Archive for April, 2009

Treasurer Ralph’s first budget

Treasurer Ralph has used the Australian’s Instabudget game to plan the next Federal budget. He has slashed taxes, chopped spending but still managed a surplus. Media reaction to Treasurer Ralph’s budget is here. If you think you an do better have a go and let me know.

Invention of the week: non leaking tomatoes

I like this:

THE world’s first non-leaking tomatoes will go on sale in the UK from tomorrow.

Tesco tomato buyer Emma Pettitt said, “As we all know tomatoes can be tricky to chop and a squirt of juice can easily end up on the kitchen wall or over your shirt.

“The non-leaking variety will stop that problem but without the tomato losing any of its taste.”

Ms Pettitt said, “The arrival of the non-leaking tomato may well be heralded by sarnie fans as the best thing to hit the sandwich world since sliced bread……

“(The tomato’s) juiciness sometimes means that by lunchtime our lovely salad sarnie resembles a piece of wet cardboard. From now on that will be a thing of the past.”

Carnival of Space 100

The Carnival of Space celebrates its 100 edition at the One Minute Astronomer.

Rudd’s military build up

If this is true then Mr Rudd is to be commended for taking Australia’s defense seriously. But 12 submarines !?? We have enough trouble trying to crew six.

KEVIN Rudd is set to announce Australia’s biggest military build-up since World War II, led by a multi-billion-dollar investment in maritime defence, including 100 new F-35 fighters, a doubling of the submarine fleet, and powerful new surface warships.…..

Senior government sources say Mr Rudd has insisted that defence spending remain largely insulated from the Government’s budget difficulties, but the Defence Department will still have to find at least $15 billion of internal savings over the next decade to help pay for the $100 billion-plus long-term equipment plan.

Mr Rudd said yesterday the delivery of the white paper was proving “acutely challenging as we work to defend ourselves from the global economic storm”.

“It is the most difficult environment to frame the Australian budget in modern economic history. It is also the most difficult environment to frame our long-term defence planning in modern economic history as well,” he told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. “Nevertheless the Government will not resile even in the difficult times from the requirement for long-term coherence of our defence planning for the long-term security of our nation. This is core business for government. That is why we have forged ahead in our preparation of the defence white paper because national security needs do not disappear because of the global recession. If anything, those needs become more acute.”…..

Super Max Jihadists

CONVICTED murderer Bassam Hamzy, accused of masterminding a drug ring from jail, has won the right to sue the New South Wales Commissioner of Corrective Services over his solitary confinement.

After the decision was handed down, Hamzy – who appeared by videolink from jail – shouted: “I just f..cked the commissioner, I just f..ed the commissioner.’….

It has been alleged that Mr Hamzy productively used his time by running a small business and providing helpful religious instruction:

Hamzy was charged with supplying drugs last December, after police alleged he made more than 19,000 calls from jail as he coordinated a $250,000-a-week drug operation.

In 2007, he was accused of converting fellow prisoners to Islam in order to form a gang labelled the “Super Max Jihadists”.

In 2001, he was convicted of murder, malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, maliciously discharging loaded arms with intent to do grievous bodily harm, threatening to use a firearm with intent to prevent or hinder lawful apprehension and conspiracy to murder….

Home buyer grant a mistake

At last a politician who has the sense to tell like it is:

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said there was also legitimate concern that the grants might be pushing up the price of housing.

He said there was need for caution as the Government and everyone else was predicting a rise in unemployment of up to 300,000 people.

“I would hate to see that those people being encouraged to go out and buy their first homes and are going to end up unemployed in the next 12-18 months,” he said. “

It might be great to stimulate and distort one part of the economy.

“But if it means that those poor buggers are going to end up unemployed and default on their home loan in 12 or 18 months time through no fault of their own, then this will be seen to be a mistake.”

And he knows the real issue is supply not demand:

Mr Hockey said all the grants did was increase housing prices unless there was an increase in housing stocks.

“We don’t know whether there has been a sufficient increase in the amount of housing provided to meet what has stimulated demand,” he said.

Joe, can you please send a memo to your state counterparts.

I’m with Newt

While Barack Obama managed to get the American hostage released from the Somali pirates there are still 260 other nationals being held by the pirates. Newt Gringrich makes the case for adopting the “broken windows” approach to the problem:

The Broken Windows theory simply states that if a building has a broken window that is not fixed, the message is sent that no one cares. Vandals believe there will be no consequences for their bad behavior, and consequently, worse behavior will follow.

However, fixing the broken window sends a message that people care about their community and are watching, which deters crime.

Giuliani and Bratton acted on the insights of the Broken Windows theory to transform New York from one of the most dangerous cities in America to the safest big city in the country by treating minor crimes like vandalism, prostitution, and loitering like broken windows. ..

However this is not what is happening, at least by the Europeans:

“The marines found 25 people on board (of the dhow), nine of them suspected pirates,” spokesman Robin Middel told AFP.

They also found seven AK47 assault rifles and a rocket launcher, which were seized and destroyed.

“The other people on the dhow were Yemeni fishermen who were hijacked by the suspected pirates.”

Middel said the suspects had to be freed on the instructions of a NATO squadron commander.

“There exists no legal framework in the NATO for arrests to be carried out,” he explained.