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Random thoughts

When Malcolm Turnbull called for a vote on the Liberal leadership in 2009, Tony Abbott eventually won by one vote. One of Malcolm’s supporters was in hospital at the time and was not given a proxy vote, but more interestingly, one person just wrote “NO” on the ballot paper. Whilst I can understand not being pleased with the choice on offer, what I cannot understand is how a Member of Parliament can so abrogate their responsibility as to vote informally when they are possibly choosing the future Prime Minister of Australia.

*****

The carbon price was introduced to encourage polluters to clean up their act or pay the price. Why was this cost then passed on to consumers on their power bills? It seems to me that the polluters got off scot free and that their customers actually footed their carbon tax bill. They should have achieved the savings they needed by reducing their pollution rather than charging us. If the government really wanted to reduce the power bills for the average Australian, why not make domestic power bills GST free since businesses can already claim the GST back?

*****

If you look at the entire worldwide cosmetic industry, sales reach about $170 Billion dollars a year. It’s distributed pretty uniformly around the world with ~$40 billion in the Americas, ~$60 billion in Europe, ~$60 billion in Australia & Asia, and another $10 billion in Africa. The Western world spends a bit more per person but India and Asia are quickly catching up. What an absolutely ridiculous waste of money and resources on making people feel inadequate.

*****

Why do footballers hug and kiss and cry so much nowadays? Remember when a handshake just involved extending your right hand to your opponent rather than clasping them to your bosom in a heartfelt embrace? Have you noticed how many athletes have emotional problems? Or gambling or substance abuse problems? Paying sports people millions of dollars to play a game has led to huge pressure on individuals, organised violence to win, cheating, match fixing, doping, infiltration by organised crime. Does a soccer player contribute more to the world than a nurse or a teacher?

*****

Finland has the best education system in the world but they do things quite differently to us. Perhaps we could learn a few things from them (though they did ban Donald Duck comics because he doesn’t wear pants).

  • School starts at 7 years
  • No homework for young children
  • No exams until you turn 13
  • All classes are mixed ability
  • Max 16 students in science class
  • Lots of break time every day
  • Teacher training to masters level
  • Teacher training is paid for by government

*****

Approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. At the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country. The situation is similar in Europe where more than 11 million homes lie empty while 4.1 million people are homeless. In Australia, at the 2006 census around 10 per cent of housing stock was recorded as vacant yet there are over 105,000 people who are homeless.

*****

The United States, Liberia and Burma are the only countries not to adopt the metric system.

*****

Time for a coffee

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  1. Diannaart

    All to do with power; who has it, who abuses it, who wants it, and those who simply want to live in peace.

    Huge lies told and accepted in order to shore up power.

    Early 21st C is shaping up as the era of the narcissist.

    Of course nurses and teachers contribute more to our world than any sporting star – however if we were to pay in kind, teachers and nurses would want too much and plot to take over the world…. well, that’s how those who desire power see it.

    Bullies such as Abbott et al, treat others according to how they see themselves and act pre-emptively.

  2. James Cook

    Just been playing my uke and trying to chill. If the world and Abbottland are too much for you, go to youtube and search for James Hill Ode to a Frozen Boot. You will be amazed at what someone can do on the humble uke AND, as a bonus, you’ll forget about social injustice and the terror that is Abbott for a few minutes.

  3. Lee

    “Does a soccer player contribute more to the world than a nurse or a teacher?”

    The worshipping of footballers and cricketers irritates me no end. Many of them are extremely poor role models and they get paid a hell of lot more than they are worth. But who really is to blame for this? We have a large percentage of the adult population who are obsessed with sporting heroes. MSM feeds us a steady diet of this rubbish and we pay for it. Compare how often they publish articles on footballers and cricketers with articles on doctors, scientists, inventors, teachers and other people who are working to improve their community for the better. What would happen if instead of focusing so much on sporting heroes, parents actually teach their children about more worthy role models and encourage them to follow in those footsteps?

