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The Milk Of Human Kindness

… Was turned into Limburger.

Australia has had some problems lately, and those problems are going to cost a lot of money to fix. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has suggested a tax levy to pay for the clean-up and rebuilding without going into debt [radical concept, I know].

So the ABC has the response from the “leaders of industry”: Cut disabled pensions to help pay for floods: big business

The Business Council says cuts to disability services and foreign aid should be considered as alternatives to the flood levy.

The Federal Government says the $1.8 billion tax is needed to help pay for flood and cyclone reconstruction in Queensland and Victoria.

But in its pre-budget submission, the Business Council, which represents Australia’s top 100 companies, says the government should instead press ahead with returning the budget to surplus through short-term spending discipline.

Council president Graham Bradley says all current spending should be reviewed and disability pensions may not be the best use of government money.

“It is one of the large budget items,” he told ABC Radio’s AM.

“And if you look at what countries overseas are doing in this regard … for example in the United Kingdom, they are taking a really hard look to make sure that there aren’t people currently incentivised to be on disability pensions who really would be much better off going back to work, even if it is only part-time or less rigorous work.”

It would appear that Australian business leaders not only want the “quality of mercy” strained, they want it cut off entirely.  They want the disabled to pay for a natural disaster, rather than having to give up some of their profits.

I wonder if the boards of the “Scrooge 100” have an an inkling of exactly how bad this idea is? Perhaps the Australian parliament could review any benefits received by these companies to see how really necessary those are to the Australian people.

February 13, 2011   3 Comments

Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 9

Yukon Quest trail

Sled DogHugh Neff got into Circle after midnight my time and set out again this morning as temperatures in the -40s settled in over interior. [Note: -40° F = -40° C]

In the current conditions people tend to move in groups as a matter of survival. While you see dogs riding around in the Lower 48 with their heads out the window, sled dogs as a group are not fond of running into the wind, especially at low temperatures. One of the keys to Lance Mackey’s success has been lead dogs that didn’t mind the wind and would run into it.

In addition to the biological component, the race reporting is suffering from equipment that doesn’t like the weather any more than the people. The Quest sites have been suffering periodic outages as 21st century tools attempt to work with 19th century infrastructure.

The race has transformed from a sprint to a slog since the Alaskan border and the weather change.

Update: 12:30PM CST

Sad News: Sled dog on Brent Sass’ team dies. It was a sudden death on the trail to Slaven’s Roadhouse, and a necropsy will be necessary to find the cause of death. For the moment Brent is continuing, but he may decide to scratch at Circle, which is on the road system.

Update: Brent lost his veteran wheel dog, Taco, just out of Trout Creek after a six-hour rest stop. The wheel dog is second only to the leader on a team. There was no indication of a problem at the stop. Taco was a 6-year-old male from Jessie Royer’s kennel as a puppy. Brent will be continuing.

Earlier, Brent and his team helped Hans Gatt in a very nasty situation: American Summit Rescue.

It is called sled dog racing because the dogs are the athletes. Sometimes a dog simply pushes too hard, beyond the capacity of their heart. They have been working extremely hard breaking trail through the snowdrifts, so they are giving it everything they have, and sometimes, more than they have.

Update: 11:30PM CST

Beyond Circle

1 Hugh Neff (8)
2 Hans Gatt (13) +5 hours 53 minutes
3 Sebastian Schnuelle (11)
4 Dallas Seavey (3)I
5 Allen Moore (24)I

At Circle

6 Dan Kaduce (10)
7 Ken Anderson (18)
8 Brent Sass (22)
9 Kelley Griffin (1)
10 Joshua Cadzow (16)

Beyond Eagle

11 Mike Ellis (5)
12 David Dalton (23)
13 Jodi Bailey (17)R

At Eagle

14 Johannes Rygh (6)R
15 Tamara Rose (12)I
16 Jerry Joinson (21)R
17 Didier Moggia (7)
18 Kyla Durham (14)R
19 Hank DeBruin (19)I

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, the small “I” indicates a Quest rookie who has competed in the Iditarod, and the small “R” indicates a total rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 13, 2011   5 Comments