Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Sunday night in the suburbs

Well, I have been watching and listening to the *Liberals* explanations this weekend - in the vain hope that they have a logical and rational explanation about why they have acted like *numbnut* lemmings.

And the short answer is that they don't.

They certainly don't have logical reasons why they would even attempt to depose Malcolm and the moderates.

It seems they are driven by a mad ideological rightwing *numbnut* view of the world that simply says - "we are not in government at the moment - and we were clearly born to rule so lets be as disruptive as possible and create lots of chaos".

This is tempered with the views of their *base* who apparently are complaining somewhat about the fact that *the government* is even contemplating dealing with "climate change" - which according to the *base* is plainly not even happening yet!

Here's the problem: The Liberal party *base* is largely "dumb and uninformed". Sorry but someone needed to say it. They are folks who are uneducated, often racist, mostly pig ignorant and who don't apply much intellectual rigor to their decision making. They think that Andrew Bolt makes sense and is PM material!

They seem also to elect others from the same "social class" and send them to the parliament. Apparently there are a lot of these folks in the Liberal party - by my count around 35.

Sometime early this week we will see if Malcolm and the *thinkers* get the gig - or if Tony and the *numbnuts* prevail.

My prediction: Malcolm will win - but that won't change anything - because there will still be at least 35 *numbnuts* in the federal parliament!

That's why Kevin needs a trigger for a double dissolution.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Now I get it

So the "big carbon emitters" grand plan is coming together then.

When the Liberals talk about their *base* they mean those folks who seldom read, never write, who get their news and information from channel 10 and the test pattern and who fall for every spurious claim that gets pushed at them by the various right wing and religious charlatans with an axe to grind.

These folks don't get science and certainly don't believe that climate change is a threat.

No siree that would be a conspiracy by those elite scientists all directed against we ordinary folk.

And so the *bogus* science that is funded and peddled by the big carbon emitters and their proxies is all geared at reinforcing the uninformed views of these folks in the Liberal *base*. And its all designed to get them to revolt and put some heat on their local MP's.

Which is apparently what is happening.

Does anyone recall Joseph Goebbels and his propaganda technique which is based on the principle that a lie - if audacious enough and repeated enough times - will be believed by the *base*?

And a large number of the Liberal MP's - 35 to be precise - have fallen for it.

They are now taking the concerns of their *base* to mean that they should roll their "moderate" leader and install a more acceptable one who will appeal to the *base*.

Tony Abbot will be perfect for them - go Tone.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go Malcolm

I don't have much time for most of the *numbnuts* in the *blue* team but I do like Malcolm - he is a smart and capable man and if the *dumfuks* roll him then they will have shot themselves - not in the foot but in the head - multiple times.

If they do that then this *silly little* political party will become irrelevant and remain in the wilderness for decades - it's just incredible stupidity.

But what would I know.

Blue Politics and Climate Change

Dear oh dear - the *numbnuts* in blue have excelled themselves this time. Apparently 35 of their current MP's were so annoyed that Malcolm wants to negotiate with the government over its emissions trading scheme that they wanted to vote for a new parliamentary leader.

Let me repeat that. Thirty five existing Liberal Members of the Australian Parliament want to be rid of Malcolm because he wants to do something about climate change - and they don't.

Every Australian should be seeking these people out and making a mental note NEVER to vote for them EVER again. And while they are at it they should take away their ongoing parliamentary benefits and their gold travel passes. Which planet do these *numbnuts* represent for goodness sake?

And that *genius* from the Victorian country town of Sale - Kevin Andrews was going to nominate for the parliamentary leadership!!! Apparently he wants to be "numbnut in chief".

Yep - the same Kevin Andrews that brought us "WorkChoices" and the "Haneef" circuses when he was a *Minister* in the Howard government.

Its not that words fail me - it's just that I am completely dumbfounded by these last few sentences. Who would have thought that the Australian "Liberal" party would plumb such depths.

Just goes to show how the extreme and ultra right have captured the local conservatives like they have everywhere else in the world.

I think I need a bex and a good lie down - because if all this is true then we may already have lost our democracy.

PS - I just discovered that another intellectual MP from country Victoria - Alby Schulz has suggested that Malcolm will lead the Liberals to "A Landslide Defeat" by supportting the ETS and wanting to do something about climate change.

"I've received over the years many, many emails and phone calls, he said. They have never been to the level that I'm receiving them at the moment."

