Friday, September 30, 2005

Life, Etc.

I'm at an internet cafe with Gary and I just looked back over my shoulder at him to see that he is also posting on the blog right now. I wonder who will finish first.

Gary's mom bought us a laptop before we left Canada, which has been very nice to have, although lately we haven't been able to get much use out of it. We used to take it down to the library and "share" their wireless internet, but it hasn't worked once in the last two weeks. We also used to go to another place downtown that hasn't been working out for us. I don't think anyone wants to share with us anymore.

Needless to say, we now have to go to internet cafes to post on the blog, and I'm not really sure how we'll get any photos on the internet without our laptop.

In three more hours it will be October first. I can't believe how the time is flying by. Four more weeks and our time in Perth is done. I'm getting pretty excited about moving on, but kind of sad at the same time. We've made some friends here that I'm a little sad about leaving, although our two closest friends are backpackers themselves who will be leaving in December.

We bought a fishing rod yesterday and hope to go to either Cottesloe beach or the Hillary Marina to catch some fish tomorrow. The weather here has been kind of crappy though, especially compared to the rest of the country. Apparently Perth usually has one of the mildest winters of any Australian city, but to look at the national forecast day after day and see that it's sunny and 26-33 degrees in all the other state capitals, but rainy/windy and 18 degrees in Perth is starting to get depressing. But as long as it's even remotely nice tomorrow, we'll be catching fish for dinner.



Working in a Restaurant

I started working as kitchen help in an Italian restaurant here in Perth called "Villa Rustica". I can't help but laugh to myself when I see the word "villa". In Argentina they use the word "Villa" as a somewhat sarcastic description of squatters slums made out of corrugated tin.

The restaurant is pretty nice and so are the people. The other workers continually comment about how nice the chef is. It leads me to believe that most chef's are jerks. Luckily for me I work for a good one.

Working in a restaurant has changed me. It makes me want to eat out less, and has made me more willing to do the dishes at home. In fact, the other day I mentioned to Tracie that girls shouldn't marry guys who have never worked as dishwashers. I used to be squeamish about doing dishes. I really hate the dirty dishwater. I have since realized that if I hadn't put the plate in the water, I would have probably been willing to eat the food that was on it. The main difference between the plate in and out of the sink is the water and the soap.

My day off and Tracie's are is finally matching up. It is very likely that we will go fishing weather permitting. We bought a fishing rod yesterday and are looking forward to it. I'm going to try for a delicious snapper. I also will be having a picture day. I need to catch up to Jackie and Jeff.

I haven't been getting onto the internet as much as before, partly because of work and partly because the people whose wireless routers I have been using, seem to have caught on to the fact and I am having to go farther and farther afield to find connections available to the public. I guess I will have to find a coffee shop that offers wireless internet free to customers or something.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Working in Perth

Lots of things have happened in the last little while, sort of.

Last Saturday, we went out with some friends to watch the footy final. It was a pretty fun time, but the home team (the West Coast Eagles) lost by about four points. Australian football is a funny sport. It is the only game with four goal posts per side instead of only two. If you kick the ball between the inner posts it is six points. If it goes between the outer posts, they say, "Don't feel bad. That was a good try, have one point, we get the idea of what you were trying to do." Even though our team lost we had a good time. It is fun to watch a big game like that with a big group of fans because of all the cheering and booing.

Monday was the Queen's birthday. Think May Long in September. We went to the beach with our friends to Celebrate. They fished a little while while we went body boarding. I about got folded in half and swished pretty good once. Much harder and it would have been a spinal injury. My sinuses were burning for the next few days. It is really important not to try to breath salt water. It isn't as good as it seems.

Yesterday morning I got up at 4:30 to go to the produce market with the owner of the fruit and veg shop where I work. It is a pretty interesting system. There are 20-25 wholesalers. Many of them carry the same types of fruit and vegtables, but there are slight variations. Some come from the east coast, for example. Each salesman is responsible for around three or four fruit or vegtable varieties in their particular area. Meaning that most of the wholesalers have four or five salesmen or more, some are smaller operations though. The buyer will ask the price and a short haggling session will ensue. Generally the buyer and seller know each other and can read each other so the will arrive at a price fairly quickly, although some people seem to take longer than others. There has to be give and take to be successful, you can't just take, take, take all the time or the other guy won't like to do business with you. At one of the wholesalers my boss's favorite saleman was on vacation, which was too bad because he didn't like the other guy very much. He said that they could read each other very well. Another thing he said to do was tell them you'll take five. If it isn't a really good buy but you can tell the seller really wants to move the produce, take five because when your stuck short of something you can ask them if they can give you five and get a better deal.

I got back from the fruit shop in time to go straight to the restaurant and did dishes until around 10:30. It was a really long day, but we're hoping to save up as much money as we can here in Perth.

