Facts speak louder than statistics

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Where The Tsunami Aid Went

There is a report in 'The Australian' claiming that tsunami aid money was spent on politics. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22974796-2702,00.html

Basically this means the aid money was spent contrary to how people believed it would be spent.

The Australian reports that among the activities that were listed as tsunami relief included a "travelling Oxfam gender justice show" in Indonesia to change rural male attitudes towards women.

This is one of the reasons I didn't donate to any of the aid agencies because I didn't believe that the money to go where it should. In any case my donation was made for me by the Australian Government and also the RACQ. The RACQ donated a sum of money, without consulting the membership, to the UN relief efforts.

I emailed RACQ asking for an explanation of why they donated to the UN given how I believed that most of the money would go on administration costs than to the people who need it. RACQ did not reply. I think the donation was just an exercise in looking to do the right thing than actually being worried on what really happens. A little like the Kyoto protocol in that respect.

But back on track here do I have any harsh words for Oxfam and the other groups aid groups about the way they used the money? Not really, I didn't donate money to them and any one who did donate money to any group should have checked that group out before handing over money to them, if you don't check them out you can't really get upset when they don't use the money the way you expected them to.

In retrospect it would have been a better idea to give money to the various navies that helped out, in particular the U.S. navy. Their vessels had all the equipment that was needed to repair the damage and the people to do the job and when they were there what they did was actually help people who needed help by getting food and water to them. No other little extras of debateable value, no putting forward an image of help, just genuine help.

Absolutely brilliant.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Halloween And Beyond

"In recent years, there have been reports of people with twisted minds putting razor blades and poison in taffy apples and Halloween candy. It is no longer safe to let your child eat treats that come from strangers." –Ann Landers

It’s never safe to let your children eat anything given to them by a stranger, I decided to do some research to see if children have been victims of confectionary tampering at Halloween. Apart from some people using Halloween poisonings to cover their own crimes and schemes it looks like “only” 5 children have died from eating tampered Halloween lollies.

That’s 5 children too many.

In one case reported on Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoned_candy_scare a father used Halloween as a cover to murder his child for the life insurance by giving him cyanide laced lollies. The father then gave out poisoned lollies to other children to try and cover his crime so there’s an example of children being endangered by tainted lollies.

Whatever the motivation behind the poisonings it’s still the child on the receiving end of the poisoning, not a nice place to be. Saying its all someone else’s fault for giving out poisoned lollies doesn’t help the affected child.

And even if there were no or very few Halloween poisonings there can still be other potential consequences such as children accepting lollies from strangers at other times of the year, given children’s logic and simple desire for lollies, if it’s ok at Halloween there must be other times it’s ok.

That it’s never ok and there are no exceptions is what we need to teach.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Halloween

Halloween is over and done with for another year, this American tradition has been working its way into Australia for at least the last 10 years, maybe more and it now has a solid foothold in this country.

I have a problem with it.

When I say that some of the people that I’ve spoken to interrupt to say I don’t like it because it’s an American tradition and it has no place in this country.

Thankfully though most people let me finish speaking before adding their opinions.

Whether you interrupt me or you don’t, either way you find out my objections to Halloween lie in the fact it encourages children to do the very thing we should be teaching them not to do. We should be teaching them not to accept lollies from strangers, we should be teaching them to stay away from strangers to begin with.

Halloween teaches children to approach strangers then it teaches them to accept lollies from strangers.

We used to be taught at school to stay away from strangers and parents should be teaching it as well. It is not a rule of convenience that you can ignore whenever it suits you.

Some parents accompany their children but that doesn’t actually prevent people from tampering with lollies before they give them out and as good as forensic science is once a child has eaten something its origin is difficult to trace especially if they’ve been to a few houses.

It’s better if they aren’t put in that position to begin with.

And one good way to avoid that is by keeping children away from strangers all year round.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Vote

It's election time and the usual rhetoric is spouted by all and sundry, the opinion polls postulate and the negative people talk negatively.

About time some overlooked points are pointed out and some cynicism addressed.

