CommenTree

Uneducated, but can google at least.

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Rudd is a four letter word

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Quite a day in the news. When Minister’s aren’t resigning over the fact that they are merely human… repeatedly merely human, the Prime Minister comes forward with a startlingly fresh idea. Honesty.

Yep, it seems that Australia isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and all the magic of The Secret isn’t going to help us out, either. And with such harsh times bearing down on us like a runaway locomotive upon a fragile bunny, the people rally behind our honourable and honest leader.

bad-rudd

Yeah. He hasn’t said one positive word. Totally.

There’s that fucking Secret method of approaching economics again. Yes, I can understand that sentiment plays a rather large role with the demand side of the equation, but I think that people don’t study these kinds of things at university year upon year just to walk out the other side with the conclusion that spend = good. Heaven forbid that things as academic as job prospects, debt serviceability, and job market strength might have an impact upon households’ willingness to buy four cent shite at vastly inflated (but discount at the retailer) prices.

And I’m not an economist by any stretch of the imagination.

economy2

I think he might be talking about the $900 vote-bribe that’s coming to all Australians who paid tax last year. Or maybe the Christmas bonus that was handed out to (gag) “Working Families”, and pensioners.

Even as a childless non-pensioner, I can see the rationale behind plying the populace with free cash. That’s not to say I agree with it. However, isn’t slagging off these orgies of cash on the basis that they were giving much of it to those who didn’t pay tax, is to also suggest that maybe the other “much” part of it was also given out to those who actually… well… did…?

It’s heartening to know that even during times of decline, where we could end up feasting upon cans of dog food as we huddle beneath the underpass, there will always be an armchair there, where we can sit and be experts.

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Written by Andy

April 21, 2009 at 12:10 am

It’s all in your head

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There’s this persisting idea that Australia’s current rough spot isn’t in fact caused by global economic factors and the fact that China is suffering what could be the world’s worst hangover after the Olympics, but by thinking bad thoughts.

Take today’s news that BHP are fobbing off two thousand odd workers.

secret

That’s right. I guess all previous economic disasters were simply a manifestation of glumness? Those bread lines shouldn’t have existed, huh?

snprelief1a

Chin up, boys. Your kids are starving, but that’s all in your heads.

It’s the kind of stupid thinking that believes that depression is merely “the blues”

But, you know, feel free to stick your fingers in your ears instead of preparing for the worst. Why be prudent when you can be in denial?

Interesting idea about how China is intentionally fucking us, though. I mean, we know that their history of treating people isn’t all that good, but I’m pretty sure that after they’ve put on the biggest show the earth has ever seen as a means of showing their national might, intentionally circulating that they’re not all in that great a shape probably isn’t on the Chinese government’s agenda.

It’s like the guy who walks around, talking himself up, only to quickly turn on the waterworks just so people don’t pick on him.

Written by Andy

January 21, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Posted in Economy, Politics

Tagged with , , , , ,

What’s your game, Mr Atkinson?

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I am more than aware that dealing with a Government agency is not without its quirks and trials. In the case of the South Australian Attorney-General’s office, it is more like a demented game.

Considering that I am not residing in the seat of Croydon, I can understand why my concerns to Michael Atkinson would largely be met with a snort, and a guffaw before they print out my email and use it to wipe their bott-bott, however when it comes to an issue which covers the entire nation of Australia – the issue of an R18+ classification for video games – I believe that the Attorney should be accountable to a little more than just his seventeen square kilometre of safe Labor voters.

I first wrote to the Attorney-General’s office in March 2008 following this story, outlining my disappointment in his lack of support for an R18+ classification. My concerns revolved around how limitations of the current system actually allow games that were classified for over 18’s in other markets would be released in Australia under the lesser MA15+ tag. During the entirety of 2008, this occurred with the release of Fallout 3 (there was a global version which replaced “Morphine” with “Med-X”, which was rated for 18’s in Europe, Britain and New Zealand), Dead Space and the PC release of Grand Theft Auto 4 (which was unedited).

I also mistakenly asserted that people would be inclined to import the unedited games from overseas, thereby robbing local retailers of money. This turned out to be false, as I soon discovered that games that are refused classification in Australia can be seized by customs. I am not the type of person who does not acknowledge their mistakes.

I received the following response from the Attorney-General’s office:

Thank you for your email to the Attorney-General about the classification of R rated games.

Please provide us with your full name and postal address so the Attorney can correspond with you.

Kind regards,
Administration
Attorney-General’s office

Excellent. The ball had started rolling. I provided them with a contact name and address, but not without outlining my confusion as to why the Attorney couldn’t correspond over email. As he was discussing and affecting the area of technology, his office was showing an awkward hesitancy to embrace it. In this day and age of document scanning and .pdf’s I thought it would be nothing to simply flick me something in reply.

Time passed. It was May and I hadn’t heard anything. Curious to know the progress of my concern, I sent them another email to follow up. In reply, I received this:

Thank you for your email to the Attorney-General about the classification of R rated games.