Quite right Alby. It's because you have allowed your party to be captured by the *numbnuts* on the right and you have abandoned your responsibility to the ordinary people of this nation. That's why you and you colleagues can look forward to a right royal drubbing at the next election - so get used to it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Business Opportunity

Here is a business opportunity for those young, smart, savvy folks who want to make a name for themselves - and who have substantial software development capability.

It's in the document creation and management space that is occupied by Microsoft Word - but first you must read my previous post.

Ask me questions if you aren't clear about my wants and needs.

So the opportunity is to create a standalone "Microsoft Word document processor" that reads Word documents - and easily and interactively allows the removal of all the BS formatting there which has accumulated over time - all without changing the "look and feel* of the "final" word document.

Essentially, I want a tool that removes all the crap formatting, optimises the document and builds and applies the best possible styles to the remainder.

This is a specialised application - that helps mitigate against *dumb* users and Bill Gates' money making machine.

Can you do it? Are you up for it? If you are and can demonstrate that you are capable - then I will license your software and make you "rich and powerful".

Word - everyone is an expert

Microsoft Word is Bill Gates' revenge on the nerds and anyone who won't RTFM.

I work in the tech industry and just about everyone who thinks they are a guru has major difficulty with Microsoft Word.

Why? Well they think that because they know some completely irrelevant application or programming language or deep technical *thing* that they are automatically qualified as an *expert* on all things software.

And so they start typing into Word and it accepts their input - and the next thing you know they have created an unholy mess and don't even know it.

What's worse is when they send it to 20 other people and that mess grows like topsy. It becomes a virus that 20 others have a go at to *add their value*.

The interesting thing about the tech business is that much of the day-to-day effort is spent on meetings, developing proposals, writing reports, managing projects and interacting with people. Like many industries, this requires mastering the Microsoft Office tools - at least until Google can build a credible alternative. Note to Eric - can you get the boys to move a bit faster!!!

But do you think anyone younger than 50 has a clue how to use Microsoft Word and it's complex formatting arrangements? Those who are older will know because they grew up with WordStar - which actually worked as advertised.

Technology was supposed to free us from complexity and make life easier - but all it has done (in the case of Microsoft Word) has made the resulting documents so incredibly convoluted that it is impossible to touch them without breaking something important.

All because the people who use it don't read the friggin manual and can't use simple things like *styles*. So we end up with layer upon layer of formatting crap all interacting with the inbuilt Microsoft *features* to create something that on the surface looks like a document. After a year of this and 20+ authors the document becomes unmanageable.

It's much worse when you are trying to run lots of concurrent projects with a team of tech nerds whose ego's all compete - showing off their mastery of the "iphone" and everything else irrelevant that is tech. To them it's a question of "What's the problem"?

So to the Microsoft Word product people - there is one additional key that I need in Word and it's the "Remove Rubbish" key. When pressed it will cycle through the document removing all the rubbish formatting and cleaning the document up. It will have to be as smart as Einstein to know which rubbish to remove - but hey that's Steve Ballmers' problem.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Methinks the Premier doth protest too much

Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230

The principal meaning of "protest" in Shakespeare's day was "vow" or "declare solemnly", a meaning preserved in our use of "protestation".

When we smugly declare that "the lady doth protest too much," we almost always mean that the lady objects so much as to lose credibility.

Gertrude says that Player Queen affirms so much as to lose credibility. Her vows are too elaborate, too artful, too insistent.

More cynically, the queen may also imply that such vows are silly in the first place, and thus may indirectly defend her own remarriage.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Media Mike and the Waitress

The issue is not whether *Media Mike* had sex with *The Waitress*.

The issue is whether "he lied" to the people of South Australia, the parliament, his party colleagues, his staff, his wife and family and anyone else who cares.

I don't know the answer to that.

But I do know that he has prior form with being "economical with the truth" and have often written about it.

Lets wait and see how this one pans out - but my suspicion is that *politicians* and the *truth* - are natural enemies.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Five simple questions

Next year - 2010 - we are going to have a federal election and at least one and probably more state elections. We may also have a "double dissolution" - especially if the *numbnuts* in blue aren't able to get their act together and work out what is in their best interests.

If we end up with a "double dissolution" then we will also be electing *quite a few* senators - like the whole house!

I am assuming that most people know what a "double dissolution" is - although I say that with a certain amount of "wishful thinking" having seen what turns up to a normal federal election.

As an aside, it is sometimes sad and depressing watching and listening to the people who turn up at polling booths - who are so totally unprepared for the event. There is a rather large subset of our community who do ZERO thinking prior to an election and who then make decisions based on *whatever* causes their pencil to move - when they exit the queue. I despair - but they have not been taught to take their democracy seriously - they merely take it for granted.