Some people placed their votes for sale on eBay to show how we've been conned by the political parties and how the political parties have sold out.

On the point of the parties selling out, I don't think they have, selling out suggests going against your principals or philosophy for your own gain and they are doing all the things they intended to do, you could say conning us or misleading is part of their philosophies so they actually haven't sold out.

And as far as selling votes on eBay, does anyone really think that the major parties are gnashing their teeth and wailing in distress about it? Doubt it.

So what we really need to do is learn about the electoral process and how it works and discredit some of the mistaken beliefs people have about elections.

"Oh the politicians don't really want us to know how it really is but they should be telling us" some lament. Maybe they should but as a voter in a democracy you also have a responsibility to find things out for yourself as well, the idea of having rights and freedoms also carries the responsibility to use them properly. And so what if the politicians don't want us to know how it all works, that's no reason why you shouldn't find out for yourself. "Oh but they should tell us, they should, they should etc etc"

Forget the world of should and live in the world of how it really is. And don't wait for the politicians to do it for you, look after yourself. If they have to do it for you they will do it to their own advantage.

And now after all that a look at some other misconceptions. "I only have one vote, what's it possibly do?" All any of us have is one vote, it will do the same as everyone else's 'one vote'.

"If I don't vote for the party that's going to win, or how the polls say or how my friends vote or if I vote for an independent I've wasted my vote!" No you haven't. You've wasted your vote if you vote for someone you don't want to win. A few years back someone asked me who I voted for and when I told them I voted for a single issue party they laughingly told me I wasted my vote. "How so?" asked I, "That party will never win." came the response. Bewildered by what I saw as a bizarre response I mentioned that they won't win if no one votes for them to be met with the response that no one else is going to vote for them. I pointed out how others vote is none of my concern, the polling booth is not a betting shop where I go to pick a winner to win a prize and because of preferential voting I actually in essence got to vote twice as this minor party was directing the votes to the major party I supported so they would get my vote and would in theory see where some of their votes came from and take a look at the issue I originally directed my vote to.

Naturally the person who said I wasted my vote didn't openly concede the point as it showed that person as uninformed but they knew I was right.

So to cap up, learn how the electoral process works, it's really quite simple and you can use your vote more effectively.

Look at what a political party stands for so you won't be surprised by some of what they do that they didn't promise during their election campaign for example the Liberal Party privatising Telstra, it wasn't an election promise but it's been part of their policies for years. No surprise, betrayal or sell out that they did that.

If you don't vote for who wins you haven't wasted your vote as it's a polling booth for you to have your say, not a betting shop. The major parties do look at where the votes go and what issues people are supporting to help formulate their policies.

Decide for yourself who you want to vote for, forget the opinion polls, forget who anyone else is voting for, vote for who you want to.

If more people were better informed, not apathetic to the processes and a lot more vocal about everything then the parties would be more inclined to straighten up and be less likely to take the people of this nation and the promises they have made so lightly.

It all starts at the polling booth. Vote wisely.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Smart Driving

Some time ago the Queensland Government showed a graphic road safety ad designed to shock people into being safe on the road by openly showing the horrible consequences of dangerous driving, a dead mother, a crying baby, the guilt stricken driver etc. All heart breaking images pushed upon us to shock us all back into a safe driving lifestyle.

That campaign is long over. Did it work? No. As I commented previously all these commercials were doing was preaching to the converted, the people who were generally safe on the roads. They were getting a reminder to stay safe. The people who were actually driving as shown in the commercial don’t really seem to care about the possible consequences.

I also emailed the Queensland Government about the ads asking if penalties for dangerous driving were going to be increased as well since tougher penalties could be a more effective deterrent against dangerous driving. No response.

Because of this I believe the ads were just a token show to make it look like that something was being done to combat dangerous driving, meanwhile the same drivers are still doing the same things regardless of what commercials are on TV.

Some of these drivers are the ones who are always out showing off to their friends. They’re always out so they aren’t going to see any commercials. Others are people who have had a few drinks. Alcohol can have a habit of not making you care about things like some commercial you may have glanced at and how what you do affects other people.

