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Mar 23, 2012

Weekend Open Thread 23-25 March 2012

The weekend's almost upon us. Here's a fresh open thread to explore all the possibilities. Or catch drivel in the media that annoys you. Either/or.

The weekend’s almost upon us. Here’s a fresh open thread to explore all the possibilities.

Or catch drivel in the media that annoys you. Either/or.

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41 comments

41 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread 23-25 March 2012

  1. Aliar Jones

    [As already linked to above, Andy did offer something of an apology.]

    ‘Something of’ …

    Is that an apology where you’re crossing your fingers behind your back?

  2. Aliar Jones

    [I don’t think any party, even the one I vote for, should be without an effective opposition to hold it to account.]

    Oh i love ‘fair and balanced’ Howie..

    And this would be the one who will play defense for any fugly right wing impulse on any issue whatsoever .

  3. Post hoc

    This really belongs in the LOLBolt, but until this weeks one is up I will put it here.

    AB is am now convinced despises his blog participants, why else would he continue to make them look like such idiots all the time. The latest is on what else but Climate Change and this beauty

    “THEY are responsible for some of the government’s most important policies – but staff at the Department of Energy and Climate Change are too ashamed to admit where they work. ” He links from some place called climate madness which I can’t be bothered linking to.

    The funny fact is The Deaprtment of Energy and Climate Change does not exist in Australia, it does however exist in the UK.

    But don’t let that little fact get in the way of his winged rats swooping in on this making the usual disgusting comments. Alas all they do is make themselves look like idiots.

  4. Matthew of Canberra

    “I don’t think any party, even the one I vote for, should be without an effective opposition to hold it to account.”

    When did an australian opposition last hold a government to account? 🙂

  5. Matthew of Canberra

    Soooo, a blog run by political junkies and frequented by political junkies has somehow managed to get through the entire weekend without a single mention of the greatest electoral victory in Australian political history?

    I think I did post something. There wasn’t a great deal of chatter about the last SA election either, despite the incongruous result. These are states that should have (IMHO) changed hands a while back. What’s remarkable isn’t the conservative victory, it’s that it has taken this long to get there.

    I can only speak for myself, but I’m just not that fussed about it. I’m not depressed, not elated, not angry, not bemused, nothing. Governments have to be chucked out periodically, and 14 years is long enough. We know that cost of living increases are hurting people (although changing the government isn’t going to help that, and if it leads to privatisations, it’ll actually make things worse), and the flood inquiry won’t have helped. I personally suspect that the shrieking from certain quarters about the end of the world come july 1 can’t have helped either.

    Campbell Newman seems to be a decent, sensible sort of chap – good luck to him. I will be watching with amusement over the coming years, though. That sort of majority is going to make it hard for the leadership to keep the nutters in line. And in such a walkover election, there will be some very interesting nutters indeed. Let the entertainment begin 🙂

  6. Matthew of Canberra

    One of the more generous headlines ever published

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-26/cheney-gets-heart-transplant/3911844

    “Heart Transplant”. Hmm. Yeah. I think what probably happened is that surgeons inserted a heart in the space where a normal person would have one.

  7. Howard,B.

    Soooo, a blog run by political junkies and frequented by political junkies has somehow managed to get through the entire weekend without a single mention of the greatest electoral victory in Australian political history?

    Well let’s hope we’ve all had as much success in trying not think about Clive Palmer “admiring” other people’s wives.

    Personally, as a Liberal voter, whilst I found the only thing more satisfying than watching Labor reduced to a political hobo begging for votes was the actual paucity of votes that ended up in the begging bowl after the people spat on it and walked on by, I am a bit disquieted by the size of the majority.

    I don’t think any party, even the one I vote for, should be without an effective opposition to hold it to account.

  8. Howard,B.

    Actually, andy ran with that one as well.

    Perhaps I’ve missed something, Matty. He passed on an initial report from a French paper about a police lead. This isn’t quite the same as penning a whole opinion piece, editorial, or making general social commentary predicated on what that initial report of a police lead may have suggested.
    He then apologised (a bit half-arsed, granted) for the post.

