New Year’s Eve 2016

The only problem with NYE 2016 is the grim prospects in 2017. I won’t detail them: they’re too depressing.

Instead, let us acknowledge New Year’s Eve in whatever way we feel appropriate.

Various friends are out partying, but as I’m not really a

Instead, I’m planning a quiet evening, tidying up a bit after Darling Daughter’s departure.

(Note to self: No housework tomorrow . . .)

Maybe a judicious quantity of

(don’t think it’s too late to get to the shops)

then again, maybe not.

In deference to pet and wild animals, definitely no

Hmmm, maybe I’ll watch

just to whet your appetite.

Whatever you are planning, keep safe and healthy, and remember you are welcome at The Pub any time of the day or night.

Incidentally, if today seems longer than usual, it is: a leap second will be added just before midnight.

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124 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve 2016

  1. Well, speaking for THIS old bastard, and NOT you old bastards…I made it across the line last night …and here I am to make your life miserable for another year!
    Welcome to town Tonto!

  2. Leone wrote,

    Other world leaders seem happy to put out cheerful messages at this time of year, they often talk about hopes for peace and tolerance, but not Fizza.

    I noticed this, too. My clock radio woke me up just before the 6am news and they launched straight into Malcolm “Our Lord Protector” Turnbull bragging about how great a country it is,but we should all be ever-vigilant of terrorist strikes (presumably because those slack-arse Labor people are too busy standing over decent Australians on building sites, and thus can’t be trusted to rein in The Enemy Among Us) . Pathetic!

    There probably wouldn’t have been an adult person in the crowd of one million last night who didn’t cast their eyes around their fellow celebrators and wonder “What if….” So don’t get me wrong. I’m all for bollards placed and garbage trucks parked so as to block easy access to revellers by some copycat crazie who thinks he’s on a mission from God. Let’s not pretend it can’t happen here, simply because it hasn’t happened so far.

    But surely the best way to talk about the New Year is in terms of hope, not horror. Boasting about how wonderful we are is the kind of jingoistic, insecure crap best left to the Yanks. It’s also an almost direct dare, aimed at someone with a grievance against Australia to organize and plan a little more thoroughly, if nothing else to to show us up for all the self-congratulation. Ruining things with talk of terror threats only does a favour to any wild-eye jihadists that might be out there. It elevates them to a level of importance they do not deserve, and tells them in no uncertain terms that even one incident that the AFP (or whatever) do not foil and which kills a few people will be a victory.

    Terrorists and governments like Turnbull’s – both of whom have little else to justify their existence except their existence – are made for each other. They are co-dependent, gaining strength from the publicity around actual events, investigative or criminal and, if there aren’t any real events, to ramp up the terror by talking about possible events. Each knows exactly how to pull the strings of the other, and of the public.

    To me, the best way to brag about a peaceful and generally decent-ish society is to NOT refer to it. Because if you feel the need to massage egos simply because nothing happened, what’s your excuse going to be when something really does occur?

  3. “There was a little gurl had a little curl,
    Right in the middle of her forrrrr-id!
    When she was good she was very very good,
    And when she was bad she was horrrr-id! “

  4. This might offend some Pubsters, but it has to be said.

    Peter Martin is absolutely right about the pension changes coming in today and absolutely right about Labor’s crazy insistence on standing up for the wealthy.

    Labor ought to stop pandering to millionaires on pensions
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/labor-ought-to-stop-pandering-to-millionaires-on-pensions-20161228-gtis3f.html

    I just have a quibble with one little part.

    Morrison is Robin Hood. He is giving more to those who need it most and taking it away earlier from those who don’t

    This is the usual MSM line – Morrison is helping the most needy. No, he isn’t. Morrison is no Robin Hood. He’s taking away some of the largesse Howard threw at retirees (as opposed to ‘real’ pensioners) and restoring things back the way they were before the Great Cash Handout of 2007. He’s also giving other retirees who still have substantial assets a bit more, or even a full pension, if they are really lucky, while totally ignoring the much larger group who have no assets at all and exist on only the full age pension. This group really could use a boost, but they aren’t getting one extra cent. And Labor is making a huge fuss about people with substantial assets losing very small part pensions. Go figure.