    I cannot understand the popularity of The Footy Show at all. Why do so many people want to sit around watching and listening to a group of people waffling shit about the games played last weekend and making meaningless predictions about the games to be played next weekend? I like some sports (not footy and cricket, obviously) but I would much rather be watching them or participating than listening to other people discuss it and argue about it. I envisage brain cells dying all over the nation every time the Footy Show comes on.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Thank you James. One must always make time to smell the roses 🙂

  5. Ross Cornwill

    Under the Abbot scheme the polluters will be paid and the consumer (us) are made to pay. As suggested we need a Carbon Levee again and ensure power bills are GST free. Mr Palmers magic trick hasn’t fooled many people just PUP supporters.

  6. James Cook

    I really don’t know why Labor didn’ t call it a “pollution charge”. Sounds better to me and most would support it IMHO.

  7. mars08

    Why was this cost then passed on to consumers on their power bills? It seems to me that the polluters got off scot free and that their customers actually footed their carbon tax bill…

    I was wondering what proportion of the electricity price increases since January 2012 can be attributed to carbon pricing. Yes, I know it didn’t come into effect until July of that year….

  8. John Lord

    “There is just as much value in the day you do nothing as in the day you achieve something. Think about that”

  9. Dan Rowden

    So, the lives of people who do nothing are equivalent to those of people who do lots? So doing things adds no value to your life. That’s so Zen.

  10. Ian

    Removing GST from power bills wouldn’t help the environment. You’re confusing costs to customers with the real purpose of the carbon tax: to change behaviour. If a carbon tax makes electricity generated from a coal-fired power station sufficiently expensive, then power companies will look to alternatives. But there’s also a little bit of pull here too; the fact that coal-fired power is so expensive is in itself an incentive for alternative power sources to flourish.

  11. Ian

    Many homeless people are not homeless because there is no home that they can use, but rather they either cannot use the home, or choose not to. Often the choice is mandated by mental illness.

    It’s a bit like saying why are there job vacancies when there are so many people unemployed? It’s not a square peg into a square hole.

  12. Evan

    As a random thought, did anyone else watch the last 2 weeks “Compass” programs on ABC TV about the Catholic church and wonder, as I did, whether the subject matter had any relevance in Australia’s current political situation.

  13. James Cook

    Yes Evan, we watched it and loved the new leader of the “Legion” explaining how much the group has changed and modernised. Soooooo sincere! He could easily become leader of the Libs.

  14. Lee

    “Many homeless people are not homeless because there is no home that they can use, but rather they either cannot use the home, or choose not to. Often the choice is mandated by mental illness.”

    On what do you base this “fact”? It’s well known there is a shortage of private rental properties available. Real estate agents get numerous applications for the properties they manage and they will verify that demand exceeds supply. Public housing has very lengthy waiting lists too. Some people are waiting in excess of 10 years.

    How do mentally ill people make a choice?

    A now-deceased friend of my mother’s had a mental illness. As a result of this illness he lost his job, was therefore unable to pay his rates and then the council took him to court. He was forced to sell his home and was turfed out onto the street, where the police found him and took him to a shelter. Staff at the shelter helped him to apply for welfare and contacted relatives, who were unaware there was a problem as their mentally ill relative living interstate had ceased to contact them and had moved from his last known address. So this mentally ill man had no advocate and no one to support him as he lost his job and his home. From what I hear from people who work with mentally ill folks, this is not an isolated incident. Many people with mental illness are simply not capable of caring for themselves adequately and authorities run roughshod over them. They are hardly making an informed, rational choice to be homeless.

  15. Roswell

    When I played football it was always considered good sportsmanship to shake your opponent’s hand before the first bounce and wish him a good game. I haven’t seen AFL players do that for many years now. I wonder why they stopped doing it.

  16. corvus boreus

    With regards to Finnish education and the banning of Donald Duck, the combination of formal jacket and naked loins and legs is just so wrong.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Yes cb, just ask Malcolm Fraser

  18. Kaye Lee

    Roswell,

    I played netball for decades. We always shook hands at the beginning and end of a match but we NEVER hugged…aside from being too tired, icky ticky sweaty yuck.

