Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Reading and Other Matters

Wednesday, 26 February 2003

I picked up a shitload of books from the Moreland Library on Sunday: The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould (what I really want to be reading right now on this subject is Race In Mind: Race, IQ, and other Racisms by Alexander Alland junior which, I gather on the basis of a short review in The Age, continues the ongoing task of refuting the Sax-Rohmerist theory of the racial distribution of human intelligence. I've also got Trollope's Doctor Thorne and Framley Parsonage for "light reading" and a copy of Nigel Bagnall's The Punic Wars which I bought a couple of years ago to get through.

As if that weren't enough, I received The Diviner's Son by Gary Crew in the mail today. I won it by singing the chorus to Ruby Tuesday on one of those late night quizzes on the ABC. With a reccomended retail price of $14.95, it works out to 83 days of my 18 cents a day that I just got back. That's one in the eye for all you anti-Auntie whingers out there.

Best of all, we've just picked up some work! A $20,000 contract to build a new web-site, which should get the company back on the right side of the fine line between solvency and impending bankruptcy and perhaps allow it to pay some wages - or at least I might get a small "back-rent" bonus out of it, which ought to get the real estate agents off my back.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Dummy Spits of the Week

Monday, 24 February 2003

(This post is slightly overdue - let's all just pretend that I wrote it last Friday).

Federal Health Minister Kay Patterson decided not to attend a national conference of Health Ministers last week because, to cite various explanations offered by Senator Patterson herself, it was an exercise in grandstanding by the State Labor Governments in the lead-up to the New South Wales state election and she didn't want to be "hi-jacked" by the States (who organised the conference). As a result, Senator Patterson didn't get to hear the various submissions made to the conference by health professionals and administrators on the current state of the public health system: a fact that the Senator regretted but, as those sneaky State health ministers didn't bother to tell her that they were holding a conference on health spending with real doctors, it's not her fault that she denied herself this opportunity to hear some expert opinion on her portfolio responsibilities. If the impending war on Iraq weren't occupying so much attention, Senator Patterson's brilliant own goal might have got more notice than it has.

All the same, there's probably room for someone on the Government side of federal politics to take Senator Patterson in hand and give her a few pointers on dealing with hostile State ministers. Stealth Treasurer Peter Costello would be ideal for this job - you may recall the calming effect his charm had on New South Wales State Treasurer Michael Egan. Mr Costello briefly departed from his usual ground-hugging political flight path last week to comment on another burning political issue, the Liberal Party presidency. Mr Costello expressed some pique at the fact that current President Shane Stone did not seek his (Costello's) opinion before deciding to run for another term, saying:

I think that somebody who wanted to engage in wide consultation would have spoken to me about it, yes. But obviously, that's a question of the style and the degree to which they want to engage in consultation.

So, I think the more consultation the better, and I think it would've been advisable to consult in relation to this. But it's something that he must take into account in relation to his management of the organisation.

But really, for this one, you should listen to the audio. I swear, if you listen carefully, you can actually hear his lip quiver.