Archive for June, 2013

NRL Tips: Round 16

Alas after a few rather busy days, I went to bed yesterday afternoon and slept right through the night, and completely forgot to put my NRL tips in. That was quite a shame as I have a habit of tipping against the Raiders and would have received quite a few points out of that had I done it, but instead as I did not enter a tip for the match, I lose the margin of the game.

Rabbitohs V Raiders -30
Tigers V Storm
Panthers V Dragons
Knights V Titans
Warriors V Broncos
Cowboys V Sharks
Roosters V Sea Eagles

Samuel

June 29th, 2013 at 04:42pm

AFL Tips: Round 14

West Coast V Essendon
Sydney V Carlton
Gold Coast V Adelaide
Port Adelaide V Collingwood
Geelong V Fremantle
Melbourne V Western Bulldogs
Hawthorn V Brisbane
North Melbourne V GWS
Richmond V St. Kilda

Samuel

June 27th, 2013 at 08:07pm

AFL Tips: Round 13

Hawthorn V West Coast
Port Adelaide V Sydney
St. Kilda V Melbourne
Western Bulldogs V Richmond
Fremantle V North Melbourne
Brisbane V Geelong

Samuel

June 21st, 2013 at 07:18pm

NRL Tips: Round 15

Bulldogs V Roosters
Tigers V Raiders
Eels V Rabbitohs
Titans V Storm

Samuel

June 21st, 2013 at 07:15pm

NRL Tips: Round 14

Dragons V Cowboys
Sea Eagles V Bulldogs
Raiders V Panthers
Sharks V Eels
Rabbitohs V Titans
Storm V Knights
Roosters V Warriors
Broncos V Tigers

Samuel

June 14th, 2013 at 06:45pm

AFL Tips: Round 12

Carlton V Hawthorn
Richmond V Adelaide
Fremantle V Brisbane
Essendon V Gold Coast
GWS V Port Adelaide
Collingwood V Western Bulldogs

Samuel

June 14th, 2013 at 06:41pm

Queen’s Birthday holiday, and the rumours of a Kevin Rudd revival

An email to 2GB’s Andrew Moore who is filling in for Alan Jones today

Good morning Andrew,

You posed an interesting question at the top of the hour about whether supporters of a republic would take advantage of the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. I support the monarchy, but I’m working today…where’s the Republican to do my shift today (but I’ll keep my public holiday penalty rates).

As for Kevin Rudd, I agree with you that if he takes over the Labor leadership he will immediately call an election. But I don’t think the public will fall for it and it would result in an even bigger loss for Labor…perhaps that would be a good thing.

Happy Birthday! (that’s the greeting today isn’t it?),
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

2 comments June 10th, 2013 at 06:19am

NRL Tips: Round 13 (also late)

In addition to missing putting my tips in before last night’s match, I haven’t had time to post last week’s results. That’s something I’ll try to get to over the weekend.

Eels V Roosters -14
Knights V Dragons
Cowboys V Bulldogs
Panthers V Tigers
Warriors V Sea Eagles
Storm V Sharks
Raiders V Broncos

Samuel

June 8th, 2013 at 06:55am

AFL Tips: Round 11 (a tad late)

I was a bit too tired to post my footy tips when I got home yesterday afternoon and ended up sleeping until about 4am. Alas the rules for my tips are clear, if I miss a match, I lose whatever the margin was of that match. Oh well.

Essendon V Carlton -5
GWS V Geelong
Adelaide V Sydney
Gold Coast V North Melbourne
St. Kilda V West Coast
Melbourne V Collingwood

Samuel

June 8th, 2013 at 06:51am

It might be quicker to list the people that the US government is not tracking

As if the recent scandal surrounding the US Government’s Department Of Justice going judge shopping in order to find a judge who would agree to let them obtain the phone records of Associated Press and Fox News reporters with dubious reasoning wasn’t bad enough, now it turns out that the National Security Agency has been secretly obtaining the call records of millions of Verizon customers. Verizon is one of the largest telecommunication companies in the United States.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Security Agency has been collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, according to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19, the newspaper reported Wednesday. The order requires Verizon, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

The newspaper said the document, a copy of which it had obtained, shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.

