Archive for April 3rd, 2009

Samuel’s Blog Weekly Poll: Prime Ministerial Outbursts

It’s time for a new poll (it’s been that time for a long time according to Mr. Wolf), and thus, here’s a topical poll:

Is it acceptable for the Prime Minister to verbally abuse an air hostess?

Total Votes: 12
Started: April 3, 2009

As usual, if you would like to elaborate on your vote, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

The results from the previous poll:

Is Westpac Bank’s purchase of St. George Bank…?

Total Votes: 42
Started: December 2, 2008

From personal experience, I think the “not going to make a difference” vote is spot on, but I must say that I found the pessimistic mood interesting, with only 19% of voters saying the buyout would be good for customers.

Results from previous polls can be viewed at http://samuelgordonstewart.com/weekly-poll-results.

Samuel

April 3rd, 2009 at 11:07pm

Maintenance Mode

Samuel’s Blog is now going in to maintenance mode while it moves servers and I clean up a few bits and pieces.

The photo gallery will be offline for a bit longer while I sort out a few issues with it.

Update 6pm: We’re now running off the new server. A minor glitch in the process means that a number of files are still copying across, however all “core” files are in place and the site should be operating normally. End Update

Update 10:30pm: All files which reside directly in the wp-content directory have been uploaded. This is the vast majority of general images and audio files. Files belonging to specific galleries or categories which were allocated their own directory are still being uploaded in alphabetical order.

At this time all Editorial Echoes and Samuel’s Persiflage files are offline.

Approximately 1000 files totalling about 1.5GB have been uploaded to the wp-content directory. A further 2300 or so files remain. End Update

Update 5:30amAll Samuel’s Persiflage and Editorial Echoes files are now online (they have been for an hour give or take a few minutes but I’ve been too busy with my AIR News commitments to notice) and most other files are online as well. Approximately 2,400 files have been uploaded, with another 900 or so to go.

The photo gallery will be offline until further notice. End Update

Update 7:15am: Files and downloads should now all be available, however due to file permission issues some files or pages might not be working properly. I’ll work on it when I’ve had some sleep. In the meantime, please email me if you run in to any problems with the site. End Update

Samuel

April 3rd, 2009 at 04:30pm

“Your Prime Minister Included”

It looks like the phrase “me too” was banned during the 2007 election campaign, as Kevin Rudd prefers to use the phrase “your prime minister included”.

The pretentious phrase was used as Mr. Rudd tried to bumble his way out of today’s fiasco, the revelations about his amazing ability to reduce females in the Air Force to tears:

Kevin Rudd apologised to a flight attendant on a Royal Australian Air Force VIP flight earlier this year after she was subjected to an angry outburst from the prime minister over not being served the meal he wanted.

The incident occurred on a flight from Port Moresby to Australia in January and News Limited newspapers report that the 23-year-old RAAF flight attendant was reduced to tears over Mr Rudd’s anger.

But Mr Rudd downplayed the incident when he was asked about it at the conclusion of the G20 summit in the British capital on Thursday, saying he did not “observe” any tears over the matter.

Cue the Rudd-speak

“As I recall it, there was a flight, I think from Port Moresby, and I had a discussion with, I think, one of the attendants on the provision of food. It didn’t last very long and if anyone was offended by that, including the attendant concerned, of course, I apologise,” Mr Rudd said during a news conference.

“The provision of food”? That sounds like he was selecting the menu and choosing which meal would go to each person on the plane. A more sensible phrase would have been “my meal”.

Mr. Rudd went on to demonstrate that he knew his choice of words was offensive by saying that people shouldn’t worry about it:

Mr Rudd said that as he recalled, he told a member of the crew not to worry about the language he had used.

“I said to the member of staff not to worry about it,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd is well known for his extreme work ethic and rumours abound of accounts involving staff who have been on the receiving end of the prime minister’s sharp temper.

“Extreme work ethic”, didn’t Barack Obama use that excuse a few weeks ago?

Mr. Rudd has apologised for upsetting people, but I can’t find any apology for the incident itself.

“As I said before, if I upset anybody on that particular flight I’m really sorry. I apologise for it and, as I said at the time to one of the staff on the plane, that’s it.

“We’re all human, we all make mistakes, your prime minister included.”

Yes your Majest…err…Prime Ministership.

April 3rd, 2009 at 04:00pm

Maybe Blogojevic will have to give us the context now

Or maybe he’ll just tell us “it’s in the tapes” like he has been doing for ages.

Perhaps giving us the context will incriminate him, and he will refuse to give us the context on those grounds. The Federal Grand Jury certainly seems to think the context will incriminate him.

Blagojevich Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges
FOXNews.com
Thursday, April 02, 2009

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and ousted, has been indicted on charges he engaged in a “wide-ranging scheme to deprive the people of Illinois of honest government.”

A federal grand jury handed down the 19-count indictment against Blagojevich, his brother, two former aides and two businessmen Thursday. It accuses Blagojevich of corruption involving billions of dollars in state pension bonds.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitgerald had until Tuesday to get an indictment against Blagojevich but Thursday was the last day for the grand jury to meet.

FBI agents arrested the Chicago Democrat in December on allegations that also include trying to auction off President Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Illinois lawmakers impeached him and threw him out of office in January.

Blagojevich released the following statement Thursday evening:

“I’m saddened and hurt but I am not surprised by the indictment. I am innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give to all their friends and neighbors.”
The PR firm representing the governor, The Publicity Agency, will send out alerts and advisories as developments warrant.”

Blagojevich has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has promised to fight the charges in court and has a book contract to tell his side.

