January 2011

From the AAP:

Tropical Cyclone Anthony has been downgraded to a low after crossing the Queensland coast near Bowen, south of Townsville.

It was a category two cyclone when it made landfall about 10pm (AEST) on Sunday but quickly weakened into a low pressure system.

Queensland Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Vikash Prasad says there have been rain falls of up to 300mm in the Mackay area.

Mr Prasad said there could be some flash floods with fast stream rises occurring in the upper Pioneer River catchment and the Don River.

There are flood warnings for coastal rivers and streams between Bowen and Sarina, south of Mackay.

“It’s still delivering heavy rain to the northern part of the central highlands,” Mr Prasad told AAP.

“The rain will decrease quite significantly later in the morning.”

He said wind gusts were also dying down after reaching 124km/h at Hamilton Island.

The ex-cyclone is now moving towards Longreach in Queensland’s central west.

A second more damaging cyclone is still heading towards Queensland and is expected to cross the coast on Wednesday night or Thursday.

Cyclone Yasi is just north of Vanuatu, about 2000 kilometres east-northeast of Bowen.

Mr Prasad said the category one cyclone is tracking towards Queensland’s north coast and is expected to intensify very quickly over the coming days.

“It’s too early to know what category it will be (when it crosses) but we would expect it to be at least a category four,” he said.

It appears I got the name wrong in the previous post. The ‘Goliath’ cyclone behind Anthony is called “Yasi”. My ear picked it up as Yeti. One would think, after living here for so many years I wouldn’t still have trouble with the Oz accent or pronounciation of certain words and syllables, but alas that’s not the case. Seems you can take the girl out of the San Francisco educational system, but…

In my defense, I live where a name like Marysborough is commonly pronounced Mir`brah, Indooroopilly is pronounced indrah-pill-ee, pressure has only one ‘r’ (presh-ah) oregano isn’t an (h)erb it’s a her-b and if that’s not bad enough, they pronounce it or-ee-gahn-oh. If I were Italian I’d  cry.

I’ll look for satellite shots of Yasi after I get some work done for the nice lady who puts money in my bank 🙂

Today is my last day to visit the Palin blogs. I’m thinking of asking the chemist if there’s a patch…

There’s already a youtube video of tracking Yasi. Bloody oath!

Australia is sitting between two approaching cyclones – Cyclone Anthony is headed for Queensland on the east coast while Cyclone Bianca, at the same time,  is headed for the west coast.

Because the floods just weren’t enough punishment…  Anybody have blueprints for building an Ark? Maybe one that flies?


On the east coast of Australia, a third cyclone is building behind Anthony, gaining in speed, momentum and strength. It is following the same path but is expected to hit much harder. Anthony is currently predicted to hit land around Townesville as a catgegory 2 cyclone. This third cyclone has been named Yeti.

Australia’s west coast is currently on cyclone watch as Bianca nears the shores south of Perth.

And even though it’s all very important – to all of us –  it’s a bit difficult to focus on the unrest occuring in other parts of the world when you have cyclones knocking at both your front and back doors…


This is the latest posting by BOM (Australia’s Bureau of Meterology) even though it’s a few hours old:

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
Western Australia
## WIND WARNING For coastal waters from Kalbarri to Albany Issued at 5:47 pm WST on Saturday 29 January 2011 Please be aware, wind gusts can be a further 40 percent stronger than the averages given here, and maximum waves may be up to twice the height.
SITUATION At 5:00 pm WST Tropical Cyclone Bianca was located within 30 nautical miles of latitude twenty nine decimal four degrees South (29.4S) longitude one hundred and eight decimal seven degrees East (108.7E) about 400 nautical miles west northwest of Perth and 310 nautical miles west of Geraldton
Recent movement : south southeast at 13 knots Maximum winds : 60 knots Central pressure: 975 hectopascals

Broome is circled in pink – so Tan’s family is well and truly out of the storm zone. Kalbarri (which is s huge national park and natural habitat to thousands of native flora and fauna) and Albany I’ve circled in red.

The line inbetween represents the ‘landing zone’ of Cyclone Bianca. Here’s hoping Bianca has lost much of her impetus before she hits land.


From the AAP – “Bianca weakening to category one”

 Cyclone Bianca off the West Australian coast has been downgraded to category one but the weather bureau warns it may still impact on communities in the southwest of the state on Sunday.

