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Monday message board

June 20th, 2005

As usual on Monday, you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

Sticking with a seasonal theme, I’ll start by asking for thoughts on the occasion of the winter solstice tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday, I’m never sure on this). Also, tomorrow is a significant date in another way, and the first to pick it will get a valuable free acknowledgement in the relevant post.

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  1. June 20th, 2005 at 08:06 | #1

    tomorrow is a significant date in another way

    I think it’s that tomorrow is the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere.

  2. June 20th, 2005 at 08:52 | #2

    On the topic of the winter solstice, Benno said in one of your threads:

    …twice a year at the Collingwood Childrens Farms in Abbotsford the Steiners hold their ‘Steiner bonfire’ for the exquinoxes. These Steiner bonfires are very scary because Steiners are immensley scary, they are like hippies with no moral values. They are hypocritical hippies, not even sell-out commercial ones. If you have never heard of Steiners before then count yourself lucky.

    I vaguely know people who have a. sent their children to Steiner or b. teach at a Steiner school, but I confess I know next to nothing about it. I’ve heard various anecdotal stuff over the years, e.g. they discourage buying plastic toys for your kids (a myth?), and I’ve heard they have a flexible curriculum where they can pick up on what the kids are interested in at the time. I’m not sure what’s so good about them, or on the other hand, what’s so scary about them. Anyone who knows, can you give us an exegesis? Benno, did you have some unpleasant childhood experiences with Steiner schooling? What’s the story?

    A quick google got me the Bairnsdale S.school website. They reckon

    Steiner schools celebrate the main Christian festivals, however a respect for all cultures and spiritual beliefs is paramount. Therefore festivals from many origins are included in the curriculum.

    Currently, our school completes each term with a festival, (plus others as they occur during the year).
    Term 1 – Harvest Festival
    Term 2 – Winter Solstice
    Term 3 – Spring Fair
    Term 4 – Christmas Celebration

    So far, I can’t see anything much that’s scary about them. I like the idea of celebrating the solstices – Christmas is, after all, very much a winter solstice festival with a respectable veneer of christianity.

  3. lise
    June 20th, 2005 at 08:56 | #3

    How is it that a head nurse suspects a doctor of vast malpractice but the nurse can not contact the press after all else fails in trying to report the doctor? Evidently whistle blowing to the press is outlawed in parts of Australia. How can this be?

  4. lise
    June 20th, 2005 at 09:19 | #4

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/international/asia/19australia.html

    Deaths and a Doctor’s Past Transfix Australians
    By RAYMOND BONNER

  5. Katz
    June 20th, 2005 at 09:24 | #5

    It’s the centennary of the birth of Jean Paul Sartre

  6. Homer Paxton
    June 20th, 2005 at 10:45 | #6

    Australia lost bot matches in the Confederations cup to bth germany and argentina.

    They conceded 8 goals but scored 5.

    first the easy question.
    If we fix our leaky defence we will win a lot of gaames.

    what to do?
    1) put Lucas Neil at RB. He is out of place on the left.
    2) stick Vidmar at LB until either Tiatto or Lazirides are fit again.
    3) perhaps try vidmar in the centre to add pace there even at 35 he is still quite quick.
    4) people have lost the point that some of the leaaky defence has come from midfield. Is it a coincidence that this has occured since okon no longer plays.
    wwill Grella fix it up somewhat?

    emmo is looking ont the player he was in holland. he can’t beeat a player and always vears inwards and not on the sideline.
    Perhaps use Elrich with his pace.Bring Cahill on as a supersub.
    Does Skoko have the mobility to still be in the midfield? Culina has a better workrate.

    It was good to see that Dukes is back. When our arry is also back the creative plays will open up overnight.

    I hhopd Frank took a hard look at the Mexicaan tactics against Brazil.
    If we adopt them we are assured of a place in Germany.

  7. June 20th, 2005 at 12:06 | #7

    Ho, ho, I get the door prize: tomorrow is the third anniversary of Prof Quig’s blog.

    Congratulations mate. Very well done indeed John. A prodigous effort – certainly from the perspective of someone who only lasted a year before he had to quit or be totally consumed by the practice. Long may you blog.

    PS While I’m here, rugby-wise, I note that Wallaby Coach [sic] Jones has had the team doctor rule out the brilliant Clyde Rathbone in favour of the hapless Wedell Sailor for the Italian test. The giveaway was Jones also referring to his concern about Clyde’s “lack of recent match time” – yeah, sure Eddie, and that’s why he played a stunning game against the Samoans, and Sailor played like he was just stunned. Curse, grump, curse.

