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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun with the Pentatonic Scale

This post is just a light hearted New Year's Eve piece of entertainment. I enjoyed how naturally the audience adapted to the imaginary keyboard.

Here's to a massively prosperous and free New Year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stephen Conroy tames the internet beast

More articles in The Age about Conroy and the Rudd government/gang shenanigans:
Internet censorship plan gets the green light – Ahser Moses 15 Dec 09 (includes reader comments)
Big Brother laws to be brought in for web – Asher Moses 16 Dec 09
Australia announces controversial Internet filter – Amy Coopes 15 Dec 09
Regardless of how "noble" or "just" the rhetoric around this odious tripe may sound, it is still censorship.
Once the succubus that is government lies under the internet it pollutes and taints all that is free about this environment.
Try and think of only three government programs that haven't grown beyond original promises and costs or increased the power originally granted to themselves, by themselves.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has an update on the Government’s Internet filtering trial report. While you’re there check out the No Clean Feed campaign.

Senator Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband saves us from the evil internet

Thank goodness we have government gang members like Senator Stephen Conroy (no homepage?) to keep us safe from the evils of the internet.
Conroy keeps internet users safe
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has an update on the Government’s Internet filtering trial report. While you’re there check out the No Clean Feed campaign.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Private police records for sale

This story in The Age by Paul Martin about secret police files being given to a commercial entity by the Brumby government absolutely astounded and disgusted me.

I'm almost speechless when I read the pathetic justifications for rampant, gross breaches of privacy in this story.

I understand the corruption of government and the complicity of police yet this one made me do one of those cartoon double-takes when I read the headline and first paragraph. To then read further and see that:

"Victoria Police last night said it was routine for police to sign such deals with organisations building big public projects where there were potential security risks."

was *almost* an incredibly good joke.

Here are some of the pathetic justifications for government and police corruption in the article:

"Under a deal struck by the State Government in a bid to ensure the project is finished before Melbourne runs out of water, Victoria Police has agreed to hand over photos, video recordings and other police records to the international consortium AquaSure to help it ''manage'' protests and potential security threats."

Security threats!

"The Department of Sustainability and Environment, which signed the desalination memorandum with Victoria Police and AquaSure, last night confirmed such agreements were common for major projects."


''The sharing of information will be done without breaching privacy laws,''

Trust us.

''Police have a responsibility to minimise security risks and the potential for damage to projects. Our responsibility is not only to the project company, it's also to the community and public infrastructure.''

This betrayal of trust is how we are protected?

Every now and then I lull myself into the belief that I'm past being shocked by governments and yet this still got a rise out of me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rachel Maddow on Obama and the Bush Doctrine

Rachel Maddow loves Obama. Rachel Maddow hates Obama. Good, that's out of the way.

Maddow demonstrates the continuity of the insanity in Afghanistan with this clip that contrasts Obama and Bush ... only to find a surfeit of similarity.

"If [politician x] of [party y] starts doing the wrong thing then the people have the power to change the wrongs being done in their name by voting [him/her] out of office!" - Good luck with that.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rudda the Hutt carefully chews each mouthful of the Emissions Trading Scheme

After interminable deliberation and time wasting the Rudd government prepares to hand over the amended Emissions Trading Scheme to Turnbull's opposition (ABC Story by Naomi Woodley).

This expensive political gaming disgusts me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Free Market does not have regulations

A common refrain that I hear in the wakes of the "Global Financial Crisis" and Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" is that the Free Market does not work.

No Free Market was allowed to happen. There were regulations that still governed business. Businesses also used the force of government for their own gains.

A Free Market does not have regulations imposed on it and it's participants by the use of force.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Majority Rules

When someone tells you that democracy's use of majority rules is "the best system that we have" then think twice about the view that they hold and your view that they want to subjugate.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can politicians read?

I made the following post on Andrew Bolt's Forum for Thursday August 20. I found the reply by Hermit to be a telling insight into what I believe is part of the mindset of the drafters of legislation.