Please provide us with your full name and postal address so the Attorney can correspond with you.

Kind regards,
Administration
Attorney-General’s office

Understanding that they receive many emails, I provided them with these details again, although I made a point of acknowledging that I’d already provided them.

As the year progresses through to October 2008, much happens. Fallout 3 is refused classification, and Australian Gamer publishes a response from the Attorney General that was sent through to one of his detractors. It is a fair and even handed response that definitely makes you consider his point of view.

In one section of that letter, he cites a report conducted by Bond University, “Interactive Australia 2007” which finds a number of things, including that “62% of Australians in these gaming households say the classification of a game has no influence on their buying decision.”

Later on in the year, the Attorney also featured on a segment of ABC2’s Good Game, which I cannot find right now, due to my internet being shaped.

When probed on a report which found that 90% of Australians support an R18+ classification, the Attorney refutes the finding, asserting that the report was conducted by vested interests, and by those who stand to profit from such a classification.

However, the report he refutes was performed by Bond University – the same institute that he champions in the letter published on the Australian Gamer website. Key findings summary can be found here and the research area of Interactive Entertainment Australia Association website is here

Disappointed in the lack of official response outside of “where do you live again?” from the Attorney’s office, I turned my attention to my local state member, Tom Koutsantonis MP, hoping that my vote counted for something. I figured that having a brief chat to the Attorney’s neighbour couldn’t hurt.

Within the first week, I received a response asking for clarification on the issue and some instruction on how to best get the response from the Attorney. After indicating that I’d already tried their methods, they promised to follow it up with the Attorney and that I would hopefully hear something from them soon.

Weeks passed, and again I heard nothing. Growing tired of the constant shunning, I emailed my local member again. They replied, outlining their disappointment in the Attorney’s office, as they had spoken with a number of people there, hoping to obtain a reply for me.

So it seems that the Attorney-General isn’t concerned with the plight of his fellow Labor members, either.

They then suggested I again write an email, but this time to their office so that Tom could raise the issue in person with the Attorney. I obliged, outlining the oddity in the Attorney citing one report, but shunning another. I also note the Attorney’s concern that an R18+ classification would potentially allow for even more disturbed content to hit local shelves, but I cite the Classification Board database which shows that since 1994, only 66 titles were refused classification in Australia. I understand that not every game available is submitted to the Classification Board, however I recall that anything which reaches our retail stores, and is therefore in reach of the kiddlies, must be classified in order to be legally sold.

That email was sent on 4 December 2008.

And again, I have heard nothing, despite my constant queries. I understand that I’ve only given them one month, and that Christmas time is probably when they shut up doors and nick-off for a break. However, I’ve been patient enough, I feel.

So what is it, Mr Atkinson? Do we believe Bond University or not? If so, then Australia is against you. If not, then your letter published on Australian Gamer is bunk.

Splitting hairs over GTMO detainees

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I’m not many things. For me to become something that people can pigeonhole, it means that I have to be declared as such by some kind of authority. As my last post indicates, I am both a wanker, a bogan and a female genital. But today, I am outlining that I am not a lawyer. Despite my inlawyerness, I still seem to know the difference between a detainee and a convicted criminal.

detainee

convict

It would seem that many people are incapable of making this distinction, if judging by the comments on this story regarding Australia possibly accepting detainees from the “Guantanamo Bay detention center” (their spelling, not mine).

gtmo

That’d be a nice statement if these people were actually found guilty of acts of terrorism, and not… you know… detainees. Detail notwithstanding, I think it’s probably also worth pointing out a little statement that was made in the story by our acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard:

For anyone to be accepted they would have to meet Australia’s strict legal requirement and go through normal rigorous assessment processes.

That means that anyone coming through customs would be evaluated like any other person seeking to come into Australia. In fact, according to the GTMO wikipedia article, many have actually been cleared for release but cannot find a country that will accept them. How would that feel, huh? Being snaffled up, put in orange pyjamas, held for a year or so and then told to leave, only to find that home (or another country) doesn’t want you because of your orange PJ’s?

Even though you’re not a terrorist. Or even whatever this guy thinks are detained at the camp?

gtmo2

War criminals? Holy god. Oh wait. No. Sorry. We’ve buggered up the definition again.

Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as: “Wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including… wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, …taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

Just a small thing. I also think people need to have undergone a trial to be declared a war criminal.

As for the Centrelink thing he mentions, well he may well be right, depending on if the two-year waiting period gets waived on grounds of being a refugee or something. But that would be up to, gasp, Australia’s usual screening and approval process. So, how are GTMO detainees different from anyone else seeking a life in Australia?

Of course, the irony of Australia possibly not wanting convicts isn’t lost on some.

irony

Yeah. Hilarious. Except for the minor difference, you know, they’re not convicts.