  8. observa
    June 20th, 2005 at 12:17 | #8

    Heard callers to ABC radio last week complaining about the lottery for seats to the Commonwealth games. Basically you have to nominate the events and days, as well as the class of seating, leave your credit card details and hope that you will get the tickets you require. Obviously it depends on the popularity of the different events as to how you fare but what allocated tickets you do get are not renouncable. On woman’s plight in this lottery illustrates the problem. Basically she applied on behalf of her family for $1500 worth of event tickets (including weight lifting which presumably was a family interest) and they succeeded in being allocated $60 worth of tickets to a minor event. They were planning to spend a week in Melbourne and as a result could not justify going and would have to on-sell their meagre allocation. Not all callers were as unhappy as this woman but there were many people disappointed with their allocations and wondering whether it was all worth it.

    This sort of non-price rationing to major events is always a hoary old problem, which often sees scalping when supply cannot meet demand. We seldom use this process anywhere else in our economy, so why use it here? It seems much more sensible to allocate scarce tickets by the price mechanism, much as we do with clearing all the cuts of meat with a sheep or steer. Now with the advent of the internet and the auction system like E-bay uses, it would appear we now have the perfect clearing house for major event tickets. The benefits would mean no scalping,(or at least no need to police any onselling for profit) as well as certainty for purchasers, particularly groups who want to go to events together. IMO, this auction system should be available for the AFL GF and similar events, to avoid the vagaries of non-price discrimination at present. Notice how such an auction of an AFL GF can be held as soon as the two contenders are known. At present fans have to punt on their team making the GF and then the musical chairs with allocated tickets begins at the last minute, with disappointed fans. (eg Should West Coast fans in Perth try and secure their tickets and plan time off and accommodation in Melbourne now?)

  9. observa
    June 20th, 2005 at 12:30 | #9

    Another positive for such an auction system is ease of ticketing and security. The names, addresses,etc of applying bidders for tickets must be furnished similar to booking airline tickets now. An ID code no is allocated via email to successful bidders and on the day photo ID must be presented for admission. Security can vet the names list as they can now for airline travellers. Also if before cut-off time, you wish to onsell a ticket through sickness or circumstances, then if resold, you would only pay an onselling charge. Surplus tickets could be available this way, right up to the first bounce.

  10. June 20th, 2005 at 12:37 | #10

    Ho, ho, I get the door prize: tomorrow is the third anniversary of Prof Quig’s blog.

    Not quite as rousing as my first post… http://australianpolitics.blogspot.com/2005/05/in-beginning-there-was-canberra.html but certainly a lot less arrogant.

    Helen,

    More on the Steiner topic later. At the moment I will tell you that all of the Steiner teachers and students I know are more or less good people and ordinary middle class law abiding citizens. It is the parents where the problem is. Another post later today or tomorrow.

  11. save us!
    June 20th, 2005 at 13:18 | #11

    Steiners are really quite okay. It’s the Montessoris you have to worry about!

  12. Guardian of the Faith
    June 20th, 2005 at 16:32 | #12

    A guessing game…

    From the national newspaper of a country other than Australia:

    “[Country A] is taking seriously a Chinese defector’s allegations that Beijing has more than 1,000 spies in [Country A], vowing that it will take tough counterespionage measures if necessary to protect its sovereignty.”

    Pick the country.

  13. Ian Gould
    June 20th, 2005 at 16:51 | #13

    Spot the quote:

    Who said that:

    1. “We’ve documented a lot of torture cases. There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground….”

    2. “Things aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.”

  14. Katz
    June 20th, 2005 at 17:07 | #14

    1. Senator Amanda Vanstone. (Although the bit about “sensitive areas” doesn’t ring true.

    2. Comical Ali.

  15. James
    June 20th, 2005 at 17:12 | #15

    Canada

  16. joe2
    June 20th, 2005 at 17:54 | #16

    I give in J.Q?

    Was that the date you married or joined the Falun Gong?
    Just joking. 3 years? of putting up with dickheads like me, deserves much praise.

    More blogs,more blogs,more blogs,while singing………

  17. Aidan
    June 20th, 2005 at 18:26 | #17

    Something about 100 years since Einstein’s theory of Relativity – Special or General or Relatively?