  19. corvus boreus

    I nominate “NO” for prime minister.

  20. Garth

    Kaye… You continue to impress me on an almost daily basis. Whoever your nearest and dearest are, I hope they appreciate the caring, thinking human being they have in their midst. At the chance of sounding soppy, you really do contribute to making my world a happier and more optimistic place.

  21. Lee

    “I nominate “NO” for prime minister.”

    ‘NO’ is the first name of No Idea, No Brain, No Integrity, No Morals, No Humanity, No Decency and No Balls.

    I think you just nominated the entire Liberal front bench.

  22. Trevor

    Yes well just having begun a cup of chai as i began reading Kaye Lee’s article. These articles are never short of factual information, sometimes little known through the Australian press.

    10% of housing stock uninhabited as over 100k homeless and numbers growing daily from pressures of money and suitabilty to be a tenant.

    In WA(wait awhile,wait always) the Government of the broken promise lying Barnett(substitute labor when its turn on the
    Treasury benches from defrauding enough voters comes) Govt has recently quietly not announced that it no longer intends funding Public Housing.

    There is NO housing shortage in Australia. There is a artificial shortage thru negative gearing of available housing and (unlike in the mother country) sqatting here gets you a criminal record.

    And for some quirk of deliberate or random Liarberal numeracy we got Abbott and not Turnbull.
    That arguement foes not account for Abbotts bald faced lust after positions of power and entitlement.

    Actually Dan, doing nothing adds value to life. It gives the opportunity to get the hell out of one’s own way allowing for a different reality to take root.

    Sports people shaking hands before the contest, now there is some sort of old fashioned notion of sporting contestant behaviour toward their opposition. A equivalent notion may be that at the start of Parliment each day the politicians shake hands instead of debasing a religious credo.

    Don’t the Dutch know that Donald like all ducks never wear pants. I mean a Dutch duck in pants is the equivalent in Australia of a Mincing Poodle in Parliment.

    Humans have an irresistable desire to shit in the only nest that allows Humans biological life. Go figure.

    Export Abbott not Refugees

  23. mars08

    …the combination of formal jacket and naked loins and legs is just so wrong.

    Of course the tiara is mandatory…. otherwise it’s just weird!!!!!

    Now where did I put my moustache wax?

  24. Evan

    James.

    I was more impressed with their attitude to the “truth” and the brainwashing of their acolytes mentioned, Tony Abbott shows signs of both and I can’t help wondering whether our prime minister and perhaps other members of the government front bench have also been influenced by the same abhorrent ideas.

    Of course all religious fanatics have the same sense of omnipotence, see Morrison and Andrews. My fear is that Australia is coming under the control of religious fanatics, the kind of people they rail against in the Muslim parts of society.

    Religious fanaticism regardless of the God you preference should never be part of politics in Australia.

  25. shineybum

    Love the uke playing!

  26. Kaye Lee

    Me too shineybum. And thank you all for your random thoughts of the day 🙂

  27. Kaye Lee

    To Garth,

    Thank you for your kind words. My beautiful circle of nearest and dearest are very special people who forgive me my faults, support me when I stumble, and encourage me in all I do. I am lucky to know them and I am lucky to be able to sit here in my jammies, a middle aged woman being informed by the world. I learn so much from you all 🙂

  28. Garth

    What else can one ask for 🙂

  29. Paula Fairbairn

    Values:

    Investor owns a house and charges an unaffordable rent. It stands empty and its rent is the basis for claiming a loss on investors tax.

    Homeless sleep in the cold

    Society values celebrity judging by what is paid to them. It is a strange system of value that regards a drug taking, out if control, scandal prone sportsperson to be worth more than a nurse, teacher, ambo, etc.

    There’s plenty of money in the system.

  30. Kaye Lee

    We live in strange times Paula. Perhaps Tony Abbott will help the whole world remember what is important. I kind of believe in karma – not in a “you will come back as a cockroach” sense – more in the “one small act of kindness reverberates around the world” sense.

    Maybe we needed Tony to make us focus again.

