Saturday, February 28, 2009

Say what???

There's been a big stink here over Pacific Brands laying off 1850 workers after giving the directors big pay rises. Apparently lots of people are calling for the Government to "do something", e.g. ...

Pay umpire should rein in CEOs: Greens

THE Rudd government's new industrial umpire should be given the power to curb excessive executive salaries, the Greens say.

Greens Leader Bob Brown says they will look to amend the Fair Work bill currently before parliament in an effort to rein in fat cats' pay.

"Under the Greens' proposal, the Fair Work Australia commission would review executive salaries before ordinary workers are made redundant,'' Senator Brown said.

"The commission would require a company to explain why high executive salaries should not be lopped in preference to jobs.''

Senator Brown said the Greens were receiving legal advice on whether the corporations power of the constitution could be used to empower Fair Work Australia to regulate companies' internal affairs.

The new umpire will replace the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Fair Pay Commission and the Workplace Authority from the beginning of next year.

The Greens push comes after it was revealed 13 directors of the Bonds clothing manufacturer Pacific Brands gave themselves massive pay rises in 2008 before sacking 1850 workers.

There was more outrage on Friday in response to reports outgoing Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo will walk away with a $3 million pay bonus.


Umm, WHAT? How can the Government regulate a public company? How can they regulate whether or not a company makes people redundant?

This is all too "flashback to Atlas Shrugged" for me!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Money for nothing creates fools' paradise


Money for nothing creates fools' paradise
By Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, February 25, 2009 12:01am

NEVER have we handed so much free money to the reckless, careless, brainless and plain lazy.

Not good at all. Rewarding fools risks making us all dumber.

Go through just the recent handouts.

Don't work? Poor because you gamble or drink? Never bothered saving in your life?

Here, have a $1000 "stimulus" cheque from the Rudd Government's $10.4 billion bag of December handouts. Oh, and there's another $900 coming to you in a fresh round of handouts, in case you've already splurged the last lot.

Didn't bother insulating your house? Here, let the Government spend another $4 billion doing that for you, too, and for free. Free to you, that is.

Didn't insure your house or contents, now burned in Victoria's fires, and thus skipped the 20 per cent insurance levy for the fire services that tried to save you?

Never mind! A quarter of the burned out did the same, so have $10,000 from the Bushfire Appeal Fund as downpayment for a new place.

Would rather go to work than look after your toddlers? Let the Government give you an even bigger childcare subsidy, ripped off the parents who raise their own.

Roll up, roll up, roll up, all you who never studied, never put your head down, never saved, never dared, never thought for yourself and never sweated.

We have free cash for you all, extracted from the wallets of the people who did.

Oh, stop frothing. Yes, I know that most of the poor are virtuous, not drunks or pokie addicts.

I know that for many it's not their fault they're not rich - and even to their credit, since they chose to serve as priests, teachers, nurses or police.

Yes, I also know we are healthier when the rich help the poor, and that the burned-out deserve our compassion, whether they were insured or not, which is why I've donated plenty.

But even deserved charity has its price, and the price of all this free money may be an infantilising of a people once famous for their self-reliance. And a rewarding of precisely the behaviours that drove people to need help in the first place.

We don't like to say such things aloud for fear of seeming too hard on poorer Australians who are usually excused as "disadvantaged" - as if they were just unlucky, and held back by forces beyond their control. You know, by society. Or bastard bosses.

And we're all in the game of treating the rich as plain "lucky" - or even selfish. Not like "real Australians".

Most of us secretly know all this is nonsense. Ours is a society where most people of average intelligence or better can succeed, at least financially, by doing stuff so obvious that it's a cliche - studying hard and working harder.

And even leaders of the Left know that what most holds back the poor is not bad bosses or a rotten society, but bad choices, reinforced by bad parenting or other cultures of failure.

That is why, for instance, Labor is as keen as I am on early intervention programs to catch children while they are still young enough to learn what Nobel laureate Prof James Heckman identified as keys to getting ahead -- motivation, self-control, far-sightedness and the need not to splurge today what you'll need tomorrow.