For something like this I would look for a more salesmanship like approach, the same tactic a lot of businesses use to sell their products.

That tactic is ‘how will it benefit you?’

While many do care to a degree about people around them there are unfortunately those who only care about themselves. If there were some more stringent deterrents in place then the people who actually drive dangerously could be shocked into driving safely more effectively than the previous commercials ever could. “Drive dangerously and YOU will lose your precious car that you have spent a fortune making look good, drive safely and we will leave you alone.” Or “Drive dangerously and YOU will get fined and go to jail, drive safely and we will leave you alone.”

In other words you will have the answers before they ask what’s in it for them.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

PM Says Tougher Borrowing Rules Unlikely

Several news sources have reported that some households are taking on more debt than they should due to ready availability of loans that are being approved for people who may not be able to service the debt.

There should be basic regulations and standards preventing irresponsible loans being made, that goes without saying though what it comes down to is people have to be responsible for themselves and not take on too much debt, it doesn't matter how much you can eventually curse the Government when you end up bankrupt for over borrowing, you are the one who bears the consequences, no one else.

The bottom line is you have to be responsible for yourself.

Way Beyond

Since the Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association were unwilling or unable to actually explain exactly what they mean by "we have gone beyond corporal punishment" I got an idea of what they may possibly mean from other people. Apparently 'we live in enlightened times, we are all smarter than how we were before the end of the 20th Century, we are in a technologically advanced society, modern methods of dealling with innapropriatte behaviour are also enlightened and therefore better, corporal punishment is primitive and inneffective, it is like when doctors were treating patients with leaches. Having corporal punishment again would be a step back as it has been superceded.'

For something to be superceded or outdated it has to be replaced by something that actually works better, for example my first mobile phone is outdated, the phone I use now works better and has better functions so if I went back to my original mobile phone that would be a step back for me. If the new phone simply doesn't work with the alarm going off instead of conecting to the network and with water squirting out when I set the time then I will use my old phone because it won't have been superceded.

Likewise current behavioural plans are like a phone squirting water, they don't work properly. It doesn't matter how technologically advanced we are, people still have the same basic instincts that have been there since day one and those instincts often require a direct approach to help children learn to grow as people and fit into society.

We certainly don't live in some utopian society where people are just nice to each other so no effort is required by anyone, parents or teachers.

Schools are there to teach subjects that will help students deal with making a living in the big wide world, they cannot be spending large amounts of time agonising over why some students behave badly and fawn around them with plans and using time that could be better put towards the benefit of the whole class.

Someone misbehaving can affect the progress of an entire class and there is no time for that, detention or the cane usually puts a stop to the bad behaviour and allows the teacher to continue teaching, it is then up to the parents to look further into the situation.

If the student in fact has rotten parents and are misbehaving for that reason then by all means the teachers should spend time with the student to work out a solution but when it's just someone being an idiot for the sake of it give them detention or cane them to shut them up and allow the class to continue learning.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

The Daylight Savings Debate


The daylight savings debate keeps resurfacing in Queensland, the premier has suggested splitting the state into two time zones as a compromise between city and country views on this issue.

I won't say anything about that, it's a six of one half a dozen of the other deal there and there are other solutions.

Business wants daylight saving in order to help better facilitate business over the border with NSW and VIC, apparently the different times cause problems and cost money.

One thing we do want here is more business to come to Queensland and contribute to the economy, Queensland is growing, businesses would want to come to Queensland except if they will have extra difficulty trading with the other states then maybe it won't be worth their while.

Daylight saving does not fade the curtains, moving your clock backwards or forwards in no way alters the Sun, the Earth, when you change your clock for daylight savings you are merely getting up an hour early to take greater advantage of the daylight that will be there regardless of what time you get up or what you do to your clock so if it helps business maybe it should be given serious consideration.

As far as farmers are concerned, they can move their clocks and still get up at their non daylight saving times to do their required tasks, if you usually milk the cows at 6am do it at 7am during daylight saving hours, technically it will be done at the same time so nothing bizarre will happen to the milk.