There is certainly a *BIG* case to be made for a widespread publically funded education campaign across the general population - before ANY election. More will be needed if we end up with something unusual like a DD.

I would like you all to think about the questions that you will ask of your local candidates - and what you will do with the answers because this coming election will be vitally important - probably the most important for 50 years.

You can ask whatever you like - but might I suggest the following five questions as a starting point.

Q1. Where are your loyalties? Are you a party person or do you represent your electorate?

A1. I want an independent thinker who will stand up for the needs of their electorate AHEAD of the needs of his or her political party.

Q2. What is your position on climate change? Do you understand the science and are you commited to dealing with climate change and mitigating the effects for your constituents?

A2. I want a knowleable representative who understands the science and can work as a TEAM player to deal with the issues. I DON'T want grandstanding right wing *numbnuts* who will put their mates in the big polluting industries ahead of their constituents - or who don't think there is a problem.

Q3. What are you doing to enhance and protect the lifestyle of your constituents? Are you aware of the challenges impacting them and how are you dealing with those?

A3. I want a smart thinker - someone who can anticipate problems and issues affecting his or her electorate and who will raise them in the party room - along with possible solutions and answers. For example, an urban member needs to *get* the changing industry situation and work to find alternatives. A rural member needs to *get* the impact of climate change on agriculture and work to find optimal crops and alternatives for his or her constituents.

Q4. What are you doing to understand the longer term threats to the jobs and income of your constituents and the potential opportunities as they arise? Are you thinking about the future and where the threats might come from and how you will prepare your constituents to deal with them? Can you see the opportunties and help your constituents exploit them?

A4. I want someone who can see past next Tuesday. I want a representative who has a significant *strategic* component in their viewport and who can understand the *long term* nature of the game of life.

Q5. What will you do to communicate with your constituents and listen to their views? Can I rely on you to ask us "what we think" in advance of important issues arising in the parliament - and how will you reflect our views back there.

A5. I want someone who treats democracy with respect and who has a well understood engagement process with his or her constituents. Someone who won't *ride roughshod* over the wishes of their constituents.

Now there are many other questions that you might like to ask - but if you can get a positive response to these then that will be a good start.

I have no illusion that we can actually keep them to their word - perhaps someone can work out how to do that prior to the 2013 election ;-)

Innovation - what is that?

I have been thinking about innovation for a while now - probably for much of my life.

But it seems that few others are. I constantly see and hear political leaders who should know better talking about how this or that industry is dying and causing unemployment and bad times all around.

The mainstream media and the state governments are the worst offenders with one state in particular - South Australia - seeming to have no ability to adjust and re-invent itself.

Because that is what the nation needs - vigorous and constant re-invention. But clearly that isn't going to happen without some quality leadership and smart people who are prepared to understand the options and take some risks.

Focussing on South Australia for a moment - it's not like the place is naturally endowed with high quality resources - it has had some real leaders in the past who took risks and did some good things for the state.

Tom Playford recognised that he needed to build an industrial base to employ the growing population when he acquired steel and vehicle manufacturing industries for South Australia.

Don Dunstan worked hard to build a high value arts culture and that has paid real dividends for the state - both in terms of local jobs and international recognition and reputation.

But who since has had any vision or foresight or ability to recognise the challenges and do anything significant about them?

Dean Brown wanted to make the place the silicon village of the southern hemisphere and ended up destroying around 300 small businesses and god knows how many jobs - while handing $billions to a US multinational. It's not like he wasn't warned.

I'm not sure what John Olsen was trying to do but he ended up being forced out of the parliament on the back of dodgy dealings with another American multinational. And now he works for the current Labor government.

Mike Rann has been spruiking the *mining boom* as the saviour of the place. But even he knows that mining employs around 1% of the working population. I wonder what he has in mind for the remaining 99%?

Oh I forgot *defence*. Another industry that requires lots of capital and employs many people in California and elsewhere but bugger all in South Australia.

As an aside, today we discovered that the Howard government was far from the "world's best economic manager" - and gave away the farm because Peter's Costello and Dutton were acting like *dummies*.

So to my serious question - "Is anyone in or close to power actually thinking about what needs to be done to maintain a high standard of living for the current population - going into the second decade of the 21st century"?

And if they are could they please share that with the people - and demonstrate that they have the brains and ideas needed to make the place competitive as we head into 2010.