The idea is to scrape together enough money to do somthing really fun on the east coast. We're thinking of looking in to going to antartica since we are so close already. Maybe on a cruise or something.

-Gary Milner


Tracie and Gary are you there, or do we need to send out a possie. We need a post one of these times to assure us that you have not fallen prey to sharks, king browns, crockodiles or whatever.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Big Cash Windfall

Here's some news that you fans outside of Alberta may not have heard. By Christmas, every man woman and child in Alberta will receive $4oo.00 from the Alberta Government. This is because Alberta has made so much extra cash since the price of oil has gone up since hurricane Katrina. You should notice that I didn't say "because"of hurricane Katrina, I just said "since" hurricane Katrina, but that is another story, but you, the reader already knew that, so goodbye.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm an aunt again

Originally uploaded by Tracie Milner.
My sister Megan just had her second baby yesterday, a little boy. This is a photo my Dad sent me of their growing family. Megan, Dann, Eva and Toby. I still haven't talked to her yet, but I'm sure she was glad to have it since she was a week overdue.

In other news we got a roomate today. His name is Stephane and he is from France. I'll get to practice my French speaking now, although his English is a lot better than my French. The whole situation was a bit shifty to say the least. We went out to a movie last night and when we got back, there was a French guy in our appartment who said he was our new roomate. The guy who owns the flat must have forgotten to tell us. What a surprise that was. But I think it will be ok. He's a pretty nice guy who works about 10 hours a day, so I don't think he'll be around much anyway. He has travelled all over the East coast already and he's just stopping here for a few weeks to recharge his bank account before heading back out on the road.

We looked at his photos last night and we're now getting pretty anxious ourselves to head out. A few more weeks of hard work maybe and then we'll be outta Perth for good.

Don't get me wrong, I like Perth and the people are friendly, but unless a really tempting job offer was made, I think I'd prefer a bigger city with more to do. Perth is like a small country town with small country values. All the stores are closed by 6 pm and aren't open on Sundays at all. All because the good people of Perth voted NO against late night and Sunday trading. We're surprised the public has a say at all. I say keep your store open as long as you want and the people can then choose when to go when they want. It's crazy. Also, public transit in Perth isn't very good, although they are expanding the train system.

Anyway, I do love it here in Oz, but I'm really looking forward to some adventures in the outback followed by some big city living in Sydney.

Monday, September 19, 2005


A few days ago Jane and I were watching TV in our bedroom. I looked up at the window and saw a black silhouette appear and disappear. I was startled so I didn't immediately run to the window, but waited a few seconds before I did and then there was time for the guy to leave. Then I wondered if I even saw anything at all. Then a few days later Jane thought she heard someone try our front door. She asked me if I locked the door and I said I didn't remember so she checked and it was indeed locked. Then about ten minutes later when we were watching TV again Jane said she smelled cigarette smoke. I got up and looked out the window and saw a guy standing about 12 feet away from our window. In a rough voice I asked him what he was doing there. He made up a story about looking for his keys. I asked what his keys would be doing in our yard and he said well a dog chased him and he cut through our yard and lost his keys as he was running. I didn't believe him of course but then strange things happen sometimes. So I just let him go on his way. I called the police after but of course it was a bit late then. I should have called them instead of confronting the guy. That's what I'll do next time. Maybe he was a burgler too; who knows?

Pirates Office

In honour of talk like a pirate day, which is almost over here, I'm posting this panorama of a pirates office that I took yesterday.

I had my first day at the fruit and veg shop. It went just about like I expected it to. Stacking fruit and vegs in the fridges. It was a nice and simple job and the people there are pretty nice.

-No Beard the Pirate (Gary)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fruit and Veg Shop

I recently got a job working in a fruit and veg shop. I haven't started yet, but I'm pretty sure that it is just going to be unloading the truck at the shop three times a week.
I met the owner at church and he said that he had been thinking of hiring me since I had introduced myself a few weeks ago. When I went to meet him the other day, he told me that he had worked in the shop for two years before he started his own. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, he goes to market to buy stock for the shop. The process sounds very interesting and he offered to take me to introduce me around and let me see the buying and selling of the produce at the wholesale level.
I don't know what it will be like, but I imagine something like the floor of the stock exchange, a middle eastern bizzar, and the Spanish tomatina all rolled into one, with everyone saying things like, "Let's throw some shrimp on the barbie!"
Even though it is only going to be three days a week, I'm excited to be working now and it will probably be a good balance between working and holidaying.


Monday, September 12, 2005

My Near Death Experience

As Gary mentioned, I got sucked out to sea on Saturday. What he failed to mention was that I nearly died.

We seemed to be having a terrible time that day. Usually, we go to the beach, hop on our body boards, catch some waves for a few hours and head home. Saturday wasn't like that at all. The waves were really smashy and both of us were having a hard time going anywhere. Gary seemed to be able to make it out in the water, but couldn't seem to catch the waves in. I on the other hand couldn't even get out in the water. I would step a few feet in only to be thrown around by the next wave. I'd stand up to recover and get knocked down again. I couldn't seem to make it more than a few meters in.

