Election date?: I have heard that Howard’s Eastwood campaign office lease expires on 1st December 2007. It just happens to be a Saturday! So the bet is for 24th November 2007.
Bog bag threat: Thursday night Virgin Blue Flight No DJ870 arriving from Sydney to Melbourne was met by fire engines and federal police officers and sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour after a bag was discovered unattended in the rear toilet of the plane mid flight. It’s reported that a female passenger onboard had moved another passenger’s bag into the toilet in order to make her flight to Melbourne more comfortable. Angry commuters missed connecting flights as all passengers were screened and checked for traces of explosives. After approximately an hour and a half considered the incident to be of “no threat” and allowed passengers on their way.  Focus on education: Julie Bishop has contracted a marketing/polling firm to survey school principals about ‘autonomy’. They are 1 hour face to face interviews. I should know. I have agreed to be interviewed. With Howard’s taste for grabbing power from the states, watch out for Julie Bishop’s Education power grabs. The various Principal Associations (considered by Principals as unrepresentative Liberal Party fronts) already softening up the public with curriculum concerns.   Terror at Timbertop: The class of 1984 at Geelong Grammar School’s Timbertop campus might just be experiencing a touch of apprehension following the treatment recently meted out to the hapless Dr Haneef. One former student  reports one of his fellow students was an Indonesian boy whose father just happened to the spiritual leader of a Muslim sect whose members numbered 50 million. The odds are that with numbers like that, it would be a fair bet that many of them are terrorists, and the alumni of could be on Keystone Cop hit-list. Where this would leave many of the scions of some our leading families remains to be seen and beggars the question: is anyone safe from the clutches of the Ruddock/Andrews terror twins? Subprime, the sequel: Interesting comments on the debt hangover. Adding to the potential carnage highlighted by Matt Marks, don’t forget that over the next two years many homebuyers in the adjustable rate mortgage products (ARMS) in the US and UK will be hit by a reset (increase) in rates, no matter what the Fed does. Mix this with static real incomes, falling house prices and the cocktail is a tad poisonous. What some media are also not picking up is that a 25% loss on a fund that is leveraged around 7 times equates to roughly 3.5% loss in the underlying security. So, if your underlying security/asset takes a haircut of say 15%, which is not a stretch by any means, then the magic of leverage will see XYZ fund go totally bust!!! Then there’s the blokes who have leveraged the leverage — yikes! Also hear of some class actions in the making re subprime with the usual ambulance chasing law firms in the fold.

Leaden interval: Why were toy stores told of the product recall for Mattel/Fisher-Price (toys with lead paint) at the start of the week, yet the media release was today?

Blood on the floor:  If only new Victorian premier Brumby could control his staff as well as his cabinet. Current news on Staff movements is that Pam Anders (Brumby Chief of staff) has taken David Miller’s role (former Bracks Deputy CoS) – who “quit” on same day as Premier. With Geoff Walsh to stay till year end, paving way for smooth transition for Dan O’Brien (current CEO of Regional Devt Vic, former Brumby Chief) to move into Chief of Staff role by year end. The other “ins” into Brumby’s revamped (& much smaller) Premiers Suite: Gayle King – (Economics & Budget) Jamie Driscol (political strategy), Tom Laurie (media) The “outs” (or left behinds) look to include: Kim Mcgrath, Alison Currie, Andrew Herrington, plus most administrative staff. Jostling for other key advisory positions has taken hold, with old faces possible returns: Bill Bolitho, Matthew Carrick, Chris Newton, Bernie Dean…with current chiefs Yorrick Piper & Colin Radford putting their hands up to work with the new premier.  A bridge too far: The magazine Scientific American was lauded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina for the way that it had identified problems with the levee system in New Orleans. Watch to see more respect flow their way in the wake of yesterday’s tragedy in Minneapolis. The article entitled “Why America’s bridges are crumbling”, published in the March 1993 issue, will no doubt be praised for being prescient.