In saying all this it's not for people moving to the state to demand that daylight saving be implemented merely because they like it, if they love it so much and they won't bring it in you can leave and if you have already left and resettled overseas then it's not your place to demand it just because you think Queensland should have it, it's a local issue and you are no longer local.

If it will benefit Queensland and there is reason to believe it will then daylight savings should be in place otherwise maybe the "smart state" can work out a way businesses won't be disadvantaged by the lack of daylight saving.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Choice

There’s a law in place that essentially lets you get away with murder so long as you have an excuse. It doesn’t have to be a good excuse, any excuse will do.

People lose their temper and attack someone and get away with it, people attack someone and state they didn’t know striking their victim would kill them. People take drugs and attack people and claim it’s not their fault because they were under the influence of the drugs that they chose to take. People get drunk and attack people and claim it’s not their fault because they were under the influence of alcohol that they chose to drink.

Then they are let off without punishment or the charge is downgraded and they serve less time.

Meanwhile their victims are dead and they are dead because someone has taken their life. Families lose a member because someone else didn’t want to control themself.

If you can’t control your temper get some help.

You don’t need to know that striking someone may kill them because you are not supposed to be striking people in the first place.

If drugs affect your behaviour and prevent you from controlling yourself then don’t take drugs. It is not your right to take drugs if your drug taking will adversely affect others. Many drugs are also illegal.

If alcohol affects your behaviour and prevent you from controlling yourself then don’t drink. It is not your right to drink if your drinking will adversely affect others

Other people are not there to suffer the adverse affects of actions that were the result your choices.

There are plenty of avenues of help available to people if they have problems.

You do not have the right to take your problems out on other people.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Discipline In General

No response has been received from the Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association regarding my email about their attitude to corporal punishment. It’s a shame; I really would like to know what they meant by how we have gone beyond corporal punishment.

Moving along I will comment on an email from a reader regarding corporal punishment and discipline in general. The email tells of a couple of children and how the mothers’ attempts to discipline are undermined and how the children have been misbehaving.

This mother has custody of her children and is expected to make them into responsible citizens.

One child is a 17 year old girl and whenever the mother has tried to discourage her daughter from doing things such as not walking the streets late at night, the daughter would ring Family Services and complain to them about her mother's treatment claiming it was abusive and Family Services would lecture the mother, without getting to the full story, about her treatment of her daughter and force the mother into parenting courses.

The other, an 11 year old daughter, who has a supposedly sick father who constantly tells his daughter that her mother is unfit to be a parent. He quit his well paying job so he won’t have to pay child support. The 11-year-old child hits her mother, and throws tantrums. The child then threatens to either tell her father or Family Services when her mother tries to discipline her.

The mother tries to do the right thing and yet is legally undermined by those who are ultimately not responsible for raising these children and those undermining the mother are allowing the children to abuse her physically and emotionally. The system would appear to not be interested in letting the parents have the right to discipline their children in order to guide them to become decent, responsible citizens.

When the bad behaviour of the children shows up in society or if they turn into criminals, the mother will be blamed.

If parents are not allowed to discipline their children then the parents cannot be blamed for how the children turn out.

Parenting can be a difficult job and when outside influences, legally empowered influences, undermine the parent often the children will not respect the parent and or any rules. The rules at home or the rules of society in general


Is it any wonder that many children turn out badly behaved in general or outright criminal and also that many people do not want to have children?

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Self-Defence

Hot on the heels of the corporal punishment debate are some stories of other perceptions regarding punishment and how with other perceptions the boundaries of punishment, violence, right and wrong etc are blurred and how some see punishment as violence and therefore wrong and how self-defence can also be seen by some in the same way.

Where the boundaries are blurred the possible consequences of not punishing wrong doers are often overlooked followed by an outright denial of any actual consequences that occur.

One of these consequences is bullying, someone told me about their son who was attacked by a bully at school and in turn fought back which stopped the bully in his tracks and prevented further attacks. This parent then received a call from a teacher condemning the sons self defence from the bully by saying in a self-righteous manner that violence is never an answer. The parent countered by asking was her son supposed to just stand there and let the bully attack him and when confronted with this question the teacher hung up.