We gave up for a while and had some lunch, but I was determined to at least catch a few waves before calling it a day. So after lunch, Gary and I headed back to the water together with our boards. Gary made it past the first few waves, but we were both frustrated that I just couldn't make it out. I was swimming as hard as I could, but I seemed to be staying in one place. Eventually we kind of parted ways, Gary was further down the beach from me. I figured it was because he was swimming away because as far as I could tell, I wasn't moving. But the truth was that I was being swept along the shore by a pretty strong ocean current.

Getting caught in a current is pretty scary to say the least. I suppose that if I had been paying attention to landmarks, I would have realised that I was a quickly moving along and I could have walked back to shore. I didn't pay attention though, and before I knew it I was getting further and further away from the shoreline. I tried to swim back to shore, but I was being sucked out.

I realised pretty quickly that I was in a rip tide...I had been warned about them before. I know that if you ever get sucked out into the ocean, it's pointless to try to swim in against the current. I was told to swim along the shoreline until you can get out of the current and then swim in. Well, what the people don't tell you is that you have to swim the right direction. It seemed like the current was moving along the shore and sweeping out. As I tried to swim to the side, I think I was swimming into the sideways current and being sucked further and further out to sea.

By this point I was terrified, and I'll admit I was even crying. All this happened in only a few minutes, but it really felt like a long time and I was worried that if I got too far out to sea, it might be a while before Gary realised I was in trouble and people came looking for me. I imagined the movie Castaway, but I wasn't sure how long I'd survive without water....if I'd even make it to an island.

Well, I was waving frantically, hoping Gary would look in my direction. Between the waves, I could see him on the shore walking away from me. I was really upset because here I was about to be lost at sea and Gary was just walking away. The surfers all hang out further out from the shore waiting for a big wave. I was out past most of the surfers, but not all of them. I knew if I got out past them all, I was doomed.

Just then, I heard one of them yell "OH YEAH!!" in a really loud, excited voice. I looked back and a giant wave was heading my direction. I swam as hard as I could trying to get onto it, knowing that this could be my ticket in. Well, I didn't get onto it, but it did push me in the right direction and I was able to catch all of the waves back in.

And that's how I almost died.

I have since forgiven the ocean, although somewhat reluctantly. Gary wanted to go back the very next day for a swim, but I was still too upset to go. I told him I'd stay on the shore and watch him. As soon as I got there though, it looked so beautiful so I decided I'd give the ocean another chance.

You'd better not dissapoint me again, Ocean.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tracie, Davey Jones. Davey Jones, Tracie

We were at the beach body boarding on Saturday. The waves were a decent height, maybe 3' to 6' tall and the sun was shining. I went out, and caught a good wave in right away as Tracie was getting ready to come out. I waited a while for Tracie to get past the waves crashing right on the sand, but she couldn't seem to make it.

I went out again and Tracie decided to hang out on the beach. I must have been fooling around for half an hour or so trying to body board but I just wasn't catching any waves. I was pretty sure that I had a poor location as far as the break was concerned, so I came in to have lunch.

After a few bites of sandwiches, we were surrounded by seagulls. They call pigeons rats of the sky, but really, the actual rats of the sky are seagulls. They're ugly, they have an awful call, and are all around annoying. They wanted our lunch, but I just threw sea shells to them. When there are only a few seagulls, they can tell you're throwing shells, but in large groups they don't take any chances and go for it. It's pretty funny to see the disappointed looks they give you when they realize that they're holding a shell in their beak not a tasty potatoe chip or bread crumb.

The afternoon session of body boarding was just as bad as the morning session. We went down the beach and I headed out right away. The water near the sand was almost to my shoulders, but shallowed further from the beach nearly to my knees. Once again Tracie had a real hard time making it out. I came back to try to help her, but it is pretty hard to help someone in that situation. Eventually I decided to head back to our stuff to get my glasses so that I could just watch Tracie from the shore.

I noticed that where we happened to be there was a pretty strong current running parallel to the beach. It seemed similar to trying to walk in the South Saskatchewan River. I didn't think much of it at the time as I was able to get out of it right away. I looked over my shoulder as I was swimming back down the beach, I saw Tracie a long way North of me, and I attributed it to us swimming in opposite directions when in fact it was due to the current running north parallel to the beach.

I walked a block or two back to the bag got my glasses and started walking back. About halfway back I saw Tracie and she was very angry. She later told me that she was caught in a current and that it had turned out to sea and that she couldn't make her way back in. She trying swimming parallel to the beach when she realized that she was headed out to sea which is what you are supposed to do, but it didn't seem to help. (I think that it was because she was headed south back into the current that was moving her into the current that was headed west out to sea.) In any case Tracie was freaking out as she was coming parallel to the surfers who were the farthest out.