    Actually Howard, Guy owned up to his error about Merah…

    So he should. However, whilst Rundle’s rush to jump to erroneous conclusions springs foremost to mind, it wasn’t the only exhibit of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ some where happy to let slide by quietly.

    something that Bolt et al would never do when they are found out to be wrong.

    As already linked to above, Andy did offer something of an apology.

  9. JT

    Actually Howard, Guy owned up to his error about Merah, something that Bolt et al would never do when they are found out to be wrong.

  10. Matthew of Canberra

    “in the likes of Guy Rundle’s case it’s the xenophobic far-right.”

    Actually, andy ran with that one as well. You COULD say PP gave him a pass as well. If you want pure poison to prove its purity by jumping on andrew EVERY time he runs with politically-motivated speculation, then our bloggers are not going to have any time to earn a living.

    In a sense, you could say the speculation was right – xenophobic far-right describes islamist extremism pretty well.

    But ultimately he was just a violent creep (the shooter, I mean). I don’t care what one’s ideology is – shooting kids isn’t excused by it.

    Now … an interesting question might be: Why do people find any satisfaction at all in attaching labels to monsters? Is it so that we can tell ourselves they’re not “like us”? Does it help make sense of the senseless?

  11. John Reidy

    MOC
    [But most of me thinks I’m being naive. Customers don’t actually care.]
    True, most don’t care, however all it takes is a noisy minority, and if a company is market focussed (as I define Apple), they will respond.
    If Apple were able to raise the bar, it wouldn’t affect them that much as they don’t compete on price, however if labour costs rose for their competitors….

  12. Howard,B.

    Howard swings … and misses.

    Whilst some have clearly failed to see the ball at all.

  13. Howard,B.

    I thought the French gunman had already explained what his motives were?

    Indeed, he has. Before that, however (just as before Brevik’s motives became clear), we had no end of media types rushing to suggest it was all a manifestation of their hobby horse of choice: in Andrew Bolt’s case it’s Islamist immigrants, in the likes of Guy Rundle’s case it’s the xenophobic far-right. Both have been wrong in their respective speculations, but only one example of such incorrect, egregious and opportunistic barrow-pushing seems to have been worthy of the attentions of the guardians of ‘intellectual honesty’ was the point being made.

  14. Matthew of Canberra

    This mike davies thing … I’ve been listening to the TAL “retraction” episode (I haven’t listened to the original – I’ll do that later, after I’ve pulled it from a backup).

    I’m trying to decide if there’s a compelling business case for apple to take a more aggressive approach to worker safety issues in their suppliers’ plants. They have a huge amount of sway, given the prominence of their products (imagine two supplies – one of them makes stuff you’ve never heard of, the other makes ipads … which would you want making your products?).

    Given apple’s astonishing cash reserves, they could surely afford to hire a couple of budding ralph naders and given them some staff and a budget to go prying around factories looking for dangers and improvements. It doesn’t have to be negative – in the example of the dust explosions, all they needed was ventilation to prevent. A few ducted fans would have saved lives and made the working environment cleaner and nicer to boot.

    Part of me wants to think this stuff matters. I like to think that Nike’s problems in south-east asia hurt them. I’d like to think that apple could listen to W.E. Deming and realise the benefits of long-term engagement with suppliers on the basis of something other than price.

    But most of me thinks I’m being naive. Customers don’t actually care.

  15. Matthew of Canberra

    “There’s been a bit of a conspicuous silence around these parts …”

    I posted a response earlier, the day andy published his retraction, complete with the “just another excuse to pile on a minority group” comment, followed immediately, as night follows day, by a pile-on to a minority.

    I would like to see the media stop speculating. I don’t particularly care about the hurt feelings of neo-nazi groups, as I also don’t particularly care about the hurt feelings of terrorists. I DO care that there appears to be no downside to being wrong any more. Being first is all, it seems. Being first, and wrong, appears to actually BE the business model of certain prominent outlets and commentators – the outrage is the payoff, and accuracy is just an occasional random positive.

