Friday, August 04, 2017

Second time around

I think it's the name that's put a jinx on it, the 79 storey tower in Dubai Marina that went up in flames this morning for the second time in two years.
         It's called The Torch.        

Thankfully, on both occasions, everyone evacuated safely.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spring-like winter

We've had a few cooler days so far this winter, but most have been sunny, perfect blue sky and no rain for weeks.

Today set a new record for July with 26.5C in Sydney, which is amazing warmth for the depths of winter!

It didn't quite reach that here on the NSW Central Coast but it sure didn't seem like winter!

It'll cool down next week, the met bureau says, and we may even have some rain on the way. The garden needs it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Perfect rainbow

Clear sky to the west as the sun sets, clouds to the east but no rain that I can see, but a perfect rainbow has just appeared.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

America and gun deaths

A doctor in New York, an American, goes on a rampage with an assault rifle in his hospital.

One dead, six wounded, five critically, before the killer killed himself.

The mayor of New York thanked God it wasn't a terrorist attack.


A reflection of the American attitude to firearm deaths. Totally acceptable if it's American on American. Perfectly normal, it happens to thousands of them every year.  But totally unacceptable if it's terrorism related.

I wonder if the victims thank God they were shot by a countryman...

Friday, June 16, 2017

True heroism

Over the years of writing my former blog Life in Dubai I often talked about the way the word hero was degraded by its use to describe people who were anything but. Entertainers, sportspeople and so on.

And I often posted about my admiration for true heroes, top of the list being firefighters. My father was a firefighter and I was in awe of some of the stories he used to tell my brother and I when we were kids.

My admiration's been reinforced by the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London.

Two hundred firefighters putting their lives in danger to repeatedly go into the inferno to try to rescue helpless people inside. Reports are suggesting they brought out over sixty.

On the Twitter pages of one of the firefighters at the blaze there's an entry that sums up their heroism perfectly and succinctly


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Bigotry & religious fanaticism

Tennis great Margaret Court is at it again, vilifying the gay community.

Tennis great, religious fanatic and bigot, to be more accurate.

She first went public with her decision to boycott Qantas because the company is pro marriage equality (same sex marriage). Stupid, because if she is consistent she'll just about have to stay at home and be self sufficient because Qantas is just one of many hundreds of companies which have taken the same stance.

She's not against LGBT people, of course, just against them marrying.

Then she went on a Christian radio show and basically admitted her bigotry.

LGBT tendencies in young people are 'all the devil'. Children struggling with their sexuality must have been 'raised by parents who don't care'.

Tennis is full of lesbians trying to convert younger players, she claims.

"That's what Hitler did. That's what communism did," Court said, "get in the minds of the children. There's a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world to get in the minds of the children."

In the face of polls that show 65 per cent of Australians support gay marriage, Court said: "We know the statistics are very, very wrong. They're after our young ones, that's what they're after."

On the website of her Victory Life Centre they actually boast of doing exactly that themselves.

The nursery for up to two year olds includes bible reading. Then for the up to fives, 'we bring the word of faith in a practical way'.

And up to twelves really get indoctrinated.  'We are passionate to see our children worshipping God in spirit and truth and increasing in the knowledge of our Heavenly Father, and we know that as we teach the Word of Faith, the Holy Spirit will transform their lives to become established in Him.  We have a spirit-filled curriculum to progressively train the children.'

Criticising others for that which you are guilty of.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bring on the clowns

Fire & Emergency Services. A basic responsibility of government.

We've long had the totally unfair system that a levy to fund it was added to property insurance - but many people don't bother with insurance so, while everyone benefits, not everyone contributes.

Simple to remedy - pay for it out of consolidated revenue, as it always should have been.

Trouble is, the decisions on things like this are made by idiot, self-serving politicians and the hopeless bureaucrats advising them.

Back in 2015 when our Premier was Treasurer, she announced that a new funding system would be introduced, with all property owners contributing.

But, in true bureaucratic manner a complicated basis for the charge was created. Payment amount based on land value determined by the NSW Valuer-General.

So a house with water views worth double the house across the road with no water views would pay a hell of a lot more. People in different suburbs would pay very different amounts, even though the service and cost for it provided to each is then same.

Fairfax Media has been running a campaign pointing out some of the new system's anomalies. For example, " owner of residential property in the Mosman council area whose land is worth the local median land value of $1.84 million will pay $502.96 for the 2017-18 financial year.

However, in Fairfield, where the local government area's median land value is $461,000, the annual levy for the owner of such a property will be $200.96."

The government touted figures that claimed the average payment would be $185  and the average fully insured residential property owner would save around $47 per year.. Being economical with the truth as usual.

The Opposition pointed out that based on the average Sydney land value of $774,000, the average Sydney household would pay around $270 – which is around $100 more than the government said.

Then of course there's the total amount being collected.

The government claimed that the new measure was 'revenue neutral', whatever that means.

Simple maths tells you that if many more people are paying more money, the amount collected is very much higher.

So, all in all, there's been an ongoing backlash from the community - read 'voters'.

So in spite of the new legislation being passed in March, yesterday the Premier announced another in an endless series of backflips from this government.

New legislation will be presented to reverse the just-passed legislation.

Waffling on, as our pollies do by default, the Premier said:"We are deferring this until we get a fairer system. If we don't get a fairer system, we won't introduce it. But our intent is to defer until we get a fairer system."

This started back in 2015, legislation was written and passed by parliament yet none of them had the intelligence or common sense to work out that it was unfair.

The Premiersaid modelling of how much commercial and industrial land owners would pay under the new system did not match the reality of what they faced after July 1.

She insisted that modelling of how much residential land owners would pay remained accurate and was "fair" but that the government wanted to revisit the entire reform.

In other words, a total stuff up, again, from the bureaucrats and politicians.