Then she heard a surfer yell, "OH Yeah!". She looked over her shoulder and saw a Huge wave crashing towards her and she started swimming as hard as she could to catch the wave back in to the beach. She went a long way in on the wave and then slid off the back of it. Luckily it had given her a little shoreward momentum and the next set of waves all pushed her closer and closer to the shore.

I think the first big wave got her out of the current which was really lucky. Needless to say, she is very angry at the sea right now.

This photo was taken on a different day.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fremantle in the Fifties

A history of Fremantle, between 1850 and 1860, with particular reference to convicts.
by Ronald Chamberlain

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Master's Thesis Chapter 5

“Fremantle In The Fifties.”
A History of Fremantle, between 1850 and 1860, with particular reference to convicts.
Ronald Chamberlain,
Teachers' College,

Chapter 5. “An Awakened and Changed Fremantle”.

This is the story of how Fremantle changed from a dot on a sailor's map, into an actual port of call, how Fremantle changed from a town which seemed doomed to stay in the stagnant state in which she had existed throughout the 1830's and 40's, into a lively prosperous little community. As Fremantle changed into a port of some importance, it was found that to protect the morals of the ex-convict, it was better to keep him away from Fremantle and the sailors of the world. Fremantle was not without her personalities during this period, such as Dan Scott and the pirate “Bully” Hayes. Convicts had a considerable influence upon the town of Fremantle. These effects were many, and varied, but on the whole they were good effects.

During the 1850's one man stands out as being a very influential in the Fremantle community. He was Captain Daniel Scott, who was Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust from 1850-3, 1854 and 1856-9. Thus he controlled to a degree, Fremantle during the years which concerns this topic. Captain Scott came to Fremantle in 1829 in the ship “Calista” following behind the “Parmelia” which brought out Stirling and the first group of settlers. He took up land when it was first distributed in the Fremantle district, and in the early 30's he became harbour-master of the port of Fremantle. He retained this position for over 20 years.

Fremantle did not take advantage when the legislation allowed it to form a town trust when this measure became law in 1839. It was not until 1848 that a public meeting was held and Captain Daniel Scott was appointed Chairman or the Fremantle Town Trust. Captain Scott was Chairman in 1850 when the first convicts arrived. It was Captain Scott's Esplanade Hotel which was hired by the Governor at a rent of £250 per annum. Scott continued as the chairman from 1850 to 1853, then again in 1854 and finally from 1856-9. During this period Scott and his fellow trust members worked hard on the proposals to improve Fremantle. Streets were constructed to allow for a free flow of traffic. Fremantle, however, in those early years did not look like a well compact town. It still had the appearance of a rather detached number of shops. Mrs. Miller points this out in the book “Australian Personage”.

During Scott's last period as Chairman, Governor Kennedy and the Captain were not on the best of terms, in some instances. The first “incident” concerned prisoners in North Fremantle and their cattle which they grazed on the Crown land without paying rent. Kennedy said they should be allowed to do so. Later in 1856 Kennedy dismissed Scott as Justice of the Peace. Scott resigned from the Town Trust but the Trust would not accept his resignation, which was the faith they had in him. Later things were smoothed out, but as to whether Kennedy re-instated Scott as a Justice of the Peace was not quite clear. Scott died on the 20th February, 1865, and was mourned by many. With Fremantle having such a cosmopolitan population at times, the need to make the town as presentable as possible to outside visitors was obvious. Captain Scott's policy of paving the footpaths and having the streets leveled did help to make Fremantle a fairly presentable little township. About this time (1855) the Fremantle Boys' School was built and the Roman Catholic Church, which has recently been dismantled, was completed.

One might be tempted to think that Fremantle was a dull sort of town during his period., but Fremantle did have its events which were comparable to modern times. Such an “event” occurred in 1857 when the modern pirate “Bully” Hayes arrived. Hayes did not attempt to steal and plunder in the way we are tempted to think about pirates. He was a tall, rather good-looking young man who rather charmed the ladies and officials. He charmed one lady, Miss Scott, daughter of Captain Scott, to a degree, that she became engaged to him. He took the Scott family to Adelaide but when he arrived back in Fremantle his fame had caught up with him, and he was received in a somewhat more reserved manner. His charm was such, however, that he managed to extract money from several Perth business men before he made his departure.

