Friday, July 22, 2005

How to recognise a Budgie Smuggler

Oh dear;I love idiomatic language. You can do so much with it.

I don't know how to feel, therefore, discovering an expression I had never heard of until the other week. And it has currency as it was used in a sensis ad to illustrate this very point: that being an Aussie company they know the vernacular and netsurfers won't waste time sorting through irrelevant search listings that give the formal or literal meaning.

As it turns out, the definition is funny as hell. But I'll leave you to uncover it.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's only natural

I'll no doubt have more to say on this but 'Just say No to drugs' is probably the most annoying thing that Nancy Reagan came up with; it's so meaningless. What sort of drugs? Anything we ingest that significantly alters our psyche or our physiology could come under that category and the worst of it is that it is the biggest over the counter drug peddlers who do some of the most damage. Here's what I'm talking about:

Why Are Natural Products Held to a Different Standard?

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 106,000 Americans die each year due to adverse drug events (ADEs). The journal Drug Safety published a study which raises that number to 218,000. No matter how you look at it, adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter drugs are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Compare this with the track record of natural dietary supplements:

annual deaths due to vitamins - 0

annual deaths due to amino acids - 0

annual deaths due to commercial herbal products - 0

Yet, despite their history, the government is actively seeking to regulate your access to these safe, natural alternatives. Talk about a double standard! Here's what Dr. Marcus Laux had to say about the subject in a recent issue of his e-letter:

"If a natural product were implicated in blindness, gastric bleeding, or suicide, the news would be a major item on the networks for weeks with reports on the dangers of natural products and how stricter regulations are needed to prevent this type of tragedy in the future. And the natural product at fault would be banned within a year."

- Jon Herring

It is no different here. I had a friend declaim against my endorsement of Royal Jelly on the basis that doctors and/or scientists had 'found it had no benefits'. That makes it one fuck of a placebo then. Geez, it couldn't be that the proponents of alleopathic medicine and pharmaceuticals feel a bit threatened by something that you can pick up easily for a fraction of the cost, could it? There wouldn't be anything in it for the naysayers of herbal remedies to diss something you can grow in your own garden now would there? The only BS is on the part of the real drug pushers of this world: the big companies and the physicians who get a kickback every time they prescribe some of their artifical muck.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Smear schmere

The massive advertising blitz by the ACTU and its members is having an effect. Both Howard's personal approval and that of his government, has fallen in light of his planned changes to the industrial system now that the coalition has the balance of power in the Upper House.

There has been a great deal of snivelling into personally monogrammed handkerchiefs since this appeal to our blue collared side. One gnash of indentured mouths was at the 'fact' that the unions were making such political capital of this; which is rich coming from a party that lied about children overboard in one campaign and, when that was no longer available, fell back on the 'interest rate scare'. Talk about double standards.
Would his side ever fail to seize on insecurities in the population? Not on the evidence.

So what remains is to cut across bad spin doctoring BS and get to the crucial question which is 'Will we be better off or worse off?' but we can't ask the Minister Kevin Andrews that so how can we be reassured - not just verbally as in Tony Abbott's own 'never ever' lie - but ironclad, written into the statute books, no wuckas mate, that we will not possibly be any worse off under this change and that we will not slide into the US model of an underclass surviving on tips and handouts because their hourly rate is so low.

Well one excellent way is to address each point as it is presented in the advertisements - could someone be thrown onto a casual work contract after having toiled faithfully for the company? could a mother be forced into work when it is not convenient or else face the sack? could this mean that all workers might find themselves negotiated into less weeks holiday each year?
These are issues that run to the heart of our concerns, regardless of our loose affiliations or our plateauing platitudes. Suddenly we sit up in the sofa and say "Hey wait a fuckin' minute!" because we've got kids entering the workforce for the first time out of school and mums returning to a few hours work and family with disabilities who are good workers but open to exploitation. We want the maximum safeguards because we know that not all bosses are benevolent and if there's a screw you clause some will write it right into that workplace contract in a heartbeat.
We might know this because we are business owners or managers ourselves. But it makes no difference how you come to see the danger, as long as you're alert to it.

While the Daily Demograph, er, Telegraph had little to offer other than a simplistic, not to say dead wrong, bitch from Piers about the 'greatest concert of all time' being a waste of time the Sydney Morning Herald soon had articles headed 'Workers will be on their knees for fair pay' and 'Tough times ahead as workplace reforms miss the boat'.

This is, all rank philosophies aside, a populist government and we have curbed their enthusiasm for fucked legislation in the past. Whether not having a conduit for the widespread disaffectation represented among the majority of senators will mean that they will tough it out is another matter. It would be a very hard policy to back away from now that Howard has ridden it like an ass.
They've had to introduce past unpopular moves in increments - the sale of Telstra, the introduction of a GST - and so the removal of safeguards in workplace negotiation may also be introduced in installments. But this by no means satisfies any fear that their intentions may be misplaced at best, malevolent at worst.


Not only does the SMH warn of the dangers (they've had no shortage of critical articles on the NSW Labor government either) it also publishes letters from real wiseacres. Here's a recent favourite:

Called to account

Will the Japanese embassy please provide a list of articles and publications in scientific journals of discoveries resulting from studies made on dead whales?
Malcolm Hilbery Woonona

I just love it, supreme sarcasm.