Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The sky is falling!! Again.

More negativity and another repeat scare campaign from vested interests, this time AFL and rugby clubs combining their efforts and money to oppose the government's proposed attempt to help problem gamblers.

The idea, in simple terms, is to have gamblers using high-cost poker machines commit to a limit on their bet. That is, you think you can afford to lose $100, you set that as your limit. When you've lost it, as you will, the bar comes down.

The clubs - which in reality are as much casinos as football clubs - are using the same old tired untrue scare claims as others before them. It'll be the end of the clubs, they'll have to stop their sponsorship of Good Things, there will be massive job losses.

These are clubs with billion dollar TV deals and more sponsorship than you can poke a stick at. Yet a curb on people giving them even more money, which they can often ill afford, by pumping it into the clubs' pokies will mean the end of the world as we know it.

Of course, many people will fall for the nonsense, just as they do with so much crap from politicians, business leaders and others. I'm encouraged though by the thrust of most of the comments left on media reports about the campaign, which demonstrate that there are people who see it for what it is.



Read the Herald's report here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unnecessary gloom

We have very low unemployment, one of the strongest economies in the developed world, companies making good profits, a resources boom, a high standard of living and high quality of life. Yet there's nothing in the air but doom and gloom.

Retail billionaire Gerry Harvey commented on the paradox recently in his usual blunt style when he said "Australians should be as happy as pigs in shit".

The relentless negativity is being driven from the top, from our elected leaders, leaders of business and the media. Their focus is nothing but their own interest and to hell with what's good for the country.

The federal opposition's deliberate strategy is negativity. Keep shouting that everything the government does is wrong, play the fear card, drum up support for that view and with a minority government the chances of getting into power are improved.

Big business like the miners and banks, in spite of making record profits bigger than many countries' GDP, are running negative fear campaigns against any new regulation or tax.

The media concentrates on negativity, highlighting all the negative spin the opposition and companies are pushing and publishing whatever bad news they can find from home and abroad.

Example, we had a week of reports that a vast convoy of trucks, cars and caravans several kilometres long was massing to descend on Canberra from all over Australia. The so called  Convoy Of No Confidence in the government was to protest against the proposed carbon tax, the mining super profits tax, the short-lived ban on live animal exports to Indonesia.

Not by coincidence, those are the things the vested interest cabal has been concentrating on.

The convoy would block all roads around the capital and bring the entire city to a halt.

It was classic alarmist stuff and in reality there were no problems. The start of the rally was delayed because so few had bothered to turn up. Naturally the opposition addressed them to whip up more fear amongst the few hundred protestors and the ABC reported the leader of the opposition even took the opportunity to drive the lead truck into town.

For more negativity the media runs opinion polls every few days on the performance of the government, the popularity of the PM, people's preferred leader of the ruling party. They endlessly fuel speculation about a leadership challenge, undermining the PM's authority and standing.

White anting is the phrase for it.

The relentless negativity, whingeing and predictions of doom eventually get through to people and take us on a downward spiral to gloom and depression.

But as long as our leaders think of nothing but themselves and their own interests it won't change. And it won't change because they're not about to put the interests of the country first.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect day

Sunshine from a blue cloudless sky, temperature at 30C with a gentle breeze, crystal clear air.

Perfect.

Then about 5pm a southerly came through and the temperature dropped ten degrees in less than an hour.

The weekend is forecast for a maximum of 20C with some showers.

Today I did a lot of work outside but it's shaping up for a weekend doing stuff inside the house.

There's plenty to be done inside and out so I just go with the flow of the weather.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bushfires have started

After the big wet we've had there's a worrying amount of fuel for bush and grass fires, so all it needed was a spell of warm dry weather.

Leura fire. Photo. Nick Moir, Sydney Morning Herald

The big problem fire seems to be at Leura in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney which the Rural Fire Service has listed as Out of Control.

They have thirty fire trucks and three helicopters trying to protect property but they're having to work in the thing the fire fighters hate most, swirling strong winds. The weather bureau has issued severe wind weather warnings for several areas and wind is around 50kph with gusts of over 100kph.

The gum trees around my house are bending and whipping about in the gusts and there's a very loud noise from the wind blasting through the trees.

The RFS website currently has 80 incidents listed. In addition to Leura there are three others with an alert level of Watch & Act and status of Out of Control.

The advice for that level is: When you hear a Bushfire Watch and Act Message, it means a fire has started and conditions are changing. The fire danger rating will probably be very high to severe. Your life may be under threat and you need to act now to protect your family and your neighbours.

The warm weather is forecast to last all week and the winds will be with us through tomorrow too.


RFS website.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We lose again

How we're treated with contempt by our politicians was revealed yet again in an article in the Herald. The subject was water.

I've posted before about the appalling water mismanagement we get from our politicians. When it rains most of the water we collect is simply funneled out to sea, and we don't recycle water. Instead we get energy inefficient desalination plants.

But Heath Aston's article throws light on a much more sinister game involving the $1.5 billion sale of the Kurnell desal plant by our state government.


"Fifteen months ago workers at a dam 200 kilometres south of Sydney switched off a set of high-pressure pumps that have played a critical role in safeguarding Sydney's precarious water supply.

Transfers from Tallowa Dam, on the upper Shoalhaven River, had added more than a trillion litres to Warragamba Dam over the past decade before the taps were turned off.

The absence of that extra water, which fell from 152 billion litres in 2008 to zero this year, has been crucial to Warragamba remaining below 80 per cent full - the trigger point at which the Kurnell desalination plant must be shut down."

While water is being pumped out to sea the desal plant is running, using huge amounts of energy, and we have to pay extra for the desalinated stuff. All to keep Warragamba dam at less than 80% so that the state government can collect a billion and a half for the sale of the plant.

And you can bet there'll be clauses in the sale contract that give the buyers, probably foreign investors by the way, guaranteed income whether the plant runs or not. Just in case Warragamba by accident fills to over 80%.

The government gets a boost to the budget, the buyers will get a guaranteed income. The only losers will be us. Stuffed again by our elected representatives.


The full story is here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Moonlight

There was a big moon and a silver sea this evening:


Friday, September 09, 2011

Wow

I just left the computer and walked into the lounge to be greeted by this:



It was the most vivid rainbow I think I've ever seen, the colours very clearly defined.

I ran for the little digital camera because I thought I'd share it with you.

The wonders of modern technology; I saw it literally no more than two or three minutes ago and here it is on the wierd world web already.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Help with the gardening

With all the rain there was over the past few months our garden when we arrived back was a lush green. Unfortunately most of it was weeds:



There was, still is, a lot to do in the house so I hadn't got around to the garden. But a volunteer came in and he's done a great job clearing the weeds:


He works hard and long every day, digging out the weeds and taking them away.

Here he is:

Hes building a nest, or mound, and'as brush turkeys build HUGE mounds he needs all the greenery he can get.