As had been previously pointed out, Fremantle was the centre which was to feel the first “blast” of the system, be it good or bad. As it did result a “wave of prosperity” gradually moved out from Fremantle over the state. When the system started, many reports showed that many were afraid of its consequences. After 1950, these reports in the “Inquirer” and “Perth Gazette” no longer appeared in any great frequency. So men gained confidence in the system early, and tried to reap the results. The convicts helped not only to provide more people in a “slave-like” working force, but many free workers came out. This helped to provide a greater overall working force. Because the population had increased, then a greater market for food had been created. Farmers slowly realized that to produce more food would be a good thing. Markets for business sprung up in many centres, including a very important market at Fremantle. When wheat could be exported, Fremantle was the avenue through which this and all other commodities flowed. During the ten years from 1849, before the system began, to 1859, when the system was in full operation, the number of acres cultivated in the colony increased by 368%. This gives an indication as to the influence the convicts had on the colony. The Fremantle market of the times was not an outstandingly active one, but it was firm and steady. Mrs. Miller in her book “Australian Personage” points this out.

With the convicts came capital. This was particularly evident at Fremantle. Here money was spent almost immediately on the arrival of the convicts in the form of an active community using money for repairs and for food, and extensions to Captain Scott's Hotel. A sign of an active community is money flowing. For a long time money did not flow too readily in Fremantle. But now the Imperial Government had decided to spend some money, many of the colonists began to venture out. The British Government expressed its intentions not to spend too much money, but when it came to the point of spending £27,000 on the Establishment, Fremantle could not help but profit. These profits showed the improvements made to Fremantle.

There were, however, two faults with the system. Because the system did not allow for any female convicts to be sent out, the number of males became far more than the numbers of females. This difference must have been in the order of seven or eight thousand by the end of the system, for over nine and a half thousand convicts came out. The disparate numbers between each sex could have had serious repercussions as in New South Wales, but Western Australia did not feel these effects to a very marked degree. There was but one serious crime from which Fremantle did suffer. The crime was that of drunkedness. It was a crime which had started with Fremantle's “sly grog” shops in the early days, and continued to the end of the period. The governors recognized the danger of the crime and tried to prevent it. Ticket-of-leave men who were found drunk were to lose their ticket-of-leave, and anyone who was due for a ticket-of-leave and found drunk would not receive one. Any man known to be a drunkard would not receive a ticket-of-leave. These two features were bad features of the system, but they were not a heavy nor lasting price to pay. As the population of the colony grew the disproportion of the sexes became less marked. Drunkenness was not a direct feature of the system. It was a vice which had been in Fremantle before the system, but the danger lay in that the convicts were men who could easily fall into a trap. They must be prevented from doing so. They were prevented by the threat of losing their ticket-of-leave, for the ticket was something of value.

Not only did the convicts bring some degree of wealth to Fremantle, byt they also brought a considerable increase in the population. By 1854 the population of Fremantle had exceeded the one thousand mark. With a large population, and more importance as an international port, comes a good deal of smuggled liquor and a lowering of the moral standards. As the idea behind the convict system was to reform the convict, it was not a good thing to have ticket-of-leave men working in such an area. Rules, therefore, were made that ticket-of-leave men had to go to the country districts for a period. Governor Fitzgerald was at no time disappointed about the outcome of the system. He sent home reports which showed that the system was of great benefit to the colony. This can be illustrated by two quotations written by Fitzgerald to the Duke of Newcastle.

“I am happy to state that notwithstanding the large number of convicts who have been introduced into the colony its social conditions would stand coparison with any other part of Her Majesty's dominions; crimes of a serious character, as I have already shown, are of a rare occurrence. The success which attends the management of the convicts may be ascribed to the following difficulties.
1.Amount of freedom give to ticket-of-leave men.
2.Firmness with which the law deals with crime.”

Here Fitzgerald illustrates how the convicts have been treated and the social results of the system. The following quotations shows how it has prospered as a result of the system.
“Whatever might have been the consequences to the other colonies being made penal settlements, the only consequence to this colony had been its advancement from a lamentable state of stagnation and despair to one of rapidly increasing prosperity.”

In an attempt to sum up the conditions in Fremantle, at the end of the period, a passage is taken from a book by the wife of a clergyman passing through Fremantle.
“The remainder of the town is clustered around the base of a hill and bears somewhat of the untidy look inseparable from the half completed streets and unpaved footpaths. There is no continuous row of shops, but all the minor shops, and the open fish and fruit stalls are scattered about and do not make nearly as good a show as if collected into a regular compact street. This gives the town a bear and deserted appearance as if no business were being transacted, which is not really the case, although the trade is certainly not a very lively one.”

Oil Boycotts Don't Work

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell Oil) has five core businesses: Exploration and Production, Oil Products, Downstream Gas and Power, Chemicals and Renewables. Due to regulations that came into effect during the antitrust breakup of Standard Oil Company, it became against the rules for companies that do exploration to exclude competing refineries from purchasing their crude oil and for the refineries to exclude competing marketers from buying their products. (This is how we get PC brand engine oil.) A large portion of the price of gas is actually taxes, and a boycott of votes for a certain political party would do more to affect the provincial taxes than a boycott of certain gas franchises,

If people stop buying gasoline from Shell service stations, the refineries will just sell more gas to the other marketers. Imagine the exploration guys from every company putting all their crude into a giant pool. Then imagine the refineries buying the crude to refine, refining it and putting it into another large pool. The service stations then buy the refined products to sell to the consumer.