    The shooter was clearly a violent psycho, whatever his motivations. I would personally like to see some more aggressive action taken against people and groups who actively promote violence against people and groups. I’m fine with that.

    But yes, a lot of people just reported rumor as fact. The “breaking news” excuse is wearing thin.

    Have I missed anything?

  16. silkworm

    Howard swings … and misses.

  17. Phil Vee

    Boofhead Bolt says journos are verballing and misrepresenting Tony Abbott……

    A misrepresentation I have heard from so many journalists lately, including Laura Tingle, Barrie Cassidy, Kieren Gilbert, David Speers and on and on: Tony Abbott said this was a referendum on the carbon tax. Bolt gives quotes
    Abbott did not say this was solely a referendum on the carbon tax. He said it was a referendum on state issues as well. To omit that qualification is to misrepresent what he said.

    Is there a name for this? Partisan hackery? trolling? feeding his chooks?
    I can understand if he argued a case for how important a tax was to the result but this is just precious nonsense.

  18. Phil Vee

    Boofhead Bolt says journos are verballing and misrepresenting Tony Abbott……

    A misrepresentation I have heard from so many journalists lately, including Laura Tingle, Barrie Cassidy, Kieren Gilbert, David Speers and on and on: Tony Abbott said this was a referendum on the carbon tax. Bolt gives quotes
    Abbott did not say this was solely a referendum on the carbon tax. He said it was a referendum on state issues as well. To omit that qualification is to misrepresent what he said.

    Is there a name for this? Partisan hackery? trolling? feeding his chooks?
    I can understand if he argued a case for how important a tax was to the result but this is just precious nonsense.

  19. calyptorhynchus

    Howard B @ #22

    I thought the French gunman had already explained what his motives were?

  20. Howard,B.

    There’s been a bit of a conspicuous silence around these parts regarding some of the shamelessly ideological and completely dud commentary about the motives of the French scooter-and-firearms enthusiast, prior to confirmation thereof. This is surprising given this blog’s umbrage at the similarly unprofessional behaviour from sections of our media shortly after the Norway attack.

    Here’s Dave Gaukroger rightly sticking it to the precipitous commentary on the matter:

    The tragedy in Norway has shocked the world. Sadly, some elements of the media were quick to use it as an opportunity to push their own ideological barrows.

    What is it you object to Dave? The pushing of “ideological barrows” in this most tawdry of manners, or merely those you dislike? Why is it this blog, a self-declared bastion of ‘intellectual honesty’ is so selective in which cases of predatory, precipitious and erroneous barrow pushing it is willing to post about?
    Surely it has nothing to do with the contents of the barrow?

  21. Angra

    Although not being a “commie bastard” I see some value in the State taking ownership of all land, thus controlling land prices, and leasing out the bit under your house to you maybe for as long as you live.

    This is pretty close to the model used in Melanesian countries, except land ownership is vested in the local community clan – much to the chagrin of ‘free market’ economists like Helen Hughes. With appropriate permission ypou can build a house and live there as long as you like, but upon your death or migration ownership of the land bit reverts to the clan.

    Isn’t this what the Brit royals do in central London? (most of which is owned by the Duke of Westminster and leased out on 99 years terms).

  22. Matthew of Canberra

    “but how can this vary so much?”

    Well, obviously it’s the demand for land. And, at the moment, the expense of hiring anybody to actually BUILD a house, when “I see the fnords” palmer and “shall I compare thee to a tailings dump” rinehart are willing to pay anyone with a willingness to do work and mechanical aptitude a mozza.

    I read about a study done a few years back, which looked at long-term real-estate prices in an urban setting which had records going back about 450 years (somewhere in the netherlands). Over the long term, unaltered property appears to basically track inflation.

  23. Angra

    MoC – sure a house has basic value due to bricks and mortar and services etc., but how can this vary so much? Isn’t a basic three bed brick veneer/tile bungalow worth the same in real terms in Hay or Deniliquin as in Vaucluse or Toorak?

    It’s the land price that is the culprit.

    In Albury-Wodoga (that old new-growth city – remember?) the Whitlamites had the sense to seize control of land prices. Thus disppointing many country and lib supporters who had bought up land earlier in expectation of rapid inflation.

