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Gearboxes and Pizza boxes that do not face Mecca

I have been rather slack about posting to this blog of late, for a couple a reasons, firstly its the season for spending more time with the family , secondly I have been far more focused on my car projects , in particular getting my sports car sorted and fitted with a new manual transmission because the auto I had in it was sounding like a bag of nails and running very badly. having to make a clutch peddle and ensure it works properly took longer than I expected and then I also had to alter the gearshift so that I falls conveniently to hand. The wrenching gods even made the speedo cable a problem as the corolla cable had an incomparable fitting for my Smiths speedo. I solved that one with a short length of  fuel line and some hose claps to splice the last  inches of my existing cable outer to the end of the Corolla cable.

Any way its time to get back too it but I just feel compelled to share this picture that was posted to my face book time line:

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Cadbury have apparently closed production to see if they can ride out being boycotted. Removing the halal extortion tax (fee) may not only reduce the cost of some food, but may prevent the unaccounted channeling of funds to overseas groups of questionable religious motives.

Its nice to see that companies are waking up the the “halal” scam and not letting the politically correct ninnies extort them into endorsing the pernicious ideology of Islam.

Cheers Comrades

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Joe Hockey – the most deceptive, dishonest & arrogant Treasurer in our history

(by Ray Dixon – not a “poor person” just a fairer [and more honest] one than Hockey)

 Hockey-liar

Joe Hockey’s “poor people don’t drive cars or don’t drive far anyway” disproved – by FACTS.

The truth is out there and Joe Hockey knew it all along. He lied about the figures.

Or, at the very least, he misrepresented the truth and did not use the data (the more relevant data) that was at his disposal, which is the same thing as lying – by omission.

Joe Hockey clearly deceived the public with his ludicrous claim that high income earners were the group “most hurt” by fuel excise increases.

Hurt? They’ll hardly even notice it.

In fact most high income earners don’t even care how much they pay for petrol and don’t need to.

Joe Hockey deceived the public. He is a disgrace and should resign.

Here are the real FACTS:

 … as a proportion of gross income and weekly spending, fuel bills hit lower-income families harder.

Census data and research from independent experts shows that people on lower incomes have enough cars and drive far enough to feel the impact of raising the fuel tax more than those on higher incomes.

Mr Hockey’s statement is misleading.

The other key and relevant point that’s been overlooked in all this is that Joe Hockey’s “high income” earners mostly do not even pay for their own petrol.

It’s paid by their employers.

Who then go and claim it as a tax deduction – ie an effective 30% rebate. The employer also claims the 10% GST as a credit. Same goes for many self-employed and business owners.

Whereas lower – middle income earners cannot generally make any such tax claims and just wear the full price. Plus excise. Plus GST.

Joe Hockey is the most deceptive and arrogant Treasurer this country has ever seen. He even surpasses Costello on that score … and that’s quite a feat!

He has to go.

Colour of the past

For a change of pace I wish to share this story of newly rediscovered colour pictures from the eve of WW2 in England. I just love this sort of thing in general but this in particular because the car featured is none other than a Morris Eight.

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Click Image for source piece and more pictures

Cheers Comrades

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2014 Budget overview, or considering how much of the egg is any good

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Well I suppose it is incumbent upon me as the author here at a blog that is mostly about  Australian  politics to say something about  last night’s budget. Up front I have to say that I have not read the original document or even watched the speech on the TV. I had other priorities last night. So instead I am going to respond to the summary written by the Guardian with what I think about the specifics enunciated there.

As leaked, it hits around 400,000 high-income earners with a three-year $3.1bn deficit levy and reaps a further $2.2bn by increasing petrol taxes in line with inflation.

The former will undoubtedly upset my more “economically dry” friends but I doubt that they will notice it beyond its existence as a line item  from their accountants, most will not even notice unless they are obsessive about the amount of tax they pay. A rise in the tax on petrol  will undoubtedly be noticed initially but soon forgotten by most people simply because the price of fuel has become so volatile anyway. Up here it jumped by nearly 20 cents a litre at Easter so I think this will soon become part of the economic background noise in our lives.

