Archive for October, 2011

Melbourne Cup tips


Who’s gonna win it?

Guaranteed bragging rights if you get it right. Any picks after 12pm 1pm blog time (2pm 3pm Melbourne time) will naturally be heartily scoffed at.

I’m going to go Bart Cumming’s Illo with Jim Cassidy on the saddle.

(times updated)

UPDATE Mourayan out

UPDATE II

So it’s…

1. Dunaden
2. Red Cadeaux
3. Lucas Cranach

Almost a dead heat. What a race (and that just being able to hear it on internet radio)!

Day off work today.

Had grave fears for Illo when it was an early leader because the early leader NEVER gets it.

Spooked that I put Dunaden on top of the poll O.o!

What I’ve done the past couple of years is play the youtube clip to the kids the day after. With about 28 kids in a class, and each kid assigned a number at the beginning of the school year by their homeroom teacher (i.e. 1-28), one kid gets to be the lucky winner [the other five will get to pick a number of their choice, chillax]).

Sure, it’s just dumb luck, but then again… ;-)

The kids have a ball, and it’s a little bit of cultural fun. No use teaching or learning the language without a bit of culture chucked in! :-)

Some prelims…

Click back for finals.

RED CADEAUX:

“Beaten by a pixel.”

Funny, that the headline in the “some prelims” link initially said, “Red Cadeaux Wins The 2011 Melbourne Cup – Results!”

Headline was subsequently changed, lol.

UPDATE III

Cripes. Illo 19th. Don’t take my advice!

The PM can blame QANTAS all she likes…


…But it isn’t going to change the fact that she could have acted to fix the situation before any planes were grounded using the very laws that she personally helped draft.

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has blamed Qantas for leaving thousands of passengers stranded in Australia and around the world, insisting the airline didn’t need to take the “extreme” action of grounding its fleet.

As the federal opposition tried to force Labor onto the back foot on Monday over the handling of the dispute between Qantas and three unions, Ms Gillard defended the government’s actions and the industrial relations laws she drafted when she was workplace relations minister in the Rudd government.

“I do not believe that this extreme action should have been taken,” Ms Gillard told parliament.

“I do not believe that Qantas should have acted to leave tens of thousands of Australians stranded effectively without notice around Australia and in many parts of the world.”

Ms Gillard said Qantas “had other options open to it” on Saturday when its board authorised the grounding of its domestic and international fleet, including asking the industrial umpire Fair Work Australia (FWA) to terminate all industrial action.

Thank goodness our PM doesn’t actually build the planes herself.

At losses of $15 million a week, and government measures that could have stemmed the exodus of cash not being used, exactly what else could QANTAS have done?

I think reader Carpe Jugulum is right. Gillard expected QANTAS to roll over for the government unions like a dog, but this time, instead, it said “woof”.

Could have been prevented


The government had three hours (if not more) to use section 431 of an act, the Fair Work Act the PM personally had a major hand in writing, to stop the union strike actions and keep the QANTAS planes flying.

PM Gillard didn’t act.

Why?

Questions are even being raised whether government ministers were even aware of the options at their disposal.

Why did it have to come to such drastic measures being taken by a struggling airline before the relevant arbitratory body would do anything?

Why didn’t the PM take the call from QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce who was desperate for her help, and why also didn’t she call him back?

Why was the government caught so off-guard when there had been repeated warnings that QANTAS may have to ground the planes?

Jus’ chillin’


It’s quite telling the so-called 99% would be stuffed without handouts…

Saturday’s snow storm made life in Zuccotti Park miserable for Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Demonstrators were left drenched with rain and then snow as the storm moved through the region. Central Park set a record for both the date and the month of October with 2.9 inches of snow.

Those camping out in the park have been stockpiling donated blankets, scarves, coats and have been trying to get more tents, cots and tarps.

Who knows? Maybe Michael Moore can spare them a cheeseburger.

Meanwhile, surely they’d be a little more secure if they were back home.

H/T

Sunshine and lollipops


Yeah well.