    I remember one rabid lib local pollie (screaming ‘Commie bastards!’ and whose name was Lloyd something) who bought up local surrounding land rapaciously, only to find that the Development Corporation had zoned it as suitable for future sewerage works.

  24. Matthew of Canberra

    Hats off and congratulations to everyone involved in wrapping up this little nasty:

    More arrests as part of international child porn ring

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3462503.htm

    Well done.

    That sort of result is way more effective than any internet filter ever will be.

  25. Angra

    And to spoil your weekend, Mr Multiculturalism describes the establishment of a playgroup for Aboriginal kids by Yarra council as “The new apartheid.”

    And it will involve the extravagent waste of $4,000.

    “Once you’d swear such a council must be of the far-Right. Now you know it must be of the far-Left, but what’s the difference? ”

    Words fail me.

  26. Angra

    Techie query. When you log on to Crikey, the latest blog posts used to appear as a list down the right hand side of the page. These have now disappeared.

    This may be due to a a recent update to Firefox with Adblock and Noscript – (my browser/plug-ins of choice).

  27. monkeywrench

    Liz A @12
    Unsurprising that the IPA are quietly spruiking the “smoker’s freedom” line, given their association with John Luik and Patrick Basham, two “academics” funded by the tobacco industry. They are listed by the IPA as associates. It’s time the IPA came clean about where it gets it’s money from, before we can take them seriously on any comment related to smoking.

  28. monkeywrench

    Manipulative ugliness. I can understand a Government trying to compel an editor to reveal his sources in a case of national security; but Gina Rinehart?? In a case involving her children, who are probably free to tell anyone what their side of the story is? The article gets even better, highlighting Big Gina and Slimy Singleton’s push for conservative control of Fairfax’s radio network. You’d have to wonder how they can be allowed to even try.

  29. Phil Vee

    Date: 23rd March 2012. The first time I heard a reactionary Conservative start to hype Bill Shorten as the alternative Prime Minister. Yes I know they have been dribbling on about him since the day Gillard won the vote for leader in 2010, but Alan Jones came out today and stated it baldly. (see below)
    This is classic stuff. Gillard starting to recover. Abbott appearing to weaken. 3 Stooges Shadow Front bench a joke. What can a good reactionary do? Why not repeat the plan that worked when Rudd was in charge? Attack and defame the Leader and butter up the Deputy with praise. Rule One of the “How to Destabilise a Leader” rule book.

    Why pick Shorten? Well, Swannies out of the question and the others don’t fit the mould enough to be credible to conservatives. Shorten has the ambition to be stroked and the ego to be wooed and the baggage to be attacked when the reactionaries turn on him, which they inevitably will.

    If I hear Shorten on the radio sucking up to the Parrot I will throw up. Stay away Bill. If you feel you must appear with Jones, take charge, ignore his questions and barrel over the top of him. (take lessons from O’Farrell as he is good at this.)

    Bill, remember the punchline to the old scorpion/fox joke…… “because I am a scorpion, and that is what scorpions do”

    (you don’t have to read it all just the first four lines and the last two)

    Alan Jones Comments 23/03/2012

    Well, Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has to be up to something.
    He is the only Labor MP making sense on this employer superannuation contribution increase. 
In fact, you would almost say he is sounding positively prime ministerial – at least in contrast to the lies being peddled by Julia Gillard.


    Julia Gillard continues to claim that the superannuation increase will be paid for by the mining tax.

That’s not true – it will be paid for by employers.

Mr Shorten accepts that.

He also accepts that workers will have to forego future pay rises to pay for the increase.

He is still wrong on any number of issues.

His attempt to manipulate the argument to suggest the superannuation increase will not end up costing employers anything, for instance.

And his failure to explain why future wage trade-offs weren’t negotiated with unions in advance as they were by Paul Keating in 1992.

But put that aside because at least Mr Shorten has taken charge of this superannuation issue and is dealing with it in a relatively truthful way.