Some people like the teacher will get a self righteous attitude and feel they don’t have to justify their position because they feel they are on the higher moral ground and don’t have answer to anyone as what they are saying is the be all and end all of the argument.

It’s very easy for that teacher and others of that mindset to take that stance because they are not the ones being attacked, feeling pain and humiliation and they are not the ones whose education suffers. They are too busy feeling morally superior while allowing others to suffer from bullying just so they can cling to the flawed reasoning that self-defence is violence and therefore wrong.

Self-defence is not violence; it is a response to being attacked. The bully is the violent one and the other person is the victim. Stop the bully and you stop the violence.

Bullying can have long-term effects on the lives of their victims. If you make someone feel bad all the time they often won’t reach their potential because they can’t see it themselves anymore. Someone who may have made anywhere from a modest to an outstanding living can find themselves going nowhere, all because they were bullied and didn’t stand up for themselves or weren’t allowed to.


And yes, there are all sorts of support/therapy services available for victims but not everyone can find them and the reality is people would be better off if they weren’t put in a position where they need these services.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Corporal Punishment 3

In Thursday June 21st mX two responses were printed regarding my letter to the Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association and their attitude towards corporal punishment, Bern from Tarragindi was in agreement stating "a little tap never hurt' and also right from wrong is taught. L from the CBD states that it is fighting violence with violence and asks what example it is setting for the next generation.

The example being set is that they themselves can't be violent and they learn that because corporal punishment is not violence, it is punishment for wrongdoing.

Violence is attacking someone without provocation, arson, robbery, threatening the teacher etc. Corporal punishment is a lesson that violent behaviour won't be tolerated, it is applied after and in response to bad behaviour.

Without it schools have become violent places. An attitude that violence is OK appears widespread and this is with those who never had corporal punishment at school. They do the wrong thing and nothing much happens to them in response. Corporal punishment can be that response and it has a track record of being effective.

The problem of dealing with bad behaviour among school students is one that may not easily be solved and requires several solutions, corporal punishment is one solution and would be a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Corporal Punishment 2

The Tuesday edition of MX has published my email to the Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association (QCPCA) and hot on the heels of that is an email to this page with an example of how the softly-softly approach isn't working and how a parent is being undermined in their efforts to properly raise their child by those with the softly-softly attitude. I'll post that sometime in the next week, hopefully in-conjunction with QCPCA's reply.

There is no reply from QCPCA at this stage, they either won't respond or they want to formulate a well thought response to my email so give them time.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Corporal Punishment

As reported in the Brisbane edition of MX newspaper Health Minister Tony Abbott suggested a return to corporal punishment to combat the esculating violence among students, the Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association immediately ridiculed the idea based on what I believe to be spurious reasoning so I sent them the following email with a courtesy copy to the Liberal Party and to MX newspaper.

Attention Greg Donaldson
Queensland Council Of Parents And Citizens Association

Dear Greg,

In the Friday edition of MX newspaper Brisbane (16 June 2007) there is a report stating that Health Minister Tony Abbott is calling for a return of corporal punishment to schools based on how the current methods of discipline are not working. This notion was ridiculed by your group based on how the minister is “Living in the past” and “We’ve gone way past corporal punishment”.

Gone way past corporal punishment? How have we? What exactly do you mean? And what is wrong with living in the past in this instance? The discipline methods worked and much more effectively than the current methods are working. Just travel by public transport when the school kids are going home and see the behaviour there in contrast to when there were non softly-softly forms of discipline in use such as the cane, detention and the like.

I don’t think the minister is suggesting that the second someone steps out of line they get soundly thrashed and I certainly am not but if someone is constantly truant, bullying, disturbing other students or threatening teachers then real action has to be taken and action that actually works.

And whom did you sound out before making your anti-corporal punishment statement? I’m a parent/citizen but you’ve never asked my opinion and no one I know was asked either and I didn’t vote for you to represent me, the Health Minister at least is an elected official.