(h/t Associated Press via MyWay.com)

It’s not surprising that a British newspaper broke this story as many of the stories of problems with ObamaCare and other Obama programs have been broken by British papers, particularly the Daily Mail. What is surprising is that The Guardian broke the story and this is having a follow-on effect. The Guardian, which has been fairly defensive of the Obama administration as part of a broader left-wing agenda, is respected greatly by a paper with a similar ideological bent, The New York Times and thus The New York Times has reported on The Guardian’s report. The New York Times is, for historical reasons, respected by a large section of the American media, possibly a majority, despite its blind spot for the Obama administration, and thus their report on this is being reported on by pretty much every news outlet in the country.

The New York Times has defended the Obama administration time and time again, but has gone to town on the Obama administration and, in particular, Attorney-General Eric Holder, on this story.

The order was sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that regulates domestic surveillance for national security purposes, that allows the government to secretly obtain “tangible things” like a business’s customer records. The provision was expanded by Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which Congress enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The order was marked “TOP SECRET//SI//NOFORN,” referring to communications-related intelligence information that may not be released to noncitizens. That would make it among the most closely held secrets in the federal government, and its disclosure comes amid a furor over the Obama administration’s aggressive tactics in its investigations of leaks.
[..]
For several years, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, have been cryptically warning that the government was interpreting its surveillance powers under that section of the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming to the public if it knew about it.

“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote last year in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

They added: “As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”
[..]
The senators were angry because the Obama administration described Section 215 orders as being similar to a grand jury subpoena for obtaining business records, like a suspect’s hotel or credit card records, in the course of an ordinary criminal investigation. The senators said the secret interpretation of the law was nothing like that.

(h/t Charlie Savage and Edward Wyatt of The New York Times)

The New York Times also took the opportunity to give the previous Bush administration a whack for creating the provisions of the law under which this mass-collection of personal data has occurred, which is fair enough as there are many parts of the Patriot Act which are objectionable, but it’s interesting that the important part of the article where it is noted that the problem seems to rest with the way the law is being interpreted as opposed to the way in which it is written, is buried in the 2nd half of the article and not near the top where most people might notice it. None-the-less, it is there, and it’s good to see it there.

What I have to wonder is that, seeing as Eric Holder was involved deeply in obtaining the phone records of news reporters and lied to a House Judiciary Committee about it, and The New York Times is making it clear that he has had information about the NSA’s Verizon call records operation, is Eric Holder being set up to take the fall for these scandals and any other scandals which can be linked to him, so that the rest of the Obama administration doesn’t have to be held to account?

The rest of the administration has plenty of other problems at the moment, including the Internal Revenue Service deliberately targeting conservative groups so that it would be harder for them to operate prior to the 2012 election, and the ongoing issue of the altering of talking points about the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi so that it would seem less serious in the lead-up to the 2012 election, and the role Susan Rice had in the cover-up, a scandal which has been brought back in to the spotlight by Susan Rice’s appointment as National Security Advisor. Then there are the intermittent stories of healthcare costs going up and coverage being limited because of ObamaCare.

With these other scandals swirling, it wouldn’t surprise me if Eric Holder “steps down” soon so that as many scandals as can be tied to him can be swept away, and maybe it can act as a distraction from a few others.

Saying “I told you so” about the awfulness of the Obama administration doesn’t really cut it here because, yes, I was one of the people warning that he and his team were bad news right from the start, but “I told you so” doesn’t fit because I didn’t expect it to be this bad. It worries me that there is still three and a bit years to go until.

Until then, I have to wonder how much more data will be collected about innocent citizens, and for what purpose that information will be used. That shoe hasn’t dropped yet…but when it does, I doubt even I can imagine what awful purpose they have in mind for that information.

