Wednesday 8 July 2009

Comments on all sorts of stuff

I'm glad I don't pay for newspapers anymore. I look at the online editions and rarely find more than 2 or 3 articles worth reading. How is it that I can pick up a 49 page copy of the Spectator and find something of interest in 80% of the articles, yet less than 1% of the SMH makes sense on any given day? I pay for the Spectator, and am happy to do so. I'm not sure if it is the mix of articles, or the viewpoints, or the superior writing and editing that attract me - all that I know is that if the SMH folded tomorrow, I would not mourn it for an instant.

Except as a source of stupidity.

The Law Reform Commission is stuffed full of ancient critters, and its mausoleum like corridors need to be invigorated with fresh blood, somewhat like giving a vampire a goblet of virgin's blood as an early evening pick-me-up. Instead of new people, how about just abolishing the commission? Do we really need a flood of new and reformed laws?

I like the way they do things in Alaska, where the legislature sits for 3 months and then packs up and goes home. I'd be happy for Parliament to only sit one year in two, and to allow the courts, police, business community and so on to digest the latest pile of waffle to emerge from the bowels of the bear pit.

I'm sure those working at the commission see their work as being vital to the well being of the state, but if they closed their doors for a decade, would the world really come to an end?

Personal screen savers and wallpapers have been banned from Sydney City Council computers - wow, that's big news. BFD*. Whilst I detest odious little control freaks like our Muppet Mayor, it has to be remembered that they are council computers, not personal computers. You want your own screensaver, pay for your own computer. It does suck though when IT decides to do something without telling its customers in advance. What is it about geeks and their inability to communicate with the outside world? We have all these technical gizmos - i-phones, Blackberries, Twatter, Faceplant and so on; all designed to improve personal interaction, and geeks still churn out change after change without informing a soul of their intentions.

Given that our schools are intent on churning out a generation of functional illiterates, how much worse is this going to be in future? I'm sure I'll go into the office next year to find a sticky note on my screen saying "ur keybrd sux. lol. Nu kybrod uner dsk. Cll Fizpig if prolbm."

Welcome to the new age of corporate communications.

I'm wondering what services our council are going to take the axe to this year, given that their request for a rate increase got kiboshed. I read in the local rag that our local Labor MP, Angela D'Moron, opposed the increase for some unknown reason. She's been running around the suburbs, white-anting the Labor Mayor and doing her best to stab him in the back - there is a long history of bad blood there. The local Labor councillors and party members, who mainly hate her guts (she was parachuted in by head office), are up in arms. Nothing like a bit of interminable warfare within the ranks to enliven one's day.

I don't see what her angle is. What's she going to say? "I made sure your council got no more money this year, so your roads, paths, verges, drainage pipes, parks, seawalls, libraries and so on are going to be even shittier at the end of this year than they are now - and that's all my own work. Old people will go unfed, dog shit will go uncollected, and childcare services will be cut back. Aren't I just fucking marvelous?"

Her moronic government is blowing $160 million of our cash on an unnecessary bridge just down the road from here, and that represents 3 years of total council expenditure. I had a flick through our council financial statements the other day, and we have a backlog of something like $49 million in maintenance.

You want to know why I own a 4WD? It's because our local roads are appalling goat tracks, liberally coated in the smashed spoilers of low riding sports cars that were unable to navigate the pot holes without leaving something behind. She saves a few peanuts at this end, but advocates flushing over a hundred million down the toilet at the other end. The thing is, we don't want the money spent on her stupid bridge, but we do want it spent on fixing up wonky foot paths and leaking drains and roads that would not look out of place in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

I guess she knows that since she's going to lose her seat at the next election, the only available job will be in local government, and maybe she is eyeing off the mayoral chains and cloak. It's pretty rare for an MP to step back into local government, but it has been done before.

If I was council, I'd dig up the street outside her office and then cite a "shortfall of cash" as their reason for being unable to fill in the six foot deep moat (preferably complete with punji stakes smeared with faeces at the bottom, and unfed piranha fish).

*Big Fricken Deal.

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