I’m kinda aware that I might be splitting hairs a little. But, it’s a pretty big wig of bad hair when it comes down to defining the difference between a criminal and a not-criminal. This display from the comments section is the kind of moron mentality that would sooner gather the pitchforks and torches and wander down to the nearest house to burn down without first checking they had the right address.

I guess the fact that I’ve taken the time to stop and do a simple search to object the audible grunts and whistles coming from the herd of braying imbeciles makes me a bleeding-heart, terrorist-supporting, tree-hugging, whale-saving dipshit. Oh well, let them think whatever they like.

I’d rather be a hair-splitting dipshit than someone who skewers the wrong man with his pitchfork. That would be murder, if I were found guilty by a fair trial.

*Late addition*
adf

How dare them people so unfairly judge us with broad, sweeping generalisations without any kind of justification! They’re all non-human, I tells ya! Every last one of them!!

I guess them referring to all of us as infidels is far worse than being branded as a non-human…

Although, he is a former ADF member. I don’t know whether I should be worried that his kind make it into our defense forces, or whether I should be heartened that he left. I sincerely hope it’s because of the ADF’s own screening process…

Written by Andy

January 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Mean means testing screwing the “poor”

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With the amount of money that breeders get in this country, it’s kinda difficult to not feel a little perturbed. However, after you spend half an hour walking around a supermarket, listening to the gripes, grizzles, questions, tantrums and general disobedience you get this nice little inner glow as you begin to understand what it’s really about. The Government’s baby bonus isn’t there for plasma screens, and nor is it for obstetricians or pediatricians. Nope.

It’s compensation for emotional damages and distress.

This week marks the introduction of means testing for the Federal Government’s baby bonus. This means that those families who have a household income of $150,000 are not eligible for the $5,000 one-off payment per sprog. Whilst this story talks about the confusion surrounding the 1 January deadline, comments seem to revolve around the merits of having a baby bonus at all.

strawman

Weirdest Straw Man of the Week Award goes to this little nugget. Stay-at-home Mum’s are all gambling drunks? Heaven forbid that stay-at-home-Mums (or Dads) get a little bit of help. With housing affordability at all time lows, rents going up (apparently), and inflation still running a little high, I guess those people who elect to actually spend time raising their children instead of hurling them into child care don’t need the help, huh?

robinhoodcommie

Wait, wait, wait. “Steal from the rich and give to the poor”? You mean that noble rogue of a begone era Robin Hood, the Prince of Thieves, wasn’t actually a fighter against injustice and tyranny, and he was actually a scumbag pinko commie? All this time, Cary Elwes, Kevin Costner and Disney have been lying to me. Bastards.

150knotenough

A hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year isn’t a “high income earner”? How about that… I’m curious to know what Marie considers a “relatively small mortgage” too. Curious about Marie’s life of destitution, I did some quick calculations and a budget. It’s a very rough budget, though, so I won’t draw any conclusions here. I also couldn’t be stuffed chasing up quotes on home and contents insurance premiums and the like so I made some rough assumptions.

Okay, let’s assume that Marie is living in Australia’s premier city, Sydney. According to this place, the median house price in Sydney is roughly $560,000. Let’s also assume that she and her partner whacked up a fair deposit, as she sounds like the kind of fastidious and smart saver that budgets down to the final pennies in order to keep buying the two-minute noodles.

Let’s also bump her wage down to a mere $150,000 per year, just because we’re feeling mean. Using an HR method of calculation which is to take the annual wage, times it by 313 and then divide by 12 (don’t ask me, it’s not my formula) gives us a pre-tax figure of $5,750. After taxing at the highest rate of 45 cents on the dollar, we’re left with a paltry $3,162.94 per fortnight.

So, using a regular bank’s mortgage calculator, the (rough) fortnightly payment on a $525,000 mortgage with interest rates at 8.5%, at 30 years looks like this:

homeloan

Okay, no doubt that with a wage like Marie’s, she needs a car befitting someone of her standing. Let’s give her a BMW 320 Exec. You know, something humble and unpretentious. Let’s assume she managed to eke out a deposit like the responsible person she is, but because she’s working from pay to pay, they’ve extended the car loan out for as long as they can, ie five years. Also, let’s assume a car loan interest rate a little higher than usual. Fortnightly payments come out looking like this.

carloan

But, she’s got internet as well (obviously, unless she’s irresponsibly posting comments from work, which doesn’t sound like the thing Marie would do). Internode offers 5 gig of downloads at $40 per month. Her car needs to be run as well, as she probably works on top of a hill. That means the car would drink like it’s an eighteen year old at their first “last drinks” call.

So, with a few other assumptions, her monthly budget might look a little like this (assuming two pays per month).

budget

Like I said before, I’ve taken quite a number of liberties here, so I won’t formulate a conclusion here. This budget is missing minor things like… food. But that might come out of the left over $200 each fortnight. Also… figures are for illustrative purposes only, blah, blah, blah.

… alright, maybe a little conclusion… I wish my household was earning a figure “not representative of a high income”

Written by Andy

December 29, 2008 at 4:24 pm