A boycott would mean that Royal Dutch Shell loses gasoline sales, but they also lose the cost of buying the gasoline from the pool in reality this means a relitivly small drop to the bottom line. Lost Big Gulp sales probably hurt them more.

Another thing that people have seem to have forgotten is that if everyone stops buying gas from one or two stations, what would prevent the other stations from raising their prices even more because of the new found demand. If I were a regional manager, that suddenly didn't have to compete with Shell or Esso I would raise my price while I could. Especially if I couldn't get oil delivered fast enough to compensate for the increase in demand at my store.

More competetion is better for the consumer than less. Don't force less competition on yourself by boycotting gas stations. Force lower gasoline taxes by changing government.

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Marshall law is the kind of law my father, Marshall Milner, used to mete out. So, my friend,you can't tell me anything about it that I didn't learn very well, the hard way. I know more about Marshall law than you'll ever know.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What is Martial Law?

Martial law is the system of rules that takes effect (usually after a formal declaration) when a military authority takes control of the normal administration of justice.

Martial law is instituted most often when it becomes necessary to favor the activity of military authorities and organizations, usually for urgent unforeseen needs, and when the normal institutions of justice either cannot function or could be deemed too slow or too weak for the new situation; e.g., due to war, major natural disaster, civil disorder, in occupied territory, or after a coup d'etat. The need to preserve the public order during an emergency is the essential goal of martial law. However, declaration of martial law is also sometimes used by dictatorships, especially military dictatorships, to enforce their rule.

Usually martial law reduces some of the personal rights ordinarily granted to the citizen, limits the length of the trial processes, and prescribes more severe penalties than ordinary law. In many countries martial law prescribes the death penalty for certain crimes, even if ordinary law doesn't contain that crime or punishment in its system.

In many countries martial law imposes particular rules, one of which is curfew. Often, under this system, the administration of justice is left to military tribunals, called courts-martial. The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is likely to occur.

The martial law concept in the U.S. is closely tied with the Writ of habeas corpus, which is in essence the right to a hearing on lawful imprisonment, or more broadly, the supervision of law enforcement by the judiciary. The ability to suspend habeas corpus is often equated with martial law. Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

In United States law, martial law is limited by several court decisions handed down between the American Civil War and World War II. In Ex Parte Milligan 71 US 2 1866, the Supreme Court of the United States held that martial law could not be instituted within the United States when its civilian courts are in operation. In 1878, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids military involvement in domestic law enforcement without congressional approval. The National Guard is an exception, since unless federalized, they are under the control of state governors.

Contrary to many media reports, martial law has not been declared in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, because no such term exists in Louisiana state law. Rather, a state of emergency has been declared, which does give some powers similar to that of martial law. On the evening of August 31, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin did declare "martial law" (in name at least) in the city and said that "officers don't have to worry about civil rights and Miranda rights in stopping the looters."

Another common rule during riots and disasters is a curfew from sunset until sunrise.

Flooded Buses

This is a photo of a parking lot full of buses. If only the hundreds of school buses and city buses had been used in the days leading up to the hurricane, instead of being left be destroyed in the parking lot.

If someone were to take one of those buses, and drive 100 strangers to saftey, I would consider that person to be a hero.

World Relief for Huricane Victems

India donates to Huricane Relief. Ronen Sen, said in a statement after conveying the Indian offer to the Bush administration.

A sum of $5 million released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday for hurricane relief aid to the US is already being deposited in an account of the American Red Cross, Indian embassy officials here said.

Sen said in his statement: “We recall the very close cooperation between India and the US to provide succour and support to the tsunami-affected countries in the Indian Ocean region.

“The Indian and US navies had worked in close cooperation during that disaster, although India itself was one of the affected nations.”

Kuwait Donates $500 Million For Hurricane Relief

The offer is the largest known put forward since the hurricane ravaged Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and follows a $100 million aid donation from the emir of a Mideast neighbor, Qatar.

Kuwait's energy minister said his country would provide "oil products that the disaster-stricken states need in addition to other humanitarian aid."

"It's our duty as Kuwaitis to stand by our friends to lighten the humanitarian misery and as a payback for the many situations during which Washington helped us through the significant relations between the two friendly countries," Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah said in a statement carried by Kuwait's official news agency, KUNA.

China Offers Money

The Chinese government has offered five million US dollar worth of aid to the United States and will also send rescue workers to help with medical treatment and epidemic prevention in the disaster-stricken areas, Chinese Foreign Ministry announced earlier.
Chinese President Hu JintaoHu was quoted by the release as saying that the Chinese people will firmly stand together with the US people who are faced with a difficult time of severe natural disaster.