You know it’s Monday, so why not start off with polar bear vs walrus?

Wanted: Dead or deader


Merely bagging Israel isn’t enough for some these days…

Tell ya what, any Greenies out there; if you want to convince a Righty about how bad oil is, try this line…

RIYADH – A Saudi royal offered a $900,000 reward to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier, on Saturday. Prince Khaled bin Talal, the brother of business tycoon Walid bin Talal, told the Saudi-based broadcaster Al Daleel that the captive would then be released in exchange for Arabs held in Israeli prisons.

And this kind of rhetoric is just fine?

With the Big Cheese dead recently, is Saudi Arabia descending from being a minor headache into a full blown migrane?

Did you know McDonald’s is a small company?


According to Obama, US Democrats and specifically, former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, it is.

McDonald’s is one of the small 1800 companies receiving a waiver from mandatory ObamaCare that only big companies have to pay for.

Various unions, among many others, are exempt, too.

In October, the federal government issued dozens of one-year waivers to companies like McDonald’s, insurers, and unions. TheTimes explains, “These limited-benefit plans, also known as ‘minimeds,’ fail to comply with new rules phasing out limits on how much policies will provide in medical care each year.”

Furthermore, the administration granted dozens more waivers in order to avoid the disruption that would have resulted from the enforcement of the new rules. Likewise, the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated it will use a different method of calculating spending for these plans so that they would meet new regulations.

The administration has defended these decisions, asserting that they are merely addressing concerns posed by employers. However, Gateway Pundits contends that without the “right connections, you can’t get a waiver for your company.” It adds, “That’s the new reality under the Obama-Pelosi regime.”

Similarly, Fox News asserts, “These are companies that maybe have the smartest lawyers and loudest voices — Aetna, McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, the unions — fighting for the exemptions and getting the waivers.”

In response to that, Fox News contributor Tracey Barnes told Fox News:

That’s the sin of it. A law was created inside of three minutes. It was “shoot now, ask questions later.” We put it out there; we realized everything is wrong with it. And the little guy affected the most doesn’t have the money and the big corporate attorneys to go back to the government and fight for it. We have big companies getting away with it and the little guy getting hurt yet again.”

The memory hole:

Two sites, here and here, both link to an HCC list of companies that are exempt from paying for ObamaCare.

Except that now all those identical links give us is a basic homepage.

It’s who you know.

Need something to Occupy other than a proper toilet and shower, OWS movement?

It’s not just QANTAS


But it is still trade unionists demanding from their employers even more when there really isn’t any more there to give.

(Reuters) – Air France canceled about one in five flights and warned of wider disruption as a five-day strike by flight attendants over employment terms began on Saturday, in the middle of a busy holiday weekend.

In a statement posted on its website, the carrier said that it had canceled 10 long-haul flights to destinations such as New York, Tokyo, Montreal, Abu Dhabi as well as cities in West Africa.

Discontent among travelers appeared to have been limited by advance warnings that reduced the number of people turning up to find themselves stranded at airports.

Ok. So there was a bit more warning there than QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce gave before he grounded the entire fleet after week after week of rolling strikes by various components of the QANTAS workers.

I don’t profess to know the pay details of Air France flight attendants, but where the EU being where its at fiscally at the moment, could there be a worse time for them to demand more money?

As for QANTAS staff, they’re among the best paid in the world.

Gotta love the union mindset.

Signed my third contract at the same place recently (yep, it’s on a year by year basis), and the base pay for, frankly, any foreign ESL teacher at schools here hasn’t budged in over three years.

Stuff at the shops has gone up, of course.

However, people not in unions don’t have that luxury of just walking off the job.

We either change jobs and/or find other ways to make a bit extra.

That QANTAS baggage handlers make more – and with more benefits – than, say, teachers and nurses is quite something, and that they want even more, is something else.

Unions: If you want a lightbulb changed the electrical union has to be called in (at their leisure), but if it’s up too high then the carpenters’ union has to be called in, too, to provide a box to step on.