But the budget-night surprise was that much of the cash raised from cuts to benefits and tax rises is spent on the Coalition’s own priorities rather than on improving the budget bottom line, including a new $20bn medical research fund – to become the biggest in the world within six years – the Direct Action greenhouse emissions reduction fund and about $5bn in new roads funding.

Why that should surprise anyone is beyond me, Even in tough times a government wants to be seen to be capable of economic multitasking. That said who could complain about more money for medical research? Readers will recall that I would personally ditch, in its entirety, the Direct Action climate policy but in the absence of heeding my advice lets hope that there is the sort of secondary benefits from the spending that I have previously postulated, although I do remain sceptical that the scheme will deliver much for the nation.As a confirmed petrol head I welcome improvements to the road network and I also welcome the economic stimulus that the expenditure will bring.

Although the treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the aim of the pain was “budget repair” – a national effort in which Australians “fix the budget together” – he is not promising a surplus in the four years of the forward estimates, with a deficit of $2.8bn forecast for 2017-18: unemployment remains at 6% or higher for the next three, growth is almost unchanged and business investment is weakening.

Lets be thankful for that! I don’t think that I am alone in hoping that we never again see the false hope of a quick return to  surplus trotted out in every one of Wayne Swan’s budgets .

Hockey conceded the government “could have gone harder” in paying down deficits, but said “it would have detracted from growth”.

Well we all know that its a balancing act between the need to pay down debt and not kill the economy in the process.

He denied his budget was the start of an “age of austerity”, saying he was in fact ushering in a new “age of opportunity”.

No surprise in trying to change the way that the budget will be perceived.

But for unemployed people under 30, this “age of opportunity” means waiting six months to get the dole, then receiving a payment only for six months and only if they work for it, and then losing the payment again for the next six months, during which a potential employers may get a wage subsidy.

Well this is a great deal tougher than I expected and I can see some individuals could very well suffer severe hardship under such a regime. On the other hand it will clearly incentivise those in this demographic to both accept any work that they can get and to try harder to please their employers to avoid losing their jobs in the first place. I can’t see how it could work in remote indigenous communities that have bugger all jobs though.

For sick people it means paying $7 for every visit to the doctor and every medical test – $5 of which will be invested in a new “medical research future fund” and $2 will be kept by the doctor or test provider, in part to help them waive the payment in cases of “genuine need”. The co-payment will stop after 10 medical payments for concession holders and children. The co-payment for medicines will also increase by $5.

Which means that those sick with concession cards will mostly still be able to see a doctor for free as they do now but I am less than impressed by the increase in co-payment for prescriptions which will almost double with the $5 increase. No more coffee shop stop for me when I get my drugs then 😦

Hockey said the aim of the health changes was to “get the nation to invest in its own healthcare … and for people to accept personal responsibility for their own physical health.”

Most of us do this anyway

For students the new era means paying back a greater proportion of the cost of a degree, and this cost potentially rising as the higher education sector is deregulated – although government loans will be available for a wider range of courses.

I have repeatedly argued that tertiary education  is rather over rated and if it is going to cost those who benefit from it more than they will certainly chose their courses with greater care and a consideration of its benefit to their future career. The important thing to keep in mind though is the generous and universal loans scheme means that greater costs will not restrict anyone from doing the course of their dreams no matter what their background may be.

For single-income families it means losing up to $73 per week a child in family tax benefit B payments once the bread winner earns more than $100,000 (rather than the current $150,000) and losing the payment when the youngest child turns six, rather than 18.

Who could object to cutting this? Anyone on 100K a year does not need this kind of benefit at all.

And government payments including family tax benefit, Medicare rebates and private health insurance rebates will be frozen, as will eligibility thresholds for receiving them – instead of rising in line with inflation – an idea Tony Abbott derided as “class warfare” when it was tentatively tried by the former Labor government.

Likewise a reasonable move.

Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.

As I have suggested elsewhere this is a largely symbolic matter and that the vast majority of those DSP recipients who will be re-accessed will in fact found to still be compliant with the eligibility criteria which are pretty hard to meet anyway. As for work well it has to be there and suitable for the disabled and I have my doubts that many in this cohort will be able to find work.

But clearly hesitant to break an election promise that no changes would be made to the pension, the government has delayed paring back aged pensions until after the next federal poll.

