The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Alternative government, the CCC axe, and Tsonga vs. Ðoković

Friday 25 January 2008 at 11:21 pm
  • Remember how, during the election campaign, it often seemed that Team Ruddster wasn’t really that different to Team Howard? It certainly sounded that way this week, with the Defence Minister promising that spending levels won’t change, the Foreign Minister promising to keep the American alliance strong and the Human Services Minister promising yet another crackdown on people receiving Centrelink payments.
  • In Perth, oh look, the CCC has claimed another scalp! But this time it’s the super-high-profile boss of the WA Health Department, Neale Fong. In honesty I wasn’t nearly as impressed by his performance in that job as the Health Minister seemed to be, and so I’m not exactly sad to see him go.
  • Shock, horror, demand at Perth Airport continues to grow. Meanwhile, the owners are still stuffing around with barely-adequate carparks ever further from the run-down domestic terminals.
  • Finally, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Rafael Nadal! And Novak Ðoković beat Roger Federer! Both in straight sets! Excuse me while I lift my jaw off the floor. The men’s Australian Open final is going to be very interesting …
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Match point at 4.30am?

Sunday 20 January 2008 at 1:51 am

An Australian Open rant: I’m not sure that Lleyton Hewitt deserved the win he just scored in that insane game against Marcos Baghdatis. I mean, 5 games to 1 and 40 – love in the fourth set — three match points — and he couldn’t convert!

Which isn’t to deny that both players did a superb job surviving a super-long match that didn’t start until midnight. What on earth were the organisers thinking to allow a match to go so late? Think of the (ball)children …!

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New leader, same messed-up party

Friday 18 January 2008 at 10:22 pm

Yesterday’s State news was that Troy Buswell had gotten over the Crazy Drunken Party Trick saga and won the Liberal Party leadership. And it seems that at least a few in the party are hoping he’ll be their saviour in the forthcoming election. (… which will be this year or next. Speaking of which, didn’t ol’ Gallop promise us fixed four-year terms?)

Now I was skeptical about Kevin Rudd when he got to the top of Federal Labor, and that was obviously wrong, but the Ruddster had a much easier job than the WA Liberal leader. After all, the State Liberals have still got to deal with an alienated coalition partner, ridiculously poor polling, no major policy to speak of, and the departure of key members

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Not quite the same blog anymore

Wednesday 16 January 2008 at 10:05 pm

This blog has undergone a few transmogrifications in its brief life, but the last was long enough ago that maybe another is warranted now!

A few of you have already heard about the mad-cap plans afoot in my life at present. For those who haven’t, suffice it to say that I’m being lured away from home by the shiny screens and fat wallets of Silicon Valley.

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Plastic bags, eh?

Sunday 13 January 2008 at 11:40 pm

Torn plastic bag stuck on a tree
photo by z e n

Broadly speaking, I’m impressed that our rock-star minister has a clear intent to ban these crazy bags.

Naturally, supermarket owners are saying that legislation isn’t needed and that they can self-regulate the use of plastic bags down. Um, isn’t that what’s been going on since 2004? It’s been a good first step, but I’d laugh at anyone claiming the retailers have given us a full solution.

On that note, I’m not sure I’m convinced by the Chinese government’s plan to ban the bags. While there’s no doubting the communist leadership’s ability to put their foot down when they want to, there’s also the fact that everyone in China uses plastic bags all the time. (Buy a lone chocolate bar from a mini-mart, and lo! it’s given to you in a bag). There’s going to be some severe cultural change required to make a ban work, whereas in Australia the “bags + environment = bad!” message has been around for long enough that people should be able to adapt.

But that said, it is actually true that there are plenty of other environmental issues more deserving of everyone’s attention …


“Party tricks”, state funding, and obituaries

Sunday 13 January 2008 at 11:34 pm

Oops, I suppose I should post something! Here are some things I have observed recently.

  • I have only one response to the current State Liberal leadership scuffle: LOL! (hey look, I’ll destroy my leadership ambitions with a drunken escapade! As if it’d improve the party’s fortunes anyway.)
  • I’ve spoken to quite a few people lately who’ve observed that Team Ruddster haven’t done much since taking office. But tomorrow’s meeting of Federal and State treasurers could prove to be the team’s first big change, if they can agree to straighten out the mess of specific purpose payments. (If.)
  • I do hope that Fortescue Metals sorts out their weak safety record, even if the press have sensationalised it (to wit: “working families”!). Their apparently-weak management here is one of the few things I can see as getting in the way of their crazy take-over-the-Pilbara plan.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary probably deserves the fanfare that has accompanied his unfortunate passing. By contrast, the forthcoming death of Suharto shouldn’t merit anything of the sort.
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