Can politicians read?
At what point do we stop politicians from passing legislation that they don’t, won’t or can’t read?

I confirmed with the Parliamentary Secretary that there is NO requirement for politicians to read the legislation they pass ("reading" in the house is in name only).

I wonder if anyone can provide any sort of excuse for this sloppy and dangerous neglect?

Ardeet of Hampton, Melbourne (Reply)
Thu 20 Aug 09 (04:57am)
Hermit replied to Ardeet
Thu 20 Aug 09 (08:21am)

Our firm, like every other medium to large sized legal firm does read every act. For a big act the work is typically divided between about a dozen of us.

Legislation is written by teams of draftsmen. No single human could ever be expected to read and understand all of it.

Ardeet replied to Ardeet
Thu 20 Aug 09 (09:44am)


Aren’t you forgetting the single humans that have to comply with the letter of the law?...us!

I don’t know what your “firm” is but doesn’t it tell you something that laws are being made that are so complicated that the average person can’t understand them? Or that the people voting on them can’t read them all?

Doesn’t it bother you that a lot of the power ends up lying with those who draft the legislation?

Steve replied to Ardeet
Thu 20 Aug 09 (10:40am)

This does not excuse Politicians, whose JOB it is to reveiw and pass acts into law from reading what will ultimately affect us all.

How you became a Lawyer is beyond me, your comments speak volumes for the way we view our politicians and legal system as a whole.

J.Hansford replied to Ardeet
Thu 20 Aug 09 (03:35pm)

“Aren’t you forgetting the single humans that have to comply with the letter of the law?...us!”

Excellent Ardeet. Well said and pointed out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dangerous Things

There is a YouTube video by a bloke called nutnfancy that addresses the protectionist, nanny state culture surrounding "Dangerous Things". While I don't agree with his inference that legislation (his way) can work, I wholeheartedly support his sentiment.

Proper training and state of mind (either taught or self-taught) allows mankind's master of "Dangerous Things" to be an invaluable contribution to the world.

Taking personal responsibility and shunning the blame culture is liberating indeed.

This goes for 30 minutes. If you don't get in to it after 4 minutes then don't bother going further, otherwise you'll probably find yourself nodding along.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Incorrect measurement of Global Warming

In the Herald Sun, columnist Andrew Bolt has an article called "How not to measure warming".

It details research by Anthony Watts (pdf here ) from surfacestations.org that shows the thermally poor locations of a statistically significant number of U.S. weather stations. A quote from his findings follows:

"In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source. In other words, 9 of every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited.

It gets worse. We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from ne
arby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable."

It's interesting to see an example location of just one of the stations (many more in the links above). Note the MMTS is the temperature measurement device:

Meanwhile thhe US National Climate Data Center has claimed that Watts' findings don't make much difference ... (naturally :-) )

Friday, July 03, 2009

Carlton Football Club deals with John Elliott

As stated in this ABC report the Carlton Football Club have banned John Elliott (added him to the list of "non-arrivals") over his allegations of sexual assault involving players.

Elliott has not been able to substantiate his claims (as of July 2009) yet I am always suspicious of the highly politicised AFL and it's members screaming and pointing at a pariah.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama continues the work of Bush who continued the work of ...

Rachel Maddow dissects a speech by Obama and lays bare it's deceptive viscera.

Obama's proposed moves to implement "Indefinite Detention" for thought crimes as judged by a separate legal system is appalling and shameful.

I believe that the grander the setting and the more colourful the pomp of a political announcement then the more suspicious we need to be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Federal Reserve admits losing 9 trillion dollars

An interesting (?) video on wimp.com with U.S. Rep Alan Grayson questioning Fed Reserve Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman over some apparently misplaced USD$ 9,000,000,000,000.

Watch the Inspector General squirm! Watch the Congressman splutter! See the spin doctor advise from afar! Roll Up Roll Up!