Ridiculous. A rort.

As you may know, the old folks were here last weekend. Dad told an old story about his dad, after WWI, was part of a team commissioned to build three boats.

Could’ve easily been done but there was so much interference by the unions, that they eventually scrapped the project, leaving three hulls in the dry docks, and sent the project out to some European company (kinda related but the old folks had a bit to say of how Europe shapes up nowadays, too [dilapidated]).

We see a similar thing over in the US where Detroit is in many aspects a ruined city, its once all powerful car industry limping on after impractical and unrealistic union demands sent too many jobs overseas.

There is also a similar certain irony that unionist players in the aviation industry – of all industries – act in such an oblivious manner towards well-understood global realities.

And yet our government has acted with an alarming degree of surprise, despite a PM going global in her latest attempt to be relevant.

Let’s face it. In the horrendous work conditions good folk faced in the Industrial Revolution, trade unions were a godsend.

In a modern world of beyond-decent working conditions, choice, and opportunity, trade unions are but sand in the cogs of progress.

UPDATE

A reprieve…

Friday Night party Music


The old folks are in town for a few days on their way back from Europe, and I’ll be meeting them soon.

Thus, the short clips there’s time to listen to, but perhaps not the long one (gladly ripped from Sean’s comment earlier today)*.

Love this track, but why do NY’s cool kids look like they’re stuck in the 80s?

In case anyone’s worried about the last clip I put on for the ladies…

Keepin’ it tribal just in case any failed hippies on Wall Street drop by…

Just in case anyone needs MOAR!

* Sorry the first clip shows you-know-who

If you’re going to protest, protest this “occupiers”


Have you ever seen any more misguided anger than that of the OWS mob?

But no worries, bingbing (via JM) is here to help! :-)

President Obama doesn’t take campaign contributions from lobbyists — unless you count the owners and CEOs of lobbying firms, corporate vice presidents for government relations, or managing directors for public policy.

“We don’t accept any money from special-interest groups or Washington lobbyists,” the Obama campaign bragged in a recent email touting the $70 million raised last quarter by the campaign and the Democratic National Committee. But if you comb through the actual filings with the Federal Elections Commission, you see how misleading this claim is.

Wealthy revolving-door banker Peter Orszag epitomizes everything Obama ran against. Orszag was Obama’s budget director until the 2010 elections at which point he cashed out to bailed-out megabank Citigroup. A Citi executive touted Orszag’s “key … government experience” and “his expertise in economic policy.” In other words, Orzag has monetized his public service and sold it to Citi, which, like all big banks, counts on favorable government policy for its profits.

Apparently feeling fairly plush after nine months at a Wall Street salary, Orszag cut a $35,800 check last month to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that divides its funds between the official Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. To sum up: Orszag gained inside knowledge and connections on the taxpayer dime, put them to work for a big bank, then used his salary from this bailed-out bank to give the maximum contribution to the man who hired him in the White House.

Read on. That isn’t even the half of it.

Offended by the offended


But Christ is revered in Islam too, and it’s a private university.

I’m offended by the complaint. Who can I sue?

The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers.

The investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long a six months.

“Collective” human rights aren’t.

H/T JM

Europe saved by SPIV


Fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

A GLOBAL credit crisis was averted yesterday when leaders agreed on a rescue package for Greece and the euro common currency that is likely to involve China and other developing countries helping to prop up the European economy.

Equity and currency markets reacted positively to the long-delayed rescue plan, which came after ominous warnings from German Chancellor Angela Merkel that continued “peace and affluence” in Europe could not be taken for granted without a euro solution.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would call his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to plead for cash-rich China’s involvement in a new support mechanism called a “special-purpose investment vehicle”, with the unfortunate acronym SPIV.

Catchy.

“I think the whole world is going to be relieved by this,” Mr Sarkozy said.

Er… kinda.

And gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get deals like the following?

The most eye-catching aspect of the rescue plan was an agreement that banks and other private lenders would accept a 50 per cent loss on Greek government bonds to give the teetering Greek economy some hope of fighting its way back to viability.

