The Death of Free Enterprise: When a kid needs to dive through bureaucratic hoops to set up a lemonade stand, you know something is drastically wrong. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/273642/when-obama-hands-you-lemons-mark-steyn Likewise when the church fundraising bake sale gets nailed by intrusive inspectors or the local wholefoods store gets done in a snap raid more suited to the sellers of crack cocaine or illegal firearms. http://pajamasmedia.com/eddriscoll/2011/08/03/bye-bye-miss-america-pie/ (I smell a rat about that last one for some reason I can't put my finger on, and there could be something we're not being told.)
Spending without a budget: Quite literally, it seems. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903341404576484124282885188.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop The standout quote is this:
Meanwhile, it has been over two years since the Democrat-controlled Senate passed any budget at all.How is that even possible? There is no way in hell an Australian government could even begin to behave like this, and the last time attempts were made to get around the need to pass a budget through the Senate, the Prime Minister was sacked by the Queen's representative and a general spill of every seat in both Houses of Parliament followed shortly thereafter - the result of which effectively ratified the Governor-General's decision.
A Bad Penny? The chaps over at Catallaxy Files discuss the possibility of the return of ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to his former position at a moment when the Australian Labor Party's poll hopes could not be much lower. http://catallaxyfiles.com/2011/08/04/can-kevin-come-back/ Okay, they could in mathematical terms, but when your party's primary vote is 29% and even your preference allocations don't get you much above forty, the only word to describe your future is "dismal", and it gets proportionally worse below that. The debate is sharp, and the reply-posts are at least as informative as the actual article. (Disclosure: yes, I am part of that debate.)
Supercilious twaddle doesn't sell papers: The blogger who calls himself Professor Bunyip (and if you don't know what a bunyip is, think of it as the Australian Aboriginal version of an Eldritch Abomination) reflects upon the miserable fortunes of the share price of the Fairfax Press, publisher of two of Australia's major dailies. He offers a reason why, namely a mind-destroying column of twaddle in the online version of The Age, in which the writer (who normally scribes for the Sydney Morning Herald) bemoans the lack of aesthetically pleasing places in her vicinity to drink her champagne.
I'm quite familiar with both of the major broadsheet dailies in question, and I can vouch for their utter irrelevance to the man or woman in the street - the one who fixes pot-holes in the roads or mops the floors of the local hospital before going home to three kids under ten - who can barely afford a glass of bubbly on a good day, let alone have the time to sit somewhere congenially upmarket and sip an overpriced glass or three of the best methode champenoise while whining piteously about how dreadful the surroundings are. I can afford the champers, and I can afford to sit somewhere congenial and drink it too, so it's not envy that makes me want to ram my fingers down my throat until everything I've eaten in the last six hours retraces its steps. It's that staring at the result of that return journey would be more palatable to me than either the article or the mind-set behind it.