The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Elections! Photos! Trains! and other stuff

Thursday 3 April 2008 at 4:20 pm

Not dead! Just, y’know, busy scheming the next phase in this blog’s evolution. The first change you’ll see for now is a few more photo posts, taken from my newly pro-ified Flickr account … and other new stuff is in the works (no, honestly!).

In the time since I last posted here …

  • Taiwan got a new president! And he seems less interested in aggravating China’s government than the previous president was. This is a good thing for world peace, although it remains to be seen whether his party has really changed from the era of one-party rule.
  • Zimbabwe came close to getting a new president! Well, maybe, possibly, assuming Robert Mugabe is kind enough to actually acquiesce to the people’s vote — not exactly a certain outcome.
  • Brendan Nelson and his ragtag Federal Opposition decided they should just copy Kevin Rudd! Specifically, he’s gone on a “listening tour” all his own, ’cept it’s even more pointless than the Ruddster’s.
  • The NSW Government announced plans for the first real subway/metro in Australia! But then, in doing so they blithely dumped long-standing plans for a CityRail line in that area of town. That plus the far-off completion timetable has me doubting whether this will go ahead or be yet another expensive bright idea that gets shelved.
  • Kerry Stokes used his ownership stake to try to get some changes at The West Australian! The staff at that paper have such intransigence that again I doubt anything will happen, but if he succeeds and makes the paper stop sucking, he’ll be quite the unlikely hero.
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Strip clubs and sinners and stock markets, oh my!

Sunday 19 August 2007 at 10:11 pm

I’m holed up in bed with a cold (which seems to have come from either Webjam or Jam for Sudan, both of which were immensely awesome!). Tis a mystery how I ever lived without WiFi.

  • I would care if Kevin Rudd had ever spoken to the military leadership of Burma, or had an audience with Robert Mugabe. But a strip club in New York City? Bah, next there’ll be reports that he visited a casino in Las Vegas. Problem is, I fear this will dent his popularity — but then maybe the coming week’s polls will agree with Peter Beattie, since no one trusts MPs to be upstanding citizens anyway. Also, isn’t it just a little suspicious that it was a News Corporation editor who led Rudd and Snowden into the club, followed by the News Limited papers plastering it over their front pages today?
  • Speaking of Robert Mugabe, am I the only one left with a bitter taste at the Foreign Minister’s decision to cancel the Australian student visas of his leadership’s children? Even aside from the “sins of their parents” question, exactly how will this help towards getting Zimbabwe out of its current situation?
  • Earlier this week, we had the Treasurer issuing warnings and saying there was no need to panic-sell shares, and today he’s expressing “concern” at the state of the mortgage market. Now I’m just as miffed as every other investor that the market has dropped, but I have trouble seeing what the Federal Treasurer’s action or inaction has to do with the poor decisions of American home lenders. Oh wait, my mistake: this is the responsible economic management we keep being told about.
  • Two things that caught my attention yesterday: a fluff-piece in the West Australian about the construction projects planned or underway around town, and a (rather expensive-looking) State Government brochure outlining the new infrastructure being paid for by taxpayers. But both of them miss what I think is the more important discussion — the subtler changes needed, if you will, to our city’s ‘software’. Things like giving priority to pedestrians in the city, engaging more closely with the arts (e.g. using white walls around town as canvases), and actually promoting the small bars that the liquor licensing changes were supposed to deliver …