Bill Shorten has also this week taken charge of a long-running industrial dispute between the Maritime Union and Asciano (which owns Patrick Stevedores).

His intervention will mean that the Union and Asciano will restart conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia.
    
Something is up – Bill Shorten is suddenly everywhere and making sense.

He has to be positioning himself for a tilt at the leadership.

  30. Liz A

    I am surprised that no-one has picked up on this Age opinion piece today, perhaps you have not had a chance to listen to the podcast yet? (Jeremy & Dave are socio-political trendsetters)

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/no-granny-chic-in-nanny-state-shtick-20120322-1vms1.html

    It’s been written by Tim from the IPA, and contains such pearlers as:

    [We also need to recognise that one person’s mistake is another’s deliberate decision. Nanny’s supporters too often confuse their own subjective views with what is objectively right.]

    [Excessive government corrodes civic virtue.

    If someone chooses to engage in a risky but legal activity, they are not a victim. Reward requires risk and responsibility. Even if we could abolish risk, it’s not a price worth paying – our freedom.]

    Its the same old schtick… people need to have the freedom to fail because it will make them better and stronger! Though in this case it not only erodes the betterment of the individual, but also society as a whole.

    stretch, much?

  31. joe2

    Breaking Newspoll/Newslimited truth(we report the stupid…)…main problem on roads? and didn’t you just know it…’bloody loud mouthed women in small cars’.

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/small-car-drivers-have-biggest-mouths-fact/story-e6frfku0-1226308590993

  32. Matthew of Canberra

    “It doesn’t really matter, didn’t you know, the Queensland election is a referendum on the carbon price.”

    Unless, of course, the LNP doesn’t win a decisive outright victory. In that case you won’t be hearing that “referendum” talk any more.

    Look, let’s just be realistic. The ALP has been in power a LONG time. It had been in all of the states. Give it long enough and any government starts to collect baggage. It doesn’t matter who it is, the fact is that government involves making decisions, and those decisions don’t make all the people happy all of the time. And people remember the unhappy more than they remember the happy, and tend to put the latter down to their own good judgement, vs the other … which is nearly always somebody else’s doing. And that assumes that a government makes no mistakes whatsoever, doesn’t have any scandals, doesn’t have any misfortune … and to my knowledge that government has never occured.

    So the real miracle isn’t that the QLD ALP is going to lose this election. The miracle is that it’s taken THIS long for the libs to unseat them. Look at SA, for goodness’ sake – how on EARTH did they not lose the last election? How?!?!? Did the opposition even turn UP? Nobody likes those guys. I’m not sure the SA parliament even likes ITSELF. It sure as heck doesn’t seem to like its leader. And yet somehow the opposition failed to topple them. What are these people doing wrong?

  33. Matthew of Canberra

    Angra @6

    Normally I’d take a think like that seriously. But earlier this year, andy said the communist party was due for a fall … and that basically guarantees its survival.

  34. shepherdmarilyn

    Tony Jones on Lateline asking Bob Carr about the dead, buried and illegal Malaysia “deal” in human trading then Tony Jones telling me to piss off when I said so.

    Mark Dodd in the Australia pointing out that the courts are releasing Indonesian fishermen because they are not smuggling anyone – Dodd says “have a cold shower”, the same thing he told me 4 years ago when I sent him detailed information pointing out that the Indonesian fishermen are not smuggling anyone.

    Why are our pathetic media so thin skinned? Jones is deliberately baiting Carr and inciting a crime against humanity and tells me to piss off?

    What the hell is that?

  35. Deziner

    DR, I’ve only seen one article on the Brisbane Times actually mention the 14 year figure instead of blatantly repeating the 20 year talking point. I’ve been pointing this out to anybody who will listen since the start of the campaign, but it mostly falls on deaf ears.

    “Who cares?” they say. But clearly it speaks to not only the integrity of the LNP, but also of the media who can’t even do a simple fact check.

    Is crime up or down? Newman thinks because mums and dads say it’s up it must be up. Except it’s not, it’s down (per capita) overall and for everything but petty offences. Is Queensland Health really that terrible, third world even? Turns out we have the lowest elective surgery waiting times in the country. A payroll IT issue does not “a shambles” make.

