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Thursday, 26 May 2011

FWA Tells Taliban-Union To Negotiate

KABUL: Fair Work Afghanistan (FWA) has ordered Taliban Medieval Society Systems P/L and the Federated Islamic Terrorists and Suicide-bombers Union (FITSU) back to the negotiating table to try and resolve their dispute over award conditions.

Handing down its interim judgement yesterday, the FWA - established with the assistance of the Australian Government as part of its campaign to help rebuild Afghanistan in its own image - said it was loathe to impose conditions on either party while the possibility of successful negotiations remained alive.

“The tribunal feels it would be more beneficial if the two parties could reach in-principle agreement rather than have a compromise imposed on them,” the official said.

Taliban, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pakistan-based Imperialistic Meddling Pty Ltd, and FITSU have been at loggerheads for some months over the structure of a new award.

FITSU inaugural secretary Duncan McGorbals - who established the union with the help of a grant from the Australian Trade Union Collective and the Australian Government, as part of its campaign to rebuild Afghanistan in its own image - said his members were bitterly disappointed with the ruling.

He said there was “real anger in the ranks” and it was the union’s view that the FWA had effectively rendered its ‘no strikes’ ruling of last September null and void.

“What we are facing here is a straight-forward case between downtrodden workers who clearly aren’t getting what they are worth and rich bosses who think they can get away with imposing a 1500 year-old award on their employees,” he said.

“The current award was drawn up more than 1500 years ago and its about time that Taliban entered the modern world, because if they don’t I can promise them they will have a full scale revolt on their hands.”

Although McGorbals refused to elaborate, it is believed FITSU has drawn up plans for a series of rolling stoppages across the country to be instigated to coincide with a series of advertisements entitled ‘Bombchoices: Your rights’.

“I’m not ruling anything in or out, but what I will say is that Taliban wants to see peace and harmony break out across the country, if it wants to see women and children not living in fear of being murdered, that is what it will get unless it comes to the table in good faith.”

A Taliban spokesperson, who refused to be named, said while the organization had “some sympathy” with FITSU’s position the union had to understand that Taliban was “not a bottomless pit of virgins”.

This was a direct reference to one of the key FITSU demands that the standard rate of 72 virgins in everlasting paradise for each martyr was “clearly out of step with the cost of dying”.

According to McGorbals, Taliban’s training and fitness requirements meant that its employees were not only very fit, but often remained celibate in the weeks leading up to a call-out.

“Given those circumstances, 72 virgins is a woefully inadequate number to cater to our members’ needs over the course of eternity,” he said.

“We have the appalling situation where our members are having make do with used virgins for the rest of eternity, which is clearly outside the spirit of the agreement.”

It was hoped that a breakthrough was possible last month when FITSU floated the idea that it may be open to a piece-rate arrangement, whereby the number of virgins provided would be dictated by a sliding scale.

Under the proposal, a member carrying out a straightforward marketplace suicide-bomb atrocity targeting civilians would receive the minimum virgin allocation whereas those members who carried out more complex operations on, for example, school playgrounds, would attract a higher rate.

Those martyred in a fair fight with armed soldiers afforded the opportunity to shoot back would earn the top rate.

The union sweetened the offer by providing statistics from a member survey which it said proved that none of its members would ever qualify for the top rate.

Hopes where dashed however when Taliban claimed that FITSU had issued a non-negotiable demand that the new award stipulated 10,000 virgins as the minimum starting point for the sliding scale, a figure Taliban dismissed as “ludicrous”.

The spokesperson said that the number of virgins per martyr was “never officially negotiated into the award”, with the figure of 72 resulting from a later clause which had never been ratified.

“The original guarantee was that virgins would be made available to the faithful in paradise – no specific number of virgins was ever put forward and frankly we think we have been more than generous to date,” she said.

“We can only make progress when FITSU understands that we are restricted by what we can afford - we are operating in a global economy, which means we are facing a number of competitors all fighting for market share.

“Essentially our margins are shrinking: the demand for virgins worldwide is growing and some of our Government-backed competitors are deliberately inflating prices to force us out of the market.”

“It’s a tough market – we’re all going to have to tighten our explosive vests and cinch our backpacks a bit tighter because the bottom line is if we were to meet all of FITSU’s demands we’d be out of business tomorrow.

“What I would say to FITSU is that in these tough times, a job and 72 virgins in paradise is better than no job and a couple of used wives here on earth.”

While virgin numbers remain a seemingly insoluble sticking point, it is understood Taliban is prepared to give ground on a number of FITSU’s other demands in an effort to prevent the dispute from widening to related industries.

The Amalgamated Bomb-Makers Federation, Federated Fuse and Detonator Manufacturers Union, Human Shields and Associated Services Union and Village-Based Armaments Manufacturers’ Collective are all believed to be watching developments closely.

Sources say senior Taliban management have already secretly decided to meet union demands on a number of fronts, including increasing the co-contribution to the Suicide-Bombers’ Superannuation Scheme by 3%, a 50% increase in vest, backpack and mobile phone detonator allowances, a 10% boost to overtime and penalty rates and meal allowances for night attacks.

It is also understood to be amenable to revamping annual leave loading provisions, regular Worksafe inspections of all Taliban workplaces, long service leave after 10-years/50 suicide attacks and funding a Suicide-Bomber Retirement Village complex in an as yet unspecified location.