  18. Mark White
    June 20th, 2005 at 22:38 | #18

    Media Release: Queensland Labor has learnt nothing
    Posted by: greg.george on Jun 19, 2005 – 10:30 AM

    Queensland Greens Transport spokesperson, Greg George

    The Queensland Greens say Labor will see its support in inner city strongholds crumble. “Labor at State and Brisbane City Council levels have ticked off on preliminaries for another futile TransApex proposal which should never have gone through�, according to Greens transport spokesperson Greg George. “The proposal will bring intensified congestion and pollution to what have up to now been safe Labor seats. Labor has forgotten the recent past and thinks it will get away with it�, said Mr. George.

    Labor councillors have passed a $5 million feasibility study for Campbell Newman’s proposed bridge, from Hale St. to South Brisbane. Originally a tunnel, the proposal became a bridge to try to limit mounting TransApex costs, according to the Queensland Greens. State Labor, which had the power to refuse the project’s toll funding, has given the go-ahead.

    “It has been clear for some time that the befuddled Labor opposition in Council would remain supine, but the options were open for the State government to bring some sense to bear on the whole TransApex folly,� said Mr. George. “Transport Minister Lucas clearly wants to go down in an inglorious blaze like David Hamill. It is a pity, because signs of good sense broke through under the previous minister. But Labor seems determined to position itself as Tweedledee to the Liberal’s Tweedledum on transport. Community opposition is growing in all suburbs affected by TransApex,� Mr. George claimed.

    Last Wednesday more than fifty community activists met to hear community leaders from successful campaigns against ring-road, freeway and bridge proposals of the nineties pass on their advice and strategies. “If 50 people are prepared to give up viewing the State of Origin to talk transport campaigning I think we have the beginning of a mass movement,� said Mr. George.

  19. Razor
    June 21st, 2005 at 12:25 | #19

    West Coast Eagles Fans don’t need to worry about GF tickets – it’s the availability/cost of flights and accomodation that is the deal-killer.

  20. benno
    June 21st, 2005 at 15:11 | #20

    RE: Steiners

    In extreme cases children don’t learn to read until they are 9. Computer use and other similar technologies are banned until year 9, when they are introduced slowly. At the start of the day everyone takes of their shoes, holds hands and do some weird stuff. Students are fairly normal, but parents are incredibly deluded about their children, they demand a dress code of colourfull hippyesque clothing, without brand labels. But don’t actually see what their children wear to school.

    They misinterpret the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. For instance he said “We should all learn french”, widely interpreted as “we should all learn french”. But the real meaning is “We should learn the language of our neighbours”. And that means Bahasa Indonesian.

  21. Ian Gould
    June 21st, 2005 at 18:21 | #21

    Spot the quotes:

    1. “We’ve documented a lot of torture cases. There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground….�

    Saad Sultan, senior official of the Iraqi human Right Ministry commenting on reports that up to 60% of detainees in Iraq are being tortured. Approximately 90% of detainees are released without charge. Something to think about the time te arrest of hundreds or thousands of suspects is hailed as a sign of progress in Iraq.

    2. “Things aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.” – Senator Chuck Hagel, (R) Nebraska.

  22. June 22nd, 2005 at 16:45 | #22

    a flawed venture from the start. I am not opposed to the war(was) because I think that it was needed. Primarily I am opposed to incomptence, and this incompetence isn’t as bad as Kosovo under Clinton, but the consequences are bigger because it is a much larger operation.

    Have you all seen the iraq war counter which tells you how much money it has cost so far and how that money could be better spent? I have link to it on my blog.

  23. Econwit
    June 22nd, 2005 at 18:33 | #23

    Benno,

    Like all wars the money spent has been good pump prime for the world economy.

  24. Guardian of the Faith
    June 23rd, 2005 at 11:13 | #24

    I’m giong to change the topic, but I figure that this is permissible on the Monday message board late on a Thursday morning…

    The High Court has at last handed down its decision regarding Di Fingleton’s appeal. Her conviction was quashed by unanimous decision, although there were a few minor differences in the reasoning of the Justices. Even Justice Kirby joined his fellow judges – a rare thing these days, given his dissent rate.

    Back when Justice McHugh heard the application for special leave to appeal, he made some pretty scathing comments about the conduct of the matter in the Queensland courts. Phrases such as “miscarriage of justice” were thrown in, and references to the miscarriage being among the worst in Australia’s history were included. This time McHugh is a little more diplomatic in his wording.