It's also why the poor tend to stay poor, even after their handout. It's why the poor are also most likely - as the surveys show - to be fat, smokers, or the kind of parents who don't speak enough to their children, or nicely enough, either.

It's also why Aborigines in semi-tribal cultures can never hope to have the riches that are actually produced by middle-class "white" ways.

BAD habits of mind hold people back most, and encouraging those bad habits with free money - no matter how virtuous the motive -- can hurt more than help.

So how much will we pay for the free money we now see being dumped by the truckload? Let's study a few clues.

The Rudd Government's "stimulus" handouts went not just to the virtuous poor, but to people made poor by gambling, drinking and never saving -- people who were then told to spend their windfall rather than save it.

And spend they did, in ways that explained exactly how they qualified for the help in the first place.

News item: "NSW punters gambled an extra $500 million last month, prompting claims the Federal Government's economic stimulus went into poker machines."

News item: "Broome police say the Federal Government's new one-off welfare payments are being used by alcoholics to pay $170 for a carton of beer in Kimberley communities."

This free cash to the feckless can't be healthy in a country where already we have middle class parents demanding the rest of us pay for their child care. Where any Australian who breaks laws overseas screams for our (free) help. Where we now import South Pacific fruitpickers rather than make our own unemployed work for their dole.

It can't be healthy when every week brings yet more examples of people now demanding as their right the help for which they should be grateful, even astonished.

News item -- an ABC interview with a fire victim offered the free use of a house: "They've said to me there's a house available in Nagambie, would you go to Nagambie? I said no, I have nothing for me in Nagambie . . . They don't care what they do with you."

In fact, each week also brings more examples of people demanding as a right the kind of help some should never have needed at all.

News item - interview with a Sydney mother of children charged with gang violence: "The mother of 15 . . . said she and her youngest children were hiding out, too afraid to go back to their Rosemeadow home because of threats made to her safety. She said the Department of Housing had failed to find her emergency accommodation so that she and her family could escape the violence . . ."

Give these "disadvantaged" people more free money. Free money for more public housing to escape the violence their children helped cause. Free money for not working hard. Free money for each of the children they can't support. Free money none of them earned.

AND do it while we feed this poor-you myth that those who pay for all this free money are the real bludgers, the real embarrassments with their success, their educated accents and that too-prissy prudence.

News item - letter to The Age: "Will all (bushfire-affected) families receive the same dollar-value assistance from money donated by the public, with (the insured) potentially making a profit after their insurance claims are paid? Surely not."

(Surely yes, in fact, which is one small mercy.)

News item - ABC-TV interviews an unemployed single mother and long-time drug addict about her six children - one disabled - now being raised by a lawyer: "The two older girls . . . come across to me as a little bit stuck up. I don't know whether it's from the (private) school that they go to or what it is . . . They don't want to come home, so the Department of Community Services have actually ruined my life by taking all of my kids."

Hey, give that woman free money, too. She's "disadvantaged", right? And not a bit stuck up.

There you go, darl. The least you deserve. And the good news is, there's more coming from where that last lot came, so spend like there's no future.

Wow, how did that get past the editors?


from icanhascheezburger.

Best "Out of Office" Automatic e-mail Replies

· I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.

· You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

· Sorry to have missed you, but I am at the doctor's having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

· I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

· Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

· The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over.)

· Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

· Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

· I've run away to join a different circus.

· I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Loretta' instead of 'Bob'

My favourite is the second last one :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Range Report #10

Was running a bit late this morning but managed to get up to the range just before 9am, bumping into another female shooter also running a bit late. We've shot together before and she's a really nice lady so we decided to shoot on the same squad again today.

There was three squads up on the board, with between 7 & 9 shooters in each squad. Adding the two of us to any of these squads would make them rather large (we try and keep the squads to 8). So we put ourselves down as another squad and promptly got told off! Apparently, it's not the "done thing". Regardless, we left our names where they were and in short order had 5 in our squad.

There were four stages and four squads so off we went to shoot.