The bureau says people can expect possible coastal erosion, flooding of low lying coastal areas, rough seas, damaging winds with gusts to 100 kilometres, very high to severe fire danger and south of Bunbury heavy rain with possible localised flooding.

A cyclone warning is current for coastal areas from Jurien Bay to Albany including Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton.

The bureau says tides between Jurien Bay and Cape Naturaliste will be higher than normal.

Saturday afternoon’s storms caused damage in parts of Perth and regional towns to the east, including Toodyay, Northam, York and Wongan Hills.

State Emergency Service volunteers responded to 20 calls for assistance in Perth for rain damage, localised flooding and roof collapses.

In Northam and York, east of Perth, around 30 buildings were badly damaged, many with roofs torn off, and powerlines and other structures were also hammered, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) said.

The stormy weather cut power to around 55,000 homes in WA’s south on Saturday as the category three cyclone Bianca approached across the Indian Ocean.

30 January 2011 Sunday 6pm



Ex-Tropical Cyclone Bianca

The forecast path shown  is the Bureau’s best estimate of the cyclone’s future movement and intensity. There is always some uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting and the grey zone indicates the range of likely tracks of the cyclone centre.

The Cyclone WARNING for coastal areas from Jurien Bay to Albany, including Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury and Busselton has been CANCELLED.

Ex-TC Bianca has weakened below cyclone intensity and is expected to further weaken during the day.

However, tides between Jurien Bay and Dunsborough will be higher than normal and are likely to rise above the highest astronomical tide level on Sunday evening. ROUGH SEAS, DANGEROUS SURF, COASTAL EROSION and FLOODING of LOW LYING COASTAL AREAS are possible. Please refer to the Severe Weather Warning [IDW28001] for further information.


First – I want to apologize for making my previous post ‘too clever’. The four words I meant would keep Sarah from ever being elected again were “Good job Mr. President”. She can’t compliment her own president – ever – for anything – and that single bit of disrespect has become the ‘nails on the blackboard’ for a growing number of people.

Now – my multi-part twofold question is about these emails coming out (supposedly in May) and all the delays and extensions asked for and received until now.

1. When government emails have portions ‘redacted’ – isn’t that meant/intended to keep private,  content which might otherwise jeopardize state/federal/national security? If so, what possible, legitimate ‘state secrets’ could be redacted from a governor’s emails between the governor and her say husband or best friend or hairdresser or… and who gets to decide what gets to be redacted… and are there any checks and balances within the redacting process?

2. What possible, legitimate reasons could the Palin Administration offer for ‘redacting’ much of the email content? And if the ‘redacted’ content somehow proved to not be ‘state secrets’, wouldn’t that, then, be illegal?

I’ve never been able to wrap my head around number of delays the administration has been granted. What reasons could they possibly have poresented that persuaded a judge/judges to grant them 15 continuances over a period of 2+ years?

And why isn’t that – in itself – considered an abuse of the system?

Brother – one question leads to many, many more…

Four words in the English language will prevent Sarah Palin from winning any substantive election in 2012 or – ever. Four words. Four words she refuses to embrace. Four words she shuns as if they held a deadly contagion. Maybe it’s not her fault. Maybe she’s just not physically capable of pronouncing them. Like those clicking, tribal sounds we white people can’t make without risking permanent nasal damage or lockjaw.

It’s a shame, though, because they aren’t difficult words. They require the barest amount of humility on the part of the speaker and can (and have been) historically faked many times by politicians who recognize that strategically placed in a sound-byte, these four words can actually help one garner important votes – whether the words were uttered with sincerity on their part or not.

Sarah, it seems, can’t even feign faked humility.

We know from transcripts of private lectures, youtube clips of television interviews and eight episodes of her Fox reality show that Sarah doesn’t just not incorporate these words into any of her speeches or conversations, she deliberately goes well out of her way to avoid them.

For someone aspiring to the highest office in the land, her refusal to speak these four words demonstrates a degree of intellectual bankruptcy with which we can ill-afford to entrust our politics, our economy, our country or our launch codes.

Pity.  She coulda been a contendah…

[4 words – click to view]

Oz Mudflats joins Wickersham’s   Conscience who joins Washington D.C. columnist Dana Milbank in pledging to ignore All-Things-Palin for the month of February.

Dana Milbank’s pledge is here.

