Archive for January 7th, 2007

Easter Eggs

Good morning John,

I have good news for you, my weekly dose of supermarket catalogues arrived today from Aldi, Woolworths and IGA (Coles was missing for some reason) and there was not an easter egg in sight! Also I didn't see any in my local Supabarn yesterday.

That being said, I have no problem with hot cross buns being sold all year round, they're too scrumptious to only have a for a month or two of the year.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

January 7th, 2007 at 10:30pm

Canberra’s Weather

Weatherzone is still down, with the following notice:

Weatherzone
Sunday 17:24 EDT
Due to a catastrophic hardware failure Weatherzone is temporarily offline.
Our technical staff are working to correct the problem. The hardware has been replaced and it is hoped that normal service will be restored during Monday morning.
We apologise for any inconvenience.

So once again I am compiling a weather report from the Bureau Of Meteorology’s Canberra Forecast, this time issued at 3:30 pm EDT on Sunday 7 January 2007.

A few further showers this evening, but clearing by tomorrow morning for a fine and sunny Monday with light to moderate east to southeast winds. An overnight low of 14 degrees, and a top of 27 degrees.
Looking ahead, fine conditions are expected for most of this week with gradually rising temperatures. Hot conditions are expected on Thursday and Friday with possible late showers on Friday. Tuesday 28 degrees, Wednesday 32 degrees and Thursday 36 degrees.

More information can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Canberra forecast page.

Samuel

5 comments January 7th, 2007 at 10:06pm

Samuel’s Musician Of The Week

After this annual Christmas Musician Of The Week Awards and a short break, Samuel’s Musician(s) Of The Week is back. This week the award goes to Connie Francis, and the feature song is one which somehow manages to go for just over two minutes without an instrumental interlude…namely “Who’s Sorry Now?”

Who’s sorry now?
Who’s sorry now?
Whose heart is achin’ for breakin’ each vow?
Who’s sad and blue?
Who’s cryin’ too?
Just like I cried over you.

Right to the end
Just like a friend
I tried to warn you somehow
You had your way
Now you must pay
I’m glad that you’re sorry now!

Right to the end
Just like a friend
I tried to warn you somehow
You had your way
Now you must pay
I’m glad that you’re sorry now…

Samuel

2 comments January 7th, 2007 at 06:36pm

Enrolling To Vote Should Be Compulsory By Age 18

RiotACT is covering a press release from ACT Minister for Youth Katy Gallagher urging young people to enrol to vote. Whilst I agree with RiotACT that the embargo on the press release it a bit suspicious, I think they have completely missed the point of the press release.

For once I think Ms. Gallagher is actually making sense, she is reminding people that the federal government changed the law in December so that electoral enrolments close on the day the writs are issued for an election, rather than having a seven day “grace period” as used to be the case. Katy seems to be concerned that the people who are covered by her “Minister for Youth” portfolio are going to miss out on voting because they might not already be enrolled, and as an election could be called at any time, it is prudent to enrol as soon as possible.

RiotACT are right that the electoral law changed in December, but are wrong when they claim Katy should have made this announcement back then. December is hardly a month where the majority of the population will take notice of a minister babbling about what we should be doing, and on the off chance that somebody does take notice, they will probably forget in the lead-up to Christmas anyway. January is a much better month for such an announcement, and Katy has waited until after most people are back in sensible mode following the Christmas/New Year festivities.

Whilst I think Katy is making an honourable effort to remind people of their democratic rights and responsibilities with this press release, I am baffled that we need the reminder at all.

The Australian Electoral Commission allow people to enrol on the electoral roll when they are 17 years old. Whilst you can’t vote until you are 18, enrolling at 17 means you can’t miss out on your legal obligation to at least turn up at a polling place. ACT Secondary Colleges encourage people to enrol to vote at 17, they even hand out the enrolment forms, so I can only assume that the AEC runs similar programs with educational institutions in other states and territories.

I enrolled at 17, even before Dickson College tried to remind me to do so, I enrolled under my own volition, and whilst I was unable to vote in the 2004 federal or ACT elections, I keenly observed it all. I don’t expect everyone to take as much interest in the democratic process as I did at that age, but surely it isn’t too much to ask for people to enrol to vote.