  31. Dan Rowden

    Negative gearing needs to be abolished via grand parenting. Enough of this housing bullshit.

  32. Andrew Chambers

    Perhaps Kaye Lee we just need to let it become as appalling as it has before waking to the reality that it needn’t be.
    We could always give democracy a go.
    The Soviets did it thinking they were getting a democracy until it ended up looking just like one of our own kleptocracies.
    Democracy is too big and too important a concept to be confused with or used by a parliament to justify their acts of inhumanity and in this current case, insanity.
    It won’t be reclaimed with guns but by consent.
    So out of respect for a very fine and workable concept will everyone PLEASE desist from referring to our political system as being a democracy or democratic.
    It is not.

    (It’s political consumerism if anything, manufactured political content bought and sold in the open market of the election. It comes with; no guarantees, no controls, no accountability, no warranty and it only works well on the things it wants to, like coasting downhill. {did I also mention it’s expensive and only ever about 3% efficient?}) Warning: This product comes with a fully armed guarantee that it’ll maintain full power no matter how challenging the situation.

  33. Ray Butler

    Personally I think Capitalism should be subservient to Democracy, but currently it is the other way around, or rather they are antagonistic toward each other and Capitalism is winning.

    With communications technology as it now stands, Democracy can be expanded in new ways, just the Capitalist sector does not want that. But of course Democracy has issues in itself; before computers and social media it was largely restricted to the Representative Republic, but also the fact that generally citizens are either not willing or able to constructively participate in the Democratic process.

    So what Democracy needs is ways for citizens, both experts and amateurs, to contribute to formulating direction for society, but it also needs ways to keep those options both ethical and practical, and there are academic methods like peer review that can help.

    Peer review is basically where citizens independently research and produce findings, and all those findings are compared to each other and commonalities help eliminate personal bias from the participants. Where there are anomalies this is usually a red flag that either the calculations are wrong or the individual has their own agenda, but some times it means it is an innovation that needs to be explored by the other participants.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Our democracy has been superceded by a two party cage match. We no longer have a parliament of elected representatives who have access to expert advice and who work together to formulate an holistic approach to the problems we face in the future.

    I am tired of their self-serving antics.

  35. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    re negative gearing, I think the idea of restricting it to new dwellings is a good one provided some developments are slated owner-occupied only. Has the advantage of stimulus for the construction industry while allowing people into the existing market. But there is no question that the current rules have precipitated a crisis of unaffordable housing so we need to up the ante on providing public housing.

    Maybe we should also increase the council rates for holiday homes? Any residence that uses less than 50 litres of water a year pays a surcharge….because they ain’t living there.

  36. corvus boreus

    Lee, what is worse, I think my nomination of “NO” could have been taken as an endorsement of Antony Abbott, another ‘sportsman’ who is a piss-poor rolemodel.
    Mars 08, with the tiara, it’s really fup-duck. I nearly pooped my onesie.
    James C, cheers for the recommendations, both musical and philosophical. Those who also enjoyed may appreciate seeking Estas Tonne’s ‘Dance of the golden dragon’ for more emotive six-stringing.
    Ps, A few months ago I saw a lump of ambergris in an estuary. This is a regurgitated mass from the gullet of a whale. I is, apparently, a hugely valuable product, used as a component of top end perfumes. It looks like a congealed, foul smelling, mass of sand and mucus. At least five species of marine birds were simultaneously squabbling and feasting on it in a swirling feathered frenzy. It was very entertaining to watch.

  37. Kaye Lee

  38. Kaye Lee

    Ok….my turn

  39. corvus boreus

    To our formidable sister Kaye Lee, who can read a golden dragon’s song within a raven’s fup-duck dance, even after midnight in her pyjamas. You most thoroughly rock.