WC’s pledge can be read here.

Please join us by not writing or reading about, commenting on or giving this worthless excuse of a human being any acknowledgement whatsoever for the period of one calendar month.

I, OzMud, hereby promise as of 1 February 2011, to not write about, read about or talk about Sarah Palin or any of her brood for an entire month. [Tosses salt over her shoulder and spits into the wind.]

That part of my brain that suffers from Palin-Overload has made a serendipitous connection between the above pledge and the following old, tasteless joke, heard first in a mid-70’s parenting awareness seminar. The memory has brought a smile to my face. The joke goes something like this:

The overwrought, exhausted parents of twin two year olds sit side by side on a sofa. She has raspberry jello in her hair. He has spaghetti sauce on his trousers. Toys abound throughout the room. They watch as the two out-of-control toddlers smear margarine on the television screen. Finally, the father turns to the mother and says “I read somewhere that if you stop feeding them, they eventually become lethargic.”

We talk about not feeding the trolls in our comments sections all the time. Perhaps it’s time to focus on not feeding the Mama Troll as well 🙂

To those commenters asking questions about where to help with the flood clean-up may I first say thanks so much for the good energy, thoughts, prayers and effort. Second, I am currently researching which philanthropic projects are the most legitimate and effective and will be posting a list and an update of the flood zones soon.

============ Update ============

Thought I’d address the reasoning behind my decision to choose now to ignore Ms. Palin et al for a month. I understand that a lot of you feel this is the wrong time – that things are hotting up in the Palin household and the month of February promises to provide the news cycle we’ve all been waiting for – the Snow Queen’s Demise.

Here’s my problem… Sarah Palin is not now and never should have been treated as news. Her fifteen minutes of fame should never have been elevated to domination of the national daily news cycle. Her tweets and Facebook rants should never have gone unchallenged by the media. Her quite irrational but viscious verbal attacks on our sitting President should never have gone unchastized by our politicians. Her uneducated claims about government policy including health care, our relationships with China, North Korea, Iran, Israel and Iraq should never have been treated as if her ignorant arguments held any substance. For two years Sarah Palin has said what she wanted, when she wanted, without the responsibility of backing her statements with facts, taking part in public debate or answering to the barest of media scrutiny.

And the sad truth is, no matter how the Palins respond to the current and forthcoming allegations, nothing much is going to change. Sarah Palin with all her millions of dollars in the bank will continue to prey on the weak, collect money from gullible supporters who think that by donating their kids lunch money they are somehow saving their savior,  and she will continue to preach to the choir.

No matter what facts are presented to the public over the next few weeks exposing the truth about Sarah’s family life or personal motivations, she won’t lose a single supporter because the people who support Sarah didn’t just fall for her anti-government hype – they worship her. And you can’t fight faith with logic or reason. 

Sarah’s disciples will buy into whatever spin she puts on the truth about herself and her family – they will help her blame the media, the liberals and Obama, and whatever falls out of her closet that she can’t explain away, they will forgive.

This next months chunk of news cycles won’t be any different from any of the other news reports that have previously outed Sarah in some way. She’ll sit behind the bulletproof glass shield conveniently provided by FNC, point to the lamestream media and bloggers and unfair journalists as proof positive she’s persecuted and use Twitter and Facebook to make her undisputed claims of innocence… and nothing will change.

Except for 28 days there will be fewer of us feeding the Mama Troll, giving her fewer and fewer people to blame for her inevitable downfall.

Her favorability in the polls keeps dropping not because more people suddenly got smart, but because more people who already weren’t under her spell  began realizing she’s not just a joke – and she’s not going away. More and more people who have encouraged her bizarre behaviour and treated her as a quirky celebrity are now realizing the real danger she poses to our way of life and that impetus has helped more people to find their voice.

Regardless of what Palin-Facts are suddenly brought to light in the next few weeks, one of two things is going to ultimately happen: Either Sarah Palin is going to run for president in 2012 or she’s not.

But be clear – her decision to run or not will have nothing to do with scandalous bouts of infidelity or damaging emails.  Whichever direction she decides to take, it will not for one second occur to Ms. Palin that she doesn’t have immeasurable amounts of wiggle room with her supporters. This is, after all, the same woman who convinced a nation that her doctor told her it was okay to fly from Texas to Anchorage with leaking amniotic fluid in her 36th week of her seventh pregnancy, after having two previous miscarriages. I’m guessing Sarah could sell sand to Arabs. But that’s just me.