It is a legal obligation to get your name ticked off at a polling place, and from memory it is also a legal obligation to be enrolled to vote, so why is it that enrolling is voluntary until the electoral roll closes? In my opinion it should be compulsory to enrol by the time you turn 18, and failure to do so should result in a growing fine for each day you are late, $10 for the first day, $20 for the second, $30 for the third etc.

There would have to be exceptions in place for people with a good (most likely severe medical) reason for not enrolling, but in general, this stage of the democratic process should be better enforced with better legislation.

I still can’t understand how people forget to enrol under the current system, it’s not as if you have to actually cast a valid vote, but people do forget, most likely due to apathy, and so I think it is about time that we got serious about the enrolment process, and simplified the only remaining ambiguous part of the electoral process, by making it a legal obligation to be enrolled by the time a person turns 18 years old.

Samuel

January 7th, 2007 at 04:00pm

Glasses!

Now that I’ve had my glasses for a few days, I think it is time for me to post a new picture of myself, and some eyesight comparisons.

Firstly, the new picture of me.
Samuel Gordon-Stewart

Now some eyesight comparisons. I was amazed when I got my glasses and saw how much I had been missing.

Here is a picture of a Hot Air Balloon taken at the 2006 Canberra Balloon Fiesta
Hot Air Balloon with Glasses

Whilst it didn’t look this bad back then, here’s what it would have looked like without glasses in the week before I got my glasses.
Hot Air Balloon without Glasses

I was generally able to see items with enough clarity to know what they were, and even work out some of the writing, but when it came to purely written items I was at a loss. Here’s a calendar (the one I referred to when speaking to John Kerr about my eyesight yesterday).
Calendar with Glasses

And again from about three metres without glasses
Calendar without Glasses from three metres

And from about five metres
Calendar without Glasses from five metres

Whilst the difference between three and five metres is quite drastic, beyond five metres my vision doesn’t change an awful lot, but does gradually get worse.

And just for the fun of it, here’s Nattie.
Nattie with Glasses

And from about five metres without glasses (notice the amazing difference in the carpet).
Nattie without Glasses from five metres

Since getting the glasses, I have noticed that my eyes have adjusted to them, and things I could see clearly at a close distance previously are now much easier to look at with the glasses on. Things in the distance are much the same as they were without glasses, but with glasses, it’s a whole new world!

Samuel

6 comments January 7th, 2007 at 12:50pm

Congratulations Jey

As some of you may know, regular contributor Jey has recently been accepted into the University of Queensland.

I would just like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jey, I hope the next few years of study are prosperous for you, you enjoy living in Queensland, and I also hope that you still find time to contribute comments here.

Samuel

2 comments January 7th, 2007 at 09:58am

Canberra’s Weather

In the absence of the Weatherzone weather forecast usually seen on the right of this website’s home page, here is a weather forecast for Canberra, based on the Bureau of Meteorology forecast issued at 3:30 pm EDT on Saturday 6 January 2007.

A trough approaching western NSW will move across the ACT on Sunday, bringing isolated showers about the region, moderate west to northwest winds are expected. We’re heading down to an overnight low of 19 degrees, with 29 the expected high. The UV Index will be 10, with a high fire danger.

Looking ahead, the showers will clear early Monday with fine conditions expected for most of next week with gradually rising temperatures, and a chance of a shower on Friday.
27 degrees for Monday, 28 for Tuesday and 32 for Wednesday.

More information can be obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Canberra forecast page.

Samuel

Update 11:53am: Weatherzone have the following service status update for us:

Sunday 11:04 EDT
Due to a catastrophic hardware failure Weatherzone is temporarily offline.
Our technical staff are working to correct the problem and hope to restore normal service by Sunday night.
We apologise for any inconvenience.

In the meantime they are offering temporary access to their beta development site which, after having had a look around last night, is a vast improvement on their current site.
URL: http://beta.weatherzone.com.au
Username: wzbeta
Password: wzbeta

End Update

January 7th, 2007 at 01:14am

The Debnam and Iemma Dilemma

Good morning John,

I'm glad I don't live in New South Wales, mainly because I'm glad that I don't have to choose between Peter Debnam and Morris Iemma. How do they expect to have any credibility if they can't solve the dilemma of whether to sit or stand during a debate?