The former governor is not in Chicago; he’s with his family at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Obama’s deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, said the White House would not comment. Blagojevich’s indictment does not allege any wrongdoing by Obama or his associates.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., whom Blagojevich defiantly appointed to replace Obama in the Senate, told FOX News the senator nor his staff will have no comment on the indictment.

Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., who was one of several Senate appointees Blagojevich considered, told FOX News Blagojevich’s indictment is “a sad day for the state of Illinois. It’s a sad day for politics.

“I’m still hoping that the governor is not guilty,” he added. “I think the voters and the citizens must put this behind them as quickly as they can.”

Illinois Republican Party seized on Blagojevich’s indictment to denounce Democrats.

“Today’s indictment opens another tragic chapter in the national embarrassment of Blagojevich Democrats have brought on the people of Illinois,” state Republican Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement.

“This is another sad day in our state’s history, but Republicans are ready to bring change and reform to government and are fighting to bring a new beginning for the people of Illinois,” he said.

Samuel

April 3rd, 2009 at 02:13pm

Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation just a tad over-excited

I received a press release from the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation a short time ago, and they seem to be a tad over-excited:

The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AER) today welcomed the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia’s (DSICA) announcement they will place a moratorium on TV advertising of alcohol brands represented by the Spirits Council before 9pm for a period of twelve months, with its effects to be assessed.

AER Chairman Scott Wilson said the move is an encouraging step towards the more responsible alcohol marketing and advertising code called for by Senator Steven Fielding, AER and many public health organisations.

On the face of it, this sounds like a very big story. No alcohol advertising before 9pm is a big step, but the more you read, the less the story seems even remotely interesting. Two paragraphs later Mr. Wilson had this to say:

“This proactive announcement by DSICA covers a handful of alcohol brands that pay significant amounts to promote their products to sporting enthusiasts, young and old. It is important to ensure that alcohol brands across the board adopt a more responsible advertising code, and we believe all alcohol promotion, advertising and sponsorship of sport at all levels should be Government regulated.”

What Mr. Wilson means by “a handful” is “nine”. Yes, that’s right, nine alcohol companies. According to the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia website, these nine companies are:

  • Bacardi Lion Pty Ltd
  • Jim Beam Brands Australia Pty Ltd
  • Brown-Forman Australia
  • Bundaberg Distilling Company
  • Diageo Australia Limited
  • Maxxium Australia Pty Ltd
  • Moet Hennessy Australia Pty Ltd
  • Suntory (Aust) Pty Ltd
  • William Grant & Sons International Ltd

I can think of a few companies which aren’t on that list, and are therefore not affected by the moratorium. Mr. Wilson went on to say in a side-splitting manner:

“Without this regulation in place, we risk giving other alcohol brands an opportunity to take centre stage – and the game, the players and the audience will suffer the hangover.”

Mr. Wilson is right. Other alcohol companies will take over the vacated advertising spots.

The only thing being achieved by this moratorium is a decrease in the brand-awareness of the nine listed companies, which is only likely to damage those companies in favour of the unlisted companies. It won’t reduce alcohol sales, but it might send the nine companies to the wall, which would give the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation a chance to gloat in their supposed success…after all, the companies must be selling less if they collapse, right?

Samuel

4 comments April 3rd, 2009 at 12:46pm

Stimulus Payments cleared by High Court

The Federal Government’s stimulus payments have been declared legal by the majority of the High Court bench. This means that the $900 (or less, depending on your annual income) payments will start flowing next week.

Legal academic Bryan Pape was challenging the legitimacy of the payments in the High Court, claiming the government doesn’t have the power to hand out the money as a tax bonus.

But the majority of the High Court bench has ruled that the payments are valid.

Outside the court Mr Pape said he wasn’t disappointed by the loss, instead he says he was pleased he was given the chance to mount a challenge.

I’m pleased to see the High Court reach a swift decision on this matter, as a decision either way was going to set an important precedent, and having the decision pending wasn’t helpful for anyone.

Update: The Tax Office have issued a press release, stating that stimulus payments will be made between the 6th and 16th of April:

Following the High Court’s decision, the Tax Office today said 7.4 million people who have already lodged their 2007-08 tax return will begin receiving their tax bonus payments from next week.

Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said if people have lodged their 2007-08 tax return and meet the eligibility criteria they don’t need to do anything else to receive the payment.
[..]
“Eligible people who have received their 2007-08 notice of assessment before 27 March 2009 can expect to receive their payment between next week and 16 May 2009.

“Those who received their notice of assessment after 27 March 2009 can expect their tax bonus payment around four weeks after they received their notice of assessment.

“Please be patient if you don’t receive the payment immediately.

“We are working closely with Australia Post and the Reserve Bank to distribute around 7.4 million payments over the next six weeks.
[..]
It is not too late for people whose returns are still outstanding, but they must lodge by 30 June 2009 to be eligible unless they’ve already have an extension.

“We have extended the availability of e-tax until 31 May 2009 for those who want to do their own return online, or people should contact their tax agent as soon as possible,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.

End Update

Samuel

April 3rd, 2009 at 11:39am

Another tax cheat

Meet Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary-designate.

Kathleen is the latest in a string of Obama cabinet nominees to realise that she has a tax problem. Kathleen’s tax problems over the last three years were worth $7000. Funny how she forgot about it until she was nominated.

I’m not going to waste much time on this one, because quite frankly if I put much effort in to the stories about the Obama cabinet tax cheats, then I’m going to have to start putting the same amount of effort in to stories about the sun rising and setting each day.

Instead I’ll just take heart in the knowledge that at the beginning of January, Obama’s approval to disapproval rate in the daily Rasmussen poll was 69% to 29%, and today it is 56% to 44%.

Samuel

April 3rd, 2009 at 08:57am


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