The reality is corporal punishment worked well in maintaining discipline where your preferred methods don’t. The fact that schools are more violent places is proof of that.

Yours faithfully,

Jeremy Michaels

http://ozcentral.blogspot.com/

If any reply is received I will of course post it.

Stay Tuned

Monday, 11 June 2007

Competition, The Lie Continues

The inaugural commentary posted at this site was regarding the introduction of competition to the Queensland electricity network and how prices will increase 10% to pay for competition.

I just saw an add for an electricity provider promising to trim 10% off my electricity bills.

I will be able to pay what I was already paying before the introduction of competition.

All I'd have to do is sign a service contract for a period of time, say two years and I'll save the 10% I was already saving anyway.

Some providers will also be giving free gifts such as DVD players and other items that I could afford on my own if I wasn't paying that extra 10%. That's if I actually wanted or needed such items.

I would rather have the choice of how I'd use that extra 10% myself.

I saw something surprising.

Some action will be taken over something that is becoming a problem.

Not the water crisis, I held my breath expecting it to be fixed in time and of course I passed out.

They are doing something about people who make trouble at junior sporting events.

Some parents have been attacking officials in these games and now the officials will have the power to actually remove these people.

This is positive news because these people making trouble at junior events have no business there but the next time you see youths misbehaving and ask why the kids today are like they are these days we know one place we can look.

In some cases it's definitely the parents.

In other cases though it's because the responsibility has been taken from the parents due to various laws and the like.

I'm just surprised they are actually giving somebody the authority to actually do something substantial to tackle a problem.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Scams and Email

I have been asked why the email address listed on the profile has -at- instead of @. It's to stop spammers from getting the email address. Spammers use robots and special software to read webpages in order to obtain email addresses and having the -at- in place of @ stops the email address from being read by the spammers software.

They still got the address, an email was recently received purporting to be from a bank asking me to update my account. I don't have an online account but many others do and despite all the publicity people still fall for this scam.

The golden rule is don't trust an unexpected email. In fact be very wary of all emails and if you get the chance check out scambusters.org to learn more about the numerous scams out there.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

BRAVE NEW WORLD

The World is changing!! The last ip address looked more like something a spammer would use as opposed to a site dedicated to the best in news, views and attitudes so The World has changed to http://ozcentral.blogspot.com .

Please update your Internet Favourites and add the new address.

New name, new address, same great content.

http://ozcentral.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

The Roads

Do we all remember the recent safe driving campaign in Queensland where several bad accidents are shown in an attempt to shock people into becoming safer drivers?

Can we really says it's working?

Today at Bardon someone drove through a pedestrian crossing that has lights when the lights were red. Luckily the pedestrians were still looking when they crossed and did not proceed into the path of this reckless driver otherwise they may have been the next victims shown on a safe driving commercial. The incident was reported to the police who did take a report but candidly admitted there's not much they can do short of having a word with the driver. Fine, that's better than nothing, it might remind the driver that bad driving is noticed.

At Arana Hills just as I approached a set of lights, they changed to yellow, I noticed in my mirror the car behind me had stopped but the car behind them over took them and shot through the lights. Later on someone over took me when I was in the left lane near Albany Creek and then took the next street on the left. They could have waited the extra five seconds it would have taken if they had stayed behind me as opposed to squeezing through traffic to over take.

Gruesome images as shown in the Queensland safe driving campaign are pretty much stock standard images often seen in television shown and movies and only remind safe drivers to stay safe, it's going to take more than some blood and a few heart wrenching images to convince the bad drivers actually targeted by the campaign to change their ways.

The safe driving ad needs to be followed up with a greater police presence, changing the police status from "not a lot they can do" to "something worthwhile they can do" and most of all some appropriate sentencing for traffic offenders.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

The World

Welcome to The World

It's the name of a nightclub, an arena, a friends house, this very planet and now this blog, I'm looking to post on a variety of subjects with a different approach than what I've seen elsewhere, looking for what's right as opposed to looking like I'm right and looking at the facts as they are as opposed to twisting the facts to suit me.

If there's any subject you would like to see posted here email me at world.central -at- gmail.com