But who’s buying that one?


I’ll buy James Packer’s argument that pokie reforms will hurt – in some cases (but not his) severely – the businesses that run them, but that it will hurt tourism?

Give us a break, big shot.

Seriously. What friggin’ tourist flies all the way to Australia just to play a bloody poker machine?

Wilkie might be a one man wolf pack, sure, but Packer ain’t helping the cause.

UPDATE

Listening to the radio, and maybe I underestimated how many people do sit on a plane for 12 hours to play pokies
( :roll: ), but anyway, some bloke called in and noted that Oz pokies pay out 87c to the dollar whilst online, mostly UK-based, sites pay out 97c. Being UK-based, of course, NONE of the revenue will go to our governments to help pay for roads, schools, and hospitals and NONE of the proposed restrictions will apply.

Please, please, could there just be one, I’m not asking much, just one policy this government could get right?

TGIF


Deal with it.

Nothing amazing politically is going to happen Friday.

No, not with the Euro crap, Obama, boat people, Gillard… Rudd… Richo…

No, North Korea isn’t going to attack and present a local angle…

There won’t be another choking death (shit, they must have gone all out… no wonder the groundskeeper got pissed when me and a mate did the whole asphyxiation thing for kicks getting high for free)…

A butane death? Not likely.

What’s significant has already happened.

We effectively now have a carbon (dioxide!) tax that will hurt us and do nothing for the planet.

We effectively now have a tax punishing our mining industry – the one’s keeping the country afloat – whilst we shell out only M millions to Africa’s miners.

We have B Billion dollar “deals” that we signed up for giving away B billions to overseas despots so that we can save the planet.

We’re talking almost 3 B billion dollars a year to buy credits from… who? Honest businesspeople?

We’re talking $76 T Trillion wanted by the UN from “the International Community” to fight a problem that has failed to manifest.

We’re talking a government held to ransom by a bloke – whilst his heart is in the right place – is failing to see the whole picture.

Carbon tax, mining tax, no mandate, disproportionate foreign aid for the benefit of one man who wants a UN (top) job, no border protection whatsoever, borrowings of $135m per day…

Oh how the real issues have been buried the last few days.

No worries. A few people in tents, pooping in evil plastic bags, in Manhattan, in a privately owned park whom the owners have been most flexible with, earning no money yet demanding lots, will fix it all.

Why are we spending so much money on Africa?


Firstly, it’s not as if all of Africa is a backwater.

Secondly, why is our government pledging millions to help their mining industry when we have mining interests of our own that they are likewise hurting with things such as the useless carbon tax and the forthcoming super profits tax?

Thirdly, when much of Africa are their own worst enemy, perhaps it would be wiser to step back until they sorted out their own affairs better.

Take this classic example:

An African dictator’s son spent $US100 million ($96 million) of his impoverished country’s money on luxuries including a private jet, a Malibu mansion, and a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia, according to the US Justice Department.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is alleged to have lived a playboy way of life in California where he owned a collection of 24 sports cars valued at $US10 million.

Mr Obiang, thought to be aged 43, is the eldest son and heir apparent to Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. He serves as a minister of forestry and agriculture in his father’s government and last week was appointed his country’s representative for UNESCO.

LOL. The UN would love this guy.

Read on for what is an absolutely astounding list of expensive, useless crap this guy bought whilst most of his countrymen he is meant to be serving can’t even get clean drinking water.

Blame Capitalism and evil corporations for Africa’s problems if you like, but it is clear the far bigger problem lies within.

According to the US Justice Department, the country’s valuable natural resources, including oil, gas and timber, were allegedly used to line the pockets of the president, his son and their close associates.

Alleged corruption included bribery and money laundering schemes, such as demanding fees from companies before signing logging concessions, or paying a tax before getting timber exports approved. The complaint said: “During President Obiang’s more than 30-year rule members of the inner circle have amassed extraordinary wealth through a variety of corrupt schemes.”

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