The FWA has ordered both parties to reappear on July 16.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Stupid Studies

Fat people are having a tough time of it at the moment, what with obesity inexorably climbing to the top of the health crime charts.
Fat is definitely not the new black, despite the protests of those who are carrying a few spare truck tyres - which isn’t to say that the big people don’t have some support in their corner.
Earnest social commentators brandish copies of Vogue as indisputable evidence that individual rotundity is society’s fault because heartless society permits ruthless fast food outlets to, you know, do such despicable things as offer a product for sale.
Heartless society compounds these insane policies by allowing equally ruthless organisations to offer diet and exercise programmes to fat people who no longer want to borrow the jaws-of-life from the local fire brigade every time they want a skin-fold test.
The very fact that diet and exercise programmes are on offer is proof positive that heartless society is deliberately victimising those members of the population who embrace obesity.
Call me crazy, but if people want to be fat, are happy with their body image and couldn’t give a fig – or indeed a whole tree of figs – for being skinny then good luck to ‘em.
I have always tended toward the notion that other members of the fat fraternity who aren’t comfortable with themselves should probably spend less time listening to others make excuses for them while they shove fast food into their gaping maws, and more time taking long hard looks into the mirror.

It now appears though, that the reason many fat women don’t look in the mirror is because they find it depressing.
This stunning revelation comes courtesy of a decision in the early 1980s by the University of Tasmania to invest money and 25 YEARS researching the subject.
According to a report in my local newspaper, the 25-year study of 1135 girls reached the earth-shaking conclusion that fat girls who go on to become fat women are more prone to depression than their skinny counterparts.
Lead researcher Dr Kristy Sanderson said that mental health problems could now be added to the “long list of problems arising from childhood obesity … pretty much for the first time”.
The first time eh? It would make you weep if you weren’t so wide-eyed with the wonder of it all.

You can’t help but think that Dr Sanderson and her team could have spent their time and money a bit more profitably by getting out a bit more over the last 25 years and keeping up with current events.
We know they haven’t been doing that because it appears they have got their cause and effect assumptions back to front, with plenty of evidence around to indicate that weight gain is a result of depression, not the other way around.
Thus we are left with the age-old conundrum: what came first, the fried chicken or the crème egg?
We also know that Dr Sanderson doesn’t keep up with the latest fat literature because she is quoted in the newspaper report as saying that the study didn’t find “the same effects in men and boys”.
If she had been keeping up she would be aware that fat guys don’t get depressed because they are too busy being, well, studs basically.

That was the finding of a recent Turkish University study which paid a gaggle of researchers to spend a year studying 100 men to find out whether fat guys or skinny guys were better in bed in terms of time spent on the job.
The result? Fatties registered, on average, 7.3 minutes on the Shag-o-Meter while their skinny counterparts could treat their partners to a paltry 1.8 minutes of coital ecstasy.
This study raises a number of interesting questions, such as how many times the fat guys had to stop for a rest during their mattress marathons, or how many times per night the two test groups were able to perform.
If the fat guy had to stop for a 30-second oxygen break every 1.2794 minutes, were these 30-second breaks included in his total time?
If the skinny guys were able to perform four times a night (ok girls, we are getting into the realms of fantasy here, but it is a possibility, no matter how remote) that would put them on a total performance time of 7.2 minutes. Was the repeat performance factor measured?
We’ll never know, but leaving aside the question of why 100 men and, one supposes, at least 100 women would agree to have sex in front of a team of people dressed in lab coats and holding stop watches, (unless of course it was self-timed, meaning the women involved had a genuine reason for looking at their watches every 30 seconds or so) what lasting benefit does this study have for mankind in general?
Apart from giving fat guys everywhere a reason to keep eating, I’d venture to say: not much.
I’m prepared to lay money that if you went up to a girl in a nightclub and told her that the tub of lard handing out copies of a Turkish university study could last 7.3 minutes in the sack, whereas the Adonis on her arm would be looking for the exit after 1.8 minutes, she’d still choose the hare instead of the tortoise.
Which probably ultimately explains why fat guys last longer; they have that much trouble getting to the start line in the first place – and know that it could be months before they get another chance – they want to string it out for as long as possible.

Finally, just to round out Stupid Study Week another one has given us a clue as to why the fat guys end up doing their shopping at Tent Land later in life.
This study, a joint effort between the RMIT and the Australian Education Union, found that 33% of teenage boys and nearly 16% of teenage girls could officially be classified as completely domestically challenged.
I don’t have children myself, thank God, but my siblings have bred enough of the little parasites for me to see at first hand that the average teenage boy would rather eat a cup of cold sick with a teaspoon than wash a dish.
(Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that most teenage boys would actually prefer the cup of cold sick option, if only to give them something to post on YouTube.)
One wonders what the nation’s teachers think about the AEU blowing their dues on this sort of drivel. Thousands of teenagers leave our schools barely able to spell their own names, but the AEU deems it vital that money be spent on employing a researcher to give statistical resonance to empirical evidence possessed by every parent and employer in the country.

So what have we learned from these three research projects?
Fat women who want to be cheered up should spend the night with a fat guy, but not expect him to make the bed afterwards.
That’s it. Well … that was worth it … it could have been worse, they could have blamed it on climate change, oh, hang on …