    QLD Labor might not have dug their grave, but they did nail the lid on the coffin with their choice of mostly negative campaigning. It’s like they have the same disability as federal Labor: they can’t cut through the dross and deliver the facts. Why didn’t they campaign on a lower per-capita crime rate? Why didn’t they campaign on low elective surgery waiting times? Why didn’t they campaign on civil rights? Why didn’t they show a graph of expenditure vs revenue so people can see why we have a deficit?

    *sigh*

  36. Angra

    US intelligence agencies monitoring China’s Internet say that from March 14 to Wednesday bloggers circulated alarming reports of tanks entering Beijing and shots being fired in the city as part of what is said to have been a high-level political battle among party leaders – and even a possible military coup.

    The Internet discussions included photos posted online of tanks and other military vehicles moving around Beijing.

    The reports followed the ouster last week of senior Politburo member and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, who was linked to corruption, but who is said to remain close to China’s increasingly nationalistic military.

    Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo, QQ Weibo, and the bulletin board of the search engine Baidu all reported “abnormalities” in Beijing on the night of March 19.

    The comments included rumors of the downfall of the Shanghai leadership faction and a possible “military coup,” along with reports of gunfire on Beijing’s Changan Street. The reports were quickly removed by Chinese censors shortly after postings and could no longer be accessed by Wednesday.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/21/inside-the-ring-436080940/

  37. Russ44

    It doesn’t really matter, didn’t you know, the Queensland election is a referendum on the carbon price. And on the mining tax. And on the targets on Julia and Anthony Albanese. And whether Peter Costello should be chairman of the Future Fund.

  38. Durham Red

    Joe Hockey on TV this morning, “Queensland needs a change after 20 years.. after 20 years, surely enough is enough.” To be fair, Sloppy Joe’s never been good with numbers.

  39. Matthew of Canberra

    That 20 years thing is interesting. According to this:

    http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2012/history/default.htm

    There have basically been approximately 20 years of labor government in queensland in TOTAL, since the 50’s (when I think mandatory voting managed to get the rural vote to turn out in enough numbers to overcome the organising power of the unions).

    More importantly, there have been 20 years of labor government, in total …. since bjelke-peterson finally left and took his dodgy gerrymandering ways with him.

    Maybe the ALP should take up this “20 years” thing and point out what that actually MEANS.

  40. Durham Red

    I’m yet to see one instance where the 20 year figure has been questioned. It’s less than 14 years since Rob Borbidge was Premier.

    Queenslanders have endured 20 years of Labor’s excuses and political promises – Young LNP website

    “We’ve had 20 years of this tired Labor government” – Campbell Newman

    20 years of neglect under the Labor government. – LNP website

    “Queensland’s economy and social infrastructure which has denigrated over the past 20 years” – Rob Molhoek, LNP Candidate. Pretty sure Rob’s not quite up with the meaning of denigrated.

    “… pass their judgment on a political party which has mismanaged Queensland for the best part of 20 years” – Tony Abbott

    … health services that have been ignored under Labor for 20 years. – LNP

    … there is also a sense that 20 years is enough – Roy Morgan Research

    “After 20 years of Labor the people of Queensland have had enough” – Tony Abbott

    Mr Newman said the Broadwater had silted up because of the Nerang and the Coomera rivers, and blamed 20 years of Labor neglect.

    “20 years of neglect under the Labor government” – LNP Minister John-Paul Langbroek

    “After 20 years Labor’s only plan is to increase the cost of living for commuters and deliver reduced service reliability” – LNP Minister Scott Emerson.

    “Under Labor patronage of public transport has stagnated for the last 20 years” – Campbell Newman

    “Labor has had 20 years to get this right, but it hasn’t. It’s just paying lip service on the eve of an election” – LNP Shadow Minister Scott Emerson

    Not to mention LNPs website – http://www.20yearsoflabor.com.au

  41. Cuppa

    Angry about political bias or poor editorial conduct in a story on the ABC? Register your complaint at EveryonesABC.com.