Posts

Milk

How did buying milk become so confusing?

Are you confused about milk? I’m confused. I have to admit I’ve always been confused, but in the last week it’s gotten worse.

I used to be confused about choice. There are so many to choose from: supermarket brand, farmer brand, super creamy style, A2 protein-rich milk, full-fat, reduced-fat, skim, lactose free, buttermilk, soy… A quick search of Coles online shows almost 100 different types of milk.

But now I’m confused about fairness too. Because apparently we’re ripping farmers off, big time, to the point where a bunch of them are about to go out of business.

We need to avoid discounted, supermarket brand milk and buy the more expensive, branded stuff, experts suggest.

I’ve been doing this for years, vaguely hoping that the extra 75c per litre I spend will go towards the farmer, rather than Coles’ bottom line. Apparently we all need to do this, in an effort to end the “price war” and ensure farmers get paid fairly for their products.

But this whole debacle is way more complicated than discount milk – and it’s not just a matter of finding your local farmer and buying their products.

Yes, we need to make sure farmers are fairly paid. But it’s bloody hard to work out which brands best support farmers. Half of the “branded” milk products are actually owned by the major dairy companies, like NZ-based Fonterra. And it’s not just milk we need to be thinking of – it’s also the milk related products like yoghurt and cheese.

Fonterra, for instance, owns dozens of brands including Calciyum yoghurt, Bega cheese and Western Star butter. If we purchase those products, are we also supporting an unsustainable pricing model?

It’s all too confusing. Some are suggesting we need to introduce a 50c per litre ‘milk levy’ on every milk purchase, which seems completely ridiculous. These are big businesses; surely they can work out a sustainable business agreement between them, without the government having to step in like a parent mediating squabbling toddlers?

The other option is to support Coles’ new “fighting fund” – which is, again, ridiculous. Coles started this problem by introducing $2 milk in the first place, and now they’re going to “fix” it by introducing a more expensive milk product?

It’s not only stupid, it’s also going to be ineffective. As Jo Aston reports in the Fin Review, Coles “might as well post every Australian farmer half a Musk stick and a ball of bellybutton lint”.

It’s all too hard.

I just want milk, yeah?

The Meddler

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Duncan Q&A Video

Q&A star Duncan pockets $60,000

Duncan Storrar had no idea that when he asked a simple question on Q&A this week, it would changed his life.

It all kicked off last week, with the release of the 2016 budget. In it, politicians revealed how stupidly out of touch they are with everyday people by giving tax cuts to high-earning Australians who really don’t need it.

Last week in this column, I got my strop on about tax cuts. Or should I say, tax cut, as lower earning Australians were afforded precisely nothing.

Full disclosure: I will benefit from the government’s decision to shift tax thresholds, thereby gifting me an extra $6 per week.

Fuller disclosure: I don’t want it. I won’t notice six bucks. But someone like Duncan Storrar would, as he explained during Q&A this week:

“You’re going to lift the tax-free threshold for rich people. If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life. That means that I get to say to my little girls, ‘Daddy’s not broke this weekend, we can go to the pictures’.

“Rich people don’t even notice their tax-free threshold life. Why don’t I get it? Why do they get it?”

Duncan was so spot-on. In fact, I’d be happy to give my $6 away every week. I don’t need it; other Australians do. Is there a way to get that kind of ‘pay it forward’ program off the ground?

Watching Q&A, as Duncan shared a little about his background, I was moved. I wanted to reach into the TV to give him $50 to take his kids to the movies. Evidently, so did the rest of Australia!

A viewer called Samuel Fawcett started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $6,000 for Duncan.

Aussies have backed in spades. As of writing it has raised $60,000 and growing. What fantastic display of what it means to be Australian – it’s all about banding together to give a mate a hand when he needs it.

Duncan is said to be overwhelmed at the attention, and isn’t sure what to do with the money. I for one hope his family splurges on a holiday.

At the very minimum, he can now take his girls to a double feature at the pictures this weekend – with popcorn and over-priced coke to boot.

The Meddler

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Bruce Springsteen

Why did Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen cancel his weekend concert?

For one really, really good reason. 

Y’all may not agree with me on this, but I reckon The Boss made the right move when he cancelled his concert in North Carolina over the weekend.

So why did he do it?

To protest a law in the US state, which was just passed last week.

It targets the LGBT community by making it illegal for trans people to use a public toilet that doesn’t match their gender of birth. To reference a well known transgender person, it would mean that Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) would need to use a male toilet.

“Just as important,” Springsteen says, “the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden.”

The state is facing both robust support and a huge backlash against the new law, with Springsteen lending his support to the LGBT community.

