Archive for September, 2008

Liberals take Parramatta

At the recent Parramatta council elections Labor lost two councilors and the Libs gained one. Last night for the first time ever, Parramatta Council elected a Liberal Lord Mayor:

Councillor Issa, 53, of Merrylands, becomes the first Liberal lord mayor in Parramatta’s history.

Labor councillor Julia Finn congratulated Cr Issa as the council’s first Lebanese-born, Arabic-speaking lord mayor.

Former Labor lord mayor Paul Garrard was elected deputy lord mayor as part of a new coalition of Liberal and independent councillors.

The council’s current budget was $7.9 million in debt, Cr Issa told the Advertiser yesterday morning.

He called an urgent meeting with council general manager Robert Lang yesterday to be briefed on the authority’s true financial position…..

Hope he can do something about the parking.

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Success!

Congratulations to Elon Musk and Space X for the first successful orbital launch of the Falcon 1. Even billionaires like Mr Musk don’t have a limitless budget and after three failed atempts a successful launch must be good news. I’ll have more to say in a few days but for now, Congratulation!

Barry O’Farrell talks sense

Good to see some common sense from the NSW Libs. The government wants to limit or ban advertising. Barry O’Farrell thinks we should accept personal responsibility:

“The key to fixing binge drinking or binge eating is personal responsibility, not some band-aid measure,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Government isn’t big enough to be standing beside every person on every occasion to make the decisions for them. That’s why personal responsibility is the key.”

Note too Mr Della Bosca main concern seems to be keeping health costs down.

Burning down the house

This video provides a good concise explanation of the current financial crisis , at least to my understanding. However as the Hotair bloggers make clear, it was hardly all the Democrats fault.

Swan obeys Turnbull

The government will be injecting $4 billion into the mortgage market to encourage competition:

Mr Swan revealed the Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) would buy mortgage-backed securities from smaller lenders, non-banks and building societies.

There would be two tranches of $2 billion each, possibly more. Part of the money would come from the 2007-08 Budget surplus, which came in $2.9 billion higher than expected at $19.7 billion.

The AOFM will buy residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), which are AAA-class arrangements and not the high-risk “toxic loans” plaguing the US. In the long term, the AOFM should make a profit.

Anyone watching Q& A last week would have heard Malcolm Turnbull propose the same plan. The Howard government accused the Rudd opposition of stealing their policies. It looks Rudd & co still need the Liberal to provide the with ideas.

Iridium

Here’s another space story. Remember Iridium? Back in the 1980’s Motorola had a plan to provide the military with a world wide mobile satellite network. DOD lost interest when the cold war ended so Motorola decided to put up a commercial system thinking there would be plenty of business people willing to pay good money for mobile phones.

After spending $6 billion putting up 66 comsats the system came online in1998 only to go bankrupt 9 months later. The company had completely under estimated the growth of terrestrial mobile networks.

There was lots of talk of the satellites falling out of the sky at the time but the bankrupt company sold its assets for a bargain basement $25 million. The new owners reduced the phone rates, found new customers and have been turning a profit. They now sold it for $591 million. Not a bad return for a $25 million investment. The original satellites will need to be replaced around 2014 so expect the new owners will be investing in broadband capable satellites.

Investment companies usually grow an established company then sell it for a substantial return don’t be surprised if the add a zero or two to their investment.

Fake astronauts

This is not going to help the credibility of the Chinese space program.:

CHINA’S leading Xinhua news agency reported the successful flight of the Shenzhou VII – complete with detailed dialogue between the astronauts – hours before the nation’s third-ever manned space mission had even lifted off.

On Thursday morning, Xinhua posted a story on its website saying the Shenzhou capsule had been successfully tracked flying over the Pacific Ocean even though the rocket and its three astronauts had not yet been launched.

What would they have done had the launch ended in disaster?