeting rooms, all whiteboards are to be cleaned, equipment turned off, cables put away, chairs pushed in and cups and bottles thrown away
  • iPods and MP3 players must not be brought into work
  • Small bags must be stored under work stations during the day
  • Clothes must be put in “designated storage areas”

Can’t see the problem – I’d have to agree with all those points.  Every company has rules, or should have, that allow people to work together in harmony and in the interests of the company.

Outraged?  Go work for someone who doesn’t have standards.

If it’s true that Kloppers’  demise is partly due to this memo then I fear for BHP Billiton.

 

 

 

 

Wet and Windy!

poolWind is making the palms dance and the pool overflowed two days ago. Since then we’ve had 235 mm of rain and the winds apparently exceeded a 100 km/hr.

At high tide today Brisbane CBD will once again flood although not as badly as in 2011.

Telstra stars;

Hundreds of thousands in communication blackout as Telstra outage leaves everything north of Gladstone without phone, internet or Triple Zero access leaving half of state in the dark.

I have a daughter at a retreat near Maleny just north of Brisbane and a long way south of Gladestone who had to use her Optus work phone to contact us as her personal Telstra is out of service.

The high winds are unusual as cyclones seldom get this far south but Oswald still had some punch as it hit Brisbane.  Trees blown across power lines has put thousands in the dark including my son who has just arrived to recharge his phone.

Another daughter with a premie baby is getting out of hospital and taking her new son home today. Access to her suburb will be difficult but possible as the Ipswich area starts to go under with a peak expected at midnight.

All in all, just another January in Brisbane.

Stats

stats

 

 

What’s with China this month – should I be worried?

The stats above indicate about 25,000 Chinese read my ramblings every week.

Ni hao you guys – leave a comment so I know your not a machine.

 

Interesting Mono wheeled bike

ryno

Move through the world in a completely different way:

RYNO Motors is in the middle of selecting a manufacturing partner for its production bike.

As a result our production schedule is looking like late 2012 to be shipping.

Target retail price for these bikes will be $4,500 US. Product will first be available in the USA with dealer networks being expanded into Europe mid to late 2013. South American distribution will be started late 2013.

There is an interesting video here.

 

What happened?

iggypiggy

So, its come to this.  As a young digger in the sixties I would have had a pinup of Marylin Monroe on my locker door. Now I’m reduced to Iggy Piggy and Upsy Daisy on the side of my bar fridge.

Maybe Upsy Daisy does has expressive eyes but seriously, I have no idea what Marylin’s eyes look like. You check them out  here (NSFW)

….Ok what colour are her eyes?

The bar I built the week before Christmas looks OK but it is let down by the Fridge adornment and I seriously I doubt I will ever be allowed to wind back the clock.

bar

 

 

 

Fire Fighting resources

I come from the Karri and Jarrah forests of SW WA and bush fires were an integral part of life and death on the farms and town in the small community of Pemberton.

For these reasons I am always aware of the dangers; I feel for the victims and the volunteer and professional firefighters.  I would also like to think that the firefighters get the best equipment available..

Yesterday in The Australian Geoffery Luck wrote of lack of meaningful air support for these guys.

The huge Sikorsky/Erickson S64 Aircranes that Australia leases from California may look impressive, but they represent gesture politics. What counts in water-bombing is turnaround time and load. Each of the giant helicopters can carry 9500 litres of water, but they take almost a minute to suck it up; they fly slowly to the fire at 100km/hour; and they can remain airborne for less than three hours before refuelling.

He suggests an answer.

bombadierThe Bombardier, a high-wing twin-turboprop aircraft, can scoop up its 6000 litres in 12 seconds, skimming any lake, river or the ocean at 130km/hour, fly to the fire at 300km/hour, dump and return for more while the Skycrane is still lumbering along with its first load. A single 415′s ability to deliver 80,000 litres an hour within a 4km radius of its water supply means a squadron could have saved Mount Stromlo in 2003 — as well as most of the 500 houses destroyed or damaged in the Canberra fires. The Victorian townships destroyed in 2009 were within operational reach of Lake Eildon, 60km away.

Spain has a mix of 14 older models and the new 415 series and  a GDP similar to ours so I wonder why the issue hasn’t come up before.  It can’t be the dollar and it certainly can’t be because we don’t have a need.

Queenslander and pilot Warren Bowen comments in a letter to the editor.

Australians should be aghast and dismayed we do not have a fleet of dedicated fixed-wing water bombers. The hire of American choppers must come at enormous expense each fire season. It is certainly high time federal and state governments, together with big insurance, embraced the concept. While Luck points out a fleet of six Bombardier 415 aircraft would only cost around $210m, the big costs come with crews and training.

As an ex-RAAF Vietnam vet and life-long airline pilot, I would guarantee hundreds of airline crew would volunteer for such a mission. Airline management would have to condone and authorise such arrangements as they “own” a pilot’s hours, which are restricted in time units by law. Many US airline pilots continue to fly fighters, bombers and transport aircraft as part of the National Guard and are subject to call for active service. If Greece can support a squadron of eight such aircraft, surely we could.

When I see the choppers operating it just looks like a thimble full of water being dropped into a huge furnace.

It has to be worth a debate at least.

Pirates doomed

BRITAIN’S first private navy in almost two centuries is being created by a group of businessmen to take on the Somali pirates who are terrorising an expanse of the Indian Ocean.

Simon Murray, Clencore chief, is building the force.

Its armed vessels – including a 10,000-ton mother ship and high-speed armoured patrol boats – will be led by a former Royal Navy commodore. He is recruiting 240 former marines and other sailors for the force.

The pirates will face former marines in armoured patrol boats capable of 40 knots and able to withstand incoming Kalashnikov fire. They will be armed with close-quarter battle weapons, such as the M4 carbine, and sniper rifles with a range of 2km.

I could never understand why shipping companies and/or their clients didn’t do something about the piracy. A well trained Infantry section of ten men could stop piracy dead in the water and they wouldn’t cost much. Include a cameraman to film the destruction of the pirates and their small craft and send that to be transmitted on local Somali TV and the problem would fade.

“The guys started off with their own PR being around poor fisherman having waste dumped in their waters. But sympathy disappears when you start killing people and extorting companies,” says Sharp. “There are 38 piracy training camps run by rogue special forces. It’s financed by people buying shares in their teams. So if you fund their boat, you get a share in the ransom.” Sharp believes the proceeds are fuelling micro property bubbles in places as far afield as Nairobi.
“Ultimately that’s being paid for by Lloyds and the insurance market,” he adds.

I admire the initiative and hope it comes to fruition

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