Andrew Reynolds suggested I prepare an FAQ for the blog. Easily the most commonly asked question is
Q: Why was my comment moderated/rejected ?
A: Except in rare cases, this reflects the operation of antispam software. My host rejects some posts and comments particularly those including words related to c*sin0s and g@mbling. There’s nothing I can do about this. In addition, some comments are automatically moderated because they contain key words or resemble spam (as far as my software is concerned) in some other respect. I check these and approve the false positives, but you usually have to wait a few hours and sometimes longer.
It’s past time for the Monday Message Board, but at this time of year it’s difficult to remember what day of the week it is. (Tuesday is easy since it’s one of the days we’re allowed to water the garden before 7am, hence an early start.)
Anyway, please post your thoughts on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.
I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.0. The initial shift went smoothly enough, with the usual hiccups, but some problems may pop up over the next few days.
If anyone has suggestions for plugins or other features beyond the minimal set I have now, I’d be grateful. I’ve had to abandon Textile, as it doesn’t work with Live Comment Preview.
I didn’t say anything about the career of Kerry Packer on his death, because I think it’s reasonable at such a time for family and friends to have an opportunity to mourn or celebrate the departed without interruption from others. However, state memorial services are another matter. The provision of such a service, at public expense, implies that the person concerned has done substantial service to the public.
I’m not aware of any such service in Packer’s case. He was a man of great wealth and power, but he used his position almost entirely to accumulate more wealth and more power. Although the bulk of his wealth came from government-created licenses to print money (TV stations and casinos) he boasted of paying as little tax as he could. As Andrew Leigh notes, claims of great philanthropic activity also don’t stand up. Most stories of his generosity seem to reflect the grandiose largesse of the ‘big man’, also reflected in high-rolling gambling, rather than any real concern to do good.
In doing all this, Packer was no better and no worse than plenty of other people in business. The commentary on his death said that he was a good father despite having a miserable childhood himself, and obviously plenty of people liked and admired him. But if those were the criteria, we’d be having state funerals every day.
Packer justified his own tax minimisation by objecting to the waste of public money. Giving a memorial service to someone solely for starting out rich and getting a lot richer is a prime example.
fn1. There are exceptions. In 1953, Frank Packer’s Telegraph memorably, and rightly, ran the headline Stalin is dead. Hooray