Basically people you have three choices - "Lead", "Follow" or "get out of the way".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lots of fear in "Animal Farm"

These are my observations about how the people of South Australia feel about themselves.

Firstly, we have the annual "Christmas Pageant" - I won't discuss that here, 1950's kitch in my view - but the locals seem to think it is a good thing and lap it up.

Secondly, we have the daily "photo" on the ABC News at 7pm. The only place where there is such a thing all attributed to a viewer - clearly the ABC have worked out that this is vitally important - perhaps the other states need to follow suit ;-)

Thirdly, we have a major water crisis in the state - caused by 30+ years worth of inaction and laziness by various state governments and yet the local newspaper, the current government and the people responsible are happy to keep *smiling for the cameras*.

There are many other quaint little *things* that define the place but perhaps the most interesting is the current state government.

For eight long years - count them on 8 fingers - the state has had Mike Rann running the place - supposedly in a perpetual *trifecta* with Kevin Foley and Patrick Conlon. Apparently these three are the *brains* trust behind the government and have the place humming along like a well oiled machine!

But the people there have been well and truly goosed - no-one speaks up, no-one complains and no-one says boo to a duck about the way they have been treated. This has been the case for aeons.

And the reason is simple - *fear*.

The locals are all fearful - "for their jobs", "of their neighbors", "of a crime wave", "of the government" but most importantly - they fear a "letter from the Transport Department".

Because the place has created this amazing government scam where they raise enormous revenue from "red-light" and "speed" cameras. The traffic system is poorly designed (it hasn't evolved much since the 60's) and seems designed to *trap* the locals who then end up with enormous *fines* when they attempt to traverse the road network.

Just about everyone knows they are being screwed - but most of them say nothing and will only express their *anger* when they next are asked to vote - in other words - "keep your head down and express your concern at the ballot box".

I suppose this is democracy in action - SA style?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lets deny reality

It's now official - Adelaide has registered its first-ever November heatwave. The Bureau of Meteorology said "The heatwave was confirmed this morning when the temperature topped 35C for the fifth day in a row".

And I can vividly remember on 8th July last year when Ross Garnaut presented his report and findings at the Adelaide Town Hall - when he said "South Australia was the most exposed of all Australian states to the adverse effects of Climate Change".

But apparently the *blue* team didn't hear the warning - or read the "press release" and so they are still wandering around - with their *thinking organ* hidden away in a dark orifice.

I suppose SA Senator Nick Minchin is perfectly comfortable in his own special air conditioned office - while working out tactics to defeat the government's ETS bill - but the South Australian people are probably wondering when their local politicans are going to start telling them the truth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sometimes I despair

Often I berate the numbnuts on the *blue* team for their poor analysis, bad policy and *dumb* decisions - but it seems that all Australian politicians are "drawn from the same well", "cast from the same stone", "educated at the same trough", and revert to "arse covering" mode when they are closing in on an election - as demonstrated by this.

How are we ever going to make the tough choices that are needed as a nation when the easy decisions are wasted?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

News Corp is getting a bit tetchy

I wonder if anyone else has noticed how "News Corp" has been showing a little nervouseness lately - and how Rupert has been spruiking the great work of his corporation - to anyone who will listen.

He was out here recently, on a regular flying visit - to issue riding instructions to his editors and local executives and some of his *friendly* politicians and his business *cheer squad*.

Don't you get the sense that he is *on a bit of a "last minute" mission*. He is rushing around like a 20 year old - trying to get things done - before...

Sounds a bit like the *News Corp empire* is in it's death throes to me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Minchin spills the beans

Well, I don't need to say it because Nick Minchin already has - here.

Senator Minchin has told ABC's Four Corners program most Coalition MPs do not think human activity is causing global warming.

"I'd say a majority don't accept that position," he said.

Well there you have it - straight from the horse's mouth - a majority of Coalition MP's don't understand basic science.

And I suspect that many of them also can't read because the proposition has been spelt out - very clearly - in a number of scientific journals.

Hmmm - So Minchin admits that Coalition MP's don't understand science and can't read...

That's a big enough handicap to keep them in opposition for decades.

For those that should go back to secondary school or perhaps do a science degree - this will keep them occupied for at least a decade - while the rest of the human race gets on with fixing the problem.

Numbnuts in blue - how very quaint.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kevin should push hard

Kevin has taken the gloves off and called the *skeptics* for what they are - a bunch of delusional rightwing nutters - more concerned for their "fat-cat" mates in the big polluting industries than their fellow citizens.

Time is quickly running out and we can't afford to let the "anti science" vested interest approach of the few dictate how we deal with this serious issue.

