The Book Depository gives Amazon a run for its money

We don’t buy books in Australia because they cost too much. And since the Australian government recently chickened out again over making books more accessible to the public things are not going to improve in the near future. That’s a great pity for a nation that wants to encourage reading.

I deeply resent protecting an industry which penalises the reading public. It is simply unfair to make us pay more just to please a small minority of inefficient publishers and their egotistical authors.

This protection policy must be quite a disadvantage for Australian booksellers and so one can’t blame them for wanting this system to be abolished. One has to wonder, also, what happened to the level playing field that Australia moans about when it comes to tariffs in other countries and yet it does the same for books here.

So for this reason we have been buying books from Amazon. com.

Our latest venture, however, in book buying has been from The Book Depository in the U.K. This company charges a little more for each book but there are no mailing costs, so it ends up being cheaper than Amazon. On my last purchase which arrived today, the book cost $8 less than it would have cost at Amazon. Not only that, but the book arrived in about a week, whereas our last purchase from Amazon took three weeks even though it was in stock.

Not bad. Hope The Book Depository continues to deliver. Well done!


What is it about sex and desks?

Several years ago the wife of one of an Aussie Tourism Minister, John Brown, proudly declared that she had had sex with her husband in his parliamentary office. On his desk to be exact…

It was very risque, she said, and they often indulged in these parliamentary privileges. They have since been divorced. Probably ran out of desk space.

The came Bill Clinton, venerable president of the U.S of A, who preferred his under the desk. It appears that he enjoyed being on the job in the hallowed Oval Office.

Now we have the latest alleged “scandal” about another politician and a desk. Mike Rann, the current Premier of South Australia has been at it at his desk as well.

I am puzzled by this predilection for office desks as stages for hanky panky. Can’t think of anything as uncomfortable as the old, hard plank. It’s painful (I imagine) and if it’s expensive furniture think of the damage to the patina.

While watching The Antiques Roadshow I am constantly informed that patina is crucial. The experts even advise owners of quality furniture pieces not to expose them to the elements. They shouldn’t even place glasses or vases on them for fear of water damage.

One shudders to think, therefore, what they would say to having sex on a desk. Oh the Horror of it all!!! Surely this calls for real protection on two accounts. The patina of the timber, for one, and we mustn’t forget the aching bones. Ouch!

Now I’m not saying to avoid sex on a desk, but surely this calls for using a foam underlay that goes on top of a mattress (or desk). The comfort cushioning could be discreetly rolled up in the cupboard and brought out on special occasions. Now that’s what I call genuine protected sex.

Hamas’s joke of the day

You have to laugh. Hamas has just announced that it has come to an agreement with militant groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets into Israel. The reason for this, and this is the punchline, is to stop retaliation by Israel. Get it? If we don’t attack Israel in the first place then it won’t hit us back. What an epiphany!!!

Isn’t that what Israel has been saying all the time? It has to defend its people from rocket attacks from Gaza.

The only reason that Israel has ever retaliated is when the Palestinians and their supporters have attacked Israel. If they stop that then perhaps peace will have a chance. Will they stop attacking Israel? Not bloody likely cause attacking Israel is their only reason for existing.

Prime Minister Rudd loses face

In spite of the Prime Minister’s claims that he had nothing to do with capitulating to the the queue-jumping and blackmailing Tamils on the Oceanic Viking, no Australian is convinced that Rudd is telling the truth. It is simply not his style to stay in the background of any political conflict. Rudd is a controlling personality who tells his three minions what to say and do at all times.

But when things go wrong and he is seen to lose face he pretends to not be “in the know.”

Suddenly he wasn’t there! Suddenly he knew nothing about the offer to the Tamils to be processed ahead of every other “asylum seeker” in Indonesia. And in fact, he denies that this is the case even when the Indonesians themselves have announced the Oceanic Viking agreement. This therefore must mean that the Indonesians are lying.

However, one has to wonder why the Indonesians would do that? What is in it for them? Let’s face it, the Tamils were heading for Australia. It was the Australians who rescued the Tamils and then did not know what to do with them.

We all know that Rudd is gigantically ambitious.

He does not appear to be devoted to Australia’s interests except as a stepping stone to “greater things” on the world stage. If it were a choice between a career in the U.N and betraying the interests of Australia, there would be no dilemma for Rudd. His career in global politics would come first. Such ambition is palpable and I wonder how long it will take before his party and the people of Australia get fed up with it.

Australia gives in to the Tamil blackmailers on the Oceanic Viking

Last night I was livid as I listened to Senator Chris Evans, our Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, refusing to answer questions about the Tamil blackmailers being offered quick processing to entice them out of their seige.

I am so sick and tired of political spin. An interviewer asks a politician a question and the answer comes out as a drone on a prerecording. Evans kept on repeating what the government had told him to say, which was that Australia had offered quick processing and that everything was under control because the government is patient.

What a load of crap! He refused to comment on the fact that these Tamils were being offered preferential treatment. It was deplorable to watch a minister going on and on with the same mantra…”Everything is under control blah blah” and his nose grew longer and longer as he spoke.

It just goes to show that if queue-jumpers want to enter Australia illegally, they can do so as long as they are prepared to sit it out. The Tamils had us over a barrel. Why? Because we want to appear nice and goody and “compassionate”. Of course, the reality is that we appear piss-weak in a conflict.

Can’t wait for the next bunch of illegals to see what the government will do about them. They are already packing their suitcases as I write.