The first stage we shot was a small one. There were 5 targets visible from the starting box and two hidden. I shot second last and the other shooters all shot two from the box and moved closer to get the others. I decided that I was going to see if I could hit all the targets shooting from the box (well, all except the hidden ones). I did :) ... mainly As, so I was pleased. (One of the targets had a no shoot on it, which I also missed!).

The second stage had 5 poppers (2 big & 3 small) and two paper targets. The two shooters before me shot left to right and had major problems will all the poppers especially the first one. I decided to shoot paper targets first then poppers right to left - the first four poppers went down with one shot each - the last took 3!!! (I swear it kept ducking!).

The third stage was a slightly longer shoot - 8 targets but only three were visible from the box and two were hiding behind a wall. Nothing special about the shoot - again mainly As but a couple of Cs snuck in there as well.

We had to wait for a long time for the last stage. When we finished our third one, a squad was shooting it another was waiting. So we went and sat in the shade (the range is an old quarry so not much shade around) and attempted to chat - inconsiderate people kept shooting around us.

The last stage was a 15 target one. Three of the targets were through portals (I'm still pretty nervous about these - but did okay). I had two jams with the gun on this stage - I'm pretty sure they were caused by me not putting the mags in far enough, so I think I need to do some practice during the week.

All in all it was a fun shoot - the squad was great, the gun behaved most of the time, my accuracy was good - but my times need a lot of work. To match the times of the "good" shooters in the squad I need to cut my times by about two-thirds.

ED on a Friday Night

We decided to go out to a local family resturant with the girls on Friday night. I had the girls dressed and in the car and hubby was doing something, when my eldest said "What's wrong with dad?".

I look up to see blood streaming down his face. Apparently, he had bumped his head on the tailgate of the van.

I got a towel, passed it to him and then sat him down for a look - right, umm, okay - "ED here we come!".

The local hospital is about a 15 minute drive, so we get there, I drop hubby off at the "drive through" and then go and park. Walk back with the girls to find him talking to the triage nurse (who, for some reason felt the need to ask each question a couple of times?). Hubby was coherent and was answering the questions okay.

He then got to sit in the waiting room while I dealt with the clerk. Interestingly enough the triage nurse asked for his Medicare care and then the clerk asked for it again (she also asked for our private health details, for some reason I didn't have my card with me - must find it).

There was no one else in the waiting room - which surprised me. Every other time I've been to the ED there's been all sorts of people there.

It's a new location and they had toys on the wall for the girls to play with which was great.

While I was still with the clerk he was taken into the Triage area and shortly afterwards the nurse came to tell me that he had been "fast-tracked" to see a doctor.

By this time the girls were getting a bit restless, mainly because they were hungry. I had no idea how long it was going to take and based on past ED experiences I thought "awhile".

So I called some friends who lived locally to ask if they could pick up the girls and feed them. They were quite happy to do this (thankfully) so we went outside to wait for them.

I had just strapped the girls into their car when hubby walked out!!! Apparently he had seen a doctor straight away and after applying a bit of super glue he was fine to go!!! So got the girls out of my friend's car, thanking him profusely for coming over and we went and got some food.

So see, ED's can be boring and quiet, even on a Friday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Things Kids Say

My youngest (5) is in the habit of coming into our bed every morning (between 1am and 4.30am). I bought some fairy "glow-in-the-dark" stickers to reward her when she stays the whole night in her bed.

She showed her big sister (7) who turned to me and said "So you bought them to bribe her".

Now that's not a bad idea ....

Received via email this morning ...

(clickken to embiggen)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leaving it Until the Last Minute

There was a shooting in Herne Hill last night ... it's pretty clear (from the reports to date) that it was self-defence, but it is an interesting read ....


Elderly man shoots burglar at winery in Perth's Hearne (sic) Hill - police

AN elderly man shot one of two intruders at his Perth winery after they broke down his bedroom door and backed him into a corner, police say.

Sergeant Greg Lambert said the 77-year-old owner of a small winery, in Herne Hill, in Perth's east, heard someone forcibly enter his home about 9.40pm (WDT) yesterday.