My view is that Kevin needs to "bring it on" - even if that means a double dissolution.

Lets have the brawl that we clearly need to have and sort out once and for all our *National strategy and approach* for dealing with "Climate Change".

It seems to me that if he does that then he will gain major grass roots support across the nation - and he may even wipe the floor with the *blue* and *black* teams - who seems to comprise the bulk of the "do nothing - skeptics".

As an aside - doesn't anybody wonder why it is from within the "Liberal" and "National" political parties where we find the most vocal "Climate Change" skeptics?

I will let you think about that for a little while - perhaps it will be revealed later.

HINT: "They're not "skeptics" - they are "opportunists".

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thank goodness for Google Reader

All I can say is - "Thank goodness for Google reader, quality newsfeeds and personal blogs" - because parts of the Australian mainstream media have definately lost the plot.

I have been regularly reading "The Australian" on a daily basis - almost since it was first published. Sometimes not very frequently and sometimes it has been difficult to get copies - but for more than 30 years it has been my newspaper of choice.

Even in the latter half of the first decade of the 21st Century when many commentators have criticised Rupert's baby as *the Fox News* of the Australian media - I still remained loyal.

Even as Janet Albrechtsen continued with her personal poison - attacking anything and everything vaguely normal and promoting the most god-awful right wing rubbish - just because it aligns with her seriously warped sense of the world - I still remained loyal and pretended that she was just an abberation.

Even as the right wing and ratbag commentariat, the religious nutters and the seriously dumb and just plain silly used and abused their pages of editorial space to attack anything and everything intellectual or science based - I assumed it was just a phase that would pass - like a teenager growing up.

Even as Chris Mitchell took the paper downmarket and tried to use it as a vehicle to play his personal political games with important issues like *climate change* - I still scanned the stories - with the hope that there were a few gems of quality hidden away - somewhere.

But I have to confess that they have won - after 30+ years I am beaten.

Today I decided that it is all too hard - the collection of *Bumpf and BS* that is packaged as our national newspaper is now of such a standard and quality that I am no longer interested in reading it.

I am particularly distressed to observe the way it attacks our government - apparently just because they are of the *red* persuasion as opposed to Rupert's version of the right colour - which is obviously *blue* or more likely *black*.

"The Australian" no longer represents the nation - it should rename itself. My suggestion is "Rupert's Rightwing Ratbag Rag".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rory Wins - but there will be consequences

I suspect that Steve Keen's error is one of timing and that eventually he will be proven right - house prices could well fall by 40%.

It's just a question of when. And it's also a question of how high they will go in the meantime. Because, the bigger the rise - the harder the fall.

But seriously, why isn't anyone concerned by any of this? Do we really believe that perpetually increasing house prices are a good thing? And if we do (as seems likely) then is anyone thinking about the consequences?

Because there are always unintended consequences - it's really about who they impact and how hard.

Clearly perpetually increasing house prices don't help those who already own houses - because they need to live somewhwere. A high selling price just translates to a higher buying price for the next one. Where is the benefit in that?

But they do impact new entrants to the market - who tend to be the young and/or migrants - who often can't afford the price. Or if they do then their financial situation becomes so stretched that they end up living in poverty for decades - just to get into a house! Where is the benefit in that?

Actually I think I know why this is happening.

This country has a long and chequered history of speculative property development and house building. Just check the list of billionaires, millionaires and other rich people in your community. Odds are that a good percentage of them (probably more than 50%) will be builders and/or developers. Few of them are smart - but they got there by making stuff for $100 and selling it on to you for $200. Just add zero's to get to a different scale.

Now this form of industry and commerce is really the only thing that has been a consistent wealth generator across the nation over the past hundred years. The alternatives are not so good or not so easy to get into.

* The Agriculture and Grazing industries have become too capital intensive.
* Manufacturing has died an un-natural death.
* Mining is owned and run by and for the multi-nationals.
* Technology was killed by the dot com crash.
* Financial services died as a result of the global financial crisis.
* Everything else is hard work and/or low paid.

So the last great money making frontier is *housing* and by the way, house prices are about the only thing still going up - because we as a nation have a serious bias toward this form of investment - and that has produced a lot of "vested interests" all keen to advise you or help you or fund you to get in on the act.

Never mind that it is not very productive to have all your capital sitting in bricks and mortar - or that your job in the other industries is probably precarious - lets put all of our eggs in this one basket - and hope for the best.

Because when it does turn *pear shaped* then "the government" will bail us out - isn't that what they always do?