Now I read that 20 of the blackmailers have agreed to disembark in Indonesia. I suppose that the government will try to spin itself out of this capitulation by saying that the result is good. Well, it’s not, Mr Rudd. As for Chris Evans, he’s just another of Rudd’s little puppets who is not allowed say anything that has not been approved by Kevin.

What is the point of protocol and legislation and borders etc. if any bunch of illegals will be able to ignore them? Just sit it out, fellas and you’ll be living at the Hilton at our expense.

Kevin Rudd’s failed Pacific Solution

I applaud the New Zealand government for refusing to allow some of the Tamil blackmailers on the Oceanic Viking to resettle in New Zealand. Prime Minister Rudd has been told that New Zealand doesn’t approve of queue-jumpers, nor does it want to be viewed as an easy destination by people-smugglers and their customers.

So our “tough but compassionate” Prime Minister is hunting high and low for another country to accept the Tamils. A possible destination is the Philippines, but I doubt that the Tamils will agree to disembark in that country. They are demanding to be sent to Australia and won’t settle for anything else.

That certainly does not sound as if the Tamils’ only motivation for leaving Sri Lanka was to save their skins.

If Rudd capitulates and brings the blackmailers to Christmas Island then that will be regarded as a failure of his refugee policy. Anyhow, if he criticised the previous Australian government’s handling of boat people and smugglers which was called the Pacific Solution, why is he scouting the Pacific nations in the hope of relieving himself of these queue-jumpers?

Surely there is not much difference between Rudd’s Pacific Odyssey and John Howard’s Pacific Solution except that Howard’s one worked as a deterrent while Rudd’s is an embarrassment. Meanwhile we wait to see what bright idea Rudd can come up with to remove the egg on his face.

Kevin Rudd is hard and soft, black and white: A man for all seasons?

There is no denying that what the Australian people admire most is a strong leader. In fact, that’s what everyone wants in a leader- leadership qualities.

At the moment, Prime Minister Rudd, who is known for being bossy with his staff, is showing signs of wavering in another field. This is caused by his desire to please everybody and when you are motivated by trying to please everyone, you end up looking weak and namby pamby and you please no-one

For a man who constantly states “The reality is” and “The bottom line is” in a most definite way he can’t seem to get to the crux of the problem with the Sri Lankan Tamils on the Oceanic Viking.

We cannot allow these Tamils to land in Australia because they have been blackmailing us. This is the first point to be acknowledged. We must not give in to blackmail otherwise we will be doomed to experience this stand-off over and over again. This is the reality, Mr Rudd.

There is not much point in sending our Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, to Sri Lanka with bags of cash if the Tamils refuse to go back there. And even if the Sri Lankan government promises to monitor outgoing vessels with Tamils on them, what is in it for the Sri Lankan government which is quite happy to get rid of these unwelcome Tamils from its strife-torn country? Why would they want them back, for crying out loud?

I would have preferred Rudd to talk tough and act tough. We don’t want cuddly wuddly sweet talk. We want a leader who leads and who is prepared to secure our shores and our airways from unwelcome arrivals.

Let us instead open our arms and welcome legitimate refugees who have been languishing for years in refugee centres just because they can’t afford to pay people-smugglers. Why doesn’t Mr Rudd announce that we will invite 10,000 legitimate refugees to our country instead of these 78 blackmailers?

There is something inherently unfair about people who push in getting ahead of the rest of the queue. It’s wrong and the Prime Minister should point that out in no uncertain terms.

You never know, with all this unsettled weather, there may be another cyclone in the area and the Tamils will have to be rescued by the Indonesians, for their own good…

Indonesia: the last place on Earth for the boatpeople.

You have to feel sorry for the Indonesians and I can’t blame them for being annoyed. There are thousands of asylum seekers who would rather die than end up living in Indonesia. Take the Tamils, for example. They are apparently in fear for their lives. They are being tortured and raped in Sri Lanka and can’t wait to get away from all that misery there.

And yet, even after reaching Indonesia and spending some time there, they want to come to Australia. In fact, they will threaten to hurt themselves or go on hunger strikes rather than continue to dwell in Indonesia.

Now Indonesia has a huge population and it even has a democracy. It also has a thriving tourist industry which enjoys the benefits of Australian tourists who think it is a great place to visit. Bali is one of our favourite destinations, after all, and that is in spite of a couple of terrorist attacks.

I am surprised that people who are escaping the violence in their own country feel that they can call the shots on where they go. And yet this is the case with the 78 Sri Lankan Tamils who are refusing to disembark in Indonesia.

No wonder the Indonesians are fed up with this intransigence. How awful must it be for Indonesians to be told that their country is a dump unfit for the likes of the Sri Lankans. Imagine how we in Australia would feel if some asylum seekers refused to come here on account of it’s not their favourite place on Earth. Imagine if they announced that they would rather die than disembark in our wide brown land.

Wouldn’t we be tempted to respond in a manner something like this? If you don’t like it here then go…go…do not stop….just go.

There’s a stench of blackmail here and I hope that the government of Australia will not allow itself to be pushed around by this boatload. Otherwise it will not only continue to offend Indonesia but it will also make a rod for its own back.

I would go so far as to announce publically that if asylum seekers come illegally to Australia then they will be assessed after all the legal asylum seekers have had their turn. Not quickly, as they have been promised, but slowly and in the fullness of time.

This seems eminently fair to me and to the poorer souls who don’t have the money to buy a passage Downunder. After all, don’t we Australians respect a fair go for all?