A state department official said yesterday that it was doing a needs assessment to determine which of the large number of aid offers received from all over the world would be accepted.

Bush told ABC-TV: "I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it."

"You know," he said, "we would love help, but we're going to take care of our own business as well, and there's no doubt in my mind we'll succeed. And there's no doubt in my mind, as I sit here talking to you, that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."

The problem with large scale aid from foreign nations is that it is mostly done by those nation's military. Do Americans want foreign soldiers in uniform giving aid on their soil. Would they be allowed to carry their weapons for self defense? Would American citizens accept direction from Chinese soldiers wearing the uniform of the Red Army? Cuba knows a lot about hurricane relief, wouldn't it be a kick in the pants to have to accept help from those damn commies.

-Gary Milner


According to a statement by one of the rescue officials, a major problem the rescuers are faced with is that hoards of men in the area horn their way to the fore-front of those waiting to be rescued (meaning women and kids). In many cases they had to remove men from buses ready to take passengers out of the area. The bunch who hijacked the bus were low-lifes who selfishly took matters into their own hands at the expense of others not as strong and stole a bus before it had a chance to take anyone else. Hearing stories like this makes me very uncomfortable.

Quote of the Day

The quote of the day on the internet said that "On the internet, nobody knows your a dog". Where-as this may or may not be true, I would say that it's pretty easy to pick out the pigs though.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

"I hadn't ever drove a bus."

Eighteen-year-old Jabbor Gibson jumped aboard the bus as it sat abandoned on a street in New Orleans and took control. "I just took the bus and drove all the way hours straight,' Gibson admitted. "I hadn't ever drove a bus."

The teen packed it full of complete strangers and drove to Houston. He beat thousands of evacuees slated to arrive there. Authorities eventually allowed the renegade passengers inside the dome. But the 18-year-old who ensured their safety could find himself in a world of trouble for stealing the school bus.

"I dont care if I get blamed for it," Gibson said, "as long as I saved my people."

Fire Figters, Armies, and Downtime

Fire Fighters fight fires, armies fight each other. If we are lucky most of the time they sit on their asses. Well, not really. Firemen need to keep busy. They polish their trucks, walk their dalmatians and do fund raising for the MS Society as well as burn victims. The also do a lot of posing in calendars with their shirts off, if time permits, they practices shooting the water cannon and climbing ladders. The new guys un-roll and roll the hoses.

Armies are a lot like that. We don't really want them doing their thing. Killing gets us down, but we're paying them, they should do something. Aside from killing, soldiers do a lot of training to kill. They scream about doing push ups. They haze the new guys. They do a lot of jogging, and once in a while they are called on to help in the case of emergency. The problem is that in a lot of cases killing people is job one and rescuing people is merely a stop-gap occupation. Right now the American army is in Iraq. There aren't a lot of them at home doing nothing just waiting for an emergency.

Here in Australia the talk is all about the Hurricane. While most people feel sorry for the people of New Orleans, many are using this as a chance to criticize the USA. Comparisons are being made to the 2004 tsunami. Australia pledged USD 819.9 million, including a USD 760.6 million aid package for Indonesia. What a nice thing to do for your next door neighbour. The USA initially pledged USD 350 million, and after the full extent of the damage was known, President Bush asked Congress to increase the U.S. commitment to a total of $950 million. What a nice thing to do for a group of countries on the other side of the world.

The extra $140 million sort of makes the Aussies look a little cheap when you consider that the Tsunami happened to some of their biggest trading partners and friends.

Australians just love openly criticizing President Bush and the USA, but they don't have backbone to actually do anything about it. The French said no to going to Iraq and their soldiers stayed home. They may be cheese eating surrender monkeys, but at least they made a decision for themselves. Not so Australia, at least part of their army is off fighting in Iraq.

Aussies seem to loving criticizing President Bush for taking too long to respond. What they seem to forget is that a hurricane isn't a one day event. It unfolds over several days, It destroys the city, It sinks or destroys boats in the local area, It knocks down buildings that house helicopters in the area, It over turns buses in the area. In short it ruins the materials needed to perform any sort of rescue in the local area. By the time, the hurricane ends people have already been stranded for a while. Time passes while the extent of the damage is being determined. It would be very easy and somewhat probable for people to be stranded for two or more days before it is known that they even need help.

Aussies seem to love criticizing the American Government for being racist, that maybe help would have come a little sooner if most of the stranded people hadn't been black and it seems as if the Aussies have forgotten that the Australian Constitution originally did not permit indigenous people to be counted in the census (except under the category, 'Flora and Fauna'), thereby effectively denying their right to vote until 1967. In case you don't know flora and fauna are PLANTS and ANIMALS!

To illustrate the time it takes to evacuate people stranded on rooftops here is a series of word problems from a sixth grade book:

Q. If a helicopter can hold five passengers and there are 500,000 people stuck on their rooftops how many return flights does a helicopter have to make to rescue all the people?