  40. Kaye Lee

    On occasions I even roll. Time for bed 😉

  41. jason

    it’s the comedy imbred idiots running, palmers changing sides every 5 minutes you got a trio of idiots vying for the lib top and all 3 of them don’t have a bloody clue on how to run a country, sending the party into a shit storm of their party in the shit and stalling the develop of fibre another 50+ years.

    the whole parliament need a cat o nails flogging as they are all acting like kids in the school yard both abbot and turnbull dribble shit and don’t exactly answer questions and answer with dribble they’ve being saying day 1 since the election was called, every consecutive LNP back bencher and front bencher has failed for over the last 20+ years to do absolutely sweet F.A. with the comms portfolio to date and they are living in the past of a 20+ year failed broadband policy and we all bloody know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. CMMC

    ‘Inbred’, perhaps Jason.

  43. Ray Butler

    Kaye Lee; yes, I have a conspiracy theory about that; I think the economic (Capitalist) side of society wants to ruin the reputation of the Republic, because the Republic is where Democracy is given power and the Republic imposes restrictions on the economic sectors in order to protect We The People, albeit they are currently doing a poor job of it. But where the reputation of the Republic style government is destroyed, and We The People lose faith in it, basically the economic beast will be off the leash and will have free dominion over the population.

    So Libertarians on the Right and Anarchists on the Left who are promoting a dissolution with the Republic style system are actually falling right into the snare of the economic sector and ultimately working in their(the Capitalists) best interests.

  44. James Cook

    To both corvus and Kaye, thanks for the wiss words and the wonderful music. Before the onset of arthritis I used to fi ger-pick a pretty mean acoustic blues, but have had to change to ukulele as not quite enough fingers work on a six-string. Ukes are now my passion. If you look at James Hill playing Billy Jean you’ll get an idea of how inspiring an instrument it can be. I can also recommend almost anything by Loudon Wainwright III, especially the Acid Song.

  45. Dan Rowden

    My brother-in-law. God help us all.

  46. Kerri

    Totally agree on the commentary re sports people!
    Why we pay so much to worship people just because they can catch, throw, kick or hit a ball is beyond me. Why we dont spend the same extraordinary amounts of money on scientists or doctors who save or improve lives seems an equally reasonable question.
    Regarding DONALD DUCK
    My mum pointed out years ago that DD wears no pants but when for some comedic reason he loses his shirt, his hands go straight to covering his already naked crotch..??? Baffling???

  47. Dan Rowden

    Re: sportspeople, why do we spend money on Justin Bieber albums? Same same.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Supermodel Gisele Bündchen pulled in a $42 million salary last year…all she has to do is walk and have her photo taken.’

    Love the RRV….I wanted to shout out yeehaw as my horse ambled along beside the herd.

  49. jimhaz

    One of the reasons global warning doesn’t freak me out is that humans will probably really only act comprehensively when the pain hits hard enough, and with about 25% of jobs in OECD countries essentially being meaningless, in that they just produce crap or do unnecessary services, the amount of human resources that could be turned to rectifying the problem are massive.

    Of course we have to beat the wealthy down first, otherwise they won’t let the resources be applied in time. In the meantime, I think we can only hope they stretch the elastic band of wealth differentiation too far and we react with vengeance.

  50. mars08

    Saw Jacqui Lambie speaking on TV yesterday. Had never seen or heard her before.

    It took me about 30 seconds to decide I really don’t like her.

  51. Lee

    I haven’t seen much of Jacqui Lambie but I enjoyed the opening question in her interview with Sarah Ferguson after the Federal budget.

    Sarah: “You said that the Federal budget proves that Liberals are, and I’ll quote you “gutless sycophants led by uncaring psychopaths.” On reflection, did you go too far calling them psychopaths?”

    Jacqui didn’t impress me though.She stumbled through the interview, sounding like a clueless bogan. Why did people vote for her?

  52. Anomander

    My go this time…

  53. Doug

    Lee: because they too are clueless bogans. “Democracy” at work… Or not…

  54. Kaye Lee

    uke players of the world unite!!!!

  55. Kaye Lee

    You mean this doyenne of political commentary and fierce campaigner for women’s rights? What a coup to attract her services.

    “She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner.” Janet Albrechtsen. The Australian. July 2010

    Of course that only applies to female PMs. When writing about a woman who had allegedly been raped, Albrechtsen said vaginal bruising was not proof of rape because some women like it rough.