I'm going to pretend it's not serious and recommend this as reasonably amusing.

Update: Daily Markets has a transcript. Here's the video on youtube:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

First stimulus distraction built.

One down, 19,999 to go. The ABC news reports on the NSW government crowing about the "First stimulus home built ahead of schedule".

"The Commonwealth is building 20,000 new affordable homes across the country as part of its $6.5 billion stimulus housing package. The newly built four-bedroom house in Sydney has been opened to the media."

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Theives and Liars do what they do best

The British government MP expense revelations show us once again that current government systems promote corruption, even in potentially honest politicians.

The hand wringing, scurrying to pay back and sacrificial goats are now littering the field in rank mounds.

The British Daily Telegraph is providing indepth coverage through stories such as the "Full list of MPs investigated by the Telegraph". Disgustingly, it's a long list. Feel free to imagine the name of any of the politicians that steal from you doing just the same thing.

For posterity and your amusement (?), here it is (btw there are 82 people on the list):

Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew, Pat Doherty and Conor Murphy claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Douglas Alexander spent more than £30,000 doing up his constituency home – which then suffered damage in a house fire.

Michael Ancram put the cost of having his swimming pool boiler serviced on his parliamentary allowances. He has agreed to repay the money

James Arbuthnot claimed from the public finances for cleaning his swimming pool at a country residence. He has agreed to repay the money

Vera Baird claimed the cost of Christmas tree decorations

Norman Baker asked if he could claim for a bicycle and a computer so he could listen to music and email family and friends

Greg Barker made a £320,000 profit selling a flat the taxpayer had helped pay for

Margaret Beckett made a £600 claim for hanging baskets and pot plants

Tony Blair re-mortgaged his constituency home and claimed almost a third of the interest around the time he was buying another property in London

Hazel Blears did not pay capital gains tax on a property she sold despite having told the Commons authorities it was her second home. She has since agreed to paid the tax but denied any wrongdoing.

Ben Bradshaw used his allowance to pay the mortgage interest on a flat he owned jointly with his boyfriend

Kevin Brennan had a £450 television delivered to his family home in Cardiff even though he reclaimed the money back on his London second home allowance

Gordon Brown's house swap let the PM claim thousands

Andy Burnham had an eight-month battle with the fees office after making a single expenses claim for more than £16,500

Stephen Byers claimed more than £125,000 for repairs and maintenance at a London flat owned outright by his partner, where he lives rent-free

Vince Cable forgoes the second home allowance, but asked whether he could claim backdated payments of the London supplement instead

David Cameron limited his claims to mortgage interest payments and utility bills. He will repay the only maintenance bill he claimed - £600 for the removal of wisteria

Menzies Campbell hired a top interior designer to refurbish his small flat in central London at taxpayers’ expense. He will repay the £1,490.66 cost of an interior designer

Ronnie Campbell claimed a total of £87,729 for furniture for his London flat

Kenneth Clarke managed to avoid paying the full rate of council tax on either of his two homes by effectively claiming that neither is his main residence. He has agreed to pay the full rate in future but defended his past behaviour.

Nick Clegg claimed the maximum allowed under his parliamentary second home allowance

Harry Cohen claimed thousands of pounds for redecorating his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 in stamp duty and fees on a new property

Stephen Crabb claimed his “main home” was a room in another MP’s flat, after buying a new house for his family at taxpayers’ expense

Alistair Darling's stamp duty was paid by the public

David Davis spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home improvements in four years, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.