What the government takes to the next poll will be judged by the people.

It is then proposing major changes – linking pension increases to inflation rather than average earnings, which will see their buying power decline over time compared with current arrangements, freezing the threshold for assets and income a pensioner can hold even though their value will rise over time, reducing the amount a pensioner can earn from their assets.

It seems to me that this is a reasonable change that brings the aged pension into line with the indexation of other government benefits. As for changes to the assets valuation well I’m undecided on that one.

The pension age will rise to 70 by 2035, but addressing criticism that older people often find it hard to get a job the government is offering a new wage subsidy to employers taking on a worker over 50 who has been unemployed for more than six months.

The subsidy will undoubtedly be welcomed  by both small business and older job seekers and is to may mind far more significant than a raising of the pension age in twenty years time.

As I predicted in my last post this budget is not the horror that the pundits were suggesting it would be. Its certainly not perfect in every aspect and only time will tell if the assumptions and expectations that are at its heart will be correct. However one thing we can be sure of is that it has to be better than any of the flights of fantasy delivered by Wayne Swan that were inevitably entirely made of tat hope and bullshit. All big picture instruments like the federal budget are going to be like the curates egg “good in parts” and at this one will be no exception there certainly are some parts that are a bit off smelling but on the whole its seems to be quite reasonable given the mess that we inherited from Labor.

Cheers Comrades

Boiled Egg

NBA, Racism and Jeremy Clarkson

Those of us who read Orwell’s 1984 with a libertarian ethos will always have the greatest concerns about the notion of any thought being a crime but in the last few days we have seen some of the most egregious examples of the notion of the thought police being both real and crushing the face of humanity under the jackboot  of political correctness.

The first example that  I will touch on only briefly was that of  the  owner of a NBA franchise making a genuinely racist remark that was overheard, recorded and then broadcast on social media, as a consequence he has been stripped of his franchise, and “fined” millions of dollars. All of this has been loudly applauded on social media but I can’t help thinking that those who have been cheering so loudly may soon  rue the day when  it became a social crime to say something “offensive”. The reaction has been a rather horrible example of mob rule and the negative potential  of social and mass  media.

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click for source

The next item in this litany of political correctness gone mad has been the bullying of Jeremy Clarkson for what can only be described as a slip of the tongue. Like Jezza I learned the eneny meany mineie mo rhyme in its original form where one caught the “nigger” by his toe and I also read the Noddy books as a child which had “golliwogs” as the the primary  naughty toys.  Such things learnt in childhood are the very last thing to go for the senile and for the the still cognitively functional such notions and well learned rhymes do not lend themselves to change without a great deal of conscious thought.  Thus I have no trouble believing that what Clarkson said while trying to deliver his spiel was genuinely unintended and even if it had been intentional I don’t believe that there was any “racist intent” here. None the less the scions of political correctness have leaped upon this off air faux pas with a great deal of malice and spite. Anyone would think that Clarkson was a Kiddie fiddler from the amount of rancour vindictiveness expressed on social media when ion fact he is just a middle aged petrol head who has a good line in witty chat about cars.

By all means lets get upset at deliberate and blatant racism but the quest for linguistic purity that  we are seeing in our age of social media is utterly obscene and if only the loudest voices calling for Clarkson’s sacking would think for just a minute they might just realise that what they are calling for will not make the tiniest bit of difference to the sum total of racism on the planet. All it will do is restrict free speech and honest discourse.

Cheers Comrades

Ah the sixties...

Ah the sixties…

Absolutely Retro Minimalist Simplification revisited

Cheers Comrades

 

 

Absolutely Retro Minimalist Simplification

I'm using a set of these instead of fuel injection.

I’m using a set of these instead of fuel injection.

Off to my brother’s to pick up an engine so I expect to be out for the better part of the day (even missing “The Insiders” and “The Bolt Report” also calling in on brother number two to pick up a set of Honda side draft carburettors which should mean that I will then have all of the ingredients for my  Absolutely Retro Minimalist  simplification of my sports car. I have lined up a place to weld up my manifold which will be a cut and shut of the Honda and Nissan elements. a Morris distributor with an electronic ignition upgrade will eliminate the computer entirely I have a new low pressure fuel pump to match the carbs and I have even managed to find the much longed for speedo drive gear for my transmission which means that I will no longer have to rely on my Sat Nav for my speed measurement.