    Overall however, the High Court decision can only be seen as a condemnation of the Queensland judicial system. Not one of the DPP, the Chief Magistrate, her defence team, the Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal picked up on a blanket immunity in section 21A of the Magistrates Act. Rumour in the Queensland legal establishment has it that it was McHugh’s associate who picked up on the key section. Not one other person until the High Court special leave application appears to have read the Act under which the Chief Magistrate is appointed.

    It’ll be interesting to see the fallout from this one. Fingleton is likely to get a substantial payout from the Queensland government. The same government is faced with seeming incompetence in the handling of Dr Patel. The DPP and the Queensland courts not to long ago faced public scepticism when they mangled the case against Mrs Hanson.

    I doubt it will happen, but there are plenty of reasons that there should be a Royal Commission into the operation of the DPP and judiciary in Queensland.

  25. Guardian of the Faith
    June 23rd, 2005 at 11:19 | #25

    For those who aren’t aware, Di Fingleton, while Chief Magistrate of Queensland, was charged with intimidating a witness. The basic story is that there was a dispute about the posting of a particular Magistrate, and Fingleton made some unfavourable comments about a Magistrate, Mr Gribbon, who had written an affidavit supporting another Magistrate who objected to his posting. Fingleton was convicted and imprisoned for 12 months, reduced to 6 months on appeal. She served her time.

  26. Razor
    June 23rd, 2005 at 18:50 | #26

    Change of Topic – And you guys think Australia has problems:

    “ECONOMICS; NZ Q1 current account deficit at 7% of GDP

    NZ’s Q1 current account deficit blew out to 7.0% of GDP, up from 6.4% in Q4, beating both our and the consensus forecast of 6.7%.

    The deterioration in current account deficit was led by a widening trade deficit and also a widening investment income deficit. Ongoing strong domestic economic performance has been fuelling corporate profits and this is reflected in the current account as repatriation of dividends.

    The widening current account deficit is indicative of imbalances facing the NZ economy. Ongoing income outflow and a large trade deficit will likely push the current account further into deficit.

    In our opinion, offshore investors will look at the 7% current account deficit as a stark reminder of NZ’s worsening imbalances in the economy. Possible flow on impact on risk perception has the potential to degrade the attractiveness of the NZD.” (Source: GoldmanSachsJBWere)

    I suggets the buggers start digging up all that coal they got tucked away them thar hills. That’ll fix the problem quick smart.

  27. June 23rd, 2005 at 23:47 | #27

    It is generically unsound to have such blanket immunities. It may well be that the use of this, rather than anything else, confirms that this person did indeed act against natural justice and in her turn got poetic justice. Those who live by the pen perishing by the pen, and so on.

    Or did I miss something? Did she use anything other than a get out of jail free card? Was there any right on her side that came out in court? As opposed to “the law says it’s OK”, that is.

  28. Guardian of the Faith
    June 24th, 2005 at 08:55 | #28

    PML, there are many such ‘blanket immunities’ and there are sound reasons for their existence. Such immunities mean that a public official can do a public job without fear of personal liability and possible punishment. Similar immunities are provided for most public servants at the State and Commonwealth level (which makes it all the more curious that no one pointed to the immunity before the case got to the High Court).

    However, you are wrong to describe the immunity as having ‘blanket’ coverage. A careful reading of the statute shows that it is an immunity for acts done in the administration of the position of Chief Magistrate. Fingleton’s job was to post Magistrates to courts around Queensland – it might have been a poorly worded email, but it was about postings nonetheless.

    I think there are interesting analogies between the immunity in the Fingleton case, and the idea of limited liability companies. A director is not generally liable for the actions of a company unless the actions are outside the ambit of the company’s operations. Would you condemn these as well? Would you lift the corporate veil so to speak?

    As to the presence of a right on her side, well there’s no such immunity in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, I’ll admit that. But there are rights to protect people from false imprisonment and arbitrary detention (although the federal government ignores these). Ultimately the question is whether Fingleton should have been jailed for six months for writing an unfriendly email. And, should she have been jailed when there was a law passed by parliament which protected her?

    Read the case. Not one of the High Court judges saw anything in the case that was fair. Every judgment states that the matter should never have gone to trial. It’s no activist court these days… the fundamental point is that Fingleton was jailed without any legal justification.

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