Pat Doherty, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Alan Duncan spent thousands from his allowance on gardening, including repairs to his lawnmower. He has agreed to repay £5,000

Caroline Flint claimed £14,000 for fees for new flat

Barbara Follett used £25,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for private security patrols at her home

Andrew George used parliamentary expenses for a London flat used by his student daughter. He also claimed hundreds of pounds for hotel stays with his wife. He has said he will repay £20 for a hotel breakfast

Michelle Gildernew, Pat Doherty, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, and Conor Murphy claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Cheryl Gillan bought dog food using her allowance but agreed to pay it back after being contacted by the Telegraph

Julia Goldsworthy spent thousands of pounds on expensive furniture just days before the deadline for using up parliamentary allowances. She has promised to pay back £1,005 for a leather rocking chair

Michael Gove spent thousands on his London home before "flipping" his Commons allowance to another address. He has agreed to repay £7,000

Chris Grayling claimed for a London flat even though his constituency home is only 17 miles from the House of Commons. He has agreed to stop doing so

John Gummer's gardening, including the removal of moles from his lawn, cost the taxpayer £9,000

Fabian Hamilton declared his mother’s London house as his main residence while over-charging the taxpayer by thousands of pounds for a mortgage on his family home in Leeds

Nick Harvey had to be reminded twice by parliamentary officials to submit receipts with his expenses claims

Alan Haselhurst charged the taxpayer almost £12,000 for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex, his expenses claims show.

David Heathcoat-Amory’s gardener used hundreds of sacks of horse manure and the MP submitted the receipts to Parliament

Nick Herbert charged taxpayers more than £10,000 for stamp duty and fees when he and his partner bought a home together in his constituency

Douglas Hogg included with his expenses claims the cost of having the moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He has agreed to repay £2,200 for the moat clearing

Geoff Hoon established a property empire worth £1.7 million after claiming taxpayer-funded expenses for at least two properties

Phil Hope spent more than £10,000 in one year refurbishing a small London flat. He has promised to pay back £41,000 to the taxpayer

Kelvin Hopkins claims just a fraction of the available second-home allowance by taking the train to Westminster from his home town

Chris Huhne regularly submits receipts for bus tickets and groceries including pints of milk, fluffy dusters, lavatory rolls and chocolate HobNobs. He has promised to pay back £119 for a trouser press

Stewart Jackson claimed more than £66,000 for his family home, including hundreds of pounds on refurbishing his swimming pool. He has agreed to repay the costs associated with his pool

Julie Kirkbride's husband Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron's aide after it emerged that the two MPs were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.

Andrew Lansley spent more than £4,000 of taxpayers’ money renovating his country home months before he sold it. He will repay £2,600 of decorating fees

Oliver Letwin repaired a pipe beneath his tennis court using taxpayers' money. He has agreed to repay the money

Lord Mandelson faces questions over the timing of his house claim which came after he had announced he would step down

Andrew Mackay resigned as David Cameron's aide after it emerged that he and his wife Julie Kirkbride were making claims that meant they effectively had no main home but two second homes, both funded with public money.

Bob Marshall-Andrews claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, extensive redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets.

John Maples declared a private members’ club as his main home to the parliamentary authorities

Michael Martin used taxpayers' money to pay for chauffeur-driven cars to his local job centre and Celtic's football ground

Francis Maude claimed almost £35,000 in two years for mortgage interest payments on a London flat when he owned a house just a few hundred yards away. He has agreed to stop claiming for a second home

Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew, Pat Doherty, Gerry Adams and Conor Murphy claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

David Miliband's spending was queried by his gardener

Austin Mitchell claimed for security shutters, ginger crinkle biscuits and the cost of reupholstering his sofa. He has offered to donate his old sofa coverings to make amends

Margaret Moran switched the address of her second home, allowing her to claim £22,500 to fix a dry rot problem. She has agreed to repay the money while insisting she acted within the rules. She could face an investigation for allegedly using Commons stationery to keep neighbours away from her fourth property in Spain.