"He is at home with his totally incapacitated wife, he has heard noises in the house and has heard two men use extreme force to break into his home through the rear security door and sliding door," Sgt Lambert told ABC Radio.

"He was in his bedroom, he has armed himself with his licensed shotgun and he's locked himself in his bedroom with his wife."

The man warned the two men not to enter his room.

"They have broken down his bedroom door and confronted the man," Sgt Lambert said.

"A struggle has happened during which one round was discharged from the shotgun, it's struck one of the intruders on the left abdomen.

"The elderly gentlemen lost the firearm during the struggle, one of the offenders has struck him to the head and forearm.

"It appears he's been pushed into a corner in his bedroom and the offenders haven't taken heed or warning and kept on pursuing him for some reason."

The intruders ran from the house discharging the weapon as they left, Sgt Lambert said.

About 20 minutes later a 34-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the abdomen arrived at Swan Districts Hospital. He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital for surgery and is under police guard.

The 77-year-old man is in hospital, where he is being treated for a broken arm and bruising and cuts to his head, as well as possible concussion.

Police are investigating the whereabouts of the other intruder.

(Emphasis mine)

He heard the breakin, armed himself, locked the door, warned them not to enter - they did ... and it wasn't until they struggled with him that he shot one of them ...

wow ... that's leaving it very late ... but i can totally understand WHY ... here, although you are allowed to use "reasonable" force against burglars - however, the definition of "reasonable force" is often debated.

I think he left it late - you can tell he REALLY DIDN'T want to shoot anyone. I hope he isn't charged or sued. In a later report it says that the Police will be interviewing him tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Super Hero

it was a toss up between the guns and a whip ... what do you think?

you too can be a superhero.

(h/t to Breda)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Isn't the Military Being Used to Fight the Fires?

Based on two comments on my last post I decided to see if I could find out why the military wasn't called in to fight the fires. This is what I found:

Victorian bushfires now worst in Australian history

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has told the nation to prepare itself for worse news as the inferno ravaging Victoria became Australia's most deadly on record.

The military has been put on stand-by to provide assistance and most Australians were in shock as the death toll in Victoria climbed to 108, superseding the 1983 Ash Wednesday disaster, which claimed 75 lives.

Mr Rudd promised all Australians would partner in the rebuilding of the Victorian communities razed by the bushfires.

"We've come through bad times before and we'll come through this one," he said.

But he warned people to prepare for more bad news.

"I fear in the days ahead that the news is going to be bad and, I believe, the nation needs to prepare itself as full facts become known," he said.

The prime minister has spent much of Sunday touring fire-ravaged communities and speaking to workers at the state's Country Fire Authority (CFA) headquarters.

With Victorian Premier John Brumby, Mr Rudd announced a joint $10 million emergency relief fund to help victims of the tragedy.

"The Rudd and Brumby governments are working closely together to ensure that the people and emergency workers in Victoria have all the support they require during this difficult time," he said.

The prime minister will head out to fire-affected communities again this morning before he is expected to return to Canberra later in the day for question time in parliament.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is on standby to assist, providing resources and expertise including the deployment of army bulldozers to build fire breaks.

Mr Rudd was in talks with high-level defence specialists this evening, discussing what the military could do to assist in each of the affected communities.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told AAP a response plan was in place to allow commanders on the ground to do everything possible to deal with requests for assistance.

"We stand ready to help in any way that we can and we will respond positively to any request where we think we can make a positive contribution," he said.

"The most obvious areas will be the deployment of heavy earth-moving equipment to assist with the containment of fires."

Twelve army bulldozers have already been deployed to near Yea in northeast Victoria.

Defence may help with the provision of stretchers and possibly tents to accommodate people who have lost their homes in the fires.

"(And) we do have some expertise in firefighting as well and we'll be providing advice on the ground as well," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

But the minister said there weren't sufficient numbers of ADF personnel with firefighting experience to help battle the bushfires directly.