If Sarah chooses not to run then it’s game over and we’ll probably see her next clad in a sequined white gown preaching about the coming of the apocalypse on a Sunday morning religious network.

If she does toss her bumpit into the ring, then I’ll be all over her like ticks on a wet dog – but in March after a lovely Palin-free rest.

As I write this, another comment has come forward. Is it possible this call for a Palin-Free month is the concept of someone like Carl Rove? Designed to take the heat off Sarah as facts of her real life come bounding to the foreground? Sure. But this is my decision – and if it’s the wrong one, then I am at least in good company 🙂

It’s been estimated that on 14 January 2011 80% of Queensland was under water. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were either obliterated outright or rendered uninhabitable in less than a period of 72 hours. QLD Premier Anna Bligh has likened the state to a post war zone.

In this produce-rich state, responsible for stocking supermarkets across the country with fresh dairy, fruits and vegetables, crops just ready to harvest and livestock were washed out to sea. Hundreds of thousands of people were made suddenly homeless. Ironically, at least one Brisbane evacuation centre needed to be evacuated just after its first round of victims had settled in.

To show the magnitude of the Qld floods, I offer the following map of the United States (courtesy of Google Maps):  

Qld is roughly 668,204 sq. miles. In the US, this would be like combining Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri, with about a fifth of New Mexico thrown in for good measure.  

80% of this land mass went under water. Take away Mississippi, Missouri and the bit of New Mexico and this is how much land sustained flood damage and needs to be rebuilt. Buildings, both home and commercial, roads, highways, power stations, sewage plants, fresh water suppliers, harbours, parks… the list goes on.  

Imagine being a diabetic, without insulin or medication and realizing that not only is your doctor’s surgery under water, but the chemist who keeps your records and fills your scripts no longer exists. Some rural doctors still aren’t online. Proving to a new chemist that you need insulin today won’t be easy without current medical records. (I am so glad my doctor lives in this century…)

Our beautiful pristine beaches will take decades to recover and it’s already been determined that the contaminated flood waters receding into the ocean are headed north toward the Great Barrier Reef where, if the toxins don’t kill off the coral, the soil and silt will choke out the oxygen necessary to maintain its plant and animal inhabitants. A scuba diving business off Frasier Island (north of Brisbane) has already reported visibility underwater has gone from a norm of 50 metres to less than one metre due to murky water being carried by the tides.

The website called nearmap places interactive satellite global images on the net. You can see the world at a glance or keep zooming in on an area until you can read traffic signs on the roads.  ABC News (Qld) has taken nearmap a step further and posted a slew of before and after images on their website, here. Just hover your mouse over the before image and the after image slides over the top.

Here are a few images taken of my little shire (click to enlarge):

I’m guessing my Water Aerobics class is cancelled…

*          *          *          *          *

On days like today it’s good to take a moment and reflect the lives of people who lived through a lot worse than this and came out the other side having made a positive,  indelible difference on the world.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King – thank you for all  you sacrificed and all you taught. I hope we’re living up to the spirit of your dream…

14 January 2011

We live on the very outskirts of the flood zone. Our home was never in imminent danger. Our power was never off for more than a handful of hours at a time. The supermarket in my immediate neighbourhood is attempting to serve the sudden influx of people from neighbouring boroughs who have no access to local stores at all.

 It was explained to us the following day by a Woolies manager, “We normally have several deliveries per day for each department – now we can only get one or two trucks on the road so we need them to bring the absolute basics – milk, bread, baby formula and sanitary supplies. Everything else has to wait until the roads are clear and safe again.”

These photos were taken on the evening of the 13th, just one day after the Bremer River overflowed into downtown Ipswich…

(Click images to enlarge)

  string beans,
  cucumbers, etc.



  All the
  sugared cereals
  are gone…


Spouse has been the one to forage daily for supplies – I’ll go back with my camera on Monday.  But really, this is why emergency services are forever preaching that we always maintain a stocked larder with at least two weeks of tinned food, dry staples and paper products because when emergencies happen – uit can be the difference between taking care of one’s family or not.

Good lessons here.

PS sorry about the photo layout – on the worksheet they are perfectly lined up on the left with captions on the right – this program is really irritating – rofl.

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