A. 100,000 return flights.

Q. If there are 10 helicopters in the area, how many flights does each helicopter have to make to rescue all the people?

A. 10,000 flights each.

Q. If it takes one hour to pull five people to safety and fly them to higher ground, how long will each helicopter take to complete 10,000 flights?

A. 10,000 hours.

Q. If there are 20 pilots and each pilot is allowed to fly 8 hours per day, how many days will it take to complete 10,000 flights?

A. 62.5 days.

As a Canadian, I consider the Americans to be our friends. I might not want my country to get into every one of their fights, especially if we don't think they are warranted, but I take offense at them being kicked while they are down. It's fine to smile when their basketball team gets beaten, but to feel superior because it appears that they are having trouble reacting to a natural disaster where most likely thousands of people have died is wrong.

It seems likely that Australia will not be sending much aid to help the people in New Orleans, but The oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Kuwait said Sunday it will donate $500 million in aid to U.S. relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

"It's our duty as Kuwaitis to stand by our friends to lighten the humanitarian misery and as a payback for the many situations during which Washington helped us through the significant relations between the two friendly countries," Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah said in a statement carried by Kuwait's official news agency, KUNA.

Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

-Gary Milner


Spokesmen from and on behalf of the people of New Orleans are now seeking to excuse the people of new orleans for looting, saying that these were poor people and were only looting in order to survive. I've seen quite a bit of film footage of the looters and what they were stealing. I saw them carrying racks of clothing and luxury stuff of every description. They weren't carrying boxes of cornflakes and gallons of milk, although I know they probably stole some of that too after they got their hands on some of the important stuff.

Happy Father's Day

Gary and Tracie
Originally uploaded by Tracie Milner.
Here in Australia, September 4th is Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my Grandpas and Gary's dad.

Love Tracie

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Travel Nursing in Australia vs Canada

After having worked for the past month on many different units and at many different hospitals here in Perth, I can honestly say that I have yet to come across anything harder than my old unit in Calgary, and I've only worked on one unit (a heavy medical teaching ward) that seemed equally challenging.

The job I'm doing as an agency nurse is pretty fun. I basically work casually at different hospitals on nearly every unit in each hospital. I can work at the same hospital three shifts in a row, but I might be in oncology one day, theater recovery the next day and burns & plastics the next,depending what unit needs me. They are so short of nurses that the staff don't seem to mind that I ask them all a million questions, they're just glad to have an extra set of hands.

I am getting a good idea of the different specialties available to me as a nurse, and I already have a much better idea of what I like and what I never want to do again. And if I really hate it somewhere, I just ring the agency and ask them not to place me there again. The agency seems so anxious to make me happy that they bend over backwards trying to get me the schedule I want. They know if they don't keep me happy, I could go to another agency. It's pretty luxurious, really. I can wake up in the morning and decide whether or not I want to work that afternoon, and the agency will either find me a shift or cancel my existing one.

It's too bad some people don't have good experiences travel nursing to the USA, especially after all the work that is involved in going there (writing the RN exam, getting a visa, etc). I suppose it depends what you're after. I really like the agency work here for example, but I could see how some people might hate it because there's no continuity and every day is like your first day on the job. To get over that though, some of the nurses here work for an agency a few days a week and at a regular job the rest of the week. That way they seem to get the best of both worlds.

To answer some of the questions I've been asked: yes I do get breaks, (if I don't, I get paid extra) and no, union membership isn't mandatory. Nurses have the option of joining a union if they want... some do, some don't. They get paid based on how many years they've been working, and they take turns taking holidays. The nice thing about a country that's warm all year round is that they take their holidays all year round, and they aren't all competing to get time off in the same two months like in Canada.

Everyone I've talked to seems shocked that Canadians are required to join the union. Just about everyone here is curious to hear the differences between nursing in Canada vs Australia, and the fact that we have to join the union, going by seniority for holidays and job opportunities, and the fact that we work set schedules seems to them to be a big deterrent for nurses here (or anywhere) from wanting to work in Canada.

Schedules are made up a few weeks at a time, and they tell the coordinator what shifts they want and are accommodated as best as they can be. In Canada, staff nurses are given their set rotating schedule and that's that. Canadian nurses pretty much have to work weekends or nights or days or any shifts that don't appeal to them because it's fair and that's how the schedule is. Here in Australia though, there is a big enough shift differential on nights and weekends that a lot of nurses don't mind working those shifts. As a result, most of the nurses here seem to work when they want. No weekends next month? No problem. All weekends next month? Also no problem. It seems to me that if they made the differential worthwhile in Canada, more people would want to work weekends and nights and there would be less sick calls and therefore less overtime paid, so it would actually end up costing the system less. Also, nurses would probably be happier with their jobs and maybe stay longer and get less burnt out.

This seems to me to be a topic worthy of studying in further detail.