    Next step should be abolishing or at least tightening eligibility for the biggest rort of all – the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Another Howard hand-out. As things stand right now any old financially secure retiree or millionaire with a half-decent accountant can manipulate their income to get this card. We are handing out subsidised prescriptions, free health care and more to people who could, and should, be paying for those things themselves.

    I make no apologies for saying this. I’m sick of Labor shadow ministers (looking right at you, Jenny Macklin) telling us we need to ‘cherish’ older Australians while their side deliberately favours policies that make sure we have two classes of ‘older’ citizens – those who are financially secure and can enjoy a worry-free retirement, and those who have nothing and spend every day wondering how they will manage to pay the electricity bill and still be able to afford food, or the rent, or the next round of medication. When you start to wonder if you will be able to find $6 for a prescription or whether you will have to go another week without that medication then talk about ‘cherishing’ well-off retirees and whining about losing part pensions doesn’t go down well.

    That crap Richo came up with the other day? What a load of manipulative rubbish. My heart just bleeds for his alleged retired couple with their $400,000 home and their $700,000 in super and their caravan and boat supposedly ‘doing it tough’.

    And Pauline Hanson? What a hypocrite. She didn’t get to vote on these changes. The voting was done in September 2015, a year before she arrived in the senate. But going by her remarks back in October on welfare she would have voted in favour or would have pulled her usual trick when it comes to controversial bills and just not turned up for the vote. She didn’t turn up to vote on the Omnibus Bill last September. Rod Culleton, soon to resign from ON, voted against in every division and soon after was hauled over the coals by Hanson for not following her instructions. The three other ON senators including Hanson were absent for the entire debate and for all votes.
    http://www.afr.com/news/politics/pauline-hanson-sounds-budget-warning-defends-welfare-cuts-20161027-gscnxw

    • And well said, Leone!

      Thanks for getting back to me about your Russian studies. I’d love to hear your “accent”

      😆

    • I don’t know if I deserve that.

      As for my Russian accent – that was half a century ago, these days it’s not what it was. But here’s a hint. Definite and indefinite articles (‘a’, an’ and ‘the’) don’t exist in Russian, at least not in the way they exist in English. t’s very complicated. To put it very basically, a Russian speaker would find different ways of expressing something like ‘The boy is reading a book’. This is fine in Russian, but when a Russian speaker tries English those articles will just be left out, at least until the person learns how to include them. Try reading anything you like out loud and leaving these words out. You are already well on the way to having that accent.

  5. I have just finished Niki Savva’s book ” The road to ruin” about the demise of Abbott and Credlin. If anyone was in a any doubt that she is nothing more than a labor hating, Turnbull loving, biased hack read this bit of trash and have all doubt removed. While some parts were interesting sections detailing how Shorten was the most unpopular politician in Aus. and Turnbull and his backers only did what they did in the best interests of us poor people are nauseating .Not for them of course, no no, but to save us from corrupt Shorten,labor and BOO Unions

    I wouldn’t even wipe my bum with this supposed insiders view of things . I would probably get an infection from the amount of crap thats already init.

    Ps. Happy New year to all.

  6. l2

    Peter Martin is absolutely right about the pension changes coming in today and absolutely right about Labor’s crazy insistence on standing up for the wealthy.

    It’s called politics. Neither Shorten, Bowen or any other Labor Parliamentarian will say that they’d reverse these changes next time they are in government.

    • Of course they won’t. Labor must be hugely relieved this government is making this change so Labor won’t have to do it when they return to government.

      I don’t know why Labor is supporting this group anyway. Aren’t we told every week (at least) that this lot are rusted-on conservative voters?

    • They could peel a few off. Last election showed they only need not too many extra votes – just some more in the ‘right’ electorates.