Oh yeah I almost forget the count is on in the WA uber By election and guess what, not much has changed !

Cheers Comrades

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Reasons to be cheerful part seven

Sorry for my rather slim postings of late but I have been quite distracted by a bad trot in the back department,  a problem with my sports car and well just feeling a bit down over all.

To deal with the last first there are times when chronic pain just gets you down and no mater how well you have intellectualised that you have the right stoic attitude so that you can endure and still find purpose and meaning in your life it does not take much to tip you onto the unwelcome slippery slide. this time it was being told that I had to get a pain specialist to give me the tick of approval for the continuing prescription for Norspan patches, so like a good patient I duly contacted the pain clinic and after some weeks I got a letter back telling me that they did not want me to be a patient there. The upside is that  I have discovered that all I need is the approval of a second GP to continue to get the medication. I know very well that there has to be adequate controls on S8 drugs however its not as if I am asking for self injectable morphine here. Worse still though is the feeling of vulnerability you have when it looks like the medication that you need may suddenly become unavailable to you. Simply put its a worry I could well do without. It will probably surprise no one that as a consequence  it feel even more disgust and disdain for recreational users of opiates because its their propensity to lie cheat and steal that have made such control measures  a necessary impedimenta to those who have a real medical need to use this class of drugs.

My sports car  has been running like a total dog lately and it to has been doing my head in. There is a problem with the fuel injection system that means it just refuses to run smoothly and it just keeps cutting out and refusing to run at all  well above idle. I have tried mucking ar0und with the  the throttle position sensor as broken wires (since fixed) caused similar symptoms but  that has not solved the problem. It could be a wiring fault elsewhere but the complexity of the wiring from the donor car is mind bogglingly horrible. After much thought I have decided to seek a rather radical solution by going totally retro in the fuel delivery department which will mean that I can have an amazingly simple wiring loom in the car .  to make this happen I have just bought a Nissan N15 engine (the whole car for $100!) that will mate up to my transmission the same as my N16 motor does but instead of  a computer triggered ignition system it has a camshaft driven distributor  to provide the sparks. on the intake side I am going to completely remove the EFI manifold and replace it with the twin Carbs off a  91 Honda civic this will necessitate me having to make or modify an inlet manifold. My plan is to make a new manifold in steel because I can weld steel and fabricate the whole thing myself without having to shell out hard earned cash  to have it made in aluminium. This should not be that hard to do I will just have to cut two flange plates from 4mm sheet and then cut and shape the four tubes from each port to meet with the two carb throats . Living in Queensland there will be no real need to provide an coolant supply to the manifold and as my braking system is not  boosted I won’t even need to have a vacuum take off for that either will need a vacuum supply to the Trimatic  though and it seems that the wisdom is that there should be  a connection between the two pairs of inlet runners to equalise them .  Though there is a weight penalty for using steel the manifold and carbs air cleaner et al  will undoubtedly weigh less than intake runners and plenum that they will replace and as ditching the EFI for simple carbs will mean that my electrical system can likewise be minimised  I am thinking that I ought to be up to 10kg better off overall.

As for tuning the carbs to the Nissan engine  well I know that they were working fine in my brother’s Honda until it did its timing belt and went bang so I won’t fiddle with them any more than I have to and as the Honda engine is only 1oocc smaller  than my Nissan lump  I doubt that they will be that far off in terms of the jetting.either. The result I am looking for is a car that is much more amenable to user maintenance, that has some weight loss and better usability over all. Now that is not too much to ask now is it?

If all of this works then I will be a some what happier camper but at the moment I am feeling rather, to put it politely hacked off about life in general  there is not much joy when you have everything around you seems to be competing for my attention and requiring me to do so many things at the same time. Oh I will get over this temporary ennui as soon as I have something that is going my way  for a while…. speaking of which my better half has just come to me telling me that the damn washing machine is not doing the  right thing either! Its not my day today …

Wish I could find something to cheer about Comrades

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