    “Women’s empowerment ought to champion the fact that different women want different things, be it in the bedroom or elsewhere”

  56. mars08

    Jacqui didn’t impress me though.She stumbled through the interview, sounding like a clueless bogan…

    Oh yes indeed. About carbon pricing… you can see that there’s a razor sharp mind at work…

    JACQUI LAMBIE: Oh yeah, no, the carbon tax needs to go. It’s been an absolute mess since that was introduced. It is absolutely killing the nation.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-01/palmer-united-senator-jacqui-lambie-says-tony/5562998

    Yes Jacqui dear… that’s EXACTLY what it’s doing!!

  57. corvus boreus

    Jimhaz, the reason global waming* doesn’t ‘freak you out’ is probably because there is no such thing.
    If you refer to “global warming” as a symptom of anthropogenic alteration of the gaseous cycles, and other crucial biospheric processes,it is most likely that you are possibly unaware of their complexity, importance or the sheer scale of the pressures(mainly human assault) they are under. Feedbacks out of are control and already occurring.
    We cannot fix holes in biology with technology, we are just not wise enough.
    We do not,for example, have any valid proposals for cleaning up and restocking the Pacific Ocean.
    Hell of a job, metals and gross minerals in the benthic layer, and massive of quantities of micro(nano) and macro petro-plastics, the associated rise in carbonic acid, gamma irradiation, and escalating depletion of it’s already dwindling biology to feed humans. The cleverest folk don’t even have theoretical solutions.
    This is not a simulation.
    *spelling nazi alert!

  58. Jason

    I’m a bit old fashioned, but ‘Minor Blues’ by Django Reinhardt remains a favourite.

    Chet Aitkins had his moments and the closing 4-5 minutes of Knophler’s ‘Tunnel of Love’ would have to be a contender.

    @Kaye Lee – Gary Moore goes well followed by Jeff Beck or little bit of Dave Gilmour. (Clapton recently did a cover of ‘Still Got the Blues’ which was ok in its own subdued way)

    @Dan Rowden – that news just makes me a more determined and dedicated Coopers Sparkling Ale enthusiast. We all need to do whatever we can for religious tolerance!

    @James Cook – I’ll never look with contempt at a uke ever again. Thank you for revealing my ignorance to me!

    Some fun with the banjo can be found by searching for “Steve Martin and Kermit the Frog in Duelling Banjos”.

    (Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are still one of the tightest outfits gigging, btw).

  59. Florence nee Fed up

    Some of the new senators remained me of the many trolls that pass through. All about small government and such mindless drivel. These people will have votes. One can only hope, when faced with realty, they will see the error of their ways.

    What is noticeable, many have passed through many parties, to get where they are.

    As for the carbon tax, we were comprehended for that, from money raised by the price put on the carbon pollution, We will be paying for them to pollute under Abbott’s plan.

    Why the so called CC is a big problem in Tasmania is beyond me. Did not think they had much power generated from coal, or any other fossil fuel.

    She is right thought, when she says she will be putting Tasmania first, That is what the senate is about, It’s a state house.

  60. Winifred Jeavons

    Doing nothing in an abused and resource-wasting economy is better that much of what is done now. It used to be said that being a full time housewife was “not working ‘ as your product – love , well raised children, mental health etc- was unpriced in the marketplace . Doing nothing beats polluting the environment or causing extinctions .

  61. Florence nee Fed up

    I seem to recall that Abbott encouraged Hockey to run for the job, either saying, or giving the impression, he would pull out, if the r was a second round of votes. Abbott was seen sneaking out of Howard’s home. Hockey visited openly.

    Yes, Abbott did a wonderful job of splitting the vote.

    The missing vote, was the MP in the bushfire area at the time. Was suffering from extreme stress.

    Only for that fire, and Hockey standing, Turnbull would have survived. We would have had Rudd’s ETA and things must different today.

    Sadly. I suspect, most of the moderates within the Coalition have left politics.

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