      Lots of these people live in those electorates.

  7. Soaring prison populations highlight social crisis in Australia

    Equally disturbing is the fact that almost half of the male prisoners and over 60 percent of the females have a reported history of mental illness. There is also a high chance that they have used illicit drugs, with related offences increasing by 40 percent from 2008–09, and most of the rise occurring between 2013 and 2015…

    There are no rising crime rates to explain these results; in fact, the crime rate is either steady or dropping. The number of people committing crimes has risen only 1 percent since 2010, and the number of victims of crime has fallen by approximately 3 percent…

    There are no rising crime rates to explain these results; in fact, the crime rate is either steady or dropping. The number of people committing crimes has risen only 1 percent since 2010, and the number of victims of crime has fallen by approximately 3 percent.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/12/31/jail-d31.html

  8. US bombs hospital amid escalating assault on Mosul

    At least seven people were reported killed Thursday when a US-led coalition warplane carried out an air strike against the Ibn-Al-Athir hospital compound in Mosul. The attack came as Iraqi government troops launched what has been described as the second phase of the bloody siege of Iraq’s second-largest city, which was overrun by fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) in June of 2014.

    The US command of the Pentagon’s military operations in Iraq and Syria, dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, issued a rare statement immediately acknowledging the attack on the hospital, a war crime. It claimed that the strike had been launched against a van into which ISIS fighters had been seen loading a recoilless rifle. “The van was struck in what was later determined to be a hospital compound parking lot, resulting in possible civilian casualties,” the US military declared.

    This marks the second time this month that the US military has acknowledged the involvement of its warplanes in attacks on a hospital in Mosul. On December 7, an air strike was launched against the Al Salem hospital complex in East Mosul, the area’s main medical facility, after the attack was requested by Iraqi ground forces. The Pentagon made no mention of civilian casualties in that attack, consistent with its response to most air strikes launched by US warplanes. According to some estimates, the US military has underreported the number of Iraqis killed in its operations by a factor of 10.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/12/31/iraq-d31.html

  9. ‘Russian hackers’ penetrate US power grid with ‘outdated Ukrainian malware’

    A Vermont utility sounded the alarm after finding malware code on a laptop that the FBI and DHS had touted as associated with Russian hackers. However, cybersecurity specialists say the code came from an outdated Ukrainian hacking tool.

    On Thursday, the FBI and DHS released a joint report on a hacking operation they called ‘Grizzly Steppe’. They claimed the operation was linked to the Russian government, alleging that it had targeted “US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”

    Along with the report, the US security agencies released a sample of the malware code allegedly used in the Grizzly Steppe operation to compromise US computer networks. The code was also shared with executives from 16 industries around the nation, including the financial, utility, and transportation sectors, according to a Washington Post report.

    On Friday, Burlington Electric, a Vermont-based power company, released a statement saying that the malware code had been detected during a scan of a single company laptop that was not connected to the grid.

    “We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding. Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully,” the statement said.

    The US media reported the incident as if Russian hackers had penetrated America’s electric grids, prompting some officials to call on the federal government to protect Americans from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/372347-russian-hackers-power-grid/

  10. IMPERIALIST DANGER IN DR CONGO

    #DRC / #Congo: I am receiving reports from radical Pan-Africanists (politically closest to Mugabe and Gaddafi etc). There seems to be a Libya / Syria 2011 imperialist directed regime change style building-up. The opposition calling for “peaceful protests” then shady human rights organisations report the deaths of about 20 people to the UN. No names given, no proof. The govt denies. All Belgians have received instructions to leave the country. The opposition is fervently pro-usa. The African Union mediator in DRC has denounced the usa for supporting the opposition. He claims that during a meeting a member of the Congolese opposition actually told him: your country is France’s backyard our country is US’ backyard, keep out.