OK sure, Mr Iemma is a good 15 centimetres shorter than Mr. Debnam, but a true leader shouldn't be concerned about the height of an opponent, especially if the only blows they will come to are verbal ones. Maybe we should offer Mr. Iemma a couple copies of the Yellow Pages to stand on?

Whilst they are both being silly about it, I think Mr. Debnam is right that a debate should involve the opponents standing, and I'm glad that he is willing to concede to a sitting debate if Mr. Iemma insists on one.

I do have to wonder what's next though…if this seated debate is a success, will the "standing orders" of parliament be altered to MPs sit when they address parliament? If so, will the orders be renamed "sitting orders"?

It's good to see that our elected leaders are focussing on the real issues!

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

From The Sun Herald:

Deep-seated differences create a debate debacle

Divided we sit ... Opposition Leader Peter Debnam and Premier Morris Iemma have reached a stalemate on their live television debate.

Divided we sit …. Opposition Leader Peter Debnam and Premier Morris Iemma have reached a stalemate on their live television debate.
Photo: Chris Colls (digitally merged)

Alex Mitchell
January 7, 2007

ARRANGEMENTS for the televised election debate between Premier Morris Iemma and Opposition Leader Peter Debnam are up in the air because of a row over whether they should sit or stand.

Mr Iemma has insisted they sit in chairs during the hour-long live debate on the ABC but Mr Debnam favours standing.

"I've been watching televised election debates from around the world for years and I've never seen the protagonists sitting down," Mr Debnam said. "It's quite ridiculous."

Two other major differences have emerged:

Mr Iemma wants just one debate while Mr Debnam is seeking at least two and hopefully three.

Mr Iemma is insisting the debate be held on Friday, February 16, five weeks before the March 24 election but Mr Debnam wants all three debates in March – after the election is called.

Mr Debnam said last night: "Mr Iemma wants a seated fireside chat, but I'm demanding a proper stand-up debate at lecterns."

He said he would continue to oppose the "ridiculous restrictions" imposed by the Premier but, if he had to face Mr Iemma seated, then "beggars can't be choosers".

Mr Iemma's insistence on a sit-down debate shows his sensitivity to height: he is 167 centimetres tall while Mr Debnam, a former naval officer, is a ramrod-straight 182 centimetres.

The Premier's minders are concerned that Mr Debnam's extra height might give him an advantage if he is seen to be a more imposing presence.

But television consultant Peter Cox said Mr Iemma was a capable TV performer.

"There have been great leaders over the centuries who have been short – Napoleon is a good example – and there have been other celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Kylie Minogue and Sam Chisholm," Mr Cox said.

"My advice to Morris Iemma is that he should stand and deliver."

A Debnam staff member offered a compromise solution saying said that if the Premier wanted to stand on a raised platform, the Opposition camp would not object. Stephen Galilee, Mr Debnam's chief of staff, has written to Quentin Dempster, host of the ABC's Stateline program, saying: "The proposal for a seated debate is not agreed.

"The Leader of the Opposition is very happy to stand for the full hour and our preference is for both the participants to stand for the duration of the debate."

Mr Galilee protested about the date of the debate, saying: "It is two weeks before the date when the election is called and five weeks before the election itself.

"It is ridiculous for the Premier to request that a campaign debate occur before the campaign has formally commenced.

"He is clearly attempting to run away from his previous commitment to a campaign debate."

Mr Galilee has called for two additional debates in the lead-up to the election, saying: "Transport and infrastructure issues deserve a dedicated discussion, as does the water crisis."

Mr Iemma surprised his Labor colleagues last October when he publicly agreed to a live televised debate with Mr Debnam, the underdog.

It broke a 20-year stand-off between the major parties on election debates during which former premier Bob Carr rejected any television appearances with his rivals.

Mr Carr conducted the entire 1999 election without mentioning the name of then Opposition leader Kerry Chikarovski and only made one grudging reference to John Brogden during the 2003 campaign.

Labor's campaign team in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 elections took the view that TV debates would only provide airplay to Opposition policies.

Mr Iemma is confident he can present a more engaging and likeable image than Mr Debnam.

Meanwhile, Mr Debnam is starting to come into consideration as the alternative premier and disgruntled voters are keener to hear his policies.

Source: The Sun-Herald

1 comment January 7th, 2007 at 12:30am


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