Tuesday, 26 October 2010

In summary: Tips; Afghanistan; Immigration; Political Zombies; Charity(?); Gridiron Fail; Murder(?) Abroad; Schools Funding; Banned; Geopolitics-Asia

For the last week or so...

1. Tipping is one concept that is disproportionately difficult to understand. A quick look at the US and you can see that hourly wages (including tips) for waiters etc is about the same as Australian hourly wages minus tips. So is there really a need to tip in Australia? Probably not, unless you get exceptional service…usually a rarity. As for 'bribing' instead of tipping…my usually luxury-free travel style means that I have never encountered the incidents that that the author writes about.

2. Afghanistan…and Alexander Downer…a strange combination, and interesting to see a former Foreign Minister of Australia (1996-2007) writing this piece. As Foreign Minister, did he contribute these ideas at the time of Australia's initial engagement? The cynic in me cannot help but think that he might be playing a game of tremendously subtle politics.

3. Still on Afghanistan…Greens Leader Bob Brown. Surprising to see that he thinks we should withdraw from Afghanistan because: "We have to remember we didn't go there to assist women, children, families, farmers and education institutions." While he may be correct, what is our mission now? Surely assisting the people of Afghanistan get their country functioning again is a good cause, though a quick look at the history of Afghanistan and you wonder what 'functioning' would mean. His interview on the ABC's 7:30 Report did not inspire confidence.

4. I honestly find it difficult to form an opinion on Australia's involvement in Afghanistan, but with all the politicians and experts going about policy and implications I am far more moved by the following account.

5. This is a piece with a different viewpoint about immigration and the issues that currently surround this topic. What the author could also focus on is the issue of refugees, especially those from war-torn countries. This harrowing tale of a refugee family from Sudan should be included in the debates about refugees in Australia – if Australia accepts more refugees then caring for their mental health has to be a priority.

6. On a solely NSW matter (and a little risqué) does this show us the real Labor Party? Why bother voting for an ALP candidate if the party machine wields all the power?

7. Did you know there is a charity that pays drug addicts to get sterilised so that they will not have drug-addicted babies? Well, there is. It started in the US and now has plans to enter Australia. How does paying a drug addict, for whatever reason, help them?

8. A piece of free advice to Todd Stordahl, chair of the Washington Officials Association (gridiron referees): by disciplining the referees who helped a breast cancer charity raise money and awareness you are doing damage to the association that you represent. This was a perfect and free PR opportunity that you somehow managed to ignore. Rules are important but they should not be set in stone.

9. As with most news stories, there may be more to the following account of alleged murder (officially suicide) of an Australian in Portugal, but the story so far does not inspire much faith in the Australian Government should you be a victim of crime while overseas…

10. Schools funding…after the insulation debacle, I wonder what Garrett has in store for Australian education…

11. Hilarious, but for the real-world ramifications…another news story that tells us that the nanny-state is becoming the norm and not the exception. This time: what can/cannot be done/worn in an Italian town…

12. Finally, a quick intro into the geopolitical landscape of the future: Japan, China, India, the Middle East. Sphere: Related Content

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