He shares: “With deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have cancelled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

Fans are entitled to a full refund, so he stands to lose a decent chunk of money for taking a stand.

I am firmly on Springsteen’s side here – as I believe it’s simply the side that wants to treat every human being with basic respect and dignity.

That and, the supporters of this law have just about the lamest argument I’ve ever heard.

“Get used to the idea of having your women and children share bathrooms with cross-dressing men who are going to expose themselves to you!” warns Colorado Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt.

It’s the same old, tired “think of the children” rant that frets about youngsters being in the same public toilet space as a trans person (gasp!).

Here’s the reality; your children are more likely to be assaulted by a trusted member of your close personal network than by a stranger they cross paths with briefly at a public restroom. Around 85% of child sexual abuse criminals are known to the child.

That’s why I say good on ya Boss – let’s see how many others follow your lead in the days and weeks to come?

The Meddler

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Goal Try

No touchy has bad feely about it

Players making intentional physical contact with referees should be encouraged not eradicated.

There is always something to talk about after a 3weekend of NRL and this week’s hot topic centred on two players being charged with contrary conduct charges for touching an official.

Sounds abit dirty doesn’t it…

Well, it’s not. It’s just really stupid. For many reasons.

But I’ll get back to why that is in a second.

The story continues in the media because two other players were found to have touched referees but not been charged.

Now, anyone wanting to argue that not touching referees is a sign of respect can go and grab a whistle and run onto a field before proceeding with said argument.

Sure, not beating seven shades of shite out of a referee or official – that’s showing respect.

Not physically intimidating them, standing over them, yelling at them, verbally abusing them – these things all fall under the category of showing respect.

But touching them? You’ve got to be joking.

When did we arrive at a point where human men couldn’t be trusted to discern for themselves what is (for example) a friendly ‘are you ok mate I saw you fall over there’ touch and what is (again just spit balling examples here) a ‘if you don’t blow that penalty ill knock your block off’ touch.

I just laugh at the NRL and their zero tolerances.

What happens if a ref starts choking?

‘Thanks JT for helping the guy off the field, you’re a good bloke…but that will be six weeks’.

You may laugh at the hyperbole but zero tolerance is exactly that – ZERO.

Referees, all officials, do a job few people want to do.

Why is that I wonder?

Could it be because no one wants to say hello, shake hands or have a beer with the guy or girl who no one is allowed to touch on the field?

Sports spend countless millions on programs to foster respect for referees but also to fight the negative stigma attached to refereeing that it is a social death sentence.

And sometimes it can be for young people – being out in the middle you feel ostracised enough without the guys or girls your officiating not even being able to treat you like a human person.

Referees are not special. They are just people.

The sooner we start treating them as normal people and not part of a fine china collection the sooner they will get the respect they deserve both on and off the field.

The Meddler

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Discuss.

The world has officially gone mad, right? There can be no other explanation behind the sheer lunacy of this headline.

How else can it be explained that Donald Trump – the narcissistic, arrogant, dim-witted serial liar, whose greatest contribution to the world extends no further than building his own wealth – has been nominated for an award normally bestowed upon good Samaritans and human rights activists.

When I first heard about Don’s nomination, my jaw hit the floor.

Only in America, I thought.

Only in America would a self-obsessed billionaire with delusions of grandeur get placed into the same category as people like Nadia Murad, who was abducted from her village in Iraq by Islamic State fighters in August 2014, before being held for three months as a sex slave.

Or gynaecologist and activist Denis Mukwege, who runs a hospital in the Congo, where he treats rape victims for free.

Do you know when it all starts to make sense? When the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together?

It’s when you realise that being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is actually not a great achievement: anyone can be nominated for the top gong. Literally, anyone.

Whoever put forward the nomination of Trump (or should we say Drumpf?) suggested he was a worthy candidate due to his “vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China”.

Come again? How does a man who delivers blanket racist statements that promote fear mongering and intolerance have anything to do with “vigorous peace”?

It should be noted that this year yields a bloated field of nominees, with a record 376 people up for the top nod. (Usually there are around half that number of people nominated; the previous record was around 275.)

Surely the five souls on the Norwegian Nobel Committee who award the final prize will ensure the Peace Prize goes to a more fitting candidate. That will only happen if they have more sense than the people of America, who seem to lapping up Drumpf’s illogical rhetoric in spades.

Somehow, he’s currently the front-runner for Republican nomination for President. Even if (please Lord) he doesn’t win, and he fails to actually become POTUS, the mere fact that we live in a world where it could happen is enough to make you wonder whether we’ve irrevocably messed with the gene pool, isn’t it?

The Meddler

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