Samuel

June 7th, 2013 at 05:51am

State Of Origin game one

An email to Andrew Moore and the rest of 2GB’s Continuous Call Team, who are currently in the middle of their pre-match show as they prepare to call the first State Of Origin match of the year

Good evening Andrew and co,

The series scoreline of 17-12 is much like the margin in the latest NewsPoll, the only difference being that New South Wales have a chance.

That said…Go Queensland!! And I’m glad your voice is better tonight.

Enjoy the match.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

June 5th, 2013 at 07:34pm

Processing insurance claims under enclosed above-ground train tunnels

One of the things I have noticed lately is that if I leave my electric blanket on while I’m sleeping, I have more vivid dreams than I do when the electric blanket is not on. I suspect this may have something to do with my body temperature being higher with the electric blanket.

This morning was no exception.

The dream started with me driving home down a steep hill. A warning light appeared and then the car completely died…the steering didn’t work and the brakes only partially worked. I slid down the hill and eventually came to a halt in the ambulance parking space of a hospital’s emergency department.

I didn’t believe I was injured, but the hospital people came out and made a fuss. They picked me up and wrapped me in various bandages and wools, and then had their on-site insurance assessor do much the same with my car.

Once the hospital people had finished with me, they took me to see the insurance assessor. He was attempting to refill a pen by putting it in a pencil sharpener when I walked in to his office. When this didn’t work he got a large stick out of his desk and started waving it about angrily, and told me that even though I didn’t do anything wrong, the insurance company would only pay to repair my car if I agreed to tell the police that I was trying to reverse down the hill. He then rather sharply said “good night” and ran behind a green wall.

I wasn’t going to comply with his request so I decided to visit an old friend who was a more important person within the insurance company than the man with the big stick, but was also regarded as “rather odd” as he had paid the Western Australian government a large sum of money to build a train tunnel a couple metres above ground level so that he could put matching train tracks under the tunnel and also build his office there.

I caught a train to Western Australia and jumped out of the carriage at the appropriate point in the tunnel. I then proceeded to the tunnel’s exit and climbed down in to the dark areas under the tunnel which comprised mostly of wet grass, partial tree trunks, and fragments of train tracks. The area under the tunnel was also a bit of a maze and so when I saw the person I was looking for around a bend, I knew that it was going to take longer than I expected to reach him.

I walked around a few tree trunks and was then attacked from behind. A small altercation followed in which neither side fared particularly well, and then I realised that my attacker was the person I had been looking for, and he also recognised me.

We walked over to a nearby shopping centre through a field which looked like a dry version of the field between Henry Melville Crescent and the Monaro Highway in Gilmore, and ended up at a shopping centre which looked like Kippax Fair.

In a takeaway store we ordered coffee, and while we waited, a Western Australian local news update appeared on the TV. It pixelated a bit and the audio cut out while the newsreader was pronouncing the name of a small and remote town, but then something interesting happened in the update…the newsreader announced that my insurance claim had been unconditionally approved and the car’s electrics would be replaced with modern and reliable steam technology, and lighting would be installed in some sections under the railway tunnel.

We then walked back to my friend’s office under the tunnel, walking past the newly-installed lighting in the process, and found my car was ready to go, and the angry man with the pointing stick was standing there pointing at the car with his pointing stick. He said “good night”, and then I woke up realising that I had overslept a bit and had to rush off to work.

Samuel

June 3rd, 2013 at 05:12pm

Happy 91st birthday Nattie

Today is Nattie’s 91st birthday (or 13th if we’re talking in human years).

Nattie on her 13th birthday

Nattie made herself quite comfortable on my chair this morning and was quite welcome to do so. She is certainly much more grey than she used to be, but is still very happy and active.

Happy Birthday Nattie!

Samuel

June 2nd, 2013 at 12:50pm


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