    The wider context to this is that the Southern African Development Community and its leadership in Africa and the Global South is a strategic threat to imperialism, and imperialism is constantly harassing it and looking to destroy it, with the most obvious mechanisms being the usa and uk were on the verge of an actual military invasion and divide and ruin mission against Zimbabwe in circa 2001, scuppered only by the ANC and Mbeki. The other obvious attack on SADC is the western-generated war there that has killed millions.

    – Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

    http://sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/imperialist-danger-in-dr-congo.html

  11. Leone,

    I’m wondering if I’m brave enough to send it to DD.

    I’m also seriously considering playing it in my first lab classes . . .

    • Do both. Challenge the lot of them.

      My kids are, it seems, just too old to be Millenials, but so much of that applies to them. They are all welded to their damn phones.

  12. carrt2016

    IRe “politics” .n the year before losing the Howard and Costello promised tax cuts that would wipe out the expected surplus and even push us in to a shortfall. They would have known that they were very unlikely to win the election but also knew the “politics” of the time meant Labor would have to match the Coalition’s promise.

    A nice little economic time bomb left for Labor by the Hammock Dweller and The Rodent. Nothing like putting the nation second behind the ‘more important’ party politics.

  13. http://abc7.com/entertainment/william-christopher-father-mulcahy-on-mash-dies-at-84/1680901/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Christopher

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/01/cabinet-papers-1992-93-victory-for-true-believers-kicks-off-lasting-debates

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/cabinet-papers-australia

  14. Interesting clip above. Thanks for posting Fiona.

    I have three teenagers in the house at present. They spend every available waking moment on Facebook, texting their friends or (more rarely nowadays) playing Xbox.

    This means: in the car, in bed, during a movie, on the toilet.

    The real world is inside those phones. The boring stuff is outside them.

    Zoom out to street, or suburb level, and it is much the same.

    I don’t have a smartphone. I have an old Nokia relic that I picked up at JB Hi Fi for $60, four years ago (after the previous Nokia relic wore out). We spend a total of $38 per month on mobiles, for TWO phones combined. I only use my phone for urgent messages or work. It often goes through an entire charge/discharge cycle without being used, incoming or outgoing.

    I really don’t know whether I’m happier than the teenagers in the house, or not. But one thing I can say for sure is that it’sbloody annoying to be talking to someone and then suddenly you’re not. A beep comes in,and they’re reading a text, or responding to it. It doesn’tmatter if you ask them to put the phone down for a minute until you’ve finished, because you just KNOW they’re agitated at not being able to read or respond to their mate saying, “Got pised lst nite. How abt u bro?”.As soon as that thing beeps, they’re somewhere else.

    I might say the same thing for emails that people expect you to have read, understood and acted upon, theirs especially… out of the hundreds you might receive in a week about what amounts to not much more than 3/5ths of 5/8ths of f/a.

  15. Bushfire Bill,

    I have a close female friend who’s a year older than me and very much addicted to her smart phone. After several years, I’ve finally made it plain to her that when we are having coffee or a meal together I do not appreciate her taking trivial calls / answering trivial messages at those times.

    Somewhat to my surprise, she didn’t get upset.

    My very basic mobile phone is used only when absolutely necessary, and spends a lot of its time in silent mode or switched off.

    • kaffeeklatscher, this is one of the hidden results of climate change. As the weight of ice on the earth’s surface decreases, so the stresses on the crust lessen and it twitches a bit to relieve the strain. The problem is that some of those twitches are a little large for us small humans!

  16. Father Rod Bower’s powerful speech to Sydney’s vigil for Faysal last Friday.
    Melbourne’ turn is on Tues 3rd, 6pm Swanston St.

  17. Fiona

    I think there was some disturbance in the force at Mt Ruapehu. Although not of the scale of 20 years ago. Trivia: Ruapehu was ‘cast’ as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings

    Having climbed it seeing landscape that dwarfed me being dwarfed by the ‘Boom’ is !!!

    • Well, he is an ex-QLD policeman, not to mention a greedy individual.

      Why should he care about anyone less fortunate than himself?

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