From Monday, Centrelink will begin making disaster relief payments of $1000 for adults and $400 for children effected by the bushfires.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the money would help people who fled their homes without so much as clothes or a toothbrush.

"There are hundreds of people there, many of them have lost everything and this $1000 is really just to help them get some emergency clothing, a toothbrush. It's really just to provide immediate assistance," she told the Macquarie Radio Network.

Centrelink will offer counselling services from Victorian relief centres and funeral assistance worth up to $5,000 will be available to the families of people who've died in the fires.

The government will consider further assistance, as required.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Victorian Fires - An Update

The current death toll is 130, with 750 homes destroyed. The fires are still burning out of control.

The latest news can be found here. On this site is also a message board where people are trying to find out about friends and relatives, it's pretty sobering to read the number of "can't contact" messages.

Photos of the tragedy can be seen here.

Via "The Killfile" there are a number of twitter accounts publishing regular updates on the fire and warnings, e.g. 774melbourne.

Please continue to keep the residents of Victoria in your thoughts and prayers.

How to stop guys smoking weed ....


Study links smoking cannabis to testicular cancer

YOUNG men who smoke marijuana are more likely to develop an aggressive form of testicular cancer than those who have never tried the drug, a study has found.

The US research was the first to find evidence of a link between cannabis and testicular cancer.

It found smoking the drug at least once a week, or using it regularly from adolescence, doubled the risk of a fast-growing form of the disease called nonseminoma, which tends to strike men in their 20s and 30s.

The study, by scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and published in the journal Cancer, asked 369 testicular cancer patients if they had a history of marijuana use.

A further 979 healthy men were asked about their use of the drug.

Being an existing cannabis user raised the risk of cancer by 70 per cent, while men who had used the drug regularly from puberty were twice as likely to develop the disease than those who had not used it.

Epidemiologist and study author Stephen Schwartz said: "Our study is not the first to suggest that some aspect of a man's lifestyle or environment is a risk factor for testicular cancer, but it is the first that has looked at marijuana use".

Researchers suggest cannabis may interfere with a man's natural production of a substance thought to protect against tumours.

Range Report #9

Went up to the range both on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday I took a friend who fired rifles as a kid but has never fired a pistol. So we did the standard run through of the four rules, did some basic gun handling with my Ruger 22/45 and then the Springfield. As she mastered each stage I added different things in (like putting in mags, clearing the gun etc). She did very well - hit everything she was aiming at. At the end she said she really enjoyed it and was thinking about doing the training course as she needed a new hobby. She said that she was thinking more along the lines of dancing, but had really enjoyed the day and thought this might be the way to go! My response was "well what more could you ask for: wide open spaces, fresh air, trees, birds, gunfire!" :)

This conversation was conducted in the range next to 12 trainees practising (which sounds like fireworks!). My husband was among the trainees. He has decided to join the club to do metallic silhouette.

On the Sunday I shot with a squad. It was an ICOR shoot at there were at least 45 shooters (which is a lot for a Sunday morning). It was such a windy day - on one stage we had to redo targets, put walls back etc at least four times during our squad's shoot.

I didn't do well at all :( My gun jammed pretty much all the time! I'm not sure why (but I certainly wasn't happy). I think it needs a good clean and hopefully it will behave itself again. Oh, and to make things worse, I wasn't even that accurate.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Horror of the Victorian Fires

My thoughts and prayers for those people in Victoria who have been affected by the bushfires that are burning across the state.

With the weather over 40C (Melbourne got over 46C yesterday) and strong winds nine fires are still out of control.

(These are the current fire locations in Victoria - from the Sentinel website).

The death toll is currently 25.

News reporters are saying that they're also seeing lightening in the affected areas - this is never good.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Cool Down #3

Back to the Koalas again ....

More here.

It is actually a serious problem, the animals in these parts of the country are just not used to this level of heat.

There is one report of possums falling out of trees dead from the heat.

How to Cool Down #2

Now the Kanga's are getting in on the act!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to Cool Down #1

Not sure of the actual story behind this photo - but it has been very hot in the south east of Australia the past couple of days.

More cute cuddly photos here.