Elliot Morley claimed parliamentary expenses of more than £16,000 for a mortgage which had already been paid off

Conor Murphy, Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew, Pat Doherty and Gerry Adams claimed more than £500,000 over five years even though the Sinn Fein MPs refuse to attend Parliament

Paul Murphy had a new plumbing system installed at taxpayers’ expense because the water in the old one was “too hot”

Lembit Opik had to pay £2,499 for a 42-inch plasma television after purchasing it while Parliament was dissolved

George Osborne was rebuked by the Commons authorities for using public money to fund his "political" website. He also claimed money for a chauffeur-driven car which he has agreed to repay

John Prescott claimed for two lavatory seats in two years

Alan Reid claimed more than £1,500 on his parliamentary expenses for staying in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts near his home

John Reid used his allowance to pay for slotted spoons, an ironing board and a glittery loo seat

Angus Robertson successfully appealed to the fees office when they turned down his claim for a £400 home cinema system

Alex Salmond claimed £400 per month for food when the Commons was not even sitting

Michael Spicer claimed for work on his helipad and received thousands of pounds for gardening bills.

Jack Straw only paid half the amount of council tax that he claimed on his parliamentary allowances over four years but later rectified the over-claim

Don Touhig spent thousands of pounds redecorating his constituency home before “flipping” his allowance to a flat in London

Kitty Ussher asked the Commons authorities to fund extensive refurbishment of her Victorian family home

Keith Vaz claimed £75,500 for a second flat near Parliament even though he already lived just 12 miles from Westminster

Theresa Villiers claimed almost £16,000 in stamp duty and professional fees on expenses when she bought a London flat, even though she already had a house in the capital. She has agreed to stop claiming the second home allowance

Tom Watson and Iain Wright spent £100,000 of taxpayers' money on the London flat they once shared

Steve Webb sold his London flat and bought another nearby, while the taxpayer picked up an £8,400 bill for stamp duty

Shaun Woodward received £100,000 to help pay mortgage

David Willetts, the Conservatives' choice for skills minister, needed help changing light bulbs. He has agreed to repay the bill

Phil Woolas submitted receipts including comics, nappies and women's clothing as part of his claims for food

Iain Wright and Tom Watson spent £100,000 of taxpayers' money on the London flat they once shared

Monday, May 11, 2009

UK to spy on people despite assurances that it won't spy on people.

Despite assuring people in the UK that the "big brother" database would be scrapped, the pollywaffle masks the fact spying on the general populace will still go ahead.

A Times Online story by SPY chiefs are pressing ahead with secret plans to monitor all Internet use and telephone calls in Britain despite an announcement by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of a ministerial climbdown over public surveillance."

The rest of the article details plans that are in place for installation of devices that will be mandatory if ISPs want to retain their license.

RFID chips in the brain

This is an interesting snippet from a talk by Patrick Dixon of Siemens on the capabilities of brain cells and RFID chips to interact.

I believe there are many benefits to be derived from RFID technology. I also believe that when it comes to myself or my property then I it's up to me to choose how these chips are used. Forget railing against the corporations as many do in the youtube comments, the only way my choice will be threatened is through people using force of government.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The ABC has the story "Rudd denies bad hair blow-up" where he refutes claims by coalition front bencher John Cobb that he spat the dummy last year in Afghanistan when he couldn't find a hair dryer. The substance of the story is the usual finger pointing and denying.

Either Rudd is lying or John Cobb is lying. For the people who believe in government, one of the supposed stewards of the economy is a liar and the other feels that this isssue is worth wasting time over.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Swine Flu is as serious as Cholera

While this clip is about Cholera, I feel that it's warnings can be applied with equal seriousness to the current Swine Flu plague/pandemic that is ruthlessly decimating the entire world.
Credit: Shaun Micallef and Full Frontal.

Monday, May 04, 2009

NSW government proposes new raid laws

The NSW government has proposed new laws to allow warrants being issued on the grounds of "reasonable suspicion" rather than the current "reasonable belief".

Story at the ABC: "New raid laws a 'dangerous' move"

Update 14 May 2009: Managed to get Cartoon of the Week on the John Elliot Report.